What’s the job: Representing residents on the 15-member City Council, including introducing and voting on legislation, approving city spending and providing oversight of city operations. Council members are elected to four-year terms by district. The 14th District includes neighborhoods such as Guilford, Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello, Hampden, Original Northwood and Roland Park.


Odette Ramos smiles for a portrait in a shady green space.
Odette Ramos smiles for a portrait in a shady green space. (Kylie Cooper/The Baltimore Banner)

Name: Odette Ramos

Age: 51

Personal: Lives in Charles Village/Abell community, married to John Spurrier; 11-year-old daughter who attends a Baltimore City public school.

Education: Bachelor’s degree, social justice, Goucher College; master’s degree, public policy, Rutgers University.

Experience: Baltimore Citycouncilwoman, District 14, 2020-present; executive director, Community Development Network of Maryland, 2013-2020; co-founder Baltimore Women United 2016-2020; founder and CEO, Strategic Management Consulting, 2005-2013; chair, Baltimore Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 2009-2010; founding director, Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance, 2001-2005; neighborhood programs director, Greater Homewood Community Corporation, 1997-2001; vice president and co-founder, Village Learning Place, 1997-2000.

Endorsements: Sierra Club, AFC-CIO, Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, Fire Fighters Local 734, IAFF Local 964 Baltimore Fire Officers, SEIU 32BJ, AFSCME Maryland

Notable donors: Baltimore firefighter union president Josh Fannon, Baltimore County Department of Housing and Community Development Director Terry Hickey.


A: No, for two reasons. A. we are already overwhelmed with the calls and emails to help with constituent issues. If we have more constituents to represent, we would need more staff. B. Marginalized communities would stay that way, because we would be busy with calls and emails from those who do use the system. Currently several communities do not use 311 or do not trust government, and the challenges in those neighborhoods are harder. We are intentional and spend more time and energy in these important neighborhoods and we would not have time to do that with all the other calls. Constituents would not have adequate representation.

A: I sponsored the Inclusionary Housing package that requires developers to set aside 10% of their units for affordable housing. More has to be done. I would add more funding to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund for more rental assistance, rental units, and affordable homeownership; ensure the non-contiguous TIF works for affordable homeownership; advocate for more incentives and subsidy for affordable rental and homeownership units. I am working to create a dashboard using existing studies to show the units we need at which income levels so we are all clear on the goals to achieve to meet our housing needs.

A: I support the GBC/City/BUILD plan to raise billions of dollars to rehab vacant and abandoned properties. That is only part of the puzzle. We need to be sure our permit office is effective so that rehabbers get proper permits, we need more tools like Baltimore’s Land Bank to expedite acquisition of vacant properties through In Rem foreclosure (when the liens exceed the value of the property the City can foreclose - and we are expanding that to be when the liens are below the value of the property). Disposition of properties should be done in a strategic and intentional way to ensure that all residents in Baltimore benefit and that we provide the housing the residents who want to move here want. The Land Bank is extremely important to work alongside DHCD for this purpose, because this crisis is so vast and connected to everything else. The goal is not just to sell properties to anyone, but to sell properties to those who will do the work in a whole block solution for maximum impact, while also ensuring that residents can purchase and rehab for their own wealth building. More tools are needed, not less.

A: I voted for the three bills that were before us to ensure that a new envisioned harbor place can have residential in the area, increase the height, and reconfigure the footprint of the pavilions/buildings in the public space. The current proposal is a bold vision that I hope will connect the Harbor with the rest of the City retail areas. The developer has a good track record of transformative developments in our city.

A: If my Land Bank bill does not pass this year, I will introduce it again next term. It is the most critical tool we need to eliminate vacant and abandoned properties through rehab or demolition. I will also introduce a deconstruction bill that will require recycling of building materials and also the use of those recycled materials to reduce the waste going to the landfill and reduce illegal dumping.

A: No. While at some point we need to lower the rate, the Renew Baltimore proposal is not the way. Lowering by a specific percentage each year without additional revenues will decimate our city services - your trash will not get picked up if this proposal wins. My proposal is to invest heavily on rehabbing our vacant properties so that we can put them back on the tax rolls, and also reduce the cost of maintaining the vacant properties ($100 million a year, and $100million in lost revenues). This would allow us to slowly reduce our rate. In addition we have to renegotiate the PILOT agreement with the universities and hospitals - at least so they are paying their share of Fire and Police resources that they use but currently do not pay for. We have to do the same with existing TIFs and tax credits. Lowering the rate in a strategic way as we raise revenues is the only way to do this.

A: I am a full time councilmember and will remain so in the new term. I will not have another job outside of being the 14th District City Councilmember.

A: Youth are impacted by vacant and abandoned properties and poor quality housing as well. They cannot be expected to receive the learning at school if they are not living in conditions that allow them less stress, better health, and stability. Leaving neighborhoods neglected sends a message to our youth we do not care about them. I will continue the work to ensure that all residents have stable and good quality housing, including rehabilitation of vacant properties to have neighborhoods our young people can be proud of.

A: In addition to my 30 years in Baltimore and my career in community development, I believe that we have made slow but solid progress on housing issues in the City since I have been in the City Council. We will continue this momentum, as there is so much more to do. In addition, my office delivers excellent constituent service and we will continue that, and build on our work to ensure that all constituents have access to city services — like a Spanish 311 and clearly translated documents in addition to our work with our district constituents.