xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Oaks should not run for office again

In a new court filing, federal prosecutors say indicted state Sen. Nathaniel T. Oaks confessed to taking cash payments in exchange for official business, before becoming an FBI cooperator and upending an investigation into someone who was paying bribes to push legislation. (Ulysses Muñoz, Justin Fenton / Baltimore Sun video)

As the founder and president of The Lazarus Rite Inc., a Baltimore City re-entry program, I pay close attention to issues related to criminal justice reform among other community concerns. The issues of policing, arrests, bail and court proceedings, as well as incarceration, parole and probation and re-entry are foremost among my daily readings.

These issues are usually discussed in how they impact the individual, but we also know that, by extrapolation, they severely impact the family and communities as well. Both family presence for purposes of income and stability, but the community presence in contributing to the tax base (or not) is incredibly important. Children without the guidance of stable adults are severely impacted. For these reasons and more, it is imperative in a city such as Baltimore that we have representation that not only "gets it" as it relates to the issues but has the integrity to represent the community's position on issues in meetings and forums that the community may not be privy to.

Advertisement

For that reason, I am calling for Sen. Nathanial Oaks of Baltimore City's 41st legislative district to forego filing a campaign for the 2018 election to retain the district's state senate seat (“Turning a blind eye to corruption in the Maryland Senate,” Jan. 10).

Because of my focus, I am a staunch advocate of an individual’s innocence until proven guilty, but in this case, it is widely reported that Senator Oaks has admitted to taking cash payments for the purpose of undermining the effort toward bail reform. This is essentially treasonous not only to his constituency in the district but also to the entire citizenry of Baltimore City. To undermine the position taken by advocates and citizens alike, for cash payments — this he admitted to by all reports.

Advertisement
Advertisement

His integrity is now in question. How can constituents trust his intentions, words or actions? How can his peers? How can his party leadership?

With all this, he is still entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, and he is entitled to a vigorous defense. But because the senator, by all reports, has admitted to taking cash payments for the purpose of talking to legislators, "...about a bill favorable to the bail bond industry,” he should remove himself from consideration for the upcoming election. To stay in the race for the 41st district Senate seat not only undermines his own effectiveness, but it undermines the 41st district team, the Baltimore City delegation, the black caucus, and the Democratic Party.

Christopher Ervin, Baltimore

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement