Baltimore City Council | WYPR

Baltimore City Council

Official photograph

Those plastic bags you get at your local supermarket, or just about anywhere you shop in Baltimore City, could be a thing of the past under a measure City Councilman Bill Henry plans to introduce at Monday’s council meeting.

The bill would ban plastic bags altogether and place a surcharge of five cents on other bags — like paper or compostable bags —at the point of sale or during pick up or delivery. 

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

Baltimore residents who face the most severe impacts of increasing water bills are disproportionately black, according to a new study released Tuesday.

The report, conducted by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which is independent from the NAACP, comes as the Baltimore City Council considers the Water Accountability & Equity Act.

Emily Sullivan

Danielle McCray was sworn in as the 2nd district city council member by Mayor Jack Young in a ceremony Tuesday afternoon, capping the end of a series of office transitions that began after former mayor Catherine Pugh’s resignation.

McCray served as an aide to City Council President Brandon Scott when he represented the Northeast Baltimore district. She spent five years handling constituent and policy issues.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

The second district vacancy committee tapped Danielle McCray out of 14 eligible candidates Thursday for an empty City Council position, filling the final seat in a round of political musical chairs that began when former Mayor Catherine Pugh resigned.

McCray was the odds-on favorite to get the job. She had worked as an aide to City Council President Brandon Scott when he held the second district seat, handling constituent issues for five years, and knew the second district neighborhood association leaders who made up the bulk of the committee.

AP/Patrick Semansky

A pool of 22 candidates has hopes of filling the Baltimore City Council seat vacated when Second District Councilman Brandon Scott became Council President.

 A 13-member committee that includes council members Shannon Sneed and Zeke Cohen as well as a variety of second district neighborhood association leaders will select the future council member.

Baltimore City Hall

City Councilman Brandon Scott has been unanimously elected as Council President by his colleagues after four days of leadership upheaval following the resignation of Mayor Catherine Pugh.

Scott and Sharon Green Middleton, the council vice president who had been filling in as president, had been tied in colleagues’ pledges for votes over the weekend, until Scott own over a few more members, including veteran councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

 

Last night, the city council introduced a package of charter amendments that would bolster its power throughout the city -- and over the mayor. WYPR’s Emily Sullivan joins Nathan Sterner to explain the proposed changes and their timeline.

 

Official Photo

 

Every elected leader in the city of Baltimore has been asked by the inspector general to provide a list of the boards and commissions they may serve on, according to the ex officio mayor.

City Council President and acting mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young told reporters during a Wednesday press conference that he has given the inspector general’s office his records. Comptroller Joan M. Pratt and the rest of the city council have also been asked to do so, said Young’s spokesperson Lester Davis.

All 14 of the district-representing City Council members have asked Mayor Catherine Pugh to resign from her office immediately.

Their two-sentence letter, released Monday morning, was blunt.

“The entire membership of the Baltimore City Council believes that it is not in the best interest of the City of Baltimore, for you to continue to serve as Mayor,” it read. “We urge you to tender your resignation, effective immediately.”

Pugh’s office responded with a blunt statement of its own.

City Airbnb Hosts Caught Up in Council Bill

Dec 3, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Airbnbs and other short-term rental properties in Baltimore are liable to start costing a little more under a bill the city council is to vote Monday night. The bill would extend the city’s hotel tax to those properties and limit the number of short term rental properties an individual can operate.

Who is Doctor Ross McNutt?

Nov 19, 2018
https://www.pss-1.com/

Well, for starters, he’s the president of Persistent Surveillance System, a Dayton, Ohio, firm that operates aerial surveillance systems.

Shortly after the Freddie Gray riots in 2015, the city police department used private funds to have Ross McNutt set up an aerial surveillance system. The department didn’t tell the city’s elected leaders. The police squashed the program after a Bloomberg Businessweek article that created a public outcry. Now, Ross McNutt is back, trying to get approval for his plans for a camera-equipped drone and he’s no stranger to trial and error.

Council Members Ask for Swift Action on BPD Audit Recommendations

Oct 25, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore City Council committee got a look Thursday at the audit that found the police department has little, if any, way to track or control overtime costs. The council members want Mayor Catherine Pugh and the department to move quickly to implement the recommendations in the report.

As Finance Director Henry Raymond briefed the council’s budget committee on the recommendations, Council President Jack Young got caught up in the wording of the first one:

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore City Council gave preliminary approval Monday night to a measure that would create a $20 million trust fund aimed at affordable housing. The vote resolved a debate that erupted last week between council members and housing advocates who feared some amendments would hurt the fund. Morning Edition Host Nathan Sterner talks about those amendments and the council meeting with WYPR's Dominique Maria Bonessi.

BPD on High Alert for Three Days

Oct 1, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

After two city police officers were involved in a shooting more than a week ago and the number of homicides jumped last month, the Baltimore Police Department is going on high alert for three days.

Affordable Housing Trust Fund Riddled with Risk

Sep 28, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh promised during her campaign to put $20 million a year by 2023 into a trust fund to pay for tearing down abandoned housing, creating affordable housing and subsidizing rentals for low income city residents. But critics at a well-attended City Council committee hearing Thursday sharply questioned whether the city would be able to fully fund what the mayor calls an “affordable housing trust fund.” Morning Edition Host Nathan Sterner talks with Reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi to iron out these concerns.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

The Baltimore City Council was back in session Monday evening with a long list of new legislation. Morning Edition's Host Nathan Sterner speaks with Reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi about what happened.

Pugh Rejects Request for Fewer Officers Around Johns Hopkins

Aug 15, 2018
Baltimore City Office of the Mayor

Some Baltimore City Council members want fewer police patrolling around Johns Hopkins University and Hospital. But Mayor Catherine Pugh rejected the idea at her Wednesday news conference.

“First of all Hopkins does not exist on an island," she said. "It’s not 20 miles outside of Baltimore.”

City Council Weighs in on Police Involved Incident

Aug 14, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Earlier in the day, Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said he was “disappointed” and “disturbed” by the video of Officer Arthur Williams striking civilian Dashawn McGrier in the head. Then Mayor Catherine Pugh tweeted she was demanding “answers and accountability.”

Monday night, City Council president Jack Young said the incident “causes great concern with the community when we’re trying to rebuild police-community relations.”

“It’s like the officer just lost it,” he said in the monthly meeting of the council’s Public Safety and Budget committees with the police department. “But this is the type of behavior that we can’t have.”

City Council Committee to Look at Stop Gap Funding for Schools

May 15, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Some Baltimore City public schools have lost thousands of dollars in federal funding because of changes to the school lunch program. City Council members are looking for ways to bridge the gap.

City Schools Expected to Lose 1500 Student in 2018-2019

May 8, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore’s schools, already suffering from declining enrollments, will lose even more students next year. School officials gave the news to a city council committee Tuesday.

Schools CEO Sonja Santelises told a committee looking into the school system’s enrollment task force that officials are projecting that 1500 students will leave the district in the 2018 to 2019 school year. She said the loss of students typically happens in 5th and 6th grades because parents are unsure of the middle school options available to them, but that trend has changed.

BCPS Looks to Increase Enrollment with Taskforce

May 1, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

 

At Monday night’s city council meeting President Jack Young introduced  a resolution to hold a hearing with Baltimore City Public Schools on their enrollment task force. City school’s enrollment numbers have been declining faster than the city's population. WYPR’s City Hall Reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi spoke with Morning Edition Host Nathan Sterner.

Preliminary Complete Streets Passes City Council Committee

Apr 26, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Maryland’s General Assembly approved a bill to establish funding for complete streets. Last night Baltimore City Council’s land use and transportation committee met to hear local complete streets legislation proposed by District Three Councilman Ryan Dorsey. WYPR's City Hall Reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi is on the line now with more.

Elections Bills Introduced in City Council

Apr 23, 2018

Measures to be introduced at Monday night’s city council meeting would require local lobbyists to disclose more information and create public financing for city campaigns. The bills come prior to the June primary election.

BCPS Headquarters May Be Moving

Apr 5, 2018
Baltimore City Public Schools

Baltimore City school officials are considering moving from their long-time headquarters on North Avenue—the building that once housed Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. But it’s unclear when, or if, that will happen.

Holding Landlords Accountable

Mar 27, 2018
Melissa Archer, MD Dept. of Housing & Community Development

More than half of the rental units in Baltimore City are one and two-family homes, according to a study by the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. And the owners of those properties aren’t held to the same standards as the owners of multi-family units, which can create problems for the tenants.

Take, for example, the case of Kia Rogers, a single mother of two.

State Bill Would Allow JHU to Create Private Police Force

Mar 21, 2018
The Johns Hopkins University

The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is pushing for a state bill that would allow them to create their own police force. But some 2000 JHU students, faculty and staff say they don’t see the need.

Recap of Pugh's State of the City

Mar 13, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh gave her state of the city address Monday to a gathering of city leaders with a theme of “Baltimore: A City on the Rise.” WYPR’s City Hall Reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi spoke with Morning Edition Host Nathan Sterner.

 

City Council Confirms De Sousa and Bans Sugary Drinks

Feb 27, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore City Council nearly unanimously confirmed Acting Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa as the new commissioner last night. WYPR’s City Hall Reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi talks with Morning Edition Host, Nathan Sterner, about witnessing the vote and other measures that would ban various things in the city.

De Sousa Unanimously Confirmed by City Council Committee

Feb 22, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Last night the executive appointments committee of the Baltimore City Council voted unanimously to confirm Darryl De Sousa as Baltimore’s new police commissioner, but not without some tough questions from committee members and the public. His confirmation is still pending until Monday when the entire city council is set to vote on his nomination, WYPR’s City Hall Reporter, Dominique Maria Bonessi, spoke with Morning Edition Host Nathan Sterner about the hearing.

Significant Changes in the BPD

Feb 9, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore’s acting Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa announced additional internal changes to the department Friday. The appointment of one deputy commissioner, Thomas Cassella, is being held up.

De Sousa had named Cassella to be Deputy Commissioner for the Operations Bureau, but documents were leaked to the media alleging two disciplinary complaints against him.

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