At a time when Baltimore City needs leadership on a city and state level, Governor Larry Hogan has been conspicuously missing in action. But we see him on the television all the time – what gives?
In May of 2015, Hogan began his systematic assault on Baltimore City students, teachers, and families. Hogan announced that he was cutting $11 million in state funds that were intended for Baltimore City Public schools.
People remember well when Hogan killed the Red Line. Baltimoreans had hoped that the east-west light rail line would provide the type of transit network that would bring Baltimore into modernity along with other similarly sized cities with state of the art transit. Instead, in what would become common fare for Hogan, he dashed those dreams. Hogan stated, “The Red Line as currently proposed is not the best way to bring job and opportunity to the city.” Many scratched their heads and asked, if Hogan had a better plan that the time was now to offer it up. He did not. Millions of dollars spent and years of planning went down the drain and the residents of Baltimore were left holding the bag. How do you kill a plan with such momentum without having a backup plan?
Instead, he gave the go-ahead for the Purple Line light rail project in the Washington suburbs. The first of many signs that Hogan was not a big fan of the highly democratic jurisdiction – showing that he was unable to separate his leadership from his politics.
In canceling the Red Line project, Hogan began the shift to create more transit projects that revolved around road projects and moved away from public transit, which uniquely hurt Baltimore. Baltimore has been held back by transit woes and the decision by Hogan signaled that he was not remotely interested in tackling this most pressing problem. Rather, he devoted his time and some of the resources to remodeling the bus system in Baltimore. Hogan’s revamped BaltimoreLink bus system has left many Baltimoreans feeling underwhelmed and neglected. City residents have begun referring to the superficial overhaul of the bus system as Baltimore’mis’Link. It has become widely accepted throughout the city that BaltimoreLink, if it was truly Hogan’s solution to killing the Red Line, is anything but an acceptable solution to the troubling traffic patterns increasingly becoming the norm in Baltimore.
The plot only thickened when Baltimore residents learned that this road building Governor would not be spending any of the $2 billion in state funds earmarked for roads in Baltimore City. What did Baltimore do to deserve this extended cold shoulder from Governor Hogan?
The Governor of Maryland decided to pile on Baltimore with the constantly delayed redevelopment of State Center. In a part of Baltimore that is desperately in need of a significant anchor to bolster economic development and provide a stabilizing effect, the Governor, along with his buddy, Comptroller Peter Franchot thought the area was better suited to house a sports arena that nobody wanted. Another glaring example of the absence of meaningful leadership for Baltimore City, although this particular lack of vision is having devastating ramifications for Baltimore City and many generations to come.
Lastly, while Baltimore mourns the loss of one of her protectors, it cannot be overlooked that Hogan recently defunded the Baltimore criminal justice council for what he called “a lack of urgency concerning violent crime.” Hogan said of the panel, “ If you’re not going to focus on violent crime in the city, then we don’t feel the need to fund it any longer.” Rather than collaborating with city officials to develop concrete solutions, it appears as though Hogan is willing to sit back and let crime be the problem of someone else. This is not the leadership Baltimore City deserves or needs.