Baltimore Press

Eastside DemocratsEndorse Stokes, Irby

At a press conference held outside his home yesterday, State Senator Nathaniel McFadden (D-45) spoke for the Eastside Democratic Organi­zation (EDO) and endorsed Carl Stokes for Mayor and Nathaniel Irby for City Council President.

Attending the conference were City Comptroller Joan Pratt, 45th District Delegates Hattie Harrison and Talmadge Branch, and 2nd District Councilmembers Robert Doug­lass, Bernard “Jack” Young, and Paula Johnson Branch.

McFadden disparaged Mayoral hopefuls Lawrence Bell and Martin O’Malley as “Batman and Robin, who now say they’re divorced.” He talked about Ball’s “compan­ions: the Joker, the Riddler, and Batwoman.” The reference to “Batwoman” (Gia Blatterman, who was Mayor Schmoke’s campaign finance guru and is now in the Bell camp) gained guffaws from the 20-odd onlookers, largely EDO members. The

candidate Stokes, he said, “was not Batman or Robin, but a true man.”

McFadden continued the metaphor, saying that Stokes “did not wait for a vision from the bat cave” to declare his candidacy. The statement was a jab at both Bell and O’Malley, who declared only after Kweisi Mftime, the President of the NAACP, declined to seek the mayor’s office.

“Brothers and Sisters,” began Stokes, “unity is back in the commu­nity.” Stokes is an Eastside native, who was a 2nd District City Council member and an appointed member of the Board of School Commissioners. He stressed the importance of this endorsement by the city’s oldest black political organizations.

Stokes thanked State Delegate Harrison. “Hattie didn’t teach us poli­tics; she taught us public service,” he said. “She’s still teaching us, still spanking us when needed.” Stokes also recognized his “mentor,” former Mayor Clarence Du Bums. He said

Du Bums was his basketball coach when he attended St. Francis of Xavier High School. Bums had pub­licly endorsed Mfume several months ago but was scheduled to endorse Stokes yesterday. He was not able to attend the conference.

In a statement, Du Bums wrote that “without a decent education in safe schools, without dedicated teach­ers, our future is bleak. I see Carl as our beacon to break through the darkness.”

The EDO endorsed Irby for City Council President, as well. Irby, a for­mer State Senator, is currently the Executive Secretary of the City Liquor Board. “He strayed away,” said McFadden, “but he’s come back.” Irby was often seen as an out­sider in his political career and once broke ranks with EDO.

In the past month, Stokes has begun to speak favorably about Irby. He has called Irby “a mentor second only to Du [former Mayor Du Bums].” McFadden acknowledged that the EDO wanted a Stokes-Irby slate.

However, Stokes said that he was not leaning toward endorsing any candidate for City Council president and would make such an announce­ment—if at all—in September.

Both EDO and Stokes endorsed Joan Pratt for reelection as Comptroller. McFadden noted that Pratt had little competition in the election. For her part, she gave a neb­ulous quasi-endorsement to Stokes, saying that she wanted to be a part of the winning team.

An onlooker named Irona Pope shouted out during the conference, “We’re tired of all this foolishness [in City Hall]. We need someone to clean things up. If you don’t, we’ll kick your ass.”

Also endorsing Stokes yesterday was Delegate Clarence “Tiger” Davis (D-45). Yesterday’s press conference brings up Stokes’ endorsements to two State Senators, nine State Delegates, and three City Council members.

Leave a Comment