Baltimore's mayoral campaign of 2011 is finally starting to heat up (at least a little bit).
How do we know? The first negative ad was posted on YouTube today.
With Eminem and Rihanna's "Love the way you lie" playing in the background, the video shows a series of articles that (I suppose) are intended to make the viewer think negatively of current Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
The video shows five articles in all:
• 72,000 Baltimore residents to find themselves in new City Council districts Friday. (Baltimore Sun)
• City supervisors and six DOT employees fired for gambling on the job. (Investigative Voice)
• Mayor voting on deals with husband's employer. (Baltimore Sun)
• Mayor: 'Not possible' to pay lead poison judgments. (Baltimore Sun)
• Baltimore is known to have the highest property tax rate in the state. (WBAL)
• Housing inspector hired, promoted despite criminal past. (Baltimore Sun)
It then ends with a quote from Rawlings-Blake in 2009: "We will fix what works and change what doesn't in city government so that our people emerge stronger."
Then the video states: "We love the way you lie."
The video says it was created by Baltgovtwatch, which is "not connected to any candidate running for office."
In its attempt to paint Rawlings-Blake as corrupt, the video is somewhat lacking. Redistricting in the city? Surprising, maybe, but I've yet to see how it's corrupt. Employees fired for gambling? I don't think the mayor was in on the cards game. Voting on Hopkins contracts? Looking closely at the votes, it's difficult to see how preventing HIV infections in poor areas of Baltimore benefited Rawlings-Blake or her husband, who works for a different division of Hopkins. High taxes? It's been that way for years, though one can argue Rawlings-Blake has not cut property taxes. Not paying the lead paint judgments? Maybe illegal, but at least they're open about it. Nothing hidden here. The housing inspector? Again, brought to light by a city inspector general inquiry, not covered up.
On the whole, though it purports to show Rawlings-Blake as a liar, the video fails to do so. It does, however, raise some financial issues (such as taxes and city's lack of funds causing it to plead poverty on the lead paint court judgements) that could point to a general criticism of city finances. A candidate who can paint himself or herself as superior in financial matters may be able to score points in this area. If nothing else, at least the video provides us with a glimpse of what the talking points might be in the coming months.
Anyway, judge for yourself. The video is below: