In Baltimore, aggressive squeegee kids have been a presence in downtown traffic for years. Now, as, Capital News Service reports, the city unveils a plan to 1) ask them to stay out of certain densely driven corridors, 2) pay some of them to change the way they spend their time, and 3) issue fines to drivers who tip them. Newly elected Baltimore City State’s Attorney Ivan Bates took part in the team that drew up the plan but has also offered a more straightforward analysis of the situation: what the kids do is already an unlawful interference with traffic.
Gov. Larry Hogan has long criticized the city’s non-enforcement policies, saying in July, “It certainly has had a major impact on people being afraid to come to the city because they’ve been harassed for years and years.” But much of the city’s active political class disagrees with him, dismissing as anecdotal or subjective the accounts of drivers, female and elderly especially, who say they have felt intimidated or coerced to give money during the exchanges.
Sometimes it appears being “made to feel unsafe” isn’t such a big deal after all.