Mayoral candidates display conflicting views of Baltimore

August 02, 1991|By Martin C. Evans

The basketball hoop in front of the stage was swung up and out of the way last night in the church hall of St. Brigid's Roman Catholic parish on South East Avenue, where 11 of the candidates for mayor of Baltimore met face to face for the first time this election season.

The forum, sponsored by the Southeast Community Organization, drew about 150 people. The views of the city it elicited from six Democratic and five Republican candidates ranged from a dying one to one that, with just a little sprucing up, could be a very livable place.

Former Mayor Clarence H. "Du" Burns accused Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke of taking credit for education reforms that Mr. Burns said he had started. Both men are Democrats.

"I started reducing the class sizes," Mr. Burns said. "The kindergarten teachers love me today because I reduced the kindergarten class size to 25."

William A. Swisher, a Democrat and former Baltimore state's attorney, whom Mr. Schmoke defeated in 1982 to begin his political career, said that after three years in office, the mayor zTC should be implementing successful programs, not proposing them as campaign promises.

"Everything he says should be done ought to have been done three years ago," said Mr. Swisher, who also promised to cut the size of the city school administration.

Joseph A. Scalia, a Republican, said that unless voters put him in office, there might not be much of a city left because of crime and government mismanagement.

But the candidate who got the biggest applause last night was one few Baltimoreans have ever heard of. Ronald W. Williams, an East Baltimore Democrat, promised that if elected, he would eliminate property taxes. "If you own your own home, why should you pay property taxes?" Mr. Williams asked.

Several people left the hall saying he was their kind of candidate, including Leo W. Dymowski, a Republican running for City Council in the 1st District. "I'm for Williams all the way," the Republican said. "We need a senatorial candidate for next year. We might draft him."

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