Baltimore : Politics Environment groups endorse...

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

September 08, 2007

Baltimore : Politics

Environment groups endorse Sarbanes

The city and state's main environmental groups have chosen to stay out of the mayor's race, while endorsing Michael Sarbanes for City Council president.

The Baltimore City League of Environmental Voters and Maryland League of Conservation Voters decided not to endorse in the mayor's race after interviewing Mayor Sheila Dixon and City Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. and concluding they were both strong on environmental issues, said Liz Nelson, a spokeswoman for the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

"We met with both Mayor Dixon and Councilman Mitchell, and we really felt that both of the candidates had a lot to offer on the environment and we'd easily be able to work with either candidate so we chose to stay out of the race," said Nelson. "We saw a bit of a clearer choice in the council races and the council president's race."

Nelson said Sarbanes was chosen because of his record on environmental issues. She said members of the environmental community have worked with him on issues such as transportation and lead paint. "He's just been a really great advocate," she said.

Dixon and Mitchell are among seven candidates running in Tuesday's Democratic Primary for mayor. Dixon leads in fundraising and in a poll conducted recently for The Sun, with Mitchell coming in second.

Sarbanes, a longtime activist who is on leave from his job as executive director of the Citizens Housing and Planning Association, is running in a four-way race. Sarbanes and City Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake are virtually tied, according to The Sun poll, and Sarbanes has an edge in fundraising.

Sumathi Reddy

Schools

Bus firm dispute strands 450 students

Drivers involved in a pay dispute refused yesterday to take students home at the end of the day, forcing Baltimore public school officials to find other rides for 450 students.

Allied Transportation ended up operating 17 of its 32 routes yesterday, according to schools spokeswoman Vanessa Pyatt. The school system covered the other routes by using a combination of city school buses, buses from other vendors and taxicabs, she said.

It was unclear what the dispute was about, though a manager who answered the phone at Allied's office at 1321 Joh Ave. implied he and the company's drivers had not been paid. A reporter who called Allied's parent company in Baltimore, National Transportation, was hung up on.

It was unclear whether Allied would resume its routes Monday.

Allied is in the first of a five-year, $2.5 million contract with the city school system. The company handles 32 routes, driving 450 students at 45 schools.

"We're hopeful any outstanding issues will be resolved," Pyatt said.

Jill Rosen

Notre Dame

College offers information sessions

The College of Notre Dame is planning information sessions on its Accelerated College and Weekend College programs on Tuesday and on Wednesday, Sept. 26. Both sessions are set to begin at 6 p.m. and will be held in Fourier Hall on the college's campus, 4701 N. Charles St. For more information or to make a reservation at one of the sessions, call 410-532-5500 or go to www.ndm.edu.

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