Blueprint for Baltimore City Council President Candidate Interviews

Read the Blueprint for Baltimore Survey Report NOW

Read One-Page Summary of Key Blueprint Findings

Visit the Blueprint for Baltimore Data Portal

Read the Baltimore Sun summary of the Blueprint project

Read about the Feb. 7 Blueprint for Baltimore Mayoral Forum

 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Blueprint for Baltimore City Council President Candidate Interview Series Launches

BALTIMORE—Today, OSI-Baltimore begins to share its series of Blueprint for Baltimore City Council President candidate interviews, with City Councilwoman Shannon Sneed (below).

OSI and co-sponsors Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Psi Phi Omega chapter and the Junior League, along with media sponsors WYPR and the Real News Network planned to host on City Council President candidate forum on March 18th, but the forum was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, we will conduct interviews with each of the candidates individually, using questions prepared for the forum, moderated by Lisa Snowden-McCray of the Real News Network, WYPR’s Tom Hall, and Khalilah Harris of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Psi Phi Omega chapter and the Center for American Progress.

Monday, January 26, 2020

Baltimore residents seek violence prevention, mental, behavioral health services as path to safer streets, according to Blueprint survey data

BALTIMORE—The most important way to improve Baltimore neighborhoods, according to respondents in the Blueprint for Baltimore survey, is by creating safer streets. Asked how the city should allocate resources to respond to violence, respondents said city leaders should expand the Safe Streets program, improve access to mental health and substance use services, and improve witness and victim support. Respondents overwhelmingly said youth programs should be the top priority in the city budget.

Open Society Institute-Baltimore and community partners including Baltimore Votes, Black Girls Vote, Black Leaders Organizing for Change, CASA, and the No Boundaries Coalition conducted the city-wide survey from mid-October to early December, recording more than 5,000 responses, mostly through on-the-ground canvassing, augmented by online outreach. Candidates for Mayor and City Council President will be asked to respond to the data collected in the survey at a series of forums. The first one, a mayoral forum, was February 5th at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum.

Blueprint for Baltimore Candidate Forums

What

When

Where

Moderators

Mayoral Forum February 5, 7 to 9pm Reginald F. Lewis Museum Tom Hall, WYPR and Lisa Snowden-McCray, Baltimore Beat, Real News Network
City Council President Forum March 18, 7 to 9pm Reginald F. Lewis Museum Tom Hall, WYPR, Lisa Snowden-McCray, Baltimore Beat, Real News Network, and Khalilah Harris, Center for American Progress, and Alpha Kappa Alpha
Mayoral Forum co-sponsored with Stoop Storytelling April 14, 7 to 9pm War Memorial No moderators

“The Blueprint report is a memo from the people of Baltimore, and I look forward to seeing how those vying to lead our city respond,” says Danielle Torain, director of OSI-Baltimore. “I’m particularly proud that the Blueprint data heavily reflects the opinions of young people and those in many of our city’s most marginalized communities, whose voices are often ignored or under-represented.”

Among the survey’s findings:

  • 28% of respondents said the thing that would make the most difference in their neighborhood is safer streets. The next highest responses were less trash on the streets (16%), fewer vacant homes (15%), and making it easier to own homes (11%).
  • Asked where city government should allocate resources to reduce violence, 32% said expand the Safe Streets program, 28% said improve access to mental health and substance use programs, 16% said improve witness and victim support, and 11% said increase the number of police officers.
  • Asked which services should be prioritized in the city’s overall budget, 34% said youth services, 15% said affordable housing, 15% said small business and neighborhood development, and 15% said community-based safety programs.
  • Asked what should be done with additional funds allocated to Baltimore City Schools, 42% said providing services and counseling for students facing challenges including poverty, mental health, and trauma and 33% said ensuring every school has AC/heat and other necessary equipment.

The data is community-owned and publicly available. The raw survey data is available here. OSI, the Blueprint community partners, and the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance are working on a dashboard for the Blueprint to make it easily searchable and accessible for policy advocates, community groups, and Baltimore residents.

Support for the Blueprint for Baltimore comes from Open Society Institute-Baltimore and the T. Rowe Price Foundation.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Candidates to respond to Blueprint for Baltimore priorities at Mayoral, City Council President forums in February, March, April

BALTIMORE—Candidates for Mayor and City Council President will be asked to respond to the priorities of Baltimore residents, as identified by the Blueprint for Baltimore survey, in non-partisan forums planned for February, March, and April, in the lead-up to primary elections on April 26th. The first Blueprint for Baltimore Mayoral Forum will be held on February 5th from 7 to 9pm at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum (registration here). The moderators will be Tom Hall of WYPR and Lisa Snowden-McCray of the Baltimore Beat and the Real News Network.

Open Society Institute-Baltimore and community partners including Black Leaders Organizing for Change, CASA, Baltimore Votes, and the No Boundaries Coalition conducted the city-wide survey from mid-October to early December, recording responses from more than 5,000 city residents, mostly through on-the-ground canvassing, augmented by online outreach. The survey results will be released in a mid-January report in advance of the Feb. 5th forum.

Blueprint for Baltimore Candidate Forums

What

When

Where

Moderators

Mayoral Forum February 5, 7 to 9pm Reginald F. Lewis Museum Tom Hall, WYPR and Lisa Snowden-McCray, Baltimore Beat, Real News Network
City Council President Forum March date TBD Reginald F. Lewis Museum Tom Hall, WYPR and Lisa Snowden-McCray, Baltimore Beat, Real News Network
Mayoral Forum co-sponsored with Stoop Storytelling April 14, 7 to 9pm War Memorial (tentative) No moderators

“From the beginning, our goal was to reach a broad range of Baltimore residents, particularly those from marginalized communities, and find out what they wanted from city leadership,” says Tracy Brown, acting director of OSI-Baltimore. “The next step is to take that data, present it to those vying to lead the city, and find out how they respond, so city residents can make informed decisions on April 26th.”

The survey asked Baltimore residents to identify their priorities on a wide range of public policy issues, including education, public safety, and housing. The data collected will be community-owned and community partners are currently discussing a process for community representatives to access and leverage the data to create meaningful change long after the 2020 elections.

Support for the Blueprint for Baltimore comes from Open Society Institute-Baltimore and the T. Rowe Price Foundation.

October 24, 2019

Community groups launch Blueprint for Baltimore survey, looking to reach thousands of Baltimore residents ahead of 2020 election

BALTIMORE—This week, Community Data Fellows from Black Leaders Organizing for Change, CASA, Baltimore Votes, and the No Boundaries Coalition began a city-wide effort to survey 10,000 to 12,000 Baltimore City residents as part of a collaborative project spearheaded by Open Society Institute-Baltimore (OSI) called Blueprint for Baltimore:2020 and Beyond.

The survey, available online at osibaltimore.org/blueprint, asks Baltimore residents to identify their priorities on a wide range of public policy issues, including education, public safety, and housing. The data collected will be community-owned and used to create a public report that will be the basis for a series of mayoral and City Council candidate forums in the spring.

On Saturday, the Data Fellows attended a four-hour training facilitated by HR&A Associates, a national organization that provides technical support for city surveys used to leverage municipal change. They have supported similar efforts in Portland, Oregon, and Houston.

HR&A and the Data Fellows went over the content of the survey, identified questions that are likely to come up as it is administered, and compiled an FAQ of answers. The training also included a panel discussion on Data Equity, with Tre Murphy of Black Leaders Organizing for Change and the Black Census Project, Morgan State University Professor and 2012 OSI-Baltimore Community Fellow Dr. Lawrence Brown, Julius Maina of the U.S. Census Bureau, Miriam McKinney of GovEx, and Kenneth Morales of Problem Forward.

The Data Fellows will spread out across the city and conduct the survey by doing house-to-house canvassing, attending community meetings, and conducting online outreach in coordination with OSI, which has enlisted a network of about 30 grassroots and neighborhood groups, listed below, that have signed on as Community Partners for the Blueprint project, agreeing to distribute the online survey to their constituents and encourage them to participate so their voices will be heard.

Community partners include Strong City Baltimore, Baltimore City Community College, Pleasant Hope Community Development Corporation, Free State Justice, Central Baltimore Partnership, Progressive Maryland, Youth Empowerment Society, Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition, Baltimore Algebra Project, United Workers, Center for Urban Families, Highlandtown Community Association, Hamilton Hills Neighborhood Association, Moravia Walther Improvement Association, Glen Neighborhood Improvement Association, Inc, Cuthbert, Hayward, Cordelia Community Association, Matthew Henson Community Development Corporation, Reservoir Hill Improvement Council, Inc., Village of Violetville, Inc., Key Highway Community Association, CityLab Baltimore, AIA Baltimore-American Institute of Architects, Baltimore Chapter, Gwynnbrook-Garriwood Neighborhood Association, Reclaiming Our Community, Evergreen Community Association, Inc., Jonestown Planning Council, Inc., and Charles Village Community Benefits District.

Support for the Blueprint for Baltimore comes from Open Society Institute-Baltimore and the T. Rowe Price Foundation.

 


October 20, 2019

Blueprint for Baltimore Data Fellows Prepare to Launch Canvass

On Saturday, about 40 community members from CASA, Black Leaders Organizing for Change, the No Boundaries Coalition, and Baltimore Votes came together at the University of Maryland-Baltimore campus for training to become Data Fellows who will administer the Blueprint for Baltimore survey.

This week, these Data Fellows will begin administering the survey by canvassing door-to-door, attending community meetings, and doing digital outreach. OSI-Baltimore has also connected with about 30 grassroots and community-based Community Partners who have agreed to distribute to their membership.

The training also included a panel discussion on Data Equity, with Tre Murphy of Black Leaders Organizing for Change and the Black Census Project, Morgan State University Professor and 2012 OSI-Baltimore Community Fellow Dr. Lawrence Brown, Julius Maina of the U.S. Census Bureau, Miriam McKinney of GovEx, and Kenneth Morales of Problem Forward.

See a full gallery of photos from the training below.

 

 


September 17, 2019

Blueprint for Baltimore: 2020 and Beyond Announcement

Open Society Institute-Baltimore (OSI) is thrilled to announce the launch of Blueprint for Baltimore: 2020 and Beyond, a collaborative effort to create a community-driven agenda for Baltimore and hold the city’s leaders accountable to it.

The constant turnover in Baltimore City leadership in recent years had underlined the need for good governance as the cornerstone of any sustained effort to address the city’s many challenges. OSI, in coordination with community leaders, conceived of the Blueprint for Baltimore project as the best way to collect reliable, community-owned data on city residents’ top priorities, ensure that those priorities remain at the center of discussions through the 2020 election season, and demand accountability to those priorities beyond 2020.

Phase 1

During Phase One of the Blueprint process, OSI will partner with community organizations, including Black Leaders Organizing for Change, CASA, Baltimore Votes, Black Girls Vote, and the No Boundaries Coalition, to conduct a citywide survey of 10,000 to 12,000 Baltimore City residents – the largest issue-oriented survey in city history – to identify Baltimore residents’ top priorities for the city’s next mayor and City Council.

Phase 2

During Phase Two, OSI and community partners will host a series of Mayoral and City Council forums, where candidates will be asked to commit to addressing Baltimore residents’ priorities and to offer responsive policy agendas.

Phase 3

During Phase Three, OSI and community partners will monitor city leaders’ adherence to their promises and convene business and philanthropic leaders to explore ways to address community priorities.

Phase One launches this week with a series of Survey Design Workshops (see schedule below), conducted and led by community partners in consultation with HR&A Advisors, an employee-owned firm that has conducted similar citywide surveys designed to inform municipal policy in New York City and Washington, D.C., in collaboration with Open Society Foundations, and more recently in Portland, Oregon, and Houston.

Blueprint for Baltimore Survey Design Workshops

Host: Black Leaders Organizing for Change
Date: Tuesday, September 17
Time: 6 to 8pm
Location: Oak Hill Community Center, 2239 Kirk Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21218

Host: No Boundaries Coalition
Date: Saturday, September 21
Time: 2 to 3:30pm
Location: No Boundaries Coalition, 1808 Pennsylvania Ave., Baltimore, MD 21217

Host: Baltimore Votes and Black Girls Vote
Date: Thursday, September 19
Time: 5 to 6:30pm
Location: Morgan State University Student Center, Room 212; 1700 E. Cold Spring Ln, Baltimore, MD 21251

Host: CASA (bilingual)
Date: Thursday, September 19
Time: 6:30 to 8pm
Location: CASA, 2224 E Fayette St., Baltimore MD 21231

Additional Information

OSI, HR&A, and community partners will use the input from the workshops to create the survey by mid-October. Each community group will recruit ten local residents to be Data Fellows, who HR&A will train in principles of data equity and ways to leverage data to shape public policy. The Data Fellows will conduct the survey between mid-October and late November through house-to-house canvassing, community meetings and other gatherings, and online outreach. The results will be reportedly publicly by early January, 2020. Importantly, this data will be community-owned and available for the public to use as a resource.

“Baltimore’s talented, passionate people are its greatest asset,” says Tracy Brown, acting director of OSI-Baltimore. “As we tried to imagine a process that would lay the groundwork for accountable, responsive city governance, we knew we needed to start with the people and the trusted, on-the-ground organizations that can tap into their collective insight.”

Details about Phase Two, including the dates and locations of the Mayoral and City Council forums – to take place between January and April and include all declared primary candidates, and Phase Three will be determined in collaboration with community partners and announced in the coming months.

Support for the Blueprint for Baltimore comes from Open Society Institute-Baltimore and the T. Rowe Price Foundation.