- - http://voiceofbaltimore.org -

IS JACK BACK? — City Council president attacks the mayor’s chief flack

Posted By AL Forman On 'Monday, January 16th 2012 @ 2:05 AM' @ 2:05 AM In Top Stories | 2 Comments



Has Jack Young returned to the feisty op- position that gained him a reputation as a tough opponent of establishment politics and catapulted him to the City Council presidency two years ago? This week he lashed out at the mayor's top aide, de- scribing him as unable to differentiate ‘his front from his back’ & deeming him incapa- ble of getting a job outside government.


Also couldn’t get a job outside government
By Alan Z. Forman
Is the very public spat between Bernard C. “Jack” Young and the top aide to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake a sign the formerly combative City Council president has returned to form?

That’s the buzz around City Hall since Young staked out several positions this past week that conflict with the Rawlings-Blake Administration.

“Ryan O’Doherty doesn’t know his front from his back,” Young told Fox45-WBFF-TV and the Baltimore Sun, criticizing the mayor’s lead spokesman in separate interviews over the last several days.

The criticism was reminiscent of the common reference often made regarding people who apparently lack the ability to differentiate between their posterior and their elbow.

The mayor’s chief aide “is not elected, the mayor and I are elected,” Young declared.

“If he had to get a job out in the private industry he would have trouble getting a job.”

O’Doherty is Rawlings-Blake’s director of policy and communications and her chief press spokesperson. His brother Damian’s partner was one of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s top aides, and Damian O’Doherty previously served as former Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith’s principal adviser.

Among Young’s attacks on the Blake Administration were his very public criticism of the Baltimore Grand Prix, the money-losing race that appears to be close to unsalvageable, as well as the city’s plan to privatize public rec centers.

Young spoke out against the privatization plan just before Christmas.


In a scathing op-ed column in Wednesday’s Sun he said it was time for Baltimore to give up on the money-losing race event that has left the city, state and private businesses holding more than $12 million in unpaid bills and “to instead focus on core issues that impact the quality of life for all Baltimoreans.”

Young’s comments prompted O’Doherty to email a pithy response to The Sun, noting that the council president had previously been in favor of the race:

“Even though Council President Young very publicly supported the Grand Prix and voted to support the race,” the mayor’s spokesman said in his email, “he [Young] is certainly entitled to change his political position now.

“If we are able to revive the event with a new company, he is certainly entitled to change his political position again, depending on what’s popular at the moment.”

On Thursday Young struck back in a style reminiscent of his tenure as the city’s 12th District councilman, a post he held for more than 13 years prior to being elevated to the council presidency upon the resignation of Sheila Dixon as mayor in February 2010.


Long admired for his willingness to speak out on sensitive issues, Young’s public removal from a Police Department COMSTAT meeting several years ago was one of many highly charged instances of public vetting that earned the former councilman a reputation as being outspoken and brash.

Since becoming council president however he has kept a lower combative profile despite his hectic public schedule. It’s not unusual for him to be out and about the city 6-7 days a week, in neighborhoods and attending important community functions.

Still his protests have been somewhat muted in the months leading up to and following September’s primary election, which he won handily against insignificant opposition. He trounced his closest general election opponent in November by nearly 8-1.

And now he appears to be back.

Regarding the much criticized and mishandled Grand Prix, “I have a right to my opinion,” he told Fox45’s Melinda Roeder in an on-camera interview Thursday evening. “If I disagree, I disagree.”


“I don’t think that right now we should be focusing on a Grand Prix race at this time,” he said, then added in an apparent reference to his earlier support for the project: “I didn’t have a crystal ball but I’m smart enough to know that we learn by our mistakes.”

However the mayor has characterized the Grand Prix as “an important part of our plans to move Baltimore forward,” and told the TV station she “look[s] forward to having his [Young’s] support in the future.”

“Honest minds can disagree,” the council president’s chief spokesman, Lester Davis, told Voice of Baltimore in a telephone interview late yesterday.

“This is an issue he is passionate about and decided he needed to speak publicly about,” Davis explained, adding however that “the mayor and council president are not going to agree on everything, but they will work together.”

But that’s not the only issue where Young currently appears to be opposing the mayor head-on.


Less publicized was Young’s recent legislative effort to rein in city spending on the Police Department’s vaunted Diamond Training program, according to a brochure obtained by Voice of Baltimore and Fox45-TV.

Young, along with newly elected 2nd District Councilman Brandon M. Scott, has now called for a hearing on how much money the city is spending to train police officers to be “total warriors.”

At Monday’s council meeting Young and Scott introduced a resolution “for the purpose of calling on the Baltimore Police Commissioner to report to the City Council on the Baltimore Police Department’s relationship with the Diamond Standard Training and Hicks Training programs; and to discuss the effectiveness of the programs and how the training programs can be improved and made more cost-effective.”

In a sign of solidarity with Young, 10 of the other 13 council members, along with Scott — James B. Kraft (D-1st), William H. Cole 4th (D-11th), Bill Henry (D-4th), Warren Branch (D-13th), Rochelle “Rikki” Spector (D-5th), William A. “Pete” Welch (D-9th), Edward L. Reisinger (D-10th), Mary Pat Clarke (D-14th), Nick Mosby (D-7th) and Carl Stokes (D-12th) — signed on as co-sponsors of the resolution.

Article printed from : http://voiceofbaltimore.org

URL to article: http://voiceofbaltimore.org/archives/1958

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://voiceofbaltimore.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/YoungJack-380826_283177615052133_100000796918141_719558_886186592_n-outdoorpodiumcroppedtilted.jpg

Copyright © 2011 . All rights reserved.