2 former City Council members expect to make a run for seats

Clarke among those who may challenge Stancil

April 19, 2003|By Doug Donovan | Doug Donovan,SUN STAFF

Two of the city's most seasoned political players and a cast of first-time candidates declared yesterday their intentions to unseat one of the City Council's newest members.

Mary Pat Clarke, a former two-term council president, said yesterday that she is returning to city politics after an eight-year teaching career. Clarke, 61, who mounted a failed mayoral bid in 1995, will be looking to unseat Lisa Joi Stancil in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary in the newly created 14th District.

Wilbur E. "Bill" Cunningham, who was a council member for 10 years, said he may also run in the same district. At least two other candidates in the 14th District said they expect to mount campaigns despite having never held elected office.

And a candidate from the Green Party said he will challenge the Democratic primary victor in the general election next year.

"It doesn't matter who is in the race," said Stancil, 40, a private attorney and first-term representative from the existing 3rd District in Northeast Baltimore. "I won't be running against anyone. I'll be running for the job."

The other candidates who also may challenge Stancil include:

Kelly Fox, 31, of the Ednor Gardens/Lakeside neighborhood.

The Bank of America employee is an active member in the New Democratic Club and is vice president of Black Professional Men Inc. He said he is running because he believes the council has not been accessible to the public.

Myles B. Hoenig, 47, of Waverly.

Hoenig is president of the Waverly Improvement Association and has worked to try to prevent Loyola College from building a stadium in Woodberry. He intends to run in the November general election next year as a Green Party candidate.

John T. Yuhanick, 53, of Tuscany-Canterbury.

Yuhanick is the owner of a corporate public relations firm. While he said he has not made a final decision on the election, he said he is fully expecting to run.

This year will be the first that voters elect council members from a radically changed political landscape. The current council is made up of 18 members elected from six election districts and a president who is elected citywide. Three council members were elected from each of the six districts. That system used to provide candidates with the opportunity to run on tickets of three, consolidating resources to run campaigns.

Last year, however, voters approved a change in the council's configuration. Starting in January 2005, the council will be made up of 14 members, each elected individually in the 2004 general election from 14 new districts. The president will continue to be elected citywide.

That means all council members must stand on their own to fend off what many political observers believe will be a plethora of challengers attracted to such an untested political playing field. Stancil's new 14th District is expected to be one of the most contested races because of its politically active neighborhoods.

This is why Clarke, a longtime political player in Baltimore, decided to get back in the game.

"I have a passion about this changing time in the council, and I want to help be part of making it work," said Clarke, who served as a council member from 1975 to 1983 and as council president from 1987 until 1995. "People have been frustrated with the responsiveness of the City Council, and the council is the very place where the people's voice should be heard."

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