By Terrence Thrweatt
(BALTIMORE – December 3, 2022) – In 2015, I was a bright-eyed graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland. I was younger and full of life. I had hope. I interned on Capitol Hill for Congressmen Elijah Cummings and Hakeem Jeffries (NY). When I got back to Baltimore City, I was determined to make a change. I joined the campaign of Yitzy Schleifer running against 40-year incumbent Councilwoman Rikki Spector. I put up campaign signs in West Arlington, Glen, and Grove Park. I vouched for him with the folks that did not think he’d represent “Lower Park Heights” and areas outside of the “White L”.
At the time, Councilman Brandon Scott would come to our neighborhood to visit his parents – my neighbors. Brandon had gone to small St. Mary’s just years before I had. Having both been Black guys from Baltimore City and poli sci majors, my professors would often compare me to him. It’s fair to say that I admired his career and trajectory. I had high hopes for him, like me and Yitzy, he’s a son of the City. We love Baltimore City.
That’s why for the life of me, I can’t figure out why Brandon and Yitzy are determined to kill off the Grove Park neighborhood by selling the Grove Park Elementary School to an out-of-state developer who will demolish it and replace it with a 24/7 behavioral rehab center. The community has called the Mayor who has the final decision- but we soon learned that his boss Yitzy calls all the shots. It’s been tough to get Yitzy on the phone or even respond to emails. Yet, when his campaign donors call- he shows up in person or by Zoom.
It is ironic that Brandon sponsored the City’s Equity Ordinance because his Housing Commissioner is making a deliberate attack on a middle-class Black community that relies on the school. It is the anchor of the community. The community asked for a school and they are getting a rehab instead. I guess they figured Black folks need to be rehabilitated – despite having a strong thriving, low-crime, neighborhood. I feel bad for the folks that can’t exactly just pick up and go from the neighborhood. Namely, the elderly residents relying on the value of their homes [that will sink] and the Latino new Americans – whose first introduction to government is the government taking something away.