What do you consider the greatest accomplishments and failings of the Kamenetz administration?
Redmer: The current administration has consistently failed to invest in basic infrastructure, such as buildings, facilities, maintenance, employee training and technology. As such, it is clear that there is no long-term plan, or multi-year budget. The Kamenetz administration does not communicate through the county administration. County employees typically have no idea what the vision of the County Executive is, or where they are headed. There is no long term plan and poor communication has resulted in low employee morale. County employees don’t believe anyone is listening, or that anybody cares. Other than development issues, the County Executive has been disengaged from County operations. Most aspects of leadership and decision making have been neglected by the County Executive and delegated with little accountability or oversight. His greatest accomplishment has to be staying engaged with developers for development projects.
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?
Redmer: I do not support raising taxes. However, it will take strong leadership to create a vision and long term plan to address the pent up demands and problems long ignored Our administration will work with elected officials and community leaders to identify all existing needs; we will quantify them, prioritize them, and create a multi-year budget in an open, transparent process that addresses the needs of each community. We will create the Office of Inspector General and review/audit every aspect of county government, and identify operational inefficiencies and as mentioned, create a plan to turn the inefficiencies into effective and efficient benefits for the County. I have been doing this for decades. I also believe that having a County Executive that collaborates with Governor Hogan, instead of being an adversary will benefit the citizens of Baltimore County. I am the only candidate endorsed by Governor Hogan for Baltimore County Executive which will allow us to leverage additional state resources.
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?
Redmer: No…. I oppose the consent decree and the process in which it was negotiated. It should never have been executed without community and County Council approval. I don’t believe it is a statement of rental discrimination. Government should not be able to force independent home owners and businesses to partner or do business with anybody, including government. This is a property rights issue and therefore, should be a free market business decision. Additionally, nobody has ever alleged or produced data verifying that there are not an adequate number of property owners that do accept vouchers. Again, which is an independent decision by property owners.
Does the county government exercise adequate oversight over the school system?
Redmer: No….. while the County Executive does not control the board of Education, the County has a fiduciary responsibility to make sure that the County dollars are being spent efficiently and wisely to benefit the education of our children. This is another area where the County Executive has been disengaged and has ceded everything to the school system. As County Executive, I will be visible in the schools, communicating with teachers, administrators and parents. I will be engaged in education issues in “real time.”
What role can the county play in assisting in the preservation or revitalization of aging communities?
Redmer: The County can assist in making sure that businesses are not overburdened by senseless regulations or high taxes and fees. These Mom and Pop small businesses are the jobs creators and strong businesses can help the surrounding community thrive and reduce blight. Additionally, the County needs to identify ways to make smaller, infill developments more cost effective and lower the unit cost. These communities may hold redevelopment/revitalization opportunities.
How would you characterize the relationship between the Baltimore County police and the communities they serve? Are any reforms necessary?
Redmer: We have terrific police officers in Baltimore County. The problem is that local police precincts have been stripped of the officers that they need. The County Executive has a history of creating specialized police units, and staffing them with officers that are pulled out of community patrols, which has created a shortage of officers in the community. We need to add and/or redeploy police officers so that they can go back to local community patrols.
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?
Redmer: I support the Urban-Rural Demarcation Line. Zoning and Development policies need to preserve our agricultural and rural areas and emphasize the stabilization of older communities and targeted growth
Is Baltimore County's support for cultural institutions in Baltimore City too little, too much or just right?
Redmer: Based on my current knowledge of the County budget and resources, we cannot increase support to Baltimore City. Financial support needs to be part of the county-wide analysis and long term plan / budget. Baltimore City would benefit from such a plan too so that they could redeploy resources where needed.
Is Baltimore County adequately served by mass transit?
Redmer: The BaltimoreLink seems to have assessed the needs of Baltimore County pretty well. The State also continues to tweak the system based on ridership and job opportunities. For example the BaltimoreLink just expanded lines to create new service to Trade Point Atlantic to provide more people with job opportunities. This should be a continuous improvement process that should be evaluated on a regular basis instead of waiting decades like previous Administrations to make changes.