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13th District Council Race No Sure Bet
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September 2, 2011
Baltimore’s 13th Councilmanic District includes parts of Butcher’s Hill, Washington Hill, Middle East, Orangeville, Armistead Gardens and Belair-Edison. City Councilman Warren Branch is seeking re-election for the first time against a crowded field. WYPR’s Sarah Richards files this report.
All but one of the individuals running to represent District 13 is a Democrat. Let’s start with the incumbent—Warren Branch. He’s a certified paralegal and worked as a city Public Works inspector before being elected to City Council in 2007. He says he has a lot of unfinished business to do if he is re-elected.
“Within the four years I’ve been in office, we’re working out some of the kinks from the previous administration. We can’t look for perfection. But we have given the citizens progress.”
Branch says that during his tenure, Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity renovated 50 vacant homes in the district. He also says he suggested the names of three new majors for the Northeast, Southeast and Eastern police districts. Candidate Shannon Sneed says that isn’t enough. She’s a former TV producer at WJZ. She says she cleaned and greened Ellwood Park—despite receiving little support from the city.
“We’d organize clean-ups and just ask, ‘Hey can someone come and pick up the bags?’ You know? And it would be like, ‘No.’”
If elected, Sneed says she’ll fight for more jobs for the district. She wants businesses to partner with schools so that young people can get more work experience before graduating. She also wants to make sure her constituents are given priority when it comes to local contracts.
Antonio ‘Tony’ Glover is also running to represent district 13. He runs a mechanical street sweeper for the Bureau of Solid Waste. He calls himself a ‘man with a plan’ who wants to fight crime by getting businesses to hire local residents. He also wants to turn vacant row homes into tax-generating properties by enlisting the muscle of young people from schools like Mervo—that’s the Mergenthaler Vocational Technical Senior High School by Lake Montebello.
“We have to get those young men and women out in Mervo, in those vocational schools, coming home to rehab those houses. Those abandoned homes. And then begin to live in those homes and not only live in those homes, but pay taxes, right where they stay.”
Candidate and student Kimberly Armstrong says she also wants to fight the blight in the district. She wants to enlist more non-profits like Habitat for Humanity to do that. Increasing police community-relations programs, she says, will build trust between law enforcement and district residents. She says she can pay for her ideas in part by charging a fare on the city’s Circulator buses.
“The Circulator is free. I don’t think it should be. If you pay 50 cents or a reduced fare--but when you look along the transit line, the Circulator--it goes the same places MTA goes. That’s duplicating services. Why?”
Gamaliel Harris is the final Democrat running for City Council. He works at Wal-Mart and is pushing for better housing as well as more recreational programs for young people. He says that’s not an impossible task, despite the city’s budget problems.
“Just recently, they approved more money for Baltimore City Police. I think if we take money from the budget that they’re giving to the city police, we’ll have the money to fund schools and housing and everything else we need for the district.”
There is one non-Democrat running in the race -- Libertarian Ronald Owens-Bey. Owens-Bey did not respond to an interview request.
I'm Sarah Richards, reporting in Baltimore, for 88-1 WYPR.
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