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In the Media: Graziano Meets with Public Housing Residents; Baltimore Police Wear Cameras

Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano.
Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano.

A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.

From The Baltimore Sun: Graziano Meets with Public Housing Residents

"Activists and public housing tenants met Monday with Baltimore housing chief Paul T. Graziano, who agreed to tour complexes to hear directly from residents who say they're living in deplorable conditions.

"John P. Comer, lead organizer for Maryland Communities United, said Graziano and a handful of tenants and others met behind closed doors for about an hour. The housing authority has come under fire for poor maintenance and for allegations that some workers demanded sex before making repairs.

"A spokeswoman for the Housing Authority of Baltimore City confirmed the meeting and the planned site visits, but did not provide details.

"'It was a positive meeting with a fruitful discussion,' spokeswoman Tania Baker said in an email. 'It opened the lines of communication. We will continue with a series of follow-up meetings and site visits.'

"Baker said officials have been working 'diligently' to improve conditions at Gilmor Homes and other public housing developments. The housing authority is selling nearly 40 percent of its units to private developers to generate money for renovation of the aging complexes.

"Camay Owens, an eight-year resident of Gilmor Homes who attended the meeting, said she was fed up with the conditions she and other residents must endure. She said she has asked since last year for housing officials to repair windows in her apartment to stop heat from escaping.

"'I sleep with my oven on and all four of my burners,' said Owens, 28. 'It's terrible. There's no excuse.'

"Comer said many tenants feel optimistic about the meeting with Graziano and the coming site visits. Comer said Graziano agreed to tour McCulloh and Gilmor homes this week and Cherry Hill and Latrobe homes next week. They two sides will come together again Dec. 4 to discuss progress, Comer said.

"'We're here today to establish a system of accountability that doesn't seem to exist,' Comer told reporters outside housing headquarters after the meeting.

"Comer said Graziano did not commit to a timeline to make the repairs residents are seeking."

Full Article

From The Washington Post: Maryland to Test All 1- and 2-Year-Olds for Lead

"The state of Maryland will expand its testing for lead poisoning to all one- and two-year-old children in the state, regardless of where they live, the administration of Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Monday.

"Currently, the state requires testing only for children enrolled in Medicaid or living in Baltimore and other at-risk areas, where there are high concentrations of older homes that predate lead-paint laws.

"Under the new regulations, health-care providers will be responsible for ensuring that children undergo testing at the appropriate ages, and parents will have to provide proof of lead-poisoning testing when their children enter licensed day-care programs or public pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, or first grade. Insurance providers and patients will cover the screening costs."

Full Article

From WBAL TV: Baltimore Police Launch Pilot Body Camera Program

"Baltimore City police on Monday announced the launch of their pilot body camera program.

"The city's program is among the first in the country to get launched.

"'What we expect out of these cameras is improved public confidence, additional evidence for prosecutorial purposes, enhanced officers' safety and decreased citizen complaints,' Deputy Commissioner Dean Palmere said.

"Officials said 155 officers and detectives in the Central, Eastern and Western districts, Special Enforcement Unit members and Special Operations Sections in the Eastern and Western districts are among those wearing the devices starting Monday."


More at WBAL TV

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