Saturday, May 12, 2012

A message from the USA:
Hello all,

Please join us this morning at a press conference to urge our city council members to include more money for our children in the FY 2013 budget. The press conference will be held right here in Union Square at the corner of South Calhoun and Pratt Streets at 10am. To learn more about the issue, please check out the press release I have pasted to the bottom of this email.

This event is sponsored and organized by the Safe and Sound Campaign. We are lucky to have one of Safe and Sound's lead organizers for Southwest Baltimore, Tyrone Barnwell, living right here in Union Square. Tyrone has asked me to participate and say a few words in support of our children. Please come out and join us.
Chris Taylor


On Saturday, May 12th 10AM at the Corner of South Calhoun and Pratt Streets, the Safe and Sound Campaign will call upon the City Council to use their statutory authority to change the FY '13 Baltimore City Operating Budget.

The City Charter gives the City Council the authority to be full participants in setting Baltimore’s annual operating budget. For years, the council has forfeited this power and works hard to convince the public that it has none. Although the Mayor does have exclusive authority to create the budget, the City Council has the power to negotiate its content by controlling its final adoption.

The City Council passed two resolutions this year (#12-0024 and #12-0025) calling for a net increase of $10.2 million for After School Activities and Summer Jobs for Youth in the FY ’13 city budget.

A resolution, without the follow-up demand to secure funding is a nice sentiment, but doesn't deliver the goods. Therefore, the Safe and Sound Campaign will announce on Saturday, the details of a city wide effort to mobilize residents to give their council representative an inescapable mandate to exercise their power. The Campaign will ask each council member to declare the number of constituent calls they need to receive in order to tell the Mayor they cannot approve the FY ’13 City budget until the additional $10.2 million for After School and Summer Jobs opportunities is included.

"We understand that going against a strong mayoral form of government, without backing, leaves city council members vulnerable to retaliation. However, the status quo is bad for the city and leaves the citizens without any representation in determining how our tax dollars are spent" says Hathaway Ferebee, Executive Director of the Safe and Sound Campaign.

The Campaign is working with a wide range of community organizations, faith institutions and activists to change this unhealthy dynamic. "We are out in the neighborhoods, in shopping centers, barber shops just about anywhere, to make sure the community knows what's at stake and give them the chance to ask their council members to vote for jobs and after school activities," says Tyrone Barnwell, Organizer for the Safe and Sound Campaign.

Council members Stokes and Clarke have already confirmed their attendance to the invitation just sent today, Thursday May 10, 2012. The Campaign expects others to join as well.

"The office of the Mayor does have a lot of power, but together, we the people and council have more," declares Deric Strickland, a Youth Ambassador with the Campaign, in charge of designing postcards to grab the council's attention.


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