My Response to Sierra Club & Clean Water Action Baltimore City Candidate Questionnaire


Good Government

1.     Do you commit to meeting with advocates before introducing, supporting or amending a bill on an issue that concerns them? What mechanisms will you use to provide transparency in your office?

Yes or No:
Explain:

Yes. Upon request, I will meet with advocates before introducing, supporting or amending a bill on an issue that concerns them. I will submit regular public reports and regularly respond to reasonable requests for information.

2.     In November 2018 75% of voters approved an amendment to the City Charter that authorizes establishment of a Fair Election Fund, to provide a public financing option for political campaigns for Baltimore City elected offices. The City Council has passed legislation to implement the charter amendment. Will you support enough budget funding to implement the public financing option?

Yes or No:
Explain:

Yes. I fully support public funding of political campaigns.  Without public finance reform, corporations and wealthy individuals will continue to wield undue influence over elected officials.

Lead Exposure

3.     City residents continue to suffer from high rates of lead poisoning, which leads to serious reading disabilities and violent behavior among children. Will you support council action to protect our children and create a healthier, more affordable housing stock free of lead paint? Likewise, will you support council action to examine the safety of Baltimore’s drinking water supply and delivery system?

Yes or No:
Explain:

Yes. I would support council action to create a healthier, more affordable housing stock free of lead paint. I would support local, state and federal legislation requiring lead paint companies to pay for lead abatement and the development of new lead free, affordable housing in impacted communities. Yes. I fully support council action to examine the safety of Baltimore’s drinking water and delivery system. We must ensure that Baltimore does not experience the same problems as Flint and Newark.

Water Quality

4.     Sewage overflows and stormwater runoff pollute Baltimore Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay, and the City’s efforts to reduce them include stormwater fees, sewer repairs, and major upgrades to the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant. Will you support additional funding, transparency, and acceleration of these efforts? Will you encourage DPW to prioritize repairs aimed at preventing backups into people’s homes, and provide better assistance to residents with this problem?

Yes or No:
Explain:

Yes. Yes. City government must do everything in its power to address the problem of sewage overflows. There must be additional funding to address the problem. The city should pay for upgrades to the Treatment Plant and the city should promptly pay for contractors to repair residents’ homes damaged by sewage.

What kind of priority would you place on increasing the use of "green" stormwater infrastructure for addressing Baltimore's stormwater management, nuisance flooding, and community greening needs? Where do you believe the city should focus its resources on complying with the 2017 Modified Sewer Consent Decree after the "Headworks Project" is completed in late 2020? Despite current efforts, unfortunately Baltimore’s harbor is still impaired from bacteria and trash. What specific actions would you take to help speed up the reduction of this bacteria and trash pollution?

I place a high priority on increasing the use of “green” stormwater infrastructure for addressing Baltimore’s stormwater management, nuisance flooding and community needs. As required by the Modified Sewer Consent Decree and as stated on the Baltimore City Department of Public Works’ website, the city should focus on “upsizing the collection system to achieve a 5-year level of protection throughout the City, and a 10-year level of protection in sensitive areas by December 31, 2030.”  I would take actions recommended by the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore and other environmental groups to reduce bacteria and trash pollution in the Harbor. They recommend establishing a public outreach program, eliminating illegal sewage connections, increasing capacity to correct sewage leaks, establishing water quality benchmarks, monitoring water quality, providing incentives for clean and green plans, conducting comprehensive trash survey, identifying high priority areas for targeted action, and implementing practices to prevent trash from entering storm drains.  If elected, I would support funding those efforts.

Solid Waste

5.     Baltimore City is responsible for managing municipal solid waste. Zero Waste is a set of principles, focused on waste prevention and diversion, with the ultimate goal of no trash being sent to landfills, incinerators, or the ocean. Do you support zero waste principles for Baltimore City? What actions would you support or propose to reduce waste and litter on our streets and in our waterways? How would you finance these programs? How would you address the needs of low-income and elderly Baltimore City residents? How would you work to expand composting and recycling in all areas of the City?

Yes or No:
Explain:

Yes. I support zero waste principles for Baltimore City. As stated in the Sierra Club Zero Waste policy, I support policies designed to reduce the use of materials, energy and toxic substances. I support policies designed to encourage repair, reuse and recycling. If elected, I would support higher fines for dumping and littering. I would support the creation of the Baltimore Clean Energy Initiative.  Under the Initiative, big businesses would pay a 1% surcharge on all revenues.  The funds would be used to promote clean energy and green jobs.  Green jobs will create employment opportunities for low income people. I support additional funding to expand composting and recycling in all areas of the city.

Transportation

6.     A great city needs a great transportation system, including rail, bus, bike lanes and improved pedestrian safety.  People without a car in Baltimore City can only access 9% of jobs in the metropolitan area. Do you support increased transit investments in Baltimore? What is your vision of a great transit system for Baltimore and what will you do to help make this vision a reality? How can you make Baltimore safer for pedestrians and bicyclists?

Yes or No:
Explain:

Yes. I support increased transit investments in Baltimore. I support the Red Line Transit proposal which would connect Baltimore to neighboring regions thereby increasing job opportunities for Baltimore residents. I would help make Baltimore safer for pedestrians and bicyclists by supporting the full implementation of Baltimore City Councilman Ryan Dorsey’s Complete Streets legislation.

Environmental Justice

7.     Many of Baltimore’s economically disadvantaged areas are subject to the hazards of environmentally harmful industries and facilities located in their communities. Air pollution from these sites impacts health and can cause asthma. According to Baltimore City Department of Health, the City’s children under 18 have an asthma rate twice the national average. What will you do to ensure that all neighborhoods receive protection when projects or developments that would introduce additional sources of pollution are proposed?

Yes or No:
Explain:

I would fight to ensure that the Baltimore Clean Air Act and Maryland Healthy Air Act were fully implemented and enforced.

 8.     For years, South Baltimore communities have asked for the closure of the Wheelabrator Baltimore waste-to-energy incinerator – the single biggest point source of air pollution in the city. Do you favor closure of the incinerator??

Yes or No:
Explain:

Yes, if they fail to comply with the Baltimore Clean Air Act.  However, I support bringing the Wheelabrator into compliance with the Baltimore Clean Air Act. The Wheelabrator must substantially reduce and monitor chemical emissions or face fines and/or closure.

Sustainability

9.     Baltimore has been a leader in local government sustainability, and The 2019 Baltimore Sustainability Plan was adopted by the City Council and Mayor last spring. Will you provide full support, including funding, for the efforts of the Baltimore Office of Sustainability and the Commission on Sustainability?

Yes or No:
Explain:

Yes. I will provide full support, including funding, for the efforts of the Baltimore Office of Sustainability and the Commission on Sustainability.  I fully support their goals such as transforming vacant properties into green community assets, reducing emissions, promoting urban agriculture and addressing hazards.

10.  TreeBaltimore is a mayoral initiative with nonprofit organization partners that aims to increase the urban tree canopy through the establishment, management and preservation of trees, and to reach a goal of 40% tree canopy cover by 2037. Do you support continuation or expansion of this initiative?

Yes or No:
Explain:

Yes. I support the continuation of TreeBaltimore initiative. As noted on the TreeBaltimore website, “trees literally clean the air by absorbing pollutants and releasing oxygen.” Trees beautify neighborhoods and help the environment.

11.  Will you plan to promote and attract environmentally-oriented economic development, including jobs in green industries and technologies, and environmental jobs for young people?  How?

Yes or No:
Explain:

Yes. As previously stated, I support legislation establishing the Baltimore Clean Energy Initiative.  Under the Initiative, big businesses would pay a 1% surcharge on all revenues.  The funds would be used to promote clean energy and green jobs. 

12.  Over 150 U.S. cities have declared themselves “Ready for 100%” clean renewable energy. Will you work to add Baltimore to the list?

Yes or No:
Explain

Yes. I would work to add Baltimore to add to the list of cities committing to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy.  I would push for the passage of a resolution making that commitment.

13.  Employee Owned businesses tend to be greener and more equitable than traditional businesses. In addition, they anchor revenues and higher paying jobs in the city and state. Will you take action to promote employee ownership in Baltimore City and throughout Maryland?

Yes or No:
Explain:

Yes. I support state legislation such as the Maryland Employee Ownership, federal legislation and city legislation to promote the formation of more employee ownership in Baltimore City. 



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