Big Fish

Big Fish, Featured, Money & Power

Elizabeth Embry’s Holistic Prescription for Baltimore: A Q&A with the Mayoral Candidate

0 Written by: | Monday, Mar 21, 2016 1:44pm


To Elizabeth Embry, reducing violent crime in Baltimore while also reducing arrests is not wishful thinking; it’s the only way forward. She has put together a Blueprint for Fighting Crime that views improvements in education, economic opportunity, business investment, public health, and housing as fundamental to curbing crime.

It’s this kind of holistic approach that Embry credits with helping to reduce violent crime and homicides in the city to historically low levels during her tenure as Deputy State’s Attorney.

Read More →

Big Fish, Featured, Money & Power

Big Fish: Carl Stokes on His Run for Mayor, Development, and Baltimore’s Demographic Divide

0 Written by: | Monday, Feb 15, 2016 12:00pm

Carl Stokes

Photo by Keston De Coteau

Councilman Carl Stokes was first elected to Baltimore City Council in 1987, where he served until 1995, the same year he accepted an appointment to Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners. In 1999, he ran for mayor of Baltimore but lost the Democratic nomination to Martin O’Malley. Since then, Stokes has helped to found two public charter schools in the city (each offer year-round study and three meals a day) and returned to the City Council, where he has been a critic of Baltimore property tax rates and utility fees.

In the wake of the Freddie Gray protests and riots, Stokes made national headlines for venting his frustration at the use of the word “thugs” to describe black Baltimore youth to CNN’s Erin Burnett. I asked Stokes, who is again seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor, about the divide in public opinion over that statement; the relationship between public safety, education, and employment opportunities; and how a Stokes administration would tackle the city’s most deep-seated issues.

Baltimore Fishbowl: What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

Councilman Carl Stokes: Take care of your family.

BFB: In a recent interview, you said that improving public safety requires not only investment and improvements in policing but also in education, recreation, jobs, and after-school activities, among other things. When an issue like public safety is determined by so many direct and indirect factors, how do you, as mayor, actually decide how to prioritize spending to achieve the greatest impact?

CS: The best practices and statistics before us inform us on how to proceed. When a community’s adult population is gainfully employed at wages that allow them to sustain themselves and their families economically, we know that crime is much less. Read More →

Big Fish, Featured, Money & Power

Green Party’s Emanuel McCray on His Run for Mayor of Baltimore, Plans to Fight for ‘Regular Citizens’

1 Written by: | Monday, Feb 01, 2016 11:33am

Running for mayor, the Green Party's Emanuel McCray, is a leadership organizer for United Workers in their fair housing campaign.

Running for Mayor: The Green Party’s Emanuel McCray, a leadership organizer for United Workers in its fair housing campaign.

Formed in 2000, Baltimore City’s growing Green Party has roughly 1,000 residents registered. Emanuel McCray is the Green Party’s mayoral candidate in the 2016 race. As the party’s name suggests, ecological sustainability is a key focus, but just as important are social and economic justice issues. In their words, Green Party members are grassroots activists, environmentalists, advocates for social justice, nonviolent resisters, and regular citizens who’ve had enough of corporate-dominated politics. This is Emanuel McCray’s second run for mayor, and below he shares what makes this year’s bid unique, and why he’s excited to throw his hat into Baltimore’s ring of mayoral candidates.

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Big Fish, Featured, Money & Power

Joshua Harris on His Run for Mayor of Baltimore, What Basketball Taught Him and Creating Jobs Through Energy Efficiency

2 Written by: | Monday, Jan 25, 2016 10:44am

Joshua Harris

Joshua Harris, a community organizer and nonprofit co-founder, puts his leadership and campaign skills to the test as he runs in the crowded race for mayor of Baltimore. Exuding confidence, Harris shared in an interview with Baltimore Fishbowl why he believes he’s uniquely qualified for the job.


Among the highlights, Harris explained how playing basketball prepared him to be mayor, touched on his plans to use renewable energy to spark an economic resurgence, talked about turning Baltimore’s vacant homes from eyesores into assets and explained why the unrest of April 2015 wouldn’t have happened under his watch. Read the full interview for more about Harris and his take on these and other significant issues facing Baltimore City: Read More →

Big Fish, Featured, Money & Power

Sheila Dixon on Leadership, Crime, and the Power of Forgiveness

2 Written by: | Monday, Jan 11, 2016 11:58am


Sheila Dixon has one qualification that her opponents in the Baltimore mayoral race don’t: She’s already done the job. From 2007-2010, Dixon served as the city’s first female mayor. Two years into her term, she was indicted for fraud committed while in office. That case ended with her acquitted on the most serious counts of theft and misconduct while in office, but found guilty for misappropriating gift cards that were intended for poor residents. But after resigning as mayor as part of her plea agreement, Dixon continued to be involved in the city–and last year, she made it clear that she wanted her old job back.

In this crowded field, Dixon, 61, faces the unique challenge of building on her past expertise while also distancing herself from her past mistakes. We spoke with her about what she’s learned in recent years–and how she would govern the city, if given the chance to do so again:

Sum up your life philosophy in one sentence.

Never let a moment pass when you’re not using the talents God gave you to make a difference in the lives of others.

When did you define your most important goals, and what are they?

I’m my best self when I’m active and doing something positive in the community. I have high expectations for myself, my family and the city of Baltimore, as my children Jasmine and Joshua would tell you. Even back when I was a teacher, I saw talented students who were being held back so I would sneak them into a higher-level class so they could be challenged. Read More →

Big Fish, Featured, Money & Power

State Sen. Catherine Pugh on Community Policing, Property Taxes, and Her Run for Mayor

1 Written by: | Monday, Jan 04, 2016 12:00pm


Though a native of Pennsylvania, state Sen. Catherine Pugh has been living in Baltimore since 1969, and she’s long since made her mark on the community. She founded Baltimore’s first African American business newspaper in 1979. As a city councilwoman, she pounded the pavement for the first Baltimore Marathon in 2001. As a delegate and state senator she has championed minimum wage increases and marriage equality.

When Pugh ran for mayor of Baltimore last election cycle, she advocated community-oriented policing, lead poisoning awareness, “community-driven” development, and greater recreational opportunities for Baltimore’s youth. She argued for an holistic approach to combating violent crime, police brutality, and inequality in the city. Since then, Baltimore’s (as well as other cities’) struggles with those issues have made them central topics in the national political conversation.

With Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s decision not to seek re-election, Pugh may have a greater opportunity to make her case to the electorate this time. The candidate recently answered our questions about her current bid to lead the city and how she will distinguish herself in a crowded Democratic primary.

Baltimore Fishbowl: Have you seen the public come around to your point of view on the importance of addressing lead poisoning, community-police relations, and community-driven development in the past five years?
Read More →

Big Fish, Featured

Patrick Gutierrez on His Run for Mayor of Baltimore, How He Would’ve Handled Unrest, and His Stint as a Sportswriter

4 Written by: | Monday, Dec 21, 2015 10:10am

Patrick Gutierrez

Patrick Gutierrez has been a bank manager, a sports writer, and a stay-at-home dad. Now he’s hoping to start a new career as Mayor of the City of Baltimore. Gutierrez grew up in the small desert town of Indio, California, about two hours east of Los Angeles and seemingly a world away from Baltimore, but he says the two areas share a similarity he values highly: community connectedness. If the Democrat is chosen to serve as Mayor of Baltimore, he promises leadership driven by accountability, transparency, and a genuine desire to serve.

We caught up with Gutierrez on the campaign trail to learn more about his background, his preparedness to serve the residents of Baltimore and his plans to improve his adopted city, including quelling violence, tackling substance abuse, and other tough challenges.

How did you make your way here and where in Baltimore do you live now?   Read More →

Big Fish, Featured, Money & Power

Nick Mosby Addresses His Vision for Baltimore, His Wife’s Job, and Where He Takes His Daughters for Red Velvet Pancakes

1 Written by: | Monday, Dec 07, 2015 12:15pm


Virtually every Baltimore politician was interviewed by a national TV reporter on the night of April 27 and the week that followed, but an exchange between City Councilman Nick Mosby and Fox News’ Leland Vittert managed to rise above the din. Standing on a West Baltimore street corner, Mosby put the rioting and looting that defined the night into context. Read More →

Big Fish, Columns, Featured

Weed Control: Meet Hannah Byron, Executive Director of the Maryland Cannabis (Don’t Call It Marijuana) Commission

1 Written by: | Monday, Sep 28, 2015 11:03am

hannah byron

In 2013, the Maryland General Assembly passed Senate Bill 881 legalizing marijuana for medicinal use, and Maryland joined 22 other states across the country, scrambling to coordinate the myriad aspects of dispensing marijuana to eligible patients. It’s an enormous undertaking, like launching a giant startup. Nobody wants to get it wrong, but the logistics are complicated and the clock is ticking toward an expected date in mid to late 2016. Patients, doctors, growers, sellers, and bankers in Maryland are all waiting impatiently for answers to questions about how it’s going to affect them. Read More →

Big Fish, Featured, Health and Fitness

Meet Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City’s New Health Commissioner

3 Written by: | Monday, Mar 30, 2015 10:01am

Dr. Wen

Last January, Dr. Leana S. Wen took the reins from Dr. Oxiris Barbot as Baltimore City Health Commissioner.  Being responsible for the health of the entire city seems like a gargantuan charge, especially for someone barely 30. But given Wen’s accomplishments to date—she entered college at 13, studied public health and health policy as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, served on an advisory commission to Congress regarding graduate medical education, worked as an attending physician in a busy emergency room, gave four popular TED and TEDMed talks, wrote a critically-acclaimed book When Doctor’s Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests, to name a few—she’s probably up to the task. Read More →

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