Republican platform envisions a 'better life in a better Baltimore'

October 31, 1995

Following is the Republican Party platform for next week's city elections, supplied by the Better Baltimore Task Force.

OUR MISSION is to make Baltimore a city with a real future:

* Where families and children are safe in their neighborhoods.

* Where street fights and gunfire are a thing of the past.

* Where all children have access to good schooling.

* Where communities can influence policy.

* Where there is growth in the standard of living for all.

* Where families can prosper, and the poor can rise to be well off.

* Where individuals can get real jobs at good pay.

* Where new citizens are attracted by competent, honest government and competitive tax rates.

* Where all individuals can achieve their expectations of a better life in a better Baltimore.

Baltimore has a number of problems that need to be debated in a healthy, open and continuous forum. One trend that seems to be clear is the loss of influence of individual neighborhoods and communities over the delivery of public services.

The communities within Baltimore must gain back their influence by decentralizing government to restore its effectiveness. After all, ultimately, it is the citizens and families who really care about what happens in their own neighborhoods.

It is the goal of the Republican Party to recharge and revitalize the neighborhoods to a position of pre-eminence and influence in Baltimore city government. To empower neighborhoods to influence their own future, the Republican Party will focus on the following actions.

Return influence and control to neighborhoods.

* Promote the formation or reformation of a network of voluntary Neighborhood Community Associations, which will establish formal advisory links between the people and the mayor, the Board of Estimates and the City Council. The associations they establish should consist of local business persons, church leaders, local school administrators and the PTA president, a police representative, the local city councilman, Baltimore city staff and selected members-at-large. These associations will be empowered to identify the major actions needed in their neighborhoods, and be represented at a Congress of Neighborhoods, which will make recommendations for the city's administrative agenda,

* Revise the City Charter to convert to smaller, single member councilmanic districts.

* Directly elect one non-partisan Board of Education member from each new, single councilmanic district, who will serve as an ef-officio member on the Neighborhood Community Association's Board of Directors.

* Establish or support outreach treatment, counseling and medical-assistance centers in cooperation with Neighborhood Community Associations for elimination of drug dependence.

* Limit term of office for any elected position to two consecutive terms.

* Limit political involvement in independent empowerment-zone development efforts by enhancing the role of neighborhood associations.

Create economic development and new jobs for the 21st century.

* Lower property taxes annually to be at parity with nearby counties. By the year 2000 the city property tax rate will be reduced to $4.50 per $100 of assessed value.

* Establish a task force in 1996 of business and community leaders to examine the mission and operation of all city agencies and make recommendations to improve efficiency and eliminate cost.

* Re-evaluate by 1997 all regulations, permit processes, municipal fees and public contracts to reduce the administrative cost of operating city government and decrease public overhead burdens on private business.

* Decentralize the BEDCO operations and re-establish geographic-area development organizations working cooperatively with neighborhood associations.

* Maintain independent administration of tourist and convention development business.

* Organize a Regional Coordination Council in 1996 to address the infrastructure and social needs of the metropolitan area.

* Create public-private night schools and vocational-training centers for adults in local neighborhood associations.

* Establish an organized volunteer mentor and incentive program that motivates recipients to leave welfare, access training progress to workfare and obtain productive work in the private sector at decent pay. Administer this through the local neighborhood associations.

Restore civil order.

* Re-establish visible, active neighborhood/community-level police patrols.

* Create quick-dispatch police teams to act in neighborhood emergencies.

* Establish a separate Juvenile Court apart from the Circuit Court in order to more effectively prosecute the juvenile offender.

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