Dear Mayor Pugh,

Congratulations on winning the election. You’re now Baltimore City’s mayor instead of my State Senator, so hopefully being here instead of Annapolis, you’ll be more committed to Baltimore’s neighborhoods. Here are a few suggestions, with regard to housing in Baltimore that you may want to consider: Break Baltimore Housing and the Housing Authority of Baltimore Read more about Dear Mayor Pugh,[…]

The New Redlining

People love data. Numbers. They paint a different, more succinct picture than words sometimes, and they can be turned into maps, infographics, and other visuals that have a bigger, faster impact. However, numbers can be manipulated in a way that allows governments and corporations to create policies that keep poor people away from things that Read more about The New Redlining[…]

The Housing Questionnaires: Lessons Learned

It’s always interesting to ask a random group of people the same questions and see what you get back. I guarantee at the very least, you won’t be bored. Hopefully you’ll even be enlightened at the end of the process. Candidate surveys and politics in general are two things I tend to stay away from, Read more about The Housing Questionnaires: Lessons Learned[…]

Fair Housing in Baltimore County

In light of the settlement reached between Baltimore County and several organizations and individuals who sued the County, in order to ensure Fair Housing laws are met in that jurisdiction, I’ve read a lot of questions about what “fair housing” means. The first thing people need to understand is that Fair Housing has nothing to Read more about Fair Housing in Baltimore County[…]

District 1 City Council Candidates on Housing

Questionnaires were sent to each candidate in District 1, asking about their views on housing in Baltimore. The questions focused on specific issues that have been brought up many times over the past few years:  abandonment, inclusionary housing/affordability, accountability in government, and blight reduction. Two candidates responded, which was disappointing, given the number of candidates Read more about District 1 City Council Candidates on Housing[…]

City Council District 1 Candidate Mark Edelson on Housing

Mark Edelson was the second of the District 1 candidates to respond to the questionnaire. His responses appear below, with no edits. 1. Baltimore City has 30,000+ vacant homes. How do you intend to clean up blight in your district that isn’t a rehash or continuation of previous plans? And how do you propose to Read more about City Council District 1 Candidate Mark Edelson on Housing[…]

City Council District 1 Candidate Mark Parker on Housing

Mark Parker responded to the questionnaire, and his answers appear below, with no edits. 1. Baltimore City has 30,000+ vacant homes. How do you intend to clean up blight in your district that isn’t a rehash or continuation of previous plans? And how do you propose to pay for your plan? Within our district, most Read more about City Council District 1 Candidate Mark Parker on Housing[…]

Support Good Development Near Morgan State: Sign the Petition

If you’ve ever been to Morgan State University’s campus in Baltimore, one of the first things you notice is the lack of retail nearby. Normally a university campus would be surrounded by restaurants, coffee shops, etc. similar to the Johns Hopkins campus in Charles Village. There is a shopping center just off Morgan’s campus — Read more about Support Good Development Near Morgan State: Sign the Petition[…]

2016 Mayoral Candidates on Housing

Candidates were asked for their plan to address vacants and other housing issues in the city, with the idea of publishing their responses so residents could better understand where each candidate stands on this issue. Each candidate was given the same four questions, along with the same amount of time to answer. Baltimore City has Read more about 2016 Mayoral Candidates on Housing[…]

TOMORROW: Rally to Save Baltimore Civil Rights History

Bethel AME Church has demolished one of Baltimore’s historic civil rights landmarks, located at 1234 Druid Hill Avenue, and it’s unclear as to whether they want to demolish 1232. Neighbors, community activists, and preservationists are horrified by the lack of respect the church has shown towards these historic homes over the years. They’ve allowed them Read more about TOMORROW: Rally to Save Baltimore Civil Rights History[…]

Send a Strong Message to the Mayor and City Council Today: Paul Graziano Must Go

Paul Graziano, head of Baltimore City’s Housing Authority has been the subject of scandals over the years, whether personally, or through the agency he runs: Drunken incidents in bars, involving homophobic slurs Refusal to pay lead paint settlements to families whose children were poisoned in HABC-owned homes Discrimination against people with disabilities (link opens a Read more about Send a Strong Message to the Mayor and City Council Today: Paul Graziano Must Go[…]

These Things I Know

The past few days have been tough for Baltimore. Fires, looting, injuries, arrests — nobody wants to watch their city fall apart in a matter of days. However, with that said, these incidents were bound to happen — there was a perfect storm of legitimate protest and outliers who saw this as the time to Read more about These Things I Know[…]

Dear Mr. Plank

I read with interest the latest missive in the Baltimore Business Journal about your grand plans for the area around Port Covington. While I love the idea of someone finally redeveloping that area, since it’s been an eyesore for years, even before the Sam’s Club bolted for the hinterlands, something didn’t sit well with me. Read more about Dear Mr. Plank[…]

A Tale of Three Cities

People make much of the idea of “two cities” in Baltimore — one, affluent and white, and the other is usually labeled as poor and black. This view leaves out the third group: the folks, black and white, who earn around the city’s median income of $40,000 or so, and have solid potential to be Read more about A Tale of Three Cities[…]

How Not to Do Social Media, WYPR Style

UPDATE: This morning (1/4/2015), I received the following missive from Tony Brandon, head of WYPR. Sadly, he seems to have dismissed the matter, and doesn’t seem to understand the seriousness of censorship by the media: “WYPR has a policy of not blocking social media unless it is abusive or excessive. We are taking steps to Read more about How Not to Do Social Media, WYPR Style[…]

Maryland Court Orders Houston Slumlord to Clean Up Baltimore Blight

Reported in the Baltimore Sun by Natalie Sherman: A Baltimore City Circuit Court judge has ordered an absentee Baltimore landlord to clean up about 50 blighted properties within 90 days, the first ruling since a state law was amended two years ago to make it easier for community groups to sue the owners of problem Read more about Maryland Court Orders Houston Slumlord to Clean Up Baltimore Blight[…]

The Time for Affordable Housing is NOW.

Millions of Americans are paying more than 30% of their net monthly income for housing costs, resulting in overburdened households in danger of falling into poverty, if they’re not there already. In the Baltimore region, according to the new report released today by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, almost 50% of Read more about The Time for Affordable Housing is NOW.[…]

Baltimore’s Middle Class Explained

In the middle of doing research on middle-income folks in Baltimore, in preparation for laying the groundwork for a middle-income housing plan…I came across a Baltimore Brew comment where someone explained it perfectly, and it brilliantly illustrates the urgent need for middle-income housing: “Median income (2012) is about $40,000 per household in Baltimore City. In Read more about Baltimore’s Middle Class Explained[…]