April 30, 2015

State Roundup, April 30, 2015

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PROTESTS CONTINUE, SPREAD: Danielle Sweeney and Fern Shen of Baltimore Brew reports that thousands of mostly young demonstrators flooded the streets of Baltimore Wednesday afternoon, perhaps the largest crowd yet to demand justice for Freddie Gray after the unexplained fatal spinal injury suffered by the 25-year-old during his arrest by police.

AA DELEGATE CALLS FOR MAYOR’S RESIGNATION: Anne Arundel Del. Sid Saab is calling for the Baltimore mayor’s resignation, citing a lack of leadership and a comment Baltimore officials say has been distorted by conservatives, reports Chase Cook in the Capital Gazette. The Crownsville delegate tweeted on Monday: “Madam Mayor, the only space that those who wish to destroy should be given is prison.” He followed with several tweets with the “resign now” hashtag.

MAYOR CALLS GOVERNOR INEXPERIENCED: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake today defended her decision to wait until Monday evening to ask Gov. Larry Hogan to call out the National Guard, saying she has much more experience than he in handling a major crisis. She attributed Hogan’s eagerness to send troops to Baltimore as early as Saturday to the “anxiety” of someone who has not been confronted by the multiple crises she has during her five years as mayor, writes Mark Reutter in the Baltimore Brew. “I know that he’s a new executive of anything. So I can understand that anxiety.” “I’ve been tested,” she continued, adding, “I’m not going to second-guess what he was thinking. It would be nice to have that same courtesy from him.”

A NEIGHBORHOOD REALITY CHECK: Regina Catipon, Renee Klahr and Yaqi Liu of Capital News Service, writing in MarylandReporter.com, describe what Freddie Gray’s Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood is really like. It is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Baltimore and the lives of its residents are 15 years shorter than in Baltimore’s wealthiest community.

HOGAN IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports that Gov. Larry Hogan has been thrust in the national spotlight with his handling of the crisis. “How the former real estate executive goes about addressing it, pundits say, could shape not only the rest of his first term, but also his political future,” she writes.

  • Hogan paid a visit Wednesday to the West Baltimore neighborhood where a police arrest started the chain of events that led to rioting, shooting hoops with residents and meeting with NAACP officials. The governor’s late morning tour of Sandtown-Winchester came within blocks of the site where Baltimore police chased down Freddie Gray, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun.
National guard at Baltimore City Hall

Maryland National Guardsmen on duty at Baltimore City Hall. (From the National Guard Facebook page.)

THE FALLOUT: Jonathan O’Connell of the Post writes that Baltimore has labored in recent years to transform itself from a hub of manufacturing and steel production to one known for trendy neighborhoods, growing tourism and Under Armour, the homegrown sports apparel empire. But since violent clashes Monday night after the funeral of Freddie Gray, the world has seen Baltimore’s businesses and attractions shuttered, conventions canceled and a few retail outlets looted and burned out.

PLANK ADDRESSES UNREST IN BALTIMORE: Under Armour Inc. CEO Kevin Plank didn’t waste any time at the company’s annual shareholders meeting before addressing the unrest in Baltimore surrounding the death of Freddie Gray. It was the first item on his agenda reports Sarah Meehan in the Baltimore Business Journal. “Like many, Under Armour is deeply saddened by the events in our home town, and our thoughts and prayers go out to Freddie Gray’s family,” he said. “But we are one Baltimore and we will work towards positive change…The people of Baltimore are resilient and we’re going to be better because of all of this.”

PHOTOS AFTER THE RIOT: The Atlantic runs a series of credited photos from the day following the riots in Baltimore, in which people come together to clean up. Buzzfeed ran a bunch of photos as well, claiming they were the most powerful images from the riots. We disagree. But even more importantly, none were credited so we aren’t linking to them.

TAKEAWAYS: The Post’s Michael Fletcher has lived in Baltimore for more than 30 years. He writes a personal perspective. “It was only a matter of time before Baltimore exploded. In the more than three decades I have called this city home, Baltimore has been a combustible mix of poverty, crime, and hopelessness, uncomfortably juxtaposed against rich history, friendly people, venerable institutions and pockets of old-money affluence. The two Baltimores have mostly gone unreconciled. The violence that followed Freddie Gray’s funeral Monday, with roaming gangs looting stores and igniting fires, demands that something be done.”

OBAMA STEPS UP, OR IN IT? Edward-Isaac Dovere of Politico boils down President Obama’s six principles on race in America. “Really, the six points boiled down to one point: ‘This has been a slow-rolling crisis. This has been going on a long time.’ ‘If we think that we’re just going to send police to do the dirty work of containment, we’re not going to solve this problem,’ Obama said. … People only seem to care, Obama said, when there’s a building burning, when cable news takes a break from chasing missing airplanes and goes on riot patrol.”

CLINTON ON BALTIMORE: Politico’s Playbook rounds up a series of Hillary Clinton quotes concerning Baltimore, including her call for an end to mass incarceration and for body cameras for all police.

O’MALLEY DEFENDS RECORD: John Wagner of the Post reports that former Gov. Martin O’Malley, in his second day on the streets of Baltimore, continues to defend his zero tolerance policy toward crime when he was mayor of the city. He also largely brushed off thoughts that this could harm his presidential ambitions.

LYNCH PRAISES BALTIMORE: U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, making her first public remarks since being sworn into the post earlier this week, offered her condolences to the family of Freddie Gray on Wednesday and said that Justice Department officials had met with an injured police officer, writes John Fritze in the Sun. Lynch, who on Monday became the first African American female to lead the Justice Department, praised city leaders and residents for what appeared to be a de-escalation of violence on Tuesday following riots that broke out just 24 hours before.

CARE PACKAGES FOR POLICE: Folks on the Shore who are looking for a way to help the Baltimore City Police and the hundreds of other law enforcement agencies who have been called to help in Baltimore now have a way. The Easton Star Democrat reports that police supporter Michelle Radau has joined two other supporters on the western shore to collect care packages for police officers working in Baltimore to help control the unrest.

NO PROPERTY TAX HIKE: Maryland residents and businesses won’t see an increase in the state property tax in the coming year, even as state officials note that growing payments on bonds could necessitate one in the future, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.

HOGAN’S BUDGET HOPES: Gov. Larry Hogan had high ambitions for his first budget, writes Charlie Hayward in an analysis for MarylandReporter.com. Hogan said it was an “attempt to reverse the unsustainable fiscal path we have been following and break the cycle that this state has found itself in year after year.” To do that the budget increased “general spending by only 0.5% while the rate of revenue growth is 3.5% – an important step that will begin to bring the budget into a prudent balance.” These claims are substantially true.

  • Bill Ruxton

    The Mayor says she has much more experience handling a crisis than the Governor? Well, we’ve seen how that’s turned out…

  • aRepublicMam

    RSB’s comments only confirm her lack of maturity, professionalism, integrity, and class. She has yet to THANK Hogan publicly for coming to her rescue. Mature adults admit when they have made bad decisions. She is a poor mentor for her own young city residents who caused destruction. She needs to grow up, and in the meantime, let adults with sufficient job skills handle the crisis.