1. Please describe your educational and professional background and how it has prepared you to serve on the City Council.
I was an Education Major at Towson University and I often approach problem solving as an exercise in critical thinking. Professionally, I have served in the United States Marine Corps. I have managed in the hospitality field, I've been an actor, I supervised the mail system at Loyola University and I am currently a supervisor at Good Samaritan Hospital in the Food & Nutrition Department. All of these positions require a versatility of thought, intellectual curiosity and a sense of urgency. Being a supervisor and manager in today's economy requires the ability to rein in expenditures while avoiding the cutting of staff and the degradation of services all while working to keep your employees focused and motivated. This is real world experience. City government needs to act and think like a successful business.
2. Why do you want to serve on the council? What would your top priorities be if you are elected?
It has been a lifelong dream to serve Baltimore City as an elected official. I am adamant about the creating and implementing of environmental studies curricula for all public school children. These lesson plans should begin as early as 3rd or 4th grade. I feel, strongly that the Mayor and City Council should create a realistic and measurable plan to increase the population of Baltimore City. This plan should have earmarks and dates of realization so that we can gauge our progress toward that goal. I also want to restrict how a Council Person uses their discretionary fund. I don't think that an elected official with a discretionary fund should use that fund for things like car repairs. City Council Members already receive a healthy paycheck. I propose that all unused discretionary funds be given right back to the Baltimore City.
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 believe that we are moving in the right direction. It seems that the Baltimore Police Department is becoming smarter about whom to pursue and how to pursue them. I want the BPD to make a real effort to get officers out of their cars and walking through the neighborhoods. Foot patrols are brought up by community leaders all the time and it just seems that BPD can never bring this bit of old school policing back to the neighborhoods.
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)?
For the most part I am excited by what Dr. Alonso is doing, BUT, I often hear from friends and family that are Baltimore City public school teachers, that his practice of bringing in principals that have limited experience as principals from outside of Baltimore is degrading the morale of the teachers. I would like to know why he has been so adamant about not promoting teachers and Assistant Principals that have spent years serving the children of Baltimore City. If it takes an elected school board to make this principal hiring process make sense, then, so be it.
5. How would you address the city's backlog in school maintenance and renovations, estimated to be as much as $2 billion?
My plan is to restructure our parking revenue spending. If the Grand Prix race does become an annual event, we could earmark an increasing amount of the revenue and taxes generated by the race.
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?
I have read and I fully support the property tax plan put forth by Mayoral Candidate, Jody Landers. I feel that it is a common sense approach to that concern. I feel that it will possibly take more than the 6 years that Mr. Landers has proposed to balance the budget but it is doable. It might also be possible to restore some services, reopen recreation centers etc.
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?
First priority: education-no cuts. No more firehouse closures. I want to limit pensions for all elected city officials; this could save thousands in the coming years.
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?
I feel that the Baltimore Development Corporation and the Sustainability Committee should join forces to make Baltimore the most prominent center for Green Technologies. We should make every effort to lead the nation in this endeavor.