A week before the Nov. 2 general election, mayoral contenders David F. Tufaro and Martin O'Malley stepped up their campaign efforts yesterday, pitching their public safety plans and rallying support in their bids for the city's top job.
While Tufaro outlined his proposed policing strategy to the city's police union in closed session, O'Malley continued to push his proposals to sweep the city's drug corners clean at a morning news conference at the infamous corner of Fayette and Monroe streets in West Baltimore.
In addition to combating illegal drug sales, O'Malley pledged expansion of drug treatment. "This is not the first time I've been at this corner, and this will not be the last time," O'Malley said.
O'Malley said he plans to encourage government leaders, the faith community, neighborhoods and business leaders to work together to sweep drug corners clean with such programs as The Recovery In Community project, an after-care program for addicts.
He later joined some of the city's Democratic leaders for a "Unity Rally" held by Marylanders Organized for Responsibility and Equity. The event attracted more than 200 people to the Masonic Temple on Eutaw Street.
Last night, after speaking to about 80 members of Fraternal Order of Police Baltimore City Lodge No. 3, which barred media coverage, Tufaro described the atmosphere as "unfriendly they clearly are not fans of me but Martin O'Malley."
He said he told them the investigation of the police shooting of Larry J. Hubbard "had to run its course and if there were any misunderstandings about that, I apologized."
The union had opened part of its usually private monthly meeting to a reporter from The Sun on Sept. 27 to cover O'Malley's address to the organization.
O'Malley told cheering officers that they "will not be let down by the politics of government" as his administration plans to implement a "zero-tolerance" approach to fighting crime and ridding streets of drug markets.
Tufaro, who has criticized O'Malley's proposal and called for more cooperation between police and neighborhood residents to determine what nuisance crimes to enforce, was troubled by the union's decision.
Tufaro released a text of his speech, which stated that his public safety plan included focusing on the small core of violent and repeat criminals, expanding the community policing concept, and breaking the cycle of addiction and joblessness with treatment and training.