2018 Primary election results

Izzy Patoka

Izzy Patoka
  • Democrat
  • Age: 60
  • Residence: Pikesville

About Izzy Patoka

Education

Master of Arts, Geography & Environmental Planning, Towson University Bachelor of Science, Geography & Environmental Planning, Towson University

Background

I am trained as a Community Planner. Currently, I am the Director of Community Development for LifeBridge Health. I work to enhance community leadership and capacity building, education and workforce development, business and economic development, and neighborhood improvement for the communities that surround LifeBridge Health campus locations in Baltimore County, Baltimore City and Carroll County. Previously, I served as the Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives and also the Director of the Governor’s Intergovernmental Affairs Office for the Governor of Maryland. Prior to that appointment, I worked for the Mayor of Baltimore as the founding Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods. I served as the Deputy Director for the Baltimore County Department of Planning. Prior to that I was Chief of Capital Budgeting for Baltimore City. I am nationally certified as a planner by the American Institute of Certified Planners. During my tenure as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods, the Office was nationally recognized as a recipient of the National Association of Counties’ (NACO) Multicultural Diversity Award for extraordinary outreach to ethnic communities. This award is cosponsored by the Women Officials in NACo (WON), the National Association of Black County Officials (NABCO), and the National Association of Hispanic County Officials (NAHCO). I have also been presented the distinction of Fellow with the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance by the University of Maryland’s Institute for Governmental Service, the Local Government Insurance Trust, the Maryland Association of Counties and the Maryland Municipal League.

Questionnaire

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1
Kamenetz record
What do you consider the greatest accomplishments and failings of the Kamenetz administration?
Patoka: Accomplishments - I believe that the Kamenetz administration has been unfairly criticized for not investing in school capital infrastructure. The administration has invested $1.3 billion in school construction and renovation. Shortcomings – The pattern of a small group of stakeholders having a disproportionate amount of influence continues in Baltimore County. There are a handful of developers and a handful of law firms that influence the majority of development projects in Baltimore County, especially in the 2nd District. There are many stakeholders who are not afforded the same level of engagement. These include community leaders, environmental advocates and the small business community. Having such a small group have so much influence stifles creativity and lends itself to creating an environment where a gas station can be viewed as a good gateway project as was proposed in Towson. It also creates an environment where transparency can be questioned. There are many creative developers and talented law firms that should have a seat at the table. There is also room for community leadership and small business organizations to be at the table as well.
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2
Resources/Taxes
Does Baltimore County have adequate resources to meet its needs, particularly to renovate or replace aging schools? Do you support increasing the property tax or local income tax?
Patoka: I do not support increasing the property tax nor do I support increasing local income tax. Baltimore County absolutely needs additional funding to renovate or replace aging schools. I am particularly concerned about Dulaney High School. I would request that the Department of Planning conduct a thorough review of all capital projects that have been dormant for more than one year. Previously allocated funds should be recommended for de-appropriation to the Planning Board and then re-appropriated to address our aging school infrastructure. Further, I will work with State legislative partners to increase school funding. Funding needs for Maryland schools have changed since the Thornton Commission, and Baltimore County needs to address those changes. The Kirwin Commission has made recommendations that are fundamental to improving education in Maryland, including pre-K, highly qualified teachers who are compensated appropriately, effective technical education, and resources for at-risk students. Baltimore County and other jurisdictions do not invest enough for its schools. This is affirmed in a recently released Goucher Poll (February 2018) which stated a majority of Democrats (81%), Independents (73%), and Republicans (51%) felt that government spends too little on public schools, a strong bipartisan coalition.
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3
Housing
Do you support Baltimore County's federal housing consent decree? In particular, do you support a prohibition on rental discrimination against those who use federal housing vouchers?
Patoka: Every family deserves the dignity of having good place to live. I do support Baltimore County’s federal housing consent decree and the placement of families with housing vouchers in areas of opportunity throughout the county. I believe the consent decree promotes future fair housing compliance and enforcement through education and outreach initiatives
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4
School system
Does the county government exercise adequate oversight over the school system?
Patoka: More oversight over the school system is needed especially now. Recently, the former Superintendent of Baltimore County Schools pleaded guilty to four counts of perjury for failing to disclose nearly $150,000 he earned from outside consulting jobs while running the school system. Additionally, the school system’s community and government liaison pleaded guilty to tax-evasion and bribery-related charges. For the first time, the Baltimore County will have a hybrid school board that includes elected members from each council district. I look forward to working with the 2nd District School Board Member to elevate oversight of school system financial activities so we never subject our students, families, teachers, administrators, school employees and other stakeholders to unethical leadership that ultimately hurts everyone.
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5
Revitalization
What role can the county play in assisting in the preservation or revitalization of aging communities?
Patoka: The majority of residents live inside the Urban Rural Demarcation Line -URDL (90 percent of Baltimore County’s population still lives inside the URDL, and two-thirds of its land remains rural.) The needs of inner beltway neighborhoods can be different than more suburbanized or rural communities. For the 2nd District it is critical to have Pikesville and Reisterstown as strong commercial districts that are full of vitality. This will serve to enhance the broader community. For Pikesville, we need a commercial revitalization plan that is compatible and complementary to the Pikesville Armory Commission recommendations. The plan and the initiative need to be BOLD, and transformative! We need more green space in Pikesville. Reisterstown is lovely and the community is full of energy. We need a strong Reisterstown Main Street Plan that is implementable and provides incentives for small business owners. After knocking on over 7,000 doors in the 2nd District, I hear a recurring theme from residents that the county does not follow up on issues. Follow up on constituent services can go a long way to improving the way people feel about their neighborhood. Finally, baby boomers are becoming older adults. We will need facilities that support our young families as well as the growing older adult population.
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6
Police
How would you characterize the relationship between the Baltimore County police and the communities they serve? Are any reforms necessary?
Patoka: I attend Police District Community Relations Council meetings on a regular basis. These include the Pikesville Precinct, the Franklin Precinct and the Cockeysville Precinct. I believe these meetings offer a strong opportunity for community leaders and law enforcement officials to have a good dialogue with the intent of keeping our communities safe. I plan to continue to work closely with the Pikesville, Franklin and Cockeysville Police District Community Relations Councils. I also plan to work closely with the leadership of Baltimore City and the command staff of Northwestern and Northern Police Districts in Baltimore City. This is particularly important since much of the 2nd District borders along the City/County line. My public safety agenda also includes pedestrian safe and vehicular safety (especially speeding).
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7
Zoning
Baltimore County was a pioneer in rural land preservation. Do its zoning policies and the Urban-Rural Demarcation Line continue to serve the county's needs?
Patoka: The 2nd District has great beauty in its urban and rural character. Development needs to be done right with respect to the environment and with respect to the community. I plan on keeping the integrity of the Urban-Rural Demarcation Line, which was established in 1967. Inside the URDL is higher density development. Outside the URDL is much lower density. So the idea is to have growth where you plan to have growth. This demarcation line is a model for the state and the entire nation in terms of how to plan for good development. I will hold that line where it is. Currently zoning policies can work, however it is compromised because the current Planning Board does not consider the sentiment of all stakeholders in a fair way.
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8
Baltimore City
Is Baltimore County's support for cultural institutions in Baltimore City too little, too much or just right?
Patoka: I think it is important for Baltimore County to provide a reasonable level of support to arts, humanities and cultural organizations that serve Baltimore County residents, but may be located in Baltimore City. I believe this is especially true for institutions that provide a learning experience for our children. It is also important to have strong cultural institutions in Baltimore County. The Pikesville Armory has great potential for being a cultural hub in the 2nd District of Baltimore County.
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9
Transit
Is Baltimore County adequately served by mass transit?
Patoka: I ride both the Metro and the Light Rail on a regular basis. I believe that the 2nd District of Baltimore County has better mass transit opportunities than the rest of the county. This is primarily because the Metro and the Light Rail lines run right through the district. However, transit needs to be safe. Transit police need to have a stronger presence on the trains.
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