Budget cuts at forefront of questions to O'Malley

Job losses, crime, child care centers are topics at meeting

May 01, 2002|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

Looming city budget and job cuts dominated questions fielded last night by Mayor Martin O'Malley from an audience of about 300 at a community forum in Govans.

Among the concerns was the city's proposed closing of six child care centers for school-age children.

"I do not plan on having my son as a latchkey kid," said Sophia Hurt, a federal employee who said she leaves her 9-year-old son at a center at Waverly Elementary School before commuting to Washington.

Several custodians in the Department of Recreation and Parks protested a city plan that might move their jobs to the private sector, but O'Malley assured them the city most likely would be able to find them other jobs.

A need for new area playgrounds and for red-light cameras on Cold Spring Lane was raised at the session at Walter P. Carter Elementary School, which also was attended by O'Malley Cabinet members.

When crime was mentioned, O'Malley said that Baltimore leads the nation in reducing violent crime.

Community activist Robert Nowlin, 61, whom Northern District police officers call "the blind man who can see" as a watchdog over the drug-torn Pen Lucy neighborhood, cautioned the mayor not to run for governor.

"Make the city great," Nowlin told O'Malley.

Nowlin added to a reporter, "There's been tremendous change in Pen Lucy. For him to leave now, that would upset a lot of people."

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