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Giving Baltimore residents shelter

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As her work for two decades with housing issues and helping folks led her to the Baltimore City Council, Odette Ramos brings some city needs and realities down to Ocean City and the Maryland Counties Conference in a wide-ranging discussion about improving Baltimore. Even her most famous resident in the 14th District, Governor Wes Moore made a cameo!

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

baltimore, years, city, vacant properties, maryland, baltimore city, governor, talking, district, work, ramos, live, happening, properties, represent, great, mayor, school, state, place

SPEAKERS

Nestor Aparicio, Odette Ramos

Nestor Aparicio  00:00

What about w n s t test Baltimore and Baltimore positive. We are positively in Ocean City, Maryland. We’re still on Plaza. Where’s the mayor? It’s all brought to you by the Maryland lottery. We have had John Martin stepped down can just walk by the state fairs happened in homerun riches, the Ravens things rolling out, but they’re celebrating 50 years I’m celebrating 25 I’ve got my new logo. I don’t even want to do the show down here until I fix my logo up our friends at the window nation 866 90 nation have sent the floppy hat. My hair looks too pretty today to wear the floppy hat, but I’m gonna wear the floppy hat. And of course letter Rask and I still haven’t christened the Rascon global. This is a really special crab now your husband would love this crab now. This is a crab and it opens beer.

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Odette Ramos  00:46

We had this one. Yes, we’ve got one. Oh, I mean, of

Nestor Aparicio  00:48

course you do because you’re married to johnsburg. She is the honorable council woman, Odette Ramos. She represents a pupil in Baltimore City.

Odette Ramos  00:56

The Fabulous 14th district.

Nestor Aparicio  00:58

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District. Absolutely. I want to make sure we get that square. You’re gonna give everybody that demarcation on gerrymandered the whole thing’s a mess. Yours isn’t all that all. It’s not it’s not straight lines, nothing straight lines and in mapping for political districts now

Odette Ramos  01:12

because it’s based on the precinct and the census tract and all of that.

Nestor Aparicio  01:18

Right. Her husband and I have been friends for man 3530 At least 30 years. Yes. He was the guy that when the ball would stop at the Ed Brown. I love you fabulous Baltimore Arena on the carpet. That the minute the game would stop and guys run around the shorts and my dudes. Yeah, I go back to Billy Ronson. I go back to Doug Neely. All my all my dudes. Chris McKerrow. He played the music. So then and and then.

Odette Ramos  01:46

Then Then he was a DJ for Baltimore blast. Yeah,

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Nestor Aparicio  01:49

hey, I’m seeing her point of fire and line now. On Saturday, we went

Odette Ramos  01:53

to the Earth Wind and Fire show a few months ago. It was

Nestor Aparicio  01:55

awesome. Yeah. And I’m really upset with you. And a couple of people, because like the arena is about to open up. And you know, I could get Frank the hard time that I usually give him because, you know, I love him more than he loves me. But nobody invited me. And that night because it was and I was too tired. It was opening day we’d had a store opening day, but there was so much going on that weekend, eagles and all my timeline. My wife and I were just like, I don’t know, we’re making food. And like all of you were popping up when you fire.

Odette Ramos  02:31

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It was a great show.

Nestor Aparicio  02:33

And I’m like, how did the Rena do I know. Nobody tells me anything. And then I found that you had to be an elected or a you know, whatever. And it was a small gathering was when I’m looking forward to getting back down there. So many good things go to the city and you’re like a champion of the city. You are purple. You’re purple. I’m orange. Yeah,

Odette Ramos  02:52

that’s awesome. Yeah.

Nestor Aparicio  02:56

What’s happening in the city give me a little I ran into Zeke last night at a cocktail function. Down here. I’m seeing people around town. Brandon’s coming by or the Honorable Mayor is coming by a little while. What are people outside need to know about what’s going on inside?

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Odette Ramos  03:10

You know, Baltimore is a great city. There are lots of places to visit. There are great neighborhoods with amazing restaurants and parks. And I represent an area that has the Waverly farmers market. So the best farmers market in the region that you can come to on

Nestor Aparicio  03:26

because she’s still going there brands will come and talk about the one that we’ve been going to for all these years. But no

Odette Ramos  03:31

way really is the best way.

Nestor Aparicio  03:33

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When is it not? Saturday

Odette Ramos  03:34

morning 7am to noon, and believe me, people show up at 7am. Okay. And brushed off that? Well, absolutely. So there’s lots to see there’s lots to visit in Baltimore. And, you know, it’s a great place to live to, we’re working hard on making sure that there is more housing, the work that I do is around housing, keeping people in their homes, making sure there’s affordable housing, addressing these vacant properties. So we’re making slow progress, but we’re making progress. And so I think that’s good. The mayor will talk about the fact that, you know, homicides are down by 25%. But one is too many. So there’s still a lot of work to do.

Nestor Aparicio  04:14

That’s small, but 25 percents of big and that.

Odette Ramos  04:17

Well, that is horrible. That’s attributed to the alternative work that’s going on with the group violence reduction strategy, with Roca with all of the things we’re trying to do to make sure that people know that there are resources out there to teach

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Nestor Aparicio  04:29

one incident Cherry Hill one night over one to make it look like all the good stuff that is happening isn’t happening. And I Well, there’s still

Odette Ramos  04:37

a lot of work to do. I mean, there is I mean, the problem is one of the biggest problems is there’s just too many guns on the street, and they’re all illegal guns. That’s not the case. But Maryland has the strictest gun laws in the entire country. And so they’re not from Maryland. They’re coming in from other places. And so we need our help from our federal partners and I’ve talked with the Senate, both senators about this as our in terms of our region. My partner’s to make sure that the guns aren’t even coming into Baltimore because the police are actually taking off. You know, two years ago, they were getting only about 500 guns off the street. And now it’s triple that like, as of this time this year, so it’s like 1500 guns off the street so far this year. So they’re doing their job. We just don’t want them to be in a hamster wheel and more income coming in. And young people are getting the guns, I think mostly because they’re scared. And so we’ve got to do

Nestor Aparicio  05:25

something that people don’t consider in the suburbs, because they’re living a different kind of life. Right? And they can’t put their minds around. If it’s my 50. I mean, listen, I’m from Dundalk. I went to Hollenberg. I had my hollyburn teacher during the crabcake tour, my, my middle school music teacher, I took him to his aid in his 80s. He’s a beautiful man. We sang some show tunes together on the 25th anniversary. And I think back to like, being in middle school, and I even I’ve talked to other teachers, the fights during those days, up on the hill every single day 1979 1989 81 They weren’t fist fights, we did fist fights. And sometimes there was a knife sometimes there were you know, quarrels, sometimes there were bear pulling, sometimes there was blood sometimes. And I’m thinking of all of that, like, I went to school in fear in seventh and eighth and ninth grade, to some degree that there were kids I went to school with and Dundalk who were dead by the time they were 20 and prison deal. And, I mean, I went through I, I looked through my yearbook, I’m like you, I see all of the things, guns, murder, I’ve had all of that, right. And I think to myself, I went to school kind of like afraid of the Gooch, like, let’s play the different strokes. You know, everybody, there was a bully in every school. And I’m thinking to myself, let’s take that 40 years, 50 years later and in my mind, and think about being 14 being 15 in that environment. And I don’t think people in the suburbs could put their head around that, I think,

Odette Ramos  06:53

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I don’t think so. But it’s also really, really important to understand that what’s happening is not random people who are shooting each other, know each other. And so it’s really around conflict management, and how do we make sure that in the schools at home, people are understanding that, you know, just a, you know, side eye or talking with another neighbor or whatever, doesn’t mean that you just can go shoot cheap people. So it’s, it’s very different than I think what the image out there is like, there’s random shooting, they’re shooting out. No, that’s not what’s happening. And so I think it’s important that we’re really focused on what is actually happening, which is that it’s interpersonal. And it’s called resolution. Yep. And so having conflict resolution is going to be really important, which is something that Steve ST’s works on, which I’m a big fan of, and also that, you know, we’re working on it in schools as well, I mean, Marvo, which I represent, is working on implementing that into part of the curriculum. So I think it’s going to be, it’s just an all hands on deck situation, my I do serve on the Public Safety Committee, which is why I’m paying attention to all of this. But also, you know, my big issue is making sure that young people and their families have good decent places to live, if they’re, you know, constantly thinking they’re gonna get evicted, or they’re living in conditions because the landlord’s not fixing them up, or they live next to a vacant property that’s having, you know, mold issues and water issues and all of that. I don’t know how the young people can actually be ready for school. You know, the research is clear that if they walk next to vacant properties on the way to school, that cortisol, that cortisol in the brain comes up, and it’s blocks learning, it’s a stress reaction. And so the more we can minimize stress and our young people, I think the more that we’re going to have success and making sure that they stay alive and that they’re really, really successful. And

Nestor Aparicio  08:42

there’s also first trauma because every kid in the city, from a neighborhood has had some sort of trauma. And I remember in Hollenberg, when I keep thinking of my own eighth grade experience, we lost the you know, there was a child drown over a weekend and we everybody knew, and that was a traumatic thing, just in my school. And I remembered 40 years later, I remember the child and I’m thinking to myself, every school situation neighborhood gunshots, you you’re in the neighbor never heard gunshots in my neighborhood. I don’t. And that displacement and the thought that your transient thought, well, I might be here for a day, a week, a month, but I know I’m going to be going somewhere else. Speak to your background. Let people know who you are a little bit. Not everybody’s voting for that. Oh, that Ramos is here for the 14th where it may go. Your background and the way you serve people before you’re a council woman. This was what was that charge for you about housing and stability. Really, your your social work, right. I mean, that’s like your work was in help helping that. I

Odette Ramos  09:45

mean, a little bit, I mean, a lot of what I did, so I’ve been in Baltimore for a little over 30 years. And in that, from where, yeah, I’m from Puerto Rico. So yeah, so I’m the very first Hispanic elected official in Baltimore City. So not only do I have my constituency in my district, but I also have a citywide continued

Nestor Aparicio  10:05

very first Latino based media organization to be banned by the orals and the Ravens. So, you know, I feel makes me feel warm and special and fuzzy.

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Odette Ramos  10:15

Right? Well, not when we don’t want more than that to happen. In my case, we actually want more Latinos in

Nestor Aparicio  10:20

30 years ago, when you came here. Listen, I was born here, right? In 68. In my childhood, my father was in Venezuela, we and they had a whole Venezuelan sort of Colombian connection of friends that were not a whole lot of Hispanic people. Now, my dad is DC to find a Hispanic market to get a plantain my father had to drive to.

Odette Ramos  10:38

And that’s not the case. Now. I mean, we got so many people who are from all different kinds of countries from the Latin American countries, to that are in Baltimore now. And it’s awesome. It’s and we have an elected, so

Nestor Aparicio  10:50

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your background was in housing, right? What? Yeah. So

Odette Ramos  10:53

after getting out of Gaucho and getting getting graduate school at Rutgers, I came back to Maryland and initially worked for Senator Mikulski and for you know, Delegate Campbell and a few, you know, just trying to see see if being a staff person was the way to go. And I was like, No, I’m not going to be as diverse and so yeah, so So then I got involved with a nonprofit world at what now Strong City was Greater Homewood, I said, he’s in a big, bad place right now. But really organizing and looking at what’s happening in our neighborhoods. And so I was an organizer for a long time, then started the Baltimore neighborhood indicators Alliance, because it’s really about the neighborhoods, and you can see what’s going on. But you got to couple it with the data so that you can actually have a lot more to say, and actually prove that what you’re thinking about and seeing anecdotally is actually playing out in the data, right. So that’s what I started, I was the founding director there. And then I started my own consulting business, working with community development organizations and small businesses. And then my last job was with the Community Development Network of Maryland, I was the executive director. And so I did a lot of work statewide, on the same three topics, keeping people in their homes, making sure we got tools to address vacant properties, and make sure we have affordable housing. So one of the big things that we did at the time was in Baltimore City, we have an affordable housing trust fund. I was one of the leaders of the trust fund of getting that up and running. So it was a voter initiative, it was finding the funding, it was all of that and education of why it’s important and why it’s important. What the goals, were bringing a coalition of folks together, that’s not easy. So it was a great, great accomplishment passed a lot of legislation in the General Assembly. And so when my predecessor, the Honorable Councilwoman Mary Pat Clark did,

Nestor Aparicio  12:35

by the way, I saw it the seal concert, but she didn’t see me.

Odette Ramos  12:39

So she and she’s doing great, by the way, she didn’t move to Florida, but who would. And so she’s very much involved in the community. And she’s been a great mentor. So she decided to retire. And so I thought, well, you know, do can I make more of a difference by being continuing being on the outside pushing in or being in city government?

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Nestor Aparicio  12:58

Let me ask you that, what if I would have an eye? I’m embarrassed that I haven’t met you. Because if it’s known your husband forever, and I knew of you online, and even seeing your work before you were elected? How did you identify before your council? Woman? What would you have said I am a community developer? No.

Odette Ramos  13:14

Job, right? That’s right. I mean, I have always been

Nestor Aparicio  13:19

a social work, man. Yeah, frowned upon.

Odette Ramos  13:21

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That’s a really, that’s community organizer, really organized. Social work is very, very important. And it’s, you know, one on one work with somebody, which I’ve done and continue to do. But a lot of this community organizing and community development is really looking holistically at the entire community, what are what people are going through, and how we can make the place good for the people that are there. That’s what this is. And so it’s sort of an all because if you can do all the housing you want, but if you don’t have storage to walk to or you don’t have services, like laundry or anything else, and you know, that’s not going to be a grocery store. Right, exactly. Oh, yeah, absolutely. So it’s, it’s a holistic way of thinking about community. So in Baltimore, a lot of us love our walkable communities. I live in Charles village, I have a lot of places where I can go for my basic needs. And just to hang out, that’s not the case in other places in the city. So we have to create that with the people who are already there, not to replace them, but keep our legacy residents there who stuck it out for the long term, and we want to keep them there. So yeah, one of the other things topics I work on is around keeping people in their homes, which is tax sale. I mean, what kind of city what kind of state and there’s only 20 of them, you know, kicks people out of their home because they can’t pay their taxes. That’s insane. Right. Are you sending them? Yeah, it’s not even that so what happens in tax sale is the lien that you didn’t pay taxes? What about whatever gets sold to an investor and that person goes back to the homeowner and says, pay me all this money and pay the lien and you can have your and I will foreclose on your house? How predatory is that? Because then Gotta make decisions about, you know, medications food, or or pay this guy’s to take your house. That’s insane. So what we’re doing and

Nestor Aparicio  15:09

you seen this every day your life for 20 years, right? Like, these are people crying in your in your office and you try

Odette Ramos  15:15

it is so painful and so horrible that this is happening humanizing really. And it’s not like people don’t want to

Nestor Aparicio  15:22

pay. And we always we drive by and see people on the street with a sign and we say, What happened to that? What’s the story behind the story behind that as the you know, when somebody’s like, you can’t help them, right, like,

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Odette Ramos  15:34

and it’s been so frustrating. So we’re changing the system. So that doesn’t happen. So we’re working on I’ve introduced legislation to and and got it passed to allow for current taxpayers to pay monthly, so you could sign up and you can pay your taxes monthly and not two times a year. If you’re obviously your mortgage pays it already. So you don’t you know, when you’re paying your mortgage, but there are people who own their home outright, that don’t have a mortgage. So they’re allowed to, they can now pay monthly rather than two times a year. And then we’ve introduced legislation to create payment plans in a rear so if you’re behind on your taxes, you can find a way and work with the with the city to get back. But also there’s other programs out there that the state has and others that people may not know about. So we want to work with residents to figure out how to make sure to a the taxes are paid or be that their burden is lowered by entering all of these other programs. So that but we need help from the General Assembly. And so it’s taken a years of advocacy to get the General Assembly ready to completely canceled the tax sale. And and so that we can work with residents. The other piece of tax sale is a lot of times vacant properties have high liens and nobody’s paying the taxes. Right now, nobody who people aren’t paying the taxes on vacant properties, we have properties that have 200 $300,000 of liens, who’s gonna buy that? So it’s just sitting there we have a new tool that I helped to bring to Baltimore called interim foreclosure. When the liens are higher than the value of the property, the city can foreclose on that immediately. We have an amazing partnership to walk away at this point, right? A lot of people are walking away some people have been holding some people died and the family doesn’t want to come back and and how are you under underwater, right? So once the city forecloses, the liens are released and are wiped away. And that’s a start fresh, you know, so that then we can control the outcome of the property, we’re about to expand that program. So tax sale is really sort of all of the above, if we’re going to cancel it, we have to make sure we’re dealing with the vacant properties, are we helping our homeowners be able to pay their taxes and get the revenue into the city. And then, you know, these guys that are textile purchasers, they’ll be able to find another job. So I mean, I’ve been really clear about that we are going to reform the system. And it’s a big deal. So I’ve been working on that as an advocate prior to my job now. And now as a council person, we’re actually making headway on this issue. The mayor has taken residents who are homeowners out of Texas or setting up payment plans for them so that they can, you know, get back into you know, or work with them on what are the programs might be eligible. So this is this is actually real, it’s amazing, but it’s slow progress has been frustrating, but we are definitely getting there.

Nestor Aparicio  18:16

Talking about prison a little bit and the mayor and the city council and you’re a good bad I mean, it feels like I hear about you when there’s a throwdown you know, you know when when somebody’s pissed at somebody you usually are your your straw that stirs give us the state because I left the city a year and a half ago and Johnny was applauding that. My county

Odette Ramos  18:41

welcome you whenever you want to come back. I will be back tomorrow

Nestor Aparicio  18:44

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night for crying out loud. I’ll be eating tacos and Clavell at some point. Driving through broccoli and eating it out with chops. I mean, I’m in the city all the time. But the state of the city and the perception and look, I don’t watch WPF and Fox 45

Odette Ramos  19:02

anybody’s

Nestor Aparicio  19:05

full disclosure I just don’t want to see when I put it on. It’s just gross to me and I like awful. I’m like, how how do you all sit around and contrive this Batman Joker version of for juicy, it’s immoral. I mean, I would laugh at it if it weren’t so effective in a bad way that I go out on the street and hear that in Carroll County or Harford County and Rowan County where I go with the crap gates. By the way, we’ll be at Pappas in Glen Burnie on the 29th with Stuart Pittman and Rama county executive who is raring to go from, you know, I ran into him last night. He’s like, I’m ready for you. And then on the 15th We’re back down and fade Lee’s election to market. We’re going to have Dr. Jenkins from Coppin State as well as new basketball Head Coach Larry Stewart joining us. It’s all brought to you by our friends at the Maryland lottery celebrating 50 years while we celebrate 25 You like my new logo get a cupcake. I got some sort of like Walt Disney World you know fighting I’m going to fly in like this. are friends with their nation 866 90 nation for putting us on the road down here in Ocean City, Odette Ramos, the Honorable council woman to the 14, community organizer, pot stir champion of the people give me your district because people are gonna say, Oh, Dad, is that two T’s one D they’re gonna Ramos Ramos Ramos. You’re, you’re right in the middle of the city.

Odette Ramos  20:26

I am right in the middle of the city. So I have roughly Falls Road on Hamden. Okay, so I do represent the avenue and keep in and you know that and then all the way over to tell

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Nestor Aparicio  20:39

Steve to do my show. Get on him. I’m very, I’m gonna have like a bucket list. I mean, I get the governor on I can’t get him on. I like it’s bothered. I get Cal Ripken and his kid on I

Odette Ramos  20:51

think you gotta go there. I think you gotta go.

Nestor Aparicio  20:56

Dog kissing his ass. Come bring me your broccoli. Steve. I’m sorry. I’m getting personal. I feel and I they’re not a sponsor. But I just want to say this out loud. Because I tell people all the time. I feel so dirty. I pulled it out back alley and I get the broccoli and you have to eat it right away because it’s broccoli the poor, right? They gotta get to chopsticks. And I sit there and they eat it. And I’m like, I feel like I’m eating something bad from that. I realize it’s like broccoli and it’s good for me. It’s good. And it feels like a meaning. Dark chocolate.

Odette Ramos  21:28

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It is amazing. I love it. Ben, I just am so excited that they’re in my district. your district. They are just amazing. They’re amazing. People food is amazing.

Nestor Aparicio  21:39

Mix with this in our city.

Odette Ramos  21:41

I know. Well, it’s a great mix with the avenue. I mean, we’ve got you know, the jerk taco folks. We’ve got the new hotdog place we’ve got you know, golden wax. We’ve got, you know, real you know, you just should visit you know, Hammond Avenue and you can just spend a week

Nestor Aparicio  21:53

there. Get some chicken sponsored. Do that right. So you represent this incredible part of the city.

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Odette Ramos  22:04

And I go all the way to Clifton Park. So I also include Lake Montebello, Clifton Park, which is amazing. Also the Waverly area and no garden so I Coldstream homestead, Montebello, it’s a very, very diverse I represent Sherwood gardens do so it’s a very diverse area, I’ve got, you know, 600 raking properties in my district, and I’ve got the mansion. So it’s a very interesting district 600

Nestor Aparicio  22:26

vacant properties and I know 599 plus one upset you right, so. So for what you do, how do you get 600 A year from now we sit you say it’s down to four, three or two it like?

Odette Ramos  22:41

Yeah, so we’ve done an inventory of all of them, we know which ones are in RAM eligible, which ones will be available for the expansion. You know, frankly, it’s going to take a lot of resources to make sure that the city is ready with the amount of lawyers that they need to do the in rent process, not easy, you know, well, I’ve also introduced legislation to create a quasi governmental entity called a land bank or land reutilization authority, which would just make it all quicker because they don’t have to go through the bureaucracy, you can just have people there, they’re gonna you know, be the lawyers to do the in RAM they’ll work with communities on the outcomes of the properties and make it happen it will be a quicker process. Because we are in crisis. I mean, we’ve got 15,000 and actually more because there’s only 15,000 vacant properties that have been noticed that says it’s vacant, but we’ve got I’ve got properties in my district, you know 1818 Chilton and a few others where the elder has passed, the neighbors are keeping up the property because they don’t want their property should look bad, but it’s not designated vacant until it starts to fall apart. So we have way more of those if you look at the data around like stopped mail

Nestor Aparicio  23:46

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asbestos and lead paint you still the everyday you see that

Odette Ramos  23:49

the we still have an issue with lead pain as a matter of fact, I have a family in my district who the landlord has a total horrible person and didn’t do the proper testing and committed fraud and so you know, didn’t get the proper lead certificates and it’s just really horrible. So we’ve had to move that family so it still happens obviously in vacant properties it’s got you know, the pretty sick property so I’m actually not of the belief that we need to demolish everything that’s just not what we want to do. I think we’re gonna erase our history if we do that. I’m of the mind of way if we can rehab the properties because they don’t make them like that anymore. I mean, this is Baltimore right? These properties are amazing. The skeleton the bones, man

Nestor Aparicio  24:28

when I drive around around drooto Park and I see the

Odette Ramos  24:33

unbelievable lievable they don’t make them like this anymore. Why would

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Nestor Aparicio  24:37

I? People would come to Baltimore in the last century and just be like, just in love with you know, I see these pictures, the reasons why I actually stayed

Odette Ramos  24:46

in Baltimore because you can’t get that anywhere else. You can’t get the architecture that we have here

Nestor Aparicio  24:50

and I don’t think when I travel places and I see places, we are uniquely European and uniquely old school yeah, and There’s no Dallas or anywhere west of the Mississippi that looks anything like this. And there’s nothing south of Richmond that looks anything like this, right?

Odette Ramos  25:09

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There’s nothing you can’t and so if you Boston, maybe a few little,

Nestor Aparicio  25:13

you know, aspects of it, but maybe Brooklyn or some brown stones or whatever, but we have, we just have, we have beautiful architecture well,

Odette Ramos  25:20

and also we have the values of you know, okay, so this old warehouse, it may not look that great right now. But if you really dig in, and you don’t peel the paint, like it Clifton mansion, Yan, peel the paint, and it’s just Oh, my God, I can’t believe that’s under here. Why would we take this down? You know, so we actually have values, thank goodness, because of the historic preservation. You know, let’s preserve what we have and be proud of it. So Baltimore City Hall, the oldest continually in US city hall, in the country, in the country, yes. to 200 year old building, it feels like a two, sometimes it’s hot. Sometimes it’s cold, you never can tell. But and also that same chamber, where we make our laws now is the exact same chamber where Mayor Preston and the Council at the time, created redlining and decided that black people were living here and white people are living here. And that was the start of redlining across the nation, in the exact same chamber would mean we make the laws now. So to me, it’s a very humbling experience to walk into the chamber and go, we’re trying to dismantle everything that was bad about what happened here in the same chamber. This is crazy, right? So I mean, it’s a, and it’s also open to the public people should come it’s a great place. There’s lots of history there. People should come to our hearings or come to the council meetings, we’re going to start doing some other activities to be able to bring the public because it is the people’s Hall. It’s not something that should be, you know, people not thinking that they can be there. I actually took a group of students from the student, youth workers from the family, Baltimore family Alliance, through the building. And you know, some of the parents were like, we’d never been here before. Oh, that’s crazy, right. So we have to do a better job as public officials to invite the public to the peoples Hall, not just for the business, but to also understand what’s been happening here, and how we can change it. So it’s a it’s a very interesting place. And so the fact that we have preserved that, and, you know, preserve all of our other buildings is really one of the things about Charm City, frankly, that we should be celebrating. And really, I mean, I’m glad that there are so many developers who are reusing the warehouses, like the home building and stuff in West Baltimore, and all of that, because that’s amazing. They just don’t build things like this anymore. So the fact that we’re able to reuse these buildings is amazing. And so that’s what I want to do is to is to make sure that we’re rehabbing the houses and not you know,

Nestor Aparicio  27:56

channeling Governor Schaefer when he was talking about keeping the facade Memorial Stadium that Ramos is

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Odette Ramos  28:01

here, she can represent that area.

Nestor Aparicio  28:05

The YMCA there. Hi, John. We’re down here Mako. And it’s all brought to you by the Maryland lottery winner Nation. I’m trying to bring guests by Mayor Brandon Scott will be here. Senator Ben Cardin, Senator Chris Van Hollen, and some others. The Mako thing Moeller told me three, four years ago, you got to animate and this is during the plague, right? You know, it’d be like, it’d be like the Super Bowl for you have everybody you know, access to everybody and county executives and people making decisions want to come by? Tell everybody what this is because as a citizen, unless you’re working in state government or currying favor selling, maybe you don’t know about this. And it’s not just a pretty big party, because it is. What do you get done down here?

Odette Ramos  28:46

Yes, sure. So

Nestor Aparicio  28:48

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stay sober down here, which is I make a goal. But I don’t go to the beach, I haven’t gone

Odette Ramos  28:54

you haven’t gone there yet. You got it. So the Maryland Association of Counties actually isn’t just this conference. It’s actually an organization and network of the 24 counties, and Baltimore City in Maryland. And so we actually work together on various issues, particularly during the General Assembly, that pertain to counties. And for instance, we work together and recognize that in 27 2007, the highway user revenues, which is what you pay at the gas pump, and your registration fees, and all of that just tanked down and that was because, governor at the time, move that money from counties but to back to the general fund. So we work together as a group of counties to say, Wait a second, we need that money back for our roads or traffic, calming speed, bumps, all of that stuff. So last year, we work together Baltimore, we are the ones whose to maintain our state roads. That’s not the case in other parts of the state. And so we got more of a share, but our counties and our counterparts understood that and worked with us as a state The, to get that money up back to where it was. That’s the power of having a network like this right. So the other thing is that there’s also affiliates, like the public health officials in each county work together the, you know, sheriffs and firefighters and the police. And so there’s different affiliates. And so this is really a play an organization that brings all of that together. Now, we don’t always agree the rural counties don’t always agree with the, with the Urban Counties, the Republicans don’t always work with the Democrats. Like it’s not all, you know, roses, but at least there is a place to have the discussion and figure out how to make sure that a lot of things like the Kerwin school funding and, you know, the when they when they’re always chasing money for bloopers, right, that’s cool. And then when the you know, the state said, No, you got to have body worn cameras, and they all work together to figure out what was the best way to do that. So this is that network. So they have a conference two times a year, one in the summer, and one in the winter. This is the Summer Conference where basically, every elected and all of their health, all of their, you know, agency heads come to this place. There’s a lot of displays back here in the background with businesses that want to do business with the various jurisdictions. But each jurisdiction has a booth as well to show off their bass. And then we’ve got the city of the state agencies. And then it’s a lot of networking. So when I was an advocate, in my previous job, I would come here also to catch people who I needed to talk to, to get ready for the General Assembly, which I’m doing as a council person now and getting ready. So it’s that networking. It’s also for us in Baltimore, really showing that we want to be a partner with the rest of this of the state. Oftentimes people are like, Oh, Baltimore, we’re so this and you get all that and uses this. And there’s a problem all that. So part of our role here as Baltimore electeds is really to say, No, we all are going to work together as a set of jurisdictions. And Baltimore definitely needs more assistance at some others. But also Baltimore’s issues are similar to some of the things that are happening in rural counties, public transportation, that’s non existent in rural areas, but they need it right. So we can work together on those kinds of things. poverty, hunger seem so that’s really what this group does. And the conference. Yes, it’s a lot of fun parties. But it’s also a lot of business gets done here. And I’m actually moderating a panel this afternoon on social media. So we’re working together on that I’ll be doing some work with the with Mayor Mako on some of the housing stuff because we are in a housing crisis in our state. We don’t have enough Pete we don’t have enough housing for the people who want to live here. So it’s a it’s a great way to get you know, involved,

Nestor Aparicio  32:44

who’s the most famous resident in the 14th district?

Odette Ramos  32:47

Is the governor right here.

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Nestor Aparicio  32:48

He’s Yeah, he’s he’s like literally, he’s literally like, yeah, right. Right about here. Yeah. Yes. So what do you think of this guy here as he walks by? See, so he’s my

Odette Ramos  33:00

constituent when he was living in Baltimore, now he’s living in Annapolis, and I’m super excited about Westmore. He has given his his hit does this one that work so that we can connect him if you Oh,

Nestor Aparicio  33:13

I don’t think he’s sitting down but you can invite him as your resident. Yeah, it’ll work. I promise you I can make it work.

Odette Ramos  33:20

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And so he’s also given his vision to his agency heads and his agency Ed’s are really excited to work for him because they know the vision and they’re just tasked with making sure that it gets done so it’s really great. So we’ll see if he can break away.

Nestor Aparicio  33:41

With that Ramos is here she’s from the 14th district Westmore is creating quite a little bit goes on at Mako and we’re just sitting here and, and here by you know. Here we go. Now, let’s tell it well, now I’ve lost control the show. It’s all over with it’s good thing. This isn’t live. You know? How are you? I am great. It’s good to see you. Where’s your crabcake? Oh, no, no, he can’t stop. He’s the mayor. He is the governor.

Odette Ramos  34:11

And I want him to take care. Good to see she’s talking

Nestor Aparicio  34:16

14. Your neighborhood. I just called the governor the mayor. That’s all right. He’s the mayor of the city this

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Odette Ramos  34:23

day. Yeah, absolutely. All right. Yeah.

Nestor Aparicio  34:26

Why don’t we, uh, you know, when I dropped the gavel, I feel like Richard share on square off. You know, I do that you know what I mean? So you wonder what happens down here. But I think for me, the thing that I’ve learned about this isn’t the beer, the crab cage, the secrets, the failures, the bands, the free food, the lobbying, it’s people getting together and I think that it was such a beautiful night last night. We have friends that live down here in Ocean City, they came out had a drink. They saw this political stuff and people they knew and and I thought it’s kind of a beautiful repper sentation of Maryland, and maybe it’s because I had a couple of beers, but it was about 1230. At night my friend came in and she’s like, I used to work for company X, and my boss loves gonna make Oh, and I had to make all the resumes. And she’s like, now that I’m in the middle of it. And I said, it’s unbelievable because of the diversity of the state. That’s right. Black and white people, young people, old people, bureaucrats, Democrats, Republicans, you know, and all in the same room. All that desperate shorts. You never see PG County, I learned George’s County that was round. Hey, look, cornbread over there from you know, from why common cooking, and everybody’s talking? And I’m thinking to myself, it’s probably not this happy down at the Statehouse in January, February, right. Like it is a different,

Odette Ramos  35:40

a different vibe. Really? You are exactly right. No. So it’s a different vibe in January because it is about getting worked on it. But here, it’s about the networking. It’s about celebrating Maryland, frankly, and how great of a state this is. And also, you know, it’s all about the networking. So,

Nestor Aparicio  36:01

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you know, you’re you almost reminded me, my wife with Joe Montana will walk by to get him to jump on the Senate Super Bowl. You want it it really wasn’t gonna sit No,

Odette Ramos  36:11

no, his body, people were like now.

Nestor Aparicio  36:15

I know. He’s He’s actually my district. I sold him vegetables at the farmers market. There is something about different energy. We’re in the middle of praising him as he walked by, and he said, but there is there’s something different about him. And look, I sat with Governor Hogan, I endorsed Governor Ehrlich mistakenly, as I’ve pointed out to him 20 years later, and Martin O’Malley as well, that but when there is a new administration, and you’re sort of new to this as well, you know, you’re not Ben Cardin been doing this. But But when he comes through for everyone, there’s a different sense of we have a different lead, right. I felt it and if I had him on, I’d say, you know, dude, I don’t even think about you like is the governor until I was literally in the left lane, going across the Bay Bridge three days ago. And I looked up in that sign and says Governor Westmore, and I’m like, wow, look at that. That’s the first time that hit was literally driving down

Odette Ramos  37:10

here. Yeah, no, he’s, he’s, he’s very inspiring. And I think that’s why people and he’s been people are attracted to him. It’s not, it’s not really about him. When you talk to him. He’s not he’s gonna focus directly on you. He’s not looking at the rest of the room. He’s all in your space, because he wants to know exactly like, what’s going on. And he listens. And he’s an inspiring leader. And, you know, we haven’t had that in a while. And so it’s very exciting. You know, a lot of people doubted him. It’s like, well, you have no political experience, you know what’s gonna happen, but he’s been able to adapt. He also got the right people. Aruna Miller is an amazing person, his lieutenant governor, she has a lot of political experience. She was in the General Assembly for eight years, she was a transportation planner for montgomery county. So she’s way smarter than he is. And that’s the thing is he brings the right people around him to get the job done. And he has no qualms and saying, you know, look, they know what’s going on. They have the, you know, we have the vision, and they’re gonna keep rolling. So I’ve talked to many of the agency heads and Governor Hogan left

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Nestor Aparicio  38:16

the state in pretty good shape in that way. Well, I

Odette Ramos  38:18

think Governor Hogan did a great job with it. And well, he and I sparred on a lot of things relative to housing and community development. But he did a great job on keeping people safe during the pandemic, he was very serious about it. He didn’t buy into this whole Republican scenario, you know, Oh, yeah. So

Nestor Aparicio  38:38

I mean, I’ll give him this. If he sat with me, he’s been a champion and battling that, not always, in my mind, in the appropriate way. But he’s at least said, I’m not a part of that. Yeah. And I’ve been appreciative of that. Yeah.

Odette Ramos  38:50

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He didn’t like Baltimore, which is no question about so. So you know, Wes, being from Baltimore, being in Baltimore. You know, that is going to make a difference. But he’s also been very clear. He’s not only the governor for Baltimore City, but for the rest of the state. But he also understands that but if Baltimore does not succeed, the rest of the state is not going to succeed. So that’s a fundamental proposition. That’s a fundamental just like fact, and so we’re really excited about the opportunities to have such a partner. I mean, he was the first one to say we’re bringing back the red line. What’s the red

Nestor Aparicio  39:23

line? Me I was gonna it’s my great transition. Yeah. What’s the red line mean? Okay. What? People it’s conceptual. You can see a map I’ve seen even further maps from 30 or 40 years ago that made us look like Paris. The beltway would have been a loop. You know, majorly right. I mean,

Odette Ramos  39:42

cities have an excellent transportation. They do. You have you been to Mexico City though. You have to go because that transportation system in the way and clean and it’s easy to get around in and it’s

Nestor Aparicio  39:56

beautiful. New York, London. Oh, those All

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Odette Ramos  40:00

those Yes. So, so it’d be nice if we can get there. And Baltimore, you know, really would. So obviously the red line was something that it’s the transit system. And that would have it, it was, it was a lot of planning for many, many years to be able to do an east west corridor transit line right now in terms of metro or transit or anything in Baltimore. Other than the bus system. We have a light rail that goes north south, and we have a subway system that goes north south in the same way it is not even on the other side of town. So nothing connects. It’s crazy. So the idea was to have an East West quarter transit line rapid transit line to be able to get people from one end of the city to the other East West. So Governor Hogan, this was one of the things we didn’t agree with him on one day said, we’re not doing the red line, we’re gonna leave a billion with a B dollars on the table of federal money and not go through with this. Crazy, right there was like 15 years of planning, lots of residents involved. You know, one neighborhood didn’t want it and the governor didn’t want it. So it wasn’t gonna happen as horrible. So this governor Governor Westmore, that one of the first things that he did was work with our Senate and House delegation, and in Congress, they were able to put that billion dollars with a B dollars back into the budget for a red line transit system. And he announced that Ed is going to happen so there’s a lot of planning that’s going on lot of open houses, they’re going to start with a baseline of what the plan was, but then you know, technologies change and planning has changed and everything so they’re going to upgrade it, we don’t know if it’s going to be a tunnel under you know, downtown if it’s gonna be rapid bus if it’s going to be a light rail, all of that is on the table. This is super exciting for us. And so just like the purple line is going in and Montgomery, Prince George’s, this will be a really major factor so that people can get from one end to the other and easily get to jobs, connect different neighborhoods together that haven’t been connected, and then connect all of our transit so it’s gonna have a connection for the circulator the bus lines, all of that closer to downtown it’s gonna be great. So it’s gonna take a long time we’re not doing it tomorrow, but at least it’s happening

Nestor Aparicio  42:23

one night I’m coming over to your place for proper go keto. We’re gonna make a real meal together. Yes. And yeah, we got to do that you know, I mean, I’ll bring my stepmothers you know, on a per recipe. We’re gonna do we’re gonna do something. So I want to give you a moment that ramos 14 years but her hobby is, Mr. Caribbean, Mr. Grenada, Mr. You know, Soca Music, like all of that right?

Odette Ramos  42:51

Well, but picture this though. He’s a tall, green eyed cinnamon sugar hair, you know, English looking guy. He’s not a Caribbean looking guy. DJ wrote a blog. And so, but he definitely appreciates Caribbean culture. So it’s really good. You know? What? Weren’t you meet him? Oh, Gosh, gosh, I was I was. I was, uh, I was working at greater homework community cooperation. This is in the late 90s. And he was on the board. And so we, you know, became friends. But we didn’t start dating until like, 12 years later. Wow. Yeah. And so

Nestor Aparicio  43:26

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we were girl jumped in his in the shot when we were in. It shows up sometimes on the front of the site, because my pieces live forever on the website. How old now? What did we

Odette Ramos  43:36

choose? 11. She’s about to start Middle School.

Nestor Aparicio  43:39

All right. Jesus, bless yours. If you’re like, I

Odette Ramos  43:45

don’t have any great right now. I’m gonna have like, so yeah, we’re a little nervous about I have to tell you, though, John. Made crab. Hi, sir. How are you? John made crab cakes the other day? You’re gonna have to try them out after

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Nestor Aparicio  43:59

check is recipe proper.

Odette Ramos  44:01

Right, exactly. And then I also found another place for vegan crab cakes. As you know, I don’t need only the vegan ones. One World Cafe has some good ones.

Nestor Aparicio  44:09

I need to get over to dark church. We

Odette Ramos  44:13

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got to do guards to do groceries.

Nestor Aparicio  44:14

I want to bring Jamie Raskin to gertrudes because he’s vegan as well. And so yeah, and I know they have this special thing. And it would be we could do something grant. Oh, yeah, we’re talking about I mean, we actually just see Dan Rodricks one man show did you see oh, here’s what you gotta do. This is because it’s coming back. December 8, I’m taking an incredible group of friends who need to see real Baltimore, and I’m grabbing them all off. And I’m like, we’re going we’re gonna make a night of it and Christmas time. 34th will be rocking. So December 8. I’m doing a special with my friends and their spouses. By invitation. I’m inviting the whole community. There’s only 400 seats in the theater. But I told Dan, I’m planning on lot of tickets that night because I’m gonna

Odette Ramos  45:01

be great. I would love to see it. I have I have to a because you know I’m so proud. Well, I’m live for that but also the BMA is in my district so I’m proud to represent the BMA Virtus is in my district and then, you know, so that would be amazing. Alright,

Nestor Aparicio  45:18

December 8, we’re gonna do that. All right, do

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Odette Ramos  45:20

I also 34th Street in my district. So that’s,

Nestor Aparicio  45:23

we talked about your hobby. The last thing I wanted to talk about with him is like when he brings strikers posse into drink beer. He my wife loves the bells, right? She loves

Odette Ramos  45:34

Oh, yeah. Now they he has the music series over at Peabody heights. Yeah, the Yeah, steel band. Yeah. Oh, man, I’m sure we’re actually doing a concert at the world and water tower with that. It’s on Roland Avenue, the 4200 block of Roland Avenue. So if you’re going up, Roland as if you’re going to Coldspring lane and you’re about to go on the highway, you’ll see this big tower and it was literally a water tower when Baltimore City had these valve houses and pump houses to get water through the system and into people’s houses. And it only ended up being that really operational for another three years because then able woman created the system that we have now. So actually just recently got renovated to at least do you to google map

Nestor Aparicio  46:16

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right? It put me in like the middle of this. I swear I looked it up and like because my wife loves the steel drums and it’s

Odette Ramos  46:22

like it’s no 927

Nestor Aparicio  46:25

on the Facebook thing, and I’m like, I love want to go but I don’t know where they have

Odette Ramos  46:29

4200 block of rolling.

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Nestor Aparicio  46:31

Put a dress on there.

Odette Ramos  46:32

Okay, well make sure we do that.

Nestor Aparicio  46:34

Not that far from Hampton.

Odette Ramos  46:35

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No, it’s not. It’s walkable.

Nestor Aparicio  46:37

All right. All right. All right. What’s great having you by? Thanks a lot. We’re orange today.

Odette Ramos  46:44

I usually wear orange. lately. We’re going on the 29th. Yeah, well, you’re

Nestor Aparicio  46:50

Puerto Rican. Yeah, me. You gotta have some baseball. You know, like you.

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Odette Ramos  46:53

I know. Well, baseball is a big deal. and Puerto Rico? Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, we haven’t gotten to well, you know, you know, John listens to the games on the radio all the time. Does he on the radio all the time? Okay. Every game. You know, he’s a huge Oreo. He makes the Baltimore orange shirts. Yeah. Well, you know, because he used to live by 33rd Street. So he would walk into the game. So he’s not he is not a fair weather fan. He is always a real fan. So he’s very happy right now with how well they’re doing. So yeah, it will be the game on the 29th.

Nestor Aparicio  47:21

I had somebody called me a fair weather fan. And I’m like, that doesn’t the radio station around this. Fair weather means they should have been winning the whole time. And you know, I did free the birds and the family hates me. And like, it’s all that. And I think to myself every day of my life. Now when I see people, I said it five times I say, see, there’s nothing I’m more proud of the my community organization to say that bad baseball is unacceptable, and that it should have been this good. I shouldn’t see every year you don’t expect them to know. It should have been this much fun or this much involvement every year. You have to win every didn’t have to win this year. They don’t have to win ever, but the foot the foot forward to caring and bringing the community together. That’s what the Orioles were. Magic of Oriole baseball,

Odette Ramos  48:11

the opening day is such a great day because everybody even if they’re not going to the game, everybody’s in a good mood because there’s hope for the future.

Nestor Aparicio  48:19

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Honest, there wasn’t for years and years. I

Odette Ramos  48:20

know. I know. But it’s it’s a totally different thing now,

Nestor Aparicio  48:23

right? And this is the way it should have always been. And I’m not trying to be idealistic. I’m trying to be realistic to say what we had was unacceptable. And we don’t want it again. You want to say anything about the stadium and stadium authority. And you got anybody to bring $600 million to who would then say, what more landed $300 million more?

Odette Ramos  48:44

Yeah, I mean, I don’t

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Nestor Aparicio  48:45

know. It’s really it’s really

Odette Ramos  48:48

insane. I only know what I’ve read in the paper. I’m sure there’s a lot more to the story. I’m sure the mailer in Maryland stadium authority will make the right decision.

Nestor Aparicio  48:57

Well, that’s your political side. But we all love the Orioles, you know,

Odette Ramos  49:01

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oh yeah, they have to stay.

Nestor Aparicio  49:01

So you know, relevantly and they are now yeah, like I like unweld relevant baseball. Yeah.

Odette Ramos  49:08

Ya know. There’s so many people going to the stadium now. I mean, that’s just how it that’s, that’s good for the city. And the players are also just really good people. They do. You know, that’s really been the fun part. They’re cheering each other on. They’re involved in the community. I mean, I think it’s great. Well,

Nestor Aparicio  49:25

that’s what I want to see where, you know, I lived through Ray Lewis and John didn’t have read and you know, all of that and then we live to Joe Flacco. And the next thing, this baseball Renaissance I want to see what Adley rutschman and Gunnar Henderson and Grayson, Rob, I want to see these next three to five years. It’s gonna be fun, win or lose October not to see what this becomes. But more than that, it’s about rebuilding the Oriole brand that it never becomes. Well,

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Odette Ramos  49:51

I also want to get kind of foreshadowing of the city because it took a while to get the Orioles here. It’s going to take us a minute to get where we need to be as a city and we’ll get there All right,

Nestor Aparicio  50:00

we’ll get to the Billy Joel concert to Springsteen. We gotta get Bruce better get well soon Bruce All right. Yes. All right. We’re Mako brought to my friends at the Maryland lottery 50th anniversary here 25th year I got my new logo on the Thank you Jessica at the Hartford designs for keeping us square our friends and window nation 866 90 nation two by two. You get to free I’m celebrating the one year anniversary of my new windows. My cat loves the windows by Raskin, Raskin global as well. We’re going to be at Pappas eating crabcakes on the 29th with Anna Rhonda county executive Steuart Pittman also on the 15th of September we’re back at fade Lee’s and we have our compact state partners there I’m looking forward to that and I’ve been down here rounding up guest we’ve been at the governor dropped by in this

Odette Ramos  50:41

amazing right all right and you know that only can happen at Mako

Nestor Aparicio  50:45

Oh definitely. Profession. The whole thing the governor’s man we’re back for more from Mako in Ocean City, Maryland right after this

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