Development and Housing

To reverse the lasting impact of redlining practices in Baltimore, I will advocate for inclusionary housing in place of public housing communities and fully support the establishment of a Land Bank and a Vacant Property Tax. These will accelerate the development and sale of the 14,000 or more vacant properties in the city. This policy would also address the direct needs of each community, whether that is a grocery store in a food desert, Pre-K school in an area with several young families, or fields and facilities for recreation where there are none.

 

I want to replicate the models of the nonprofits and programs that are the most successful at meeting the needs of families and citizens. I would like to see Judy Centers or Community Centers at all of our schools, providing activities and services from 7 AM to 10 PM. Our neighborhoods need more access to reliable public transportation, green spaces, parks, and gardens (expanding the budget for Rec & Parks), and inclusionary housing, especially for multi-family units. All 275 neighborhoods in Baltimore should have these.

 

Other jurisdictions have zoning commissions that are better suited for keeping up with the times and changes in population and demand. We should create a zoning commission that will develop recommendations every four years. Baltimore is at the top of the list in the US for Cities with the most population decline. We should be looking to other cities that are doing the opposite. I believe Baltimore has the potential to be like Nashville with our entertainment districts and having more live music venues, but we also need to do a better job of attracting more employers to the City.

 

I will add a new Taskforce for Businesses and Economic Development to keep them engaged, to organize them, and resolve commonly shared issues. As a CPA, I want to ensure that our businesses in District 1 are successful while adhering to MOUs that foster relationships between and benefit residents and businesses. I will help any organization that wants assistance. The economic logic is that improving the financial health of our businesses increases jobs and property value, which in turn increases revenue for the city.

 

Ensuring the success of local businesses strengthens the health of a community. On a similar note, I want to help community associations grow their membership and have what they need to continue to encourage and increase participation. If their Bylaws do not preclude my participation, I can also help them with Treasurer duties while helping new volunteers transition into the position once they have it. This is usually a position they have difficulty fulfilling. I will also continue to help other community associations establish and expand their public safety committees.

 

Jurisdictions outside the City have Rec. Council non-profit arms to serve communities and provide programming, but Baltimore does not, and we lost the funding of Police Athletic Leagues (PALS). Instead, we have recently been blessed with the expansion of Volo’s newer non-profit, which is now managing over fifty youth programs, but the goal should be to have Rec. Programs in all 275 neighborhoods. I like Rec. Councils, though one of which I have served on a Board as both President and Treasurer. The leagues are run by the parents and the teams are coached by the parents. If we can increase parental involvement with the programs, maybe we can increase parental involvement at the schools. If we can increase parental involvement at the schools, our youth will be better off, and our schools will be improved.

 

Trash and recycling removal is another major issue that needs to be vastly improved. Both from the individual pickup crews and from the crews that pickup trash from public receptacles as well as the streets. For the latter, I want to increase the number of Business Benefit Districts in our First District with trash pickup on our streets as the priority, along with preventing public drug use, loitering, and encampments on public property; however, I also believe DPW should internalize most of the waste management functions and equitably benefit the whole city (not just the wealthiest areas) and create more jobs, including jobs for former inmates but with additional training (like Project Jumpstart). DPW is short-staffed, especially at the sanitation yards and with the trash and recycling crews. Many of these individuals you see around in the yellow shirts are working sixteen or more hours per day, which is not sustainable.

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