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July 2023 Community Meeting Notes

Board Members Present: Corey Jennings, Michele Baskin, Matt Williams, Sam Solomon

Staff members – Jennifer McKenzie, Amanda Rothschild

Total Attendees ~23 + 3 States Attorney office

  • Start: 7:06
  • End: 8:30

Votes: N/A


  • Zero Waste Coalition presentation
    • Carlos Sanchez – South Baltimore Community Land Trust (
    • Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) – the standards are currently inclusive of incinerators like the one in south Baltimore which allows those facilities to receive renewable energy credits
    • Bills have been filed in the state legislature for about 5 years in a row to remove incinerators from the RPS and strengthen the renewable options, but they have yet to pass
    • Coalition would like to push Senate President Ferguson to bring up the bill in the next session and support its passage, and are asking for GRIA and Remington community members to sign on to this ask
    • GRIA Board will discuss whether to vote to sign on to the letter
  • Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) Grant update
    • Spinello is partnering with GRIA for a total of 100 trees and 100 plants, and 100 feet of permeable pavement across two zones identified by the Baltimore Sustainability Plan as part of this grant
    • The first zone along Howard Street has already been completed by Spinello as an in kind donation with expanded tree well and new tree plantings
    • The second zone along 28th and 29th streets is the next area of focus and will receive 50 trees, 100 plants, expanded tree pits, and will involve community outreach to residents along the corridor before work begins
    • Work will be completed this fall or next spring depending on weather conditions
    • Grant includes a two year maintenance plan for Bill’s group to maintain watering, weeding and upkeep along the second zone
    • Currently planning to apply for an additional grant from CBT for trees and plantings for the entire neighborhood outside of the two targeted zone
    • Clarified that trees in the tree wells are technically in the shared right of way
    • Suggestion to seek training for interesting community members to become certified tree keepers to maintain proper trimming and tree health over time
  • 28th Street Traffic Calming update
    • Work is slated to begin the week of August 7th
    • Flashing traffic messaging sign will go up next week alerting to a new traffic pattern coming soon
    • DOT will flier the neighborhood with notice about the work timeline and temporary impacts
    • Will be installing Alternative 1 with one through lane, protected multi-modal pathway and parking on both sides of the street. The option was chosen that will take the few parking spots on the north side of 28th at Huntington and leave the parklet on the south side in front of Mount Royal Soaps. There will be a through lane and a right turn only lane at this intersection with a marked out turn area to reduce speed on the turn and decrease the crossing distance for pedestrians to increase safety.
    • Pathway will run from Sisson to Maryland Ave, contain two lanes at the Howard intersection, and a single lane the rest of the way
    • Project description can be found here with the May 17th update at the very bottom that includes the design being implemented. 
  • Presentation from State’s Attorney Ivan J Bates
    • Would like to provide updates to three campaign promises and then take questions from community members
    • First campaign update around changing the culture of the State’s Attorney office
      • Started in office with 135 staff attorneys and recognized a need to hire more (to reach about 200). Some staff changeover has occurred leaving a large number of positions to fill to achieve that goal.
      • So far have hired about 40 new attorneys and are working on pathways to feed young talent into the organization through clerkships and law schools.
      • Seeking training opportunities with outside federal and state agencies to strengthen the skills of current attorneys as well as ways to expose other attorneys to complex cases for continued professional learning
      • Training paralegals to review bodycam footage to take that workload off the plate of front line prosecutors while maintain one set of eyes on the footage from a single case to ensure consistency
      • Have historically lost cases because of a lack of victim and witness trust and participation in hearings. Revamped the Victim Witness Division with the support of a $2 million dollar grant, using some of the money to relocate victims and witnesses as needed immediately. 
    • Second campaign update around violent crime
      • Proposed a gun bill that was passed this session – Currently the sentencing for possession of an illegal gun at 21+ is 3 years, but 5 years if the offender is 18-21 years old. The bill changes the sentence to a standard 5 years for all ages groups.
      • Hoping to introduce a bill next session to work on a path for expungement for some illegal gun possession offenders who have done their time and stayed clean post probation.
      • Now partnering with federal government agencies, MONSE and others to focus resources on tracking and taking down larger networks of criminal activity in the city to create a larger impact on violent crime.
    • Third campaign update about the Citation Docket process (
      • The goal is to balance accountability with the desire to prevent a return to mass incarceration for nonviolent quality of life offenses.
      • The arraignment process involves an offer of community service or wrap around services as a way to receive expungement before trial date.
      • The level of community service required escalates with repeat offenses to full criminal prosecution. The goal is not to give people criminal records at the outset without diversions and opportunities.
    • External Affairs Division (
      • District: 43rd District, 120 E Baltimore Street
      • Direct # 443-984-6036  
    • Questions:
      • How are we distinguishing between the criminalization of poverty and needed accountability for behavior through citations? Those cases would be diverted to services at the outset Continuing to train officers to call immediately for services instead of issuing warnings/citations. Improved process for citations now include the court date on the piece of paper so there is no dependence on mailing address for court communication. Admits that office could do a better job of finding partner organizations to work with immigrant and homeless populations
      • How are you dealing with the changes to this process, the difficulties people might have in navigating a new process, and the slow pace of bureaucratic change (without mistakes)? The External Affairs Division is going out to neighborhoods to explain the new citations process as much as possible. The goal is not prosecution so the risks are lower if mistakes are made with court attendance. Will have to work with the Court to judge when to issue bench warrants for missed dates, focusing on repeat citation offenders who fail to appear as opposed to someone with a single citation who fails to appear. The focus continues to be on correcting behavior, not punishment.
      • What is the infrastructure currently to connect to organizations that provide services? Partnering with the community services division at the courthouse as well as organizations like MONSE and community health partners for treatment/mental health/etc. Recognize that they also need to reach out to community organizations who have opportunities for community service hours inside the affected communities so that restitution can be made to impacted communities. Focus is on being a connector, not a provider.
      • What is the BPD reception to the new process and what is their training? BPD, Student Resource Officers, and the Sheriff’s office are all involved in training to be able to issue warnings and citations. BPD process is a little slower to get them up to speed but the Consent Decree is already requiring citation usage so the pathway for utilization and diversion from arrest is there.
      • From the “I Got a Monster” documentary, how can your role as State’s Attorney impact the abuses from special forces units within the police department? Experience allows him to know how the system can be used and abused, and that it is important to listen to defense attorneys when the same officer’s name is brought up over and over again. Accountability cuts both ways.
      • How can people follow major cases? Going to try and do a dashboard that will roll out in a year, year and a half. News media at the current moment is still the best way to follow cases.

Community Announcements

  • Community Softball Game Saturday the 22nd
    • Joint softball game versus the Charles Village community, located at the Potts and Callaghan ball fields behind Greenmont School, game starts at 4 pm with a picnic atmosphere and all ages welcome to hang out until 10 pm 
  • Night Market
    • This Friday at Mount Royal Soaps starts at 5 pm goes to 9 pm, will have free beer and seltzer water, local vendors, food trucks, etc at this once a month event
  • Seawall Town Hall about Sisson Street Redevelopment
    • Thursday July 27th 7-8 at R. House garage (entrance off of R. House parking lot to the left of the food hall entrance doors)
    • Reach out to to RSVP or ask questions