1. Please provide a Biographical sketch of yourself. 5+ years President, Waverly Improvement Association Memorial Stadium Task Force Woodberry Planning Committee Woodberry Land Trust board member Charles Village Task Force Literacy Advisory Board member of Greater Homewood Community Corporation Past board member of GHCC Past co-chair Baltimore City Green Party Board member Maryland TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) Local co-chair TESOL 03 International Convention (March 03, Baltimore) Public school teacher for 10 + years Frequently published letters to the editor of the Baltimore Sun DOB: 4/24/55 Publicly educated
2. The National Green Party supports Clean Money Legislation, and supports full public funding of elections. In the interim to reaching this goal, would you be willing to accept a campaign donation limit (for individuals)? If so, what would be your limit and why? Will you agree not to accept donations form corporations, unions, political action committees, and unincorporated companies?
Yes to it all. My campaign will not accept $ above 100. It will not accept non-individual contributions. I’m working with GP members throughout the State on this very issue. I believe the limit would show the Green value of clean elections; not being influenced by non-human entities.
3. What issues are unique to the district in which you will be running (or city-wide if running for a city-wide office), and what are your proposals for dealing with those issues? Are these going to be the issues you emphasize during your campaign?
Many issues are the same city-wide but in the 14th there is a serious problem of institutional development and expansion. Like everywhere, this expansion is at the expense of the communities. Proposal: Require a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between developer and community representatives before a PUD (Planned Urban Development) goes to a 3rd Reader in City Council. Charter Amendment to make the Board of Estimates more representative of the people, so that the Mayor does not have absolute control of the outcome. Require City Council hearings to be held on location in order to maximize citizen participation.
4. Please articulate any areas of the BGP platform with which you disagree. Are you willing to support the platform through legislation you propose and votes you take if elected, despite personally disagreeing with these issues? Please keep in mind that diversity of opinion is welcomed and encouraged in the Green Party.
I’m not a pacifist although I don’t believe the Baltimore City Council will wage war on a neighboring county anytime soon. I’m in near agreement with the GP platform on national, international and local issues.
5. If elected, what do you envision your relationship will be with the Baltimore Green Party?
My participation with the local GP will depend on whether I view the local as being effective in running an effective organization; that it will go beyond the perceived futility of never making decisions and revisiting old decisions because a minority does not get its way. I would hope that it takes my and others’ campaigns seriously and recognizes the real opportunity to elect Greens to City Council and doesn’t undercut its own credibility.
6. Baltimore City is notorious for failing its citizens in terms of public education. Test scores, however, have improved in certain areas in recent years. Is Baltimore City on the right track in terms of improving education or should the City be doing something differently? Be specific.
The school system is on the right track but is undercut by inefficiencies and prejudice from other elected State officials. Thornton must be fully funded. Unfunded mandates must be opposed, yet the goals ought to be adopted. Like with other high ranking individuals in City government, make the CEO of schools drive their own damn cars without chauffeurs that are paid more than teachers. There needs to be citizen and Union representatives on the School Board. There needs to be real citizen oversight of the school board. As a Baltimore City school teacher (Patterson HS, starting in September 2003) and a public school teacher for the last 10 years I have been there and am doing it. As one very active in the Union I see where the problems are. Teachers must be supported by administration or the administration must go. I strongly support the Charter schools modeled after the Stadium School, where the parents and teachers serve as the administrators. I will support the establishment of the new school called the Sojourner Truth International School, being formed by Marcus Ampadu.
7. What is the most important issue to you relating to public health and the environment in Baltimore City?
Lead in our homes and schools, and sewage spills due to antiquated systems are the main environmental problems. Lobby hard for Federal money to address this. Create a strong teacher – student bond on environmental issues. Encourage urban environmental clubs. Provide environmental urban tours so that students can see the degradation of places like the Woodberry forest or the Brownfields of Wagner’s Point.
8. What aspects of the current city budget are most wasteful, and would be the most likely to be cut if you were elected?
Although it only amounts to around $14,000/year, I’d abolish the Planning Commission as being an absolute waste of taxpayers money. I would look for redundancies. I am too unfamiliar with the budget to make an informed decision for other cuts at this time.
9. Baltimore city has a notoriously poor public transportation system, and the Maryland State Department of Transportation has recently decided to cut services and increase fares. How could your office be used to address this issue? Is there any legislation you would propose that would promote bicycling as a mode of transportation?
I work with my community on promoting the expanded transit system for light rails, expanded bus routes and potential increasing of subway routes. I would strongly work to develop bike paths and will set an example by traveling by scooter or bus whenever possible. Strongly oppose an increase of fares and would lobby the General Assembly in Annapolis to reduce the % of funds Baltimore City is required to put into the funds for the MTA. I would encourage more shuttle services, like the Hampden Shuttlebug.
10. The current police chief has proposed a set of new initiatives which include stricter enforcement of loitering laws. What is your opinion of such initiatives? How can the police improve its crime-fighting tactics while preserving civil liberties, preventing racial profiling and eliminating police brutality?
I approve of nuisance citations but it must be done, with citizen oversight, that it does not target individuals or groups unfairly. I will gladly explain in person much more on this (and all the other) questions.
11. What effect does HUD and section 8 housing have on neighborhoods? How should the City balance its need for low-income housing with efforts to develop neighborhoods, strengthen property values and increase the tax base?
Large scale HUD placement in a community is not good for the overall improvement of the community. I support selective placement with the community strongly involved in setting up specific criteria and oversight for such residences. HUD as a federal agency performs a social need but there must be an understanding of the recipient that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. The recipient must have certain responsibilities as a resident.
12. Would you be willing to sponsor legislation which gives domestic partnership benefits to city employees?
Yes to domestic partnership benefits to city employees and all others in the work force.
13. Land development is a controversial issue in Baltimore City, as it is in most distressed cities. What are your views on land use and development?
Land use. I could write a tome on this!! As one who has been working to protect the community and forest of Woodberry I am intimately involved in land development issues. Bottom line on this is that communities should have near veto power of development in their neighborhood and full access to the decision making process. I will elaborate on this if you give me at least 3 hours!
14. What is your opinion of the privatization of city jobs? Explain.
I oppose the privatization of city jobs. I said so as I went through the endorsement process with the AFL-CIO. I see privatization as very Republican and anti-Union.
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