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

By Andrea Appleton | Posted 3/17/2010

On the agenda for March 8

The highlight of the latest City Council meeting was Carl Stokes' unanimous election to the 12th District seat left vacant when Jack Young ascended to the president's chair last month. "Apparently, you can go home again," Stokes told a crowd of supporters after he was sworn in by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Stokes previously served on the council beginning in the late 1980s, and made an unsuccessful run for mayor in 1999 and one for City Council president in 2003. Stokes will serve as vice chair of the education and executive appointments committees.

Bill 10-0451 Childhood Obesity Prevention Authority

Would establish a new public agency charged with identifying the causes of childhood obesity and taking action to prevent it.

The Read: The Obama administration launched a federal task force to fight childhood obesity last month, and Agnes Welch (D-9th District) hopes Baltimore will follow suit. "I want you to know I've sent our task-force report from this City Council and all other materials to Michelle Obama to look at," Welch said, "to see if she would come and work with us." The bill, thus far supported by more than half the council, would create a new city agency tasked with, among other things, improving access to healthy food and physical activity in communities, schools, and hospitals. The board of directors would be made up of nine members, with three appointed by the mayor, three by the City Council president, and three by the council itself. The mayor would select the first executive director from a City Council short list.

Resolution 10-0195R Informational Hearing--Response to the closure of 13 Catholic Schools

Asks Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien to make the Catholic schools slated for closure at the end of the academic year available for conversion to public charter schools; asks Baltimore schools chief Andrés Alonso to explain how such a process would work.

The Read: Last week, O'Brien announced a drastic cost-cutting measure: the closure of 13 Catholic schools. "The fear I have is twofold," Nick D'Adamo (D-2nd District), the resolution's sponsor, told the council. "We don't need empty buildings and we don't need 1,000 families moving out of the city because of schools." D'Adamo wants to see the abandoned schools converted to charters, retaining the principals, faculty, and students. D'Adamo would like the Archdiocese to charge $1 a year in rent to any nonprofit that wishes to operate a charter school on the premises, for five years. The resolution points out that the Archdiocese is exempt from property tax, and thus beholden to taxpayers for fire and police protection of what would otherwise become vacant buildings.

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