Pub­lic cor­rup­tion isn’t ex­clu­sive to Bal­ti­more

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - OBITUARIES -

Driv­ing home on the day that Mayor Cather­ine Pugh an­nounced her leave, I did some­thing I usu­ally avoid — I lis­tened to lo­cal hate-talk ra­dio. You know it, the place where mem­bers of the Don­ald Trump cult from out­side the city dwell as they trash Bal­ti­more (“The Sun missed the ball on Pugh,” April 2).

The first thing I heard was the lo­cal cult leader or “host” claim that Bal­ti­more needs to be put in re­ceiver­ship! I guess they we so fond of the Michi­gan po­lice-state takeover that gave them Flint water.

The au­di­ence for th­ese shows are the very peo­ple who aban­doned Bal­ti­more (and even went to Penn­syl­va­nia) so they wouldn’t have to meet the chal­lenges of help­ing the poor and el­derly, re­plac­ing the in­fra­struc­ture and ad­dress­ing eco­nomic de­spair and crime. They fled yet now they want to tell us how to do things.

Th­ese same peo­ple love to crit­i­cize the “fake news,” but it was the main­stream Bal­ti­more Sun that un­cov­ered the Pugh story. They want to blame the Demo­cratic con­trol of Bal­ti­more for ev­ery­thing bad, but all the lat­est cor­rup­tion had its roots on a state-ap­pointed board. So where was Re­pub­li­can Gov. Larry Ho­gan for the last four years? How many mem­bers of that board are Repub­li­cans? Why is he so hot to get Mayor Cather­ine Pugh and less con­cerned, if at all, about the rest?

Mary­land has had a lot of cor­rup­tion and de­spi­ca­ble char­ac­ters, but it is not con­cen­trated in Bal­ti­more, and it is shared by both par­ties. We had Spiro Agnew, Dale An­der­son, Joe Al­ton and Marvin Mandel. We had the hypocrisy of for­mer Con­gress­man Bob Bau­man, and the yuck fac­tor of for­mer Anne Arun­del County Ex­ec­u­tive John Leopold. We had Ruthann Aron, a Re­pub­li­can can­di­date for U.S. Se­nate who hired some­one to knock off her hus­band!

And let us not for­get the for­mer con­victs who still go on the ra­dio to lec­ture us. One is a for­mer Mary­land state se­na­tor and the other a for­mer city po­lice com­mis­sioner.

Martin O’Mal­ley wasn’t cor­rupt, but the Trump cultists hated him just the same. I’ll gladly take him back as mayor or gov­er­nor.

Who else was Pugh get­ting money from?

The Sun ed­i­to­rial call­ing for Mayor Pugh to stay on leave un­til ques­tions about Healthy Holly are put to rest doesn’t go far enough (“Pugh should not re­turn to of­fice un­til she can put Healthy Holly ques­tions to rest,” Apr. 1).

Just as Mayor Pugh pre­tended to ad­mit ev­ery­thing about the Healthy Holly books while not men­tion­ing that she made an ex­tra $200,000 from other groups, we need an in­ves­ti­ga­tion that’s not lim­ited to the Healthy Holly fran­chise.

It’s al­ready clear that with the Healthy Holly scam Ms. Pugh was es­sen­tially tak­ing bribes from spe­cial in­ter­ests. The real ques­tion is whether Healthy Holly is her only cor­rupt scheme.

Cor­rup­tion is the rea­son that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This is true of cor­rup­tion in both the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors. Cor­rup­tion in Bal­ti­more is prob­a­bly the rea­son that there are still so many va­cant prop­er­ties in the city. Cor­rup­tion is cer­tainly the rea­son that the Bal­ti­more City Po­lice De­part­ment has such a poor rep­u­ta­tion among the peo­ple it’s sup­posed to serve.

It’s not enough for The Sun to call for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Healthy Holly. The Mary­land State Pros­e­cu­tor needs to mount a wide rang­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion of cor­rup­tion in Bal­ti­more. It’s clear that the city can’t, or won’t, in­ves­ti­gate it­self.

A quadru­ple lim­er­ick in honor of Mayor Pugh

There once was a mayor, by golly, who wrote some books about “Holly” to make chil­dren laugh

(al­though it was graft and should have been called “Cather­ine’s Folly”).

She sold them for schools (good lord!) to a place where she sat on the board; but no books could be found when they looked around, and thou­sands of dol­lars she scored!

It’s no news for me and for you, in the case of Cather­ine E. Pugh, that she was fixin’, just like Sheila Dixon, to run off with more than her due.

But now she’s “on leave”; ‘tis pity, and so must I end this sad ditty.

We have peo­ple who shoot, politi­cians who loot, and Amer­ica laughs at our city .... …

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