Gloria Jenkins’ face lit up as Councilman Brandon M. Scott handed her a thick book of free Slurpee coupons for the kids of the recreational center.
“You know I always got to bring goodies when I come here,” said as he warmly embraced Jenkins, director of Goodnow Community Center located in his district.
It was one of many stops July 24 as Scott allowed the AFRO to accompany him on his rounds throughout Baltimore 2nd district. The 28-year-old councilman, who is currently the youngest member of Baltimore’s City Council, was casually dressed in a royal blue polo shirt, khaki shorts and tennis.
Although Scott grew up in Baltimore City’s Park Heights neighborhood, he developed a special affinity for the northeast part of the city, where he currently lives, while attending Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High school.
The cross-country and track star won city and regional championships and was a Junior Olympian. As a long-distance runner, he often ran through Baltimore’s entire northeast side. This is when he began to feel a sense of connection to the area.
“It was a place that I felt the people in the neighborhood had the most sense of pride,” said Scott. His appreciation for the area was heightened when he became the student representative on the SIT team to Mervo.
After graduating from St. Mary’s College he began to forge political skills. First came his term in college as black student union president and a member of the school’s multicultural advisory and African heritage committees and later with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Maryland for a time. Then came work for the city council president as community outreach worker, followed by time spent as a neighborhood specialist with the city’s recreation and parks department.
A natural athlete, Scott brings his competitive spirit with him everywhere he goes, even into the planning of district’s National Night Out, an annual crime prevention program held across Maryland using fun, food and games to create a partnership between community residents and local police officers. While meeting with Mark Washington, executive director of Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello Community Corporation, and Mike Hilliard, community service director of HARBEL, Scott suggested adding a three-point basketball shootout and one lap race around the lake to the activities list for the National Night Out.
“I’m very competitive,” said Scott, who never passes up an opportunity to get out and participate in the activities. “There’s no such thing as let you win,” he revealed as he recalled the story of tackling his mother during a game of football at a cookout to celebrate his city council victory.
Now, in his first term in office, Scott has made significant strides to address the economic, crime and social issues plaguing the 2nd district.
Belair Road was once a business epicenter for Baltimore’s 2nd district. The long thoroughfare was home to several automotive dealerships which brought a steady source of clientele into the area. But with the shift to imported cars by many motorists, Belair Rd. has seen a decline. Today most of the dealership lots are vacant.
The bustle of commerce has been replaced with crime. Scott has campaigned to get citizens involved in decreasing the crime rate. By the end of July, Scott hopes to implement a new online system to report minor crimes like car break-ins that would allow citizens to skip calling the Northeast Police Department, which is already deluged with crime reports, and simply print out the police report.
In the past few weeks, a bill backed by Scott allows citizens to access Comstat data, a program used by the Baltimore City Police Department to track crimes. The crime data is summarized by districts and can be accessed through Open Baltimore, an online program using technology to provide public access and transparency to the citizens of Baltimore. Open Baltimore also includes data on real property taxes, parking citations, vacant buildings and more.
While Scott still has many goals and initiatives to implement including revamping the recreational centers model in northeast Baltimore, he is steadfast in being best at his current role as an “advocate, servant and politician” for the 2nd district.
“People in this line of work always get so concerned about the next step that they forget where they are,” said Scott. “And they forget that the only way you’re going to get to the next step, wherever that step is going to be is if you do your job and you do it to the best of your ability.”