10-14-11: Baltimore Election 2011 — District 3
Early voting for Baltimore City’s general election starts in two weeks. Next Friday we’ll look at the race for City Council president, and the Friday after that, the mayoral race. Today–the race for City Council’s third district seat.
We reached out twice to incumbent Democrat Robert Curran, but we never heard back. We did hear back from the other two candidates–Gary Collins is running as a Republican, and Bill Barry is on the Green Party ticket–and today they join Sheilah in the studio to talk about their candidacies.
On Monday, October 24, the public is invited to Baltimore’s Voting Machine Warehouse for a demonstration of voting machines. It’s at 10 a.m., 301 N. Franklintown Road.
Listen to the full interview, including discussion about low turnout and the candidates’ takes on Occupy Baltimore [20:18]:A few assertions during the conversation perked our ears up, and we checked them out for you.
Bill Barry: “For as long as I have run for office, the inability of the City Council, or the unwillingness, to tax, for example, big developers–and over the years, it’s been the PILOT program, ‘payment in lieu of taxes,’ hundreds of millions of dollars given in tax rebates to people who then contribute to political campaigns, and obviously one of them, John Paterakis, got caught and was found as a criminal for it.”
Paterakis did plead guilty to violating campaign finance laws, but he was not “found as a criminal” for any link between his companies’ participation in PILOT.
Bill Barry: “There’s six applicants for every job…”
This figure has jumped around a bit. A U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows 4.6 unemployed for every job as of August.
Bill Barry: “…there’s sixty or seventy million people with no health insurance”
The U.S. Census Bureau said 49.9 million Americans were uninsured in 2010.
Gary Collins: “The free bus system is currently costing Baltimore City millions of dollars…”
The Baltimore Sun reported that the program cost $12 million to launch, and $6 million a year after that.
Gary Collins: “The [Baltimore City] School Board of Commissioners…is appointed by the Governor.”
The Board is appointed jointly by the Governor of Maryland and the Mayor of Baltimore.
Bill Barry: “You have any estimates, 50 percent of the city living under the poverty level.”
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 20.9 percent of Baltimore City residents were below the poverty level in 2009.
Bill Barry: “The turnout for the city election in 2004 when it was tied to the federal elections was much, much higher.”
Indeed, the Baltimore Sun reported that general election turnout was over 68 percent in 2004. By 2007, “voter turnout was a little more than 28 percent and dropped down to about half of that for the general election.”