The Real Priorities of Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

If you remember back to February 2014, I wrote in an op-ed for the Baltimore Sun:

Unfortunately for the last 15 years, a succession of mayors who are more interested in grabbing for the brass ring than they are in providing competent leadership for the city they claim to love have ruled Baltimore.

What you may not remember is that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake did not take kindly to me pointing out that she was too focused on being a Democratic National Committee leader and Sunday Shows talking head to actually govern the city. She was so mad that she wrote a letter to the editor complaining about it.

So as if to probe my point that Rawlings-Blake was more interested in grabbing the brass ring than governing, we get the revelation that Stephanie Rawlings-Blake actually left Baltimore at one point to go to New York to tape an appearance for the Food Network show chopped.

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No. Really. This happened.

According to reporting by the Sun’s Doug Donovan:

The mayor and some staff enjoyed two rooms with king-sized beds at The Standard, High Line hotel in Manhattan, apparently on Sunday, June 19. The check-in and check-out dates were blacked out.

The mayor sought approval from the city’s ethics panel and is not getting paid for her work, the records indicate. An unnamed charity is receiving a $2,000 donation for her appearance. A City Hall source says the money will go to YouthWorks, a jobs program in the mayor’s office.

The most galling thing about all of this? Was the fact that the Mayor’s office somehow thinks that all of this is connected to her job as Mayor:

No wonder the mayor’s spokesman, Anthony McCarthy, went straight to the company minutes after The Sun inquired about the filming.

“I was just contacted by a Baltimore Sun reporter who evidently was in City Hall for another reason and saw the film crew in front of the building,” McCarthy wrote in a July 1 email. “I would not confirm that it was the Food Network (which he said I didn’t need to because the crew did that). The only thing I would say on the record was that any interaction by the mayor was part of her duties as mayor.”

“Any interaction by the mayor was part of her duties as mayor.” There is no mental jujitsu in the world that can possibly justify Rawlings-Blake’s participation in a Food Network program as “part of her duties as mayor.” None. Zero.

All of those words that I wrote about Rawlings-Blake being the latest in a series of mayors more interested in grabbing for the brass ring than they are in providing competent leadership for the city they claim to love? You can’t find a better example of it than this. When Rawlings-Blake could have been working on trying to fix crime, schools, jobs, or any of the other multitude of issues she’s failed to fix as Mayor, she decided to hightail it to New York to spend a few days in the lap of luxury while trying to position herself to become a celebrity chef after her failed experience as Mayor has ended.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake probably owes me an apology, but the people to whom she really owes an apology is the people of Baltimore City whose needs were put on the backburner while their Mayor pretended to be a TV star.

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