“The Republican and Democratic Parties…morph into one corporate party with two heads.”
— Ralph Nader
Owings Mills, Maryland – The Maryland Public Television (MPT) station, one of the largest in the state, decided to hold a debate on Oct. 14, 2006, between the candidates running for the office of governor. The general election will be held on November 7th. MPT invited only the incumbent, Robert Ehrlich, a Republican, who has close ties to George Bush’s White House; and one of his opponents, Baltimore’s Mayor Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, who comes off as a Rudy Giuliani wannabe. 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 Mr. 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, only a few miles west of the Interstate Beltway, I-695, 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. One Robert J. Shuman is the chief executive officer of the MPT.
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–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 [tonight]. 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. 
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. At the moment, another nominee of the Green Party, Kevin Zeese is making a very solid bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate from Maryland. He is campaigning as an Independent. To date, Zeese has participated in one three-way debate with his two opponents. This was a first for the state. It was held in Baltimore on Oct. 3, 2006, at the historic Orchard St. Church. I was at that event. I thought Zeese won it and gained a lot of public exposure for his showing.  Question: Is this one of the reasons that the Ehrlich-O’Malley camps were afraid to include Boyd in tonight’s gubernatorial debate?
Ms. 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. She said that Alice Cherbonnier, the editor of the Baltimore Chronicle, a popular online journal, “challenged O’Malley and Ehrlich” to make it a three-way debate, but got the run around from them and from the television stations and networks. Ms. Baker added: “We’ve been blocked out.” 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. 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. Mr. Hoenig added, they are so identical…like two peas in a pod…two evil twins separated at birth.” 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, a 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 blamed O’Malley for Boyd’s exclusion. Allwine added: “It’s because 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.” 
Getting back to gubernatorial candidate Ed Boyd. He 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.” Mr. Boyd was very disappointed that Maryland, which holds itself out as a “progressive state,” isn’t allowing all the voices, all the choices…all the folks who are on the ballot” to be heard.  All of this makes me wonder: What does the word “public” in Maryland Public Television really stand for?
Finally, my hat goes off to Boyd, Baker, Hoenig, Allwine, Zeese, et al, and to all the Green Party’s energetic activists and progressive candidates in the state of Maryland, for taking on the arrogant Duopoly in this election year 2006. They are performing a truly valuable public service. Up the Green Party!
. Ed Boyd’s comments can be viewed here:
. Ms. Brandy Baker’s comments can be viewed here:
Also see, http://baltimore.indymedia.org/newswire/
. Myles Hoenig’s comments can be viewed here:
. Ms. Maria Allwine’s comments can be viewed here: