Activist DeRay Mckesson releases 26-page mayoral platform

"The safety of our communities is not predicated upon the presence of police," says DeRay Mckesson.

DeRay Mckesson, the prominent activist who was the final candidate to file to run for mayor of Baltimore, released a 26-page plan Monday that targets reforms in many aspects of city government.

Mckesson, 30, had already released a wide-ranging plan to address city issues, including proposals to expand educational programs and radically change the police department. His latest proposals focus on health, art and culture, and infrastructure, among other topics.

"It’s a plan to change Baltimore, to make Baltimore a place that works for people," he said, announcing the plan on the video site, Periscope.  "The safety of our communities is not predicated upon the presence of police."

Mckesson, a Teach for America alumnus and former school administrator, rose to prominence during protests in Missouri after the police-involved shooting death of Michael Brown. His plan advocates taking money from the police department and redistributing it to other areas of government.

He wants to advocate for an end to the state's cash-bail system, require racial impact analyses of all new city laws before signing them, and reform the state-run rent court to prevent families from being unfairly evicted.

Mckesson wants to welcome immigrants, advocate for a return of the East-West Red Line light-rail train and develop an overarching plan for parks and green spaces. He was to target lead poisoning in children by hiring more inspectors and providing home testing kits, and expand opportunities for artists to move to Baltimore.

On education, Mckesson calls for expanding full-day pre-K to enroll all low-income 3- and 4-year-olds, demanding the city school system release all of its internal audits and advocating for changes to state funding formulas so that tax deals for developers don't affect school funding.

He also wants to “radically transform” Baltimore's community college, create a fund for occupational-skills training and fully incorporate arts education into all schools.

On the economy, Mckesson wants to establish a minimum wage of $15-per-hour in Baltimore, “dramatically expand” the city's YouthWorks program and toughen City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young's local hiring initiative, requiring more companies to hire locally at greater rates. He also wants to establish a public bank, develop community land trusts for affordable housing, and “aggressively eliminate housing discrimination and segregation.”

On policing, Mckesson's plan calls for banning arrest and citation quotas, ending civil asset forfeiture and ending choke-holds and “rough rides” by police. He also wants to redistribute a portion of the police budget to the community, bolster the Civilian Review Board and require a majority of Baltimore officers to be recruited from, and live in, the neighborhoods with the most police activity.

Brandon M. Terry, an assistant professor of African American Studies and Social Studies at Harvard University, said Mckesson consulted him on the platform, which he praised as "comprehensive and progressive."

"It showcases how serious he is," Terry said. "A lot of people thought his campaign is about publicity or a single-issue campaign, This shows he has a lot of creative things to say."

Twenty-nine candidates, including 13 Democrats, are running to replace Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who is not seeking re-election.

Despite his late entry, Mckesson is just the second candidate in the race to release a full and detailed policy plan.

Councilman Nick J. Mosby in January released a 15-point plan that includes property tax cuts, universal pre-K and police reform.

Other candidates have released issue-specific plans.

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

twitter.com/lukebroadwater

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