Annapolis Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins withdrew his proposed curfew before a City Council vote Monday night and challenged his critics to propose their own solutions to the drug-related violence that has plaguedthe city.
With six aldermen voicing opposition to the curfew before the meeting, the measure faced certain defeat.
"While I don't advocate a curfew, I felt I had better do something," Hopkins told the council. "I'm trying to respond to a problem, but I guess this was not the answer."
And to his critics, Hopkins added: "I accept your criticism, I thank you for it, but now I ask you,what should I do? I look forward to a solution."
After the meeting, Alderman Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 5, said he would take up the challenge. Snowden is chairman of the council's rules committee, which rejected the proposed curfew, 3-0, last week, after a hearing attended by 60 people.
"I think what the mayor said about aldermen coming forward with their own proposals was good," Snowden said. "I think you'll be seeing some interesting proposals in the future. I plan to work with the administration in developing a proposal that's workable."
Snowden, who was implicitly criticized last week by City Administrator Michael Mallinoff for holding news conferences instead of proposing solutions to the drug problem, said at Monday's meeting that Mallinoff's comments were out of line.
"I thought Mr. Mallinoff's statement that some aldermen are not
interested in fighting drugs did you a disservice, and I'm personally offended," Snowden said. "If he crosses the line again, it's going to be a major problem, at least from my point of view."
Hopkins and Mallinoff declined to comment, but Alderman John R. Hammond, R-Ward 1, defended Mallinoff.
"I think everyone in Annapolis is entitled to express his or her opinion," Hammond said. "I don't think we should smack anyone's knuckles for expressing his opinion, whether he is a member of your administration ornot."
Downtown tavern owners had asked Hopkins to propose the curfew last fall. Hopkins said he didn't like curfews but agreed to sponsor it to fight violence in drug-infested neighborhoods and curb rowdiness downtown.
Hopkins' bill would have required anyone younger than 17 to leave public places and establishments between midnight and5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on othernights.
Parents of minors who violated the curfew or business owners who let minors into their establishments after curfew could have been fined $5 to $300, or been jailed for 10 to 15 days if they had
failed to pay.
In other action Monday night, Alderman Samuel Gilmer, D-Ward 3, withdrew a bill that would have that would make the acting mayor the alderman of the same party with the most seniority. Under Hopkins, the bill would have made Gilmer acting mayor, instead ofan alderman appointed by Hopkins or the Democratic City Central Committee.