Promises, even words, are meaningless to Pugh when it comes to the minimum wage hike—a rant

Mayor Catherine Pugh addresses the media about the city's minimum wage bill.
(J.M. Giordano/City Paper)

As "spanked Eddie Munster" Paul Ryan fumbled and faltered along with the rest of the Republicans in ultimately pulling their nonsense Affordable Care Act replacement after talking this shit up for years, here in Baltimore we could only partially luxuriate in this massive Trump "L."

That's because not long before thee Amurrican Health Care Act died, Mayor Catherine Pugh announced at a press conference held Friday that she would veto the minimum wage hike that would've steadily moved Baltimore's minimum wage to $15 by 2022 (it had been approved by City Council on Monday).


This is not only a disappointment but, arguably, a broken campaign promise. In a questionnaire for mayoral candidates sent out by the Metropolitan Baltimore AFL-CIO last year, Pugh, like all the candidates, was asked: "Many cities nationwide have passed ordinances that raise the minimum wage of $15 per hour. Would you be in favor of Baltimore raising its minimum wage to $15 per hour?"

Our mayor's answer in full: "Yes, I would. I am aware of the current initiative to raise the minimum wage in the City Council to $15 per hour and when it reaches my desk I will sign it."

Pugh, mind you, had also been a big fan of the bill in the past, pushing for it in Annapolis. What changed? Well, according to Pugh at the announcement on Friday, the lack of money for schools and the DOJ contract tied to the consent decree and other things that were already quite obvious issues the city was staring down in some way or another last year when she said she was with this minimum wage hike. Meanwhile, some City Council members who voted for the bill on Monday are pulling out support thanks to Pugh's veto.

Full disclosure: The editorial board of the Baltimore Sun ( who own CP) encouraged Pugh to veto the bill in an op-ed. As for City Paper, we encourage you to, well, just note the councilpersons who voted against this minimum wage hike and those who now may punk out and remember it next time you vote, and OK, well, there is at least one City Paper staffer, maybe even the guy who wrote this very blog, who if he gets enough Bohs in him might call for Full Communism ASAP b/w a long series of FLAME EMOJIS.

Anyways—during Friday's press conference, things were moving fast and lots of ridiculous stuff got sad and maybe we got caught up on that "we don't want to be the hole in the doughnut" thing Pugh said, because it seems like it took well into the weekend for the most masterful bunch of bullshit from Pugh's presser to sink in.

"You know, I don't think they make you swear on the Bible," Pugh said of the Metropolitan Baltimore AFL-CIO survey at the presser. "They ask you if you would support and I absolutely do support. But when you ask me as the chief executive officer of this city what I will do as it relates to the conditions of this city currently and where we are economically, I have a right and a responsibility to respond on behalf of all the citizens of this city."

As quoted above, the survey actually asks Pugh if she is "in favor of" a $15 minimum wage, even less ambiguous than "support," though that hardly matters because only in Pugh's mind does "support" mean "kinda, sorta, OK with it maybe one day in theory, eventually." Support means to enable something, to help it get going; vetoing something is quite the opposite. The first question of the survey does ask the Mayor why AFT MD should "support [her] campaign." In that context, what does the Mayor think "support" meant there?

City Paper reached out to Pugh's spokesperson Anthony McCarthy about "support" and "in favor of" and whether words mean anything anymore and I've not yet received a response but I'll update this post if I do.