While candidates opposing Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s foes on city council were in most cases soundly defeated in the May 17 Primary, the woman who holds his former council seat barely retained it.
With 1,496 votes, Council President Darlene Harris beat challenger Vince Pallus by less than 80 votes.
“This wasn’t from the community, it was from down the hall,” she said. “I don’t think the community wants me to stop working as hard as I do for them. I want to thank them for putting me back in office.”
Harris said her priorities are rebuilding the city’s infrastructure and housing stock, so people who want to live closer to work can do so. She said she is working on legislation that would give homes that can be rehabilitated to city employees for free. They would have to fix them up and live in them, not rent them out, for a set amount of time.
Harris said she wants to help bring businesses into the city to address the jobless problem, especially among African-Americans in her district, but added that that is mostly the province of the mayor and the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
Harris, like District 3 Councilman Bruce Kraus and District 7 Councilman Patrick Dowd opposed the mayor’s plan to sell all the city’s parking spaces to a private firm to bail out the pension fund. Dowd easily defeated Anthony Ceoffe, 3,059 to 1,685. Kraus, despite a bitter third-time fight against Jeff Koch, prevailed comfortably, 1,687 to 1,170.
District 9 Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess, the only Ravenstahl ally seeking reelection, won handily in a three-way race with Lucille Prater Holiday and Phyllis Copeland-Mitchell. They received 1,299 and 705 votes respectively to Burgess’ 2,002.
The only other council race was for the open District 5 seat vacated by Doug Shields. Corey O’Connor, son of the late Mayor Bob O’Connor beat Christopher Zurawsky by more than 2,500 votes.