Fells Point eatery to open downtown Towson location
Baltimore City

Robert Curran, Rikki Spector won't seek re-election to Baltimore City Council

Longtime City Councilman Robert Curran -- a member of a Baltimore political dynasty -- won't seek re-election.

Two longtime Baltimore City Council members said Monday they will not seek re-election, bringing to six the number of council members who do not plan to run this year.

Robert W. Curran, who was first elected in 1995, and Rochelle "Rikki" Spector, first elected in 1977, will leave office when this term ends in December. With six of 15 council members not seeking re-election, more than 100 years of experience will leave City Hall next year.

It will be the first time in six decades that a member of Curran's family won't be on the Democrat primary ballot for council, which will be held April 26. The Democratic primary has long determined Baltimore elections. All 15 council members are Democrats.

"Twenty years is a good run," said Curran, 65, who represents the council's 3rd District in Northeast Baltimore. "I feel like I've done positive things for the district over the years. I am at peace with it."

Spector, called the "dean of the City Council," represents the council's 5th District in Northwest Baltimore.

"I work nine days a week," Spector, 79, said. "My effectiveness and my networking will be beneficial to the city whether I am in the seat or not in the seat. I will continue to serve. It's a calling."

She said multiple factors prompted her to retire, including the election of a Republican governor and the loss of her place on influential council committees. City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young stripped Spector of most of her committee assignments last year after she cast the only vote against two bills he favored.

Curran, who broke several ribs in a November fall that sidelined him for weeks, cited his health and the health of family members as contributing to his decision. Curran announced his decision at the City Council's weekly lunch Monday.

"It's sad because for 60 years, there's been a Curran on the ballot for City Council," he said.

Curran, previously a foreman with Domino Sugars, is a brother of J. Joseph Curran Jr., a former Maryland attorney general. Both their father and brother, the late J. Joseph Curran Sr. and Martin E. "Mike" Curran, also were councilmen.

Robert Curran said he counts among his most significant contributions his work protecting animal rights, opposition to predatory towing practices and pushing for a citywide smoking ban. He is chairman of the council's health committee and serves on several others.

"I've got 11 more months," he said. "I'm not going to dry up and go away."

Spector said she is most proud of her work to align the council election with the presidential election cycle as a way to increase voter turnout. She also pointed to her advocacy for the development of the Inner Harbor and said she wants to work closely with the person elected to replace her.

Both Curran and Spector would have faced tough challenges in the primary election.

Five Democrats had announced plans to run against Curran, including former Air Force Capt. Marques Dent, small-businessman Ryan Dorsey, labor organizer Jermaine Jones, Perring Loch Community Association President Alicia Joynes and Maryland Human Resources administrator George Van Hook.

Spector faced four challengers: criminal justice reform advocate Christopher Ervin, transportation coordinator Derrick Lennon, and small-business owners Sharif J. Small and Isaac "Yitzy" Schleifer.

Longtime Councilwoman Helen Holton of the West Baltimore's 8th District announced in August she was stepping down for health reasons.

East-side Councilman Carl Stokes and west-side Councilman Nick Mosby are vacating their seats to run for mayor. Councilman James B. Kraft, who has represented Southeast Baltimore for 11 years, is running for judge.

The council has final say over the city's more than $3 billion budget. Members have sought to tackle significant issues in recent years, including new policies that bar employers from asking about an applicant's criminal record before a job interview, impose a tougher curfew on youths and require businesses receiving subsides to hire mostly Baltimore residents for job openings.

The last time City Council members were up for election was in 2011, when only two seats changed hands. Council members are paid $66,000 a year following a recent small bump in pay.

ywenger@baltsun.com

twitter.com/yvonnewenger

Copyright © 2016, The Baltimore Sun
90°