Two-term 2nd District Councilman Carl Stokes is giving up his seat to run for council president, leaving behind fellow incumbents Anthony J. Ambridge and Paula Johnson Branch. It is easy to recommend Mr. Ambridge for election to a fourth term, but voters can do better than Ms. Branch. Her single term in office has been unimpressive.
Only one other current member had a worse attendance record than Ms. Branch during the past two council seasons. That's Mike Curran, and he is not running for re-election. Ms. Branch is seeking a new term, even though her constituents say she fails to show up at community functions and can't be counted on when citizens ask for help.
That's in contrast to Mr. Ambridge, who is well known throughout the district, whether it be Berea in the east or Mount Vernon to the west. He rarely misses a council meeting and is always focused on the issues.
Mr. Ambridge has shown an ability to look beyond his district to propose solutions affecting all of Baltimore. As a founder of Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse, he has consistently endorsed measures aimed at reducing the violence on Baltimore's streets.
Ironically, one of the best candidates to replace Ms. Branch is a close colleague of hers at the East Baltimore Community Corp. -- former state Sen. Robert L. Douglass. He was a City Council member in the late 1960s and possesses a working knowledge of how to get things done not only in city government but also in Annapolis. His background gives him the ability to hit the ground running for the Second District.
For the third Second District seat, The Sun endorses Sarah L. Matthews.
Her name may not be familiar to district residents but she has exhibited a zeal for public service since moving here from Chicago in 1988. The coordinator of a literacy program for Family and Children's Services, she has been a member of the Greenmount Community Leaders Organization, the Mount Royal Improvement Association and president of the Bolton House Tenants Association. She was elected to the Democratic State Central Committee last year.
Among other Second District candidates, Mark Washington, president of the Darley Park Community Association, and Matthew Boulay, the founder of Teach Baltimore, a non-profit agency that tutors at-risk children in the inner city, have sound ideas.
Yet the three best candidates in the Second District race for City Council this year are clearly Anthony J. Ambridge, Robert L. Douglass and Sarah L. Matthews. They have earned The Sun's endorsement.