Schaefer and Schmoke: Friends?

October 22, 1991

A fading sign on a house in Curtis Bay may still tout him for president in 1992, but Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer has been under a barrage of criticism for his proposed budget cuts lately. State troopers no longer seem to love him. State employees are livid. So are many letter writers. "Surely we don't prefer golf courses, stadium, $600 mansion doors and a big raise for the guv over adequate police protection, expedient emergency care and sufficient funding for other vital public needs," T. Sullivan writes from Randallstown.

What is Governor Schaefer to do?

Perhaps feeling a bit lonely amid all these protests and accusations, he surprised many the other day by having lunch with Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, a man whose existence he has barely acknowledged over the past decade. And not at just any place but at the Center Club, the fish bowl of decision-makers on the 15th floor of the USF&G Building. "The top executive of the city and the top executive of the state should not be at odds," the governor declared after the lunch meeting, which was preceded by other recent contacts.

This is a welcome truce in a silly, unexplainable and unnecessary tiff between Mr. Schaefer and Mr. Schmoke that lasted far too long. Mr. Schmoke, after all, has hardly said a critical word of the governor in recent years and has been one of the few, consistent supporters of the governor's Linowes commission on tax reform. For his part, Mr. Schaefer is still showing a deep concern and affection toward the city he led for so many years first as a councilman, then as City Council president and finally as mayor.

It is too bad this reconciliation comes at a time when deteriorating economic conditions severely constrain the state's ability to help Baltimore City. Yet the important thing is that these two political leaders are finally talking. May their cooperation grow and flourish.

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