The 6 Candidate Comparison

In case you’re having problems understanding what this or that candidate for Mayor is all about and picking one that you’ll support, you’re not alone.

Some are telling us who they are for the first time. Others are well known and don’t have to worry about name recognition. Some candidates who have the money are advertising on TV and radio, but 30 seconds is barely enough time to make eye contact and a point or two. Others we see mostly at candidate forums and when they or their surrogates go door-to-door.

As voters, you want to make a smart decision that will benefit you and your family, but the process of campaigning doesn’t make that easy. And so, more often than not, you settle for chemistry and pickup on a particular slogan or proposal that you hear – and that’s how you make your decision. And then there are the media and the organizations who are offering their insights and advice – Baltimore Rising being a minor example.

Okay, here’s what we did as a goodwill gesture to help you and ourselves figure it out… In this day age, every candidate of substance has a website. Focusing on those websites and other written position statements produced by their campaigns, we’ve created a table that compares the 6 leading candidates. You can click on the link at the bottom of this post to see that table and print it out if you like.

Compiling the table was an interesting experience for us. Defer to the table itself for details, but here are some comments and the impressions we now have of the 6 leading candidates, in descending order of their ranking in the most recent poll by Gonzales Research. Remember that our table is only giving you what we judged to be highlights of candidate materials. Be sure to visit the candidate’s websites to read their materials in detail for yourselves.

Here goes… By the way, our comments are not based on the number of pages or words a given candidate might publish about his or her campaign platform. They are, instead, our best and we hope fair judgment of how those words indicate depth of understanding and thoughtful proposals that will be good for the city.

  • Sheila Dixon. Good to see the release of Ms. Dixon’s “Plan to Create Jobs and Raise Wages.” The plan contains many good common sense and more academic initiatives, but is too complicated, has too many moving parts. She needs to focus on much simpler strategies in order to have a chance of succeeding quickly and on a scale the city’s problems demand.

Sheila DixonMaybe Ms. Dixon will be adding platform materials related to the education and other significant issues? We sincerely look forward to reading them and updating our table accordingly.

Not surprisingly, Ms. Dixon’s website makes no mention of her having been thrown out of office the first time she was Mayor and none of her opponents are talking about it, not really. None of the candidates mention their own negatives. Of course not, but then Ms. Dixon’s history is such that it should disqualify her for re-election. We’ll see what happens just about 2 months from now when all the votes have been counted.

  • Catherine Pugh. Senator Pugh clearly has her act together, making important, if not somewhat conservative proposals covering the full spectrum of major issues. We consider her to be a rock-solid choice for voters who are serious about better, more effective city government. She’s smart and very experienced, has vision, always delivers on what she promises and is absolutely fearless when it comes protecting and promoting the interests of her constituents.

Catherine PughTwo comments: One is that Senator Pugh is a remarkably experienced and capable individual who, we believe, should take chances on larger, bolder positions related to the all-inclusive economic growth that we’re always talking about at We think the crisis of Baltimore’s economy is such that it would be better for her to go big – even at the risk of making, let’s say, only 80% of her objections – rather than to limit herself to what she’s certain she can deliver.

The other comment is a general one about all the candidates: Stop talking about reducing property taxes. It’s just not something that the city can afford to do until there has been very substantial growth in the city’s property and income tax base. And lowering the property tax rate isn’t going to produce that growth. Everybody, every business, every voter wants property tax relief, but it’s not going happen anytime soon, so candidates need to stop talking about it.

  • Carl Stokes. We’ve been told, but have never confirmed, that Mr. Stokes was once at a candidates forum where, feeling frustrated while he listened to his opponents dance around the question of what’s wrong with Baltimore, blurted out, “The problem is, there aren’t enough f–kin’ jobs!Carl StokesIt’s probably just an urban legend, but he’s had a special place in our hearts ever since we first heard it.

Unfortunately, Mr. Stokes has very little, way too little to say about jobs and the economy and nothing about education and public safety. And we don’t know why. He’s experienced. He’s run for Mayor before but, all of a sudden, he has very little to say about what he’ll do if he’s elected? He gives us an idea about what’s bothering him – and we agree. We just don’t know specifically what he’s going to do about it and why doesn’t having anything to say about, at least not on his website, about improving education and reducing crime.

  • Nick MosbyNick Mosby. Mr. Mosby, currently in only his first term on the Council, has been doing some serious thinking about the city. It’s a really pleasant surprise. While we don’t agree with everything he proposes, he has a well-organized, clearly presented 15 point plan that covers pretty much everything that’s important to Baltimore. It’s something that can be said about only 2 of the 6 leading candidates, Councilman Mosby and Senator Pugh.

Mr. Mosby may lack experience, but he’s a serious candidate who shows promise worthy of your attention.

  • Elizabeth Embry. Ms. Embry, whose intelligence and effectiveness as someone can significantly reduce crime in Baltimore we greatly respect, appears, regrettably, to be a single issue candidate. City government critically needs people like Ms. Embry, just not in the position of Mayor.

Elizabeth EmbryDon’t misunderstand. We don’t dismiss crime as a minor issue. Far from it. And Ms. Embry is correct that growing the economy of Baltimore is a process that is seriously inhibited by violence and other criminal activity. Our problem with the single issue campaign is that Baltimore isn’t a single problem city and governing Baltimore is a diverse and complicated process. Equally important as it pertains to Baltimore Rising, we believe that no reduction in crime will be permanent until the underlying economic reasons for crime have been resolved. Someone like Ms. Embry would be immensely useful to buy the Mayor and private sector the time they need to fix the economy, but fixing the economy is not, apparently, something in which she is interested.  Perhaps she can expand upon her platform and we can can reconsider our comment?

That said, this is an extraordinarily competent person. Deputy Mayor for Public Safety? That makes a whole lot more sense given Ms. Embry’s resume and platform.

  • David Warnock. Mr. Warnock is the other first-time candidate running. He’s a very David Warnocksuccessful venture capitalist. This is a candidate who buys and grows companies, some of them locally, and who has supported the Center For Urban Families and taken other initiatives to improve Baltimore through jobs preparation and creation. It is, therefore, stunning that his website shows three platform planks, one about education, one about housing and the third about public safety, but jobs and the economy barely get an honorable mention. Of all the people running, you’d think that Mr. Warnock was the one would care and understood the most about jobs creation and economic growth. Apparently not.

So what do we make of all this? Based on our reading of the candidate’s materials and common sense politics, this should be a 2 candidate race between Senator Catherine Pugh and Councilman Nick Mosby. Everyone else should get out of the way, but they’re not, getting out of the way that is. At least not yet. In the meantime, the candidate leading in the polls is the one candidate who has already had her chance to be Mayor and was thrown out of office. But then this is politics and it’s been one of those election cycles.

For those of you thinking about who to support, we sincerely hope these notes and our table below will help you.

And if you’re one of the 6 candidates? Yeah, you’re right. We’re doing our best to get your attention, to get you focused, before it’s too late, on what we believe to be, hands down, the next Mayor’s highest priority: Eliminating unemployment and poverty through all-inclusive economic recovery and growth.

Thank you, as always, for continuing to visit our website and for your comments and suggestions.

Comparison of Major Candidates for Mayor – Feb, 23, 2016

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