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Candidates on the issues


Frank M. Conaway Sr. "We need to make the police department accountable by … using video and audio recordings. … We need to encourage our state's attorney to practice triage. ... Repeat offenders and violent offenders should move to the front of the line when it comes to allocation of manpower and resources."

Joseph T. "Jody" Landers III "Increasing the number of police officers on the street is certainly a part of the solution, along with targeting the arrest and prosecution of the most violent offenders. … We also have to maintain preventative programs like recreation activities, youth athletic leagues and after school programs … It is also critical that we restore public confidence in the police force … Finally, we need to limit the amount of time and resources spent in pursuing victimless crimes."

Catherine E. Pugh Would work with police, gang prevention tasks forces and neighborhood organizations to combat crime; ensure that every police officer has access to "the most innovative and effective crime fighting technologies;" increase street lighting; and push for greater penalties on repeat violent offenders convicted of crimes involving illegal weapons.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Would lobby for stronger state sanctions for illegal guns and repeat offenders, focus enforcement on criminals most likely to carry illegal guns and commit acts of violence, maintain funding for police, hire hundreds of new officers and provide them with "state-of the-art technology" to help fight crime.

Otis Rolley Would improve recruitment standards, training, and compensation for police; impose a $1 per bullet tax on all bullet purchases; work with the faith-based community to use mediators and mentors for youth; fund summer and after-school job programs; ensure the incarcerated aren't receiving city checks; and reduce possession of small amounts of marijuana to a summary offense.

Property taxes

Frank M. Conaway Sr. "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 percent 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)."

Joseph T. "Jody" Landers III "My goal is to reduce the property tax rate for all property in the City by 25 to 35 percent over the next four to six years, which I believe is both realistic and achievable." Would permit different tax rates to be applied to different categories of property — inhabited homes, occupied commercial property, vacant property, blighted property. "Property owners who maintain and improve their properties, and are thereby helping to increase the tax base, reap the reward of a lower tax rate, and those who are detracting from the tax base pay a higher share of taxes."

Catherine E. Pugh Would make the city's property tax rate comparable to those of other Maryland jurisdictions.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Has outlined plans to use 90 percent of city revenues from the proposed Baltimore slot machine casino to reduce property taxes for homeowners by nine percent over nine years; says challengers' plans for deeper cuts are unrealistic.

Otis Rolley Would conduct a census of all property in the city; cut property taxes for every homeowner, and most by more than 50 percent; raise taxes and fees on vacant and blighted property to encourage its stabilization; increase code enforcement; and provide a 10-year property tax abatement for new conversions and rehabs.


Frank M. Conaway Sr. "We need to make sure that the enormous expenditures made for schools don't get squandered by profiteers. There's a huge revenue stream associated with education. We have never gotten straight answers to some of the questions that arose a few years ago when the school system couldn't tell you what happened to its money. We need an active inspector general overseeing the school system's finances."

Joseph T. "Jody" Landers III "I would work with the superintendent to raise the morale of teachers and to assure that they have an avenue through which their concerns can be heard and addressed. … I would support efforts to expand the number of charter schools, along with efforts to reduce class sizes and improve instructional outcomes in zoned schools."

Catherine E. Pugh Would increase parent involvement in education; give all interested parties a role in decisions about the use recreation centers, swimming pools and other programs; improve vocational education opportunities; and create ongoing summer learning programs at college and university campuses for grades six through nine to increase science, math and technology abilities.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Says in spite of budget gaps, she has fully funded the city's obligation to the school system and effective after-school programs, restored funding for advanced school-based health centers to keep students healthy and in the classroom, and maintained funding for the public library system to promote lifelong learning. Says she has doubled investment in Teach for America to attract new teachers and maintained funding to Experience Corps to increase volunteers in city schools.

Otis Rolley Would return control of the schools to the city; provide "opportunity scholarships" for students in the worst-performing middle schools; build 50 schools in 10 years through public-private partnerships; and pursue changes to the charter school law to increase the number and performance of new charters.


Frank M. Conaway Sr. "We need to channel all of our economic development efforts to projects that will create jobs for this segment of the population. … We need to use federal stimulus funds to deepen the Howard St. rail tunnel so that containers can be double-stacked here in Baltimore like they are at most of the other major ports in the country."

Joseph T. "Jody" Landers III "If Baltimore is going to compete successfully for residents and jobs, we must decrease the property tax rate to a level that enables us to attract new residents and businesses. Prolonged and sustained growth will only occur when the city's cost/benefit ratio is balanced so that we can attract residents and businesses."

Catherine E. Pugh Would channel "neighborhood-appropriate" commercial development and mixed-use development in corridors to strike a balance between preserving the city and attracting newcomers; work to retain graduates of the city's universities and colleges; work with universities working on technology and fight for investments in green manufacturing jobs; and create a fee-for-service Business Development Authority to create new business opportunities and attract new business.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Would increase funding for the Emerging Technology Center Incubator program to create the next generation of high-tech jobs; continue to fully fund city career centers to help residents of all skill levels find jobs and train for new employment; and work with the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore to develop a plan to create jobs in emerging industries.

Otis Rolley Would make job creation, adult education, and labor force development the city's top economic development priority; remove high taxes, burdensome regulations, and poor business infrastructure; support the creation of small, mid-size, and women- and minority-owned businesses; and replace the Baltimore Development Corporation with a new Community and Economic Development agency accountable to the citizens.

Note: Also seeking the Democratic mayoral nomination is Wilton Wilson, a nurse and activist. While he has participated in candidate forums, he reported last month that he had neither raised nor spent more than $1,000 on the campaign, and he received less than 1 percent support last month in a Sun Poll.

Sources: Campaign websites, responses to The Baltimore Sun.

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