CCA Public Meeting
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
The meeting started at 6:35PM at the United Evangelical Church. Mark Edelson, President, introduced himself and welcomed everyone. He thanked Verde for the pizza tonight and the Rev. Cathy Oatman for use of the hall.
He welcomed all and asked those attending for the first time to introduce themselves. He said his mother is among the esteemed guests.
The meeting started with a moment of silence for recently deceased George Hofferbert, a life-long resident of Canton and John Sellman, former VP of the O’Donnell Square Business District and President of the Grunwald Club. Darryl Jurkiewicz spoke about George saying he always wanted what was best for Canton and worked on the parking issue here in Canton. Darryl also said George served as a mentor to him during his time as CCA President prior to 2014. Torbin Green spoke about John helping to raise funds for various causes here in Canton.
2019 Board Meetings – Mark:
Starting in January Board meetings will be held the first Wednesday of the month at 6:30PM in the Broom Factory on Boston Street. Mark said all are welcome to attend.
CCA Newsletter – Mark:
Mark said the monthly newsletter has a lot of information. In order to receive it, one must be a member of the CCA ($10 per year). He said if anyone is a member and not receiving it, to please let him know. Also, if folks want other information listed, to please see him.
Public Safety Committee – Mark:
More volunteers are needed. The big initiative in 2019 will be “Light Up Canton” getting lights on fronts and backs of houses. The committee will work with vendors to help make that happen. A meeting is planned for Tuesday, December 18 at the Speakeasy on the Square. The police who have attended the COP (Citizens on Patrol) walks are being asked to attend.
O’Donnell Park Upkeep – Torbin:
Torbin thanked the volunteers who helped this past year saying it looks way better. He wants to keep this going. If anyone wants to sign up for the spring cleanup, please go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCA Party at the Polls Recap – Amanda Bourgeois:
Mark introduced Amanda as his “Joe Biden”. Amanda said the party was a non-partisan event held at the Grunwald Club on Election night, November 6. There was free food and activities for children. There were a number of these “Party at the Polls” around the City. The idea is to have it every election cycle making voting an enjoyable experience.
Neighborhood LGBTQ & Hispanic Community Liaison Update – Scott Davis:
Scott does outreach with these communities. He also works with Jack Young, the President of the City Council. Scott will be heading to Federal Hill for a community meeting.
He mentioned to upcoming events. One is the Menorah lighting on Monday, December 3 at City Hall. Anyone who attends needs to have their id with them. Also Toys for Tots is collecting unwrapped gifts. If anyone know of families in need of toys, go to Toys for Tots.
Police Commissioner Update:
With the nomination of Joel Fitzgerald as the new Police Commissioner a group will be going to Ft. Worth December 9 to talk to folks there and to get feedback about the nominee. Among the group will be President Jack Young and Brandon Scott. During the second week of January there will be hearings – one public and one for the City Council. The dates will be shared with communities later.
SE District Update – Councilman Zeke Cohen:
Councilman Cohen noted that Scott has been doing a great job along with Karen from his staff.
He spoke about his three main areas of concern.
Councilman Cohen considers the level of violence unacceptable here and this requires an all-hands approach.
A Public Safety Task Force has been started which brings various City agencies together. He talked about TurnAround being formed to help with domestic violence victims. He said the Southeast is ground zero for opioid use and said this is a health issue.
He said the Sheriff’s office will help in some patrols. A Robbery Detective unit has been set up here especially with the holiday season approaching. He noted the increase of cameras registered with CitiWatch. Footage is given to the police to help apprehend criminals.
He spoke about the nomination of Joel Fitzgerald as Police Commissioner saying if confirmed he would be the fourth one in five years. The City Council wants to get this right, and wanted to see the vetting file. However, they were told no, although personal information could be redacted. The Councilman feels Mr. Fitzgerald should go on listening tours to the various districts. It’s felt the citizens and good officers deserve a very good Commissioner.
Transparency in Lobbying Act:
He introduced legislation because he felt it wasn’t clear who the lobbyists are in Baltimore. Two reports would be required each year by the lobbyists which would be available online. There would be a penalty for those who violate this. He said this is not anti-lobbyist. The legislation passed and signed by Mayor Catherine Pugh. He thanked the CCA for writing a letter of support.
This commission makes recommendations on improving education in Maryland. Councilman Cohen said that a study done in 2012 found the City schools were being shortchanged. One potential Kirwan recommendation is to have universal Pre-K. He wants to get the spending formula right. Saying it shouldn’t be Baltimore City versus everyone, but rather Baltimore City and the municipalities. There is a hearing on November 29 in Annapolis and a March 11 rally there.
There were questions and answers. One was about the casino money not being used properly. The Lockbox Referendum voted on in the recent election would prohibit money from being used for other than K-12 education. He said that yes, the schools need to be held accountable. He feels that we should be careful of Fox 45 News here in Baltimore and what is reported (and how) because of their agenda.
It is the job of Isabel Cumming, Inspector General of Baltimore City, to find waste in any City agency.
Someone asked about undocumented immigrants. He feels they are under a lot of strain. He introduced legislation for Baltimore to be a Welcome City. He said that parishes give out IDs which cannot be given to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
Canton Library – Morgan Stanton:
Morgan is the new manager of the Canton branch, the oldest one in the City. Books can be ordered from all over the country.
“A Christmas Carol”, a solo performance by Greg Oliver Bodine will be held on Friday, December 14 at 7PM at the Church on the Square. This is a free event. It is the same night as the 12th Annual Lamp Post Lighting Ceremony in the Square.
Morgan also mentioned the library will be decorated for Christmas on Saturday, December 1. There will be a virtual tour of Charles Dickens’ house on Thursday, December 6 at the branch. There are ongoing movie discussions and children’s programs. He asked that folks advise him if the library can be of any help.
Baltimore Reading Partners – Stefan Specian:
He handed out information for this program saying volunteers are needed during the school day primarily for kindergarten to fourth grade. He has been talking to folks at the Enoch Pratt Library’s main branch and can also talk to Morgan.
Local Business Spotlight – Zina’s Day Spa and Salon – Zina Berer:
She wanted to remind us that her business is still here and handed out a list of Holiday Spa Packages.
Upcoming Holiday Events – Amanda:
Shop Local for the Holidays and Holiday Fundraisers were listed on a flier available at the meeting.
The Annual Parade of Lighted Boats from Fells Point to the Inner Harbor is Saturday, December 1.
Neighborhood Liaison for SE District – Shannon Conway had left.
Mairin Srygley, PPNA, spoke briefly about the Flags Project along Eastern Avenue hoping to put up an international flag. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Mark said voting for Board members up for reelection in 2019 and others interested will be done at the February 21 Public meeting. He wished everyone a nice holiday.
Upcoming CCA & Partner Events:
Southeast Police Dept. Community Relations Committee – 1st Monday of the month @ 7:00PM (SE District)
CCA Board Meetings – 1st Wednesday of the month @6:30PM – Broom Factory (None in Dec.)
Economic Development Committee (EDC) – 2nd Monday of the month @ 6:30PM – Broom Factory
Transportation Committee – 3rd Wednesday of the month @ 6:30PM – Broom Factory (Dec. TBD)
Public Safety Committee – 2nd Wednesday of the month @ 6:30PM – Broom Factory (See Public Safety section)
COP (Citizens on Patrol) Walks – 3rd Tuesday of the month (different starting points) @7PM (None in Dec. or Jan.)
Public Meeting – 2/21/2019 @ 6:30PM – Elections for Board members
Lamp Post Lighting – December 14 at O’Donnell Square Park from 5-9PM
The meeting ended at 8:05PM