Two Missing Ingredients

I have been a teacher, both in the public and private sector, since 1964. In 1969, when I was teaching at Ridgely Junior High School (now called Ridgely Middle School), I pioneered a new teaching methodology entitled, “Student Activism in the Classroom.“ My putting this new strategy into motion resulted in an idea that was born in my classroom and eleven months later, passed by the United States Congress, and signed into law by Richard Nixon. In 1971, I was invited by the National Council of Social Studies Teachers to make a presentation at their convention in New York City to explain how my new teaching methodology works. A number of my students, both then and now, have brought to my attention that I’m a pretty good teacher.

In the article, “Boys learn differently than girls, and that’s OK,“ 6-27-17, the distinguished educator, Christopher Post, headmaster at Boys‘ Latin School of Maryland, makes a salient point with which I agree – the need for more separate schools for boys and girls. He did not mention, however, two things that are essential for helping students to succeed – motivation and a love-care connection.

A case can be made that some of the best teachers in America are college and professional football coaches because they are great motivators. They know how to motivate their players. Teachers might have vast arrays of knowledge, but if they are unable to motivate students, then their knowledge counts for naught. When teachers are able to motivate their students, the sky is the limit for what the students might accomplish.

As for the love-care connection, we need to take heed to the lyrics of Burt Bacharach, “what the world needs now is love, sweet love, it’s the only thing there’s just too little of….no, not just for some, but for everyone.”

Rewinding back to Biblical times, Moses and Abraham were able to connect with their students because they showed time and time again, that they really cared about the well being of the people they were teaching. They were not “stuffed shirts” but rather jumped out taking the initiative in helping and counseling their students. Now, fast forward to today. Why do we see so many troubled students on the streets today? I venture to say these students feel lost; they feel that no one really cares or loves them. A teacher’s demonstration of genuine care and concern (call it love if you like) can go a long way in steering the students on the right course of life. Again, “what the world needs now is love, sweet love, it’s the only thing there’s just too little of….no, not just for some, but for everyone.”

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

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A Lack of Political Courage

I would be remiss not to comment on ,“Lawsuit looks at riot’s damage,” 6-25-17. Governor Hogan’s role is not mentioned in this lawsuit, which in my opinion, is a major mistake. He failed to call out the National Guard back then on April 27, 2015, when the riots initially broke out. Saying that he needed the approval of the mayor in order to take such action was a flimsy excuse at that. Had he chosen to do so, he could have done so; he did not need approval from Mayor Rawlings-Blake Furthermore, he has failed to call out the National Guard today. Hence, the citizens of Baltimore City suffered back then resulting in this lawsuit and the citizens of Baltimore City are suffering now with the horrendous surge in violence and crime taking place on the streets of Baltimore City.

This lack of political courage demonstrated by Governor Hogan as well as all of the elected officials in the city government is a prime cause for Baltimore being a city in crisis. Shame on the governor, the City Council, the mayors – past and present.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Sunshine for the Mayor or for the Kids

I was drawn to the article, “Pugh to travel to U.S. Conference of Mayors,” 6-17-17. We are informed that the Baltimore City Board of Estimates approved $5600 for Mayor Pugh and an aide to spend 4 nights in Miami for attending the Mayors‘ Conference.. I concede that $5600, in the grand scheme of things, is not an enormous sum when considering the millions and millions of dollars of taxpayer money squandered by the Mayor, Board of Estimates, and the City Council. However, the principle of the matter bothers me.

Performing a simple math operation, 4 days and nights equals 96 hours. I ask two questions. The first is how many of those hours will actually be spent on trying to come up with real solutions for the problems that are confronting cities all over the country. The second question is how many of those hours will be spent on having a “good time?”

It seems to me if the Mayor wanted to demonstrate a genuine concern for the taxpayers, here’s something more consequential she might have done. Assign one of her aides to engage in research to ascertain which mayor has been the most efficient in getting a handle on the crime and education problems in his/her city. Mayor Pugh could follow up on the phone and/or skype to conduct a conference call for the purpose of picking the brain of that mayor and learning about strategies she could implement for the good of the city. Not only would she save the taxpayers $5600, but she might be able to govern better also. Another thought – wouldn’t it be nice if she had thought of using the money to send a few students to get some sun shine at summer camp rather than sending herself to the Sunshine State.

Oh well, such is life for a “good public servant” like Mayor Pugh.

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

 

Off the Mark Again

“Violence spurs added police,” 6-13-17 speaks volumes about the lack of leadership demonstrated by Mayor Pugh and Baltimore City Police Commissioner Davis in dealing with the horrific crime problem in Baltimore City.

If they think requiring police offers to work 12 hour shifts is the answer, they should think again. If Commissioner Davis thinks his desire for harsher penalties for illegal gun possession is the solution, he should think again. If he thinks that prosecutors, judges, and lawmakers joining the police to combat gun violence is the remedy, he should think again.

Until Mayor Pugh and Police Commissioner Davis engage in telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth regarding the fact the police force has a shortage of at least 500 to 700 officers and they will need to take vigorous steps to fill the positions, the violence will go on. Until the National Guard is called out for a three week period to give citizens of Baltimore City some relief from the epic numbers of shootings and killings, Baltimore will remain a city in crisis. Sad to say – this is the truth.

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

 

Time for “Straight Talk”

The headline, “Citizens see city in crisis,” 6-4-17 portrays the stark reality of Baltimore. One of the salient points made in the article and which I agree with is that the deterioration of Baltimore City including its governmental system, education system and police department did not start overnight and is not going to be solved overnight.

This tragedy has been evolving for at least 30 years. The reason, in large part, is due to a series of mayors, a group of city council people, and a number of police commissioners who can be characterized with a void in ethics and courage. The overriding sentiment of gloom and despair will prevail until the city officials and law enforcement leaders are willing to speak the whole truth and give “straight talk” to the citizens of Baltimore City.

“Straight talk” calls for the mayor and police commissioner to fess up that they are at least 500 to 700 police officers short and it will take several years to fill the vacant positions. It calls for a leader in the Baltimore City public school system who will have the courage to tell the truth about the deplorable conditions in the schools and will have the vision to make the changes which need to be made that will allow students to become meaningful, productive citizens in the Baltimore community. This includes the implementation of the Teamwork in Action: Tutor/Mentor program. And, the “straight talk” calls for shock therapy to be utilized. If I were governor, I would call out the National Guard for a 3 week period in order to supplement the Baltimore City Police Department and give citizens relief from the killings, shootings, and robberies taking place every day and night.

Lisa Abrams asserted in her letter “Wanted: a plan for action,” 6-7-17, people want action now. And, Farajii Muhammad, a radio show host on Morgan State’s WEAA questioned how effective her community outreach endeavor would be, “Pugh issues ‘Call to Action’ for Baltimore citizens,” 6-8-17.

When the “straight talk” I am suggesting is spoken and executed, we will see hopelessness change into hopefulness.

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

 

The Fabulous Three

Michael Dresser’s article has set into motion the trademark of unfair and unbalanced coverage of the 2018 gubernatorial election – a trademark adhered to by Mr. Dresser along with John Fritze, and Erin Cox.. They simply refuse to report the facts thoroughly. While Mr. Dresser conveyed that Ben Jealous is the 2nd one to announce his candidacy, “Ex-NAACP chief Ben Jealous is announcing a run for governor,” Mr. Dresser failed to report that Ralph Jaffe is the only candidate who has not only announced, but actually officially filed for candidacy for governor. Mr. Dresser has denied the readers of the information that Mr. Jaffe is the only candidate leading a movement to get rid of corruption and moral bankruptcy that pervades Maryland politics. (Just look at the blatant example of corruption involving Mayor Pugh and her administration a mayor who was endorsed by the editorial board. She is surrounded by aides who have broken election laws in fundraising endeavors.)

In their determination to exclude facts the fabulous three are not only depriving readers of significant information, but they are also inserting their own subjective opinions into what should be factual reporting. What happened to Journalism 101 and guidelines including the 5 W’s – who, what, why, when, where and also how. Instead we are drenched with an outpouring of their slanted views including criteria for credible candidates. Money along with the ability to buy elections and experience as a career politician take precedence over character and worthy ideas

Turn back to the 2016 Maryland senatorial race where John Fritze asserted that this race would produce national interest and Elijah Cummings was the best known possible Democratic candidate for the US Senate. The truth be told, however, Mr. Cummings did not even run, and the race did not rank high on national coverage.

Maybe the editorial board should assume some responsibility in this scenario. Why are they allowing the fabulous three to continue on their course of defective writing.

The ones who suffer from this sloppy reporting are the readers who are bombarded with misinformation. Is it any wonder why many readers have lost faith and are fed up with the Baltimore Sun?

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

A Case of Very Poor Judgment

The article, “Officers face discipline,” 5-23-17, painted a very troubling picture for the officers who were arrested in the Freddie Gray case. The 6 officers were exonerated from any criminal behavior. One could really argue they shouldn’t have been charged for the crime in the first place. However, the self-serving, persecutorial prosecutor thought otherwise.

After all the suffering the officers and their families had to endure, now 5 are facing internal disciplinary measures which could lead to firing and/or public humiliation for some of them.

In this day and age, isn’t it enough that the police officers are under intense physical and psychological pressure with their lives on the line every time they put on a uniform. Throw into the picture they are grossly underpaid, under appreciated, and disrespected by a vocal group of liberal, malfeasant thinkers. Why should anyone want to become a Baltimore City police officer?

In light of the shortage of police officers and their mission to protect the citizens of Baltimore City, which has become almost impossible, what in the world is Commissioner Davis thinking in inflicting more pain and suffering on the 5 officers? He obviously does not care about the morale of the officers, but cares a lot about pandering to the current mayor, buttering up the self righteous liberals in city government, and saving his own job.

Turning over the investigation to Howard and Montgomery counties to avoid conflict of interest was not necessary What Commissioner Davis should have done, if any of the officers violated police rules, is to conduct a private reprimand in a private setting with the officers. He could have delivered a crystal clear message to the 5 officers without further disaffecting them and alienating the police force at large.

Perhaps it’s time for Commissioner Davis to resign.

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

Who Are You Kidding?

In response to the editorial, Where do they stand?” 5-18-17, I have to ask – Are you kidding your readers when you expect the Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Senate to take a stronger stand against the actions of President Trump? Come on! These are career politicians who do not do what’s right for their country or even their constituents. But they do do what is right for their own selfish interests to get re-elected. Actually, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress are alike – they just want power, fame, and money.

When is the Baltimore Sun going to realize our country will never get better until we put a leash on the rein of the career politicians. As I have said over the course of the last 10 years our country will continue to be messed up as long as the phony career politicians are allowed to remain in office.

All we need to do is look at our own home front – how the career politicians have messed us up. How long will we have to continue witnessing the horrendous shootings occurring every day in our city before a politician has the guts to call out the National Guard in Baltimore City? There is also the fiasco with the Baltimore City public school system that is in shambles. But, rather than tell the truth, the career politicians in Baltimore City are allowed to evade the truth and pander to the governor and state legislature to obtain more money to be put into the public school system with the net result of squandering taxpayers’ money.

The best proof for the wreckage the career politicians are causing lies in one question. Are we any better off today than we were 10 years ago? I don’t think so. I wish the powers to be on Calvert Street would stop defending the career politician phenomenon. Their narrative is simply not working.

It is hard to dispute that people are fed up with career politicians and that‘s why Donald Trump was elected.

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

A Reprehensible Piece of Legislation

The articles “Unpaid bills land stadiums’ debts on the auction block,” 5-16-17 and “Baltimore erred in selling stadiums’ debt,” 5-17-17 bring to light a shameful injustice for suffering homeowners. A state law exists that allows “rip-off speculators” to purchase liens on properties that are up for auction because of unpaid tax bills. Properties with unpaid water bills are also subject to purchase of liens. The fact that the phony career politicians in the state legislature have allowed this law to be operative for decades is outrageous.

We know that the efforts of the “big shots” who attempted to purchase the lien on M & T Bank Stadium and the lien on Oriole Park at Camden Yards were thwarted due to a computer glitch. However, with regard to struggling homeowners – regardless of race, color, creed – who are unable to pay their property taxes or water bills – the “fat cat” speculators can have a field day. And – this is clearly wrong.

The law is another means for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer – making it possible for the greedy speculators to be successful in exploiting the needy.

Who is at fault here? I venture to say the career politicians in the state legislature who have allowed the law to remain on the books along with the city politicians who allow the City Department of Finance to execute the law unjustly.

What is the answer? Repeal this grossly unfair state legislation.

 

Gutless Politicians and a Gutless Bureaucrat

Gutless Politicians and a Gutless Bureaucrat
Reading the elaboration of the headline, “Trump fires Comey,” (5-10-17) does little to restore faith in our faltering political system.

Since 2002 I have been leading a movement to get rid of corruption in politics. Fast forward to today. If anyone has questioned just how serious the matter of corruption is in our country look at the explosive act which occurred on Tuesday, May 9th. President Trump’s firing of the Director of the FBI, James Comey illustrates corruption at its worst including President Trump’s tactics to distract from the Russian investigation.

When the writing on the wall was clear, in February 2017, I sent a letter to my career politico, Congressman John Sarbanes, and requested that he formally introduce a bill of articles of impeachment of President Trump to be forwarded to the House Judiciary Committee for implementation. The grounds for impeachment were President Trump’s business conflicts of interest and foreign entanglements thereby placing our country’s security at great risk. The conflicts are serving as a deterrent for President Trump acting properly in his role as commander-in-chief. It came as no surprise to me that my “gutless” congressman did not have the decency to respond to my request.

What President Trump has done with James Comey merely strengthens my battle against corruption in general, and specifically, the impeachment of President Trump. In my opinion, he has abused his power, as evidenced in his utilization of the new Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein who has fallen prey to “power corrupts.” Mr. Rosenstein’s submission to the will of President Trump has tarnished his reputation of being a good career prosecutor because he allowed himself to be the instrument of justification for Mr. Comey’s dismissal.

Are we ever going to learn the real reasons why President Trump is so desperate to squash the investigation. I place little hope in the phony career politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, in the House of Representatives to accomplish this task. The only hope we have is reliance on the sharp investigative reporters of the New York Times and the Washington Post to uncover the truth.

In the meantime, the latest phase of the Jaffe Movement to bring real ethical reform to our political system took place on May 3rd when I went to Annapolis and became the first one to file as a Democratic candidate for governor.

Ralph Jaffe
Teacher
Baltimore