Hogan Closes Baltimore Detention Center
Last week, Gov. Larry Hogan took swift action and closed a Baltimore jail that has caused nothing but problems for the state and the city. The Baltimore City Detention Center is the only city jail in the country that was run by a state government, and caused former Gov. Martin O’Malley headaches when it was revealed that the jail suffered from corruption and abuse. The jail, which predates the Civil War, was also in a state of utter disrepair, leading the ACLU to call it inhumane. Gov. Hogan’s move to close the jail and reassign the prisoners is also projected to save the state $15 million every year.
The Baltimore Sun Editorial Board praised the governor for making the right decision, as did many others who recognized it was time for the jail to close. But Gov. Hogan’s move was not without its critics. Some argued that he should have given more thought to a proposal in the legislature to phase it out over the course of 10 years. However, given the condition of the jail, waiting that long was not was not an option. Others complained that he did not give city leaders an opportunity to provide their input, but again, Gov. Hogan was well within his prerogative as governor and had plenty of precedent from previous administrations to make this decision.
One critic who had particularly strong views about the jail closing was Barry Rascovar, a columnist for MarylandReporter.com, who suggested that Gov. Hogan’s move was merely the latest step in his transition from being “Mr. Nice Guy” to becoming “Mr. Nasty.
Rascovar’s column counts as one of the nastiest and most vitriolic attacks I have ever read. In the article, he outlined a “list of grievances” of sorts, where he enumerated just about every major decision Gov. Hogan has made thus far, citing them as examples of his unilateralism and poor sportsmanship.
But then Rascovar proceeded to do something that I have never seen before: he attacked the governor for having cancer, suggesting that it was the chemotherapy that had made him so “nasty.”
In today’s partisan environment, we have all gotten used to living with a daily barrage of distasteful political attacks. But attacking a man for an illness over which he has no control brings this to a whole new level. Never before have I seen such a disgraceful column from someone whose job as a journalist is to provide the public with news and commentary to build their storehouse of reliable information.
Gov. Hogan has been widely praised for handling his cancer diagnosis with grace and humor, so his response was more than appropriate: “In spite of 10 days of 24 hour chemo I haven’t become mean and nasty, I’m still the same nice guy I have always been, and we are still accomplishing great things for Maryland.”
Rascovar is regarded as one of the top political analysts in the state. His insights were frequently sought during the last election, and although I have disagreed with his columns in the past, I have always respected him. But it looks like Barry Rascovar has just proved me wrong. He isn’t our state’s top political analysts. He is our state’s most abhorrent partisan hack.