LARRY YOUNG is right when he says the Baltimore NAACP needs effective leadership. And perhaps he's right when he says the local organization is too passive.
But members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's branch also need leadership they can trust.
So where does Mr. Young fit in?
Mr. Young's colleagues expelled him from the state Senate in 1998 after finding he used his public office for private gain. Even senators who didn't want to boot him concluded he had done something wrong. Forty-six members of the 47-member chamber voted at least to censure him.
A jury acquitted him of criminal charges, but that's not the same as approving of his behavior.
Since his acquittal, however, Mr. Young has portrayed himself as a persecuted martyr. He plays the victim role brilliantly on his morning radio talk show. Now, he is using his abused underdog status to launch a campaign for the Baltimore NAACP presidency.
Just a few short years ago, the national organization, based here in Baltimore, saw its reputation tarnished when then-leader Benjamin F. Chavis (now Benjamin Muhammad) secretly pledged NAACP funds to settle a sexual harassment complaint against him and plunged the group into financial crisis.
The scandal hurt local chapters' fund-raising efforts for a while. Thanks to Myrlie Evers-Williams, who entered the picture as chairwoman, and Chief Executive Officer Kweisi Mfume, the NAACP has regained its sound financial footing and integrity.
Trust must also be an issue when the local NAACP chooses its next president on Nov. 21.