Baltimore’s government has failed to fulfill its duties to the taxpayers to the city for far too long. It won’t be an easy overnight fix. Still, with hard work, cooperation, transparency, and genuine leadership, Shannon believes that a new era of responsible government in Baltimore City Hall can turn things around. As Baltimore’s next City Council President, Shannon Sneed will make the following items her top priorities.
No matter where you go in Baltimore City, residents are fed up with the violence in our streets. Far too many longtime residents are afraid for the safety of themselves and their loved ones. While Baltimore’s current crime epidemic will not be solved with one or two simple actions, we need to stop the bleeding today if we want businesses to thrive and grow, and families to call Baltimore City home. It is upon all of us as civic leaders to work together to curb crime. That’s why, as your next City Council President, Shannon’s plan includes the following:
- Holding the Mayor, Police Commissioner, and State’s Attorney accountable for a comprehensive plan to curb crime with tangible results.
- Working with the Police Commissioner to crack down on repeat violent offenders, aggressively target illegal guns, and clear the drug corners that have kept our neighborhoods hostage for far too long.
- Establishing “Community Service Aides,” which are mental health professionals that can respond to the 80% or more of patrol work calls that are comprised of service-related functions and not criminal activity, thereby freeing up trained officers to go back on the beat and interrupt crime before it starts.
- Establish the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice as a City Agency, thereby providing transparency and oversight of the office and City Council confirmation of its director.
Improving our Schools
Communities that have healthy, safe public schools almost always see continual growth in business, population, and tax growth. For Baltimore to compete with other cites in our region, nationally, and the world, we must ensure that our families know that our children attend schools that are the gold standard for an urban school district. As City Council President, Shannon will work to ensure the following:
- Baltimore funds the “Blueprint for Maryland’s Future” by starting with annual audits of city agencies to modernize city departments, uncover unnecessary spending, and shifting those resources to our public schools. Shannon will also push our legislators in Annapolis to allow Baltimore City to use sports betting revenues to help meet our obligations to our students.
- We partner with the Baltimore Schools CEO to fully implement the recommendations of the School Safety Task Force’s recently completed study, which provides a comprehensive review of the Code of Conduct and provides a safe learning environment for students and educators alike.
- Support a fully elected school board that allows citizens from all across Baltimore City to have a say in what they want Baltimore City Schools to be.
- Advocate for new revenue streams including the legalization of marijuana at the state level to increase funding to our schools.
Closing the Wealth and Opportunity Gap
Despite the new development happening in Baltimore, systematic failure has made it so that development leaves out the majority of neighborhoods in the “Black Butterfly.” There is also the harsh reality that too many projects do not pay workers a living wage leaving many Baltimore City residents behind. If Baltimore is truly to live up to the potential we all know that is just below the surface; we must ensure that development is happening across our city and Baltimoreans from all neighborhoods are a part of this growth. Only through good-paying jobs can we truly see a reduction in crime, and a break in the cycle of poverty and hopelessness that far too many of our families find themselves unable to escape. As City Council President, Shannon Sneed will do her part by:
- Introducing a “Youth Opportunity Guarantee” program where any City resident 18 years of age or younger who wants one is guaranteed a job, apprenticeship, or training opportunity. This means a chance to earn an income and earn valuable job experience that can be life-changing.
- Expanding local and small, minority, and women-owned business requirements for minority contracts.
- Cracking down on wage theft for Baltimore City workers
- Making sure that municipal workers earn $15/hour.
Reforming City Hall
Sadly, Baltimore has become known around the country as a city where political corruption is the norm. From Annapolis to Holliday Street, our public officials have broken the public’s trust time and time again. It is no wonder why our citizens have little faith that politicians are looking out for anyone but themselves and are no better than criminals we see on the streets. As your next City Council President, Shannon will be a leader that Baltimore can be proud of. Her plan to change the culture in City Hall contains the following:
- Reform the Board of Estimates. Many of Baltimore’s political problems stem from this entity, and it is time to reduce the board to a three-person board, with additional oversight from City Council.
- Support the proposed charter amendment to eliminate two of the Mayor’s appointed positions to the Board of Estimates.
- Provide real funding to the Ethics Board, and allow them to enforce rules that prevent conflicts of interest that involve taxpayer dollars.
- Implement annual auditing of city departments to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely and with transparency.
- Designate a committee that will work with agencies to implement the recommendations that come from audits of agencies and Inspector General reports.
- Make sure that through regularly scheduled oversight hearings, the Department of Public Works is complying with the Water Affordability and Equity Act.
Protecting our Environment
Water is a human right, and we need to make sure we protect our most valuable asset, our waterways. During Shannon’s time in City Council, she supported efforts to keep styrofoam out of area waterways and landfills as well as strict pollution limits on the two incinerators that operate in Baltimore City. As Council President, Shannon Sneed pledges to do the following:
- Protect our water supply, our Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay by ensuring transparency and funding to the repair and upgrades of our infrastructure as well as fighting for relief for homeowners burdened by failing sewers.
- Fight for a Zero Waste Baltimore City and invest in equitable cleanup and maintenance of our neighborhoods.
- Invest in improvements to our tree canopy, the preservation of our parks, and the protection of our forests.
Modernizing Our Streets and Transportation System
More and more young families and workers want to live in neighborhoods that are safe, walkable, with multiple options to use for transportation. Employers know this too and will be looking for cities that approach transit with a bold, new way of thinking. As Baltimore’s next City Council President, Shannon recognizes the need for Baltimore to rethink our approach to transportation and do the following:
- Enforce policies that protect the walkability of our neighborhoods in order to tackle emissions from cars, the largest source of pollution.
- Advocating for reliable and safe public transportation and fully funding the MTA to secure more buses that run frequently throughout the city and use green technology.
- Pass legislation that would lower the speed limit in Baltimore City, ensure that we implement better road design that encourages safe driving, invest in traffic calming measures in our neighborhoods.