A 15-Point Plan for Baltimore's Future

Connecting The Dots

Education and Innovation

Accountability in providing quality educational opportunities for all youth, no matter the zip code they reside in, must be a critical focus of City Hall. Our education system should be the launching pad for a vibrant resident base by exposing our youth to careers of the future, providing our youth with the skill set to compete in our job market, and fully equipping our youth to begin building tomorrow’s solutions today.

1.

We will eliminate gaps in the education system, which includes implementing universal prekindergarten, creating magnet middle schools, and bringing Early College High School to scale in Baltimore. This means:

 

  • Developing a social impact bond for universal prekindergarten so that children are ready to learn when they enter kindergarten.
  • Earmarking City-funding to identify literacy barriers and develop individual learning programs for students behind reading level at 3rd Grade, to decrease long-term literacy gaps.
  • Advocating for the creation of magnet middle schools for STEM, Liberal Arts, and the Performing Arts.
  • Stopping the practice of expelling preschool students, and better incorporating mental health care professionals into early childhood education in Baltimore.
  • Expanding school-based health centers in high schools.

2.

We will build a complete education system that includes tailored attention for all students, implements City Year to create community schools in all of our neighborhoods, and has new recreation centers that ensure students’ well-being after they leave class. This means:

 

  • Establishing a labor-advisory committee that expands vocational education opportunities and ensures that the training received matches real-world work environments.
  • Building new state-of-the-art recreation centers that utilize vacant spaces, which can include former schools or warehouses.
  • Implementing the City Year program in Baltimore Public Schools to ensure that vulnerable students between 3rd and 9th grade have the support they need to graduate from high school.
  • Improving pipelines to vocational training and higher education by investing in Early College High School so that students graduate with associate degrees.
  • Expanding Youth Works to become a year-round program to incentivize school engagement and expose our youth to the jobs of tomorrow.
  • Collaborating with community partners on an Early Head Start program that better serves children with disabilities.
  • Ensuring that Early Childhood Education programs have a family engagement plan.

3.

We will increase accountability from North Avenue by creating dedicated resources in City Hall that focus on budgeting, program effectiveness, and reports directly to the Mayor so that school policy can become truly informed. This means:

 

  • Creating a Mayor’s Office of Education Reform tasked with oversight of City funding, and ensuring that the City’s top priorities are being addressed by the Baltimore Public Schools and interconnected with other city agencies, such as Recreation and Parks and the Mayors Office of Educational Development.

Healthy Neighborhoods and Public Safety

Healthy men, women, and children require healthy homes, which in turn require healthy neighborhoods. By combating violence, vacancy, and continued disinvestment, we create an environment that allows neighborhoods to flourish. Baltimore developed as a City of neighborhoods, and my administration will return long-absent development to those neighborhoods.

4.

We will improve police transparency, require true community policing, combat addiction, and get body-worn cameras on officers within 100 days of taking office. This means:

 

  • Ensuring that the Police Department equips officers and patrol cars with body and dashboard cameras to ensure the safety of police and the residents they serve.
  • Directing the Police Department to implement a comprehensive community policing strategy that demonstrate resident interaction, walking the beat, and taking every reported crime seriously.
  • Creating a program that helps officers on the beat connect residents with City agencies to address quality of life complaints.
  • Ending mandatory non-disparagement agreements for police misconduct cases to improve transparency and rebuild public trust.
  • Strengthening the civilian review board by filling its vacant seats, adding elected members, and having trained civilian investigators conduct misconduct complaints.
  • Investing in stabilization centers to assist residents arrested for intoxication and overdose by connecting them with the care and services they need to break the pattern of addiction.
  • Creating a Morbidity and Mortality Board that makes policy recommendations after reviewing cases of injury or death for officers or residents and gives injured parties a voice.

5.

We will fight violent repeat offenders by strengthening the Warrant Apprehension Taskforce, employing CitiStat to create a more targeted, impactful approach to chasing down violent offenders, and deploying a better trained police department with stronger connections to the community it serves. This means:

 

  • Utilizing CitiStat to create data-driven methods that target Baltimore’s violent repeat offenders.
  • Investing in the Warrant Apprehension Unit so that the officers have the resources they need to get violent offenders off the streets.
  • Advocating Truth in Sentencing for violent repeat offenders so that they serve the bulk of their sentences.
  • Utilizing the training facility at Coppin State University for the Police Department and encouraging city officers to pursue study in Criminal Justice by providing tuition reimbursement for officers that agree to a (5) year commitment with the department.
  • Waiving the property tax for police officers willing to live in communities identified as developing communities.

6.

We will make Baltimore more livable by lowering the City’s property tax for ALL properties, putting the City on a level playing field with surrounding counties by removing the cost of waste disposal from property tax fees, implementing new cost-saving, crime-reducing city-wide livability plans and providing humane housing options for our most vulnerable residents. This means:

 

  • Lowering the City’s property taxes for all properties.
  • Separating the property tax and waste disposal costs Offering tax credit portability for homes purchased in the City.
  • Offering property tax reductions for police officers, first responders and municipal employees who purchase a new home in the City.
  • Listing lead paint poisoning as a public nuisance and creating a taskforce that ensures City landlords register all rental properties with the State, pass lead paint inspections, and enforce remediation of properties that fail lead paint inspections.
  • Creating a rapid housing program targeted at veteran homelessness that breaks the cycle of homelessness while delivering services more efficiently.
  • Creating LGBTQ and Youth Homeless shelters and ensure cultural sensitivity methods are in place to promote wrap-around services.
  • Introducing a stronger inclusionary housing law that builds truly mixed-income communities.
  • Implementing a retooled energy efficiency and renewable energy program aimed at decreasing energy consumption city wide, increasing small scale renewable energy production, increasing air quality and putting money back into the pockets of home owners and businesses.
  • Developing a comprehensive tree canopy action plan with a focus on long term fiscal savings through energy reduction, increased livability of neighborhoods, and crime reduction.

7.

We will intentionally create anchor residential communities through public private partnerships with neighborhood main streets and school construction funding by layering a critical mass of investments that create robust turnaround efforts. This means:

 

  • Creating BOLD (Building on Leveraged Development) Zones that focus the City’s development incentives in targeted areas. BOLD Zones will identify underdeveloped neighborhood anchors and layer development incentives around them, scaling the impact of each dollar spent rather than spreading them too thin.
  • BOLD Zones will be mixed-income communities that include affordable housing options and benefit from dedicated Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) infrastructure improvements.
  • BOLD Zones will have reduced property taxes as additional incentives to spur influx of new owners.
  • BOLD Zones will pilot a gap-financing subsidy for row homes.
  • Utilizing CitiStat to create data driven methods for monitoring neighborhood indicators so that the City can stabilize struggling neighborhoods before they reach a critical point.
  • Creating service agreements with large tax-exempt institutions that expand the services they provide to the City in exchange for ending comparatively small payments in lieu of taxes.

8.

We will combat vacancy with stiff financial penalties for negligent owners, a focus on swiftly moving problem properties into the hands of new owners, and tailored neighborhood redevelopment plans. This means:

 

  • Developing a tiered tax structure for vacant, dilapidated, and abandoned real estate. Seeking opportunities to bundle properties that are delinquent on their tax payments and auction their debt to investors who seek to collect that debt.
  • Creating a receivership taskforce that builds and maintains healthy neighborhoods by quickly moving problem properties through receivership.
  • Evaluating and mapping vacant properties to create development plans on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.
  • Waiving the minimum bid on receivership properties for buyers who contract to begin rehab immediately and demonstrate sufficient resources to do so. Supporting community development corporations that have a track record of success in the community with the resources they need to rehab problem properties.

Economic Growth and Jobs

We must attract new business to Baltimore, while providing competitive advantages to our residents to fill the jobs that come with new business. Beyond attracting regional and national employers, we must invest in the small businesses and homegrown entrepreneurs that bring vitality to our local markets and have rooted commitments to our collective success. In this way, we develop a diverse economy with the pool of talent it needs to thrive. The barometer of success should not be solely tied to a four-year college degree, there are amazing associate degrees, certificate programs, and vocational apprenticeships that we must expose to our citizenry.

9.

We will create pipelines to employment by training residents for growing job sectors, facilitating apprenticeship programs with area employers, and providing employer incentives for hiring Baltimore residents. This means:

 

  • Developing apprenticeship programs that connect Baltimore residents with area businesses.
  • Increasing the competitive advantage of Baltimore apprentices by providing a subsidy to their employers.
  • Creating a Baltimore Neighborhood Corps that employs Baltimore residents to clean and green Baltimore’s neighborhoods.
  • Training City residents for in-demand jobs in healthcare, logistics, and IT at Baltimore City Community College.

10.

We will remove barriers to employment by investing in no-cost expungements, Adult Basic Education, and GED certification for every willing Baltimore resident. This means:

 

  • Increasing opportunity and reducing recidivism by rerouting Baltimore’s income tax from every ex-offender to businesses that train and hire them for at least (24) months.
  • Creating an expungement task force that provides no-cost expungements for every eligible returning citizen.
  • Creating the Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizens to consolidate job training, employment opportunities, and social services for ex-offenders.
  • Ensuring no resident lacks a basic education by providing GED teaching and testing and arranging classes in computer literacy, for every willing resident without a high school diploma.

11.

We will spur business growth with tax cuts for pass-through entities like LLCs, revamped Enterprise Zones, a robust small business loan fund, gap-financing for smart development in emerging neighborhoods, and a city wide 1 Gigabit fiber optic network that connects Baltimore with the 21st century. This means:

 

  • Relocating Baltimore’s Enterprise Zones to disinvested communities and refocusing the Zones on attracting manufacturers and new technologies with tax incentives and no-cost land sales of City owned property.
  • Developing a Municipal 1 Gigbit fiber optic network that brings hi-speed, low cost Internet service to every home, business, and institution in Baltimore.
  • Spurring small business growth for City residents by waiving the local income tax on a portion of pass through entities’ profits each year.
  • Creating a small business loan fund that invests in small businesses each year, especially minority- and women-owned businesses, in Baltimore’s BOLD (Building on Leveraged Development) Zones.
  • Promoting Baltimore’s unique culture, while creating jobs and decreasing food deserts, by investing in a City stable for Baltimore’s Arabbers, and facilitating the creation of a Small Grocers Association for new locally owned neighborhood grocery stores.

Connectivity and Transportation

It is imperative that Baltimore builds connections between government agencies and between citizens and services. These connections only matter, however, if residents are also physically connected to one another, their jobs, and the resources they need to prosper each day. Strong transportation is the lifeblood of social mobility, and with it, we can move Baltimore into a better future.

12.

We will develop a comprehensive new vision for Baltimore’s transit system that includes expanding the Charm City Circulator to underserved neighborhoods and piloting City-run Bus Rapid Transit, while investing in new traffic management technologies. This means:

 

  • Developing an innovative transportation plan, the City’s first new transportation plan in 12 years, to begin moving Baltimore toward becoming a multimodal City.
  • Working with the MTA to put GPS trackers on Baltimore buses to improve reliability and predictability for transit riders.
  • Updating the City’s Traffic Management Center and Intelligent Transportation Systems to improve the flow of traffic.
  • Implementing Transportation Demand Management strategies for tailored approaches to congested streets.
  • Exploring Rapid Bus Transit pilots on East-West transportation corridors. Finding sustainable, fiscally responsible funding for the Charm City Circulator.
  • Eliminating parking minimums to promote transit usage and facilitate transit-friendly development.

13.

We will develop emerging modes of transportation by arranging shuttles to employment-hubs, expanding car share programs, creating a robust bike share program, and building bike infrastructure that makes it easier for cars, bikes and pedestrians to navigate the City. This means:

 

  • Increasing access to jobs by creating dedicated shuttles to centers of industry. Piloting citywide car share programs in Baltimore’s developing neighborhoods.
  • Creating a comprehensive bike plan that includes a robust bike share program and dedicated bike lanes with physical barriers that ensure the safety of riders and automobiles alike.
  • Encouraging walkable / bikeable designs for future development and community revitalization projects.

Government Accountability

Every dollar the City spends must help Baltimore grow, every City department must demonstrate results, and the business of government must embrace unyielding ethics. We will achieve these goals by bringing 21st century management practices and data-driven governance to Baltimore. Just as importantly, we will make the City transparent, so every citizen can see results.

14.

We will make government more efficient and effective by tracking every dollar spent and the impacts they produce. This means:

 

  • Creating a City Procurement Office that centralizes procurement oversight, and introducing legislation that codifies a transparent procurement process.
  • Creating offices of Contract and Project Management to ensure that major capital projects are completed on time and on budget, reducing cost variances that have contributed to Baltimore’s overspending.
  • Implementing an automated bidder registration system to aid in tracking, reporting, and enforcement of M/WBE participation goals.
  • Creating the Mayor’s Office of Data and Analysis to reinvigorate CitiStat and institutionalize data driven decision-making.
  • Restoring the position of Inspector General in the Housing Authority.

15.

We will foster transparency and public involvement by running an open data government. This means:

 

  • Implementing a plan for regularly auditing City agencies to ensure that City resources are well spent and lead to the desired results.
  • Utilizing the new Mayor’s Office of Data and Analysis to facilitate citizen access to real time data, while promoting civic participation.
  • Requiring all City departments to regularly record and publish machine-readable data online, with no public-access costs for the data.

Together, we will Connect the Dots that build a better Baltimore.