Standing in the now-vacant complex dubbed "Murder Mall," City Councilman Nick J. Mosby billed himself in his official announcement for mayor Sunday as a transformer with new ideas and new energy.
Mosby — who addressed a crowd of about 350 in Reservoir Hill's former Madison Park North Apartments — spoke about his decision to move into the neighborhood 11 years ago into a firebombed house near where children played "drug dealers and police officers." He said he and wife, Marilyn J. Mosby, who is now the city's state's attorney, wanted to be part of West Baltimore's rejuvenation.
"I have a question for each and everyone of you," he said to the crowd. "Are we willing to fight for a better Baltimore? Are we willing to fight against poverty, against illiteracy? Are we ready to fight to provide a world-class education for every single child in this city?"
Mosby, 36, is a first-time councilman and former Verizon engineer and senior project manager for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. He grew up in the Northwood neighborhood and was raised by a single mother.
He briefly outlined his campaign platform, saying he would focus on improving Baltimore's schools, reducing homelessness, creating safer streets, providing a more open government and equipping every patrol officers with body cameras.
"Collectively, we can change every block, every corner, every neighborhood," he said. "I need your help starting today."
His wife did not speak during the announcement.
Mosby will face former Mayor Sheila Dixon, state Sen. Catherine Pugh and City Councilman Carl Stokes in the Democratic primary on April 26.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake isn't seeking re-election.
Long-time Councilman Robert W. Curran attended the announcement to throw his support behind Mosby. He had been supporting Rawlings-Blake.
"At this time, he is our best chance for a new vision," Curran said.
Jenny Morgan said she has worked closely with Mosby during his time in office in her role as director of the nonprofit Baltimore Green Works, an environmental advocacy group. She said she's been impressed by his responsiveness, attention to constituents and the work he did to establish a dialogue after the April riots.
"That comes from a place of caring," Morgan, 55, said.
Bailus McLee III of Northeast Baltimore said he wanted to come to the event to hear Mosby's speech, but hasn't decided which candidate to back. He said he thinks Mosby has offered good legislation while on council, but is not sure how much of a difference he's made in his own community.
"What have you done in your district, and you want to govern the entire city?" said McLee, a 55-year-old housing consultant.
Others who have said that they are considering a run for mayor include City Councilman Brandon Scott; William H. Cole IV, president of the Baltimore Development Corp.; businessman David L. Warnock; and Elizabeth Embry, criminal division chief for the Maryland attorney general's office and daughter of Abell Foundation President Robert C. Embry Jr.
Other Democrats who have filed are Richard Black, Mack Clifton, Mike Maraziti and Calvin Allen Young III.
Republican Brian Charles Vaeth has filed to run. Green Party member Bonnie Lane filed to run, but last week said she was dropping out of the race.
The filing deadline is Feb. 3.