Frank Conaway

1. Please describe your educational and professional background and how it has prepared you to serve as mayor.

I have a B.A. in History and Political Science. I have served 4 terms as Clerk of Circuit Court for Baltimore City, and 2 terms in the House of Delegates. I have experience in the legislative process and management of a large number of employees and a $10 million budget.

2. Why do you want to be mayor? What would your top priorities be if you are elected?

I am not looking for a job, I have one. I am looking to do a job! This city is ill and needs major surgery. I have the steady hands, commitment, and moral character to oversee these operations. The city needs open heart surgery, implants, transplants, and a separation of conjoined twins. My top priority is JOBS! JOBS! JOBS! Jobs will go along ways to curing moring of our ills. They certainly will have a great impact on decreasing crime, mortgage foreclosures, tax sales and education.

3. Do you support Baltimore's current crime-fighting strategy? What changes, if any, would you pursue to improve public safety in the city?

I do NOT support Baltimore's current crime-fighting strategy. The current police commissioner needs to be replaced and a new training plan put into effect. Incidents of police involved crimes means there is a leadership and/or training problem. The city brings good people onto the force, but soon after they get caught up in the culture of the department and begin to take on the bad habits. This is a real problem!

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 an elected school board and think that the authority should be given back to the Mayor to appoint the CEO of public schools.

5. How would you address the city's backlog in school maintenance and renovations, estimated to be as much as $2 billion?

We must begin to raise revenue to keep pace with the conditions we now have, and little by little take care of the backlog that needs to be done. It is not realistic to think that we can raise $2 million right away.

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?

The property rate is too high. However, it is unrealistic to think that it can be cut without hurting services like trash pick-up, education, public safety, and upkeep to the infrastructure. Many candidates have promised to cut taxes, but it is unrealistic. 50% of the $2.7 billion budget is derived from property taxes. It cannot be done without expanding the base (i.e. occupying the 47,000 vacant houses and deriving taxes from them).

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?

Crime prevention, fire fighting, and education are my top priorities. I suggest a reduction in high, unnecessary salaries in top city positions, and a cut back in overtime in every agency other than the Dept. of Public Works.

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?

First, I would expand the CSX tunnel under Mt. Royal and Howard Street so that we can double stack cargo and this would provide approximately 15,000 jobs. Also, I would encourage the citizens to open small businesses and encourage community association to do business. The mayor, in my opinion, should be a good will ambassador and sales person and go out to other state to convince people that Baltimore businesses are friendly and that they should move into Baltimore to pursue business.

9. Do you support construction of the light rail Red Line? If so, what would you do to mitigate concerns in some neighborhoods about the impact of the project? What other changes to the Baltimore mass transit system would you pursue to provide transportation options for those who lack access to a car?

No! I would encourage better transportation including more routes for MTA and an extension of the metro subway east and west.

10. Do you support the Greater Baltimore Committee's proposal for an expanded convention center/arena/hotel complex downtown? If not, what alternative, if any, do you support for replacing 1st Mariner Arena?

No, I do not support this idea. We should expand the current arena to hold more people. The city cannot afford a new arena at this time.

11. Do you support current plans for redevelopment of the West Side Superblock and the State Center office complex?

No, I do not support the current plans for redevelopment. The last thin the city needs now is more office space for rent when we have a 19% vacancy problem downtown. Also, we need to invest in long term jobs rather than short term jobs. We also do not need new retail establishments until we put the people back to work.

12. Do you support the city's plans for a slot machine gambling parlor near the downtown stadium complex? Would you pursue any changes to the program, through either local or state legislation? Would you support an eventual expansion to table games there or elsewhere in the city?

I am not convinced slots will do well in Baltimore. It appears that most people who want to play will go to Arundel Mills. We have hotel facilities downtown that will accommodate slots and table. It is widely known that poor people play slot and high-rollers play tables. We need to attract high-rollers.

13. Recent corruption scandals in the police and fire departments and other city agencies have diminished public trust in government. What steps would you take to ensure that the public is receiving the honest services of all city employees and elected officials?

We need stronger ethnic rules and more oversight on city and state employees and public officials. Everyone should have random drug tesing.

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