I would like to share with you some important updates on what I have been working on and details on our Monday Council meeting.
Police reform legislation to be introduced
As I detail below, I have spent the past 6+ months working on legislation I’m calling the Police Enhancement And Community Engagement (PEACE) Ordinance. This is nothing radical. It attempts to accomplish just what the name implies: peace between the public and the police by improving trust between the two. I looked at what other nearby jurisdictions, such as Montgomery County and Washington DC are doing on this front, and also looked at best practices documented by the NAACP and ACLU. Let me be clear, many of these standards are already being practiced by our police department. But many are not. New standards and standards enshrined in our City Code are needed to ensure that we do not have a local tragedy like we have seen happen all over this country to individuals like George Floyd and Brianna Taylor. As stated recently in The Capital, “There is no liberty without life. No pursuit of happiness without life. No free speech, no right to assemble, no freedom of the press or religion without life. We all have the right to life, as long as we’re somebody.”
You can read a summary of what this legislation would do here.
As I stated in my last email to you, I am running for re-election this November. Thanks to all of you who have already donated. If you haven’t, please consider donating $25 or $50 to my campaign, or signing on to be a sustainer by donating $5 or $10 a month. I would be honored and privileged to continue serving you and the City. www.robsavidge.com/donate
State of the City & Budget introduction
Stay tuned! At this Monday’s meeting the Mayor will be giving his State of the City address and introducing the proposed fiscal year 2022 budget. Don’t worry, based on what I’ve been told thus far, there will be NO increase to the tax rate, and thanks to the Biden pandemic bailout money it looks like we will NOT have to lay anyone off this year or enact furlough days. More on the budget later as we get fully briefed.
Stay healthy and stay safe,
Next Council meeting – 4/12/21 (agenda)
This Council meeting is starting at 7pm and will be televised on local cable, Facebook, and the City website (www.annapolis.gov). Due to COVID-19, our meetings are now being held virtually. http://www.youtube.com/CityofAnnapolis http://www.facebook.com/CityofAnnapolis
Anyone needing reasonable accommodation to be able to participate in a public meeting held by the City of Annapolis should contact Regina Watkins-Eldridge at 410.263.7942, by MD Relay (711), or by email at [email protected] at least five days prior to the meeting date to request assistance.
If you would like to submit or give public testimony, you can do so at http://www.annapolis.gov/testimony.
There is no legislation up for a public hearing at this meeting.
Legislation being introduced on First Reader
- O-10-21 - Annual Budget and Appropriation and Property Tax Levy Ordinance. This is just the introduction of the budget for next fiscal year.
- O-11-21 - Compensation of the Aldermen, Alderwomen, and City Manager - For the purpose of adjusting the compensation and allowances to be paid to the Aldermen and Alderwomen for the term of office commencing on the first Monday in December, 2021; and for adjusting the compensation to be paid to the City Manager. This legislation would implement the pay changes recommended by the Council Compensation Commission. This would constitute a $1,000 increase in the second, third, and fourth year of the next Council’s terms, and allow the City Manager to get a cost-of-living increase with the rest of the staff. No change to the Mayor’s salary.
O-12-21 – PEACE ordinance - Police Enhancement and Community Engagement – This is legislation I am introducing that is a police reform and community policing omnibus. After we experienced the horrific shooting at The Capital newspaper, we cannot pretend that we are insulated from experiencing what we thought were national incidents that could never hit home. This legislation takes a commonsense approach by pulling best practices from elsewhere and implementing them in a non-confrontational and non-accusatory (dare I say PEACEful?) way. My goal is to bring peace to the community. Many of these “reforms” are already being practiced by our Police Department, but others are not. Regardless, myself and the sponsors want to enshrine these reforms, have them set in stone, so that a new Chief cannot change them without consulting the Council, and therefore the public. Having that transparency is essentially to improving the trust between the police and the public, which in turn is essential to having a successful police force and a community with reduced violence. This legislation accomplishes quite a bit. For a full list you can find that here or on my website, but in summary it accomplishes the following:
- enacts community policing guidelines;
- codifies the escalation of the use of force;
- prohibits the use of crowd control methods on peaceful protesters;
- bans the use of chokeholds;
- establishes a duty to intervene and protects officers doing so;
- prohibits “stop and frisk” searches based on discriminatory practices;
- places restrictions on no-knock warrants;
- codifies domestic violence procedures and requires confiscation of weapons of any officer accused of such violence;
- institutes new reporting metrics;
- ensures officers are aware of mental health support;
- requires that folks are notified of their rights prior to consent searches;
- implements new training requirements;
- allows the Human relations Commission to receive discrimination complaints against the Police;
- extends the probationary period for new hires, prohibits the use of military weaponry;
- places limits on how the armored truck is used.
My original draft included the creation of a civilian review board, but that was removed because the Administration already has a special task force developing plans for that. I will work with them to determine if we should amend that into this legislation. I’m also currently reviewing the legislation passed by the General Assembly to see if we need to change anything in this legislation, and to see if we can take it even further; for instance, giving the civilian member of the police trial board voting rights (as reported on in The Capital). I want to make a special shout-out to my Council colleagues who are co-sponsoring this effort: Alderman Ross Arnett, Alderwoman Elly Tierney, Alderman Dajuan Gay, and Alderman Brooks Schandelmeier. They all added ideas and helped bring this legislation to where it is. I’ve approached every single member of the Council, including the Mayor, starting 6 months ago, asking for input and asking them if they would like to sign on as co-sponsors, but only the ones already mentioned agreed to sign on.
I look forward to receiving your feedback on this legislation. I will keep you informed as to when the official public comment period opens.
- R-10-21 - Charter Revision Commission - For the purpose of extending the term of the Charter Revision Commission; and all matters relating to said Commission.
- R-11-21 - City Sponsored Special Events in Fiscal Year 2022 - For the purpose of identifying City Sponsored Special Events; and waiving certain related City Fees during Fiscal Year 2022.
- R-12-21 - Position Classifications and Pay Plan - For the purpose of approving the Fiscal Year 2022 position classifications and pay plan; and specifying an effective date. This is just a first reading introduction, but I am keeping an eye on this legislation. It would add 4 positions to the civil service (i.e. converting them from contractual to full-time-equivalent employees). I’m wary of this given our structural deficit (our expenditures greatly outweigh our revenues). It would also give employees a 2-3% COLA (cost of living allowance).
- R-13-21 - Fiscal Year 2022 Fees Schedule - For the purpose of specifying fees that will be charged for the use of City services for Fiscal Year 2022; and providing an effective date. There appears to be a few changes to various fees. I’ll know more as we get fully briefed on the proposed budget.
- R-14-21 - Fiscal Year 2022 Fines Schedule - For the purpose of specifying fines that will be charged for Fiscal Year 2022; and providing an effective date. There appears to be a few changes to a few fines. I’ll know more as we get fully briefed on the proposed budget.
- R-15-21 - Short Term Rental Licenses - Extension of Moratorium - For the purpose of extending the moratorium on the issuance of new non-owner-occupied short term rental licenses in certain conservation residence districts; extending the moratorium on the transfer of existing non-owner-occupied short term rental licenses in certain conservation residence districts; and providing for the termination of the moratorium, subject to a certain contingency. This extends the 3-month moratorium to have it expire with final action on O-7-21. This is a wise move as we don’t want a rush of applications with folks trying to get in before the Council takes action on this issue.
Legislation on second reader (i.e. final vote)
- R-4-21 - Annapolis Ward Boundary and Redistricting Commission - For the purpose of establishing a Commission that the City historically forms after each federal decennial census to reevaluate the boundaries of its wards; and generally relating to said Commission. This legislation is just being re-opened to add a few more names to the Commission/task force.
- R-5-21 - Itinerant Merchant Sales in the Historic District - 2021 - For the purpose of authorizing hawker, peddler, and itinerant merchant sales in the Historic District in conjunction with certain special events during calendar year 2021. There is a motion to re-consider this simply to add an additional event to the list.
- R-8-21 – The Digital Connectivity Act - For the purpose of expressing support for the Maryland Digital Connectivity Act. I’m inclined to support this expression of the Council’s support for this Act, pending any comments from you.
- O-19-19 - Adequate Public Facilities - Auto transportation facilities - For the purpose of clarifying the circumstances that would require a traffic impact analysis for a proposed project; clarifying the standards to be used to determine adequacy; and generally relating to the adequacy of auto transportation facilities. This legislation has not been fully discharged by the Committees, but after 90-days it automatically comes back to the Council for action. I believe there is interest from the primary sponsor, and myself, to get this voted on with a few amendments, since it has been on the docket since 2019! What this legislation does, with the proposed amendments, is re-structure our Adequate Public Facilities standards for traffic and reduces the threshold for number of trips that kicks in the requirement to do a traffic study to 200, down from 250. I have a number of other amendments I may try to pass, but if my colleagues are too confused by some of the changes I may just introduce it as new legislation. The main problem I have with the traffic standards is that even if a project’s traffic study concludes that it would create failing intersections, and the proposed mitigation wouldn’t offset those trips or resolve the failing intersection, then the project is still permitted to move forward. This seems like the wrong approach to me as it says that everyone else in the City has to deal with this failing intersection, made worse by a new development, simply to allow for new development. Why should our quality of life be decreased simply to allow for new development? The point should be to not allow new development unless our infrastructure can handle that development, or if a mitigation project can be completed to mitigate any impact from a proposed development. My amendments would accomplish this and would also allow for collective mitigation projects to be funded by applicants.
If you are looking at the legislation, there are a number of attachments. The version you want to look at is the one titled “O-19-19 as amended on second reading 6-22-20”.
Pip Moyer Vaccination Clinic
The City of Annapolis has partnered with the Health Department to host a Thursday vaccination clinic at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center. Presently the clinic hours will be from 10 am - 2 pm. Each of the Thursday clinics will have the capacity to give 200 doses. The vaccine type will vary. Typically it will be the two dose Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. Annapolis Fire Department personnel will be administering the vaccine. Residents can sign up for the Thursday clinic at Pip Moyer through the Anne Arundel Health Department OR residents can call OEM at 410-216-9167 Monday through Friday from 9 am- 4pm for registration assistance. To expedite registration, residents will need to provide their email and phone number. The clinic is open to non Annapolis residents.