Governor tours for budget support

At Baltimore church, he calls for push on mass transit funding

March 14, 2001|By M. Dion Thompson | M. Dion Thompson,SUN STAFF

Gov. Parris N. Glendening took his campaign to raise public support for his budgetary agenda to an East Baltimore church last night, asking community leaders and residents to press for state funding of mass transit and Smart Growth programs.

"You must make these `must have' items," Glendening told members of BUILD, Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development.

About 400 members of the citywide organization filled the pews of Knox Presbyterian Church.

They gave Glendening a standing ovation and broke into repeated applause during his speech.

The meeting served as a thank you between the governor and BUILD for their success in the 1998 gubernatorial election.

Since winning a second term, Glendening has worked with the organization to provide state funding for Head Start programs, parks and playgrounds, and Child First, an after-school program.

"By working together, we have put ideas into action and made a real difference in the lives of many Marylanders," said Glendening. "Tonight, I ask for your help. We need to bring the power of BUILD to bear on our agenda."

Glendening wants the subways to run on Sundays in Baltimore, and he wants to reduce bus fares by 25 cents, to $1.10. The reduction could save poor families $130 a year, he said.

Other legislative and budget items include millions for land acquisition and parks.

Many of those items are on the chopping block as House and Senate budget committees pare millions from the governor's proposed 2002 budget.

Glendening's hope is that public pressure will save some of his proposals.

Several BUILD members told how past funding victories had improved their lives. Sheila Joseph of Cherry Hill said she was looking forward to a May groundbreaking for a playground at Patapsco Elementary School.

The project would not have been possible without BUILD's help, she said.

"BUILD taught us how to organize," she said. "We joined BUILD to make a difference in our children's lives."

The meeting ended with the Rev. Curtis Jones, pastor of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, calling for BUILD members to continue their efforts at organizing city voters and increasing the group's political influence.

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