April 24, 2024
Annapolis, US 71 F

Off The Record With Josh Cohen

While the host of On The Record lives right around the corner, I had the opportunity today (along with 4 other invited guests from The Capital, The Baltimore Sun, and The Annapolis Sound) to have lunch with the Mayor in his office completely off the record. No, sorry, I am not going to be blabbing any juicy gossip, but I wanted to jot down my impressions (somewhat changed) of our new Mayor as he completes his 8th month in office and his first month of owning the budget.

Nine months ago, if I had to define Josh, political opportunist and ladder climber may have been two phrases. Today, I have a somewhat different opinion. Yes, he is climbing a ladder and has higher aspirations–as do we all. But I am not sure that the term “opportunist” fits the bill at all.

Our conversations ran from politicians we admire to politicians we hate. From speculation on the upcoming elections and his endorsements to his own viability in the next election. It was frank, candid and completely casual. And of course since the City has no line item for pizza in the Mayor’s office, I paid my $5 for some good Ledo pizza!

I walked away realizing that Josh is very honest with himself. He believes in his decisions and does indeed trust the people with whom he has chosen to surround himself.  Personally, I feel the the $16 million line of credit is a mistake and will not be convinced otherwise until the next budget, but Josh Cohen truly believes it is the right move.  He and his finance team came up with the plan and they all believe it is the right plan. Time will tell, but you have to admire a politician that does indeed stick to his guns–even though he flip flopped on the City Manager issue, and then flopped back. While he is big on collaboration, ultimately the buck does stop with the mayor and he is willing to take the lumps–and I am sure, the glory.

He is fallible and will make mistakes throughout his career, but I came away refreshed to know that his decisions are not based on what one of his advisers (handlers) have said, but from a conscientious decision as to what Josh believes as being best for the City of Annapolis.

Speaking of the City and what is best for it, we briefly discussed the prior administration and the comment was made by the Mayor that you would be hard pressed to find a person more committed to the betterment of the City than Ellen Moyer. Like her or loathe her–I don’t think anyone can deny that in her heart, she felt her actions were indeed in the best interest of the City.

This meeting was at the request of the Mayor and I appreciate the opportunity to sit back in a casual setting and open up the lines of communication. I can’t see Ellen Moyer offering something like this. The Cohen administration has promised transparency, (and it can be argued that it could be more transparent) and this is a step to delivering just that.

Now, I need to call my Alderman and see if we can get a line item in next year’s budget for Pizza Parties!

PS: If you want to know his favorites on the Council, who he is wary of, and his favorite fried chicken place, and where he envisions his future–well, you’re out of luck. It was off the record.

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