Mayoral hopeful Stokes takes campaign to the streets on Garrison Boulevard

Residents tell candidate they feel abandoned

June 17, 1999|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

Baltimore mayoral candidate Carl F. Stokes whipped through a broken West Baltimore neighborhood yesterday trying to cull votes on his "Walk Through Baltimore" campaign tour.

During the next three weeks, the 48-year-old former school board member plans to march 35 miles through city neighborhoods trying to convince voters that he can address everything from violent crime to woeful schools.

The former East Baltimore city councilman chose Garrison Boulevard between Gwynns Falls Parkway and Wabash Avenue because of the rise in drug dealing and prostitution.

"This was one of Baltimore's strongest African-American neighborhoods, and when you walk through here and see the devastation, it really hurts," Stokes said.

Residents told Stokes they feel abandoned by the city. Trying to maximize his time, Stokes walked past 17-year-old Tyneshia Barnett, who summoned the candidate back.

"We just want to know if he's the new man and whether he's going to change some stuff," said Tyneshia, who stood with two girlfriends lamenting having nothing to do.

Stokes told the girls he intends to improve city recreation centers, 18 of which have been closed as the city opts for 27 Police Athletic League centers.

Tyrone Bruce, 28, wants Stokes to address the problem of teens being sent to prison for life. Stokes intends to dedicate $25 million more annually to the school system, he told Bruce.

"I'm talking about the prison system," Bruce replied.

"I don't want them to go to prison," Stokes said. "What's your solution?"

"I don't know, you're running for mayor," Bruce retorted. "I'm trying to get information from you."

Bruce then shook Stokes' hand, wishing him luck. "I know it's a big job," he said.

As Stokes met with residents, City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III was across town, picking up the endorsement of the city's Fraternal Order of Police.

The union commended Bell for making public safety his chief priority.

A third candidate, A. Robert Kaufman, spent the morning opposing city plans to allow private companies to bid on city services.

Reports also surfaced yesterday that Northeast City Councilman Martin O'Malley will likely join the six-candidate mayoral field.

O'Malley declined to comment on the reports, saying that he intends to make an announcement on his future next week.

The filing deadline for mayoral candidates hoping to succeed departing Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke is July 6.

Merida Goodman of the Garrison Boulevard United Neighborhood Association walked with Stokes yesterday, welcoming his presence in the neighborhood.

"At least he's out in the city listening to people," Goodman said.

Pub Date: 6/17/99

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