Police Reform Bill Is About Politics, Not Public Safety

Unless Bill 96-20, the SMART Policing Act, is significantly amended, I will most likely be the only County Council member to vote No. The bill will be discussed on Sept. 29 and voted on Oct. 2.

If you remember, the first attempt at “police reform” legislation this summer was tabled by four members of the Council, including myself. The measures in that legislation were so cumbersome and unworkable that the bill was opposed by the Baltimore County Police Chief, the State’s Attorney, and the Fraternal Order of Police. I voted to table that bill in case it had any possibility of passage.

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2020 CZMP process concludes

The hallmark responsibility of the Council is legislating for land-use. One of the tools we have is the Comprehensive Zoning and Map Process, or CZMP. This county process comes along every 4 years, with the most recent session concluding on August 25, 2020. During that special session of the Council, zoning maps were redrawn for the next 4 years. Our district had a few notable properties which garnered most of the attention of the public.

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County Budget and the Case for Property Tax Relief

We are living in unprecedented times that require decisive action. The COVID-19 public health crisis has disrupted everything from government, business, and our daily lives in unforeseen and painful ways.

It has caused much debate over “essential vs. non-essential”, a debate that certainly extends into this year’s County budget process. Faced with projected revenue shortfalls and required to formulate a balanced budget, the County must undergo the difficult endeavor of deciding what is essential and put off or eliminate what is deemed non-essential as well as determine not only what funding is required to meet its governmental obligations, but also what is best for our constituents facing hardships through no fault of their own. 

This budget demands a more thoughtful and conservative approach than ever before, and when many “safety net” mechanisms have failed us, we must do what we can to provide financial relief to the hard-working people of Baltimore County.

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Protecting Fort Howard

CZMP Issue 7-015

The business of local government continues, even as COVID-19 has disrupted government operations as it has everyone else. One process that continues is the Comprehensive Zoning Map Process (CZMP).

As your Councilman, I have decision making authority regarding CZMP issues. It is a responsibility I take seriously. CZMP issue 7-015, the Fort Howard VA property – a source of confusion and mistrust for over a decade – was filed by the current lease holders. They request a zoning change allowing for hundreds of dwelling units.

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Why I Voted Against the SAFE Act

This week, my County Council colleagues voted for symbolic gun legislation designed and drafted by the County Executive’s team. Marketed as “crucial public safety legislation”, the Bill appeals to the anger, frustration, and grief we feel when gun violence hits our community. However, the Bill is deeply flawed and gives the County Executive and the Police Chief unchecked authority over the retail gun industry now, and in the future, by allowing these offices to regulate the firearm industry by adding more bureaucracy and unnecessary security costs, all resulting in higher costs for our locally owned gun shops to stay in business and in this county. The Bill also assumes that gun shops are the problem; the facts do not support this assumption. Gun shops are not the problem. Criminals are the problem. 

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Press Release: A Firm NO on the HOME Act

Last week, the County Executive introduced a bill to the Council that threatens all we’ve accomplished so far. Known as the “HOME Act,” this bill would force property owners to accept section 8 housing vouchers. Under the bill, a landlord who chooses not to accept a housing voucher from a prospective tenant would be guilty of discrimination. Under a Conciliation Agreement signed by former County Executive Kamenetz, the legislation will be reintroduced every year until it passes. This bullying of Baltimore County by the Fed is a relic of Obama-era HUD policy.

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Under Seige!

I am not sure there are words enough to express our outrage and anger about the havoc that took place at Eastpoint Mall last night.

For the second year in a row, the traditional carnival was transformed into complete turmoil- costing you, the hard working taxpayer of Baltimore County- valuable police resources that could have and should have been free to be deployed elsewhere. Law enforcement officers were put in harm’s way, and the safety of the surrounding neighborhoods was threatened.

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The Future of Tradepoint Atlantic

When I had the honor of being elected Councilman in 2014, I immediately set to work on our vision to bring prosperity and pride back to our community and families. I am proud to play a leading role in bringing millions of dollars in public and private investment to our District, particularly when the area had been ignored for so long. We are finally getting the attention we deserve. New schools, new businesses, new jobs, and improved housing stock; these are all indicators of a community that is on the rise after so many years of economic stagnation and neglect. The various investments necessary for our return to prosperity are underway, and new opportunities are on the horizon.

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