For Policy not Poses

The Moyer/Cohen Machine

The Democratic establishment theoretically treats all Democratic candidates equally before the primary. Certainly that has been true of the District 30 Democratic Club, under the leadership of Sarah Flynn, who has been scrupulously impartial yet unfailingly helpful. Unfortunately, in “Wheels in Motion,” the increasingly popular “Annapolis Capital Punishment” blog strongly suggests that, for some elements of the local party establishment, some candidates — even an occasional Republican — are more equal than others.

The Moyer machine, now apparently become the Cohen machine, seems altogether too intertwined with that side of the establishment, and the blog also suggests that the effort is to increase the mayor’s pay and stack the City Council with people who will support Cohen as mayor after he is elected. The last thing the good people of this City need is to pay a premium for four more years of the polarizing and divisive Moyer machine.

Now add this to the wheels put together by “Annapolis Capital Punishment:” The Annapolis Democratic Central Committee has eight positions. According to its web site, two of them are vacant, at least two of them are occupied by Moyer loyalists (Wil Scott and Dawn Moyer — Loni Moyer is an alternate), and one of them is occupied by Cohen’s county council legislative assistant (Gail Smith), who seems to speak for Cohen both as a county council member and as a mayoral candidate. Additionally, the chair of the county central committee, Kory Blake, works for the union that has endorsed Cohen without even contacting any other candidates. Hard to see how they can be impartial.  

I was approached by Ms. Smith at a local Democratic party cookout who pointed out to me that (1) although she attends events and reads statements by Cohen, she does not speak “for” him, and that (2) according to the city central committee by-laws only the chair is required to be “impartial.” I am happy to post this clarification, but I don’t see that it changes the conclusion: the deck is still a bit stacked.

One of the primary reasons I am running is to provide a responsible alternative. The mayor’s current personal salary already exceeds the City’s projected 2009 median household income by more than $10,000. With unemployment nearing 10%, mortgage foreclosures and bankruptcies at record levels, pay cuts, lay-offs, and furloughs in the works widely, and even talk of possible deflation, it is simply unconscionable to have voted the mayor three years of guaranteed increases of more than 10% each year.

The disastrous Market House lease, voted for by both the mayor and then-Alderman Cohen, just cost the taxpayers nearly $3 million in damages (and who knows how much in friction costs such as attorney fees and expert witness fees, let alone apparent loss-indemnification obligations), about twenty years’ salary for a city manager. It is irresponsible to expect taxpayers to fund a mayor’s salary increase when populists and capitalists agree that CEO pay should reflect current economic conditions and enterprise performance. Given that our duty and responsibility is to the taxpayer, especially during these tumultuous economic times, I will not accept any salary increase as mayor. Period. Public sentiment on both sides of the partisan aisle loudly supports this.

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