Mayoral candidate Kaufman calls for restructuring of city election system

May 29, 1999|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

Social activist and mayoral candidate A. Robert Kaufman said yesterday that he would push for restructuring the city election system, including requiring voter identification, eliminating primaries and allowing the City Council to elect its president.

The founder of the City Wide Coalition, best known for his call for the city to begin an auto insurance program, also would like the city to hire a city manager and for council members to be elected at large.

"I would be real happy to be the city's last mayor," Kaufman said at a news conference. The owner of a Walbrook Junction apartment complex has made several political bids, including running for governor and president.

Standing across from City Hall yesterday, Kaufman said City Hall is controlled by big-business leaders contributing to campaigns of candidates who allow businesses to maximize their profits at the expense of the public good.

Kaufman, 68, called the city's 19-member council "impotent" to effect change because the mayor controls a majority of the votes.

Local and state governments should allow voters to overturn governmental decisions through petition, Kaufman said.

"Some of this requires city charter changes, and some of this requires going to Annapolis," Kaufman said. "But all of this requires leadership."

Pub Date: 5/29/99

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