In a few weeks the residents of Baltimore, Maryland will finally see the end of the tenure of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Having chosen not to run for another term (wisely, by most accounts) she will be replaced by Catherine Pugh. In what’s being billed as her final interview as Mayor, she sat down for a thankfully short chat on the local news show, Square Off with Richard Sher. You can watch the interview here. I’m not even attempting to embed it since it defaults to auto-play.
Just to give you an idea of the “tough questions” she faced, this is literally the first hardball pitched her way:
You’ve become a celebrity… the question is, what’s next for you? You could be on television. You could be an actress, a model, you could run for political office again…. What’s up for you?
With the tone for the interview set, let’s get to a couple of the highlights.
On her plans for the future.
The Mayor is not planning to run for any office other than reelection as Secretary for the DNC. She expressed how “important” that work is and how much she enjoys it.
Is there any truth to the rumor she will be working “on television?”
She responds by saying, “I’ll just say that I’ve been approached.” She goes on to discuss how much she really enjoys being on TV.
Does she have any advice for the next mayor?
She advises Pugh to trust her gut instincts and what got her there.
Is it just me, or are there a few things missing from this interview? I don’t think anyone is being fooled into believing that Rawlings-Blake took a pass on this election because she was bored or was preparing for bigger things. This is a mayor who had the honor of presiding over Charm City when it nearly burned to the ground. She oversaw a foolish and expensive series of trials against her own police officers, all of which ended in dismissals until the entire project was abandoned. The deteriorating relationship between City Hall and the police may have contributed to the fact that her tenure included crime figures in 2015 which pegged out at 344 murders… a rate not seen since the 80s. This year was slightly better so far, with a tally of 296, but there’s still a few weeks to go.
That record should be kept in mind when we consider the fact that the mayor is currently the Secretary of the Democratic National Committee, a position she’s widely expected to keep for another term. I suppose that counts as success in some circles. The Baltimore Sun just published a laundry list of unresolved issues which the new mayor is going to have to tackle once Rawlings-Blake exits stage left.
Baltimore is far more of a war zone than it was when this mayor arrived. How she is being lauded on the way out the door and courted with television gigs and a prominent position at the DNC is a mystery for the ages.