Bell, O'Malley aim messages at each other's strongholds

New billboards, radio ads unveiled in mayoral race

August 02, 1999|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

Two chief Baltimore mayoral rivals have begun posting billboards and airing radio ads in each other's voting strongholds.

City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III has picked up billboard help across the city from the police and fire unions, while fellow Councilman Martin O'Malley targeted black voters with radio ads.

The Fraternal Order of Police, Firefighters Union and Baltimore Fire Officers Association spent $3,000 to post 12 billboards throughout the city asking voters to support Bell. The blue-and-red billboards went up Wednesday, seven weeks before the Sept. 14 mayoral primary.

The billboards, which read "Fire and Police For Bell," were placed in East, Southeast and Northeast Baltimore, areas considered O'Malley strongholds, said FOP President Gary McLhinney.

"It's O'Malley's base we're going after," McLhinney said. "We think Bell is the mayor to make Baltimore a safer place."

The billboard posting occurred as O'Malley's first radio ads went on the air targeting black voters throughout the city.

The ad includes a gospel piano background and a narrator noting that the city's chief African-American newspaper, the Afro-American, welcomed O'Malley into the mayor's race with an editorial. O'Malley is considered the leading white candidate in the race.

"One of the most active, outspoken and conscientious elected officials in our city," the Afro wrote of O'Malley.

The radio ad also notes that O'Malley chaired the committee investigating discrimination against black police officers.

As the rivals launched their ads, former East Baltimore Councilman Carl Stokes was unveiling his plan to push the city school board to create more after-school programs.

Preceding a teen baseball championship at Northwood Baseball Fields, Stokes said Wednesday that under his administration, children would not be sent home to empty houses or preyed upon by drug dealers.

Pub Date: 8/02/99

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