By Tashi McQueen, AFRO Political Writer, Report For America Corps Member,
Many Baltimoreans think of their city as a town independent of Maryland.
Whether the sentiment is due to Baltimore’s location or the distinct culture, the poor collaboration between Baltimore City and the state of Maryland doesn’t help the attitude.
In a recent interview with the AFRO, Mayor Brandon Scott expressed his views on the lack of effective collaboration between Baltimore and Larry Hogan, the current governor.
Hogan, a Republican, has been well-received throughout the state. Both White and Black residents on both sides of the party aisle voted for him. However, his actions, attitude and comments about Baltimore City have left some wanting more from his leadership.
“The governor controls more public safety agencies than I do,” said Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott. “We need the governor to work with the city and we have not had that.”
Scott said he believes that Wes Moore, the Democratic Governor-Elect in Maryland, could launch a shift that leads to increased harmony between state and city elected officials.
The Mayor said the state should take more responsibility for Baltimore but has not. Over time, citizens have complained that Hogan did not contribute enough to Baltimore – but some think he is on the right path.
A Baltimore native, Will Hanna, spoke with the AFRO about his concerns.
“The governor’s focus is right,” said Hanna, a former legal analyst. “I believe the governor is taking the lead on issues that the mayor should be addressing.”
In August, Hogan met with U.S. Attorney Erek Barron and the Baltimore mayor to discuss state funding to end violent crime. He said he would “continue to work with federal, state, and local partners to make neighborhoods safer.”
The event likely was a response to an earlier, heated exchange between Scott and Hogan.
In June, Scott responded to a Hogan letter that claimed the city is at fault for little progress on curbing street violence. In the letter to Scott, Hogan said the state’s focus has been funding public safety initiatives and making more arrests.
Scott responded with a statistical update and an invitation to visit Baltimore to speak with local organizations and address the deeper concerns of the city.
It is evident that Scott is still seeking “comprehensive solutions” and actions that help keep residents safe. Still Baltimreans aren’t sure that he will be able to make the change desperately needed.
“I agree that the state has some obligations to the city, but it’s the mayor’s responsibility because he is the CEO of the city,” said Hanna. “The city has an accountability problem.”
The young Mayor said crime and public safety are a key topic of conversation for the next governor.
“Working with Moore to build a stronger partnership could help us build a better Baltimore from top to bottom,” said Scott.
Moore’s campaign platform focused on public safety, the Black-White wealth gap and overall economy, education, and improved health care– all issues that top Black interest in Baltimore.
According to the 2021 federal census data, Black residents comprise 62.3 percent of Baltimore’s population, compared to Whites’ 29.7 percent and the Latinex 5.4 percent shares.
“We need to make sure… …that Cox and the people who support his beliefs will not run again,” said Scott. “Their ideology of hatred and divisiveness does not have a place here.”
The AFRO reached out to Cox and Maryland GOP leaders but received no response.
This article originally appeared in The Afro.