Lawyer urges black unity in mayor's race

January 20, 2007|By Laura Vozzella

A local attorney is urging Baltimore's black mayoral hopefuls to get behind one black candidate or risk returning a white mayor to City Hall.

In a letter sent yesterday to Mayor Sheila Dixon and several rivals, Warren A. Brown warned that a large field of black candidates would split the black vote.

"Surely all of you must recognize that with five Blacks pursuing this office, a member of the `majority' community will certainly, once again, serve as Mayor of this City," Brown wrote.

In addition to Dixon, Brown sent the letter to six people who plan to challenge her in September's Democratic primary, or are rumored to be considering runs. They include: Del. Jill P. Carter, Circuit Court Clerk Frank M. Conaway Sr., educator Andrey Bundley, Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., Comptroller Joan M. Pratt and State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy. Mitchell formally announced his candidacy yesterday.

Brown, an African-American defense attorney known for his flamboyant courtroom style, said in an interview that a white mayor in a majority-black city is not necessarily a bad thing. But he said that a black mayor would be more sensitive to issues such as failing schools, poverty and crime, which disproportionately affect black residents.

"When you have looked to the white establishment to take care of the problems and they have not, then you need to turn to somebody who really, really feels the pain and that is somebody from that community," he said.

Ruffin Brown, Dixon's executive director, said he had not seen the letter and declined to comment directly.

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