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Returning candidate Thiru Vignarajah tells Nestor his path to finally becoming Mayor of Baltimore with another run this month.

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

people, baltimore, mayor, sheila, city, years, brandon, weeks, running, vote, baltimore city, donation, candidates, happened, carjacking, system, incompetence, election, sheila dixon, luxury apartments

SPEAKERS

Nestor J. Aparicio, Nestor Aparicio, Thiru Vignarajah

Nestor Aparicio  00:00

Welcome home we are W n s t, Towson, Baltimore Baltimore positive. We are positively at the new Lexington market and fatally seafood. We’re here courtesy of our friends at the Maryland lottery. I have PacMan scratch offs giveaway we’ll be giving these away here each Shabbat every other Friday here at Faith is we’re gonna have a whole bunch more crab cake tour stops. This guy here has been to several places with us on the Maryland crab cake tour. He’s run for several different offices. We’re in a mayoral campaign here we had the former mayor, Madam Mayor, Sheila Dixon here two weeks ago, we have invitations out to Bob Wallace, as well as the current mayor, Brandon Scott, who was on opening day through vignarajah, our returning champion of the tennis circuit, the law circuit, always good to see you, brother. How are you? Man? You Brother, I want to be running again, a couple of weeks out. First things first people do know who you are, and not a spell least your first name and last name, but your buddy the terms of engagement on voting this time around. Because First things first, you know, we know when the election is but this thing window search open up next week. Like they’re here. There’s people that have already cast their ballot, a lot of mail in ballots got sent out a couple of weeks ago, I ran into a couple folks today that said I already mailed in my ballot cast my ballot for you. So voting has already started. Early voting will officially kick off on Thursday. It will run a week. And then the election is two weeks from Tuesday, May 14. And we’re at the end of the track here. Right. And the amazing thing in my mind, having done this a few times is realizing that as hard as we work for as many months as we do for as much as we talk about it, and we think everybody else is talking about it. They’re not they’re not they’re not they are to begin the whole thing with vote for me vote for me, obviously, you hear you want people to vote for you, and you have your issues. And we’ll get to all that. But number one thing is don’t forget to do it. You know, like literally and especially these primaries, you think that the big election is Donald Trump versus Joe Biden in November, there is an election that is going to affect the future of this city. For the next 10 years. The city has to turn out for this, it has to turn around it is a vital election. And that’s one of the reasons why in these last few weeks, forgive me in advance. You’re you’re already watching commercials about Thiru vignarajah, you’re already hearing me say that we can do better than corruption and incompetence. Because this contrast we’ve been trying to draw from the very beginning about trying to go in a different direction. We know there’s an appetite for it. But people have to learn people have to understand that the only options out there are not the options we’ve always had. And it’s hard to break in. I know that. But we are running a race that I’m so proud of first campaign in Baltimore history using public financing. Yeah, let’s go through that because I you know, I’ve had a couple of candidates. Shannon Sneed, last week running for city council, I talked to Zach Blanchard is running against Erik Costello, my old district down in South Baltimore. Explain this to me to some degree, because I mean, four years ago, no secret I was going to run as an independent this summer. And the race that you and all of you ran, we talked next door, that, you know, if there was an eventuality of a path to victory, in regard to Sheila four years ago, I am as fascinated the path to victory for you, as well as the fact that you’ve done it unsuccessfully. So Sheila, by the way,

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Thiru Vignarajah  03:14

that what you learn along the way, I would feel like you’re getting to be a better candidate. You feel like it feels like your campaign for the people that have voted for you. And you failed probably still with you that you’re still growing what you built a couple years ago, like I’ve done in radio for 40 years, right? You build every year, right? That’s exactly right. I mean, look, there’s two parts. Number one is the last time a person became the mayor of Baltimore, not having held elected office was 1945. But I went back and looked every single person who ran from the outside, they lost and they never ran again. You know, some of the names Mary Miller, Elizabeth Embrey, TJ Smith, David, Warnock, or Angelo’s all terrific. People ran for mayor. Right. He ran for mayor twice unsuccessfully in the 60s. And by the way, those are folks that were we’re talking about self funders. Right, you got to David Warnock you got to Mary Miller. But even them, you got to run more than once to build up name recognition for people to get to know not just who you are, and how to say your name, but what you’re about what you’re fighting for, what your causes are, how you tick. That is something that I’m so proud, I think, just walking through the market, having people come up and say, keep up the good work, right. They already know we’re doing the work. And now they want to see us do it at a bigger scale and a wider and a wider angle. The other piece of it that we have to bear in mind is public financing. It’s not easy. It requires you to build momentum with small donations the most you can get is $150. I always joke so that is your pledge is that you’re not going to the usual suspects who built the city to get $10,000.20 $1,000 Check correct the the that inevitably want to go to channel 13 at Channel 11 Anyway or whatever. That’s that that money doesn’t go to My Media and that’s a local

Nestor J. Aparicio  05:00

Media goes out of town corporate media, but like the people that really drink in the money or media organizations,

Thiru Vignarajah  05:07

and what happens is, and look, the reality is that one of the reasons for that is in a city where a lot of folks are not paying attention until the last three or four weeks, the only way to get to large markets of people quickly is through television, it’s still television is king. So the in the in the prior model, and we were successful, we raised over $1,000,000.04 years ago, but we raised it by asking people that could write $6,000 checks. Now we have adopted a system where we cannot take more than $150. No money from PACs or corporations, or your companies. It has to come from

Nestor J. Aparicio  05:40

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now. What do you get from that? What do you get for giving up the chance to raise a million dollars? What

Thiru Vignarajah  05:45

do you go, we were going to still raise a million dollars, but we’re gonna do it in small donations because every $25 donation gets matched and becomes 250. Every $75 donation becomes 550. Every $150 donation becomes $775. And we now have almost 1000 donations from Baltimore City residents. That’s an incredible feat. There’s a candidate, a major candidate that has less than 30 individual city donors. That’s the difference. Where do you spend your time? Who are you building the strength off of it is it feels so good to be able to talk to people at Lexington market and say, if you pitch in 10 bucks, 25 bucks, that’s $100 or $200 donation, it feels so good to be a meet and greets and say listen, the most I can ask is for you to take me out to a nice dinner $150. And you have maxed out your donation. But you’ve invested in a system that is meant to take the corrosive influence of money out of politics.

Nestor J. Aparicio  06:42

The Reverend vignarajah is our guest. He’s running for mayor. So look, I don’t hours with him, you can go back and get all the history and the education and the schooling and the heart all that stuff. Running again, this time the decision to do it the decision to do it differently. And I don’t want to talk too much about campaign campaign financing. But it is sort of at the heart of we talk about crime and all the other things here but how people get elected was one of the issues that made me want to run it may be due Baltimore’s The reason I’m sitting here is I started to think like we need a better system when Kathy pews go into prison. And you know, and no secret. I’ve told Sheila I wouldn’t vote for her. I’ll give her equal time. And I I always like Sheila when I spend time with her. I think she is she knows what’s going on she I see the appeal of all of that. But to your point, you’ve always wanted a fresh day here from the beginning from the time I met you 10 years ago.

Thiru Vignarajah  07:35

That’s exactly right. And if I thought the prior system was working, if I thought the policies that these traditional politicians had used were working, I wouldn’t run because I want to go into something that isn’t working and fix it. That’s what makes me tick. That is my raison d’etre. That’s my calling. And you’ll notice that I have put my head in the buzzsaw over and over again, because I love this city, I know what the city can be. But if you use the same methods, and you use the same policies, and you turn on the same politicians rely on the same politicians, you’re gonna get the same results. This is the only city in America that has lost a quarter of its population in the last 25 years 25% of I’m one of those people because I left the city two years. And it’s hard to argue with the people that are leaving, because they say, Why do you expect me to pay twice as much in taxes for some of the worst schools in the region, the highest crime rate in America?

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Nestor J. Aparicio  08:27

Well, the hardest part for me is I didn’t leave under any of this I love that I’ve seen in the city right now I’m going to city three days a week, somebody gives me a ticket because my press pass back, I’ll go to a ballpark tonight. You know, for me, I bought a condo for $429,000 in 2006 and sold it in 2022. For 380. I held the 20 years I lost $60,000 Straight up plus the 250,000 I put into it, like it wasn’t easy to leave to cut your losses or this or that. For me. It was about fresh air. It wasn’t about I wanted to leave the city. So I make that very, very clear. But there is a cost of doing it. And a cost to my future for me and my wife that if we had bought a $400,000 house in Bel Air in 2006, it’d be worth 650 Now, right? So there is that that’s the reality of investing in it, that it needs to be made better in order to be investable.

Thiru Vignarajah  09:19

And here’s the challenge, which is people like you and I who love Baltimore. We know what it can be. But we also don’t pretend like it’s something that’s not right now it is a losing proposition for people that have the option to move to Baltimore County or Howard County. They get to pay less in taxes for better schools and dramatically lower crime. It is very hard to say stick around and wrestle with the challenges of a city government that can’t fill potholes or get graffiti off the streets and

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:47

pick up the trash trash pick

Thiru Vignarajah  09:49

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up the trash certainly can get carjackers and killers off the streets. They can do that in Baltimore County. They can do that in Howard County. Your tax dollars are going farther. So why am I running? I’m running because I know that As things can be changed, but it requires fresh leadership requires a fresh set of ideas, and we know how hard it’s going to be. But when we entered what is different about this race number one, I learned the hard way four years ago, that if there are 22 candidates, six major candidates, three of them in the change lane, TJ Smith, Mary Miller, and through vignarajah, all of us, I’m proud to say TJ and Mary, they had a lot to offer the city. But the three of us were in that change lane. That added up to almost 40%. Certainly more than Sheila and Brandon, but we got chopped up. So now you go, why didn’t

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:35

get into the primary, there is no way to win the primaries really are. So

Thiru Vignarajah  10:39

you need a race where you are going toe to toe, right? You’re going up against someone where you’re not splitting that change vote. The second thing is we could not win a race. If as an outsider, we’re going to invite and draw major well financed negative attack campaigns. We had to endure them in the mayor’s race. Four years ago. Mary Miller’s pack came in remember the pack that said we’re only going to pursue white votes for for Marion, we’re going to attack the root vignarajah. Well, they attacked us they spent hundreds of 1000s of dollars two years ago, another negative attack campaign on television, you know, excoriating us, it’s hard for a guy on the outside, we don’t have any armor, right. So those negative ad campaigns, they cut through us like razor wire. So I needed to get into a race where we had the resources quickly to spread the word and where the other two candidates were gonna spend all their time attacking one another. That’s what Sheila and Brandon have done. Sheila’s pack is attacking Brandon. Brandon is now attacking Sheila. That is exactly the traditional model of politics to break it. You got to come in and kind of ambush them. We’ve raised $800,000. We are able to be on television. For a solid four weeks, we’ve raised more money in the last three months than Sheila and Brandon combined. And we did it with small donations. I’m so proud of that. big article in the

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:00

blog. Several friends of mine are supporting you. I mean, people on the inside throughout the city, they reached me they were upset when Sheila was here, we gotta get through when I’m like throughs on my phone. If text intent on some point you asked me about two weeks ago, I looked down and you were calling me. I’m like, he don’t need me, you know, but literally, your name popped up. So I’m glad you’re here. I’m here and I’m sorry. took a minute to get through it. Well, you’re juggling. Listen, man, we’re down here. We’re at families. We’re giving away the Pac Man scratch offs, courtesy of our friends at the Maryland lottery through has been a returning champion to the program here. Let’s update the whole thing. You know, my Baltimore positive thing four and a half years ago, you were here. All the candidates you mentioned keep Jack Young was in that array. All of these things that happened. Give me the lane here for you right now two weeks out on this and carjackings, Fox News, Fox now owns the sun like the banner exists that didn’t exist before. I mean, there’s a different got a new baseball owner for crying out loud right there. There is a different atmosphere and certainly COVID really screw with everything four years ago, including the date of the election got moved six weeks.

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Thiru Vignarajah  13:06

And it gave Mary Miller a huge advantage because she had unlimited money. So the rest of us raise money for an April election, all of a sudden it was in June, where all of us were struggling to figure out where that money was going to come from. Mary just had to write herself another check. And so here we have a race that’s got a couple of interesting structural challenges. One of them is there’s some people that want to frame this like a Sheila Dixon versus Sheila Dixon versus Brandon Scott race. Those are the folks that have benefited from a system where they’re the only two candidates. We have to brake that. That is the first thing. I think we’ve done that I think a lot of folks think of this as a three person race. They know that we’re the underdog, but they also know that we’ve raised $800,000, we’re already double digits in the polls. That is a great place to start. And six weeks out seven weeks out. Two years ago, Bates was 13% Mary Mosby and I were at 35 for her and 32 for undecided

Nestor J. Aparicio  14:03

is a place for a lot of people reside and a lot of times the undecideds aren’t the ones that pollsters seem to find. And look all the polls are crooked. I mean, I’m I’m on that, you know, I love Gonzalez. I’ll have him on. You know the Gaucho poll and I like it to me, they’re just they’re not a guiding light for me. There’s a molar and I would always get sideways on that because I just You had some crazy polls a couple years ago to Fox 45 We’re supporting you. Like said you were gonna win. I’m like, it was early and I’m like all of these polls. Are they remind me Arbitron, and no offense. I’ve been at this a long time. That’s why my documentary is called No one listens. everyone hears because Arbitron is Oh, for 30 years, I’ve had zero listeners. So I don’t believe in that Bates. Really? That’s all he had. That’s all they could find a couple years ago. And I think the same thing is true for you. Look, a lot of people will go in and piston Sheila pista Brandon, and look for something else and that’s your lane. That

Thiru Vignarajah  14:58

is our lane and I You think that that early polling, like it was for baits like it is for us is talking to people that are picking up the phone saying he has a change? Right? It’s not a waste of your vote? That’s right. Correct. Now we are in a situation where the airwaves are being inundated with everybody’s commercials, and we have a chance to go neck and neck with Brandon and Sheila, in that respect. There are 100% name recognition. That’s an advantage, no question, but they’re both known universally for all the wrong reasons. So the chance to come in and say you’ve got an option. You don’t have to vote for corruption or incompetence. You can expect more from your politicians in Baltimore.

Nestor J. Aparicio  15:36

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So you see corruption and incompetence. These are you know, listen, I level haymakers on Greg Bader and Chad steel every day in my life because they lack integrity. And I’ll say that to their face if they didn’t run for me. I have a nasty nasty Ross, I’ll stand up for anything I’ve said. Corruption and incompetence. Okay. I mean, Sheila was here two weeks ago. We’re long past the gift card thing, but there’s an acknowledgement that when I take her name out in certain segments, it’s punch line, right? She She understands that Brandon has had his own pathway here, through a plague through city council president through issues that I even have with brandy, just getting in touch with him and different people. And the issues you mentioned about every carjackings, not Brandon’s fault. And the murder numbers lower and I took that up with Sheila murder was all we talked about four years ago. Now it’s carjacking, right? Corruption and incompetence. Let’s take that on is. Where’s that directed from your perspective?

Thiru Vignarajah  16:33

Yeah. Look, take those numbers. You were just mentioning a minute ago, when you got a mayor that says I’ve done a good job. And you’re supposed to believe that I have competently run this administration. When we see that trash can get picked up, that graffiti can get cleaned up. Potholes can get filled 311 calls can’t get answered. You’ve got to wonder how is it that a mayor who claims he was able to drive down the biggest problem murderers can’t pick up the trash? The answer is he’s not actually doing anything with the murders. Murder numbers across the country are down the only city in America that had higher murders in 2023 than 2022. Was Washington DC. I don’t know what’s going on in DC.

Nestor J. Aparicio  17:14

Why is that? Why are murderers down it? They’re

Thiru Vignarajah  17:17

down the criminologist in the country would tell you it’s because we have now a few years out of COVID There was a major spike all across the UK, we’re happier,

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Nestor J. Aparicio  17:24

they’re having sex, they’re getting out. They’re being happy to have a little money they’re having, like, whatever. We’re fixing their beefs in different ways. But there’s more guns in the river. COVID

Thiru Vignarajah  17:32

was a distortion field in crime. It changed crime nationwide, we are now far enough away from it, that our unemployment numbers are down, and murder numbers are down. That is universally the case. And everybody by the way, I don’t I don’t just blame Brandon for this. The governor, the state’s attorney, the new sheriff, the US attorney, the mayor, all of them want to take credit for this national trend in Baltimore. Those are the roosters taking credit for the dawn. They’re not doing anything fundamentally different than they were doing in 2022 or 2021. They just happened to be in positions when a national trend line happened to benefit Baltimore as well. So the challenge with Brandon Scott representing that he’s competently run government is we know it’s not true because you can look outside and see the trash and by the way, all those numbers that went the wrong direction, overdose death rates highest per capita in America and skyrocketing here in Baltimore. carjackings, auto thefts, youth violence, youth, victims of violence, all those numbers are going the wrong way. You know what he says? When asked about that, he says, oh, that’s part of a national trend. You don’t get to disclaim responsibility by saying, Oh, this is part of a national problem, while taking credit for things here that happened to also be following NASA. So if

Nestor J. Aparicio  18:56

you’re mayor, and you’re elected, what why, how does this get fixed from a manager perspective? Because you’ve never managed it? That was one thing for me even running like, lets you manage a city you’ve never managed a city. That’s one thing she’ll at least as when she sits and says I’ve done it, she has done it. It is a big job and you’ve gone after a couple different times couple different ways. Where does that begin with employment, happy employees funding funding funding and that tackling it is something that five Mirza tried, right?

Thiru Vignarajah  19:29

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Let’s let’s start by saying this about qualifications. If the only qualification to become mayor is that you were previously mayor. There’s only a couple of people that are going to do it because there are people that got convicted. left off is Catherine Pugh and Sheila Dixon are now the only people that are eligible Kurt. He’s always running the base. So that I don’t think is the right litmus test. The question should be Have you manage big things big problems. I served as Deputy Attorney General I was present at the Harvard Law Review. I ran as CEO, one of the largest community developers The financial institutions in the country, I was a litigation partner at DLA Piper, one of the largest law firms in the world. Those are the kinds of management experiences to get you ready to take on something, I don’t know that anybody is prepared by their prior experience to take on a challenge like this, but who’s more ready. And I am very proud of the fact that I’ve worked in the trenches addressing the biggest issue facing Baltimore, which is public safety, which is crime. As a federal prosecutor, city prosecutor, Deputy Attorney General, I have wrestled with issues related to affordable housing impact real estate, because I ran a CDFI that made investments in those spaces, we evaluated businesses and ideas that were trying to get those things done. The problem for Brandon and Sheila is their only experience is in local government. And if your only experience is in a system that has failed this city for a generation, 25 years, we’ve lost 25%. Anytime you have Sheila Brandon on the next time, and they tell you about the great things they did when they were mayor, either, you know, back in the years or in the most recent years, ask them this. How come if things were so good on your watch, that people kept leaving the city, they left dramatically when Sheila was mayor, and they left dramatically, when Brandon was mayor, people vote with their feet. And if things aren’t working in a city, they move out to the county, for Baltimore to be the only city in America that is smaller and 2024 than it was in 1924. And still losing a percent of its population every year. You can’t claim that things are going well, if everybody’s leaving. Well,

Nestor J. Aparicio  21:38

the fact that things aren’t going well, we keep coming back and say what what do you Where’s day one for you? Let’s start with crime and public safety. Because that’s the thing I hear from white people in the county. I mean, I mean, and I hear it every day. And it’s snide, and it’s nasty. And it’s, it’s I never going back there and like, and I hear it all the time. I mean, even today, I said to someone, I’m going to city, be careful, crazy people down there. And I’m like, look at this is the voice of people don’t come to the city. And I don’t know what we’re going to break through with that. I am

Thiru Vignarajah  22:09

happy to defend myself and defend our city, against anybody out in the county. But I have to acknowledge that in the county crimes get solved. And criminals get prosecuted in Baltimore City. That does not happen with the same rule. We say that to me. Yeah, you remember me saying about homicides. 90% of homicides in Baltimore County resulted in arrests in Baltimore City, that number is 22%. That is a huge problem. But let’s take a very specific problem because your listeners are not going to think Oh, this guy is going to solve crime unless you really hear the details. Let’s take carjackings as an example. Number one,

Nestor J. Aparicio  22:42

we have to probably my biggest concern being the dude driving the car. Yeah, right. Yeah. So

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Thiru Vignarajah  22:46

what are we going to do about this carjackings have spiked. Number one, every carjacking is going to be referred to federal authorities. Not every road robbery is a federal crime. Not every murder is a federal crime. But every carjacking is a federal crime. Because every car is a vehicle in interstate commerce. It’s subject to federal jurisdiction. Number two, we are going to do something that State Farm Insurance would love you to do, which is offer GPS tracking devices to everybody who drives a car in Baltimore City, that tracking device is not going to ever follow you until you get carjacked. And when it does, we’re going to activate that that tracking device. It’ll lower your insurance premiums in Baltimore City. It will also result in police being able to interdict the people that are doing this number three, we’re going to launch something called the jack alert system. You know, there’s an Amber Alert, there’s a Silver Alert. Now what we do is as soon as you get carjacked that license plate, as soon as we know it gets into the system, every license plate reader every red light camera, every speed camera is picking up that license plate as it’s moving around the city. Now that’s not going to be able to result in the rest of that day. But a lot of this is being done by crews. And a former prosecutor can tell you, you got to build a case against the entire crew. If you want it to stop. We got to do that over and over again. Those are the kinds of concrete things that a person can pitch to your voters as proof that we can solve this problem. The US Attorney for Maryland did something very similar with bank robberies. Every bank robbery is a federal crime. He said every bank robbery and in Baltimore it happens in Baltimore City. We’re going to subject to federal jurisdiction to federal prosecution. Now, all of a sudden carjackers know that. If you’re in Baltimore and you do a carjacking, you’re not gonna get chased by a local cop and a local detective. You’re gonna get pursued by an FBI agent and federal prosecutors are going to come after you. That changes the mindset. Criminals are rational. Some of them are crazy, but the overwhelming majority of them respond to deterrence that’s why there are fewer murders Well,

Nestor J. Aparicio  24:47

you don’t pay for the crime. We’re gonna do the crime exactly period through Vigna. Raj is here he’s running for mayor yet again and you see him on TV and other places. We try to get together here whenever we can to talk about it in the city better Your platform just in a general sense since the bridge collapsed, the awareness of the port the awareness that that waterway isn’t just for fishing and hanging out and like all that. It’s inconceivable, right? The bridge going down. Like it’s not anything we could have talked about. I was in Florida the day it happened. It’s only been a month. I mean, it feels like now it’s been a long time. It’s been a month, month almost to the day, like not even a month, a month this week. Um, how does that change things perception wise for the business of Baltimore, the city of Baltimore, certainly the federal money, what it’s done to put Brandon on TV and West on TV and give them some, certainly for Wes, it’s gonna be a level of measurement for him. In all of that, what would be levels of measurement for you, because the next mayor is probably going to be around opening that bridge or like thinking about opening that bridge, and the possibilities for this city federal money, transportation money, there’s, we get some hope here. We’re gonna do baseball alone. We got the hardware, we got Peninsula. But there’s a lot going on here that four years ago, we had mask on doing this. It wasn’t happening here.

Thiru Vignarajah  26:05

That that bridge, brought into sharp relief. The best thing about Baltimore from 200 years ago, that we have the westernmost deepwater port on the Eastern Seaboard, one of the largest economies in the world. It’s in huge asset that no other city can compete with. Not Norfolk, not

Nestor J. Aparicio  26:24

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New Jersey, Indianapolis can’t even buy that correct. Can’t get that on the Mayflower. You

Thiru Vignarajah  26:28

can’t. And by the way, the reason why we competed with New York City, head to head for the first 100 years was the second western most deepwater port was Hudson harbor. So we know that that’s a huge asset.

Nestor J. Aparicio  26:39

They know you don’t eat crap, I love it. I know your veggies. And veggies. Thank you. Thank you don’t don’t eat while you’re Tom,

Thiru Vignarajah  26:44

let’s so so we know that that is a huge advantage. And we also now have huge challenge. The first thing the mayor’s got to realize and the next mayor’s got to do is not get into this divisive politics, we’re going to need bipartisan support for a major stimulus contribution to rebuild that bridge. If now is the time to talk left and right. You are serving your own interests, not the interests of the city. So when I see the mayor going on and talking about Trumpers, tweeting at him, he handled that perfectly fine. But why are you being distracted? Why are you making a national global tragedy where the compassion of the country and the world is directed at your city and making that story about tragedy? A story about yourself?

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Nestor J. Aparicio  27:28

Well, you’re always gonna get attacked no matter what, like in every case,

Thiru Vignarajah  27:32

every mayor, every candidate reads tweets that they find offensive. And you know what we do? We move on, we don’t get distracted by it. And the reason I bring that up is because if Republicans and Democrats start fighting about Baltimore, and about that bridge, that bridge will not be built in the next four years. In Minneapolis. They built it in what less than two years because there was universal support and a unanimous bill from Congress to provide the funds. Now that bridge was 1/5 As long as the creeper Oh, we have a much bigger challenge. We can’t do that ourselves. We’re going to need to get the kind of support that only somebody that can reach across the aisle can achieve well,

Nestor J. Aparicio  28:13

for you crime, the business of the city getting things potholes, all of that. What What am I missing? What am I leaving out? What are people? It’s always crime, crime, crime, and school, school, school school schools. Right. But what what am I missing that people do come up to you and mentioned something that’s not guns, carjacking? Or schools? Yeah.

Thiru Vignarajah  28:31

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You know, the one thing that has been centerstage, this election that wasn’t four years ago, is what we’re doing about harborplace. The reality is that this is the precious jewel of our city. Nobody wants to see the revival and renaissance of harborplace more than me, maybe after Lexington market in the some

Nestor J. Aparicio  28:49

it I saw you when you walk into your user, like I haven’t seen this since I haven’t seen on the show.

Thiru Vignarajah  28:56

Exactly. I’ve seen the rest of the market many times. But this is my first time. Look at this. Right I was I think we were all so worried that the charm of families would be left behind and that’s what she was worried about. And they did it they’ve they’ve done a magic trick, making it feel almost like the same space, the same Intimus

Nestor J. Aparicio  29:13

looks the same table. Yeah, the signs and make sure I’m doing the show in front of this sign over. There’s just the beautiful of the neons up here, but it doesn’t shine. You see it when you come in, but it’s not good for the television. So I just have to read you that that’s the same sign for you in place. It’s amazing,

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Thiru Vignarajah  29:28

exact same countertop over there. I mean, there’s there’s a lot of small touches they did to make sure this feels like home ball for them and for us. But the harborplace the notion that we’re going to replace those historic pavilions with luxury apartments for the Ultra Rich. It’s just ridiculous. And what we need to do is acknowledge that we’re going to spend what we need to spend to rebuild that part of our city. It is the crown jewel of Baltimore. But we don’t need a developer to draw up the plans. We need the city and the community Did you draw up the plans? And nobody, if you put it out for public dialogue would say you know what we need, we need more luxury condos. For 14 Light street has not reactivated the inner I live next door to 414 Light Street and it was their data. It’s perfectly fine. I’ve got friends there and they liked their views.

Nestor J. Aparicio  30:17

It cost me a lot of money because you could live there cheaper than you could buy my place correct period and condo fees and all of that. So it sort of undercut the real estate mark. So

Thiru Vignarajah  30:26

something one of the things that I have pledged is that as much as I will support the Renaissance and revival of harborplace, as much as I will invest public subsidies into that project, we will do it right. We will do it with a masterplan directed and developed by and with the community. We will not allow the construction of luxury apartments on the Promenade at the water’s edge. You want to do it across the street where 414 Light Street is great. By the way, the company that’s doing this MCB Realty, they own the PNC building, they own that parking lot across from the Renaissance Hotel, they have the rights to that too. They could build their luxury apartments there. But instead they want to put it right at the water’s edge. That is shameful it won’t happen. I have pledged within the first 60 days to issue an executive order that forbids the construction of residential buildings in public parks. You can’t do it in Druid Hill Park, you can’t do in Federal Hill Park, and you can’t do it at the Inner Harbor Park.

Nestor J. Aparicio  31:16

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Well, that’s pretty succinct. And I would think that that’s a touch point for you out on the streets because I don’t think anybody is for building luxury condos at the harbor other than people that don’t like I mean there’s no one in the citizenry would say that’s how I think we should use exactly

Thiru Vignarajah  31:33

right and by the way yeah, don’t be fooled by oh we put it to referendum we avoided

Nestor J. Aparicio  31:37

me and people that avoid me i don’t know i through i know you don’t know this or not. If you become mayor You better not avoid I will be right back here. I’m just saying like it’s not like you’ll

Thiru Vignarajah  31:46

have to get you use Alicia to get to me. But I’ll people that are afraid

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Nestor J. Aparicio  31:49

to come on and talk to me. I know what you’re about. I mean, like if you learn nothing for my 25th anniversary documentary that I do not go for, and especially if you’re running for public office, I can disagree with you all day and be agreeable, right. But I want to hear what you’re going to do for the people. And

Thiru Vignarajah  32:04

when MCB Realty and the mayor hope that the public blesses the referendum. They’re doing smoke and mirrors, they know that we vote for every referendum, right? You go in there, you barely read it, you say Check, check, check, check, check, you just assume it’s a good idea because it’s on the ballot. That is a huge mistake. People are gonna fight about it, people are gonna lobby around it. But you can get development without those luxury apartments. You know how much the developer is pitching in towards the public infrastructure improvements. Zero, he is going to build the luxury apartments, we have to foot the bill for all of the public infrastructure improvements. But if we do that, then we have to lift the restrictions for him to do it was a guy

Nestor J. Aparicio  32:47

that lived out the front door of that for 19 years invested the the best part of my life and living there, the traffic patterns, everything that’s going to happen. Certainly if the Orioles are going to be the Orioles again, and it’s going to look like 35,000 people. Yep, coming downtown, the traffic patterns will change. I feel like and I always feel this way. But I feel like the city is trending in a better direction from a mind frame of getting people downtown to CFG bank arenas come online just last time you want to talk. I’ve been to the place 10 times for different concerts since the last time I saw you. So I do sense the things are happening to bring people downtown. Now what they get when they the experience they have when they’re here will dictate whether they come back or not. And

Thiru Vignarajah  33:30

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that’s where this is important to say. And it’s one of those one of those dark secrets we don’t talk about enough. The truth is that the affluent neighborhoods of Baltimore, the white L, the butterflies are getting wealthier. They’re getting more dense, the population is going up. It is the Black Butterfly that is hemorrhaging people to the counties. And so when I hear people say Oh, things are getting better in Guilford getting better in downtown in Canton, that there’s so many new pickleball courts. I don’t think that’s a measure of a successful city. It’s a measure of a successful sub community. What I am worried about is that the same prosperity that we see here, the exact opposite is happening in West Baltimore, in East Baltimore, and we’re losing people. And we’re not losing rich people in Guilford. Were you losing intergenerational families in Edmondson village and Cherry Hill in East Baltimore? That is a huge problem.

Nestor J. Aparicio  34:25

I’m standing here in the middle of brand new Lexington market came online since the last time you and I got Yeah, so this is all things. We have progress during the playground here. So we are capable of

Thiru Vignarajah  34:35

absolute we are capable. Yep. And I want to see the same thing. Look, the mayor gave a $5 million injection to Lexington market. It’s beautiful. I love it. The problem is that not $1 went to Hollins market or northeast market. And the reason for that is and I’m sitting here enjoying Lexington market as I say this $5 million came to Lexington market because the mayor had developers would see ball development He’s seen his first campaign and this was a way to pay him back. That’s not the way government should run that’s not where I want taxpayer dollars to go. I want it to go to the places where they’re most needed. Not the places that best repay political favors and donations tell

Nestor J. Aparicio  35:15

people how they can help you through Vic Raja here we’re trying to get all the mayoral candidates out we had Sheila Dixon on two weeks ago have an invitation out to Bob Wallace as well as mayor Scott’s to stop by before the election and see before the election he elections literally now right it’s gonna be posted. It’s gonna be all next week. Absolutely. Yeah

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Thiru Vignarajah  35:32

roofer mayor.com through for mayor.com $25 donation becomes 250 $75 donation becomes 550. This is the first publicly financed campaign in Baltimore history. We’ve already proven it can work we’re so proud to have been the first campaign in the state that qualified for city funding for public funding. So proud of that at this level, we gotta do what’s right for the city of Baltimore, we need change we shouldn’t have to choose between corruption and incompetence in this election. You don’t have to vote through vote change unless

Nestor J. Aparicio  36:05

you get to after these vegetables here. Very few people come to fade Lee’s and turn down the crabcake It breaks my heart play tennis lately or hey, you bet yeah,

Thiru Vignarajah  36:15

we should play soon.

Nestor J. Aparicio  36:16

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Now my back man at some point I’m gonna get a cut on and fixed and I’ll be happy and I’ll be old and back to playing tennis. I mean, I was out the other day and you know had the opportunity to I was at the duck pin bowling lanes up at Greenmount bowl and they wanted me to roll and I thought man up back there yet you know it’s the Oh 304 Thank you Planet Fitness. Thank you Dr. Steve for making me feel a bit better but no no tennis for me right now. Watching I’m ready when you are. I’m ready when you are ready. French Open Wimbledon Good to see you through see you my friend. So we’re vignarajah you can find him. The principal Woodlawn is what I like to say here. Has sister doing She’s doing good things for people got She’s incredible. To get her back on man. Yeah, you should. She’s still working.

Thiru Vignarajah  37:01

Yeah, right down the street. They’ve rebranded they’re now the global refuge is their official refuge. I mean, they’ve now got an internet

Nestor J. Aparicio  37:08

that means I need to have a crab cake with her over here you go. We’re threatened to have both of you on if you’re mayor elect will do that sold. All right. You can be Mayor elected three weeks, right? That’s the plan. It’d be nicer to you that is through vignarajah is here through for Mayor go find him out on the interwebs we are in favor please come find us at the new Lexington mark. We’re gonna be here every Friday that the Orioles are home hanging out Luke was here lay poor Luke up all night on the draft gets Jackson holidays out. He’s going to the ballpark. He’s back out of the draft. We don’t have an offensive lineman yet. But we do have scratch offs in the Maryland lottery. These are Pac Man scratch off your 18 year old and you can do that. Through can have that. Did you play Pac Man as a candidate Mr. Pac Man? You’re the right age for that. I was

Thiru Vignarajah  37:48

I was I was just a minute after I was a big Nintendo guy. We’re talking Metro Legend of Zelda. You were nervous.

Nestor J. Aparicio  37:54

All right, Tetris. Wow. You’re going way back down. Pac Man scratch offs. We got those to give away from the merit lottery. The Maryland crab cakes was gonna pick back up two weeks from now got a lot of things going on. But our 25th anniversary documentary that through hasn’t seen yet is out as of last night. 40 years of media. I don’t even know what to say about it. It’s the most ambitious thing I’ve done. I felt like Thursday night I’d had a baby. I told Luke that I said it was just such a I’ve written books and it didn’t feel as cathartic. It’s just like seeing the thing on YouTube and saying what’s done now I can like get back to normal things back the pennant race back to the draft this weekend. My appreciation to through our folks that never fails and Luke Jones come down get a crab cake and enjoy yours. I didn’t have crab cake and a crab cake today and shrimp salad. That’s all right through didn’t have any meat so you’d love some more for me. I will take a crab geiko back for more

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