Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and other city leaders hold a vigil to honor those whose lives have been lost to violent crime in Baltimore this year. (Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun video)
One can forgive Archbishop William Lori for his charity toward Mayor Catherine Pugh (“To change Baltimore, change the narrative,” Jan. 17). If nothing else, it’s his job. However, his homily in the op-ed pages of The Baltimore Sun cannot absolve her of the sin of civic vanity.
City Hall is not simply a stage or a pulpit. To be used effectively, it must perform as designed — as a mundane complex of bureaucrats and elected officials who wash away their pride when they cross its threshold.
Mayor Pugh, unlike her apologist, is invested with nearly absolute secular authority in city government. She writes the budgets, controls the Board of Estimates and employs the chief of a police force in the thousands that is paid hundreds of millions of dollars annually. But if we’re to believe the self-promotional vignettes she’s produced (with taxes pulled from the pockets of the poverty-stricken and hopeless), the mayor’s story of Baltimore involves cajoling activists to do what they’re told for the silver they’re offered, defeating the specter of death with placards,and rebuking anyone — media included — who will not adore the saintly Catherine.
Every day, The Baltimore Sun and the city’s other media outlets tell the stories of residents who are doing incredible things which require not an iota of Mayor Pugh’s acknowledgment. Were the city’s present circumstances different, we might even worry less about the consequences of a mayor who doesn’t want to discuss the corruption, death and terror that plague us. But this is not the time for us to suffer a mayor whose primary concern is how she and Baltimore look on the public stage, on Twitter and on Facebook.
It’s unfortunate the archbishop expects of her no penance for this, because if he did she just might repent.