Brooke Lierman is a Fell’s Point resident, Democrat, attorney with Brown Goldstein and Levy, and member of the Fell’s Point Residents Association. She has worked with community groups on Liquor Board issues in Upper Fell’s Point, Highlandtown, and most recently in Federal Hill. She recently announced her candidacy for the House of Delegates, 46th District.
Why did you decide to run for House of Delegates in 2014?
I’ve been involved in city issues both as a citizen and as a lawyer working with community groups on Liquor Board issues and I feel that I can get even more accomplished at the state level as a delegate. I believe that Baltimore has a lot of unrealized potential.
What are some of your main concerns right now?
I have many. Here are the top four:
One: The Liquor Board. There’s no reason for it to be as frustrating as it is. We need to re-write Article 2B of the state code [which concerns the Liquor Board and liquor licensing.]
Two: Greening in the city. As a Fell’s Point resident, I know it has been inordinately difficult to get dead trees removed and new ones planted in Fell’s Point. I understand that Tree Baltimore [the city’s tree planting arm] has suffered funding cuts, but we need to see what the state can do to fund the city’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for increasing the tree canopy.
Three: Public transportation. Living in Southeast Baltimore, I recognize that parking is becoming a greater and greater challenge in many communities. On the one hand, this is exciting because it means that people are discovering how great our neighborhoods are. On the other hand, because Baltimore’s public transit system is woefully inadequate, many people rely on cars to get around, and that needs to change if Baltimore is going to stay livable.
Four: Funding our schools. In the past year, we’ve secured a huge influx of resources. That must just be a first step; what’s happening inside the classrooms is just as important as brick and mortar. It’s important to make a case for Baltimore in Annapolis and change the perception that Baltimore is a drain on state resources.
Where would you start with the Liquor Board? What are the first changes you would make in the re-writing of Article 2B?
Amending the most problematic and cryptic sections of Article 2B, in particular Section 10, should be able to be accomplished in one legislative session. While any specific changes will require input from businesses and communities, Section 10-504(d) [dealing with vacation of premises and expiration of licenses[ is incredibly convoluted and would benefit from a redraft so it is simpler and easier to understand— for both license holders and communities concerned about liquor licenses.
Moreover, the code should include oversight authority of the Board of Liquor License Commissioners (BLLC) by some state entity—possibly the Attorney General's office. [Currently the Board often hires private counsel to defend its decisions.]
Regarding greening, Fell’s Point, Canton, and Little Italy all scored poorly on the most recent Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance measure of percent of area covered by trees. Do you have any specific ideas to help improve the Southeast’s tree canopy?
Baltimore has an active community of TreeKeepers, and the city has called for increased tree coverage in its Climate Action Plan. It lists that goal as a “mid-term to long-term” plan; however I believe action on trees is needed now.
I would work with TreeBaltimore, the TreeKeepers, and state officials to look at the best way to create a partnership between Baltimore City and the state to provide for increasing the tree canopy and green space throughout the city, especially in areas that most need it, like Southeast neighborhoods. This could take the form of community development grants and/or providing initial funding that can be leveraged by the city to create a large public-private partnership supporting Baltimore’s urban trees.
How would you improve the city’s public transport problems?
Unlike other jurisdictions in Maryland, Baltimore’s main public transportation options are all controlled by the state. I will work with [the Maryland Transit Authority] and Maryland Department of Transportation to create more transparency and accountability…so that Baltimoreans have more say over the public transportation options in our city. (For instance, although the Charm City Circulator uses NextBus technology [which estimates arrivals], MTA has failed to install this simple and extremely useful tool.)
Editor’s note: Look for interviews with other candidates as we approach election season.
by Danielle Sweeney