In case you were wondering, Baltimore is a fine place to live and do business, according to Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.
He and the Kurt Schmoke Committee feel so strongly about this that they will advertise it in local newspapers beginning today.
Of course, the mayor's supporters stress that this has nothing to do with the fact that this is an election year and that the primary is in September.
"It's good news that Baltimore is so highly regarded," Larry S. Gibson, co-chairman of the Schmoke committee, said with a chuckle.
Nonetheless, the advertisements look a whole lot like the beginnings of a political campaign. The ad is authorized by his campaign committee and its treasurer, Baltimore lawyer Ronald M. Shapiro.
The advertisement, which says, "CONGRATULATIONS BALTIMORE," feature the covers of several magazines that characterize Mr. Schmoke as a great guy doing a terrific job. "Baltimore and Kurt Schmoke -- a Winning Team," the ad continues.
For example, the June 1989 issue of Business Month cited Mr. Schmoke in an article, "Wizards Behind the Cities that Work."
"Schmoke is making progress and has a flair for the bold," says the article, which ranked Baltimore as among the nation's 10 best-managed cities.
And an article People magazine in the spring of 1990 lauded Mr. Schmoke's "combination of managerial competence and audacity," saying it made him one of "Nine for the Nineties."
The other periodicals listed in the advertisement are Financial World, Fortune magazine, Working Mother and World Trade.
The mayor will not formally be a candidate for re-election at least until June 23, when he is scheduled to make an announcement concerning his political future at a fund-raiser scheduled for the B&O Railroad Museum.
The kickoff fund-raiser's theme will be "Stay on Board with Schmoke," Mr. Gibson said, resonating the "Get on Board with Schmoke" railroading theme of a 1990 Schmoke fund-raiser.
Although Mr. Gibson insists that Mr. Schmoke is not a candidate yet, he sounded very much like a man gearing up for war Friday.
He issued verbal salvos at the mayor's two most visible potential challengers -- former Mayor Clarence H. "Du" Burns and former ** Baltimore State's Attorney William A. Swisher.
Mr. Gibson accused Mr. Burns of being a puppet of Gov. William Donald Schaefer and painted Mr. Swisher -- who lost his city prosecutor's job to Mr. Schmoke in the 1982 Democratic primary -- as a political opportunist counting on Mr. Burns to siphon black votes from the mayor.
"Too much is at stake, and there are serious deficiencies among all of the candidates who have said they will run," Mr. Gibson said.
4 "It is important to address those deficiencies."
The advertising campaign, scheduled to begin today with an ad in The Sun, is similar to others put together by supporters of Mr. Schaefer in recent years.
Mr. Gibson said similar ads will run in Baltimore newspapers during the next several weeks.
"We think this is important because these are independent evaluators, experts in their fields, who have no interest in making Mr. Schmoke look good," Mr. Gibson said of the magazine articles.