Baltimore Votes 2016 Q&A: David Harding (District 14)


David Harding is a Unaffiliated candidate running in District 14


Q: Background info (where you grew up, where you live, job, etc)

I was born in New Jersey, moved to Baltimore in 1963. I have lived mostly in the 14th District of the City Council. I’ve held many jobs including 8 years at Bethlehem Steel, Sparrows Point and over 30 years for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. When I first moved to Baltimore I was active in both the civil rights movement and against the war in Vietnam.

Q: Do you think there are ‘Two Baltimore’s’? Why or why not? If so, how would you try to reconcile them?

I think the most important division in Baltimore is between the super­rich and the working class majority, black and white. Their interests cannot be reconciled. Wealth created by the labor of working people needs to be taken back to meet the needs of the majority. This will not happen as the result of an election. It will take a big fight.

Q: Were you for or against the proposed Red Line? Why or why not?

I am for the construction of a complete mass transit system in Baltimore. I am not sure if the Red Line, as proposed, would make sense as part of such a system.

Q: How would you help improve Baltimore’s transportation system?

Roads and bridges need to be fixed. The bus system needs to be improved with more buses bought and more drivers hired. And a complete mass transit system needs to be created.

Q: How often would you like to see City agencies audited? Which department do you think is the worst offender in avoiding audits?

Every year. But the real problem is how city money has been forked over to developers, big corporations and banks instead of being used to provide needed services.

Q: How would you propose to make the Charm City Circulator cost effective? Do you agree with the
DOT of Baltimore eliminating the Banner and Green lines?

We need an improved bus system for the entire area. I don’t know if those particular lines would fit into a plan for the overall system.

Q: What was going through your mind during the unrest of April 2015?

I was surprised it hadn’t happened earlier. I participated in some of the demonstrations against police violence.

Q: Now that the trials of the Baltimore Six are over, and all have been acquitted, how can Baltimore heal?

Stop the police harassment and murders of poor, mostly black people. The city needs to deal with the unemployment and poverty that breeds crime. End the War on Drugs, which has led to the criminalization of many people without reducing drug usage, and treat drugs as a medical, rather than a criminal problem.

Q: Do you support the Port Covington TIF? Why or why not? What did you think of BUILD’s concerns about the TIF? Do you agree with Councilman Stokes measure to delay the approval of the TIF?

No, I oppose the TIFs at Port Covington and elsewhere. They have enriched developers and big corporations, while not providing the decent paying jobs and tax revenues that were promised.

Q: Light City was a huge success for Baltimore this past year. How would you help cultivate the Arts & Entertainment districts around the city?

I think the city’s wealth needs to be used to provide the public services and affordable housing that working people need. There are thousands of unemployed people in Baltimore who could be hired and trained to do this work. Poverty would be reduced and the arts could flourish, as could many other forms of entertainment.

Q: There is a $15 minimum wage bill coming before the City Council. Do you support it, why or why not? If not, what wage would you support?

Any increase in the minimum wage is a good thing. We need a living wage for all who work and enough jobs for all who want to work. $15 is not enough, particularly when it is delayed for years.

Q: What is the biggest challenge in your District

Unemployment and lack of affordable housing.

Q: What is ONE core issue you will fight for if elected?

The use of the wealth in the city to benefit working class people and the need for a fight to achieve this.

Q: Why should people vote for you?

To show they agree that a working class fight is needed to change the way wealth is used.