Candidate runs hard for council But 2nd District members will choose Ambridge successor

July 04, 1996|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,SUN STAFF

In hopes of filling Anthony J. Ambridge's newly vacated 2nd District council seat, Charles Village resident Ed Hargadon has begun planting the seeds of an early grass-roots campaign.

He has formed a committee of district leaders to back him. He has launched a telephone and mail campaign to tout him as an early candidate. And he is working to curry favor with voters.

But Hargadon hasn't been lobbying the only two people who can make him Baltimore's newest councilman -- council members Paula Johnson Branch and Robert L. Douglass. It is they, not district voters, who will decide Ambridge's replacement.

According to the City Charter, if one of the three district council members resigns between elections, the other two come up with a nominee of their choosing. That person is taken before the council body for a vote. As a courtesy, most council members vote for the district nominee.

"I'm basically running this way until somebody tells me what the rules are, because I don't know," said Hargadon, a lawyer and former president of the Charles Village Civic Association.

Since Ambridge resigned last month to work with the city comptroller handling Baltimore's real estate investments, the process of filling the seat has caused much confusion.

It will work like this:

Branch and Douglass will announce a public hearing date Sept. 30, after the City Council returns from its summer recess. Within 30 days of the public hearing, Branch and Douglass will make a recommendation to the council and the council will vote.

A new member should be named by November. Four council members were initially appointed: Lois Garey, Dr. Norman A. Handy Sr., Edward L. Reisinger and Rochelle "Rikki" Spector.

Only three people, including Hargadon, have formally announced their desire to fill the 2nd District seat. The others are Vernon E. Crider, a job coordinator at Joseph C. Briscoe High School, who lives in the 1200 block of N. Curley St., and Bolton Hill resident Sarah Louise Matthews, who was the fourth-highest vote getter in last year's 2nd District election.

Crider, 32, was in Alabama attending to a family emergency yesterday, according to his mother. Details about his background were not available yesterday.

Matthews, 44, a former coordinator of education and employment programs for the nonprofit Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland, is a camp counselor for the Druid Hill YMCA.

"I might not be anyone else's choice, but I'm the voters' choice," Matthews said, because she collected the most votes in the last election after the three who won.

Branch said she does not have anyone specific in mind to fill the post.

"I'm looking for someone who has worked across the district, not someone who has worked in one specific community," Branch said. "My criteria is a person who shares my philosophy about serving the community."

Speculation among council members is that Branch and Douglass, both supporters of the administration of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, will fill the seat with another administration cheerleader. Ambridge was usually anti-administration.

"What I'm looking for is not a friend of the mayor but someone who shares the same philosophy and vision of the 2nd District," Branch said.

Douglass could not be reached for comment.

Branch said that all interested people should send resumes to her office. She will continue to accept them up to the day of the public hearing in the fall.

Pub Date: 7/04/96

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