What do you consider the greatest accomplishments and failings of the Kamenetz administration?
Lofstad: I would consider the lack of tax rate increases an accomplishment, if that wasn’t done with misplaced priorities: including crony capitalism, complete lack of concern about the school board, deferred maintenance, and last minute promises that the next administration will have to pay for.
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?
Lofstad: I believe the funds are there, just that there is a lack of political will and creativity to get the funds where they need to be. No politician will find cuts, but I believe if like in the private sector we reward county workers financially for finding ways to become more efficient and save money we will find the money in the budget. Example: County worker proposes a new process that saves time and resources. Calculate the year 1 savings and then give that worker a percentage for their idea. Managers would be excluded to prevent budget games that would appear to be savings on paper.
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?
Lofstad: I absolutely do not support the federal housing consent decree and the county should have fought HUD and would have won, similar to Westchester County, NY. I believe a property owner has the right to know where a potential tenant’s income is derived from and make decisions based on their comfort level with that tenant’s ability to pay and properly maintain their property.
Does the county government exercise adequate oversight over the school system?
Lofstad: I believe the county government does not have adequate oversight over the school system. I would like more power given to the council, and for a county executive to not turn a blind eye as much.
What role can the county play in assisting in the preservation or revitalization of aging communities?
Lofstad: I’m fervently anti-tax, so it may come as a surprise to people when I tell them I’m in favor of working with the county’s state delegation to enable Baltimore County to have a developer fee. I believe if the true cost of new and upgraded infrastructure is born by new developments and not the country taxpayers as a whole- the costs of upgrading existing stock would look better in comparison. As someone who completely remodeled our 60s rancher, I know how great these older homes can be with some love and I’d like to see targeted tax incentives for infill development and remodeling of existing homes in areas where the infrastructure can handle it.
How would you characterize the relationship between the Baltimore County police and the communities they serve? Are any reforms necessary?
Lofstad: I find the relationship with our county police is being unfairly shaped by a larger national discussion in some instances. If anything, I’d like to enpower communities to have better funded and trained Citizens on Patrol groups that would work closely with law enforcement.
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?
Lofstad: As someone who grew up on Long Island, NY with its seemingly infinite sprawl from NYC- when I moved here I loved how you can be in an urban environment and then quickly in a rural environment. I support the hard stop that the Urban-Rural Demarcation Line represents for sprawl.
Is Baltimore County's support for cultural institutions in Baltimore City too little, too much or just right?
Lofstad: While it’s clear that a City issue can quickly become a County issue (crime for example)- in my view this kind of support is best addressed at the State of Federal level. Any County support should be looked at on a case by case basis and some kind of return on investment for the two jurisdictions should be clearly laid out, measured and worked toward with accountability.
Is Baltimore County adequately served by mass transit?
Lofstad: Environmentally, I believe in practicing what you preach, so I used to ride the bus and currently ride my bicycle from my home in Rosedale to my employer in Towson. I found service to be sufficient and low cost. I’d like some laws relaxed to enable experimentation for private companies to offer subscription services or lower cost public transportation. Similar to the dollar vans found in Brooklyn, NY.