Arguing that the city could find better things to do with its money, mayoral candidate Clarence H. "Du" Burns yesterday attacked Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke for approving a $103,000 city loan to an East Baltimore social club that plans to use the money to build bars and lounges in a renovated row house.
"Again, poor management is outdone by poor judgment," said Mr. Burns, who is the mayor's leading challenger in the Sept. 12 Democratic primary.
Mr. Burns' comments came the day after Mr. Schmoke announced approval of a loan to the Poets' Athletic Club -- a 26-member, non-profit club made up of former Dunbar High athletes -- which plans to renovate a three-story, brick row house at 920 E. North Ave. that is the group's headquarters.
The club plans to use the city loan to build a lounge and 20-foot bar on the first floor of the row house, a meeting area and 12-foot bar on the second floor and club offices on the third floor. Club officials said the expansion will help them with their charitable and volunteer work with children and senior citizens.
But Mr. Burns said that lending money to a social club makes little sense at a time when Mr. Schmoke is "spending most of his time moaning about his budget problems."
Mr. Burns, who in 1987 served out the remainder of former Mayor William Donald Schaefer's term when Mr. Schaefer left for the governor's mansion, made his comments during a news conference he called to spell out some of his ideas for managing the city's troubled public school system.
Mr. Burns said that the Baltimore school system's central administration has become too large, and that he would reduce its size by reassigning administrators at the North Avenue headquarters to the classrooms.
He also said he would have regular meetings with school principals to keep abreast of their concerns, something Mr. Schmoke did when former Superintendent Richard C. Hunter was running the system. Mr. Schmoke does not plan to continue that practice under the new superintendent, Walter G. Amprey, according to Clinton R. Coleman Jr., the mayor's press secretary.