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Baltimore mayor says will not seek re-election

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Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, whose city was rocked by riots earlier this year over a black man’s death in police custody, will not seek re-election when her term ends next year, she said on Friday.

Rawlings-Blake, who became something of a flashpoint in the troubled city, was criticized by the public for her handling of the April riots that followed the death of Freddie Gray, which saw dozens of cars and buildings burned.

In a hastily arranged City Hall press conference, the Democrat, who is black, said her decision was not directly related to the Gray case but acknowledged the past six months have been a “tough time” for Baltimore.

“While certainly I would not have chosen (the unrest), you don’t choose … you play the cards you’re dealt,” said Rawlings-Blake, 45, who spent 12 years on city council before becoming mayor in 2010. “I have chosen to govern for the next 15 months rather than campaigning.”

Baltimore is braced for the upcoming trials of six police officers charged in Gray’s death, which resulted from injuries he sustained in the back of a police van following his April 12 arrest in a crime-ridden West Baltimore neighborhood.

Gray’s death was one in a series of police killings of unarmed black men that sparked more than a year of protests across the United States about race and justice, and gave rise to the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

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The city on Wednesday approved a $6.4 million settlement with Gray’s family, a deal that the city’s main police union criticized for having come before any finding by a jury of criminal wrongdoing.

“We look forward to leadership that makes partnering with public safety a priority,” said Gene Ryan, president of the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police, following Rawlings-Blake’s comments.

Rawlings-Blake had been president of Baltimore’s city council in February 2010 when the city’s then-mayor stepped down after being convicted of embezzlement. She successfully ran for re-election in November 2011.

She declined to say whether she planned to run for higher office, and denied any concerns about being able to win a second full term.

“I haven’t lost an election since middle school,” she said.

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How Teach for America evolved into an arm of the charter school movement

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When the Walton Family Foundation announced in 2013 that it was donating $20 million to Teach For America to recruit and train nearly 4,000 teachers for low-income schools, its press release did not reveal the unusual terms for the grant.

Documents obtained by ProPublica show that the foundation, a staunch supporter of school choice and Teach For America’s largest private funder, was paying $4,000 for every teacher placed in a traditional public school — and $6,000 for every one placed in a charter school. The two-year grant was directed at nine cities where charter schools were sprouting up, including New Orleans; Memphis, Tennessee; and Los Angeles.

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Quantum physics experiment shows Heisenberg was right about uncertainty — in a certain sense

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The word uncertainty is used a lot in quantum mechanics. One school of thought is that this means there’s something out there in the world that we are uncertain about. But most physicists believe nature itself is uncertain.

Intrinsic uncertainty was central to the way German physicist Werner Heisenberg, one of the originators of modern quantum mechanics, presented the theory.

He put forward the Uncertainty Principle that showed we can never know all the properties of a particle at the same time.

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Why do conservatives hate Oberlin College so much?

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When I was an undergraduate at Oberlin in the mid-Aughts, there was a student in my class year who was obsessed with 19th-century British Royal Naval culture. Every Friday evening, he would host a sing-along in a dorm lounge, for which he would bring xeroxes of historical sea shanty lyrics and pass them around so that we could sing along, waving our glasses of “grog.” This was a semi-established event — he had distributed flyers around campus advertising the weekly British Royal Naval sea-shanty singalong and grog-drinking event, which would extend late into the night. Though he was not a resident of the dorm where it took place, he was welcomed into the lounge by its members, and became a fixture of sorts.Like many well-endowed liberal arts schools in rural areas, Oberlin College functions as a sort of de facto social welfare state, and is designed to encourage and cultivate one’s passions, even if they are not strictly academic. Thus, after writing up a proposal for the student-run activities board, the same student, the British Royal Navy culture guy, was able to plan, organize and execute a ticketed Royal Naval Ball, held in the atrium of the science center. The event featured 20 dishes of authentic British era-appropriate cuisine, cooked by student chefs, several courses of wine and port, and a violinist present to play period-specific music. The whole affair culminated with a traditional, British partner line dance — its sole inauthenticity the fact that we didn’t pay attention to our dance partners’ genders the way the Brits would have.
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