Three Baltimore mayoral candidates told the city’s Muslim community yesterday that residents are experiencing increased violence and failing schools because of a lack of leadership at City Hall.

At a candidates’ forum organized by the Baltimore Muslim Council, school administrator Andrey Bundley, Del. Jill P. Carter and City Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. also fielded questions about police recruitment, education and dealing with neighborhood nuisances.

Mayor Sheila Dixon, who many believe is the leading contender in the Sept. 11 Democratic primary election, did not attend the forum. Dixon sent her chief of staff, Otis Rolley III, who spoke about Dixon but was not permitted to answer audience questions.

“We lack leadership in our city,” said Mitchell, who discussed his proposals to hire 250 new police officers and to take control of schools as mayors have done in Chicago and New York. “There are two foundations that help any city to continue to prosper: public safety and public education,” he said.

Though the mayoral candidates have yet to debate, they have been attending forums throughout the city, offering stump speeches and articulating broad platforms. Though the candidates do not always discuss specific ideas at the forums, some themes are beginning to emerge.

About 50 people came to the Morgan State University campus yesterday to hear the candidates for mayor and City Council president as well as about a dozen people who are running for council seats. The city’s Muslim Council was created months after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 to promote Muslim involvement in civic life.


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