City Council districts

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The Sun continues its endorsements for the Sept. 9 Baltimore primary election with races in City Council northwest districts 5, 6, and 14.

District 5

THE COUNCIL'S self-described dean, Democrat Rochelle Rikki Spector, has represented parts of Northwest Baltimore for 26 years. She's sitting comfortably, with her only Democratic opponent the colorful critic of local government, cable TV journalist Leonard J. Kerpelman, a former attorney who 40 years ago won the Supreme Court case against mandatory prayer in schools. The self-appointed defender of 4.4 acres of trees situated between Pimlico Race Course and Mount Washington, he lacks Ms. Spector's grasp of the needs of the rest of the district, which rolls west from upscale Mount Washington to the reviving Reisterstown Plaza, and south to Forest Park through neighborhoods battling decay and drug-related crime. The Sun endorses Ms. Spector, whose goals include "making sure the taxpayers get what they pay for" in public services such as trash removal.

District 6

THE SUN endorses attorney Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the vice president of the City Council. Ms. Rawlings-Blake worked with police to help create a new citywide crime-watch program that benefits, among other areas, the drug-ravaged Park Heights corridor. She has been a serviceable team player on the council, and an advocate for the communities she has represented, many of which are in the new 6th District, which stretches from Howard Park to Roland Park. Her strongest Democratic challengers include city schoolteacher Charese Williams, who has ideas for improving city schools, and computer networking company owner Seth A. Rosenberg. The others are Yellow Bowl restaurant owner Vincent "Rick" Fullard, adult disability home manager Kevin L. Williams, and property tax reform advocate and renovator Kelley C. Brohawn.

District 14

FORMER CITY COUNCIL President Mary Pat Clarke, who has been teaching urban policy at area colleges since she lost the mayoral race eight years ago, still has her trademark spunk, and with 16 years of council experience, can help the reorganized public body make the best use of its limited powers. Ms. Clarke never really retired, and she lobbied for a community policing strategy in the Northern and Northeast police districts. She wants to re-establish annual, neighborhood-based planning for urban renewal areas across the city, and to open a college resource center for the district, which includes Ednor Gardens, Lake Montebello, Clifton Park, Hampden, Guilford and parts of Charles Village.

Her Democratic opponents lack her directly relevant experience. They include Bank of America executive Kelly N. Fox, who has done yeoman's work on the Civilian Review Board; state worker Elizabeth Smith; and Grenville B. Whitman, who crusaded against the current Charles Village Community Benefits District.

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