We are asking Baltimore organizations who share our perspective on this budget to please sign below. We will be hand delivering the letter and signatures on the morning of Friday, May 24th.
Mayor Bernard ”Jack” Young
Baltimore City Hall
Dear Mayor Young,
Congratulations on your new job as Mayor of Baltimore. You take office at a difficult time when our city needs bold leadership to restore public confidence that good government is possible.
We, the undersigned organizations in Baltimore, urge you to be that bold leader by making significant revisions to the Fiscal Year 2020 budget that you inherited from the previous mayor.
The FY2020 budget currently proposed does not reflect the morals of our organizations or the needs of the people of Baltimore. For every general fund $1.00 spent on police, Pugh’s budget would spend 53 cents on schools, 15 cents on housing and community development, 13 cents on human services, just over a nickel on jobs ($.06) and only one penny on substance use disorder and mental health.
In fact, Baltimore spends much more per capita on police than similar cities -- at least 25% more. In 2017, Baltimore spent $772 per resident, while Detroit spent $450, New York $581; and Houston $383. And the rate in Baltimore increases to $817 per resident in proposed FY2020. Over the10 years, spending on the Police and Sheriff’s Departments has grown by 67%, from $317.2 million in FY2010 to $527.2 million in FY2020. It’s grown faster than the city’s overall General Fund, which increased by only 44% over the same time.
Meanwhile, twice as many people in Baltimore are dying of overdoses as murder. If ever increasing police spending worked, Baltimore would be one of our nation’s safest city. Instead, we have been deemed the most dangerous by both the FBI and USA Today.
We need very different budget priorities. We call on you to make a commitment to right-size Baltimore’s police budget by ultimately moving 25% from policing to investments that will actually build a safe and thriving city. Demonstrate this commitment now by moving 5% ($26 million) from the proposed FY2020 policing budget. The list of needed, alternative investments is long: fully fund our schools, flood the streets with overdose reversal kits, create good jobs, particularly for residents who are formerly incarcerated or facing other roadblocks to meaningful, sustaining work.
You have a unique opportunity to break from the past and set Baltimore on a different course, restoring hope with a new moral compass. We urge you to take it.
by Jennifer Flynn Walker
Watch Ady Barkan testify to the House Rules Committee on Medicare for All-Watch the Livestream
Today, affiliates from New Georgia Project, SPACES, Rights and Democracy VT & NH, Maryland Communities United, Birddog Nation, and allies from Rise and Resist joined several hundred activists from National Nurses United, People's Action, Our Revolution and Democratic Socialists of America to stand in front of PhRMA to demand Medicare for All.
Bonnie Castillo, the President of NNU, kicked off the rally recanting how everyday the decisions of nurses and doctors are overruled by insurance executives putting the lives of their patients at risk.
Angelique Speight, a member of SPACES, was one of the most powerful speakers asking the crowd if they "loooovvveed their Health Insurance provider. If they lovvveed Aetna, or Cigna". It blew apart the most pervasive argument against Medicare for All. MSNBC has asked to have her on the air. Fingers crossed that it works out.
Speaker after speaker clearly made the policy case for Medicare for Alll. However, by far the most powerful moment happened when Ady Barkan's speech was read by Darius Gordon as a Mic Check. Ady led us through the words, "I HATE PHRMA! I HATE PHRMA! and then, "WE ARE GOING TO WHOOP YOUR BUTT!" After hearing about the 28 mother of two who died of cancer, spending her last year in fights with her insurance company and leaving her family in poverty, it felt so fucking good to say that.
The rally ended with hundreds of Go Fund Me's for healthcare stories band-aid taped to the walls of PhRMA's headquarters.
Here's the thing. I don't usually lose campaigns. And I don't intend to lose this one. We have a once in a generation opportunity to make healthcare a right in the US.
Wednesday, May 1, Ady Barkan, who traveled thousands of miles, at a great risk to his life, testified before the House Rules Committee. This is the first hearing on Medicare for All in 40 years.
You can watch here: www.facebook.com/BeAHeroTeam/
OR here: rules.house.gov
Special thanks to Darius Gordon, Julia Peter and Tracey Corder who made today's action fire. PhRMA was terrified.
If you would like to join the Medicare for All Strategy Team at CPD, we meet every first Thursday of the month at 1pm. https://zoom.us/j/4900930821 OR +1 408 638 0968; 4900930821#. The next one is this Thursday, May 2nd.
Communities United is a proud partner of the Baltimore People's Climate Movement. We are a decentralized, leader-full group of organizations, activists, and residents working to build the New Energy & Economic Future by undoing environmental racism in Baltimore. Our table of partners meets regularly to support one another in our collective struggle by directing energies toward ongoing work.
Next week, our lead organizer Nabeehah Azeez will be on the panel for our New Energy & Economic Future Town Hall. Mustafa Santiago Ali, Senior VP of Climate, Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization for the Hip Hop Caucus, will open this town hall with a special video message. Then leaders from labor, climate, and local grassroots groups will dig into how we can build green industries in Maryland that protect our climate, provide clean, affordable power, and create family-sustaining jobs. Throughout the evening, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in the conversation.
The panel will be moderated by Marc Steiner (host of the Marc Steiner Show and founder of the Center for Emerging Media) and Khalilah M. Harris (host and executive producer at the Real News Network).
Can you join us on August 28th at 231 Holliday Street at 5;30pm for this panel? RSVP here!
Visit Baltimorepcm.org for more information about the People's Climate Movement
CU Members share new rental inspection guidelines
In March 2018, CU worked with renters advocates from across Baltimore City on sweeping reforms for rental housing. Landlords have from now until January 1 to inspect, repair, and license their 1-2 unit dwellings to rent them. For more information, visit rentersunitedmd.org or check out the press coverage from the action.
With Sweeping rental housing law now in effect, advocates push tenants to get their homes inspected, Baltimore Fishbowl
Of Mice and Mold and a New Law that says renters needn't put up with squalor, Baltimore Sun
Advocates help Implement New Housing Law, WYPR