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Baltimore Mayor Young: ‘I live and breathe regionalism’

He also wants state to free up nonviolent offenders to help clean city neighborhoods

Bryan P. Sears//August 15, 2019

Baltimore Mayor Young: ‘I live and breathe regionalism’

He also wants state to free up nonviolent offenders to help clean city neighborhoods

By Bryan P. Sears

//August 15, 2019

OCEAN CITY — Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said he plans to ask Gov. Larry Hogan about ways to free up city police to focus on violent crime and to use nonviolent offenders to clean up neighborhoods.

The ideas are part of a number of priorities Young said he plans to discuss with the Republican governor when the two meet next week to discuss how to address violent crime in the city. In addition to that meeting, the mayor said, Young hopes to explore a new form of regionalism with surrounding counties that help with law enforcement efforts.

Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. 'Jack' Young.
Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. ‘Jack’ Young.

Young, in comments at a Maryland Association of Counties’ reception, said he would like to see the state and region pitch in to help the beleaguered city.

“As the city goes, so does the state,” said Young, adding that a failure to help the city “will drag the state down with us.”

Young, speaking to The Daily Record Wednesday night, said he plans to ask Hogan for additional money for technology for police officers “and to figure out how the state and each jurisdiction can help police in the city — namely at joint events at the two stadiums so our police can focus on crime reduction in the city.”

Another item on Young’s list of topics to discuss with Hogan is having state’s parole and probation office “play a bigger role” in tracking parolees and ensuring they are not committing more crimes.

Young also offered an idea to use convicts to clean Baltimore neighborhoods and Interstate 83.

Young said he’d like to discuss “working with the division of corrections to have those incarcerated that are nonviolent offenders come out and help us clean up our streets and alleys to help us make a cleaner city.’

Young has made a focus on crime a cornerstone of his administration since he took over the office of mayor following the resignation of Catherine Pugh.

The issues have become more sensitive since a spate of tweets from President Donald Trump criticized the city and Rep. Elijah Cummings. In the tweets, Trump called the city dirty and rat-infested.

Young hopes to secure the aid of surrounding jurisdictions, namely Baltimore County, which borders the city on three sides, and Anne Arundel County, which borders the city to the south.

Young said he would like to ask those counties “to help cover some of the special events like the Ravens games, Orioles games and festivals and stuff like that so our police can be really focused on the crime and going after violent offenders.”

Young’s wish list also hints at a new kind of regionalism envisioned by the new mayor.

In the past, regionalism has been more defined by the city and Baltimore County — and sometimes other jurisdictions — working collaboratively in Annapolis to pass legislation beneficial to all.

But that relationship fell on hard times.

“At one time, Baltimore County, even though we talked partnership, a lot of times when we needed help, it wasn’t really available,” Young said.

Young said that is changing under new Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. The two have described themselves as friends and are making a number of appearances together, including at least two in Ocean City this week.

Young praised the county for sending firefighters recently to respond to a fire near his home.

“Baltimore County showed up. Their fire department showed up,” said Young. “Those are the types of things I’m talking about.”

The mayor would also like to secure agreements with surrounding jurisdictions to help with policing around the city borders.

“I don’t see a line,” Young said of the city-county border. “When it comes to crime there should be no line. If you see a crime happening in the city and your police are right there, you get it. If we see it and it’s over the in the county — it’s one of those things.”

Young said he would like to work with surrounding jurisdictions on snow removal issues and finding ways to pool health care plans to lower rates.

“I live and breathe regionalism,” Young said.

He acknowledged that costs could be an issue.

“We have to figure out is it pro bono, is we going to have to pay,” said Young.  “That’s another (thing) we’re going to ask the state to give us if we have to pay, to give us some kind of revenue source that we can (use) to pay for the regional cooperation.”

He believes most of what he seeks to do can be worked out with mutual agreements between the counties rather than state legislation.

“I guarantee you we’re going to work together to make this a better Maryland for all of us,” said Young.


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