—– By: Ann Costantino —–
Johnny Olszewski, Jr., Democratic county executive candidate for Baltimore County, says it is the responsibility of the government to reshape the role development plays in Baltimore County. And under an Olszewski administration, Olszewski says that that development will be “community-led,” with a place for community leaders at the “head of the table.”
The Baltimore Post asked Olszewski and his Republican opponent, Al Redmer, Jr., how each will seek to strike a balance between inviting sound development to Baltimore County versus allowing developers to call the shots. Several development projects have ruffled the feathers of communities under the current administration.
We asked both candidates, “Can you speak to responsible ways to incentivize businesses to want to come to Baltimore County that don’t have a negative impact on the County and its citizens. And, when doing so, how can you communicate to citizens the difference between smart decisions for the County versus what people might continue to label as pay-to-play?”
Mr. Olszewski’s camp responded after The Baltimore Post first ran Mr. Redmer’s response on Sunday.
Here is what Mr. Olszewski had to say:
“While development plays a role in Baltimore County, government has a responsibility to reshape what that role is. Under my administration, development will be community-led and transparent so that government can be held more accountable. We must be more thoughtful about development so that it doesn’t come at the cost of overcrowding in schools, severe traffic, or loss of green space. One way we can find a balance is in prioritizing redevelopment over new development. Baltimore County is aging. Its inner ring communities and main streets need new investments so that they may thrive again.”
“When businesses are looking for a new location, they look for an area with strong schools, a healthy quality of life, and robust services from county government. That’s what an Olszewski administration will provide: top notch schools, better customer service from local government, and a healthy quality of life with access to green space, public transportation, and other amenities. Simply put, we must invest in our schools and focus on public service so that Baltimore County is a place where businesses want to come to.”
“Baltimore County must be willing to be an engaged and active partner with the business community to attract investment and continue to grow our county; however that cannot be done at the expense of transparency, openness, and fairness. Our focus should be what is the return on investment of our people and our communities. Our strategic plan should seek to address the needs of our residents, whether it’s building more grocery stores instead of liquor stores or protecting more open space from development. To ensure smart and transparent development, we will put community leaders at the head of the table.”
*** The writer of this article encourages respectful discourse concerning all candidates and elected officials.***