1. Please describe your educational and professional background and how it has prepared you to serve on the City Council.
I have worked in non-profit for over a decade with well known charities such as The Maryland Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Live Baltimore and Special Olympics Maryland as well as having taught classes for the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Associations and the Tech Council of Maryland. I have been on the boards of many community, health and technology organizations as well as having been the Director of the Pigtown Festival for multiple years. Over the past decade I have been awarded a Certificate of Recognition from Baltimore City for my charitable works, received a Certificate of Recognition from the Baltimore Ravens as a Community Quarterback Award recipient, been included in the television series "Life Lessons" on WMAR Channel 2 and also been named a City Paper Readers Poll "Best Do-Gooder" in 2010 & 2011. I am a community servant, not a politician.
2. Why do you want to serve on the council? What would your top priorities be if you are elected?
I want to serve on the Baltimore City Council because I want the residents in my district to have an open line of communication with City Hall. I also want to work hand in hand with the community towards a better Baltimore!
My top priorities if elected would be:
- Increasing transparency and demanding accountability within City Hall
- Focusing on our housing crisis by bringing back $1 homes in targeted areas, opportunities for green spaces in place of vacants, increasing taxes for vacant houses, decreasing taxes for occupied houses and better promotion of all available incentives
- Attracting and retaining both residents and businesses to the City
- Improving and expanding opportunities within City schools
- Improving community relations
3. Do you support Baltimore's current crime-fighting strategy? What changes, if any, would you advocate for to improve public safety in the city?
I intend on pushing for stronger prosecution, advocating for higher quality police officers, implementing better youth opportunities and looking to strengthen community relations within neighborhood outreach.
4. Do you support the recent reforms in the Baltimore City school system? Do you believe any changes are needed in the schools' governance structure (such as direct mayoral control or an elected school board)?
I support a partially elected school board and the continued implementation of new and engaging curriculums including vocational skills, city service interaction and environmental opportunity within individual neighborhoods.
5. How would you address the city's backlog in school maintenance and renovations, estimated to be as much as $2 billion?
I intend on increasing funding for City schools by working with independent nonprofits, securing federal grant money and involving the community by having more events on school property heightening the level of parent interest and also local residents and business owners.
6. Property taxes have become a major issue in this year's election. Do you believe the city's tax rate needs to be cut? If so, by how much, and what steps would you take to keep the city's budget in balance while lowering the rate?
Please refer to my housing plans for the answer to this question.
7. The city has faced large budget shortfalls in recent years. If that trend continues, what top priorities would you protect from cuts? In what areas would you pursue spending reductions?
I intend on working with the residents of District 10 and Baltimore City to create/amend common sense legislation so our revenue sources can increase without harming our communities through excessive taxing and unjust fees. A few simple ideas would be to have a flat rate across the City for metered parking, the creation of paid parking (for non-residents) lots using vacant City owned lots in high population areas, increased focus on tickets for driving while texting/talking on cell phones. Also, if you take the water department for example, the budget could be an entirely different situation. Two examples you can find through public record show bills paid by the City without question for almost $1 million dollars. One was billed to the Department of Recreation and Parks another to a City owned apartment complex. Both had overages of around $900,000 combined. This is just two examples of what I know to be hundreds during an annual basis. Where did that money go!?! How many millions are literally going down the drain? It is the job of Baltimore City residents and myself when elected to protect priorities from cuts since the current administrations priorities are to ensure cuts be made!
8. Baltimore has lost tens of thousands of jobs in the last decade. What would you do to encourage economic development and provide employment opportunities for city residents?
If you work towards the issues stated in the latter, you will see a marked improvement in Baltimore's job market. I intend on creating a sustainability option that would offer lower taxes for commercial properties that agree to a commitment standard within the City. I'm also working to facilitate job creation through innovation as well as advocating for the expansion of vocational curriculum in City schools while supporting living wages.
District 10: Adam Van Bavel
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