Not Coming Soon: Plastic Bag Ban, Body Cameras, Private Water System

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Plastic bag ban veto: Giving the kids something to film.
Plastic bag ban veto: Giving the kids something to film.

Whether it was the City Council or the public, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s administration has been busy putting a damper on various ideas that were out in the public. For now, the mayor is refusing to go along with proposals that would take plastic bags out of stores, and put body cameras on cops. Meanwhile, the Public Works Department sought to squelch rumors that the city’s water system was going to be sold to the highest bidder. Here’s the rundown:

Plastic Bag Ban: The City Council sought to help out city’s ecosystems by passing a measure to do away with plastic bags at grocery stores and big-box retailers. But SRB didn’t like their style. The mayor disagreed with a Council move to change the bill from a 5-cent charge on plastic bags to an outright ban. She said the public should have the right to be heard before such a “drastic” change. The Council could still override the veto if 12 of the 15 members decide to go against the mayor. Bored Baltimore teens were immediately happy that they still had something to stare at blankly before making out.

Police Body Cameras: In the wake of the turmoil in Ferguson and local revelations about police brutality, the City Council passed a bill designed to outfit all Baltimore Police Department officers with body cameras that would record their interactions with the public. But SRB didn’t like this bill, either. The bill was the subject of her second Monday night veto. On this issue, the mayor said the Council was attempting to call the shots at the police department. She also said the two-page bill didn’t address the potential privacy and data collection issues associated with the bill.

Water System: For months, rumors have been circulating that the city is planning to sell the water system to a private company. Corporate Accountability International opened the spigot, which culminated in a Monday hearing at City Hall. Public Works Director Rudolph Chow sought to stop the flow, telling the crowd, “DPW is not looking to sell the city’s water system to anyone. We want to hold on to this precious resource,” according to the Baltimore Sun’s Yvonne Wenger. The city is moving forward with an efficiency study of the water system, which is the source of Corporate Accountability International’s primary suspicions.



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