Originally posted on wypr.org on Mar. 16, 2017
On the 100th day of her term, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh asked the city to come together; to volunteer in schools, create jobs and cheer the success of Baltimore. It was part of the State of the City address she delivered Thursday.
The 54-minute long address combined a recap of the first 100 days of the Pugh administration with a picture of the mayor’s vision for Baltimore; touching on education, youth, public safety, economic and workforce development among other areas.
The mayor called on the city school system to come up with a plan to address its structural deficit.
“Every time a charter public school chooses to hire a teacher that is not already in the public school system that is being downsized, it creates a greater structural issue for the entire public school system,” Pugh said.
Pugh called on the private sector to help provide jobs for every young person applying for the summer Youth Works program. “All of these children must work,” she said. “If we don’t employ our youth, the drug dealers will.”
The mayor touched on employment for adults as well. She announced the city will hold a job fair for the first time this fall.
“Our event will invite the citizens of Baltimore to apply for openings with city government,” she said. “And we will ask contractors, companies and corporations to join us at this event to offer employment and training to Baltimore residents.”
Pugh also announced that mobile job vans will begin to travel the city to share job and training opportunities.
“Each unit costs $350,000,” she said. “I want you to know today that we have a commitment for three of those units.” She added the Enoch Pratt Free Library will roll out a similar unit in April.
The mayor also highlighted some of her achievements; the completion of a consent decree with the Justice Department to reform the city police department; committing $180 million over three years to city schools to help address the school system’s structural deficit and beginning a $430 million redevelopment of Poppleton, West Baltimore.
Council President Jack Young said he was encouraged by what the mayor said and is looking forward to working with her.
“Most of the things that she said are things that I believe in and things I’ve been pushing for,” he said. “I think I have a mayor that’s going to be a partner; not that we’re going to always agree on everything but when we don’t agree, none of you will know it.”
First term Councilman Kristerfer Burnett said he was excited after hearing the address.
“There were things we talked about that were mentioned in the speech; especially around the mobile job vans, prioritizing homelessness,” he said. “It’s good to hear that those conversations weren’t just a conversation but actual priorities for the administration.”