Tag: public policy

Wes Moore to Host Monthly Show on WYPR



WYPR 88.1 FM announced today the launch of a new local program, Future City, hosted by best-selling author and Baltimore native Wes Moore. The show will make its debut September 21.

Big Fish: Carl Stokes on His Run for Mayor, Development, and Baltimore’s Demographic Divide

Carl Stokes
Photo by Keston De Coteau

Councilman Carl Stokes was first elected to Baltimore City Council in 1987, where he served until 1995, the same year he accepted an appointment to Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners. In 1999, he ran for mayor of Baltimore but lost the Democratic nomination to Martin O’Malley. Since then, Stokes has helped to found two public charter schools in the city (each offer year-round study and three meals a day) and returned to the City Council, where he has been a critic of Baltimore property tax rates and utility fees.

In the wake of the Freddie Gray protests and riots, Stokes made national headlines for venting his frustration at the use of the word “thugs” to describe black Baltimore youth to CNN’s Erin Burnett. I asked Stokes, who is again seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor, about the divide in public opinion over that statement; the relationship between public safety, education, and employment opportunities; and how a Stokes administration would tackle the city’s most deep-seated issues.

Baltimore Fishbowl: What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

Councilman Carl Stokes: Take care of your family.

BFB: In a recent interview, you said that improving public safety requires not only investment and improvements in policing but also in education, recreation, jobs, and after-school activities, among other things. When an issue like public safety is determined by so many direct and indirect factors, how do you, as mayor, actually decide how to prioritize spending to achieve the greatest impact?

CS: The best practices and statistics before us inform us on how to proceed. When a community’s adult population is gainfully employed at wages that allow them to sustain themselves and their families economically, we know that crime is much less.

Saving Baltimore One Brain at a Time: A Conversation with John Cammack, Baltimore Entrepreneur and Neuro-Optimist


From Citybizlist – Many of us have read Tracy Halvorsen’s lament on Baltimore. The post has been read by hundreds of thousands of people. It struck a nerve, or awakened some reflexive sinew we have numbed. It doesn’t really matter whether we look at Baltimore’s chronic violence as somehow not affecting our lives – whether we live in a neighborhood where the police actually show up as allies and not the enemy, or we elect to commute from a safer clime where the bad guys are easy to spot, or simply view our endemic violence as somehow exempting folks like us – the reality is that most of us rationalize, admittedly or not, that The Wire we live in is somehow inevitable and, sadly, endurable until we know someone who is hurt. For Tracy, when her neighbor Zack Sowers died, I guess she had had enough of managing her numbness. So up went her post.

Warnock Foundation Releases Findings, Funds Ideas to Improve Baltimore


Today the Warnock Foundation published the Baltimore Social Innovation Journal, a new publication that features social innovators, profiles their ideas, and provides seed money to help them implement their projects. The first volume of the journal is available online here and in limited-edition print.

David Warnock
David Warnock

The 13 innovative ideas profiled in the inaugural issue include a nomadic art museum, a way to crowdsource business ideas for abandoned properties, a re-imagining of neighborhood greening and a project that dreams of bringing a world-renowned light festival to the Inner Harbor.

“We hope you enjoy our profiles of these innovative, bright and committed Baltimoreans,” said David Warnock, the chairman, founder and funder of the Warnock Foundation. (We interviewed him a few weeks back. Read the interview here.)  “No foundation working alone can fund systemic change – but we are convinced we can help people who are bettering Baltimore one person and one neighborhood at a time.”

The genesis of the Baltimore Social Innovation Journal was the Speak Up, Baltimore survey, an online poll conducted by the Warnock Foundation in fall 2013. The survey asked area residents to assess Baltimore’s assets, obstacles, and make determinations about the city’s future. The survey solicited participants through email, advertising, and social media. Ultimately, 632 people participated.

“We were deeply grateful for the hundreds of people who shared their perspectives on Baltimore with us. It will guide our activities at the Warnock Foundation in the years ahead,” Warnock said at the time.

O’Malley/Brown/Gansler Double Down on Rain Tax


Courtesy Citybizlist – According to recent news reports, the Maryland Department of Environment and the Attorney General’s office have warned counties who have not implemented the rain tax that they will face heavy fines for not complying with state law. These “non-complying” counties have found alternative funding sources for projects aimed at reducing stormwater runoff.

“Audacious Individuals” Receive Award From OSI


The Open Society Institute-Baltimore awarded yesterday its “Audacious Individuals Awards” to James DeGraffenreidt, Dan Rodricks, Bebe Verdery, and The Core Alliance of Youth Leaders at a standing-room-only gathering of business, philanthropic, and political leaders, who came together to discuss ideas for moving Baltimore forward. The event, “Big Change Baltimore: A Forum of Ideas That Are Reshaping Our Future,” marks the organization’s fifteenth year of working to create changes in the city.

“We are thrilled to present this year’s ‘Audacious Individuals Awards’ to members of our community who have displayed exemplary efforts to improve the quality of life in the city in which we live,” said Diana Morris, director of OSI-Baltimore.

“Fifteen years after beginning our work here in Baltimore, we continue to be enriched by the ideas of individuals who persist in their audacious efforts, and never tire in dedication, commitment and determination. Our city is better off because of these individuals.”

On Leadership: A Tale of Two Cities


Courtesy Citybizlist – Two seemingly incongruous items hit my in box last week. One was Jay Brodie’s recent column in the Baltimore Business Journal, half lamenting and half celebrating the state of Baltimore City, and the other a report from the Abell Foundation analyzing the effect of merging Louisville with Jefferson County ten years ago.

The Donut and the Hole. Jay describes his “love affair” with cities. Yet he acknowledges that America’s design of cities hasn’t always matched our loftier aspirations, that as a society we have done a fairly effective job at times of compromising our cities’ potential, some unintended (the morphing of our national interstate system to be high speed commuting routes to suburban tracts, and the flight that came with such convenience), some not (“’the redline[ing] on specious racial, religious and ethnic ideas’” of our neighborhoods). When Baltimore had political clout, it historically grew through annexation and reached its current size in 1919. But as the demographics – and politics – and economic viability (read: tax base) – settled out between our cities and their suburban donuts, annexation no longer remained politically viable.

Warnock Foundation Initial Results of Baltimore Survey


WF Survey Memo

Courtesy Citybizlist – When we invested in Baltimore in 2012, we found a thriving community of innovators, creators, do-gooders, across disciplines, all connecting together to push for change in Baltimore. Change to how nonprofits deliver services. Change to how communities are engaged. Cultural change from the bottom, up.

Open Society Institute Names 2012 Community Fellows


The Open Society Institute-Baltimore announces today its 2012 class of community fellows and  is committing $720,000 – the largest amount of money in the history of the program – to support social entrepreneurs who have creative and inspiring ideas for improving Baltimore.

The work of the fellows, which began in 1998, has made an indelible mark on the city. The newest class of 12 fellows will join a network of 125 others thinkers and doers before them, most of whom still actively work in the city, continuing to bring fresh energy and new ideas to effect social change.

Each of this year’s fellows will receive $60,000 to work full-time for 18 months, implementing creative strategies to assist and revitalize underserved communities in Baltimore. The class will see their ideas made real in prisons, gardens and urban farms, in classrooms, community centers and city roadways.

Beilenson Steps Down as Howard County Health Officer


Dr. Peter Beilenson has stepped down as Howard County health officer to become CEO of a new health care co-op.