My Response to Baltimore Women United PAC Questionnaire

I will focus on addressing the root causes of crime and violence in Baltimore such as poverty, unemployment and inadequate education. I will invest in our youth. If elected, I would support and/or sponsor legislation following the Oakland Ceasefire Partnership model, a model that substantially reduced the violence in Oakland. The legislation would call for the identification of all the specific individuals who are at risk. The proposed legislation would establish effective lines of communication with at-risk individuals and provide life-saving services for those individuals. The services would include counseling, vocational training, educational programs, mentorships, college scholarships, job programs, entrepreneurship programs and other services. In addition, I would support legislation expanding Youth Works into an all-year program and accept more students. Moreover, I would support legislation to provide more funding for community groups with a proven track record of substantially reducing violence in the city. For instance, according to news reports, Safe Streets helped substantially reduce the violence in Cherry Hill. Such successful programs need more funding and material support from the City.

I would work to ensure that the Kirwan Commission’s plan is adequately funded without cutting vital public services. If elected, I will support and/or sponsor legislation calling for the renegotiation of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes ("PILOT") Programs. Currently, under the PILOT programs, 11 non-profits are underpaying the City by $41 million. Those funds could be used to improve our schools.

I would support legislation calling for the Department of Transportation to increase the number of buses. Unfortunately, the buses often do not adhere to the bus schedule. Increasing the number of buses will help address the problem. In addition, I would publicly support renewed calls for the creation of the Red Line. The Red Line would have granted Baltimore residents access to job centers and an opportunity to cut their commute times. Unfortunately, the Governor rejected the original proposal. I would support the creation of a Regional Transit Authority that is independent of the state. As Capital Region Blueprint for Regional Mobility has stated, Baltimore’s transit system is one of the few in the country run by the state.

I support legislation providing mentoring, counseling, vocational training, scholarships, education, entrepreneurship programs and jobs for our youth. I would support legislation calling for increasing funding for programs that encourage students to complete high school and college. More specifically, I would support legislation expanding Youth Works into an all-year program and accept more students. I would support increasing funding for recreation centers. Increased funding will enable the city to open more recreation centers. During the summer, recreation centers should serve breakfast and lunch to young people.

I would support legislation substantially increasing funding for the demolition of dilapidated abandoned buildings. The legislation must ensure that demolition sites are safe and secure. The legislation would require all developers to pay into a special fund to support the revitalization of blighted neighborhoods. The legislation would create tax incentives for developers to revitalize troubled communities and to create affordable housing in opportunity areas. The development and protection of affordable housing is essential to ensure that working class and low income families are not displaced by development.

In addition to the previously stated agenda items, I would support increasing the minimum wage to a living wage. I would support legislation calling for free college education. Free college education will increase job opportunities.

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