Following a Baltimore Sun article showing calls to the city’s non-emergency help line are quickly answered in parts of town but met with inaction in others, City Council President Brandon Scott will introduce a resolution at tonight’s city council meeting calling for a hearing on disparities in city services.
Per the story, calls made by residents to report a “dirty alley” were completed on time in Southeast Baltimore–an area that spans Greenmount West to the northwest and Saint Helena to the southeast–in just about every instance. Elsewhere in the city, however, those requests for service were rarely fulfilled by the time workers said they could be complete.
In a release, Scott’s office noted that “Southeast Baltimore is notably wealthier than other parts of the city with a higher proportion of white residents.”
“Baltimore has an equity problem,” Scott said in a statement. “Residents who request help with things like illegal dumping and broken streetlights shouldn’t be treated differently based on where they live. We absolutely cannot use zip codes or income to determine which residents are most worthy of city services. Our residents deserve better.”
The Sun reported the Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Solid Waste divided the city into five sectors, with each getting a division chief to handle tasks such as cleaning up trash, scrubbing graffiti or fixing a broken street light.
Scott’s resolution would call on employees with DPW and 311 to testify on the disparities in coverage and offer solutions to fulfill citizens’ requests within a one-week timeframe.
Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young’s office this year launched “CleanStat,” a similar data-driven program to “CitiStat,” to gauge how the city is handling dirty streets and illegal dumping.
Sheryl Goldstein, the mayor’s deputy chief of staff for operations, told The Sun the data that’s been collected is also used to examine if the city is cleaning its streets equitably, and that it could also determine how workers are dispersed.
“Everybody wants to do better,” she said. “Not only do we need more equitable service, but we need better service throughout the city.
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