Monday, January 27, 2020

David Troy: Joan Pratt should be fully investigated.

This continues the series of interviews with Baltimore Stakeholders. The first response in this series came from Reverend Dr. Alvin Hathaway.

The below set of responses comes from David Troy, "serial entrepreneur and techie, curator of the Mid Atlantic Ted Talks and co-founder and moderator of Baltimore City Voters, the premier online place where Baltimore residents can voice and their concerns and opinions. (For bio information see below)
David Troy, an international speaker and start-up entrepreneur 

David Troy
  1. Are you overall optimistic about Baltimore or pessimistic? Why?
Ten years ago I was very optimistic; the incompetence and corruption we have experienced since has made me more discouraged. And the city has suffered mightily in the wake of the aftermath of the Freddie Gray murder. Even while that incident galvanized a lot of positive activism, the economic effects have made reforms more difficult to enact. However, people are demanding real improvements, and we are starting to see them happen, even if through baby-steps.
  1. What three issues do you suggest should be the top priority of the new Mayor?
I have told the last three mayors the same things: audits, accountability, and police reform. We still don’t have a handle on our financial or performance metrics for city agencies — especially benchmarked against other cities. We could be publishing all our checks online, like NYC does with And the ancient arrangement where BPD is a state agency needs to be addressed; we’re spending upwards of 25% of our budget on an agency we don’t control and can’t legislate around. That’s nuts.
OSI report "Blueprint for Baltimore"

  1. If you were to advise a candidate for Mayor what would be your best suggestion?
Open up the audit process to citizen review. There is an audit oversight committee; it should include citizen members, and it should seek benchmarks against other city agency best practices worldwide.
Mural on Greenmount Ave (Photo Philipsen)

  1. What should the next US President should do for cities?
I think changing federal highway policy to favor transit instead of expanding roads would help cities because it would decrease sprawl and bad land use policy. Jane Jacobs said, correctly, that cities are our economic engines. We should embrace that reality and make them as dense and interconnected as possible.
  1. What recent local fact has given you hope for Baltimore?
That we now have an independent Inspector General is an excellent development. Isabel Cumming is a gem and will set an example for future occupants of the office.

  1. What recent local fact has depressed you the most?
I am dismayed to see Baltimore used as a punching bag and a set prop by right-leaning actors looking to stoke division. This felt like a coda to some of what we experienced in 2015, and we don’t need more of it. Interlopers should go make their own communities better.

  1. Do you support a particular candidate for Mayor and for City Council?
I haven’t settled on a candidate for Mayor yet. These contests are always tough, because in some ways the outcomes are preordained through name recognition, group affiliation, and money. Whoever wins, I hope that person is open-minded and coachable, and I’d be delighted to volunteer time and talent to any projects our next mayor pursues where I can be helpful. The one thing I don’t think we can tolerate is more corruption, and I will actively seek it out and publicize it if it is found.

Zumba in Harbor East (Photo Philipsen)
For City Council President, I’ve not settled on a candidate, but Shannon Sneed is very impressive. I’m also a big fan of Odette Ramos for the 14th.

  1. What personal contribution to Baltimore are you most proud of?
I’m proud of the work we are doing on the Baltimore City Voters group on Facebook. Baltimore is known as “smalltimore” or “a city of neighborhoods.” In my opinion those have always also been code words for a kind of “divide and conquer” strategy. We need to create a shared civic reality. Ironically, Facebook and Twitter have done a lot to break down civic reality and drive us further into cultish groups, but I do think it can be used to make connections and bring us closer together. It just takes some time and discipline, and I’m looking forward to expanding that work over time.

  1. Any final thought?
I’d very much like to see the abuses of the network of people who benefited from inside dealing connected to the last Mayor’s removal addressed. This includes Comptroller Joan Pratt. She should be fully investigated. I think Bill Henry would be a tremendous asset in that role, and I hope he wins.

OSI report "Blueprint for Baltimore"

Dave Troy is a serial entrepreneur and community activist in Baltimore, Maryland. He is currently CEO and product architect at 410 Labs, maker of the popular e-mail management tools and Chuck. He has been acknowledged by the founding team at Twitter as the first developer to utilize the Twitter API, with his project “Twittervision,” which was featured in the 2008 MoMA exhibition “Design and the Elastic Mind,” curated by Paola Antonelli. His current projects use social network data to map cities. He is also curator of TEDxMidAtlantic in Washington, DC and is passionate about data, cities, and entrepreneurship. He lives in Baltimore with his wife and two children. He lives in Mt. Vernon and is the lead administrator and co-founder of the popular Facebook group, Baltimore City Voters, which is designed to provide a platform for big-tent civics that bridges Baltimore’s diverse communities.

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