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

Frank Klein
The City Council voted to give the American Brewery building historic-landmark status.

By Edward Ericson Jr. | Posted 4/23/2008

On the Agenda for April 14

Bill 08-0100 Tax Sales--"Property to be Acquired"--Agency Coordination This bill would prohibit tax sales of properties the city plans to take by eminent domain.

The Story: The idea is to save money. According to one of the bill's co-sponsors, 12th District Councilman Bernard C. "Jack" Young, often a property will change hands after a tax sale, "then people start rehabbing them and the city has to put out way more much money" to reacquire it through eminent domain. Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake thanked Young. "This makes sense," she said. "However, everything that makes sense doesn't happen."

Resolution 08-0037R--Investigative Hearing-Foreclosures--Impact on Baltimore City This resolution calls on the city's finance director, director of government relations, and housing director to help the council analyze the city's foreclosure situation and its impact on neighborhoods and the city's tax base.

The Story: "This is an important issue that has plagued not just our city but our nation for a long time," says sponsor Helen Holton (8th District). She says the council is getting calls from people facing the loss of their homes: "People are just distressed, frustrated, not knowing what to do." The bill comes months after the city filed a lawsuit seeking damages from Wells Fargo, Baltimore's most prominent subprime lender, for allegedly steering residents into loans they could not afford.

Update: Bills 08-0005; 0007-0010 The American Brewery (1701 N. Gay St.), the W.E.B. Du Bois House (2302 Montebello Terrace), Riverside Park (301 E. Randall St.), the Roland Park Water Tower (4210 Roland Ave.), and the Upton Mansion (811 W. Lanvale St.) all passed council muster as historical landmarks.

City Council Fact of the Week

First District Councilman James Kraft was married last week to Tammy Laun. The couple took their honeymoon in Mexico; Kraft is due back on April 21.

City Council Quotes of the Week

"I'm kind of sad I wasn't the ring bearer" --3rd District Councilman Robert Curran, commenting on Kraft's recent wedding.

"He opened his door and said, `How can I help you?', and was blown away in return." --14th District Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, summing up the murder of Councilman Dominic Leone, April 13, 1976, in the temporary city hall on Calvert Street. The council observed a moment of silence in honor of the anniversary of his death.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for April 28 at 5 p.m.

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