Mayoral candidate Nick Mosby positioned himself in front of a vacant boarded-up building Tuesday and released his 15-point plan, though he was a bit upstaged by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the officeholder he would like to replace.
That same day, in front of some other dilapidated boarded-up Baltimore buildings, Rawlings-Blake and Gov. Larry Hogan had also released a plan: promising nearly $700 million to demolish blight and revitalize neighborhoods in West Baltimore.
Only four points? That prompted a scornful rejoinder from the Mosby team.
“Nick’s 15 Point Plan will be much more comprehensive than just four bullet points,” sniffed Mosby’s communications director Tiffany D. Cross, saying also that Dixon failed to address the police brutality issue during her administration.
It was not exactly the Lincoln-Douglas debates, but the dueling multi-point plans and overlapping press events did signal that the low-key winter holiday season is over and the run-up to the April 26 election is underway in earnest.
Campaign maneuvering aside, what was Mosby’s message?
“Connecting the Dots”
Baltimore has plenty of piecemeal programs and projects for education and urban revitalization, but what it really needs is a comprehensive approach to running city government.
If there was a theme to the remarks Mosby made yesterday as he stood near the corner of Howard and Franklin streets, that was it.
Baltimore can’t afford another year like 2015, he said, referring to the protests and rioting following the in-custody death death of West Baltimore resident Freddie Gray.
To move forward, he said, Baltimore must do a better job of “connecting the dots” in the way it runs municipal agencies, provides services and targets incentives.
“This election is not about the past. It’s about the future,” he said. “This election is about new energy, new ideas and a fresh commitment.”
(The 36-year-old has been trying to distinguish himself from career politicians in the race such as Dixon and Sen. Catherine Pugh, though it’s a somewhat hazy distinction – first-termer Mosby has been a compliant member of the council since 2011, rarely speaking and mostly voting with the administration.)
Much of what he said Tuesday were the familiar good-government buzzwords of our era: public-private partnerships. . .improved coordination between city agencies. . . stricter cost controls. . .more strategic allocations of funds. . .increased transparency.
He spoke of creating a procurement office to ensure efficient purchases and services and setting up a project management office to prevent cost overruns. He said he would beef up the Citi-Stat program, speed up the implementation of police body cameras and float revenues to offer pre-K for all students.
He said he would implement a property tax reduction plan, though he did not discuss how he would balance the budget without that revenue.
What about helping struggling neighborhoods?
Mosby said he will set up BOLD zones – short for Build on Leveraged Development – to revitalize neighborhoods with targeted incentives. These would offer reduced property taxes, gap-financing subsidies and other incentives to make people want to move in.
Here’s a link to Mosby’s full 15-points.
Here’s a link to Dixon’s 4-points on crime.
Some other links to what mayoral candidates were saying this week:
• An interview with Dixon by Stephen Janis for The Real News Network.
• An interview with David Warnock by Marc Steiner for WEAA.