Disrespect? No.

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Regarding the article “City Council Conflict” (Jan. 23) I would like to put in writing to Baltimore Jewish Times readers what I told my City Council colleagues and attendees at the Dec. 4 City Council meeting regarding my votes on two City Council bills.

I voted “nay” on a bill introduced and heard by committee to place a fee on plastic bag use. An hour before the City Council meeting, bill sponsors announced they were amending the bill to become a ban on plastic bags.

No hearings were held on a ban; the citizens of Baltimore City had no opportunity to speak — pro or con — to a ban. I felt, and still feel, that this was an improper, nontransparent process that amounted to a “bait and switch.”

Disrespect? No.  A vote against a process I feel was unfair to the citizens of Baltimore City.

The second bill on which I voted “nay” would have required Baltimore City police officers to wear body cameras.

The law department had communicated to the Council its opinion that the City Council does not have the legal ability to pass bills affecting the police department budget, and, therefore, this bill would not be legal. In addition, members were aware that the mayor had a task force in place working to prepare a bill that would be legally sufficient and a bill that would authorize a separate supplemental budget request that would appropriate the necessary funds to pay for the cameras. The City Council president and the sponsor of the City Council bill were invited to be part of that task force. They declined.

Disrespect? No. A vote against what I believe was not a proper, legal way to bring about the results that our residents want.

In both instances, [these are] votes against what I perceive as a flawed process and, therefore, votes for the constituents I represent and work for and all the citizens of Baltimore City.

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