The Pelosi Preakness

This coming week features Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, the biggest event in the world for horse racing. There’s been a worrisome uptick in the rate of thoroughbred fatal injuries this year. Still, I much prefer the Sport of Kings; given the way so many sports leagues are mired in political correctness, (who knew Kate Smith was a Confederate general?) and the evermore corrupt nature of college sports, from AdmissionsGate to ShoeGate.

The people who run racing have also made some good decisions the last two decades. Firstly, they took advantage of their legal position to get the sport well positioned on the internet, and teamed up with state lotteries and casinos, leading to better purses. And most importantly, they have consolidated the sport at fewer but much nicer and renovated venues, even if it has meant the end of some famous tracks, like Hollywood.

The people who run Maryland racing would like to do the same thing there -- consolidate at a newly renovated and expanded Laurel Race Track, a nice suburban place that even has a train station on the Eastern Corridor. Historic but hopelessly rundown Pimlico, stuck in an awful inner-city neighborhood, would close and the Preakness, the state’s famous race, would be run at Laurel, starting in 2021.  Standing in the way: the crooked Democrats who run Baltimore.

The current mayor, Catherine Pugh, is about to be indicted, but her backers are asserting that she is in such bad health she may lack the lucidity to resign or even stand trial, perhaps taking a page from mob boss Vincent "the Chin" Gigante. Before her legal troubles,  Mayor Pugh was in court with a ridiculous eminent domain suit to seize Pimlico and the Preakness. But no one has any idea how Baltimore, were it even to win, would get the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to keep the place running and in good repair. It was just announced that the grandstands of the Pimlico facility are permanently closed due to structural problems.

Rather than bow to the inevitable and negotiate an intelligent repurposing of the Pimlico property, the Baltimore Democrats, I expect, will do what they always do -- act like spoiled children, call anyone who opposes them racists, and waste years of time and money fighting another worthless cause rather than deal in reality.

That’s truly a shame, because there really is no excuse for Baltimore to be the mess of a city it has become. A lot of American cities, big and small, have lost out in the postindustrial shifts of the last 60 years. But Metro D.C. is recession-proof, and ever growing. The vast stretches of east and west Baltimore that lie abandoned could be condemned, razed, and replaced with condo towers and market-rate apartments to serve the bevy of white-collar workers who could find these areas convenient.  But that’s beneath the Baltimore politicos. They spend their time worrying about high-profile projects like sports stadiums, and of course, municipal graft.

Which brings us to Nancy Pelosi. Her dad, “Big Tommy” D’Alesandro, was Baltimore mayor throughout the 1950s and was a legendary crook. He made a lot of money, but his public career cratered over charges of kickbacks. His son was also mayor of Baltimore and likewise left public life under a cloud, especially for his inept leadership in the 1968 Baltimore riots. The ensuing white flight killed off what had been a substantial GOP base in the town, leaving Charm City a fiefdom for crooks and incompetents. Little Nancy was part of the graft from the beginning, even helping Big Tommy keep his account book of “favors done and owed”. 

When the Pelosi family moved to San Francisco, Nancy brought the Baltimore touch to the Bay area, pulling out the brass knuckles to raise funds for Jerry Brown’s Democrats and winning a congressional seat. Interestingly, Mr. Pelosi, just like Diane Feinstein’s current hubby, became very rich, maybe hundreds of millions rich, once his spouse was a big-shot Democrat in D.C. He owns sports franchises, wineries, and loads of expensive real estate.

Just like Baltimore, though, San Francisco is finding out just how much theft and idiocy left-wing Democrats with a monopoly on power can cook up. The place is overwhelmed with homeless camping in the streets, making a sanitation nightmare for everybody.

And as all the rich liberals who live in the City-By-the-Bay have too much invested already in their property -- they can’t just pull up stakes and leave. Some are trying to hold back the tide with crowdfunded lawsuits. But given the hordes of new freeloaders coming across the border into sanctuary cities like San Francisco, things will only be getting worse.

Meanwhile, the blue-collar horsemen in Maryland finally get to kiss Baltimore and the fiasco left by the D’Alesandro crime family and its many successors goodbye. The era of the “Pelosi Preakness,” the last sad years at Pimlico, as a ridiculous make-believe of trying to hold a world-class sporting event in the middle of a slum while the venue itself is collapsing, is almost over.

But a different fate awaits the Left Coast sports fans. I see even the new Warriors arena is within easy walking distance of the many homeless campsites. Patrons may soon have to wade through a tide of discarded heroin needles and human feces just to reach the place. I wonder if the team will include complimentary tetanus shots with all season tickets? 

Frank Friday is an attorney in Louisville, KY.     

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