Fraser Smith's Commentary

WYPR's Senior News Analyst opines on recent Maryland news.

Those Democrats. Were they really expecting a Hogan Administration vision for transit? If so, shame on them.

Beyond buses, it's clear the Hogan team has no vision. There was no suggestion of anything at all beyond buses. Couldn’t be clearer.

First the governor killed the Red Line. He suggested nothing in its place. Then he parceled out the Red Line savings to parts of the state that voted for him. This week the Administration hosted Democratic leaders at what they apparently thought would be a Red Line replacement meeting. Did they really? Wrong.


Baltimore may set a series of homicide records this year. Charm City is beginning to look like murder city.

So what does States Attorney Marilyn Mosby do? She refuses to cooperate with a commission searching for answers. And she accuses Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of wasting money in the effort to find answers to the crisis.

While she was at it, Mosby says the well-regarded Bloomberg School violence researcher, Daniel Webster, heads the mayor’s commission for the money.


Governor Hogan says he loves Baltimore. He said he wants Baltimore to be the economic engine of Maryland. Really?

At the same time, he says he won’t go forward with a program designed to give the city and surrounding counties the transportation system an economic engine needs. And then, the governor and his transportation secretary, Pete Rahn, announced 700 million or so for highways but none of it for the city.

No easing of the Red Line pain here. No suggested Red Line alternatives. Not even thinking about alternatives apparently.

  Governor Larry Hogan’s decision to leave $900 million federal dollars on the table is, sadly enough, irreversible. There’s no readily apparent way to revive the Red Line.

Elected leaders can be pretty brave facing severe illness or even death. Ronald Reagan wanted to know if his surgeon was a Republican after John Hinckley shot him.

  Why do the big foundations demand so much data before they make grants to non-profits? A few reasons, to be sure. One? They want to go beyond one discreet project. They want to know what worked and what didn’t work.

Passion and commitment can fade as we all know. So striking while the iron – and riot embers – are hot really matters.

One returns after a weekend away to a strangely quiet Baltimore.

Set up by the Baltimore Community Foundation a day after the burning and looting, "The Fund for Re-Building Baltimore" is hearing from Crabtown boosters across the country. Checks are accompanied by stories and notes of encouragement.  “My daughters friends had a lemonade stand to help with the rebuilding of Baltimore’s affected neighborhoods.  They were very excited to make this donation,” said one.

Maybe there’s something to be said for the national TV coverage. "Stay safe Baltimore – prayers from Chicago," offered another.

  She gave a troubled city what many of its citizens wanted to hear: a list of tough charges against six police officers involved the arrest of Freddie Gray.

Tensions subsided immediately. A festival atmosphere replaced unrest which seemed likely to sustain more rioting, that, of course, was just the beginning. What the crowd applauded was only step one. How will participants if the accused are exonerated?

Rightly or wrongly, other state and local officials can be forgiven if they were breathing easier after her action.