Candidates aiming to fill the 2nd District City Council seat vacated by Anthony J. Ambridge this summer were met with a surprise at last night's council meeting. Whoever wins the appointment next month will have to go before the voters in a special election in 1998.
By the end of the 1999 City Council election, three people could have served in the seat. For the past 30 years, when a council member was appointed to fill a vacancy, that person was guaranteed the seat until the next citywide election.
But because of a change in the City Charter that took effect July 1, whoever is appointed to fill a council vacancy is deemed an acting council member until the next statewide election.
Maryland's next governor will be elected in 1998, and that election will provide Baltimoreans the chance to elect a 2nd District council member.
The seat will be open again, with all citywide elected offices, in 1999.
"It's going to be expensive," said Bernard C. Young, who is seeking Ambridge's seat. He said that he will run in 1998 and 1999.
At least nine people have shown interest in filling the seat of Ambridge, who left in June to become the city real estate officer.
Councilwoman Paula Johnson Branch, the senior 2nd District representative, said last night she will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Oct. 10 at City Hall for all interested candidates. Branch and 2nd District Councilman Robert L. Douglass likely will come out with their choice for the vacancy at the Oct. 14 council meeting.
Branch said she and Douglass will be looking for candidates who have been active in district politics for a long time and know how city government functions.
Two hopefuls, Charlie Baskerville Jr. and Sarah Louise Matthews, ran in the 1995 election. Matthews came in fourth.
Also seeking the seat are Desiree M. Dodson; Garry Farley; Edward K. Hargadon, president of the Charles Village Civic Association; the Rev. Steve Jeter, a minister at the House of Victory Church; Andrew Joseph O'Brien; and Mark Washington.
Matthews, who was critical of Branch in her campaign last year, said she will rely on community leaders to pressure Branch and Douglass to appoint her.
"I'm hoping that the people who voted for me will come out and support me" at the public hearing, Matthews said.
Young, who ran for the seat and lost in 1991, withdrew from the 1995 election. Some City Hall sources consider Young, a member of the state central committee, the front-runner in the race.
However, Branch and Douglass have said that no one is the front-runner.
Pub Date: 10/01/96