District 3: Robert W. Curran

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

I worked for 16 years at Domino Sugar as a shipping foreman and process foreman, and was a member of Local 692, Retail Clerks International at Food Fair/Pantry Pride grocery stores for 11 years. I was elected to the Baltimore City Council in 1995, and during my tenure on the Council I have served as Chairman of the Policy and Planning Committee, the Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee, the Executive Appointments Committee, and was Vice-President of the City Council in 2007. I am currently the Chairman of the Health Committee.


Additionally, I am a member of the Environmental Control Board, the Mayor's Commission on Disabilities, and the Mayor's Anti-Animal Abuse Commission. Since 1982, I have been an elected member of the Baltimore City State Central Committee and was the former vice chair of the Baltimore City Democratic Party.

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


I hope to serve the citizens of the Third District by continuing to push for a more efficient allocation of public safety resources in the Northeastern Police District. The Northeastern District is the largest in the city, and by splitting up sector 2 of this district, I believe we would be able to provide faster, more efficient public safety services to the citizens in the Third District. I would also like to continue the redevelopment of the Harford Road business corridor and Northwood shopping center.

Another one of my top priorities if reelected would be to eliminate animal cruelty in Baltimore City. I have just begun the process of reconstituting Title 10 of the Animal Code, which, among other things, would fortify the laws governing animal cruelty. Senseless acts of violence against helpless animals cannot be tolerated, and violent acts against animals sometimes forecast the potential for violent acts against human beings.

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?

In 2007, I proposed the Public Safety Zone Designations legislation to curb gun violence in Baltimore. This legislation would have allowed for the creation of zones to more effectively combat violent crime in the most dangerous parts of Baltimore City. Also, I continue to advocate for the creation of an additional sector in the Northeastern Police District, which is the largest police district in the City.

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 would be in favor of a partially-elected school board and returning the school system to direct mayoral control.

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

I co-sponsored the City Council Resolution that calls for the development of a strategy for raising the $2.8 billion needed to modernize the City's school buildings and implement the Facilities Master Plan. As a member of the Education Committee, I will be looking at all options for finding the funding needed for achieving this goal.

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 remain open to exploring long-term solutions for reducing the property tax in a way that does not sacrifice funding for critical public services. While reducing the property tax would help to encourage growth, it must not come at the expense of slashing funding for essential city services.

I have also sponsored revenue measures that do not increase the property tax, such as a surcharge tax on amusement devices and a surcharge tax on trespass towing.

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?


During the debates on the budgets for Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012, I fought to preserve funding for Animal Control and Animal Services. In FY 2011, I successfully fought for restoring funding to the drivers that pick up close to 5,000 dead animals off the streets of Baltimore each year. I also pushed for keeping the "hokie" workers, who sweep debris off of the streets in commercial areas.

In FY 2012, I worked to restore funding for two technician jobs at BARCS. Since BARCS' founding, the euthanasia rate for the 10,000 to 12,000 animals that BARCS takes in every year has dropped from 98% to less than 40%. Cutting these technician jobs would have reversed this trend in the euthanasia rate.

I would pursue spending reductions in government, including the offices of the mayor, council president and council members, and what may be perceived as the high-end staffing on North Avenue for the Baltimore City School System. Additionally, I would sponsor a charter amendment that would move city elections from the odd-year cycle to coincide with either the state or federal elections. This would lead to savings of up to $4 million and increase voter turnout.

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 have and will continue to be an advocate for small businesses in the 3rd District. I helped Hamilton-Lauraville achieve joint Main Street Designation, which gives businesses along the Harford Road commercial corridor the necessary economic development tools to promote and expand their businesses. I have worked to bring State Enterprise Zone Designations to commercial areas in the 3rd District.

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