Digest

September 07, 2007

Rawlings-Blake backs electing 2 city school board members

Baltimore City Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake said yesterday that she supports allowing two members of the city school board to be elected, adding the power of her incumbency to a growing chorus of candidates in this year's election who are calling for change on the board.

Rawlings-Blake, who is running for election in Tuesday's Democratic primary, made the announcement in a memo outlining her education platform. In the document, she also calls for doubling the number of summer jobs for youths and renovating recreation centers.

"I believe a partially elected school board will give parents a stronger voice," Rawlings-Blake said in the memo. "But no one honestly believes that by injecting more politics into the system, our schools will automatically improve."

Rawlings-Blake is the latest candidate this year to call for change to the way schools are governed. The issue has been more prominent among the candidates for mayor.

The governor and the mayor jointly appoint the nine-member city school board from a list prepared by the State Board of Education.

Rawlings-Blake is running against community activist Michael Sarbanes, City Councilman Kenneth N. Harris Sr. and Charles Ulysses Smith. A spokeswoman for Sarbanes said he also thinks some members of the school board should be elected.

Making that change would require support from the General Assembly and Gov. Martin O'Malley.

John Fritze

Baltimore

: National Guard

Stadium to be site of security test run

Army helicopters and soldiers will take part in a homeland security exercise near M&T Bank Stadium today.

Starting about 9:30 a.m., the Maryland National Guard says, Parking Lot O near Ridgely Street will be filled with ground forces, hazardous-materials teams and military vehicles and aircraft.

"The goal of the exercise is to test the National Guard's ability to respond to domestic emergencies under the control of the governor and to support and coordinate with state and local agencies ... while responding to a terrorist attack," the Guard said in a statement.

Election

Black firefighters endorse Dixon

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon has picked up the support of the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters, according to material provided by her campaign yesterday.

"Your compassion and thoughtfulness shown to the trauma-scarred children and family of ... Racheal M. Wilson, after her tragic death, exemplified true leadership," reads a letter sent by the association.

Wilson died Feb. 9 inside a vacant rowhouse in a live-burn training. Subsequent reports have found that the department did not follow protocol when it conducted the exercise.

One of Dixon's opponents, City Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., was endorsed by the Baltimore Firefighters Union in August.

John Fritze

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