6th District councilmen end feud, campaign together Three white incumbents join ranks in realigned district, now 58% black.

August 22, 1991|By Patrick Gilbert | Patrick Gilbert,Evening Sun Staff

The old team spirit was back at the Stonewall Democratic Club last night as the three feuding 6th District councilmen put on a show of unity, handing out plaudits and encouragement to each other.

Councilmen Joseph J. DiBlasi and Edward L. Reisinger had been openly feuding with Councilman Timothy D. Murphy since last March and the two campaigned this summer without Murphy.

But last night, before the club voted to endorse the trio for re-election, they had nothing but good things to say about each other.

"I want to strongly urge all of you to get the voters out on election day for Ed, Tim and I," DiBlasi told club members. "We've worked hard as a team for you and the district."

"I'd like to note that Ed crammed what has seemed like 10 years of experience into the last 18 months he's been in office and I highly commend Ed for that," Murphy said.

Reisinger was appointed to fill the term of the late Councilman William J. Myers in February 1990.

Last June, both DiBlasi and Reisinger said they would not run for re-election with Murphy.

They were angered that Murphy spurned their offer to join them in a May fund-raiser and to add his name to their campaign literature. They formed their own ticket and campaigned without him.

"We're not mentioning his name when we campaign and, so far, few people are asking about him," DiBlasi said in June.

Murphy explained then that he felt he couldn't join his two colleagues because he was a candidate for a District Court judgeship and didn't want to jeopardize his chances. He did not get the appointment.

Asked what changed the situation, DiBlasi said last night that "it didn't change, it evolved."

"All the Democratic clubs in the district began endorsing the three of us and then we saw that Tim was out there campaigning in a way that meant he was committed to staying in the council," said DiBlasi. "Before that, we thought he was more committed to being a judge."

DiBlasi said the trio began campaigning together in the past week.

Murphy quickly departed the meeting before he could be asked for a comment.

DiBlasi said several months ago he and Reisinger decided not to take a third person on their ticket with the thought of perhaps picking up a black candidate.

Redistricting changed the population of the 6th from 52 percent white to 58 percent black.

"But then the three leading blacks formed their own ticket," DiBlasi said. "So going with Tim gives us a strong, winning ticket."

Melvin L. Stukes, Rodney A. Orange and Arlene B. Fisher, the three leading black candidates, last month formed a unity ticket and have been urging black voters to vote only for them.

Redistricting, while changing the racial makeup of the district, also placed Stonewall in the councilmanic 1st District.

Stonewall's board will recommend to members the endorsements of 1st District incumbents Nicholas C. D'Adamo Jr. and John A. Schaefer and challenger Perry Sfikas, according to a top official of the club, who didn't want his name used until Stonewall had acted.

The club canvassed voters in Locust Point and South Baltimore and found nearly unanimous support for D'Adamo and Sfikas, the official said. Redistricting moved both of these areas, which had been part of the 6th, into the 1st.

During a candidate forum in Locust Point last month, neighborhood leaders held Schaefer and incumbent Dominic L. Mimi DiPietro responsible for the move into another district and vowed never to support them.

Residents said D'Adamo had voiced strong opposition to the redistricting plan when it was debated in the City Council, while Schaefer and DiPietro remained virtually silent. Schaefer has insisted he and DiPietro never really supported the redistricting plan.

The Stonewall official said the club's board also was influenced by efforts of D'Adamo and Sfikas to spend a lot of time campaigning in Locust Point and South Baltimore.

Asked why the board also recommended Schaefer, the official said "because he's going to win."

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