Baltimore’s Rawlings-Blake elected to lead nation’s mayors

Baltimore’s Rawlings-Blake elected to lead nation’s mayors
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

[Ed. – Well, she does know how to evade journalistic pressure and lecture reporters who try to get straight answers from her.]

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, criticized for giving people too much space to protest during the recent rioting in her city, has an additional job: On Monday, she was sworn in as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a group that influences national urban policy.

“She’s been elected by her peers,” said USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran. “It’s one of the highest honors you can have as a mayor. For one year, she’s America’s mayor. It’s a very powerful position.”

As conference president, Rawlings-Blake, a Democrat, will set the organization’s agenda, appoint committee and task force chairs and serve as the national spokesperson for the one-year term that runs through June 2016.  …

At a news conference in late April, on the third day of the Baltimore unrest, Mayor Rawlings-Blake said she’d instructed police to “do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech.

“It’s a very delicate balancing act,” she explained at the time, “because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other, you know, things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we work very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate, and that’s what you saw.”

A few days later, amid criticism that she unduly restrained the police response to the looting and burning, Rawlings-Blake said her remarks about “space to destroy” were “mischaracterized.”

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