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A squeegee kid washes a windshield as motorists wait at a red light.
A squeegee kid washes a windshield as motorists wait at a red light. (Patrick Semansky)

I have been a resident of Fells Point in Baltimore for more than 20 years, after moving from Baltimore County (“Baltimore’s ‘squeegee kid’ issue has reached a tipping point; it’s time for a break,” Oct 29). Until the Freddie Gray unrest, I thought Baltimore had a bright future. I no longer feel that way.

The chaos and intimidation by large numbers of “squeegee kids” at the gateways to Baltimore is an example of the decline. Recently, I was driving down President Street after I-83 ends. I stopped at a light and a “squeegee kid” approached. I gave warning that I did not want my windshield washed. He squirted my windshield anyway. As he approached my window, I again indicated that I did not want my windshield washed. His response was, “Give me a dollar.” When I said no, his response was to squirt me in the face.

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“Squeegee kids are not performing a service. They are engaging in an anti-social combination of panhandling and extortion. They should not be rewarded with donations. No wonder downtown businesses that might provide employment are suffering from lack of business. Residents of better governed, relatively safe neighboring counties decline to run the squeegee kid gauntlet to spend money in Baltimore. The sympathy of Baltimore’s leaders for squeegee kids is misplaced.

Charles Turnbaugh, Baltimore

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