City Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer will introduce a charter amendment banning the private sale of city property at tonight’s meeting.
The bill removes language in the city charter authorizing the mayor to make a private sale with permission from the Board of Estimates, which the mayor controls.
“This is probably the most simple thing you’re going to report on all year,” the Northwest Baltimore representative told The Brew. “One word: private.”
Schleifer said the bill comes as a result of an opaque process that left the former Baltimore Police Academy building, which is in his 5th District, unused after the academy relocated last year.
“There’s too much done behind the scenes,” says Schleifer.
“I’m doing it for an increase in transparency,” Schleifer said. “Had we gotten a process outlined for us. . . that building wouldn’t be sitting underutilized today. There’s too much done behind the scenes.”
More recently, Schleifer clashed with Council Vice President Sharon Green Middleton after Middleton sponsored a bill giving Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young permission to sell the former Langston Hughes Elementary School to a group headed by George Mitchell.
The bill was passed by the City Council shortly before Mitchell died of complications stemming from diabetes and heart problems.
Schleifer said the charter amendment is meant to cover large buildings, not the many abandoned rowhouses the city owns.