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

By Edward Ericson Jr. | Posted 11/25/2009

On the Agenda for Nov. 16

Bill 09-0423 Residential Permit Parking--Administration and Governance

Would strip the Parking Authority of Baltimore City's right to administer the residential parking-permit program, and give it to the Department of Transportation.

The read: On Nov. 8, The Baltimore Sun published a long and curiously detailed article depicting an alleged crisis of leadership in the city's Parking Authority. Executive Director Peter Little's $123,600 job is on the line because of alleged mismanagement of the residential-permit system, which requires the residents of 42 neighborhoods to obtain numbered window stickers in exchange for the privilege of parking for more than two hours at a time on the street. The story says a new computer system allows non-resident cheaters to park while locking out honest homeowners, and discloses a mutiny by five Parking Authority managers, who wrote a letter to the authority's five-member volunteer board urging Little's ouster. Councilman William H. Cole (D-11th District) sponsored the eight-page bill, which mostly blots out "Parking Authority" and inserts "Department of Transportation" as the new boss of the neighborhood-parking program. The Department of Transportation is already in charge of issuing parking tickets.

Resolution 09-0171R Request for State Action--Screening of Prison Workers for Gang Affiliations

Asks the city's legislators to work with the Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services to change the correctional officer application to ask prospective guards whether they are affiliated with a street gang.

The Read: Really. The idea is to ask applicants if they are affiliates of the Bloods, Crips, Black Guerrilla Family, Dead Man, Inc., or the like, and if they say they are, not hire them. "Asking this simple question would deter or prevent many infiltration attempts and lay the groundwork for the termination of any prison workers later found to be gang affiliates," the resolution says. Sponsored by Councilwoman Belinda Conaway (D-7th District), the resolution comes in response to recent federal criminal cases against correctional officers and other prison workers involved with gangs ("A Big No-No," Mobtown Beat, Nov. 4; "Ganging Up," Mobtown Beat, Oct. 21). "This is the least, the least that we can do," Conaway says.

Bill 09-0406 Limited-Service pregnancy Centers--Disclaimers

Would require pregnancy centers that don't offer birth-control or abortion-related referrals or services to state that prominently on a sign in the waiting room.

The Read: This bill came to second reader with numerous amendments and numerous protestors in tow. The amendments were all voted down, the bill moved on to third reader, and the protestors--anti-abortion types who say the signs (which were originally the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League's idea) will unfairly single out the city's four no-abortion clinics, went away quietly. The amendments would have expanded the law to require any and all clinics to post a sign listing any services relating to pregnancy that they don't offer. Councilman James Kraft (D-1st District) used as an example a clinic that doesn't offer referrals to adoption agencies. After his amendments failed, Kraft voted against the bill. It passed, 12-3, with Councilman Bernard C. "Jack" Young (D-12th District) and Councilwoman Agnes Welch (D-9th District) joining Kraft.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 3 at 5 p.m.

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