Stokes plotting mayoral bid
Outspoken City Councilman and charter school leader Carl Stokes is interviewing political consultants and planning a poll, as he considers a run for mayor.
"We're weighing the reaction we receive," said Stokes, who served in the council in the 1990s and lost the 1999 mayor's race to Martin O'Malley. "I think people remember some of the things we were saying 11, 12 years ago. People have not seen the neighborhood revitalization in many our neighborhoods they way they thought it would happen."
Stokes, who served on the council in the 1990s and was appointed to represent Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young's former East Baltimore district last year, has been contemplating a run for the city's highest office for several months.
The web site The Investigative Voice first reported Wednesday that Stokes had met with political consultants.
Stokes is scheduled to be a guest on Midday with Dan Rodricks Thursday at 12:30 and to talk about the city's high property tax rates along with Jody Landers, a former councilman who has also launched a mayoral bid.
Stokes says that he has drafted a plan to cut property taxes in half over five years, but the specifics of his plan are unclear.
Since returning to City Hall in February, Stokes has taken independent stances on several issues, voting against zoning changes for Remington's 25th Street Station Walmart shopping center and not supporting two of the tax hikes proposed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Recently, as chair of the taxation and finance committee, he has voted against tax breaks for an Inner Harbor development project backed by developer John Paterakis Sr. and signaled that he would also vote against tax breaks for the State Center project in Northwest Baltimore.
Last month, he formed a committee to examine the way the city gives tax breaks to developers and consider alternatives.
"Why are the big ticket items in front of us Harbor Point and State Center and not Greenmount West or Rosemont or Oliver?" said Stokes. "At a minimum, give dollar for dollar for neighborhood development as opposed to putting all the city's tax payer money on large commercial developments."
Stokes polled strong in the 1999 election, but his campaign was derailed after a series of gaffes, including driving with a suspended license, a $13,800 federal tax lien and false claims of a Loyola College degree on his campaign literature, led to his defeat to O'Malley in the Democratic primary.