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1. Please describe your educational and professional background and how it has prepared you to serve on the City Council.

University Of MD College Park MD: Majored in Radio Television & Film Production; Morgan State University: Majored in Speech Communications

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My years of working in corporate America as the Director of Government and Public Affairs, in local government serving in the office of Baltimore Development Corporations, and in the Department of Housing have prepared me to serve my community. My years as a cultural entrepreneur and as a community organizer have also prepared me to serve on Baltimore's city council. Membership in local, national and international organizations has given me a world view on issues that are paralleled to our problems in Baltimore and in the 9th district. My total experience would bring people together to work as a unified whole.

2. Why do you want to serve on the council? What would your top priorities be if you are elected?

It is and would be my priority to overcome divisiveness by doing everything possible to restore and enhance trust in City leadership. If elected, my top priority would be to work diligently over the course of the first year to ensure that we are being as efficient and prudent as possible with our city's budget. With the economic outlook looking grim, it is of the utmost importance that the city be responsible with the taxpayer's money. This means trimming excess from the budget wherever it can be found, much the same way as many of our citizens are doing with their own budgets right now.

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?

Everyone, every day, is responsible for advancing the mission of this police department. Working together, and holding ourselves and one another accountable for fighting and preventing crime, we will make Baltimore a much safer city for all. We must inspire every police officer, commander and resident of Baltimore Maryland who every day must be able to answer the simple question, "What have I done today to fight crime and improve the quality of life of our citizens?" I cannot and do not support a crime-fighting strategy that is undefined, uninspiring, and has zero correlation with the community. We must admit that fighting tactics vary by neighborhood. We will need to build collaboration with neighborhood residents, businesses, and public agencies to address neighborhood crime and disorder, where all partners are accountable for taking action.

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)?

With 900 fewer students dropping out in 2010 than when Dr. Alonzo took the reins of the system three years earlier, the changes to the Baltimore schools during Dr. Alonzo's tenure have been profound. I am concerned that when teachers and principals have been fired and staff jobs cut, it demoralizes educators. Fortunately, there is encouraging news for school policy makers considering reform, as some of the reforms are working. I do think that the mayor should control the Baltimore School System. But with a reversed state partnership we share today, I do believe that a partially elected school board (4 members) could bring some ideals of outside activism to the board.

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

Achieving high performance in an existing schools is difficult for many reasons: existing schools are often in less than ideal sites and are built with the "wrong" materials. Systems that were probably cheap to start with are now showing their years of deferred maintenance. School improvements are often done on a season-wide schedule (e.g., replacing light fixtures one summer, possibly switching out a few windows next summer), without much attention paid to the specific needs or possibilities of each individual school. The needs have become so critical that delay is no longer even practical. Decisions made now will determine whether the projects will be done in a piecemeal fashion (based mostly on a budget or to solve immediate problems), or whether each school upgrade project, large or small, will contribute to an overall long-term vision for moving the school toward high-performance goals. As a councilman, I will use my office to raise funds (grants), and lobby at the state, federal and corporate level for assistance in funding this critical agenda in our community.

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 believe that it is the city's duty to act responsibly with the citizens' tax dollars. This equates to being as fiscally conservative as possible. We must prioritize our spending while also trimming excess from the budget. Fundamental services, such as sewer, water, roads, and public safety must be efficiently run and prioritized. It is my belief that we must do all that we can to ensure that our citizens are not faced with any tax increases during these difficult economic times. Indeed, it would be my hope that we can find creative ways to reduce the tax burden that our citizens face.

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?

Public Safety, Health Department, and Education. Absolutely. There is major waste in City Government and we must pursue a serious audit in each department to find waste. We need to make City Government "customer friendly" to our residents and include them in determining how a department should service them.

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?

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We must insert into all future development projects with developers and contractors a tough, but fair MOU (Memoranda of Understanding) to hire Baltimore City residents in all project phases. We need to encourage big- ticket projects into our communities and spread out serious development projects thought out our communities that are hardest-hit economically.

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