Bring On Bratton

While the series of articles in the Baltimore Sun detailing the corruption trials involving several Baltimore City police officers have been enlightening, the article, “Officer: Suiter stole money,” 2-6-18, was one that really dismayed me. Although it is obvious a small number of officers have been responsible for severely tarnishing the image of the Baltimore City Police Department, I firmly believe the overwhelming majority of the rank and file officers are heroes. Every time they put on their uniforms, they risk their lives to protect all of the citizens of Baltimore City regardless of the fact they are underpaid and under-appreciated.

The testimony coming out in the trials indicates to me that there is no one in the upper management in the Baltimore City Police Department who is capable of restoring public confidence in the integrity of the Baltimore City Police Department.

What needs to be done is to think outside the box; otherwise we will just be going around in circles. What needs to be done is to call on the Greater Baltimore Committee to persuade Mayor Pugh to agree to offer Mr. William Bratton – the most respected individual in American policing, $500,000 in the hope that he will agree to accept the position as the Police Commissioner or consultant for the Baltimore City Police Department. William Bratton has served as a highly successful police commissioner for New York City and also the city of Los Angeles . His credentials are impeccable.

As far as I am concerned, he is the only one who can clean up the mess and bring back public trust in the Baltimore City Police Department.

This action needs to be done now!

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher and Democratic candidate for governor in the 2018 primary election
Baltimore

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Is She Kidding?

After reading “Pugh starting office to help blacks.” 2-5-18, I have to ask, is she kidding? In my book, what this new office amounts to is another PR attempt on her part to make us believe she is on the right trajectory for the city. Furthermore, it is a program that does not come without a price – a steep one at that.

Mayor Pugh, are you cognizant of the fact that I offered a TUTOR-MENTOR TEAM PROGRAM free of charge for the Baltimore City Public School System. Unfortunately, because currently you have a leaderless CEO, Dr. Sonja Brookins Santelises, who draws a salary of $299,000 (an outrageous amount) my program has not made any headway thus far. As a side issue, what does the CEO do to earn her salary. It seems to me the principals of the city schools are actually running the disastrous show.

Do you realize that in the last 5 days, there have been revelations of 2 new programs, all at the expense of the taxpayers. Rumors have it that Mayor Pugh is planning to spend $150,000 for a TV station to strengthen her connection with the citizens of Baltimore City. As for the new Office of African American Male Engagement (which overlooks younger males and excludes females all together) she does not disclose the salary of Andrey Bundley, the designated leader, nor does she make known the cost of running the office. For discussion purposes, if the price tag for these 2 programs is close to $500,000, I would think that hiring 8 police officers or making needed repairs in the deteriorating school buildings or using the money for the war on opioids might bring better results for the citizens of Baltimore City.

When are the citizens going to say – Enough – Enough is enough!

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher and Democratic candidate for governor in the 2018 primary election
Baltimore

No Superman on the Scene

The editors of the Baltimore Sun are acting like a bunch of Monday morning quarterbacks as evidenced in their editorial, “Getting impatient,” 1-21-18.

Over the past year and one half, I can not recall reading one word in the Baltimore Sun whereby the editors demanded that Mr. Kevin Davis be fired. But, now all of a sudden, they declare that it is about time Mayor Pugh made the move.

Furthermore, I do not remember hearing either Mr. Jack Young or City Councilman Brandon Scott calling for the firing of Mr. Davis. To my recollection, many of the articles showcased measures being put into place by city officials to get a handle on the crisis. Remember the daily morning meetings conducted by Mayor Pugh, Mr. Davis, business leaders, and others to map out strategy for the day. And were we fed a note of optimism that over time the things they were putting into place would lead to changes for the better. However, what has been the result? More crime and more suffering endured by the citizens of Baltimore City.

The truth is had Mayor Pugh chosen Superman or Wonder Woman, instead of the new Police Commissioner, Darryl De Sousa, we are still not going to witness improvement – not until we have politicians who are willing to tell the truth. Thanks to the career politicians in control of Baltimore, the Baltimore City Police Department is at least 1000 police officers short of where they need to be in order to effectively protect the citizens of Baltimore City. Commissioner De Sousa’s commitment to deploy police officers in the dangerous areas amounts to “hogwash rhetoric.” Unfortunately, we will continue to hear of shootings taking place every day and night because the Mayor and the Governor do not have the “guts” to call out the National Guard to clear the streets of the criminals who now have seized control of Baltimore City.

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher and Democratic candidate for governor in the 2018 primary election
Baltimore

Fake term limits versus “Real Term Limit”

Sorry to say – but the editors of the Baltimore Sun do not understand the difference between “fake term limits” and “real term limits.” (“Term limit limits, “ 1-12-18) Unfortunately, the Baltimore Sun editors have not learned what my students have learned.

Point 1 to learn – When a first time politician, male or female, Democrat or Republican is elected to office, this newly elected politician enters his/her office and looks all around. Wow! He/she sees all the perks – the fancy carpeting, striking furniture, high-tech equipment, and other such luxuries and exclaims, “This is for me.” Thus, instead of having in mind what is in the best interests of his/her constituents, he/she considers what does he/she have to do to keep this, fame, power, and money that the office will provide for him/her.

Point 2 to learn – In the Sun’s version of term limits, deemed “fake term limits,” after a politician has served for two terms, such as a Baltimore City councilman, the individual can easily start a new cycle of term limits by aspiring to become a delegate. When that two term of office has concluded, he/she then moves on to state senator. From there, the politician looks to the office of governor, and then United States Senator. He/she could even aim for president. So…. what happened to term limits? He/she follows in the footsteps of someone like Senator Ben Cardin or Senator Barbara Mikulski – a 40 year career politician. That is the so-called “fake term limits” – always running for re-election and always taking campaign contributions (legal bribes) to ensure re-election and retain power, fame, and money.

On the other hand, this is “real term limits.” the individual chooses whatever office he/she desires – serves one term and makes a commitment that he/she will not run again for any political office. What does this accomplish? #1 – The person does not have to worry about taking bribes to get re-elected. #2 – The person has the opportunity to be a committed, dedicated, real, ethical politician whose only goal is to make life better for the citizens he/she represents.

Unfortunately, the editors of the Baltimore Sun do not understand that we do not have any ethical politicians in our state or country. That’s why “what’s in it for me,” occupies the top of the list of values for most politicians and explains why our country is so messed up. The best proof of this is Donald Trump is our current president. Need I say more?

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher and Democratic candidate for governor in the 2018 primary election
Baltimore

 

Defending the Indefensible

Outrageous situations call for bold measures to be taken. The members of the Baltimore City Board of Education should resign along with members of the Baltimore City Council.

It is not enough that they have failed to properly straighten out the 10 year chaotic deterioration of the public school education system. And now we witness their failure to properly ensure the safety and welfare of students attending Baltimore City public schools as evidenced by the deplorable heating conditions endured by students in the winter and the terrible cooling system in the spring and summer.

While Governor Hogan is attributing the problems to mismanagement and Mayor Pugh is pointing to insufficient funds for the problems, the students and parents are caught in the middle – they are the innocent victims suffering from the unforgivable mistakes of Governor Hogan, Mayor Pugh, and the school officials.

The school board heard the distress of parents and teachers alike at their school board meeting on January 9th. Now they are planning for a town hall meeting to be held on January 22nd – 2 weeks away – just more delay – more time for school officials to come up with band-aid explanations that will only make a small, if any, dent in a massive crisis. For Mayor Pugh to say that Baltimore is not the only place that has suffered is an unacceptable excuse. Furthermore, the 9 million dollars that Governor Hogan is giving to the city to get the heat back on represents a step that is after the fact. The dire circumstances in the city schools should never have been allowed to reach this breaking point in the first place.

One thing is certain – The disastrous quality of the education system and the horrifying environment in which students have to learn are problems that need to be resolved now – not with a lot of rhetoric – but workable measures that will make a REAL POSITIVE difference in the lives of Baltimore City people – young and old alike. The City Council and the General Assembly along with the mayor and the governor need to act now. Stop pointing the finger at one another; just “fix the problem.” If they are not capable of doing this, then all of these career politicians need to be voted out of office.

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher and Democratic candidate for governor in the 2018 primary election
Baltimore

No Reason for Optimism

“City reaches 343 homicides, highest per capita rate ever,” 12-28-2017
“City prayer vigil honors lives lost to violence,” 12-29-2017
“BPD making strides,” 12-31-2017
“Backward-looking strategy – Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposed crime plan
sends Maryland back to the 80’s,” 1-1-2018
“Maryland politics 2018,” 1-1-2018
“City searches wearily for cures for violence,” 1-2-2018

Putting all of these articles together can easily cause one to come to the following conclusion.
Bad politicians (such as members of the Baltimore City Council, Mayor Catherine Pugh, Governor Larry Hogan), bad bureaucrats (such as Baltimore City Police Commissioner Kevin Davis), bad policies, bad solutions, bad media editorials equal an overload of bad news and one big, bad mess for the citizens of Baltimore City.

The only way to convert all this bad to something good is to gravitate towards Ralph Jaffe’s proposals and solutions for the crime problem in Baltimore City – specifically, calling out the National Guard for 3 weeks and the Tutor-Mentor Team Program for city public schools . This action will lead to good news for Maryland citizens.

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher and Democratic candidate for governor in the 2018 primary election
Baltimore

 

A Costly Plan Without Real Benefits

Preposterous and outlandish – that’s how I would characterize Governor Hogan’s Baltimore plan for widening the highway on the northern part of the Baltimore Beltway in order to ease congestion (“Hogan proposes $461M for roads,” 12-20-17).

According to the article, state officials stated that travel time might be cut about 15 minutes to an hour in getting home from work. To the commuters I would respond in the following way. There are thousands of Marylanders who are looking for jobs and would gladly trade places with those who are so upset about the long traffic delays.

And then there is the cost – $461 million dollars! Can you imagine how many police officers could be hired with that amount of money? Doesn’t the governor and his cohorts in the State Highway Administration realize that saving lives might be more important than saving time for commuters. In light of the raging fire of violence in Baltimore which affects the lives of so many people, couldn’t these government officials show more sensitivity for these citizens?

Wake up Baltimore – do your part to get Governor Hogan and the morally bankrupt career politicians out of office before it is too late.

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher and Democratic candidate for governor in the 2018 primary election
Baltimore

 

What About a Credit Instead of a Surcharge?

The article, “BGE seeks OK for $963M pipeline improvement program,” 12-5-17, ignites feelings of exasperation and aggravation. I am vehemently opposed to BGE’s effort to get approval from the Maryland Public Service Commission for its five -year plan to upgrade the natural gas pipeline system – a program that would place a customer surcharge of up to two dollars a month.

Isn’t it ironic that the program was launched in 2013 with legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly and approved by the Governor – legislation that allows for the customer surcharge. At that time, apparently, the career politicians including Governor O’Malley were in cahoots with one another to rip off the customers. Now, five years later, BGE customers are once again the injured parties being ripped off by the shenanigans of the career politicians, members of the General Assembly, the Governor along with the Maryland Public Service Commission.

Past experience with the Maryland Public Service Commission, whom I believe are merely a group of “puppets” appointed by the Governors, gives me cause to think that the chances of the Commission disapproving BGE’s request are slim to zero.
If there is any justice, the Public Service Commission should demand that BGE give its customers a two dollar credit each month for their inept service. But…that will not happen either.

The only solution to this type of unfair practice is the following. In the 2018 state election vote every incumbent out of office. Until we get career politicians out of business and money out of politics, customers of BGE and citizens will continue to suffer.

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher and Democratic candidate for governor in the 2018 primary election
Baltimore

 

Small Price to Pay for Big Mistake

Erin Cox’s article, “Election board fines Hogan campaign $250,” 11-25-17 presents information on 2 levels. On the surface level, we learn that Governor Hogan’s campaign committed an offense when they solicited funds during a General Assembly session – an act which is banned by state law. However, on a deeper level, the article amplifies the magnitude of corruption which is so prevalent in Maryland politics today.

The nonchalant, cavalier attitude and disregard for ethics in politics goes beyond disturbing. Instead of the campaign manager Jim Barnett offering the flimsy excuse that Al Redmer, Maryland Insurance Commissioner, had acted against the advice of the campaign when seeking funds for Hogan’s campaign, why didn’t the campaign officials simply own up to their violation of state law? What’s more, Mr. Hogan’s campaign is even thinking about appealing the fine!
And Mr. Redmer, apparently, is bothered very little by the fine, as he is running for the Republican nomination for Baltimore County executive.

Where is the strength of the General Assembly legislation that places a mere $250 fine for violations of the law? The General Assembly and the governor have failed to come up with really gut-wrenching regulations that give politicians cause to think twice before engaging in illegal acts involving campaign finance laws.

This example of moral bankruptcy on the part of Governor Hogan’s campaign provides more exposure to the “dirt” that prevails in Maryland politics today.

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher and Democratic candidate for governor in the 2018 primary election
Baltimore

 

What Real Justice Is

Justice might mean different things to different people, as pointed out in the editorial, “What justice means,” 11-28-17. For me, the element of truth is an inherent component when talking about justice and fairness in the way people are treated and dealt with.
I venture to say that the Baltimore City Police Chief, along with the Mayor of Baltimore City and the Baltimore City Council have not done justice for the people of Baltimore. This is based on 5 truths.

Truth #1 – We have a Baltimore City Police Commissioner, Kevin Davis, who has performed in an incompetent manner far too long. If he wants to do what is in the best interest of his department and Baltimore City citizens, he should resign effective immediately.

Truth #2 – Mayor Pugh, the current mayor, is in way over her head. She should call a press conference, without delay, to apologize to the citizens of Baltimore City for her failure to be properly prepared to serve her constituents when she took the oath of office in December 2016.

Truth #3 – The current members of the Baltimore City Council should also make an apology for their underplaying the incompetence of Police Commissioner Davis, for their underestimating the lack of morale of the majority of good officers in the Baltimore City Police Department, and for their lack of courage in demanding that the Police Commissioner resign.

Truth #4 – The FBI should take over full control of the investigation of Detective Suiter’s murder. This action would insure no cover ups from Police Commissioner Davis.

Truth #5 – The editors of the Baltimore Sun have not served their readers in a just manner due to the blinders they are wearing which prevent them from seeing what a true mess the city government has become. The fact that several Carroll County school trips to the city are halted due to a concern about the “escalating violence” in the city speaks volumes to what is happening to the city. When the editors of the Baltimore Sun continue to justify their adherence to a liberal thought process with excuses and platitudes rather than dealing with real solutions for the crime problem in Baltimore City, they are merely prolonging the humongous mess.

The editors stated that doing more than just talk is needed to bring justice for Freddie Gray. The same can be said for bringing justice for the citizens of Baltimore City.

Yes – the truth hurts; it is painful, but as the saying goes, without pain, there is no gain.”

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher and Democratic candidate for governor in the 2018 primary election
Baltimore