Councilman's Comments on Race Leave Colleagues Flummoxed
Baltimore City Council members respond to Councilman Carl Stokes' comments to WYPR about race's role in constituent service.
Councilman Carl Stokes, D-District 12, told WYPR in a story about the impact of the Baltimore City Council’s shift to single-member districts that African-American council members work for neighborhoods and other council members protect businesses.
“The African-American council persons are working to ensure neighborhood strength and a number of the non-African-Americans are working on the interests of the business development community. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, but it has become a divide in terms of resources. And, you’re seeing much less resources going to communities of color,” Stokes said in the article.
Stokes' comments have left some council members scratching their heads.
Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, D-District 14, a white council member who is supporting Odette Ramos’ campaign for Stokes’ seat, said, “That doesn’t sound like Carl Stokes and it doesn’t feel like me,” Clarke said.
Councilman Bill Henry, D-District 4, said he hadn’t heard Stokes' comments so he didn’t want to address them directly. But Henry, an African-American, mentioned Councilman Robert Curran, D-District 3, as an example of a white council member who works very hard at constituent service.
“I don’t think anyone would accuse Bobby of being down there to promote business interests,” Henry said.
Councilman William Cole, D-District 11, called Stokes’ comments "unfortunate."
“I certainly don’t believe that if you polled my constituents they would feel that way,” said Cole, who is white.
Cole, who was Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s choice to replace her as city council president, said he works well with Stokes, but took a shot at Stokes’ abandoned mayoral campaign.
“Councilman Stokes must still think he’s running for mayor,” Cole said.