Sarah Klauda is an Unaffiliated candidate for Baltimore City Mayor
(Additional reporting by Christian Bielski)
Q: Background info
I grew up in Calvert County and moved to Baltimore for college. My parents were devout Christians and kept me heavily involved in charity. I studied to be a teacher but found my true passion in sociology and criminal justice. I live in Ramblewood. I am a writer. I mentor to many of the neighborhood children and have been a volunteer for Animal Rescue Inc. for 8 years. I have no political background. I am running to give Baltimore an option who is not a politician but a person like the average citizen. I fell in love with this city.
Q: Do you think there are ‘Two Baltimore’s’? Why or why not? If so, how would you try to reconcile them?
I believe it is more complicated than that, but what matters is ensuring every citizen is treated equally and has the same opportunities to thrive in the city. The worst neighborhoods in Baltimore are my main priority and bringing them to the save level as the richer ones.
Q: Were you for or against the proposed Red Line? Why or why not?
I am for the Red Line. Baltimore has a light rail that runs north and south. Having one that runs east and west makes sense. We have a poor transportation system for such a large city.
Q: How would you help improve Baltimore’s transportation system?
The Red Line needs to be in the back of our minds. I will not let Hogan forget about it. Zipcars need to be available around the city, not just in the middle. Also have more bus routes in the east and west sides of Baltimore will help those who need transportation the most get it.
Q: How often would you like to see City agencies audited? Which department do you think is the worst offender in avoiding audits?
An audit is a lengthy process that slows down government so agencies should only go through an audit when necessary. That being said, many agencies need one immediately because they are leaking money and are full of corruption. It is also good to start with a clean slate.
Q: How would you propose to make the Charm City Circulator cost effective? Do you agree with the DOT of Baltimore eliminating the Banner and Green lines?
The CCC should just be other routes on the local bus. It would eliminate a lot of excess cost. If the DOT is going to start eliminating lines already, the CCC is a failure and the city should scrap it.
Q: What was going through your mind during the unrest of April 2015?
In the face of tragedy, Baltimore came together. We also told Geraldo Rivera where he can stick his racist news story. I was proud of my city that despite its pain, most protests were peaceful. I just wanted my city to heal and for justice to be served.
Q: Now that the trials of the Baltimore Six are over, and all have been acquitted, how can Baltimore heal?
It will take a lot for Baltimore to heal. Preventing an incident like what happened to Freddie Gray is one way through the use of body cameras and holding the police responsible for their actions instead of covering them up. We need to instill more trust in law enforcement and get neighborhoods and police officers to communicate with each other. Anti-police culture has been rooted in our communities for decades.
Q: Do you support the Port Covington TIF? Why or why not? What did you think of BUILD’s concerns about the TIF? Do you agree with Councilman Stokes measure to delay the approval of the TIF?
I think the city should use the funds to update Port Covington’s utilities and other concerns that have to be addressed regardless of Under Armour. That will give us a clearer picture on what else we can do with the area. If the company is ready to expand, they can afford doing it without the city’s help. I also think Port Covington would be better suited for small business and acting as its own community within the city.
Q: Light City was a huge success for Baltimore this past year. How would you help cultivate the Arts & Entertainment districts around the city?
More festivals and community events are always a plus, even if they are small.
Q: There is a $15 minimum wage bill coming before the City Council. Do you support it, why or why not? If not, what wage would you support?
I support a slow increase to $15 over the next 3-5 years so small businesses can adjust. If possible, we could also increase it immediately but allow smaller businesses to have a slower increase. Places like Walmart and McDonalds have no excuse to pay their employees so little.
Q: What is the biggest challenge in Baltimore?
Baltimore faces the same problem that is plaguing the entire nation; discrimination. It keeps residents in poverty, and in many cases, gets them killed. We are all Baltimore residents and we deserve the same government services.
Q: What is ONE core issue you will fight for if elected?
Corruption, 100%. I will seek it out and prosecute those who have decided to use their position of power to hurt others. Corrupt officials ruin lives even if they are not directly responsible.
Q: Why should people vote for you?
I am transparent in my intentions and who I am. I offered to use half of my salary to support education in the city. I would be active in schools and I am not afraid to go into the worst parts of Baltimore and ask what people need. Politicians practice saying what people want to hear, anything that will get them elected and further their political career. I am in this race because I am tired of seeing my city’s poverty stricken citizens struggle through life while government officials schmooze with the upper class. Baltimore does not need a politician, but a leader.