Re-elect Schmoke

October 29, 1991

In 1987 Kurt L. Schmoke entered office as Baltimore's first elected black mayor on a platform to reform a troubled school system, reclaim abandoned, boarded-up houses and aggressively fight crime in the city while holding the line on taxes.

Four years later, schools, housing, crime and taxes are still the paramount issues confronting Baltimore city. Mayor Schmoke's record in all these areas has been somewhat mixed: While there have been important successes he can point to, there have also been major setbacks.

The mayor's first superintendent, Richard Hunter, proved an unfortunate choice whose political ineptitude resulted in loss of valuable time and public support for school reform. Likewise the city housing commissioner, Robert Hearn, has appeared overwhelmed by his responsibilities. And the mayor repeatedly was embarrassed during his first term by reports of mismanagement at the City Jail run by his appointee, Barbara Bostick.

Yet on balance the Schmoke administration has done about as good a job as possible during an extremely difficult period in the city's history. Despite the Hunter episode, school reform remains at the top of the city agenda. Federal housing funds to the cities slowed to a trickle over the last four years, but Baltimore has emerged as a national leader in building homes for low and moderate income residents. Expanded community policing and neighborhood watch programs have met with success in high crime areas. And the mayor has held the line on property taxes.

Schmoke's Republican opponent, Samuel A. Culotta, to his credit, has carried his party's standard with grace and intelligence against near-impossible odds and has outlined in detail his ideas for governing the city. But Culotta cannot match the mayor's qualifications and experience. For these reasons we can confidently recommend Kurt Schmoke for a second term as mayor.

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