Wendy Bozel for Mayor of Baltimore
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News, Events & Opinions

Future Mayor Wendy Bozel’s Plan for Baltimore

Crime, Education and Vacant Homes/Lack of Affordable Housing are the top three issues facing Baltimore. I don’t believe I can solve all the problems facing our city, but by bringing together those at the grass roots level of the issues – hospitals, religious organizations, community leaders, and representatives of the city – together, we can solve the problems facing Baltimore. I’ll create “Think Tanks”, where your problems can be heard.

Education/Crime

Currently 58% of students in Baltimore City Schools are chronically absent and Baltimore’s youth are being shot at highest rate in a decade. Last year young people have been killed and 122 shot.

Maryland taxpayers spend nearly $300 million each year to incarcerate people from Baltimore City. This includes as much as $17 million to incarcerate people from a single community, Sandtown-Winchester/Poplar Hill. They do not have high school diplomas and can not read, lets invest in education.

Stop the pipeline to prison. Instead of budgeting for how many prisons to build due to the Maryland Sate Assessment Test for poor third grade scores in math and reading. We need to invest in 2 teachers in K-2nd grade and make sure all students are on grade level for math and reading by the time they enter 3rd grade.

Let’s invest in the things that cause people to turn to crime: unemployment, lack of education, addiction, physical health, housing and public safety. Juvenile fatal shooting is down 20% but Juvenile Non-Fatal shooting is up 36%. So, if it was not for the excellent shock trauma centers, we have in Baltimore fatal shootings would be up 36%.

Juvenile Crime over all is up 26%. Crime and Education go hand in hand. Currently 56% of Baltimore City Students do not go to school on a regular basis. The students I taught who had been shot were absent 50 to 100 days.

If we were following Maryland State Truancy Laws the parent would have been fined $50.00 for every day, they were absent, $100 for the second offense and possible jail time for the third offense.

 Centralize and realign budgets so every school in Baltimore City is a great choice with the 1.7 billion allocated this school year.

Currently 164 principals have total control of their budgets. Allow teachers to call a centralized department to request what they need (books, laptops, and supplies). Give principals their jobs back, instead of budgeting – allow them to increase attendance by meeting students and parents, supporting teachers, building community partnerships, and fostering positive parent relationships.

Housing Justice

Baltimore’s history of racist housing policies, including segregation, housing covenants, redlining, and exclusionary zoning, have deeply segregated our communities and displaced many Black and brown residents.

Mayor Brandon Scott got $641 million in federal pandemic relief funds in 2021. Three years later, however, Baltimore is struggling to use the funds. As of December 2023, only 28% of the city’s funds had been spent. In the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services, which was allocated $73 million, only 7.3% has been expended.

Housing First I will copy the approach that Houston used to revamped its entire system to get more people into housing quickly, and it cut homelessness by more than half. It is called Housing First and the link to the program is below.

https://files.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/Housing-First-Permanent-Supportive-Housing-Brief.pdf

It is an approach to homelessness that quickly provides permanent housing for individuals and families without preconditions or barriers to entry, such as sobriety, treatment or service participation requirements. Supportive services are offered to maximize housing stability and prevent a return to homelessness. A number of studies have shown that Housing First is more effective than other homelessness responses, with a success rate of nearly 80%. The strategy was developed in the 1990s by a New York psychologist as a mental health program.

Rent Stabilization-The purpose of rent stabilization is to ensure that tenants can continue to live and thrive in homes they can afford. Half of Baltimore residents are rent burdened, meaning they are paying more than 30% of their income on rent. Baltimore Renters United is proposing a rent stabilization policy that caps rental increases at 2.5% annually and includes controls upon vacancy

Vouchers to Homeowner and $1 Homes Provide a path to home ownership for those on rental assistance. Instead of paying rent to landlords for poor housing set up a program to buy one of the 15,000 vacant rowhomes. Restart $1 so people with out a downpayment can gain instand equity for a rehab loan.

Transforming Public Safety

No matter what we look like or where we live, we all want our loved ones to come home safe to us and to walk through our communities knowing we’re protected, respected and valued. But today, police target, harass, and even murder Baltimoreans because of the color of their skin or their struggles with mental illness.

 Problem Oriented Policing- The Police Can and Should Do More Than Enforce the Law. I will bring together the community leaders, social services and crime data to address the problems that are causing the crime. Once the problems are identified then we can allocate where funding needs to go.

I will also follow the following research from Problem Oriented Policing. Examples of alternatives to criminal law enforcement police commonly use to address particular public safety problems include the following:

Mobilizing the community (as witnesses, to patrol the community, for advocacy).

Requesting that citizens exercise informal social control over one another (e.g., parents over children, employers over employees, coaches over athletes, teachers over students, military commanders over soldiers, lenders over borrowers, landlords over tenants)

Using mediation and negotiation skills to resolve disputes.

Conveying information (e.g., to reduce exaggerated fear, to generate public awareness, to elicit conformity with laws that are not known or understood, to show citizens how they contribute to problems and ways to avoid doing so, to educate the public about the limits of police authority, to build support for new approaches)

Effective Policing and Crime Prevention

  •  Altering the physical environment to reduce opportunities for problems to occur
  •  Enforcing civil laws (e.g., nuisance abatement, injunctions, asset forfeiture)
  •  Recommending and enforcing special conditions of bail, probation, or parole
  •  Intervening short of arrest (e.g., issuing warnings, placing people in protective custody, temporarily seizing weapons, issuing dispersal orders)
  •  Advocating enactment of new laws or regulations to control conditions that create problems
  •  Concentrating attention on those people and circumstances that account for a disproportionate share of a problem (e.g., repeat offenders, repeat victims, repeat locations)
  •  Coordinating with other government and private services (e.g., drug treatment, youth recreation, social services).

Education and Crime go hand in hand. Juvenile fatal shooting is down 20% but Juvenile Non-Fatal shooting is up 36%. So, if it was not for the excellent shock trauma centers, we have in Baltimore fatal shootings would be up 36%. The children that live are in bad shape. I have taught many who are now paralyzed after being shot.

Juvenile Crime over all is up 26%. Crime and Education go hand in hand. Currently 56% of Baltimore City Students do not go to school on a regular basis. The students I taught who had been shot were absent 50 to 100 days.

If we were following Maryland State Truancy Laws the parent would have been fined $50.00 for every day, they were absent, $100 for the second offense and possible jail time for the third offense.

Let’s stop the barriers preventing them from attending. Centralize and realign budgets so every school in Baltimore City is a great choice with the 1.7 billion allocated this school year. Currently 164 principals have total control of their budgets. Allow teachers to call a centralized department to request what they need (books, laptops, and supplies). Give principals their jobs back, instead of budgeting – allow them to increase attendance by meeting students and parents, supporting teachers, building community partnerships, and fostering positive parent relationships.

Build Baltimore’s Economy

Bring in $100 million in extra revenue by have a 10 Day Preakness Celebration. The 150 running of the Preakness in 2025. Kentucky has a parade, sail boat races, concerts, fireworks and brings in millions of dollars.

Extend the MARC Train to DC to 3 am and bring in DC residents for concerts, festivals, dinner, sports, and event

TECH HUB Baltimore is a Tech Hub and we need to provide training educational opportunities at our High Schools and Colleges to meet the job needs.

Black Gold Facility It is the estimated 1 million tons of organic materials now disposed in Maryland were instead composted at a mix of small, medium, and large facilities and the resulting compost used within the state, almost 1,400 new full-time equivalent jobs could potentially be supported, paying wages ranging from $23 million to $57 million.  In contrast, when disposed in the state’s landfills and incinerators, this tonnage only supports 120 to 220 jobs. https://ilsr.org/composting-sense-tables/ As Mayor I will not Renew BRESCO contract and will work toward zero waste. I plan to transfer to landfills and expand recycling to weekly pick up. I will start Composting and providing Compost Carts. Currently, Baltimoreans can dump their own food scraps at a small number of designated drop-off sites around the city. I will expand that to start educating our city, so we can be ready for the EPA award of 4 million for Baltimore composting. Ground breaking should start in 2025. We have to start composting now.

Key Bridge Collapse Solutions Since the collapse of the Key Bridge commutes times have increased from 20 minutes to 1.5 hours. Of course we must rebuild the key bridge, but that takes time and we need solutions now to address the impact that the collapse has had on traffic throughout the city.

As mayor, I’ll create an electric-powered ferry program to transport motor vehicles. It will have an immediate impact on reducing the traffic caused by the collapsed bridge. A fleet of car-carrying, electric-powered ferries, originating at multiple points along the bay, could not only drain traffic away from the tunnels. This ferry program could be increased and help Marylanders and tourists to points they can’t access by water unless they own a boat.

At the same time, we will be building a new suspension bridge. Suspension bridges can be built with minimal disruption to the port. We must protect the viability of our port, it’s critical to our city economy. We must resolve the traffic burden or people may choose to relocate out of the city to avoid the increased traffic. We must elect a mayor that understands the importance of these issues and a visionary problem solve. We must vote Wendy for Baltimore. Wendy4Baltiomore.org