Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton is seeking re-election against two challengers in Baltimore's diverse District 6, which varies from prosperous Roland Park to challenged Central Park Heights.

The district in Northwest Baltimore curves over Druid Hill Park through Coldspring, Ashburton and Windsor Hills, ending above the Gwynns Falls. It's a district with mainstays such as Cylburn Arboretum and Eddie's of Roland Park, but a few miles west lie streets known for gun violence: Five men were shot and killed last year off Park Heights Avenue.


Campaigning to revitalize the troubled neighborhoods are three Democrats: Middleton, the 61-year-old incumbent; Mark E. Hughes, a 43-year-old educator; and Timothy Mercer, a 61-year-old contractor. No Republicans are running.

Middleton was appointed to the council in 2007 to finish the term of Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who had become council president and later would be mayor. Seven months later, Middleton won re-election. A former high school teacher and administrator, Middleton is married, lives in Coldspring and has a grown son.

"The main job of a council person is taking care of your constituents. That's always No. 1, and you never lose sight of that," she said.

Hughes taught Spanish at Sojourner Douglass College before the school was shut down after losing accreditation. He has also worked at the Community Law Center, a nonprofit that provides legal assistance to families and neighborhood associations.

The Parklane resident first ran for City Council in 2011, receiving about 20 percent of the vote and losing to Middleton.

"Things are no better than they were back then," he said. "What I see in the community is the conditions of neighborhoods. It's almost like wholesale neglect."

Mercer lives in Park Heights, his home since the 1970s. The general contractor says his campaign is based in grass-roots activism.

"You can't reform from the top down," Mercer said.

While on the council, Middleton has worked to address the district's "food deserts," areas without a nearby supermarket, and to reduce the number of neighborhood liquor stores. She wants more homes for seniors, and affordable rental and family housing.

She wants to expand citizen patrols and the Safe Streets program, which offers conflict mediation, in Park Heights. Middleton said she has saved recreation centers from closing.

"As soon as I hear of something happening that's going to be detrimental, I'm on it and start working to try and resolve the problem," she said.

Hughes said the district suffers from "row upon row of vacant, abandoned, dilapidated houses." And while programs exist to restore the vacant homes, he said, most families are unaware of the opportunities. He said he would spend time explaining the programs to families.

"Really, there's not enough information going out into the community," he said.

Similarly, he said, programs exist to train job candidates, but many do not know about them. He also wants to increase funding for youth programs and to strengthen the police civilian review board.


Mercer said he would rely on his skills as a general contractor to restore vacant homes, then work to make them affordable for families.

"One-third of our community is in deterioration and boarded up, and most of the houses are owned by banks," he said. "Let's start renovating the houses. And when we renovate them, let's buy them to help families own their own homes."

If elected, he said, he would work to reform the city school system and advocate state laws allowing the expungement of some court records.

Green Party candidate Richard Thomas White Jr., 47, a life skills coach and counselor, is also running. He lives in Windsor Hills.