I read opinion pieces in The Sun by mayoral candidate Sen. Catherine Pugh ("Inclusive solutions for Baltimore," Sept. 16) and potential candidate Councilman Nick Mosby ("Rebuilding Baltimore City with CitiStat," Sept. 21). Senator Pugh wants the people of Baltimore to "come together," and Mr. Mosby wants to rely on Citistat to fix the problems of Baltimore City. That sounds nice but is narrow and incomplete.
I have ideas the candidates might implement that I think will attract families to Baltimore City and make it a more vibrant place to live. They should first bring in an outside independent auditor to audit the complete finances of the city. Something is wrong here.
Privatize the schools or make all of them charter schools while eliminating all of the costly administrators at North Avenue. Make the schools small community schools and involve the parents. Year-round school must be considered to make Baltimore City competitive and assure good nutrition for children. Also, utilize the schools as literacy and job training centers for the community.
Bring back Baltimore's strength as a manufacturing mecca committing training energy to build solar panels, alternators for wind systems and wind power systems. Baltimore should lead this industry.
Meanwhile, Baltimore has a plethora of vacant homes with good bones. Give a free home to all Baltimore City teachers, police officers, and firefighters and charge them a meager amount of taxes on that home. Consider doing the same for migrants.
Create a health care consortium which includes Baltimore's 12 hospitals. A localized national style health care system can be in place and improve the health of Baltimore citizens. Short term health insurance can be purchased for travel.
Incarceration is expensive so turn prison into vocational programs for non-violent criminals teaching them to repair infrastructure such as roads, bridges and school construction. I'm sure they would prefer work vs incarceration.
Give a property tax break to homeowners who are 55 and older. People must be encouraged to remain in the city from birth to death.
Eliminate tax breaks for wealthy companies that build in Baltimore. They can well afford taxes and taxes are needed to construct good schools and improve infrastructure. They will be able to attract better employees if all of the above is in place.
Make sure there is planning for open space, recreation centers for children, and better health clubs. Improve access to food via co-ops. Plan for better mass transit and tax citizens who own large, polluting gas-guzzling vehicles. Develop the port and use the many resources Baltimore has.
Finally, eliminate political pensions. We can't afford them. Many might say this list is too expensive. I say it's too expensive not to take these actions.
Elizabeth Handy, Baltimore