In what could only be described as Baltimore's political version of the Jerry Springer Show, the convoluted process that witnessed Nina Harper eventually recommended to fill the seat vacated by the late, great Delegate Hattie Harrison, is still producing political follies a week later - prompting one longtime politico to say that "their actions set our electoral process back fifty years".
After several articles by this Examiner highlighted the chaos that erupted in East Baltimore last week, when the seven members of the 45th District State Central Committee attempted to fill the vacancy left by Harrison; it has now come to light that the political conspiracy theory offered by community resident Donna Martin regarding one incumbent delegate stating to her who would win the seat a year ago, may not have been far from the truth? In fact, it seems to only scratch the surface when looking into the political shenanigans that really occurred, both during and prior to the interview/voting process.
With three of the seven members on the central committee running for the seat, and given authority to not only sit in on the interviews of other candidates but also be able to vote for themselves; it became more a political circus than a fair and balanced appointment process. According to the Democratic Party rules and regulations, by-laws and the Maryland state constitution, the central committee is tasked with recommending a replacement candidate for the vacant seat within 30-days of said vacancy.
Under the constitution, for Baltimore City, the district's central committee in which the vacancy occured would make such a recommendation, and while the entire city central committee can confirm that choice – or even if they don't – the Governor then is obligated to appoint such person; however, he can ask the central committee to reconsider their choice (as in the case with Greg Hall earlier this year) but they are not obligated to do such.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k3OSU8Eijk (Part I of the Appointment proceedings)
The requirements for such candidate are that they are a registered voter of the district for a specified period of time, of the age of 21 for state delegate (and 25 for state senator) and a member of the political party that the departing legislator was affiliated.
However, though the appointment process is suppose to follow a comprehensive interview process of candidates who submit their names for consideration a week prior to the interview and vote, allowing for each central committee member to assess the qualifications of each candidate and then make their final decision; an email obtained by this Examiner shows that certain central committee members already had their minds made up over a week ahead of the process.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dv67B336nd4 (Part II of the Appointment proceedings)
In a back and forth transmission between central committee member Tashea Brodgins and a select number of young democrats and BEST Democratic Club members; Ms. Brodgins points to her support of Kevin Parsons – which she apparently gave to him 'four years ago' (though its unknown as to how she could have known this appointment process would occur four years ago)
Brodgins also states that fellow central committee member, City Councilman Warren Branch, also intended to vote for Parsons as well, (though has yet to be confirmed by the Councilman) in an email on February 7th – eight days prior to the February 15th hearing date. She also states that Maryland Governor would not accept a nominee who didn't get a four vote majority, and that the name submitted must submit to a criminal and financial background investigation – which is a process that may be unconstitutional, as it is not required by the state constitution or the Party's by-laws.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taFVxydx4ps (Part III of the Appointment proceedings)
Ms. Brodgins stated that the chairman of the city's central committee, Scherod Barnes, can in fact swing the election by giving someone four votes, who may have only received three. However, Party by-laws state that the chairman is only there to serve as the election supervisor, and since he does not reside, or was elected to the central committee from that district; he in fact has no authority to offer up a vote for any candidate.
“It's crazy how people can all of sudden make up the rules of the game during half-time, and then expect nobody to complain,” questioned independent political analyst, Shaun Louis.
Brodgins also concealed her relationship with Parsons' brother, Tunji Sawyer – Parsons' campaign treasurer; which certain community members and political experts believe should have forced her to recuse herself from the vote. And while this Examiner believes that point is moot now that her candidate did not win the nomination, which flies in the face of any possible conspiracy theories; with central committee members voting for themselves through secret ballots, some even double voting on a single-member ballot, it highlights the hypocrisy and backroom deals that have tainted the political process for a generation. And as the next generation of political leaders, we should be above such foolishness?
And while multiple AG opinions were given to this Examiner allowing for such secret ballots and central committee members to vote for themselves; with this new information coming to light, it will be interesting how each parties central committees, both Democrat and Republican, will move forward in the future with this confusing and convoluted process?
To say the least, this process has caused more confusion to the voters than clarity; and this country is still a republic that is suppose to serve the people through a fair and unbiased democratic process – not the interest of any political party or elected official.
February 7, 2013 – Tashea Brodgins at 7:29 AM
Thanks to Everyone for your calls telling me to Vote for Cory. Lol...(Later sending an email to Chairman Barnes stating that she felt threatened by such lobbying emails)
Here is an update that the Governors office has instructed Scherod. The person to Win must have 4 Votes. The Governor only wants only 1 name submitted and a Criminal and Financial Background Investigation will be done before officially approving this person to the Delegates seat.
To date, 3 out of the 7 of us are running for the seat. So those 3 will vote for themselves of course. (Nina Harper, Kevin Parsons and Robert Stokes)
This leaves myself, (Tashea Brodgins), Councilman Branch, Donoven Brooks and Ronald Bailey to vote. So even if myself, Donoven and Bailey vote for Cory he still does not have the 4 Votes to go to the Governors Desk.
>> Branch is voting for Kevin...(and so am I, as I promised him four years ago before meeting you!)
The Governor is adamant about the 4 votes and if the 45th District nor the Central Committee can make a decision then the Governor will appoint who he wants.
>> For now, I don't see anyone dropping out, so I believe the Governor will appoint someone in the end.
>> Now I hope this explains the process clearly to you all to know that this is Bigger than me
February 7, 2013 – Cory McCray at 7:49 AM
Thanks for the response. I am under the perception that no one has four votes at this time.
> I really value you that you shared this information with us, and I will continue to work hard to gain your support on February 15.
February 7, 2013 – Tashea Brodgins at 7:59 AM
In this case there is no swing Vote because even with 3 the Governor wants 4 votes. Scherod can make the decision if he chooses to do so since he is the Chair, to give someone 4 votes.
I don't think you understand. The Governor wants 4 Votes not a person with 3.
I will be Voting for Kevin as I promised him 4 years ago before meeting you.
Ultimately the Central Committee will be making the decision and I already got the letter prepared for the Emergency Meeting per the Governor office, since none of you have 4 Votes
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