Baltimore City Power Rankings: $RB, Graziano, Boss Hog, more

O'Malley

A month ago, former Maryland governor, muscle-T aficionado and Irish band frontman Martin O’Malley was polling in the * range nationally and only 4 percent in his home state. But after a strong debate performance, polls are now putting him at 4 to 7.5 percent among likely Democratic presidential primary voters. This is a huge surge; O’Malley’s support has quintupled in just a month while his opponents’ numbers have barely budged. The latest numbers put Governor Gunshow just 20 points behind Vermont Socialist Bernie Sanders and only about 40 behind front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Mayor $RB

Rawlings-Blake did the right thing on Tuesday when she slapped down Boss Hog's xenophobic dismissal of Syrian refugees (see: below), saying, “Welcoming immigrants and New Americans is a critical part of my strategy to grow Baltimore, and I hope that refugees from Syria will look to our city as a potential place to call home.” The very next day, Il Mayore was live-tweeting a panel on the success of her ballyhooed Vacants to Value program, even with a recently released Abell Foundation report making clear that said success isn't all it's cracked up to be. Among her string of tone-deaf tweets was this gem: “Commissioner Graziano knows it is important to protect current residents as their neighborhoods rebuild. #saferneighborhoods” Yes, the very same Paul T. Graziano in charge of the housing department scandalized by terrible conditions in public housing, employees who allegedly withheld repairs for sex, and, now, misuse of funds (see "Where's Housing's Money?"). Sometimes the leap from the real world to fantasyland is not as far as you think.

Pedestrians

On Nov. 16 just after 3 p.m. a 26-year-old mother and her 3-year-old child trying to cross Pennsylvania Avenue at North Avenue were struck by a car, killing the child. The next day, at approximately 7:50 p.m., 61-year-old Denise Graham was hit by a car at Fulton Avenue and Mosher Street. She died also. On Nov. 7, Nacole Taylor, 56, was at a bus stop on the 2400 block of Belair Road when she and another woman were run over by someone driving an Acura, who fled the scene. Taylor died. Police say the driver was 32-year-old Devin Wallace Matthews. He was arrested on another hit-and-run warrant and was charged with driving without a license, among other things. Walking should not be this dangerous.

Graziano

Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano stuck to the party line when he appeared before the City Council in a hearing this week, insisting the poor Housing Authority just didn't have the cash to do right by its tenants. He did his beleaguered best to persuade critics that the mean old feds were starving Baltimore's Housing Authority but there are holes, big gaping holes in his story (see "Where's Housing's Money?"). Graziano tumbles--ass over teakettle--in the court of public opinion. 

Boss Hog

Gov. Larry Hogan announced early last week that he is “100 percent cancer-free,” marking an incredible recovery from the disease he was diagnosed with six months ago. In a video excerpt from the press conference, Hogan said, “I believe in the power of prayer, and I've been fortunate to be on the receiving end of quite a few of them in recent months.” But Hogan's nod to a benevolent God---and his Christian charity for that matter---flew right out the window the very next day, when he issued a statement “requesting that federal authorities cease any additional settlements of refugees from Syria in Maryland until the U.S. government can provide appropriate assurances that refugees from Syria pose no threat to public safety.” Fact: refugees already go through a rigorous, multi-year vetting process to come to the States. Biblical lesson: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were Middle Eastern refugees. 

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