Council chief worked for his defeat, mayor quoted
Mayor Kurt Schmoke, who usually carries his feelings close to the vest, let loose at a recent dinner for several hundred of his campaign workers.
He told the workers, who had gathered at Jimmy's Famous Seafood Restaurant on Holabird Avenue, that Council President Mary Pat Clarke should no longer be regarded as a political friend, one top campaign official reported.
"Many of you think she is a supporter of mine. She ain't," the mayor reportedly said. "In fact, she actively worked for my defeat in the primary."
Indeed, Clarke, who was an early supporter of Schmoke's in 1987, was said to engineer the New Democratic Club, 2nd District's decision not to endorse Schmoke in the September primary. Clarke is a controlling voice in NDC-2. Clarke also was said to lend covert support to the unsuccessful campaign of former Mayor Clarence H. Du Burns.
"We may eventually work this out," Schmoke reportedly told the workers of his problems with Clarke. "But even if we do, she has got to be made to pay a price by this organization."
A bitter loss:
Peter Beilenson, the Harvard-trained physician who ran a disappointing fifth in his Democratic primary bid for a 2nd District City Council seat, apparently finds his loss to be a bitter pill to swallow.
The day after the primary, Beilenson fired a nasty handwritten missive to U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-7th. Beilenson told the congressman that he was "disappointed" that Mfume supported Councilman Anthony J. Ambridge, who finished first in the 2nd District Democratic race.
Beilenson also attacked Ambridge's running mate, Paula Johnson Branch, a longtime community worker who also captured nomination for one of the district's three seats.
lTC L Beilenson mistakenly thought that Mfume had endorsed Branch.
"You certainly know what type of person Ambridge is," Beilenson wrote in the letter. "And you must know that in Branch you are supporting someone unqualified to do anything but fix potholes."
Beilenson went on: "I am aware of your reason for the endorsement, and I think it despicable."
Mfume shot back a letter of his own.
"Perhaps it is better that you were not elected to the City Council lest your constituents discover the level of your animosity and your hatred of those who don't see things your way," he wrote Beilenson.
But now that the heat of battle has cooled, both men are backing off their statements.
"Just leave me alone," Beilenson said when asked about the letter. "Frankly, what I wrote was between me and him."
For his part, Mfume, a friend and congressional colleague of Beilenson's father, U.S. Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson, D-Calif., said he still thinks Beilenson was a fine candidate.
"His letter came right after election night. It's understandable," Mfume said. "I have a great deal of respect for Peter Beilenson. I hope that this defeat doesn't prevent him from seeking office again. I am impressed by him."
City Councilman Dominic Mimi DiPietro seemed bewildered. A friend ushered him into the campaign headquarters of Republican 1st District council candidate James H. Styles Jr. last week and the crusty 86-year-old Democratic didn't know why.
"They kept calling me to come down here and I didn't want to, but I did," said DiPietro. "What's this all about?"
DiPietro, a 25-year veteran of the council, lost in the Democratic primary and will leave office in December.
Hoping to attract Democratic supporters loyal to DiPietro and who might just be upset enough over his loss to vote for a Republican, the Styles campaign staff decided to honor DiPietro's long years of service to the district by giving him a plaque.
"It was my staff's idea, but it just wasn't a PR ploy," said Styles. "This man deserves all the recognition he can get."
DiPietro stepped forward, accepted the plaque and said: "Ladies and gentlemen, you know I'm a loser. I didn't win. But I'm still working until the end of the year so if you need help, give me a call and I'll put you on a three-way call like I always do."
DiPietro handles constituent complaints by hooking himself and the constituent up with a city bureaucrat.
Turning to Styles, DiPietro said, "good luck and God bless ya."
Asked later if he could support the Republican Styles, DiPietro looked a little shocked at the mere thought. "I can't root for him, I'm a Democrat."
Michael A. Fletcher and Patrick Gilbert contributed to this column.