Baltimore's City Council underwent quite a transformation four years ago. Yet that is nothing compared with the wholesale change that promises to happen in this year's election. A third of the council's 18 seats may change occupants.
We welcome this prospect. The council needs new blood, it needs new ideas.
Councilmanic contests are particularly heated in Northwest Baltimore's Fifth District and East Baltimore's First. In the former, two seats will be vacant and a total of 15 Democrats, including incumbent Rochelle "Rikki" Spector, are scrambling for the three council seats.
A similar cliffhanger is developing in the First District. One or more of the incumbents -- John L. Cain, Nicholas C. D'Adamo Jr., and Lois Garey -- seems likely to be defeated. There are 11 insurgents who range from Charles Krysiak, son of a well-known East Baltimore political couple, to Kelley Ray, a community activist.
For 20 years, African American voters in Northeast Baltimore's Third District have been saying their numbers justify a black council member. So far, no one has been elected. That history may repeat itself this year. Even though a vacancy exists, too many serious black candidates threaten to spit the vote, paving the way for an all-white district delegation.
A recognizable name has always been a plus in Baltimore politics. In addition to Mr. Krysiak, Stephanie Rawlings, daughter of Del. Howard P. Rawlings, and Keiffer J. Mitchell; Jr., a scion of the Mitchell clan, and Robert Curran, a brother of retiring Councilman Martin Curran, are seeking seats.
No Republican has served in the City Council since 1942, and there is little to suggest this history will be changed this year. Yet a number of courageous Republicans have filed for council seats. While the GOP has five mayoral candidates -- ranging from a Nigerian immigrant to a former detective involved in a controversial slaying of an unarmed youth -- it failed to attract any candidates for the City Council president or comptroller.
The comptroller's race is Julian L. Lapides' to lose. The veteran former state senator is campaigning against Joan Pratt, a certified public accountant, who is a novice to politics. The council president's race seems like a toss-up. The front-runners are Councilmen Carl Stokes and Lawrence Bell, but Councilman Joseph J. DiBlasi may be the dark horse in the field of five.