Tonight Maryland Public Television will their new documentary "Marvin Mandel: A Complicated Life," taking a look at our 56th governor. I received an advanced copy from MPT and watched it over the weekend and can tell you that it is certainly worth waching.
The piece takes a look at Mandel's rise, from a young man who wanted to be a major league ballplayer, through law school and his selection to be a part of Baltimore's Democratic machine, and then his ascension as governor. Most of the documentary takes a look at Mandel's term starting in 1969, and that's where you realize that there really were two Marvin Mandels.
The first Mandel was the Governor who radically modernized state government. The one who reorganized the cabinet, rerorganized our transprotation system, established our current system of public school infrastructure funding, and set into place the structure of state government that we know today.
The second Mandel is the one with so many personal troubles. His divorce became front page news for months. This was followed shortly thereafter by his indictment and subsequent conviction for mail fraud and racketeering. While Mandel's conviction was eventually overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, it was a harsh reminder of an era where our elected officials truly let us down.
It should also be a reminder that we must expect our elected officials to act with the highlest levels of personal and professional conudct.
The only thing disappointing about this piece is that, at 29 minutes, it only began to scratch the surface of what was a fascinating time in Maryland History. "Marvin Mandel: A Complicated Life" debuts tonight on your local MPT station at 9 p.m.