City Election2011 candidates and incumbents alike in full force at the swag event in Martin’s West
Last night’s sleek soiree was one for the archives as the Local 44 of AFSCME, Presided over by the politically entrenched husband of 6th district Councilwoman Sharon Green-Middleton – Glennard Middleton. The annual event was chaired by the union’s beloved ‘mother of the local 44’, Dorothy Bryant; mother of a prestigious Maryland lawyer/lobbyist, Eric Lee Bryant – partner of one of the state’s largest law/lobbying firms, Rifkin, Livingston, Levitan & Silver LLC.
The event, which is hosted each year to contribute to the much needed scholarship fund given out by the Local Union; provides for a venue where city workers get to politic with some of the state’s highest elected officials, while contributing finances to deserving, yet sometimes underprivileged, scholars looking to increase their worth through pursuing a dream of higher education. “We just try to highlight the achievements of the hard working men and women of the Local 44, while at the same time bringing awareness and much needed finances to our scholarship program, which will allow for a few fortunate and deserving men and women to continue their education and hopefully become the future leaders of tomorrow,” said Mr. Middleton, who has been a very hands-on and gracious President and Host of these events for years.
Beginning the night’s event early on was an address to the men and women of the Union – whose motto is that ‘They make Baltimore happen’ – by Prince George’s County native and Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. “It is certainly the men and women of this union, and others that make this city and state run, who were the backbone to our [Governor Martin O’Malley] re-election efforts in November, and are the engineers behind any successful economy and workforce,” said the resilient Brown. When asked after his speech whether or not he would be counting on these men and women in three years for his run to be Maryland’s first African American Governor and he said; “Hassan, despite what I decide to do in the next few years, I will most assuredly continue to enjoy a strong partnership with those who contribute to the many services that make state and local government efficient, from education, to hospitality and much, much more!”
After surveying the room of the hundreds that were in attendance, I noticed quiet a few elected officials, and even those who are campaigning now to become just that – including the young Mayoral candidate, Otis Rolley. Making the rounds from table to table, shaking hands, kissing cheeks and addressing each and every participant at the night’s event; Rolley expressed his desire to continue his admiration for the hard working leaders of unions when he becomes Baltimore’s next Mayor. “The people seem excited about the prospect of change, as they and I realize that we don’t have a problem with the soldiers in this war against crime, grime and economic uncertainty; it is the generals that continue to lead us in the wrong direction, and as Baltimore’s next Mayor I plan to change all that,” said Rolley. “My planning background allows for me to effectively map out a plan of action and surround myself with capable soldiers to implement such a plan, many of who are in these rooms and walls of the local and state unions,” Otis continued as he literally spoke at length about what he saw was the problems that exist under the current administration.
While each and every candidate who paid for tickets were afforded the opportunity to address the patrons of the night’s event, it was obvious that certain incumbents had more lead way to advertise and promote their candidacy; as literature of incumbents such as Council representatives Sharon Green-Middleton, William ‘Pete’ Welch and Helen Holton were available on each and every table, along with multiple ads in the program brochure by Middleton’s wife and Council President Bernard ‘Jack’ Young – who had a full page ad and his campaign company’s [Adrian Harpool Inc.] ad having another full page advertisement. Yet, Mr. Middleton and Ms. Bryant handled each participant with an equal amount of patronage and respect, even introducing Otis at one point of the night – before the fireworks began when Senator Catherine Pugh and current incumbent Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake showed up at the event, at the same time!
Entering the ballroom literally 2-minutes prior to the Mayor, what some thought was on purpose, Pugh stole the limelight from Rawlings-Blake, addressing each attendee with kisses and hugs – defiantly amused at the irritation it seemed to cause her nemesis. “We aren’t concerned about what others are doing, we just want to make sure the people of Baltimore have an equal and level playing field upon which to decide who is the best candidate for Mayor at this time,” said one Pugh staffer who wished to remain anonymous. “The obviously slanted political spectrum, upon which she [Rawlings-Blake] still isn’t received well, just goes to show that she is nervous and sees how strong Senator Pugh is in the communities and neighborhoods of Baltimore; as she tries any and everything to slow the Senator’s momentum and dispel the fact that the majority of Baltimore residents prefer Catherine over Stephanie, as one is a people’s person, while the other is…? Well what is she?”
This sentiment was obvious coming out of the Pugh camp as she bum rushed the IMA endorsement last week and gave the politically active Reverends hell for not leaving the political process of Mayoral endorsement open and available to each candidate. “I’ve never heard of such a process being that overly partisan and personal, however they have every right to run their process their way, yet I believe at the end of the day, on Election Day their parishioners, after hearing more from the Landers camp, will break ranks with their pastoral leadership and vote Jody Landers for Baltimore’s next Mayor,” said a spokesman for the Landers for Mayor campaign. Yet despite the politics that was inevitably inserted into last night’s event, it was a great mix of food, fun, music and dancing, “All Night Long”!
For even as Independent Mayoral candidate Catalina Byrd attended for the purpose of gathering signatures to ensure her names on the ballot in November, after sitting at the table with former councilwoman Agnes Welch and son Pete, she let loose and had a ball – forgetting all about the signatures she was there for.
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