For Clarke, Stokes, Pratt, Clark


By pulling the lever for Mary Pat Clarke, Baltimore Democrats can nominate a mayoral candidate who offers an innovative approach to reverse the city's steady decline.

For The Sun, abandoning Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and endorsing Mrs. Clarke was a difficult decision. He is studied, where she is impulsive; he has a national reputation while she is strictly local; zTC he has connections in Washington and Annapolis that have helped produce such major projects as Sandtown-Winchester and the $100 million empowerment zone. Her connections are limited.

However, despite promise and progress in some areas, Baltimore has been sinking during the eight Schmoke years.

The city has lost tens of thousands of jobs. Tens of thousands of middle-class taxpayers have voted with their feet by moving to surrounding counties. Meanwhile, day-to-day management remains the Schmoke administration's major problem, due to the mayor's poor personnel selection and tolerance of incompetence.

In the face of all this, the city needs new energy and a new team of managers. Only a change of top leadership can produce the shake-up needed to end the prevailing pessimism and hopelessness.

Nothing was more telling than Mr. Schmoke's failure until this week to spell out his platform for the next four years. When he finally did, he offered generalities and platitudes. This city can no longer live on faith alone.

Mary Pat Clarke has her weaknesses. But if she runs the municipal government as effectively as she runs her City Hall staff, we can look forward to a better-working and more service-oriented bureaucracy. She will demand action from the school superintendent and the police.

Our choice for the Democratic nominee for City Council president is Councilman Carl Stokes. During his second term in the council, he has established strong credentials as an overseer. He is independent, but not strident. He is a bridge-builder in a city in need of reconciliation.

Choosing between Julian "Jack" Lapides and Joan Pratt, the Democratic candidates for city comptroller, was not easy. The former has built a political career of experience and integrity; the latter has solid credentials as a certified public accountant. We decided to support Ms. Pratt because Baltimore needs young leaders willing to take on the responsibilities of public office.

Although the media spotlight is on the Democratic primary, the GOP also has a contested race for mayor. The Sun's choice is Victor Clark, an auto salesman and second vice chairman of the Maryland Republican Party.

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