Stokes endorsement could help overcome city's racial...


August 25, 1999

Stokes endorsement could help overcome city's racial divide

I found myself breathing a sigh of relief upon reading The Sun's endorsement of Carl Stokes for mayor ("Stokes is best choice in Democratic primary," Aug. 18).

I am relieved and grateful, not so much out of partisan support for Mr. Stokes, but for what I hope will be a key result of the endorsement -- at least a temporary abatement of the racial polarization in the city's election process.

As a media institution that has been historically white-owned and white-controlled, The Sun's endorsement of a leading African-American candidate goes beyond obvious racial politics and focuses attention on other critical issues, such as the candidates' ideas, integrity and potential.

We'll never get away from race as a key consideration -- and in many ways we never should -- but The Sun's endorsement for a moment made me feel able to consider issues first and skin color second.

And, for that moment, I was happy not to face the prospect of further polarization in the mayoral race based upon the paper's support for a white candidate.

Whatever the race's outcome, thank you for The Sun's contribution to our city's racial climate.

I'd like to see more of the same from The Sun, from each mayoral candidate and from the whole electorate.

John C. Springer


The writer is executive director of Interfaith Action for Racial Justice Inc.

Stokes alone understands how to get city on track

As chair of the Baltimore Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), I congratulate The Sun for endorsing of Carl Stokes in the Democrats' mayoral primary.

Unlike the other candidates, Mr. Stokes is committed to landlord-tenant reform (stopping the slum property trade) and improving city services in neighborhoods where they are lacking.

The Sun's endorsement indicates an understanding that the problems of our city are multifaceted and must be handled on several levels.

We interviewed both Mr. Stokes and Councilman Martin O'Malley on their plans to address the city's problems. Only Mr. Stokes showed a serious understanding of how to get this city back on track.

City Council President Lawrence A. Bell's campaign never bothered to return our calls. This is an indication of Mr. Bell's lack of commitment to Baltimore's neighborhoods.

We hope The Sun will continue to think about Baltimore's neighborhoods in its endorsement policy and article selection.

Norma Washington


The writer is chair of Baltimore ACORN.

Stokes' dishonesty suggests O'Malley is best candidate

Let me understand this: Carl Stokes, former school board member, lies on his resume about his education and The Sun believes that in spite of this he is the best mayoral candidate in the Democratic primary? When did "lying" become synonymous with "best"?

The Sun's suggestion that Mr. Stokes' lie "didn't appear to be part of a wider pattern of dishonesty" is absurd.

How much wider a pattern do you want? It's lying -- plain and simple.

I am pulling for Councilman Martin O'Malley. Not only does he know how to tell the truth, he can write a check that will clear the bank.

Baltimore needs and should expect the best from its next mayor. I believe Mr. O'Malley is the man for the job.

Matt McElwee


A "thoughtful, mature candidate" does not lie about a college degree.

Carl Reavis


Racial litmus test for mayor a setback for race relations

After reading Dan Rodricks' column about the Rev. Douglas I. Miles' suspicions about Councilman Martin O'Malley, I thought: how pitiful and sad ("To pastor, O'Malley's timing is suspicious," Aug. 16).

The reverend Miles says that should Mr. O'Malley be the next mayor, "It would tear the city apart" and "signal a stunning setback in race relations."

But it's this type of mentality that's a setback in race relations. The reverend Miles should be concerned about finding the candidate who can do the most for the city -- not that the mayor be black.

Pete Teal


On character alone, O'Malley stands out

All three leading candidates in the city's Democratic mayoral primary -- City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III, Carl Stokes and Councilman Martin O'Malley -- promise dramatic reduction in crime, improvement of city schools and a soaring local economy.

And, of course, they each have their elaborate proposals to accomplish this miracle.

So, how do we as voters choose a mayor who can turn this city around when they all claim they can do the same thing?

The answer is character. A proposal is only as good as the person behind it. Promises not rooted in a candidate with strong character are just promises.

How can I trust that Mr. Stokes will turn this city around and do what he promises when he lied about graduating from Loyola College?

How can I trust that Mr. Bell will be responsible enough to run this out-of-control city when he can't even keep his personal finances in line, let alone keep his campaign manager in line?

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