Councilman Israel ‘Izzy’ Patoka’s 5 Favorite Books

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Israel Patoka
Councilman Israel “Izzy” Patoka (David Stuck)

Israel “Izzy” Patoka represents Baltimore County’s Second District on the Baltimore County Council and is a member of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. He shared with us his top five favorite books:

“The Man With the Red and Green Eyes” (Dutton, Penguin Random House)

“The Man With the Red and Green Eyes”


by Henry Barnes

First of all, you have to love the cover of this book. It speaks for itself. I read this many years ago. It is an autobiography of Henry Barnes, who was traffic commissioner for New York City and also for Baltimore. He was innovative and forward thinking. I need to give this one a reread to see what is applicable here in Baltimore County as we look for ways to improve traffic, transit, roads, sidewalks and pedestrian safety.

“Comeback Cities”

by Paul Grogan

When I was asked to be the first director of a newly formed office called the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods in Baltimore, I decided to read this book while on vacation just before starting the job. I thought it would give me a good sense of what was in front of me in the new job. The book is a little dated now. It’s good, but it now needs an update to address policing and confidence in law enforcement in America.

“The Other Wes Moore”

by Wes Moore

I have to admit that I have a slight man crush on Wes Moore. Aside from Shimon Peres, he is perhaps the most interesting person that I have ever met. I admire his ability to break away from poverty and desolation while recognizing that so many others in similar situations have not. I also admire his passion for helping others break the cycle.

“Not in My Neighborhood”

by Antero Pietila

I consider Antero Pietila a friend. His book is fascinating in that it helps us to understand the dynamics of neighborhood and community interaction as it relates to African American and Jewish movement to the west and northwest of Baltimore City and Baltimore County.

“To Kill a Mockingbird”

by Harper Lee

Of course, this book is a classic. It speaks to the inequities in our society — unfortunately, some that still exist today. Seeking justice is not always popular.

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