3rd District candidates push their platforms

Twelve vie for two seats

incumbent is challenged

August 20, 1999|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

With 11 candidates vying for two open seats and challenging a respected incumbent in the 3rd Council District, a weeknight forum was an evening at the political races in Northeast Baltimore.

Most of the 40 or 50 spectators in the small library basement at Loch Raven Boulevard and Cold Spring Lane Wednesday seemed to have made up their minds with less than a month to go before the primary Sept. 14. They split into small camps with placards for various candidates.

Noticeably absent was Martin O'Malley, who represents the district but has launched a mayoral bid, and Councilwoman Rita R. Church, who is retiring.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION Two recent articles about Baltimore's 3rd District councilmanic race misidentified Republican candidate Hal Riedl. In a story in Friday's editions, Riedl's name was misspelled. An Aug. 20 story about a candidates' forum referred to Riedl as a corrections officer. He is actually a state corrections case management specialist, a civilian post.
The Sun regrets the error.

Councilman Robert W. Curran was the only incumbent in the field of 10 Democrats and one Republican. "Empower the communities" was the motto Curran reiterated, citing the role of residents in deciding the future of Memorial Stadium and encouraging similar input on Belvedere Square.

The mix of candidates generated some suspense about who might emerge as a leader in the competitive field: a young paralegal; an Inner Harbor boat captain; or longtime community activist and auditor Sylvia Williams.

The lone Republican there -- a second candidate, Michael Mathei, 35, was not present -- was Hal Riedl, 52, a state correctional officer who stressed that he is a precinct captain supporting O'Malley for mayor, a tie which would serve the district well if O'Malley is elected.

Amid the usual litany of complaints about the city's high taxes and population decline, insurance agent and lifelong city resident Milton A. Dugger Jr., 56, declared that the key to urban health is maintaining viable community associations. "Somewhere in the psyche of the Baltimorean, [let's admit] it's a doggone good place to live."

Linda Cunningham Janey, 48, is a manager in the state department of planning and a former city school board commissioner. This summer, she participated in the citywide Neighborhood Congress. "We came up with solutions, and I really enjoyed being a part of that."

William Goodin challenged the race's only Democratic ticket, one Curran has formed with Kenneth Harris Sr. and Williams, who is active in the New Northwood Community Association and supports opening a council office in the district. "There may be some upsets and surprises this year," Goodin said.

Goodin, 46, is a city school teacher's aide and president of Unity For Action, a group that advocated successfully for civilian review of police conduct.

Harris, 36, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield account executive, said solving the "drug epidemic" would make Baltimoreans feel safer on their porches and enable children to learn more in schools.

A cheerful Jack Nolan, the oldest contender at 72, is a retired teacher and teachers union negotiator. He said he's running because, "We're losing kids quicker today. It makes me so upset."

Lisa Joi Stancil, 36, a former city housing authority attorney, addressed quality of life issues, such as enhanced recreational facilities, to help stop suburban flight.

Paralegal Charles Fitzpatrick, 25, said his motive for running was simple. "Baltimore City has forgotten about neighborhoods. It's just worried about downtown, stadiums and posh neighborhoods."

Boat captain Dennis Kresslein offered another idea: Give preference to city residents when hiring police officers and firefighters.

Myles Hoenig, a Waverly resident, said that because the 3rd District is losing seniority on the council, teamwork is important. He left impressed. "It was the first time I've been to a panel when nearly everybody had something intelligent to say."

The forum was moderated by Wiley Hall III of Morgan State University public affairs department and sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

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