The Sixth Needs Fighters

August 24, 1991

A secret of the Stonewall Democratic Club's long success has been its ability to pre-empt challengers with a unified ticket. When Sixth District lines were redrawn earlier this year, however, much of the old-line organization's base of support was shifted into the First. As a result, incumbents face the toughest election in decades.

Those incumbents have been feuding. Early on, Councilmen Joseph J. DiBlasi and Edward L. Reisinger offered a ticket spot to Councilman Timothy D. Murphy. When the 10-year veteran kept waffling, Mr. DiBlasi, who is seeking his third term, and Mr. Reisinger, who was appointed and is facing his first election, decided to go without him. A belated reconciliation occurred this week.

Mr. Murphy's mercurial behavior is a puzzle. Until he seemingly lost interest in his work two years ago, he was one of the council's few stars. He was impressive in his knowledge of complex budget issues that few of his colleagues understood.

The Sun believes that the Sixth no longer can afford a councilman who is not carrying his weight. For that reason we are not supporting Mr. Murphy.

In judging the needs of the Sixth we used criteria not applied to any other district. The Sixth is so big geographically that consideration had to be given to regional balance, in addition to qualifications. After all, the Sixth stretches from the fringes of the Inner Harbor all the way to Anne Arundel County and to the Baltimore County line near Catonsville. Contiguous communities typical of other districts are few and far between because so many residential pockets are surrounded by industrial zones.

Arlene Fisher seems the ideal candidate to take care of the interests of the Franklin Street-Edmondson Avenue corridor. A social worker by training, she has played a key role in efforts to improve the area's housing stock.

Mr. Reisinger has done impressive work with community groups throughout the district. We choose him over Mr. DiBlasi to watch over the Wilkens Avenue and Washington Boulevard neighborhoods and to take a special interest in Curtis Bay and Brooklyn. If elected, though, he must become more independent of Del. Paul E. Weisengoff.

Melvin Stukes, we feel, would provide solid representation for Cherry Hill. A longtime employee in the state comptroller's office, he has been active in causes ranging from better housing to automobile insurance reform.

The Sun is convinced that Arlene Fisher, Edward Reisinger and Melvin Stukes can help alleviate the serious problems of the district. Because it contains so much abject poverty, the Sixth must have fighters capable of providing vocal representation for all.

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