By Vic Carter

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Here in Baltimore, we are about to elect the next mayor in our city. In just over a week, voters will head to the primary.

In a special campaign report, WJZ asks what do people really want from their next mayor?

We asked, “What would you say frustrates you most about Baltimore and its current state?”

“People really don’t answer to the citizens and I think that’s where they go wrong. There’s no true partnership. Once you get in office, then you forget where your votes came from,” said community leader Sonia Merchant-Jones.

“This is not a very business-friendly city—from the fees and taxes—they were taxing people if they had trash out…inspectors were going through the trash to see if it came from this business or that business..a business owner has enough on their mind than to be harassed and chased out of town, as well as parking! Oh my God! How’s parking in your neighborhood?” said journalist and blogger Doni Glover.

We asked, “day one of the new mayor’s term: what is the one issue that they need to address right away?”

“The biggest impact that a new mayor can have from day one is to really drill down and see what’s going on within our city government. We are lacking in a lot of areas in terms of transparency and accountability and that’s one thing we really need to work on,” said small business owner and city resident Kelly Heusler.

“Bring the people together. Bring the leaders of all communities together—Jewish, Muslim, Christian, black, white, Latino, Asian. Everybody has a vested interest and everybody should feel like they’re a part of this city and have ownership,” said Glover.

“There’s a huge disconnect between City Hall and the public and that needs to stop. And that’s on all levels of government. People don’t remember what it’s like to be an ordinary citizen and it’s tough,” said business owner Ron Furman.

We asked, “Make your most impassioned plea to the next mayor of Baltimore.”

“Whenever you do anything, think about how is this going to affect the citizens of Baltimore. How is this going to affect and improve the lives of every citizen?” said attorney and city resident Darren Kadish.

“If you’re a mayor with an honest heart, where no one has to second-guess you, I really believe that you’ll win the people to you and not away from you. I need a mayor that has some integrity and a mayor that’s accountable and a mayor that’s most of all accessible,” Merchant-Jones said.

This election, there’s a lot of talk, a lot of promises—but will anything change? WJZ wants to know what you think.

Click on “comments” below, or weigh in on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Our special campaign coverage will continue this week on WJZ.


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