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LOCAL COMMENTARY:

Green’s Ed Boyd Challenges Duopoly in Maryland

by WILLIAM HUGHES
“The Republican and Democratic Parties...morph into one corporate party with two heads.”
—Ralph Nader

Owings Mills, Md.—The Maryland Public Television (MPT) station, one of the largest in the state, decided to hold a debate on Oct. 14 between the candidates running for the office of governor in the general election on Nov. 7. MPT invited only the incumbent, Robert Ehrlich, a Republican, and one of his opponents, Baltimore's Mayor Martin O’Malley, a Democrat. (Makes one wonder: What does the word “public” in Maryland Public Television really stand for?)

These two politicos, a Duopoly, are much alike in so many ways. They are rolling in cash from campaign donations, now estimated to be in the mega millions of dollars. Most of the money comes from the special interests, who regularly dominate the General Assembly of Maryland. The station MPT, however, deliberately decided to exclude the Green Party’s nominee for governor, Ed Boyd. In doing so, they are overlooking the fact that, in this contest between the candidates of the Duopoly, it is Boyd who truly represents the voice of the people, rather than that of the powerful special interests. Boyd has refused to take any corporate donations.

The unfair decision by the honchos from the MPT did not sit well with Boyd, an African-American and U.S. Navy veteran, nor with his feisty supporters. They showed up an hour before the 7 PM show time at the station, located in a suburb of Baltimore City to protest the MPT’s biased decree. Although the Green Party enthusiasts were outnumbered at the scene by cheerleaders for Ehrlich and O’Malley, they made up for it with an abundance of spirit.

Mr. Boyd told me: “This sad situation is the best democracy that money can buy. There is sort of a pseudo gubernatorial debate going on tonight. The unfortunate thing is that all of the voices of Maryland will not be heard. You’ll hear voices from the Democratic Party [and] the Republican Party, but you will not hear voices, or from a representative for folks, who are independent, or from a Third Party candidate. Folks who have no desire to vote for either one of the [Establishment] candidates, their voices will not be heard. Why? Because the person they want to represent them—Ed Boyd, myself—will not be allowed in the MPT for this debate.” Boyd’s ticket mate, who’s running for the office of Lt. Governor, is James Madigan, from Baltimore City.

Brandy Baker, who is a Green Party candidate for the House of Delegates in Maryland’s sprawling 43rd district, was also at the protest action, carrying a sign for Boyd. She said: “This is a three-way race [for governor] and not a two-way race, like the corporate media is making it out to be. I’m here to show my support and solidarity for Ed Boyd, and to also show my anger and outrage at his exclusion from this debate.” Ms. Baker informed me of the repeated efforts that were made to get Boyd included in the affair. “We’ve been blocked out,” she said, noting that the Baltimore Chronicle sought to intervene with no success. She also said that the number one issue in her campaign (and Boyd’s too) is that the people are concerned about the “deregulation of the gas and electric industry in the state by the General Assembly” and the impact that it will have on them. She pointed the finger at two of her opponents, the incumbent delegates, Maggie McIntosh and Ann Marie Doory, who both “voted for” the measure. She said that McIntosh and Doory have also accepted campaign contributions from BG&E/Constellation Energy. Ms. Baker believes the draconian energy rate hikes, possibly as high as 74 percent, have “only been delayed until these Democrats get reelected.”

“The MPT never gave us a reason for anything [regarding exclusion of Boyd]. They totally ignored us,” Myles Hoenig, the campaign manager for Boyd’s gubernatorial bid told me at the protest. “You have two corporate candidates [O’Malley and Ehrlich] inside [the MPT station], so you are only going to hear one side of the issue, the Republican/ Democrat side.” He said that O’Malley and Ehrlich are “both complicit” on the issue of BGE and the unjust gas and electric rate hikes. Hoenig praised the Baltimore Examiner and the Baltimore City Paper for their coverage of the Green Party and their candidates for office.

I also talked with Ms. Maria Allwine, another Green Party activist at the protest action. She’s running for the State Senate on the Green Party ticket in Maryland’s 43rd district. Ms. Allwine said: “It’s truly an affront to the voters of Maryland to not include Ed Boyd in the debate. The Green Party is a legitimate Third Party in this state. Our registration numbers are growing. We have ballot access. Why not include Ed Boyd?” She charged, "Mr. O’Malley doesn’t want to hear what Ed Boyd has to say. It’s going to make O’Malley look like the conservative that he really is. There are serious issues in the City of Baltimore that O’Malley doesn’t want to talk about.”

Ed Boyd said that O’Malley and Ehrlich have taken "an estimated $150,000” in campaign contributions from BGE/Constellation Energy. He added, “They have refused to even attempt to give it back.” Boyd said he is disappointed that Maryland "isn’t allowing all the voices, all the choices...all the folks who are on the ballot” to be heard.

In Maryland, around 19 percent of the electorate, about 500,000 voters, are registered as neither Democrat nor Republican. They come in under different political banners, like Independent, Populist, Libertarian or Green. By taking on the closed party system now in place, the Green Party’s energetic activists and candidates are performing a valuable public service.
© William Hughes 2006. William Hughes, a Baltimore attorney, is the author of Saying ‘No’ to the War Party (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at liamhughes@comcast.net.



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This story was published on October 16, 2006.