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Mayor Says Community Center Safe For Voters

City officials are hopeful that Tuesday night's meeting about the Eastport Community Center will assuage residents' concerns about going to vote there on Nov. 6.

City officials have called a meeting to re-assure residents that the Eastport Community Center is safe after residents raised concerns in the wake of violent incidents.

"The decision to hold [the meeting] at the community center was intentional because the community center is safe," Mayor Josh Cohen said.

The meeting is in response to a series of complaints made by Ward 6 residents who believe the center is not a safe location for them to vote on Nov. 6.

In September, two men were shot near the community center; and in June, Orlando Sherman McDaniel, 29, of Annapolis died as a result of gunshot wounds he suffered in the 1100 block of Madison Street, which is nearby.

No arrests have been made in either case, but police believe the September shooting was not a random event, and said they are hopeful about making an arrest.

Steven Conn, who has spearheaded the campaign to move the polling place, was upset that the meeting to address concerns is being held at the center. 

He told Patch that he suspects many people will skip the meeting rather than walk or drive to the 7 p.m. meeting—the crux of the argument to move the location is that the area isn't safe after sunset.

Cohen said he would open his door to anyone who opts out of Tuesday's meeting.

"I'll meet with anybody anytime," Cohen said. "I'll meet them at their house."

Despite recent violence, the crime rate is down from where it was four years ago when voters cast their ballots at the Eastport Community Center for the last presidential election, Detective Amy Miguez told Patch in September.

She said Police Chief Michael Pristoop decided against adding additional officers or stationing a patrol car outside the polling place on Election Day. She added that there is also no history of violence or attacks at the location on Election Day—nor is there a history of attacks at any Annapolis polling location. 

Cohen, Alderman Kenneth Kirby (D-6th Ward) and Alderman Ross Arnett (D-8th Ward) will attend the event at the community center at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Police Chief Michael Pristoop and representative from the Annapolis Housing Authority will also be in attendance.

"I recognize that there is a stigma around it due to cultural differences about public housing," Cohen said. "The best way to address that stigma is to open up the doors and invite people in."

 

Read more on this issue:

  • Alderman Kirby Proposes Moving Work Session to Eastport
  • Police Decide Against Adding Officers at Eastport Polling Place
  • Police Chief Says Eastport Shootings Weren't Random
  • Residents Afraid to Vote at Their Polling Place
  • City Wrangles With Eastport Shooting

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