A City Coronation to the Greatest Debate that Never Happened; from Pugh’s Prank to Meister the Antagonist; Kiefaber’s Kaos & more…Check out all the hottest incidents of 2011!
While many media outlets and news journalists are preparing a long list of the best, and the worst, that has happened throughout the year of 2011; this Examiner will be pointing out some of the most interesting political happenings in the DMV, with a heavy dose of Baltimore politics.
While I’m sure there is plenty that I’ll miss, that some would say deserves to be in the Top 10 Political Follies of 2011; yet these are some that to come to mind first, that more than likely I either personally covered for this news outlet; or was personally involved with myself! So let’s take time to reflect on what happened in 2011, to hope and pray it doesn’t repeat itself in the year’s to come – or in some cases, gets even better with time! (Numbers 6-10 included here, the Top 5 will be posted tomorrow, as the length is way too long to be included all together!)
#10 – Youth Center Debacle:This all started with a deficit ridden city, in which they continue to fund operations such as the Department of Safety (Police, Firefighters, etc…) at an increasing rate of close to 50% of the entire operating budget. Yet, while this may make some assume Baltimore to be an extremely ‘safe’ City, it is quiet the opposite! Not to mention the fact, that educational priorities such as education, recreation and parks, etc…are departments that continue to receive enormous cuts to their annual budgets, thus leaving agencies such as Recs and Parks, to essentially have to fend for themselves! Which led to the brilliant idea by Director G. Bayors to have outside entities begin incurring the responsibility of keeping the 50+ rec centers operational; thereby ensuring that the city keeps up the perception that they actually care about our children, and our kids won’t be left out in the cold when the city funds hi-priced garbage cans over their learning and recreational facilities.
The problem came when businesses such as GCOMM Media Co. – who had partnered with some of the finest and longest standing youth organizations across the city – reached out to be a part of this very detail-oriented and backwards process, only to never be contacted until 6-months after their initial appeal – while then being informed that they ‘missed the bus’ on the process? After being contacted by at least five different agency ‘directors’, who each told the business different accounts about what the process was, left many organizations and businesses twiddling their thumbs with a bad taste in their mouth regarding a process that if done correctly, could really be an asset for the children of this city! SMDH…I guess Libertarian Conservatives are correct in their assessment in that government couldn’t run a lemonade stand without somehow messing it up?
#9 – Tom Kiefaber’s Council Outburst and Subsequent Council President Run: The former owner of the famed movie theater known as the Senator, who was ousted from his family’s long lasting empire by Baltimore politics, got so fed up with the bureaucracy that at one of the council meetings held on the 4th floor of City Hall; Kiefaber stormed past the public speaking dias, headed straight for the Council President’s throne, where clergy and outside groups open up each council meeting with a prayer and Baltimore Spotlight. So shocked was Council President Young and the council, that many ran for cover, while others sat in shocked disbelief, while the downstairs police were summoned to escort Tom out of the building. Even funnier is while Mr. Kiefaber, operating as an average citizen the week after said outburst, attended the publically viewed Board of Estimates meeting; he didn’t have to do a thing but stir in his seat before the Mayor and Council President had him again escorted out of the building – for reasons still unknown to most, including Tom! The city then witnessed Mr. Kiefaber run for City Council President against Bernard C. ‘Jack’ Young, since the field seemed to cleared for him of any serious contenders by the Governor and Mayor’s influence; leaving Tom almost alone to oust the governmental officials he believes underhandedly displaced him from the only thing he knew almost his entire life? Needless to say, he only received 5,691 votes, or about 9% of the votes cast for Council President, against the 14-year incumbent councilman?
#8 – The Greatest Debate that Never Happened: With the political season upon us in 2011, GCOMM Media Co, in conjunction with the most innovative and up-to-date campaign tracker website known as ValueMyVote2011.com; coupled with our media partner Fox45 news, to bring the Baltimore electorate what was then the only scheduled LIVE TV debate of the season. After buy in by the Fox45 executives, along with partnering with outside news entities such as the Afro, the Sun and even the Baltimore Brew, to have a member of their staff as panelists of the debate (which was to be hosted by Patrice Harris of Fox45), we received buy in from each and every Mayoral candidate in the field, except that of course of the Mayor herself – Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. At first, her campaign sought the excuse of a scheduling conflict, which was used almost three months out from the scheduled August 29th debate.
Then, campaign manager for the Mayor, Travis decided to contact Fox45, instead of the ValueMyVote2011 team which was responsible for the coordination of the debate, basically because I, Hassan Giordano, was a part of it; in which he told them the Mayor would not be apart of the debate, so long as I, Hassan Giordano, was a panelist? Thus, this info was relayed to me, and though very upset that I would not be apart of what I myself put together, I chose to humble myself and back out of the scheduled debate, in order to replace myself with another news journalist so that the Baltimore electorate would still benefit from this very important debate! After that was relayed to the Rawlings-Blake camp, they took it upon themselves to contact MPT to schedule another debate with them on that same exact night, and time; which once exposed, had each of the other candidates disturbed; though they remained committed to the ValueMyVote2011/Fox debate!
However, after each candidate came together as a whole, in probably the only thing I witnessed them all agree on together, being led by Catherine Pugh; with the Mayor excluded of course, they decided to hold the regularly scheduled debate without her on Fox45, and still would do the MPT debate at a later date? However, the power of the Mayor’s Ad Buy eventually won out, as she reportedly promised to pull her ad buy from Fox45 if they continued with the debate, with or without her present; leaving the candidates no choice but to join her at MPT to a debate that was not to be, had it not been for the pettiness of our current Mayor and her feelings toward me apparently?
#7 – ValueMyVote2011: #8 has led us to #7 which was in many people’s opinion, one of the most innovative social media and internet based campaign websites, which followed the entire 2011 Mayoral Election, from start to finish – with one-on-one interviews of each candidate running for each and every office! (At least each candidate that responded back to our inquiries) It had interactive polls included, along with campaign info on how to contact and find each candidate’s website; along with a 10-15 minute interview with me about their campaign platform, the issues relative to their campaign and more! This site, which was the start of more to come by the tech savvy and politically innovative company known as GCOMM Media Co., had began with a bang and eventually reached a peak of 2,500 unique visitors a day for some time!
#6 –Pugh’s Prank and the Mayoral Race: One of the most amusing moments of the Mayoral campaign of 2011, was when state senator and mayoral candidate, Catherine Pugh ran up on the Mayor, during the endorsement hearing of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA)! The group of ministers, who many heavily supported Pugh in past campaigns, including this one behind the scenes, came out early for Mayor Rawlings-Blake without so much a meeting with the rest of the field; basing their reasoning on having supported her back in the summer of 2010, months after she took over the reigns of office from ousted Mayor Sheila Dixon! This made absolutely no sense to anyone, especially Pugh apparently, who made her feelings known when she ran up on them, during the Press Conference, and let them have it – face 2 face OR chica-e-chica! The hysterics of the 2011 election supllemented the actual voter turnout, as the sad result of only a 23% turnout ratio in the Primary Elections, and an even worst turnout of only 49,463 voters out of a total 372,888 registered voters, equivalent to 13.28% turnout, was so sad that it didn’t even make the Top 10 list, as I’d rather not shine the light on the sad nature of Baltimore politics – and the electorate that makes it up! SMDH…
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