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Midday

Photo courtesy National Review

Today, another edition of the Midday News Wrap.

We begin today with U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  He joins Tom by phone to comment on the roiling controversy over President Trump’s performance at his meeting Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Mr. Trump's contentious discussions the week before with America's European allies, and the President's announcement yesterday that he's invited Mr. Putin to meet again this fall -- at the White House.

Meanwhile, a Russian gun rights advocate and former student at American University is in jail in Washington DC awaiting trial, accused of working as an unregistered agent of the Russian government.  And Congress refuses to increase funding for election securitySenator Ben Cardin talks about what’s next for US-Russia relations.

Later in the hour, Luke Broadwater, who covers city politics for the Baltimore Sun, joins us in the studio to review this week's top local stories, including Mayor Pugh's ambitious redevelopment plans for East Baltimore,  the latest on the Baltimore Police Department's response to the Department of Justice Consent Decree, and a prison sentence for a state senator.

graphic courtesy BOPA

Artscape is underway in the Mt. Royal, Bolton Hill, Charles Street and Station North neighborhoods of Baltimore.  It’s billed as the largest free arts festival in the United States. It runs from July 20-22, and it's produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, lovingly known as BOPA

BOPA has a new boss.  Joining us in the studio today is Donna Drew Sawyer, who took the reins of BOPA a couple of weeks ago, after serving as its chief of external affairs for about a year.  She succeeds Bill Gilmore, who served in various leadership positions at BOPA for more than 37 years. 

As the CEO of BOPA, Donna Drew Sawyer will oversee some of Baltimore’s biggest events, including Artscape, the Baltimore Book Festival and Light City. 

Donna Drew Sawyer joins Tom in Studio A. 

The conversation was live-streamed on WYPRs Facebook page, and you can see that video here.

Photo courtesy Baltimore Sun

So, read a good book lately?  If that’s the case, today’s the day on Midday that we’d like to hear about it.  Tom's guest is Heidi Daniel, CEO of the Enoch Pratt Library here in Baltimore, a position she has held for about a year.  She took the reins last summer from Carla Hayden, who was selected by then President Barack Obama to head the Library of Congress.

We’re at about the halfway point in the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.  And we think it's a good day to talk books, to get some of Heidi’s suggestions, and yours!

Photograph by Doug Hamilton

Today, theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom with her review of Ain't Too Proud--The Life and Times of the Temptations, now playing at the Kennedy Center

The Broadway-bound musical showcases one of the most influential R&B groups in the history of contemporary music.  We see how five young men are discovered by Motown Records producer Berry Gordy (played by Jhai Kearse) on the streets of Detroit, and how they become the legends known as "The Classic Five," rising to the top of the charts amid the political and civil unrest in America during the 1960s and '70s.

"My Girl," "Just My Imagination,"  "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," and the titular "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," are just a few of the hits that enliven the show, whose book is by the Kennedy Prize-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau, based on Otis Williams' original book, The Temptations.  The Kennedy Center show is directed by two-time Tony Award-winner Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys), and Laurence Olivier-Award winning choreographer, Sergio Trujillo (On Your Feet!).

Ain't Too Proud--The Life and Times of the Temptations continues at the Kennedy Center through Sunday, July 22nd. 

Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates.  The general election is November 6th, which is 16 weeks from yesterday.

Tom's guest is Anjali Reed Phukan, the Republican nominee for Maryland Comptroller.   She is running against the incumbent, Democrat Peter Franchot, who was first elected as the state’s fiscal chief in 2006.

Ms. Phukan is an auditor for the State of MD.  She is a Certified Public Accountant.  This is her second bid to become the state’s Comptroller.   She ran as a write-in candidate in 2014.  She also ran for the school board in Montgomery Co., where she lived at the time, in 2016.

This conversation was livestreamed on the WYPR Facebook page. Click here to watch the video. 

Note: Imamu Baraka died last week. He is the Good Samaritan whose video of a patient who had just been dumped outside a local hospital went viral last January.  He shared his story on Midday.

Five years ago, Alicia Garza helped create Black Lives Matter. Now, her focus is the Black Futures Lab,  an organization set up to take the pulse of African American communities, build political power for people of color and challenge policymakers.

One of the group’s initiatives is the Black Census -- which aims to provide a better understanding of the diversity of opinion in the Black community, and to use that information to help improve the ways in which those communities are served.   Alicia Garza joins Tom from a studio at the University of California at Berkeley. 

 

Midday on the Media with David Folkenflik 7.17.18

Jul 17, 2018

It’s Midday on the Media.  Today: NPR Media Correspondent and author David Folkenflik joins me to talk about President Trump’s trip to Helsinki.  Was it a Diplomatic Debacle or as some Fox News hosts said last night, did the media simply go into a meltdown like it always does when it comes to the President?

 David Folkenflik joined NPR in 2004 after a decade as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun.  He’s also the author of  a new book about Rupert Murdoch called Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empires.  He joins us on the line from the studios of NPR in New York.

It has been a little more than three years since the city of Baltimore was convulsed with violence following the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody on April 19, 2015.  After the National Guard went back to their barracks, after the fire at the CVS Drugstore at the corner of Penn and North was extinguished, and after the curfews were lifted, there was a frenzy of finger pointing as to how the city responded to the crisis.  The Mayor at the time, Stephanie Rawlings Blake, would decide a few months later not to seek re-election.  A new police chief was appointed, and political leaders at the state and local levels promised decisive action to address the underlying problems of poverty and inequality that were seen as the root causes of the unrest.  The business community and numerous non-profits pledged to redouble their efforts to help lift neighborhoods like Sandtown Winchester out of its economic and social morass.

So, what, if anything, has changed since 2015?

Today, a conversation about a book by Sean Yoes, a highly respected Baltimore journalist, who chronicles what happened in the turbulent weeks following Freddie Gray’s death, and the three years which followed.  Sean Yoes is a good friend of this program.  He is the Baltimore Editor of the Afro American Newspaper, and co-host of Truth and Reconciliation, a podcast that we are proud to have as part of WYPR’s Podcast Central.  For several years, Sean hosted a show on WEAA Radio, and he even served as a producer of Midday back in the day, when our show was hosted by Dan Rodricks.

His new book is a collection of selected essays that he has published in the Afro during the last three years.  It’s called Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories from One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.

Midday News Wrap 7.13.18

Jul 13, 2018
Photo courtesy AP News

It’s the Midday Newswrap.  Today, a look at some of the big stories of the week on the international, national and local scenes.

With the showmanship that usually attends a reality TV show, former reality TV star Donald Trump announced his latest nomination to the Supreme Court.  Federal Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh is the President’s second pick for the highest court in the land, and it is quite possible that it won’t be his last.  Kristen Clarke joins Tom on the line from Washington, D.C.  She’s the president and executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Then Philip Bump, a National Correspondent for the Washington Postjoins the program to assess President Trump’s trip to the NATO Meeting, his talks with Prime Minister Theresa May of Great Britain, and his upcoming get-together with Vladimir Putin.

Tom also talks with Pamela Wood of the Baltimore Sun about the recount under way in Hunt Valley in the incredibly tight race for the Democratic nomination for Baltimore County Executive. After the first tally, John Olszewski, Jr. had nine more votes than his closest challenger, Senator Jim Brochin. Pam discusses where things stand with that, and when we may know the results of the County-mandated re-count.  

Image courtesy Cinereach

It’s Midday at the Movies, and joining Tom in the studio for our monthly look at new films and film industry trends are our favorite movie mavens: Jed Dietz, founding director of the Maryland Film Festival, and Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post.

A recent study finds that nearly 78% of movie reviews last year were written by white men.  How does the paucity of diverse perspectives affect the kinds of movies that get made, and which ones become hits?  If more women wrote film criticism, would movies be different? 

Might it speed the currently slow progress in securing more roles for women in front of and behind the movie cameras? 

Ann and Jed comment on the issue of film critics' diversity, and also offer their takes on some of the new films out in local theaters this weekend, from director Boots Riley's Sorry to Bother You  (at the Charles) and David and Nathan Zellner's Damsel (at the Parkway) to Pixar's long awaited CGI action sequel, Incredibles 2 (at the Senator).

And as always, they take your questions and comments on the movies that matter to you.

A note about the free summer movie event Tom mentions in the show: Robert Zemeckis' 1988 live-action/animated classic "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" is being screened at 9pm at the Hughes Family Outdoor Theater in Federal Hill Park, part of the  American Visionary Art Museum's "Flicks from the Hill" series.  For more info, click here.

Photograph by Seth Freeman

Today on Midday, theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck ventures a bit beyond Charm City, as she shares her thoughts on the roster of new plays at the 2018 Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia -- about a 90-minute drive from Baltimore.

This year's CATF is featuring six powerful new plays, each portraying aspects of contemporary life through tragedy, romance, drama, and comedy: "The Cake," "Memoirs of a Forgotten Man," "Thirst," "The House on the Hill," "Berta, Berta," and "A Late Morning (in America) with Ronald Reagan."

Rousuck notes two standouts among the new CATF offerings:  In “Berta, Berta,” directed by Reginald L. Douglas, playwright Angelica Cheri creates a backstory for an American work song. Set in 1920s Mississippi, Cheri's prison pipeline account focuses on a widow and her former lover, who has done time in Mississippi’s notorious Parchman prison and fully expects to go back. Rousuck says though “Berta, Berta” contains seeds of hope, it will break your heart.

And the political thriller, "Memoirs of a Forgotten Man," written by D.W. Gregory and directed by Ed Herendeen, takes viewers back to Soviet Russia where the fates of a journalist, psychologist, and government censor become entwined as victims and collaborators in Stalin’s campaign to rewrite public memory. 

The Contemporary American Theater Festival continues at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, through Sunday, July 29th.  Follow the link above for more information on tix, show schedules and directions.

Today, a conversation about sports, kinda sorta.  Not the World Cup.  Certainly not the Orioles, God help us.  Not the Ravens, who start training camp a week from Thursday, but instead, we’re going to talk about a simple question, that when applied to certain moments and historical realities in sports can lead to some delicious fantasizing.  That question is “What if?” 

What if Billie Jean King had LOST to Bobby Riggs?  What if Richard Nixon had been Good at Football?  What if the Olympics had never dropped Tug of War?  What if Muhammad Ali had GOTTEN his draft deferment?

Mike Pesca has assembled a group of essayists to pose those and other questions in a great and engaging and funny and sometimes profound book called Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History. 

Mike Pesca is the host of The Gist, a podcast on Slate.com.  He’s a former sports reporter at NPR 

 

Vox photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Today, a panel of immigration lawyers joins Tom to discuss the Trump Administration’s "zero tolerance"  immigration policies.  Today is the court-ordered deadline for the government to re-unite migrant children under the age of five with their families, most of whom were detained for crossing the US border illegally.  It’s a deadline that will not be met for at least 40 of the more than 100 infants and toddlers who have been separated from their parents. 

A District Court Judge has also denied an Administration motion to extend the time the government is allowed to detain children past the current 20-day limit. 

So, what’s next for the 3,000 minors who have been separated from their families? 

Today we continue our Conversation with the Candidates series with guest Allan Kittleman, county executive of Howard County, elected to that position in 2014, and also discuss the future of Old Ellicott City.  On July 30, 2016, Old Ellicott City was ravaged by what was called at the time a once-in-1,000-years flood.  The historic downtown was largely rebuilt. And less than two years later, on May 27 of this year, another deadly flood struck Old Ellicott City -- perhaps even worse than the 2016 flood.  A state of emergency for the historic downtown is still in effect. 

In May of 2015, a year before the first Ellicott City Flood, Gov. Larry Hogan made good on a campaign promise to repeal the law that required nine counties to charge residents and businesses a Stormwater Remediation Fee, to create a dedicated source of funding for stormwater projects.  Mr. Hogan and opponents of the law referred to it as a “rain tax.” 

Allan Kittleman was a vocal supporter of repealing the law.  A year later, a few months before the first flood, Mr. Kittleman proposed a reduction and the eventual repeal of the Stormwater Remediation Fee in Howard County, a proposal that was rejected by the County Council.  Nine days ago, Howard County residents received tax bills that included fees ranging from $15 to $90, depending on the amount of impervious surfaces they have on their property. 

Photo courtesy Floyd Abrams

(This program was originally aired on May 3, 2018)  

Today, a conversation about American exceptionalism when it comes to our cherished tradition of free speech.

Tom’s guest is the acclaimed legal scholar, Floyd Abrams, a distinguished constitutional lawyer who has litigated some of the most consequential 1st Amendment cases of our time, including the Pentagon Papers case and Citizen’s United. He is the author of the 2017 book, “The Soul of the First Amendment,” which is just out in paperback.

Floyd Abrams joins Tom on the line from New York, where he is  a senior partner in the law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel.

Photos by Shealyn Jae

It's time for another visit from our well-traveled theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins us each week with  a review of one of the region's many theaterical offerings.  Today, she's spotlighting the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company's new production of the Bard's romantic farce, A Midsummer Night's Dream, being performed on the outdoor stage at the PFI Historic Park in Ellicott City.

A Midsummer Night's Dream was written by William Shakespeare in 1595-96. The play portrays the madcap events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the former queen of the Amazons. These include the interconnected adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors who are manipulated by the Fairies who inhabit the forest in which the play is mostly set.

One of Shakespeare's funniest and most popular works for the stage -- and performed by theater companies around the world -- AMSND is directed for the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company by Gerrad Alex Taylor.   He guides a 19-member cast that features guest actor Michael Toperzer as Theseus/Oberon, CSC member Elana Michelle as Hippolyta/Titania, and Imani Turner as Puck.

The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream continues at the PFI Historic Park in Ellicott City, Maryland, through Sunday, July 29.  For ticket info and directions, click here.

On this holiday in which we celebrate independence and the courage of our revolutionary heroes, a word about a different kind of revolutionary, and her exercise of the free speech and religious practice the founders fought for.

Elizabeth McAlister has lived at Jonah House, on the West Side of Baltimore, for most of the last 50 years. She and her husband, the anti-war activist Philip Berrigan, founded Jonah House as part of a network of Catholic Worker Houses across the country. Philip was one of the Catonsville Nine, who burned draft records in 1968, setting-off a series of similar actions across the country. He died in 2002, but McAlister has continued to protest against violence and war, in particular, nuclear weapons.

In April, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, McAlister and six others cut through a fence and entered the King’s Bay Naval Submarine Base in Camden County, GA, which is home to a fleet of Trident Submarines, which carry nuclear war heads.

The group’s purpose was to commit what they call a Ploughshares Action, based on a phrase from Isaiah in the Bible:

“They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

The first Ploughshares Action took place in 1980. Since then, more than 100 similar protests have occurred in the United States and around the world.  

This conversation with Derek Thompson originally aired on May 25, 2018.  

Today, Tom speaks with Derek Thompson, a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about business and technology, and hosts the new podcast Crazy/Genius. He is also the author of Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in the Age of Distraction.

In his best-selling book,  Thompson takes a scientific approach to understanding why certain things in our culture become "cool," at least for a while, and whether or not there are commonalities between them across creative and cultural disciplines. Thompson examines the hidden psychological and market forces that make a song, a movie or a politician popular, and how those forces are constantly reshaping our cultural landscape.

Joshua McKerrow

Today, in this installment of Midday Culture Connections with Dr. Sheri Parks, the Press and Public Trust.  For three years, since he announced his candidacy for President in 2015, Donald Trump has pounded a steady drumbeat of claims that major news outlets promulgate fake news. A recent poll indicated that 61% of Democrats and 89% of Republicans agree with him. 

Mr. Trump and other political leaders have taken those claims one step further, asserting that the press is the enemy of the people.  Is there a link between that rhetoric and the kind of violence inflicted on the newsroom of the Capital Gazette last week?

Dr. Sheri Parks is the Vice President for Strategic Inititiaves at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She's the author of Fierce Angels: Living With A Legacy From Scared Dark Feminine to Strong Black Woman. 

Tom also talks to Joshua McKerrow, a photographer for the Gazette, and Courtney Radsch, the Advocacy Director for the Committee to Protect Journalists about the violence in Annapolis. 

Courtesy of the Comptroller's Office

Today, another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates.

Tom's guest is Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. He’s been the state’s fiscal chief since 2007, after first beating the incumbent, William Donald Schaefer, in the 2006 primary. 

As comptroller, Franchot is a member of powerful Board of Public Works in Annapolis. And he is vice-chair of the State Retirement & Pension System. Franchot is a Democrat who does not always toe the party line. His relationship with the legislative leadership in Annapolis -- fellow Democrats Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch -- has seemed increasingly frayed this year. Franchot does seem to have a close working relationship with Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Before becoming Maryland’s top fiscal officer, Franchot served in the House of Delegates for two decades, representing the 20th District in Montgomery Co. That district reaches roughly from Takoma Park, north to Colesville.

He has been Maryland’s comptroller for 11 years, and he is seeking a fourth term. His opponent in the November election is a CPA from Worcester County, Republican Anjali Reed Phukan.

This conversation was livestreamed on the WYPR Facebook page. To check out that video, click here.

Associated Press photo

Today, several perspectives on the murders at the Capital Gazette Newspaper.  On Thursday afternoon, a 38 year-old man from Laurel shot five people dead and injured two others at the offices of the Gazette on Bestgate Avenue in Annapolis. 

A little later in the program, WYPR’s Dominique Maria Bonessi will join Tom on the phone with the latest on the investigation into the shooting.  Tom also speaks with security expert  Dr. Keith Williams, vice-president of Support Services at Admiral Security, a company that guards buildings like the one in which the Gazette is located.  We’ll hear from Jamie Costello, an anchor at WMAR 2 News whose own newsroom was attacked a few years ago; from Dr. Paul Nestadt, a clinical psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who studies gun violence; and from Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

But Tom's first guest is Indira Lakshmanan, a columnist for The Boston Globe, who holds the Newmark Chair in Journalism Ethics at the Poynter Institute, an organization that provides training and resources for journalists around the world.

Wikipedia

Today it's another edition of the Midday Healthwatch, when Dr. Leana Wen, the Health Commissioner of Baltimore City, joins Tom to talk about current issues in public health. 

What are the long-term health effects of the psychological trauma experienced by thousands of children separated from their immigrant parents by US border officials in recent months?

Following Tuesday's primary election, the political battle lines have been drawn in the race for Maryland Governor.  When it comes to health care, how do the actions of Governor Larry Hogan stack-up against the proposals of Democratic challenger Ben Jealous? 

The Trump Administration has proposed changes to federal Title X grant regulations that some are calling a gag rule, because they would restrict what physicians can tell their patients in conversations about contraception, abortion, and reproductive health services. 

Dr. Wen also discusses progress toward passage of the CARE Act, a new legislative assault on the opioid crisis proposed recently by Rep. Elijah Cummings and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Austin Barnes Photography

Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom each week with a review of one of the region's many theatrical offerings.  Today, she's spotlighting the new production of  Avenue Q at the Community College of Baltimore County's Cockpit in Court Summer Theatre.

Avenue Q is an American musical in two acts, featuring music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, and a book by Jeff Whitty.  The coming-of-age satire tells the story of a hapless recent college grad named Princeton, who moves into a rundown New York City apartment located on the titular Avenue Q, in an edgy part of town.  While drawing lessons from the realities of his new neighborhood -- and shedding the idealism of his youth -- he and his new-found friends face the challenges of finding work, love and a purpose in life.

Originally conceived as a TV series, Avenue Q opened on Broadway in July 2003 and won three Tony Awards, including Best Musical.  Since its 6-year Broadway run of more than 2500 performances, it has been picked up for two national tours and a variety of international productions.

The Cockpit in Court production at CCBC in Essex is directed by Todd Starkey, and continues through Sunday, July 1.  Ticket and location info here

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In the end, the race to become the Democratic nominee for governor wasn’t very close. Ben Jealous won every county in Maryland except Prince George’s, the home base of County Executive Rushern Baker, and Calvert County, which Jealous lost by 48 votes.

In Baltimore County, it couldn’t be more close. Three Democrats, former Del. Johnny Olszewski, Jr., Sen. Jim Brochin and County Councilwoman Vicki Almond are within a few hundred votes of each other, in a race that won’t be settled until next week, at the earliest. On the Republican side, Maryland Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer beat Del. Pat McDonough by 10 points. McDonough has said that this will be his last campaign.

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby won with 50% of the vote in one of the most acrimonious races in this campaign season.

Today: What it all means with Andy Green, the Editorial Page Editor of the Baltimore Sun and Jayne Miller, an award-winning investigative reporter at WBAL Television.

This conversation was livestreamed on WYPR's Facebook page.  To check out that video, click here. 

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[It’s Primary Day in MD.  We’ll have complete coverage of the results of today’s election tonight at 9:00, with the WYPR News Team deployed throughout the region at various campaign headquarters, and analysis with Jean Marbella of the Baltimore Sun, John Willis of the University of Baltimore, and political strategist Catalina Byrd.  Tomorrow, we’ll break-down the results with Jayne Miller of WBAL Television and Andy Green of the Baltimore Sun. 

But today on Midday, a little break from politics.  Coming up in just a minute, it’s another installment of Tube Talk.  But before we begin talking some tube, let’s check in with Dominique Maria Bonessi of the WYPR News Team.  She’s at a polling place in Baltimore on this primary day…]

And now, as promised, another installment of Tube Talk Our tube talkers are Bridget Armstrong, producer of Vox.com's pop culture podcast I Think You’re Interestingand Jamyla Krempel, WYPR's digital producer.  They stay in the know about what’s hot and what’s not on TV. 

By day they are mild mannered producers.  By night they are protectors of the pop culture landscape.  For hours, they toil, shrouded under duvets,  their faces bathed in the magical glow of Light Emitting Screen Diodes.  With remotes at the ready, a cup of tea in hand and significant others ignored, forgotten, and shunned, our tenacious tube talkers ingest hours of Television, as a public service, to bring us news and reviews of the good, the bad and the utterly unpalatable.

Archbalt.org

And now, it’s time for The Afro Check-In, a regular feature here on Midday where we sit down with our colleagues at The Afro-American Newspaper to talk about some of the important stories of the day.  

St. Frances Academy is a high school in East Baltimore that over the past few years has become a football powerhouse. Ranked 4th in the country, they finished last season with a perfect 13-0 record and the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championship.  They’re good.  And now, most of the teams in the MIAA contend that they’re too good, and they’re refusing to play them next season.  

The other Catholic and independent schools in the area frame their decision to take St. Frances off of their schedules as a safety issue.  Others see it as an attempt to isolate the area’s only predominantly Black Catholic school. 

Perry Green joins Tom.  He’s the Sports Editor at The Afro-American Newspaperand he's been following this controversy.

Ivan Bates Campaign

Tomorrow is Primary Day in Maryland, and here in Baltimore, the race for State’s Attorney features three Democrats who are conducting vigorous campaigns. 

Our original plan was to pause our series of Conversations with the Candidates once early voting had begun.  A week of early voting ended last Thursday.  But given that the race for Baltimore City State’s Attorney is one of the most contentious in the city’s history, we decided to have a conversation with the candidates for that office on this election-Eve. 

The winner of the Democratic primary for State’s Attorney will not face an opponent in November, so the person who will hold the position of the city’s top prosecutor for the next four years will be elected tomorrow. 

The incumbent, Marilyn Mosby, is being challenged by two local attorneys, Ivan Bates and Thiru Vignarajah, who join Tom today in Studio A. 

Ivan Bates has worked as a defense attorney and a city prosecutor.  He worked in the Juvenile Crime Division and later, the Homicide Division, in the City State’s Attorney’s Office.  He is 49 years old.

Thiru Vignarajah is a former city and federal prosecutor.  His tenure in the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office included heading the Major Investigations Unit.  He also served as the Deputy Attorney General for Maryland.   Thiru Vignarajah is 41 years old.

Today's Midday Newsmaker is Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who joins Tom in Studio A to answer his questions, and yours, for the hour.

Yesterday was the first official day of summer.  Violence in our city, as in cities around the country, sometimes spikes in the summer months.  The Mayor recently announced plans to address that possibility, and she'll discuss the city's continuing violence reduction efforts.  Mayor Pugh also talks about the search for a new police commissioner, a new grant program targeted to locally-driven community development efforts, and city immigration policies. 

A reminder of some great Baltimore events coming up that Tom mentioned during the show:

On Saturday and Sunday, it's the 38th LatinoFest in Patterson Park, a celebration of Baltimore's Hispanic culture, music and art, produced each year by the non-profit Educational-Based Latino Outreach (EBLO).

And this coming Monday, June 25th,  from 6-8pm at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, you can join Mayor Catherine Pugh for an intimate conversation with Aaron Henkin,  the award-winning co-producer of WYPR's Out of the Blocks  and director of new local programming at WYPR.  It's another in the new series, Conversations with Mayor Catherine Pugh, produced by the Mayor's Office of Special Events.

image courtesy aact.org

Today, a conversation about cultivating start-up businesses in Baltimore.  What does it take in terms of money and people to bring an idea for a new product or service to the market?  A recent survey of 40 cities with the most start-up activity ranked Baltimore near the bottom.  Cities like San Francisco and New Yok continue to attract young entrepreneurs.  How can we get them to bring their talent here? 

Tom's three guests today help us answer those questions, from a variety of perspectives:

It's Thursday, and that means our theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck,  joins us with her review of a little musical you might have heard of:  Hamilton. The popular show, now on stage at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., uses rap, hip-hop, R&B, and a variety of other musical styles to tell the story of the American Revolution through the lens of one its most charismatic and ill-fated architects.

Winner of 11 Tony Awards and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama (among other honors), the musical by playwright, actor and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda was inspired by Ron Chernow's best-selling 2005 biography of the founder, Alexander Hamilton.  Miranda's three-hour-long musical rendition premiered on Broadway in August 2015.

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