David Marks

David Marks
  • Republican
  • Age: 45
  • Residence: Nottingham

About David Marks

Education

I received a master’s degree in public policy from The Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies in 1997, and a bachelor’s degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1995, with high honors. I graduated from Perry Hall High School in 1991.

Background

I worked for 15 years in the transportation industry, holding senior positions in the federal and state governments, including the position of Chief of Staff at the Maryland Department of Transportation. I resigned my position at the Federal Highway Administration upon announcing my candidacy for the Baltimore County Council. Since 2010, I have worked as a consultant and an educator, serving as an adjunct instructor at Loyola University Maryland.

Questionnaire

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1
Kamenetz record
What do you consider the greatest accomplishments and failings of the Kamenetz administration?
Marks: Working with the Baltimore County Council, the Kamenetz administration committed resources to renovate aging schools and build new campuses. When I took office, more than a dozen schools that serve the Fifth District lacked air conditioning; today, with the completion of renovations at Dumbarton Middle School, every school has air conditioning. Two other schools that serve Towson were renovated - Stoneleigh and Hampton Elementary Schools. In northeastern Baltimore County, three new schools have been budgeted to alleviate overcrowding. The County Executive certainly deserves credit in this regard. The County Executive also deserves credit for advancing the redevelopment of Downtown Towson, although I fault his administration for not thinking more progressively about mobility and the long-term governance of Towson’s core. Our office secured funding from the Maryland Transit Administration to study a Towson Circulator; the County Executive refused to provide a local match. The County Executive’s senior staff have refused to resurface routes such as Bosley Avenue and Stevenson Lane, partly - I believe - for political reasons. That exposes the biggest failure of the Kamenetz administration. There is a sense among many that the County Executive rewards friends and penalizes opponents. The County Executive’s biggest mistakes were self-inflicted, either by him or by his senior staff - the ill-conceived proposal to move the Towson fire station to a park, for example, and the destruction of trees at Bosley Avenue and York Road in violation of a County Council resolution.
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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?
Marks: No, Baltimore County does not have adequate resources to meet its needs, but the property tax and the local income tax should not be automatically raised. We need to look comprehensively at this issue. Some of our biggest future expenditures will be in education, where it is likely that at least three new high schools will need to be built over the next four years. Baltimore County Public Schools estimates that a single school costs $130 million, but other jurisdictions are constructing schools at a much lower rate, usually between $90 and $110 million. I have raised this issue at several Council meetings, and believe it must be addressed. Second, Baltimore County is alone among Maryland’s metropolitan jurisdictions in not levying impact fees on new construction. Under home rule, the Maryland General Assembly must first pass enabling legislation. I support an impact fee ordinance that meets the legal standards of the “rational nexus” test, with fees assessed in growth areas for schools required because of new construction. Finally, before considering new taxes, Baltimore County must look at where the jurisdiction’s bonding capacity can be modified like was done in Anne Arundel County. There is also a possibility that state aid to Baltimore County might increase with the election of a new Governor or due to increased revenue from changes in the federal tax law.
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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?
Marks: The County Council did not vote on the federal housing consent decree. I would have opposed it, and I do not support the source-of-income legislation in its current form. The housing decree was overly simplistic. Reducing poverty requires more than shifting poor households to more affluent suburbs; it means that Baltimore County must have a more aggressive job training and transportation strategy. The Kamenetz administration finally began talking about connecting workers to jobs in its eighth year, and has yet to adopt a robust transportation policy. There is a spatial mismatch between where many job seekers live and where most jobs are located, yet we have a Department of Public Works that has very been slow to embrace progressive transit solutions.
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4
School system
Does the county government exercise adequate oversight over the school system?
Marks: No, it does not. The direct election of most of the members of the Board of Education should help increase accountability and transparency, but there needs to be a much stronger auditing power for Baltimore County government. I have either the creation of a Baltimore County Inspector General who would have this power, or giving the Baltimore County Council’s Auditors more authority to examine the school system’s procurement policies. The Maryland General Assembly would likely need to give the county this power.
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5
Revitalization
What role can the county play in assisting in the preservation or revitalization of aging communities?
Marks: Baltimore County can play a critical role in preserving and revitalizing aging communities, along with the state government, local chambers of commerce, and entrepreneurs. I am pleased with the redevelopment that is occurring along the Joppa Road corridor, older areas of Perry Hall, and particularly Downtown Towson. Our office has strongly supported these efforts. I am greatly concerned about the long-term sustainability of Downtown Towson, which has the population to be its own municipality. Downtown Towson competes for scarce resources with every Baltimore County suburb. Under legislation adopted by the Baltimore County Council in the 1990s, a Business Improvement District can be established to pay for activities such as security, landscaping, and improved transportation. I support a vote on a Business Improvement District in the next term. Baltimore County must deal with decaying transportation in many of its older areas. As an example, the intersection of Loch Raven Boulevard and Joppa Road routinely fails Level of Service standards. The county government should work creatively with propertyowners and the state government to address these concerns. As an example, I brokered an agreement with a developer, the state and county governments that has advanced the long-delayed reconstruction of the intersection of Joppa and Harford Roads.
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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?
Marks: In general, I believe there is an excellent relationship between the Baltimore County Police Department and local communities That relationship has been strengthened by good communication, local partnerships, and an aggressive effort to hire women and minorities so the police force is more reflective of those they serve. I initially opposed the Kamenetz administration’s body camera program because I thought it was a rushed decision; however, I now concede the success of this initiaitive. Body cameras provide a greater degree of certainty for both police and citizens by documenting law enforcement activities. I have been an active booster of the Citizens on Patrol program. This initiative needs to be expanded wherever possible. I also believe we need to provide more incentives for police officers to live in Baltimore County’s neighborhoods (many reside in Pennsylvania, Harford or Carroll Counties). The Maryland General Assembly passed legislation that allows for Baltimore County to provide a property tax credit to police who decide to live here; this should be means-tested and narrowly focused, but it could help not only with neighborhood safety, but also recruitment.
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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?
Marks: Yes. The creation of the Urban-Rural Demarcation Line in 1967 is one of Baltimore County’s greatest accomplishments. There is perhaps no greater visual evidence of its success than the greenery that characterizes Baltimore County between Hunt Valley and southern Pennsylvania. The Urban-Rural Demarcation Line protests farmland, as well as the county’s reservoirs. I will continue to aggressively defend the Urban-Rural Demarcation Line, while targeting the redevelopment of older neighborhoods within its boundaries.
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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?
Marks: Baltimore County’s support for cultural institutions is appropriate, but I do want to make sure that the county’s school-age population has access to the places that we support. I am proud that my appointee to the Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences is a public school teacher.
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9
Transit
Is Baltimore County adequately served by mass transit?
Marks: Baltimore County must look at more nimble transit strategies that connect workers to jobs, such as a shuttle program developed in partnership with employers. There are also communities such as Downtown Towson that would benefit from a Circulator. Our office obtained planning money from the Hogan administration to determine routing and costs for a Circulator; hopefully, the next County Executive will be more supportive of this concept. I was the sponsor of legislation that will expand the mission of the Department of Public Works to consider bicycling, pedestrian improvements, and transit where appropriate. This bill would revise the county charter, so it needs to be approved by the voters in November.
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