Baltimore’s last mayoral race, in 2016, was the first to follow the senseless death of Freddie Gray from an injury sustained while in police custody and the widespread unrest it sparked, shining a light on some harsh realities long ignored by many: systemic racism, structural inequality and the wide gap in opportunity between two very distinct Baltimores, one black, one white. Four years later, we’re still struggling with those same issues, and we again find ourselves in crisis, captive to a novel coronavirus that’s only deepened the city’s divisions.

Whoever wins this year’s mayoral contest will face a tough road ahead. Much of their term will be about budget reductions and recovery from all that the pandemic wrought — on top of the city’s other problems, including soaring homicides, a declining population and poor public transportation options. There’s a temptation felt by some in the community to lean toward a placeholder candidate, someone who won’t rock the boat in already turbulent waters. But while Baltimore certainly does need a mayor who can deliver basic services, hire competent people and fight for our share of federal pandemic funds, it cannot afford to forego big ideas for another four years.

If there’s one thing Catherine Pugh’s mayoral tenure and subsequent criminal conviction should have taught us, it’s that there’s no such thing as a “safe” choice in this city. So let’s aim high.

It’s time Baltimore had a visionary leader who lives and breathes the city, and knows it like the back of his hand; someone who will work tirelessly to improve it and who isn’t afraid to upset the apple cart if it’s for the greater good. That’s why we endorse Brandon Scott to be the next mayor of Baltimore.

Mr. Scott, a Democrat, came up in the city, a child of Park Heights who experienced the same challenges that thousands of African American boys face every day here: shootings in the streets, suspicion from police, few educational or economic opportunities.

He credits much of his success and political rise — first as a staffer under former City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, then a Northeast Baltimore councilman and now City Council president himself — to tenacity and a chance he was given to go to a decent middle school, changing the trajectory of his life (he went on to graduate from Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School and earn a political science degree from St. Mary’s College of Maryland). And he wants others to have a shot at the same level of achievement. Read more at Baltimore Sun