What do you consider the greatest accomplishments and failings of the Kamenetz administration?
Jones: Record investments in Education is the greatest accomplishment. College Promise program, free tuition to the community college for qualified students is a great accomplishment. Body cameras for Police is also a great accomplishment The sacrifices to fund those investments is the greatest failings. Tough choices and sacrifices were made to fund the record investments in education. The opportunity cost of the record investments in education is very high.
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?
Jones: We do have adequate resources. We have been extremely aggressive with school construction and renovations, $1.7 Billion spent over the past seven years. Maryland owes Baltimore County approximately $230 Million, for school construction, yet pays us $30-$40 Million a year. I could not support a tax increase except for certain situations, I.E. if the citizens ask for it, by demanding items that require a significant increase in revenue and there was no other way to raise the additional revenue (Fees), or the only alternative to a tax increase is a major reduction in needed services to the citizens and or large scale layoffs of employees. I am committed to doing my duty, to provide the necessary services to the citizens of Baltimore County. I would never say I would never raise taxes.
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?
Jones: Yes. and I voted yes for the source of income legislation. I oppose discrimination in all forms. In addition to section 8, the disabled and veterans also receive federal housing vouchers. So they too suffer discrimination when people refuse to accept a voucher without interviewing the person and learning their circumstance. The idea behind razing high rise public housing was to eliminate the concentration of poverty. It was a good idea, but what has happened because of discrimination by not accepting vouchers, we are seeing these pockets of discrimination appear in the east and west sides of Baltimore County. Of the 5,600 vouchers n Baltimore County, most are in Essex, Dundalk, Woodlawn and Randallstown. Owners of apartment complexes will accept vouchers in certain areas and not accept them in others.
Does the county government exercise adequate oversight over the school system?
Jones: Yes, as much as possible. The county has very little if any oversight of the school system. Whether we should have more is debatable. There are good reasons why we have the system we have in Maryland. Baltimore County government has a good partnership and working relationship with the superintendent and the board of education. This partnership has yielded good results for the students of the Baltimore County Public Schools and the citizens of Baltimore County. Baltimore County Public Schools has no disparity between African American students and white students in graduation rates.
What role can the county play in assisting in the preservation or revitalization of aging communities?
Jones: We can assist in the preservation of communities through zoning laws and smart growth. We can revitalize aging communities through smart growth and community grants and other revitalization efforts.
How would you characterize the relationship between the Baltimore County police and the communities they serve? Are any reforms necessary?
Jones: Baltimore County Police have a very good relationship with the communities they serve. Reforms are necessary in the training, policies and procedures of police in general, not just Baltimore County. We must find alternatives to the rapid use of lethal force.
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?
Is Baltimore County's support for cultural institutions in Baltimore City too little, too much or just right?
Jones: Just right. We do what we can. Everyone wants more and I wish we could do more, but I think we have the support level just right.
Is Baltimore County adequately served by mass transit?
Jones: No. There is so much room for improvement. The red line was a step in the right direction. We must expand all mass transit, subway, light rail and bus service.