What do you consider the greatest accomplishments and failings of the Kamenetz administration?
Lee: I believe that Kevin Kamenetz was generally a good representative for Baltimore County. I think the fact that he could encourage and highlight Baltimore County as a place of diversity and cooperation, even in the middle of recent exacerbated tensions is what a leader should do. I do believe his interest in higher office, while in line with his “career path” means that a lot of things became overtly political and subject to grandstanding. Our County deserves to be the “best” in the state, with the best schools, the best public safety and best transportation and utility programs. We can’t claim we are the best in those areas, and that probably does fall to our elected leaders.
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?
Lee: I don’t believe Baltimore County has adequate resources to meet all of the needs of our residents and children if we continually ‘shotgun’ our spending. We first need to review our County budget and streamline processes and actions to be more efficient and eliminate the inevitable waste (using technology) we see. It’s my belief that by making assessments of Opportunity Cost, not just Return on Investment, we will find ways to stay within the budget instead of continually going back to the residents to fund projects. I’m not in favor of increasing taxes to pay for these measures unless it is on a limited time basis because the expectation is that our increasing school desirability will surpass those of neighboring counties and make Baltimore County home values rise to offset such increases. I’m not in favor of increasing local income taxes for the same reason.
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?
Lee: I believe that any discrimination is wrong.
Does the county government exercise adequate oversight over the school system?
Lee: No. Of course the recent ethics violations are horrible and should’ve been questioned earlier. Just as each family creates a budget and tries to make the tough decisions about their own lives, the school system and the county government should be doing a much better job of cutting waste and assessing Return on Investment, Opportunity Cost of each action and the long term goals (in this case, our goal should be that 90% of our County children, every year, will graduate high school with an opportunity to go to college, speaking at least 2 foreign languages and able to balance their personal budget, and plan their own weekly meals). We aren’t even the best in the State of Maryland at doing this, and I believe our current format should be addressed to bring it in line with the best in the State, in the Country and the world.
What role can the county play in assisting in the preservation or revitalization of aging communities?
Lee: The primary goals of our County government should be focusing on improving our education system, our public safety and technology use. If we do those things well a) we will find that our County improves its desirability and b) allows us to offer an array future opportunities, like better transportation offerings and business investment. Once that happens aging communities, organically, will develop and sustain themselves.
How would you characterize the relationship between the Baltimore County police and the communities they serve? Are any reforms necessary?
Lee: I personally believe the Baltimore County police are great, but that being said, I believe a) they should have more technology “weapons” to assist them and b) more officer mandatory training as the world and our County constantly evolves.
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?
Lee: The environment is important to me. Preserving clean land, water and air for our children is important.
Is Baltimore County's support for cultural institutions in Baltimore City too little, too much or just right?
Lee: I don’t believe we are doing enough to embrace all cultures in Baltimore City, the County or the country. It’s not a black or white or brown issue. As we all know time is so limited in our days, and it’s not a broad focal point of our communities to showcase European, Asian, South American, African or any other continent’s cultures, and it should be. By understanding ourselves and each other, we would actually make our County great and be prepared to lead not just it, but the State and the world.
Is Baltimore County adequately served by mass transit?