“We need to break the Disconnect!”
What is the Disconnect?
Anytime there is a lack of meaningful, cooperative communication between groups, you have a disconnect. Disconnected groups do not communicate properly, they do not work together as equal partners, and, consequently, they do not utilize the best resources available. In fact, they may be working against each other. In this situation, everybody loses. This is not sustainable. We need to break the impediments to meangingful cooperation (racism, classism, territorialism… to name a few), and reconnect communities and neighbors with leaders, businesses, institutions and so on. The true strengths and talents East Baltimore citizens will make the whole community will flourish.
There are many disconnects that plague the 13th District. There are disconnects between residents and schools, between citizens and law enforcement, between politicians and their constituents. There are also disconnects from neighborhood to neighborhood, between ethnic communities, between church and the community- just to name a few. The Glenn Ross campaign aims to break these disconnects through some of the following initiatives.
Some of East Baltimore’s political leaders have been in place for 25 years. No effort has been made to groom new leaders to eventually take the reins from them. This makes it difficult for young people to find a positive way to channel their ideas and community activism. There are training programs that have already been used successfully to strengthen neighborhood organizations and develop emerging leaders. Glenn Ross will bring these programs to the 13th district to be shared with all neighborhood and community organizations.
One of the biggest problems with the current political office holders is that they operate behind closed doors and often keep their constituents in the dark. Money passes through many Baltimore communities, but how is it spent? For example, millions of federal dollars came into Baltimore to start the Empowerment Zones, but exactly how and where was that money spent? Are the political leaders making the best possible use of the resources that are available? Once Glenn Ross is elected, secrecy shall be eliminated. Glenn Ross will bring “the Game” out in the open and keep all of his constituents informed of important developments that affect their communities.
Develop a community resource center
This would be a clearinghouse where communities can provide or receive resources. Communities need to do more networking to share resources and information, and be less territorial. The resource center will bring communities together in a positive way and encourage cooperative development among communities.
Glenn Ross has already proven that this can be a very successful program, when he was director of the Citizen’s Planning and Housing Association’s Neighborhood Resource Bank (NRB). Glenn expanded the NRB to a statewide program now known as the Community Resource Bank of Maryland. This continues to be a valuable program for Baltimore City communities.
While director of the NRB, Glenn formed the Coalition for Beautiful Neighborhoods, based on city-wide community concerns. This led to coalitions that addressed issues such as illegal billboards (advertising alcohol and tobacco in predominantly African-American and poor neighborhoods). The Liquor Board Coalition dealt with nuisance liquor establishments that sold to minors and operated after hours. Dealing with communities’ drugs and nuisance problems lead to the creation of the Community Law Center, founded by Ann Blumenberg, Executive Director.
Build District 13 Coalition
Once Glenn Ross wins a City Council seat in District 13, he wants to bring together numerous stakeholders from the district to explore accountability issues and to develop a vision for improving the quality of life in District 13. This coalition would be modeled after the very successful Southeast Stakeholders Coalition that Glenn founded in 2003.
Glenn Ross, once elected, will bring the entire district together and have each community create its own development plan based on how they would like their community to be. Community organizations need to be strengthened and shown how they can tap into funding. THE FUNDING IS AVAILABLE. Then each community can make their development plans a reality. This is the kind of leadership that we should expect from our elected officials. This is the kind of leadership that Glenn Ross has provided for years as a Community Volunteer Consultant.
Address Urban Environmental Health Issues
Glenn Ross understands the link between the environment and public health. One of his greatest passions has been addressing these issues and educating the community on how to create a healthier environment for everyone.
“When people in this community hear the word ‘environment’ they think of forests, streams, bears and whales. They’re not thinking about what lies underneath the kitchen sink. My history (African American History0) has been addressing the environmental issues that affect East Baltimore communities. All environmental issues affect our health!”
- Vacant lots/ Green Space
- Air Quality management
- Stream management (underground flow from Herring Run)
One problem that Glenn has noticed is that development projects are often not oriented toward strengthening communities. The community is not being provided with what it really needs. Part of the problem is simply lack of communication between those who organize projects and the people who live in the community.
The other problem is that developers and speculators are seeking to make profits. Therefore, their development interests are not aligned with a strategy that would truly strengthen the community. Communities need after-school programs, educational programs, child-care programs, leadership training programs, better transportation, social development, cleaner parks, libraries, beautification projects- the list goes on. Glenn has many years of experience in getting these types of projects off the ground. THE FUNDING IS AVAILABLE. You just need to know where to look.
Finally, Glenn has noticed a disturbing trend where some Community Development Corporations are undermining the community organizations that created them. Development corporations are taking over the direction of neighborhood development and their interests are aligned with making profits for a few individuals. This is a problem throughout the city. Leaders need to help refocus community development and make sure that it works to truly benefit the whole community.