Politics

By allocating money to focus on where help is needed, we revitalize Baltimore. By helping oppressed communities instead of ignoring them, we raise up Baltimore and return our city to where it should rightly be.

Dante’s Platform is Ever-Evolving, Informed by Activists and Community Members. Explore His Bold Ideas Below!

POLICING

Install an additional 200-hour segment to the city’s police academy that is focused on the racial and economic injustices of police departments in Baltimore and across the United States, including
– Mandatory attendance of neighborhood association meetings in each district
– Door-to-door engagement of residents
– How to engage with and respect survivors of domestic and sexual assaults
– How to engage with and respect residents with mental illnesses
– How to engage with and respect transgender residents
– Non-weapon-based de-escalation tactics
–City will provide funding for universities and survivor advocacy organizations to assist
Requiring police officers seeking promotions to have a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in Sociology or Criminal Justice, beginning in 2025 – All recruits to have this requirement starting in 2030
–City would pay for attendance
Hold community policing and violence prevention events in each district every other month
All officers required to live within city limits by January 1, 2023, or receive 20% pay reduction at any position
A minimum 30% cut to policing budget for Fiscal 2022-2025 (More could be reallocated to enrolling officers into college programs above)

That 30% would be reallocated to…

Poverty Erasure and Community Enhancement (PEACE) Zones

Each year, $150 million, previously in the police budget, will be split into six $25 million direct investments into economically-challenged and environmentally-challenged communities – 24 communities over four years. That means **$600 million** in direct investments over a four-year term. Each community will receive an additional $1 million in the following year (see below).

Notes
– $90,000 for 100 homes each
– All homes must have reflective roofing or green roofing
– Homes offered to residents at 30-69% AMI – specifically, the city’s median income ($47,131) with 50 community families given priority
–So, residents with incomes of $14,139 to $32,992 qualify–
Rent subsidies are $800/mo for rent and $400/mo for utilities
–Subsidies will be provided for two years
– 15% of homes must have ADA-compliant exteriors and interiors -specifically, bathrooms

PEACE Zones Map, Years 1-4

***The $1 million in rent and utility subsidies is akin to the Federal Housing Administration’s federally-backed loans for white Americans, beginning in the 1930s, to increase homeownership. Unfortunately, this was not accessible to black Americans. This arrangement permits private homebuilders a boost to their business, and owners are assured on-time payments to help in their profit-making.***

Further, these investments will attract additional investments from private sources, potentially doubling the overall amount of money funneled into the community. Ideally, from a housing perspective, we’d see a matched $3 million to build homes for people in the 70%-120% AMI range – creating desperately-needed, mixed-income neighborhoods

ECONOMY

Notes
– Business owners often assert that they are unable to raise wages this significantly for their workers, and will have to pass it on to their patrons. THIS ALREADY HAPPENS! Jobs dependent on tips, for example, are the first subsidy patrons provide, and the second is government assistance (SNAP, EITC, TANF, Medicaid) to make ends meet. 52% of workers in the country utilize at least one of those programs. A living wage ERASES a double-subsidy.
– City will follow suit

Public-private partnership to revive Old Town Mall as a co-op grocery store
Reasonable tax incentives for green businesses that relocate/expand to Baltimore (No giving something like a first born child a la Amazon!) – solar and wind companies, energy efficiency companies, sustainable materials companies, and the like
Build a just economy that no longer depends on chemical or fossil fuel production to clean Baltimore’s air as much as possible (~10-year vision)

TRANSIT

Fire Sale for Transit (FiST) Program – Selling off all Baltimore-owned properties (~17,000) for $5,000-$60,000 each to nonprofits, benefit corporations, and small businesses that are not air or water polluters
–If all sites were sold at the high end, Baltimore would raise $1.02 billion toward the Red Line
–Mayor and councilperson of that area will sign a letter of support to increase likelihood of nonprofits garnering funding to acquire the land
Revamp of Charm City Circulator:
-Removes colors and replaces them with “RAVENS,” although I could be persuaded to do “CHARMS” or some other thing that would help residents remember.
-Remains five routes initially, but likely to expand to seven or eight

R: Mondawmin/Walbrook to McElderry Park
A: Carrollton Ridge to Patterson Park
V: Hollins Market to Baybrook
E: Locust Point to Charles Village
N: Canton to Coldstream
S: Roland Park to Inner Harbor

Buses would run every 10 minutes during peak hours, and either 20 or 30 minutes during non-peak times. New hours would be

6:25am to around 11:30pm Monday-Thursday
6:25am to around 2:10am Friday
9:00am to around 2:10am Saturday
9:00am to around 11:30pm Sunday

**The E could run along Key Highway going southbound, then onto Fort, following the rest of the route, and removing the tight squeeze on Light Street.**

The new routes will assist residents in both the Black Butterfly and White L in getting around the city, discouraging dependence on cars.

–I will reallocate $16 million from the no-longer-necessary property tax credit to fund the expansion, which will include new buses–

Swinton Traffic Organization Plan (STOP)
1. Maximize road space on specific roads during peak hours
Both colors represent streets that will not permit parking from 7-10am and 4-7pm, while red lines indicate streets that already have or will have bus-only lanes.

This will maximize our roads to alleviate traffic issues, which also permits both BaltimoreLink and the Charm City Circulator (especially with my revamp) to run more efficiently. Not every road will need to abide by this because these adjustments will minimize the traffic on those roads as well, and maintains options for street parking.

2. Increase Downtown Street-Parking Rates
Street-parking rates in a defined zone will increase to $7.50 an hour Sunday-Friday, and $10/hr Saturday
–Residents with local parking permits are exempted

3. Significantly Decrease Parking Garage Rates
-Example: 7 St. Paul Street Garage
(Monday-Friday evening (7pm))
0 to 30 minutes: $3
31 to 60 minutes: $4.50
61 to 90 minutes: $6
91 to 120 minutes: $7.50
121 to 240 minutes: $15
241 minutes to Workday (8 hours): $30
Overnight: $20
(Friday evening-Sunday)
0 to 30 minutes: $6
31 to 60 minutes: $9
61 to 90 minutes: $12
91 to 120 minutes: $15
121 to 240 minutes: $30
240 to Workday (8 hours): $60
Overnight: $40
Notes
– Pricing (street parking) will encourage more residents to use transit and rideshare options, minimize congestion, increase transit reliability, and increase bike safety
***All funding will be utilized for transit/road improvements***

4. Improve Transit Signals
Allocating funds to place all streetlights in a downtown grid, and one half-mile in each direction, to synchronized, 60-second cycles.

5. Enforce No Parking in Bus-Only Lanes
Install or utilize existing cameras at intersections and on buses to identify offenders – fines will be sliding scale, with increasing amounts per offense

6. End car usage of Howard Street (south of MLK, north of Pratt)
Replaced with a walkable/bikeable green plaza beside the Light Rail
—-
Car-commuter transit study
Assess feasibility of staggered start times for businesses to ease congestion further
Assess options for improving Light Rail system, including modern cars, by 2025 – work with MTA to make it happen
For all vehicles unclaimed at city’s impound after 18 months (may limit to 18 months), sell vehicles for scrap to assist in payment for 60-second traffic light cycles

ENVIRONMENT

Trees planted for 66 percent tree canopy coverage by winter 2022 – this will create additional jobs!
Implement Climate Action Plan more aggressively
1 cent/lb. carbon tax for facilities reporting emissions to EPA (includes CO2 and CO) – funding will go toward clean energy investments and energy efficiency retrofits – increases by 1 cent every two years
100% clean energy goal by 2035
Promote energy democracy (community solar) throughout Baltimore, eliminating BG&E’s monopoly

ELECTIONS

Ending partisan primaries for Baltimore City races and implementing a Condorcet (ranked-choice) voting system – removes Democratic primary as de-facto general election
Restrict donations from individuals and corporations to candidates to $150 per city election cycle

GENERAL WELFARE

Notes
–This structure decreases the tax burden on homeowners by 25%, while still providing replacement revenue to the city, and encourages people to move back into Baltimore
–With more businesses opening via my PEACE Zones and FiST plans, the revenue lost can be recovered, if not substantially boosted

A 3% City Sales Tax on vehicle purchases, which will increase by 10% each year until about 5.3%, then increase to 10% the subsequent year
–All revenue goes to transit improvements

City observation of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April) (including Denim Day) and Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October)
Provide community outreach on healthy relationships, consent, and LGBTQ rights
Provide funding for a new domestic violence shelter and safe houses
Work with LGBTQ Commission and residents on LGBTQ rights in our city, and underscore and end the violence experienced by Black transwomen
City observation of National Coming Out Day/Month
$10 Hospitality Tax attached to a night at hotels – funding goes toward a mental health fund for homeless and low-income residents, as well as housing assistance
$5 Hospitality Tax attached to a night at hotels – funding goes toward sewer repairs
Libraries as Center of Environment (LACE) – Identifying funding (general budget, loans, bonds) to extend library hours to 11pm at all locations, providing computer access, community programming, and skills trainings
$1.5 million for Gun Buyback Program ($1,500 for 1,000 guns) annually
-One buyback per person every two years
Advocate for and support more community land trusts, signing letters of support for grants
Establish safe-injection sites
Recognize that Baltimore welcomes immigrants
Mandate all hospitality services (restaurants, bars, hotels) post in windows, online, and/or on automatic phone lines whether they are ADA-accessible
Work with state to release all Baltimore residents imprisoned on marijuana possession or distribution charges by 2023
Move to five-tier sliding scale for parking fines, with $300 being the highest-assessed fine
Minimize frequency of boot-usage on cars
$1.5 billion bond for infrastructure repairs
Repeal massive property tax cuts for large housing investors (ex: no 80% breaks for five years)
Remove rate hikes on water bills, and establish sliding scale
Ban water lien sales
Establish clean water as a human right
Rent Control – To prevent gentrification, restricting rent increases to 4% plus inflation

***On Squeegee Kids: I don’t want anyone harming anyone else’s property, and more importantly, don’t want children or adults to be hit. However, the kids and adults are out there for one reason: to make ends meet. That’s it. That’s why they would risk getting hit or being arrested (as some suggest). Consider how many of those Baltimoreans may be uncertain of what their next meal may be. This is why my policies create JOBS for their parents/guardians and themselves when old enough.

EDUCATION

$8 Million Baltimore City Teachers Fund
–Used for books, notebooks, pens/pencils, digital devices, and classroom adornments
–Acquired out of former funding for property tax credit
Hire more health educators
Enhance sexual education curriculum in City Schools to underscore healthy relationships and consent, as well as LGBTQ rights
Mandate that all middle schools and high schools provide contraception options
–City will contract with a local hospital to offer IUDs at no charge
Establish Mental Health Month in schools
Establish uniform start/stop times for Baltimore City Schools, and adjust to hours more suitable for a given age (Ex: Later start times for high school students, but earlier for elementary children):
Elementary: 8-2:40
Middle: 8:45-3:25
High: 9:30-4:10

LAND

Mandate all vacant buildings be deconstructed over demolished, which minimizes the risk of harmful pollutants being released into the environment
Remove capability of recovering Adopt-A-Lot for city purposes

WASTE

Moving toward zero waste is the PRIORITY
$40 million in capital funding to build city-owned material recovery facility
Move to 64-gallon recycling bin, 32-gallon composting bin, 16-gallon trash bin system
Hire residents for recycling bin-checking
$15 million in RFPs to build 15-acre municipal composting facility
$10 million in RFPs toward electronics recycling businesses, which will be required to locate in economically-challenged communities
Sell diesel collection trucks and replace them with smaller, more agile, electric collection vehicles
Place large recycling cans on city corners w/ instructions
Mandate commercial recycling and composting
Plastic bag ban after provision of polyethylene grocery bags
Provision of polyethylene grocery bags
Implement Charm City SMART (Save Money and Reduce Trash) – City offers acceptable bags for waste disposal at three sizes, charging for them – residents already pay per bag – just to the grocery store!
All workers to be unionized
Implement a displaced workers policy from the closure of Wheelabrator Baltimore
Deconstruction of closed Baltimore City Jail site
Deconstruction mandate for all sites, creating more jobs
Extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws for firms that produce non-reusable products

HEALTHCARE

Establish Charm City Care by 2025 (under assumption federal Medicare-for-All is not established) – Residents within 150% of the poverty line to receive $300-$500 per month for healthcare costs, *including* dental

GOVERNMENT

Amending City Charter to provide more, joint-power to city council 
Dissolve the Board of Estimates, replacing it with city council- and mayor-led budget/contract meetings, which will include the comptroller
Participatory Budgeting
– Residents will be shown proposed budget in January each year, and can use an online app to suggest edits (like Virginia Beach)
– Residents can vote every April on proposed budget; if the budget fails, Mayor, City Council, and Comptroller convene to alter budget and City Council will vote on the alternate by end of May or start of June
Move City Council meetings/hearings to 7pm
Adjust business hours to begin at 9:30am and 10am, and end at 5:30pm and 6pm
Eliminate unnecessary positions in the mayor’s office, and assess positions created under the last two mayoral terms
Identify a new leader for the Department of Public Works
Identify a new leader for the Department of Transportation

LAND

Rezone and redefine zones for neighborhoods to be more sustainable – that is, having to travel less for having needs met, such as work, food, et cetera

HOMELESSNESS

Engaging homeless population and allocating funding for housing, similar to PEACE Zones allocation
Collaborate with nonprofits to assist homeless residents with needs (jobs, mental health, education, et cetera)