As the Baltimore City Council returned to City Hall last night, for the first council meeting of the new year, spirits seemed joyous and the antics of some jokesters seemed sincere. What wasn’t missing was the aura of an inevitable power shift in Baltimore City leadership.
Starting with the invocation, given by the powerful Rabbi Zev Gopin, it was quiet obvious that most have moved past the Dixon resignation into the reality of a Rawlings-Blake administration. Having repeated twice the blessings to be cast on the Council and its President and Mayor-Designee, the Rabbi never once invoked the power of prayer upon the current Mayor, Sheila Dixon.
As I began to review the meeting agenda for the night’s session, I came across an interesting tid bit of information that may speak to how the President’s office is handling the transition. In the consent calender, a resolution from Councilman Cole (CR2917) suppose to be a congratulatory document for Barbara McKeiver on her birthday and years of service, instead made mention of her demise. Though corrected manually, through at least 50-75 copies of the finished document, it shows how certain minor, or major in this case, mistakes can be made when you don’t concentrate on the details.
Yet remaining in high spirits throughout the night, even jokingly giving out birthday gifts and wishes to two council members, Mayor-Designee Rawlings-Blake looked very confident and assuredly ready for her new responsibility. However as I made my inquiries on who council members felt had enough votes, amongst their colleagues, to become the next president of the city council, one name remained constant, Bernard ‘Jack’ Young.
The 55-year young chairman of the two most powerful standing committees in the council-Budget & Appropriations and Public Safety & Health-who has served the 12th District for over twelve years, while balancing that with being a proud father of two daughters seems to have a commanding presence in these corridors. The graduate of Baltimore City public schools and community college, he seems to continously speak out and have a passion for all Baltimore residents, despite their district barriers. Yet needing (8) of his colleagues, rather seven with his vote included, to believe in his passionate leadership may not seem that far off?
Having received reliable information from council members and insiders, including being privy to the vote count sheet of the whip, I came away with the understanding that as of today, January 11, 2010; ‘Jack’ Young was set to become Baltimore’s next City Council President.
In favor of Councilman Young: Kraft(1), Henry(4), Middleton(6), Conaway(7), Holton(8), Welch(9), Reisinger(10), Young(12), Branch(13), Clarke(14)
In favor of Councilman Cole: Curran(3), Spector(5), Cole(11)
On the Fence: D’Adamo(2)
Below is the transcripts of my conversation with the current Council Vice-President and Councilman for the 10th District, Ed Reisinger:
Question: Being the Vice-President and obvious next-in-line choice of succession for the Presidency, are you seeking the post and what does the vote count look like?
Reply: Obviously having served in this position since the inception of a Rawlings-Blake Presidency in 2007, I have served in a position that makes me qualified for such post, and having a desire certainly to serve all of Baltimore residents, I have considered such, however after confering with my colleagues about the possibility, I realized that Councilman Young seemed to have the votes lined up for such succession.
Question: How do you feel about that?
Reply: Well I’m excited about what Councilman Young will bring to the position, having full confindence in his leadership and passion for the People of Baltimore City. He (Young) has an unparralled committment and enthusiasm for this City, uncomparable to most!
Question: Will you remain the Vice-President? If so, if Mayor-Designee advocates for certain policies that President Young opposes, as the floor leader, responsible for lining up to votes for passage, where will your loyalties lie?
Reply: Well I’m actually appointed by the Mayor, therefore that’s who I shall serve in gathering the necessary votes and opinions of my colleagues on certain issues. However my primary responsibility is to my 10th district constituents, therefore if her policies conflict with the wants and the needs of my district, I would then have to graciously inform the Mayor that she will need to get someone else to lead that charge.
Question: In 2011, will you then seek re-election in the 10th councilmatic distrcit?
Reply: Absolutely, I take very serious my committment of service to my constituents and believe there is still more work to be done in leading this city forward.
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