P. Kenneth Burns | WYPR

P. Kenneth Burns

Reporter

Kenneth Burns is WYPR's Metro Reporter; covering issues that affect Baltimore City, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties.

Prior to joining WYPR, Kenneth worked at WBAL Radio and WNAV in Annapolis.

The Prince George's County native has been a journalist since high school. He was a teen editor with Children's Express, later becoming news editor with Young D.C., a newspaper written by high school students. He started his professional career during his first year in college at WTOP in Washington, D.C. Other career stops includes the Radio America Network and Salem Communications as a producer. He also was a news contributor to WGMD in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Kenneth earned his associate's degree from Anne Arundel Community College and his bachelor's degree in political science from Towson University. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Online News Association.

You can keep up with his "notebook" at pkbnews.wordpress.com and follow him on twitter @PKBNews.

P. Kenneth Burns

The Baltimore City Council gave preliminary approval Monday to a tax financing package for the proposed Port Covington development project.  The package is expected to pass a final vote at the council’s next meeting Sept. 19.

But Monday’s vote didn’t come before some members said they were concerned about how one of the bills – authorizing $660 million in tax bonds – was moved out of committee and to the full council.

P. Kenneth Burns

The Baltimore City Council will get a look Monday at all three bills that are part of the largest tax financing package for a development project in city history.  That’s because Councilman Eric Costello led efforts to wrest the bill authorizing bonds for the Port Covington project out of its committee.

P. Kenneth Burns

A Baltimore City Council committee voted Thursday night to send two bills to the full city council as part of a tax financing package for the Port Covington project.

The first bill designates the development district while the other creates the tax district for the South Baltimore project. The vote on the third bill to authorize $660 million in tax bonds did not take place.

That’s because Councilman Carl Stokes, the committee chair, wanted to give interested parties time for further review. He ended the meeting without calling for a vote on the bond measure.

P. Kenneth Burns

The Baltimore Board of Estimates approved Wednesday a multi-year increase in city water and sewer rates.  The board took the action after a nearly three hour public hearing in which everyone who testified opposed the increase.

The vote was 3-2.  Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake along with her appointees; Public Works Director Rudy Chow and Interim City Solicitor David Ralph, voted for the increase.  City Council President Jack Young and Comptroller Joan Pratt opposed it.

The mayor said the city’s water infrastructure has been “languishing for decades;” that the “can has been kicked down the road” and it needs to be modernized.

P. Kenneth Burns

A report issued four years ago by the Baltimore police union expressed the same concerns about zero-tolerance enforcement and training issues as the caustic Justice Department report on the Baltimore Police Department two weeks ago.

In fact, the federal report cited several times a “Blueprint for Improved Policing” published by the city Fraternal Order of Police in 2012.

Aaron Webb / Flickr / Creative Commons

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is pledging at least $1 million in grants to help groups that serve victims of sexual assault in Baltimore after the Justice Department found the police department's responses to sexual assault "grossly inadequate."

The Republican governor said Thursday that the money represents immediate action to improve services to victims.

P. Kenneth Burns

The Baltimore City Council sent a bill raising the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour back to committee Monday. And it looks like it may not come back out before the next city council takes office in December. 

P. Kenneth Burns

Editor's note: The full DOJ report is posted at the bottom of this story.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Wednesday she was committed to implementing police reforms after the U.S. Justice Department issued a scathing report on the Baltimore Police Department.

The mayor said “the findings are challenging to hear” but that her administration did not wait around for the Justice Department to issue its 163-page report.

“The city has taken first steps in a long path to reform and we’ve begun to see real benefits,” she said.

    

A proposal to increase the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour squeaked past a preliminary vote Monday. But will it have enough votes for final passage? Fraser Smith and Kenneth Burns, of the WYPR reporting team, assess the chances.

P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore City is one step closer to raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour.  But it’s not clear if there will be enough votes next week to make it final.  City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke’s proposal squeaked by in a preliminary vote Monday.

But that vote, 7-4 with three abstentions, was one short of the number needed for final passage.

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