Just before the Monday evening Baltimore City Council meetings, Councilwoman Lois Garey would give a peace offering to her feuding fellow 1st District representatives -- a butterscotch Lifesaver to John L. Cain and a peppermint Lifesaver to Nicholas C. D'Adamo Jr.
It was a motherly attempt to sweeten the often acrimonious relationship between the two councilmen, which in one incident a few months ago actually became violent.
The Lifesavers haven't worked yet as the two vie for re-election. Mr. D'Adamo and Mr. Cain are running on separate tickets, with Mrs. Garey joining Mr. D'Adamo. Mr. Cain, who fancies himself a renegade, says he will do better alone.
Eight people have come forward to challenge them in the Democratic primary for the district's three council seats Sept. 12.
But surprisingly, most candidates do not cite the acrimony between the councilmen as the reason they stepped forward. Instead they say the district is going downhill and needs new leadership to help slow the slide.
The 1st District is made up of mostly blue-collar neighborhoods that extend north of the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River to Monument Street, east of Edison Avenue to the city line and north to the southern edge of Northern Parkway. There is a large senior population and several ethnic neighborhoods.
In South Baltimore, the residents complain that recreation centers are falling apart; in Highlandtown, that drug traffic is seeping into the neighborhoods; and in Northeast Baltimore, that the schools are inferior.
The 1st District still is grappling with its new boundaries, redrawn four years ago, to give blacks more political punch citywide. It became the city's only predominantly white district. More than 40 percent of the residents had come from other districts.
Those people consequently had no allegiances to Dominic "Mimi" DiPietro and John A. Schaefer, council members for 20-plus years, and threw them out of office. Re-elected was Mr. D'Adamo, then a young upstart who stood apart from the old-time political machinery that controlled the district.
Mr. Cain, after waging an uphill battle on a small budget, also was swept into office along with Perry Sfikas.
Mr. Sfikas since has become a state senator in the 46th Legislative District and was replaced by Mrs. Garey earlier this year.
The three incumbents say that their district has been overlooked by the Schmoke administration.
The Schmoke administration "never did well in the 1st District, and they are not giving it much attention," Mr. D'Adamo said. "The district is not getting its simple services met."
ZTC The incumbents say that though the district has its problems, so far it has been lucky enough to escape the worst of the drug and crime problems that have enveloped the rest of the city.
But the challengers contend that new leadership is needed before it is too late.
Mark S. Burke, 41, comes from the Hamilton neighborhood and says crime is the most important problem the 1st District needs to deal with.
Mr. Burke's campaign has floundered for months, since the shooting death of his sister and his best friend.
Dennis M. O'Hara, 43, from Highlandtown, says that he is running because the council representatives
ignore his area. Mr. O'Hara says that, if elected, he will seek to toughen gun control laws. He also says that he wants to reduce school class sizes.
Business help pledged
Joseph Ratajczak, 62, also is from Highlandtown. In 1987 he ran unsuccessfully for a council seat. In 1991, he was the third member on the losing DiPietro-Schaefer ticket for council.
"I will help the business people by bringing in new businesses to shopping centers." Mr. Ratajczak said.
Another challenger, Charles G. Krysiak, says that feuding by Mr. Cain and Mr. D'Adamo is not good for the district.
"The tension between the two is very counterproductive, I wish they would bury the hatchet," Mr. Krysiak said.
"I see myself as the peacemaker, as the man who can not only bridge the distance between city council people but between the city itself and the community."
Mr. Krysiak comes from a family of politicians. His father, Charles J. Krysiak, was in the House of Delegates from 1966 to 1979. His mother, Carolyn Krysiak, is in the first year of her second term as a delegate from the 46th Legislative District.
In his campaign, Mr Krysiak also says, "We need to improve our commercial corridors through beautification,"
Mr. Krysiak has one of the better-organized campaigns of the challengers. He has raised nearly $10,000 and is running an extensive door-to-door campaign.
Kelley Ray, 33, from Belair-Edison, touts neighborhood-based schools and programs for increased home ownership for younger couples.
Also running is Charles J. Morgan Jr., 66, from Federal Hill who says that the biggest concern is crime, and Gary L. Thomas, 30, from South Baltimore who wants to add more firefighters and give tax incentives to bring in additional business.
Mr. D'Adamo, after eight years in office, has become the entrenched politician in the district. He has raised a large amount of money for his re-election campaign, nearly $84,000. Culled mostly from businesses, the money in his treasury easily tops that of every opponent.
Mr. Cain has raised about $19,000. He voluntarily imposes a $300 maximum on donations that he will accept from one person.
"It is the money that corrupts the politician," Mr. Cain said. "It is a result of the money that the politician represents the campaign contributors and not the community."