2022 Candidate Questionnaire: Izzy Patoka For Baltimore County Council District 2
OWINGS MILLS- The Owings Mills Patch spoke to Izzy Patoka about his history, why he is running for office and his positions on local issues.
Patoka is running against James Amos for Baltimore County Council District 2.
Below are Patoka's answers to our candidate questionnaire.
What is the primary reason you are running for this office?
"I've been community-centered my entire life, in my role as a planner and other things that I've done professionally and in the community. This is what I do; It's who I am; I'm running for reelection, and being an elected official is an extension of the kind of work I've done my entire life."
What will be your single most important priority if you get elected?
"I have a number of things that are important to me. I've always been environmentally focused, so I want to make sure that we are good environmental stewards. Secondarily, we need to really zone in our beltway neighborhoods. We need to attend to them very carefully."
"We must provide incentives to create opportunities for some of our aging neighborhoods. The armory can be a catalyst for improving the commercial corridor along Reisterstown Road."
What sets you apart from your opponent?
"My experience in working with the community, my training, and my degrees in environmental planning. I have been a planner for most of my career with a little political detour. In that political detour, I was always working with the community. For example, I initially worked at Baltimore City Planning, then left to work for Baltimore County planning. The whole time, I was working with neighborhoods. Later, I went to work with the mayor's office as the first director of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhoods and left there to be a senior member of the governor's office, working with the 157 mayors in the state of Maryland as well as the 23 county executives or county commissioners."
"Throughout my career, I have been working to strengthen Maryland, Baltimore City, and Baltimore County areas. I don't know my opponent that well, so I can't really speak to his experience. I can tell you that the degree to which I've worked with community leaders in city, county, and the state gives me the experience to continue as a council member and do a better job than I did the first time."
Where do you work, and what is your job title?
"I am a full-time council member. Before I ran for council, I was the Director of Community Development for LifeBridge health. My job was strengthening the neighborhoods surrounding the five LifeBridge health campus locations. When I won my election four years ago, I decided that I would not shortchange LifeBridge, nor would I shortchange the residents of the second district. I decided to be a full-time council member because being a council member is a full-time job."
Age and birthplace? Other family information you'd like to share?
"I am 65, and I was born in Baltimore. I have an outstanding son, Rory; he goes to school in Montreal and is a sophomore in college; he plays baseball for his university. My wife, Denise, is an architect, and she is also an outstanding person. I feel very lucky and blessed to have a family that's been so supportive. I will say that being a councilman, you have to have a supportive family to do it."
Please list the schools and colleges you attended, the degrees you attained, and when.
"I went to Woodlawn High, so I grew up in the area, Woodlawn is not physically in the second district, but the neighborhoods and the families there live in the second district. I went to Towson University and earned my Bachelor's of Science degree in Geography and Environmental Planning. Later, I also earned a master's degree in Geography and Environmental Planning."
Approximately how much money do you expect to spend on your campaign?
"I wouldn't say that we'll spend over $50,000, between the primary and the general, somewhere between 50 to 70 thousand dollars."
How long have you lived in Baltimore County District 2?
"I've lived in Baltimore County pretty much all of my life. I grew up my first few years in the city of Baltimore, then I lived in Dickey Ville, the historic district of Baltimore City, for about 19 years. You subtract that out and get many decades of living here in Baltimore County, right in the beautiful Second District."
What's your favorite thing about Baltimore County District 2?
"I love the diversity and the people and our community leaders' commitment. We really have a beautiful district with great potential. One of the things I like doing is, I coach, rec league basketball in Pikesville. I coach 15 to 17-year-olds, so I really enjoy seeing teenagers grow into young men. I stay in touch with my players and try to help them as they grow into adulthood. I've always been sports-oriented, so I really like that. We have great rec councils throughout the second district, and I enjoy working with them."
What is the biggest problem in Baltimore County District 2?
"I see problems and opportunities in our inner beltway neighborhoods. They are aging and have not received enough attention. We need to provide incentives that bring grocery stores and amenities that other parts of the county have. Because our inner beltway neighborhoods are strong, they're strong, middle-class neighborhoods, they have folks that are committed to their neighborhood."
"Post-pandemic, what I hear quite a bit in the hundreds of community meetings that I attend is traffic congestion; aggressive driving has become a severe problem, not just in district two, but throughout Baltimore County and even the city. We've got to figure out a way to get folks on the road to be a little bit in a better place, so they're not driving so aggressively."