The Sun endorses

November 05, 2007

Baltimore is facing a historic choice on Tuesday: to elect women as the city's top municipal leaders, a trifecta of female power. In Mayor Sheila Dixon and Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake, city voters have assured, knowledgeable leaders who should be elected. Comptroller Joan Pratt is running unopposed.

Ms. Dixon and Ms. Rawlings-Blake have spent most of their adult lives in public service, getting involved in politics in their respective West Baltimore neighborhoods as young professionals. Each has an intimate understanding of the city's strengths and weaknesses, and can now capitalize on her unique experiences to improve Baltimore's outlook.

Ms. Dixon's opponent, Republican Elbert R. Henderson, would like to bring back the $1 house program to help renovate abandoned, city-owned properties into affordable housing, an idea that should be explored. His enthusiasm for the job, however, can't compete with Ms. Dixon's hands-on involvement at City Hall.

There is much to like about Maria Allwine's Green Party candidacy for City Council president. She has some innovative proposals, and she says, rightly, that the council president should be a watchdog on the mayor and her administration.

But Ms. Allwine is an outsider from way outside, and although Ms. Rawlings-Blake could strike a more independent posture sometimes, she has proved her ability to run the 14-member council smoothly and undramatically.

City Council

DISTRICT 1: James B. Kraft faces token opposition, and he has shown himself to be an energetic advocate for this evolving slice of the city, including both the Gold Coast of the Canton waterfront and the newly Latino precincts by Patterson Park.

DISTRICT 2: This race pits Nicholas C. D'Adamo Jr., an incumbent Democrat who sides with Republicans, against Brian H. Davis, a Republican who believes that the answer to crime is to pass right-to-carry laws so citizens can defend their lives and property with firearms.

DISTRICT 3: Robert W. Curran, the incumbent, has tackled neighborhood problems with customary verve, but his crowning accomplishment was to push the entire state into a workplace smoking ban this year. He easily deserves re-election.

DISTRICT 4: Bill Henry, a civic activist and housing advocate from Radnor-Winston who bested a field of nine candidates in the Democratic primary, is our choice.

DISTRICT 5: No contest.

DISTRICT 6: Democratic Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton, who faces no opposition from outside her party, gets the nod.

DISTRICT 7: No contest.

DISTRICT 8: Three-term Councilwoman Helen L. Holton faces a promising Republican newcomer in Sean Cummings, a former mailman who now runs his own trucking business. But we continue to believe Ms. Holton's experience will prove valuable in a newly elected government.

DISTRICT 9: Despite our misgivings about the interest and energy of incumbent Democrat Agnes Welch to represent her needy west-side district, Republican Michael John Bradley isn't seasoned enough to provide a practical option.

DISTRICT 10: Councilman Edward L. Reisinger's reputation for constituent service in the blue-collar communities of South Baltimore held off primary opposition from trendy Federal Hill in the Democratic primary. He should be returned to office to continue what he does best.

DISTRICTS 11, 12, 13: No contests.

DISTRICT 14: Republican Mark Newgent, the managing editor of a health journal, favors more academic-community partnerships to help city residents solve problems on their own. But his interest in the job can't supersede the record of Democratic Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, who continues to serve with distinction.

Charter Amendment

QUESTION A: This change in the city's procurement laws would help small businesses compete for city contracts by providing that bid bonds for multiyear contracts equal the price of the contract for one year. Vote For.

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