He's in the mayoral race to stay, assures Du Burns
Clarence H. Du Burns, who was mayor of Baltimore for a year before losing to Kurt L. Schmoke in the 1987 Democratic primary, says he is in the mayor's race to stay.
At the recent opening of his campaign headquarters, Burns deflected rumors that he might abandon a mayoral race to make a move for City Council president.
"I like to go down the street and have people say, 'Hi, Mr. Mayor.'
Burns called the open house "another piece of showing people that I am running for mayor."
About 75 supporters recently turned out at the candidate's campaign headquarters at 920 Cathedral St. to receive bumper stickers and window signs and to get pumped up for the campaign.
Burns told the people at the open house that they will help form the nucleus of his campaign. He imparted this information as only he can.
"You people down here are selected people," he joked. "What you are selected for, don't ask me."
On 2nd thought
Homeless advocate Bea Gaddy has changed plans and is seeking a council seat from the 2nd District instead of the 1st District.
Gaddy originally planned to run in the 1st, but redistricting put her Butcher's Hill neighborhood in the 2nd District. Gaddy operates two East Baltimore social programs: the Bea Gaddy Social Development Center, a shelter for homeless women and their children, and the Patterson Park Center, which collects food, clothing and furniture for distribution to the needy.
She ran unsuccessfully for the council in 1971 and filed for office several times since, but withdrew her candidacy.
"We're still going to run the same people-oriented campaign we were going to run in the 1st," said Gaddy. Asked if she thought her chances are better in the 2nd than the 1st, Gaddy replied, "I feel I can represent the people who don't have, as well as the VTC people who do have, in any district."
Born and bred
Does it pay for a City Council candidate to be born, baptized, play Little League and go all the way through school in the district in which the candidate is running? You might ask Kevin O'Keeffe.
During a day of door-to-door campaigning, O'Keeffe, a challenger running in the 3rd District, stopped to hand out some campaign brochures at a bus stop near St. Matthews Catholic School in north Baltimore. One of the people at the stop who took a brochure happened to be the crossing guard at the Catholic elementary school who remembered O'Keeffe when he attended there some 15 years ago.
Several days later, the crossing guard's 20-year-old granddaughter called to say she had read the brochure and wanted to help in his campaign.
The next day she took a bus across the district to O'Keeffe's house and spent the day helping him hand out campaign literature.
"Now, if I can just run into all the guys I played Little league with," O'Keeffe said.
After three years of dealing with local elected officials both as a journalist and as a community activist, Jon Cain has decided he can do it better.
Cain, editor of the East Baltimore Guide, has announced his candidacy for City Council in the 1st District.
"The district needs representatives who can do more than get potholes filled and trash picked up; it needs fresh people who have new ideas on solving in the long run problems of the district and the city," said Cain, sounding a familiar refrain among challengers.
Cain has also been a member of the Waterfront Coalition, a group of neighborhood and other civic organizations in Canton and Fells Point concerned about residential and commercial development around the harbor.
Cain, 51, is a Canton native who left to pursue a career in radio and acting before returning to the neighborhood and assuming the duties of editor of the Guide in 1988. He plans to take a leave of absence from the newspaper while he campaigns for public office.
'New Jack' Johnson
Touting himself as a "new jack" politician, Michael E. Johnson has announced his candidacy for a City Council seat in the 5th District.
Johnson, 36, is known in Lower Park Heights for organizing concerts and recreational programs for young people. A Democrat, Johnson ran for the council in 1987. He finished a distant seventh.
He is optimistic about his chances this year, however, saying he is younger, hipper and better plugged in than the three incumbents.
"The current representation is just out of it," he says. "They are totally out of touch with the real problems in the community."