Emily Sullivan | WYPR

Emily Sullivan

Reporter, City Hall

Emily Sullivan is a city hall reporter at WYPR, where she covers all things Baltimore politics.  She joined WYPR after reporting for NPR’s national airwaves.  There, she was a reporter for NPR’s news desk, business desk and presidential conflicts of interest team.  Sullivan won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for an investigation into a Trump golf course's finances alongside members of the Embedded team. She has provided news analysis on 1A, The Takeaway, Here & Now and All Things Considered.

Sullivan has also reported on health and education for WAMU in Washington, D.C..  She got her start in public radio as an intern at WNYC.  Sullivan also interned at The Village Voice, where she produced a music festival.  She holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and women's, gender, and sexuality studies from Fordham University.

In her spare time, she enjoys biking, watching Jeopardy and defending the honor of New Jersey, her home state.

A poll that was commissioned by WYPR, The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore indicates that all three city wide races in Baltimore are close, with perhaps as many as one in five voters yet to make up their minds.  WYPR's City Hall reporter Emily Sullivan joins Tom for a look behind the numbers. 

 

AP/Patrick Semansky

  


  Only about a fifth of likely Baltimore voters think the city is moving in the right direction, while 65 percent believe the opposite, according to a new poll from WYPR, the Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore.

That may explain why two of the top three mayor’s race candidates, Mary Miller and Brandon Scott, are polling so well, said Roger Hartley, the dean of the University of Baltimore’s College of Public Affairs.

The numbers add to “the mantra that voters are looking for a fresh new face,” Hartley said. “With someone like Miller surging or someone like Brandon Scott, who's still doing well and has increased his support, they are those fresh new faces.”

Courtesy of the candidates' campaigns

A new poll from WYPR, The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore shows Del. Nick Mosby, former councilman Carl Stokes and councilwoman Shannon Sneed packed tightly together in the Baltimore City council president Democratic primary race, and Comptroller Joan Pratt with a slight edge over councilman Bill Henry in an unprecedentedly heated race for comptroller.   

Jose Luis Magana/AP

The coronavirus pandemic has made many states declare mail-in only primary elections this spring in order to promote social distancing, Maryland among them. A new poll from WYPR, the Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore found that a large majority of voters say the mail-in election will not affect their decision to vote and that most voters trust the mail-in elections process as much as they trust standard elections.

“You have a totally different type of election,” said Roger Hartley, dean of the University of Baltimore’s College of Public Affairs. “It's not getting people to turn out on Election Day. It's not having a union pick up supporters or a church pick up supporters and drive them to the polls.”

Courtesy of the candidates' campaigns

A new poll from WYPR, the Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore shows former mayor Sheila Dixon, Mary Miller and City Council President Brandon Scott in a statistical three-way tie in the Baltimore City mayoral Democratic primary race, with 22% of voters still undecided just two weeks shy of the election. 

“A couple of candidates could transcend, depending on how things go,” said Steve Raabe, the owner of OpinionWorks, which conducted the poll. “This is a race that really any one of three or four people could still win.”

AP PHOTO/RICK BOWMER

  Ballots addressed to Baltimore City voters were not mailed until at least last Thursday, a full week later than planned and long after ballots were sent to other registered voters across Maryland.

A statement from the Maryland Board of Elections on Sunday said that the June 2 primary mail-in ballots for Baltimore City voters are now expected to arrive by May 23. The board had originally said that Baltimoreans could expect ballots from early to mid-May.  

 

AP/Julio Cortez

Before Megan heads home from a grueling shift of treating patients with COVID-19, the emergency department nurse heads to a locker room. 

CHARM TV


 Despite Gov. Larry Hogan’s move to ease pandemic-related restrictions beginning Friday, Baltimore Mayor Jack Young says the city cannot safely reopen due to a lack of testing and personal protective equipment.

 

Meanwhile, the county executives in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties said Thursday they would ease a few restrictions.

Maryland State Archives

Ballots arriving in voters’ mailboxes list the upcoming statewide primary election date as April 28, but the election is actually on June 2.

Nikki Charlson, the Deputy Administrator of the Maryland Board of Elections, told state legislators Wednesday that the error occurred because the ballots were printed before Gov. Hogan’s decision to postpone the election due to the coronavirus pandemic back in mid-March.

AP/Patrick Semansky

A Baltimore City Council bill to prevent landlords from increasing rent during declared emergencies passed Monday night. More than half of Baltimoreans rent their homes. 

The bill, called the Baltimore City COVID-19 Renter Relief Act, was first introduced by City Council President Brandon Scott in late April. 

The bill prohibits landlords from raising rent during the ongoing state of emergency and retroactively cancels rent increases that have gone into effect after March 5. 

AP/PATRICK SEMANSKY

  


  When Baltimore’s budget director Bob Cenname presented the city’s fiscal year 2021 budget in late March, he called it “largely irrelevant.” 

That’s because the coronavirus pandemic had dealt an enormous blow to the city’s revenue stream, a loss of $103 million. With fewer people driving, working and traveling, the city is collecting less in taxes.

The budget, which is traditionally written over the course of a year, was completely rewritten in  April. On Wednesday, Cenname and his staff presented the revised budget, which accounts for the revenue loss and proposes trimmed spending across agencies.

Screenshot via House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Facebook page

 


  Kweisi Mfume is officially a U.S. Congressman once again. 

On Tuesday, the Democrat was sworn in to Congress by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to represent Maryland’s 7th congressional district through the rest of this year. 

“We’re very honored to have the Maryland Delegation... and all of us to welcome Rep. Mfume back to the House of Representatives, where he served with such distinction,” Pelosi said. “We look forward to again welcoming him when we’re all together, hopefully in a short period of time.”

AP Photo

  A crowd of Maryland officials made their cases for funding for cities in an upcoming piece of pandemic stimulus legislation during a virtual press conference hosted by Baltimore Mayor Jack Young on Monday.

 

Representatives on the federal level included Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, Representatives C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes and Representative-elect Kweisi Mfume. They joined local officials from across the state, including Mayor Young, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich to advocate for relief money for Baltimore as well as counties and municipalities throughout Maryland.

SCREENSHOT VIA EMILY SULLIVAN, KWEISI MFUME CAMPAIGN

Democrat Kweisi Mfume won Tuesday's election to carry out the rest of the late Elijah Cummings’ term in Congress, clinching a seat he held over a decade before leaving to lead the NAACP in 1996.

“I hold myself out to you this evening, willing and wanting to listen to you, to work with you, to build with you, to share with you,” Mfume said during a victory speech Tuesday night streamed live on Facebook. 

SCREENSHOT VIA EMILY SULLIVAN, CHARMTV

The Baltimore City Council held its third virtual meeting last night as coronavirus containment methods keep legislators at home. WYPR’s Emily Sullivan and Nathan Sterer discuss a bill that aims to establish a permanent home for the city's Children and Youth Fund and divert up to $13 million from that fund to fund internet access and technology for children as well as boxed meals.

 

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer


On Tuesday, the state of Maryland will do something it’s never done before: conduct an election almost completely by mail. Ballots for the 7th congressional district special election to fill the remainder of the late Elijah Cummings’ term in Congress must be postmarked on the 28th or placed in a drop box by 8 p.m. Tuesday. 

Gov. Larry Hogan decided to hold the election by mail last month in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has closed businesses and forced schools to hold remote classes for an indefinite period of time.

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky


  Five years ago, Joe Jones, the director of the Center for Urban Families got to work early at around 7:30 a.m.  He managed to get a few hours of work done before it was time to head directly across the street to New Shiloh Baptist Church, where Freddie Gray’s funeral was about to start. 

“I could not believe the assemblage of the national media that had descended on a community that wasn't there when I got to work,” he remembered. 

Emily Sullivan/WYPR


  The coronavirus pandemic has not been easy on professional musicians: closed venues and restaurants mean that steady gigs have dried up for the foreseeable future. So Ed Hrybyk and Clarence Ward III have turned to a makeshift venue partial to Baltimore row home dwellers: a porch. 

 

On most Wednesday nights, Hrybyk plays at Nori, a sushi restaurant in Hampden that has since suspended dine-in services. For the last five Wednesdays, Hrybyk has instead picked up his upright bass and livestreamed a jazz show on his porch with Ward, who plays trumpet and flugelhorn. 

 

Maureen Harvie/WYPR

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young announced Tuesday the city is opening a new COVID-19 testing site at Druid Hill Park’s Rawlings Conservatory. 

The site, which opened Tuesday, Baltimore’s second. Pimlico Race Course became the city’s first community testing site earlier this month. Like Pimlico, residents must have an appointment and doctor’s referral to receive a test at the Rawlings Conservatory. 

“Bringing this second testing site online represents a key step for Baltimore City’s response to COVID-19, allowing even more residents to have access to a community-based testing site,” Young said during a news conference. 

AP/Mark Lennihan

Restaurants throughout Maryland are still open, but operating only as carry-out establishments under emergency orders because of the coronavirus pandemic, meaning many residents are turning to delivery apps to bring meals to their door. 

The problem, some restaurant workers say, is that the fees the delivery services charge greatly reduce the already razor-thin margins that most restaurants skate by on. 

SCREENSHOT VIA PERISCOPE

  


  Gov. Larry Hogan issued an executive order Wednesday afternoon requiring all Marylanders to wear masks or other face coverings when inside retail establishments or when riding public transportation in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

His order will go into effect at 7 a.m. Saturday. It also directs essential businesses to put social distancing measures, such as markers directing customers where to stand at a check-out line, into place. 

screenshot via Emily Sullivan/WYPR


    The Baltimore City Council heard a series of coronavirus measures during its second-ever virtual meeting Monday night. 

City Council President Brandon Scott introduced an ordinance that would make the acts of impersonating an official and issuing “false statements” during a declared state of emergency a misdemeanor. 

Heidi Sheppard/WYPR

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young closed city playgrounds in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic last month, but residents continued to visit them and use park exercise equipment.

On Monday, he ordered new measures to secure park equipment so residents are more inclined to stay away.

Maryland State Department of Health

Black Marylanders are disproportionately represented among confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19, according to state data released Thursday.

Black residents make up just under a third of Maryland’s population, but represent 42.7% of COVID-19 cases and 44% of the deaths from the illness among cases for which race data is known. 

Gov. Larry Hogan said the figures reveal “troubling disparities and points to a persistent public health challenge that we must address.”

SCRE

Baltimore’s Taxpayer Night was held virtually for the first time ever on Tuesday due to the coronavirus pandemic — the economic impact dominated discussion from the city’s spending board, budget department and residents alike. 

The annual event, hosted by the Board of Estimates, allows Baltimore residents to lobby for the priorities they think should be reflected in the city budget. 

The city is collecting less money due to the pandemic’s grip on daily life, especially in four areas: transportation, tourism, income and investment earnings. 

 

AP/Patrick Semansky


  The Baltimore City Council held its first ever virtual meeting Monday evening, convened over a video conferencing website as the novel coronavirus pandemic worsens and gatherings of 10 or more are banned.

The pandemic was the subject of discussion and legislation, including a bill that would require the Baltimore City health commissioner to report patients’ races and ZIP codes -- data that has not been publicly available in the state of Maryland.

SCREENSHOT VIA EMILY SULLIVAN/WYPR


Jessica Hyman, a Baltimore artist who performs under the name DJ Trillnatured, started off her Saturday night set like she would any other: by playing a cascade of feel-good beats designed to get her audience moving.

But unlike most nights, that audience wasn’t flanked around her. Instead, they were dancing on Zoom, a free video conferencing website that’s hosted scores of virtual happy hours and celebrations, and now, makeshift Baltimore clubbing. 

Rachel Baye/WYPR

  


  Gov. Larry Hogan signed  two pieces of emergency legislation on Friday to expand telehealth across the state, which will allow Marylanders to receive care and evaluations from their providers by e-mail, telephone, or video.

The Republican also signed an executive order to designate carers for people with disabilities as essential personnel, a move that allows them to receive free childcare during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, he issued an emergency order to provide additional and immediate financial relief for those facing economic hardship because of the pandemic. 

JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AP

Voters in Maryland’s June 2 primaries will be sent mail-in ballots, while some will have the option of casting a ballot on election day at one to four polling places per county, the Maryland State Board of Elections said in a Thursday afternoon meeting.

The decision is a departure from last week’s meeting, in which the board recommended there be no in-person voting in June because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

AP/Patrick Semansky

  


  Members of Mayor Jack Young’s administration would have spent Wednesday morning explaining their official preliminary budget to Baltimore’s spending board -- but because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, that proposal has become “largely irrelevant” according to the city’s budget director.

 

Instead, Robert Cenname used the Board of Estimates meeting to explain Baltimore’s fiscal outlook to city officials, warning them that the budget must be almost totally revamped before it is finalized in May.

 

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