On Mfume: mayor's race, his voting record and moreAs a...

SATURDAY MAILBOX

May 08, 1999

On Mfume: mayor's race, his voting record and more

As a community association vice president in the Ashburton area, I have taken an interest in the upcoming mayoral race.

We have reached a turning point for Baltimore's neighborhoods, a moment when the economic progress and community development plans that have been made in partnership with Mayor Kurt Schmoke may bear fruit or be lost forever.

Baltimore's next mayor must be a visible, activist leader with the experience to make the most of our strengths, the profile to represent Baltimore nationally upon taking office and a history of giving every citizen a place at the table.

Of all the possible candidates mentioned, only one has these qualities: Kweisi Mfume. It is my hope that he will run and become our next mayor.

Shawn Tarrant, Baltimore

As an advocate for children, an early childhood educator and a mother who has raised her children in Baltimore, I know how much we need activist leadership in City Hall.

We can review statistics and hold press conferences to announce a new task force, or we can take action.

We can debate what strategy will meet our children's needs for safety and educational opportunity, or we can take action.

We can choose a future of passive city government, unmet commitments and lost children, or we can take action.

We are a city whose children need a powerful advocate at its helm. As citizens we are taking action. We ask Kweisi Mfume to answer the call.

Anana Kambon, Baltimore

Everyone is saying Kweisi Mfume is the savior of the city; three former mayors are saying he should enter the mayoral race.

But Mr. Mfume should continue to lead the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, where he has done a great job. This city needs a leader picked by its citizens, not someone three former mayors say is the savior.

To save this city, you need jobs that put people to work making wages that will support a family.

Legislators have been changing the rules to allow Mr. Mfume to run, but we don't even know what his agenda for the city would be. And if we change the rules for him, will we change the rules every time someone wants to run?

Horace T. Alston, Catonsville

After all these machinations to get Kweisi Mfume to run for mayor, I have just one question: What, exactly, would a Mayor Mfume do to bring Baltimore back to life?

Michael Holden, Chestertown

Wally Orlinsky and three ex-mayors have called with almost unseemly urgency for Kwiesi Mfume to run for mayor. They say Baltimore needs him desperately.

They portray Baltimore as a faded, fragile beauty who needs a handsome gentleman caller to squire her around.

What the city really needs is an honest, unpretentious leader whose gaze is squarely focused on solving its deep-rooted problems.

This means dealing with our high murder rate, rotted public education system and especially the hemorrhaging of young middle-class families who move from the city to the county when the children arrive.

Be warned, Baltimore: Squires don't like to get their hands messy with such matters. They prefer making speeches, hobnobbing and pondering future conquests.

J. D. Goodyear, Baltimore

Barry Rascovar's May 5 Opinion Commentary column, "Mfume's time is now," did an excellent job of pushing Kweisi Mfume to declare his mayoral candidacy, but I believe Mr. Mfume has a right to announce his decision at the time he feels is best.

One important advantage Mr. Mfume has is the great number of talented, enthusiastic supporters who have publicly supported him. I'd expect they would be willing to lend their talents and expertise to the administration of the man they drafted for mayor.

Whether our next mayor is Mr. Mfume or someone else, it will be the people chosen for the city's new Cabinet, and those behind the scenes who help manage the city's affairs, who will determine the mayor's success.

In fact, we citizens might insist that any candidate for mayor let us know in advance who he will put in charge of the city's day-to-day business.

Like countless others, I will support whoever becomes our next mayor. But I hope and pray that mayor has the most competent people available for key positions in the new administration.

The Rev. Frederick J. Hanna, Baltimore

Well, it turns out Ellen Sauerbrey was right about one thing: There was at least one noncity resident casting a fraudulent vote in the last few elections. His name? Kweisi Mfume.

What is most outrageous about this revelation is the blase attitude about it of most of Baltimore's "leaders." Since when has ballot box stuffing not been a crime?

William Smith, Baltimore

I don't see how any objective person can question that Kweisi Mfume knows full well that it is improper for anyone whose primary residence is in Baltimore County to vote in Baltimore City.

John White, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's spokesman, said, "He has always considered himself a city resident."

This misses the point: What Mr. Mfume considers himself is not the issue. Where he lives is.

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