Baltimore City’s Messed Up Election Process

Baltimore City’s messed up election process
The articles, “Errors leave voters worried,” 5-15-16 and “Dixon won’t challenge result of mayor’s race,” 5-12-16, should give voters cause for concern. As someone who has been involved in at least 5 election campaigns including the most recent April 26, 2016 primary, I have no doubt that the Baltimore City Board of Elections “screwed up.” Clearly this working group was not properly prepared to administer an open, honest election process. However, another problem exists which has been the recipient of very little if any commentary from the media or the public.

Not only do the citizens of Baltimore City, and for that matter, the entire state of Maryland have an obligation to vote, but they also have a responsibility to vote intelligently which means they have a requirement to be INFORMED. And that is not happening. How much space and air time do the media allot to truly inform the voters on the positions of ALL CANDIDATES on the issues that affect the people of Maryland? How accurate are the pollsters when they attempt to predict the voters’ choices? Do the pollsters even take the time to inform the voters about the positions of ALL candidates running for office? How much time do voters take to check out the qualifications of the politicians appearing on the ballot?

For your information, while the media emphasized Baltimore City had the largest voter turnout in years, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections, 59% of the voters in Baltimore City chose not to vote.

If one does some research on the questions I’m raising, one might just come to the conclusion that the media has been irresponsible in their coverage of ALL candidates running for office. And, sad to say, the same fault applies to voters. Here’s the proof. Look at the career politicians who finished #1 and #2 in the mayoral race. One was convicted on one count of misappropriation of gift cards. The other candidate, in my opinion violated campaign election laws. As a matter of fact I have filed a complaint with the state special prosecutor with regard to her behavior in the 2016 Democratic primary for mayor. (Knowing what I know about the current special prosecutor, in all likelihood no meaningful action will be taken with my complaint.)

All of this goes to show how unscrupulous the entire election process is in Baltimore City.

Ralph Jaffe
Political Science Teacher
Baltimore

On gender Politics

All of the lamenting in the article, “Primary a setback to women in elected office,” 4-28-16 by the so-called political experts raises the following question. What if the Maryland delegation were composed of prototypes such as Hilary Clinton or Sarah Palin, or Sheila Dixon, or Catherine Pugh?
Ms. Dixon was convicted of braking Baltimore City law. Senator Pugh should be convicted of breaking election law. Hilary Clinton should be in jail. Sarah Palin deserted her constituency by choosing to quit her office and go out on the lecture circuit for the purpose of making more money. So much to be said for diverse gender politics.
It seems to me gender politics should not be the issue. Rather candidates, female or male, should be judged based on their character, ideas, and trustworthiness.

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher and 2016 Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate
Baltimore

Money in Politics

The Sun has taken on the task of conveying to readers the amount of votes per dollar received by the mayoral candidates. Why not do a similar one for the senatorial candidates.

I am proud to say that I got more votes per dollar than any other candidate running for office in this primary. On a budget of $415, I received 6617 votes (as of 5-2-16).

I would like to thank all of the voters who supported my candidacy!

The JAFFE MOVEMENT has won another moral victory in its effort to get rid of money in politics and to put a stop to career politicians.

This success demonstrates that we can get money out of politics. If you add together all of the dollars spent by all of the candidates in this primary, you would come up with a figure that could go a long, long way to improve the quality of life for Maryland citizens. And isn’t that what it is all about?

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher and 2016 Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate
Baltimore

Readers and Voters Become the Losers

The article, “Candidates begin their final push,” 4-20-16, refers to a poll whereby Rep. Van Hollen is leading Rep. Edwards 42% to 33%. If my math is correct, 25% of the voters do not like either one of these contenders.

If Mr. Fritze would have given more coverage to the other candidates who are running against these 2 phony career politicians, I would not be surprised if these two would be at the bottom of the barrel in the polls. However, unfortunately, Mr. Fritze’s criteria for candidates include being career politicians who take millions of dollars in campaign contribution/bribes and who put their own selfish interests ahead of what’s in the best interests of their constituents.

Once again, the losers are your readers and voters. They are being deprived of making more informed decisions on who should be the next junior U.S. senator from the state of Maryland.

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate
Baltimore

Voter Turnout

Two articles compel me to make the following comments.
Concerning the article, “Do you know your Dems?” 4-15-16 matching names with faces is not enough. What about the candidates’ positions on issues? So….what if Baltimore City voters were asked the following questions…

Do the voters know the amount of money in campaign contributions/bribes each of the mayoral candidates have collected? Do they know if the candidates are committed to telling the whole truth, not just half truths? Do they know which candidates can claim they are not career politicians or wannabe politicians? Do they know how willing the candidates are to hiring more Baltimore City police officers instead of reducing their numbers?

What would the results of this poll show? Failing grade sheets for
the Baltimore Sun, the pollster, and the Baltimore voters. Since the Baltimore Sun falls short on keeping voters really knowledgeable about all of the mayoral candidates and the pollster does not make a habit of using in-depth questioning, how can you expect Baltimore voters to be properly informed about all of the candidates and their positions on the issues?

Concerning John Fritze’s article, “Other contests could affect race for Senate,” 4-17-16 where he evaluates the turnout of people in the April 26th election, here‘s my position. I hope everyone votes for me. But, more importantly I hope every eligible voter votes in this election. Throughout our history, millions of American military soldiers gave up their lives so that we could maintain the freedom to choose the candidates we want to run our government. Failure of citizens to vote makes a mockery of our great participatory democracy.

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate
Baltimore

Another Amtrak Tragedy

The lack of proper security for Amtrak passengers and the lack of modern equipment have given me cause to be a critic of Amtrak for over 20 years. Apparently, the big shots at Amtrak have made minimal strides to significantly change these conditions. That’s why we had to read about the recent Amtrak train accident near Philadelphia (“Two dead in train accident,” 4-2-16) and be reminded of the two accidents that occurred prior to this one.

I can think of one solution to the Amtrak tragedy. They should go out of business. It’s a classic example of the waste of taxpayers’ money on a transportation system that has been a dismal failure. Let the private sector take over the railroad consumer transportation industry.

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate
Baltimore

Reasons to be fed up

Once again, moral bankruptcy in Baltimore City government and Maryland state government comes to light as demonstrated in the two articles, 3-31-16,
“Embry takes aim at Pugh’s donors,” and Rawlings-Blake’s $2.6B budget cuts down on agency spending.”

The wannabee politician, currently assistant attorney general, Elizabeth Embry, has the audacity to criticize State Senator Catherine Pugh because she’s taking money from state lobbyists who are testifying on bills that are before Senator Pugh’s committee in the State Senate. Mrs. Pugh has defended her position based on a loophole that allows her to do what she’s doing and faults the assistant attorney general for not knowing better. While Ms. Embry has voiced her criticism loud and clear, she’s soft spoken about the funds she has raised, including donors with ties to real estate developer David S. Cordish who have given more than $60,000 to her mayoral campaign. Is Ms. Embry attempting to buy the election with her heavy TV ad investments? Hence, we see 2 hypocrites in action, both trying to exploit the voters of Baltimore City. Isn’t this typical politics by politicos?

Mayor Rawlings Blake has come up with the brilliant idea of eliminating 226 police positions that haven’t been filled, an action she claims will save city taxpayers a lot of money. But, isn’t there an adverse effect to her idea – isn’t she risking the safety of Baltimore City citizens, putting them in more peril by refusing to fill the police vacancies. She points to phony statistics to justify her proposal, but what she does not point out is this. An addition of 200 police officers, not a subtraction is needed. Until that’s been accomplished, the Baltimore City Police Department will not be able to properly protect its citizens.

With these politicians and wannabe politicians running for office, do you think the citizens of Maryland have a right to be fed up?

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate
Baltimore