One-On-One With Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young
10/25/2019, 6 a.m.
Mayor Young also discussed Baltimore’s ‘squeegee kids,’ youngsters who wash windshields at busy intersections for money.
“I am working with Commissioner Harrison to devise an alternative squeegee plan,” said Mayor Young. “It’s dangerous for those youngsters to be in the streets. I am afraid they will get hurt weaving in and out of traffic. I’m also concerned some are doing it when they should be in school. We need to connect with the parents to find out why their children are squeegee kids, and what that parent needs.
“We also have panhandlers all over the city darting in and out of traffic for money. It’s also a safety issue for them. We’ve got a lot of work to do. As Mayor, my goal is to do all I can to ensure children and family success.”
Mayor Young served from 2010 to 2019 as the President of the Baltimore City Council, and for 14 years prior to that as a District Councilman.
“We want to drive development into neighborhoods that haven’t seen it,” he said. “We are doing major development across the city, including mixed income and affordable unit developments. I don’t believe in tearing everything down, because we tear down our history in Black neighborhoods. Development in our neighborhoods creates job and rebuilds our communities.
“We are also looking at how we can attract more grocery stores. But we can’t ignore the fact that they look at the prospect of people stealing. Stealing drives their profits down to zero. Merchants will not go into neighborhoods where they can’t meet their bottom line. Attracting and retaining neighborhood businesses is very important to the city.”
Just days after this interview, Mayor Young lost his longtime friend U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings. Cummings, 68, died on Thursday, October 17, 2019, from complications stemming from longstanding health challenges.
“With the passing of U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the City of Baltimore, our country, and people throughout the world have lost a powerful voice and one of the strongest and most gifted crusaders for social justice,” said Mayor Young, who reportedly plans to name the Courthouse East building in downtown Baltimore after Cummings. “Rep. Cummings, the son of sharecroppers whose ancestors were slaves, wasn't afraid to use his considerable intellect, booming voice, and poetic oratory to speak out against brutal dictators bent on oppression, unscrupulous business executives who took advantage of unsuspecting customers, or even a U.S. President.
“He was, put simply, a man of God who never forgot his duty to fight for the rights and dignity of the marginalized and often forgotten. As we enter this period of mourning, let us remember his long legacy of justice as an example to us all of a life well lived.”
Part II of the series concludes next week.