GOP hopeful cites city's homicide rate as campaign issue

April 09, 1991

Joseph A. Scalia II, a University of Baltimore law student, said yesterday that the state medical examiner's office on Penn Street will serve as a backdrop when he announces his candidacy today as a Republican contender for mayor of Baltimore.

Mr. Scalia said the medical examiner's office, which houses the morgue, is an appropriate place to kick off his candidacy because he intends to make an issue of the soaring number of homicides in the city. As of yesterday, there had been 80 homicides in Baltimore during 1991, police spokeswoman Arlene Arlene K. Jenkins said, four more than during the same period in 1990.

"If the crime rate stays the same it's possible, it's likely, that someone you know and care for could end up there," Mr. Scalia said, adding that people need to feel safe if the city is to have a chance for survival. "The city is mortally wounded when a clerk gets shot in a downtown restaurant."

Mr. Scalia, 27, also said the city has no right to plead poverty as an excuse for poor schools and declining services because it already spends $1.8 billion annually, which is more than the operating budget of several smaller U.S. states. Rather, he said, the city must reduce its number of employees and invigorate its lethargic bureaucracy in order to get a bigger bang for its taxpayer bucks.

Mr. Scalia, a resident of Butchers Hill who has never run for political office, will join former Mayor Clarence H. "Du" Burns, former Baltimore City State's Attorney William A. Swisher and Lyndon LaRouche follower John B. Ascher in challenging Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke for office.

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