Kathleen Cahill | WYPR

Kathleen Cahill

Producer, Midday

Kathleen is a producer for Midday With Tom Hall.  Previously, she was a producer for Maryland Morning and, before that,  a freelance radio reporter  for the WYPR newsroom.  She was for many years an editor at The Washington Post – on the Foreign Desk;  at Outlook  (The Post’s Sunday commentary section) and as a special projects editor for the Post’s Financial Desk.

Kathleen lived in Turkey for a couple of years in the ‘90s as Time Magazine’s stringer for the region and as deputy editor of  Dateline Turkey, an English-language weekly newspaper based in Istanbul.   (Sadly, her Turkish is rusty now, but if you know a few words, please stop by and say merhaba.)Early in her career, Kathleen was a frequent contributor to CFO, The Economist’s monthly magazine for financial executives, and a staff writer for Bostonia Magazine.

She is a graduate of Boston University and also attended University College Dublin, in Ireland.  She was a visiting media fellow at Duke University’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Journalism and Democracy and attended the wonderful Stanford Publishing Course.   She is the editor of two books.


Today, we begin a series of weekly profiles of candidates for Mayor of Baltimore City.  Every Wednesday for the next several weeks, we’ll talk to the people who want to lead the city at a time when we face tremendous challenges.  This morning, a discussion with Elizabeth Embry, who had this to say when she announced her candidacy in early November: 

"I love Baltimore, and I’ve devoted my entire career to Baltimore City, to government, and state government -- working on the problems that Baltimore City faces.  There is nothing more noble and more important than working for the city."

Elizabeth Embry joins Tom in the studio to talk about her experience, her vision, her hopes for Baltimore. 

Plus, the 436th session of the Maryland General Assembly gets underway today.  The budget is in the black; the Governor and the legislature have different ideas about what to do with the surplus.  We’ll parse the big issues facing lawmakers with Erin Cox, the State House bureau chief for the Baltimore Sun.  She joins Tom by phone from Annapolis.

Doug Kerr // Flickr Creative Commons

The 2016 session of the Maryland Assembly kicked off at noon Wednesday (January 13). With Governor Larry Hogan enjoying strong approval ratings, he carries a mandate into this year’s session that Democratic legislators may find hard to overcome when they lock horns on issues like tax cuts, education funding and criminal justice reform. 

Today we touch on some of the big issues that lawmakers will consider between now and April.  Joining Tom by phone from Annapolis is Erin Cox, the State House Bureau Chief for the Baltimore Sun.

WYPR’s Rachel Baye is also in Annapolis, keeping us up to date on what promises to be a very busy 436th session of the Maryland Assembly.

WYPR-Tom Pelton

A new study by the Environmental Integrity Project finds that over the past five years, the city has intentionally dumped hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Jones Falls and the Inner Harbor.  That spillage -- caused by structural inadequacies in the city's 100-year-old network  of stormwater and sewer pipes -- also found its way into more than 400 homes in the city of Baltimore. Tom Hall talks with the author of the report, Tom Pelton, and with Jeffrey Raymond of the  Baltimore Department of Public Works about the city’s overwhelmed sewer system, and why its federally-ordered repair is so seriously behind schedule.

Then, a roundup of some of the top local stories -- from the latest developments in the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson to Governor Hogan’s demolition plan for blighted sections of East and West Baltimore -- with Yvonne Wenger of the Baltimore Sun, Jayne Miller of WBAL-TV, and attorney Ed Smith.

Our theater critic, J Wynn Rousuck, reviews Moonlight and Magnolias at the Spotlighters Theater.

And rapper Abdu Ali sits downs with producer Jonna McKone to talk about his dance party series called Kahlon and what it's like being gay in the hip hop, Baltimore club and soul music scenes.


Last month, the Environmental Integrity Project issued a report, commissioned by the Abell Foundation, that finds that hundreds of millions of gallons of sewage are being pumped into Jones Falls and the Inner Harbor, and that the city has consistently under-reported the volume of the raw waste that is released from its aging system of pipes.  In 2002, the city signed a consent decree with the EPA and the MD Department of the Environment to settle a lawsuit requiring the city to fix this enormous problem.  To pay for the fixes, the city tripled our water and sewer rates.  The Department of Public Works estimates that about $700 million dollars has been spent so far on improvements to the aging system, but last week, after 13 years, the city missed the deadline to complete the work.  Tom Pelton is the lead author of the study, which is called Stopping the Flood Beneath Baltimore’s StreetsHe joins Tom Hall in the studio.  Joining the conversation by phone is Jeffrey Raymond, the Chief of Communications and Community Affairs at the Baltimore Department of Public Works.

Creative Alliance

Congressman Elijah Cummings joins me this morning to talk about President Obama’s executive actions to address the scourge of gun violence, and what Congress may do to support, or oppose, those efforts. Also, the barriers that former inmates face when they’re released from prison are substantial: what can be done to make re-entry after incarceration succeed? 

Plus, that gadget you got for Christmas is so last year.  Tech writer Marc Saltzman joins us from Las Vegas on this first day of the annual Consumer Electronics Show, with a preview of the next things we’ll soon be unable to live without.

And, Crankies are back.  It’s an old school form of storytelling that’s being adopted by some decidedly new school artists, including WYPR’s Aaron Henkin, who’s cranking up a new take on Out of the Blocks.  I’ll talk to Aaron, and to the women behind the 3rd Annual Baltimore Crankie Fest.    

Elijahecummings//Flickr Creative Commons

Rep. Elijah Cummings joins Tom this morning. He has represented Maryland’s 7th District for the past 20 years. He is the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is the main investigative committee in the House of Representatives. Rep. Cummings is also a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

He began his political career in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served for 14 years and became the first African American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tempore, the second highest position in the House of Delegates

He and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner from Wisconsin will host a screening of a film called The Return, about re-entry after incarceration, tomorrow night at 5:30 at the US Capital Visitor Center in Washington. The film will be followed by a panel discussion with the producers. 


In the fall of 1996, Congress passed, by an overwhelming margin, the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage in the eyes of the federal government, as being between a man and a woman. DOMA, as it’s known, was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2013, the same year that Maryland’s Civil Marriage Protection Act became law after voters here became the first in the nation to approve same sex marriage by referendum.

Let’s listen again to a conversation with Roberta Kaplan, the lawyer who argued the landmark Supreme Court Case that overturned DOMA. She wrote a book about that experience called Then Comes Marriage: United States v Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA. The Los Angeles Times named it one of the Top 10 Books of 2015. Tom spoke with Ms. Kaplan in November, just before she came to Baltimore to give a talk at the Walters about her experience – a talk sponsored by the Public Justice Center

Baltimore City Public Schools

Our guest this morning is Dr. Gregory Thornton, who was appointed CEO of the Baltimore City Public Schools a year and a half ago.  The city’s 85,000 students and more than 5,000 teachers face huge challenges.  Recent test scores indicate that many city students, particularly those who live in our poorest neighborhoods, must make extraordinary gains in the future tests if they are to catch up with students in nearby counties, and around the country.  Violence in schools, like the violence that often surrounds students where they live, remains an implacable problem.  Over the last six years, the rate of Baltimore City students who attend college has fallen below 50%, and most of the students who do attend college attend a two-year college instead of a four-year college.  Recently, the school system released a five-year strategic plan, which addresses these and other issues. Dr. Thornton joins Tom Hall in the Maryland Morning studio to discuss the current state of Baltimore's public schools. 

It appears that the jury is deadlocked in the trial of Officer William Porter, accused in the killing of Freddie Gray.  What does this mean for Porter and for the other five officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death?  We’ll get legal analysis from two experienced lawyers: trial attorney Edward Smith and University of Baltimore law professor David Jaros. 

Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun/TNS

We begin today with an update on the trial of Officer William Porter.  On this Wednesday morning, a nervous city awaits the jury’s verdict in Officer Porter’s trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter, second degree assault, reckless endangerment, and misconduct in office in the death of Freddie Gray last April. After eight days of testimony, Judge Barry Williams gave the jury his instructions on Monday, after lawyers for Officer Porter and the State’s Attorney made their closing statements in what reporters described as a packed courtroom in courthouse East in downtown Baltimore.  Yesterday afternoon, after about nine hours of deliberation, the jury told Judge Williams that they were deadlocked as to the guilt or innocence of William Porter.  The judge sent them back to deliberate further, and at 5:30 last night, they called it a day.  They are resuming their deliberations this morning.