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Voter guide: David Harding, Mayor, Baltimore City

David Harding

Working Class Party candidate for Baltimore City Mayor


Age 75

Residence Ednor Gardens-Lakeside, Baltimore City

Occupation I am in computer operations for the Maryland State Health Department

Education My work experiences have taught me a lot about exploitation in this society – when I worked at the Sparrows Point steel mill years back and today at the state offices. I had some years of college, no college degree.


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Previous political experience


I ran as independent candidate, with working class politics, for Baltimore City Council, District 14 in 2016. I helped with other volunteers, including some co-workers, to gather 14,000 signatures all over Maryland to put Working Class Party on the ballot.

Why are you running for office?


To give voters a chance to vote for a Working Class Party candidate, because the two big parties don’t represent working people. All workers, black and white, women and men, young and old, immigrant and born here, need to come together to fight for their own interests.

Crime

How do you assess the current police commissioner’s performance and the department’s approach to fighting violent crime, specifically murder?


Crime, including murder, is one aspect of living in this greedy capitalist society, with its racism, unemployment, inequality, underfunding of public education and lack of social services. When working people are organized to form a different society, we will also find solutions to crime.

Squeegee Kids

How would you address the issue of squeegee kids in the city’s intersections?


Why is this question even being asked? It seems like racism, when the real problem is that the entire population faces serious crises. But young people need training and jobs with decent pay – and so do many thousands of older people in Baltimore. When a fight is made to gain jobs and training, it will benefit the entire working class.

Drugs

What strategies would you pursue to reduce drug addiction and associated ills, such as overdose deaths and crime?


Working people face many serious problems – not enough jobs, jobs that pay too little; lousy schools for our children; expensive health care. These problems lead some people to abuse drugs. These problems are caused by the drive of the bosses to exploit us more and more. Working people need to take back the resources from those who have exploited us. The wealth needs to be used to meet all the needs of the population – including treatment for our brothers and sisters who have fallen into drug abuse.

Education

How do you propose Baltimore pay for its expected share of the Kirwan education commission ?


The way schools are funded now isn’t working. They should be better funded – period. And some districts, like Baltimore, need even more money. There are not enough decent school buildings, nor enough teachers, nor even enough Internet access. We were told the lottery and other gambling money would go to the schools. Where did it go? The resources are not going where they are needed.

Economic Development

What are the overlooked opportunities for economic development and job creation in Baltimore, and how will you encourage their implementation?


Baltimore City has plenty of roads needing repair, sewers and water mains that need to be rebuilt, schools need to be rebuilt and affordable housing needs to be built. Right now we need more teachers and teachers’ aides and more people to help manage different aspects of the current Covid 19 crisis. Enough needs to be done in Baltimore City to ensure there are jobs for anyone who wants one.

Environment

Baltimore faces multiple environmental problems, from lead in school water fountains to sewage overflows to illegal dumping sites to Wheelabrator emissions. What are your environmental priorities for the city, and what steps would you take to address them?


Of course, everyone should have clean air, clean water and a safe environment. To get the resources needed for solving such problems, changes not only have to be made in Baltimore City but in the whole country and the whole world. The world’s working people have together created enormous wealth, but this wealth only goes to enrich a tiny few, not to solve the world’s problems.

Transportation

What transportation strategies would you pursue to help city residents access jobs?


Politicians from the two big parties find funds for contractors and developers they favor, while roads, bridges, and public transportation for working class areas crumble. The taxes we pay should fix the infrastructure and go toward transportation systems we need. To get what is needed, working people will have to make a fight, not just in Baltimore.

Housing

What can the city do to encourage the development of more affordable housing?


Provide people with decent-paying jobs including programs to train people who then can build more affordable public housing. Funds are now used for the development of expensive housing. Instead the money should be used to pay for the development of affordable housing.

Taxes

What is your view of the city’s use of tax increment financing, payments in lieu of taxes and other incentives to encourage developments like Harbor Point?


TIFs and PILOTs are subsidies to developers. They should be ended.

Neighborhood Revitalization

What can Baltimore do to encourage commercial and residential revitalization in neighborhoods away from the waterfront?


If Baltimore officials stopped paying developers to build expensive housing close to the waterfront, and demanded the wealthy pay their fair share, money would start to be available to build in other neighborhoods. But the problems go far beyond what any single city can pay for.

Leadership

How will you improve efficiency and effectiveness in city government and encourage transparency and accountability in its operation?


Right now the government, at city, state and federal levels, is organized to serve the interests of the bosses and the wealthy. The wealth goes to the rich minority. It must instead go to the working majority. To have a transparent government will require much more than a vote every four years; it will require that the population creates a whole different organization of government.

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