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Keeping tabs on the City Council's activities so you don't have to

By Stephen Janis | Posted 1/18/2006

On the Council Agenda Jan. 9


Bill 06-0314: City Officers and Employees—Vehicles

Bill to restrict the use of city-owned vehicles, including police cars, to within city limits except for official city business.

Public Interest Grade: B+ We’re all for making sure the city’s fleet is not abused, but we’re disheartened to think that we need a law to stop city employees from taking joy rides in the counties.


06-0122R: Request for State Legislation—Civilian Review Board—Additional Powers

Request for the city’s Annapolis delegation to introduce a bill to increase the power of Baltimore’s Civilian Review Board, a panel made up of citizens that reviews complaints of police misconduct. The resolution asks that the board be granted extra powers to investigate false arrests and false imprisonments.

Public interest grade: A Nothing is better for the fair administration of justice than credible public oversight.


Bill 06-0124R: Informational hearing—Has the Time Come for Baltimore to get Zipped Up Tight?

A resolution to request representatives of Zipcar, a self-serve car-sharing service, to discuss providing its services in Baltimore. The resolution encourages the Department of Planning and Office of Transportation to study the issue and submit recommendations to the City Council in six months.

Public Interest Grade: A for Concept, D for title. Great idea. Bringing in Zipcar could ease some parking problems and provide alternative transportation for those who can’t afford a car. But please, ease up on the painful metaphors.


City Council Quote of the Week

,strong>“I know you sometimes associate food with exotic animals, Councilman, but you’re talking about the wrong bill.” —City Council President Sheila Dixon interrupting Ken Harris, who was making an impassioned speech about two domesticated sheep kept in the city as pets that died as a result of neglect. Harris thought the council was discussing a bill that would require a permit for city residents to keep exotic animals or farm animals in the city. As Dixon pointed out, however, the council was discussing a bill that would regulate and license food-service facilities.


City Council Fact of the Week

The City Council was addressed by Ronald Cuffie, director of a city agency called Vector Control. Despite the sound of its angular name, the department oversees the city’s efforts to eradicate rats and cockroaches. During his address Cuffie reported that, though the city is trying to eradicate street rats, some city residents keep rats as pets.

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