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Eyewitness Noon News

Baltimore City Council President Jack Young should stand by his vote to raise the minimum wage and vote to override the mayor's veto ("Some Pugh supporters say they feel betrayed by veto of $15 minimum wage," March 27).

Baltimore workers feel betrayed by Mayor Catherine Pugh's veto and are determined already not to re-elect her. I recently spent the afternoon in Cherry Hill speaking to the folks in District 10, and Councilman Ed Reisinger's voters were unanimous in telling me how strongly they supported the bill and how disgusted they were with Mayor Pugh and Councilman Reisinger's actions on this. I encourage Mr. Young to go and talk to the men and women living in Cherry Hill and hear how hard it is for them to afford the cost of transportation to leave their isolated neighborhood to get to jobs when they are trying to survive on $8.75 an hour. I heard about how long the minimum wage has been stuck below $9 an hour, how most workers are parents and still need public assistance and food from food pantries to feed their kids. Can you imagine working full time and still needing to get food from a food pantry to feed your family?

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Baltimore needs a hero to stand up for its families and children. I hope The Sun was leaving out the context when it quoted Mr. Young as giving up on this bill. His actions on this matter can make a brighter future for this city at a time when folks are giving up.

Want to know another reason given to me for raising the minimum wage? So a mom could save enough money to get out of this city and protect her children from a life here.

Instead of throwing in the towel, I encourage the council president to get out in the streets of Baltimore and talk to his constituents about this bill, hear their stories, help them understand how to make their voices heard to their council representatives. That's not twisting arms, that's giving voice to the unheard and the disenfranchised.

Mr. Young must know that the mayor is being cynical and disingenuous when she mentions the school funding gap every time she speaks about vetoing this bill. The schools have a funding gap for 2017 due to being underfunded by the state these last few years. The minimum wage bill won't even go into effect until 2019 and has nothing to do with the school gap this year.

Imagine standing at a fork in the road. One path keeps our city on the same trajectory it's been on, the other has profoundly positives outcomes for parents, children, and workers of all ages. The most surprising side benefit of raising the minimum wage? Take a look at The Washington Post article about birth weight rising for every dollar minimum wage goes up and its correlation to better educational and financial outcomes later in life. Now that is truly making an investment in the future of Baltimore.

Megan Beller, Baltimore

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