Mayor's 2nd time around Low-key swearing-in was held in City College auditorium.

December 03, 1991|By Michael A. Fletcher | Michael A. Fletcher,Evening Sun Staff

An article in the final edition of yesterday's Evening Sun misstated the length of the mayor's term in Baltimore. The mayor serves a four-year term.

The Evening Sun regrets the errors.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke was sworn in for a second two-year term today and immediately sounded the themes of his next administration by calling for more personal responsibility and pledging to streamline city government.

"We simply have to do more for ourselves; the economy leaves us no choice," Schmoke told an audience of family, Cabinet members, elected officials and students who packed the auditorium at City College.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

In his inauguration speech, Schmoke called on residents and young people to help the city by recycling trash, sweeping their curbs and reporting suspicious activities to police.

Schmoke also called on city parents to deem the hours between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. a study hour. He called on the city's television stations to help publicize the effort.

"This is just a partial list, seemingly small things with big impact," Schmoke said. But if they are not done, he warned, the city will not make progress because state and federal aid are waning.

After his speech, Schmoke told reporters that his administration is considering a proposal to lower the city's $5.90 property tax rate by about 60 cents and charging homeowners a fee for trash collection. Schmoke said the move -- which could surface as part of his budget package next spring -- could encourage recycling and provide a tax break for businesses, which now pay for private trash services. He said some homeowners would pay less for city services and others more, depending on the amount of trash they generate.

"This is just an idea," Schmoke said, adding: "We will debate this and discuss this publicly if we decide to move ahead. But we want people to know that we are serious about looking at a lot of different ways of doing business."

Previously, the mayor has said that he is thinking about combining some city agencies and even privatizing the Enoch Pratt Free Library. He said city government should be more tightly focused on public safety, education and the environment.

Schmoke's inauguration was held at City College, the high school where Schmoke, now 42, first found fame in the mid-1960s as a football and academic star.

The inauguration was planned as a low-key event and featured )) presentations by student leaders at City, one of Baltimore's top high schools, and music from the choir of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church.

"It's sort of a homecoming for the mayor at City College," said Clinton R. Coleman, Schmoke's press secretary. "He wanted the young people there to hopefully gain some inspiration from the ceremony. . . ."

Today's inauguration was in sharp contrast with the celebration that occurred four years ago when Schmoke became Baltimore's first elected black mayor. More than 14,000 people packed the Baltimore Arena for that occasion.

"These are very frugal times in city government, so the economic times dictate that we have an event that is much scaled back from the inaugural the mayor had four years ago," Coleman said.

Indeed, the city is in an economic tailspin. Just after winning the general election last month, Schmoke announced drastic cuts in city services that included plans to close eight libraries and lay off 138 city employees. The cuts also could cause schools to be closed for a week.

"The mayor considers City College to be a metaphor for the city in general," Coleman said. "The school was able to triumph over tough times. At one time, it was in a period of decline, but people didn't give up on it. Now, the school is back in terms of academics and athletics."

Comptroller-elect Jacqueline F. McLean, the first woman and first black person ever to hold the city comptroller's job, took her oath of office at noon before 500 supporters at the War Memorial downtown. Tonight, she will be the honored guest at a formal, $85-a-head inaugural ball expected to attract 300 people to the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel.

"I'm so busy I don't have a chance to feel anything," she said yesterday. "I have not had one moment's opportunity to stop and say, 'Wow.' I'll get excited tomorrow."

McLean said she and Schmoke decided to have separate ceremonies so that one would not overshadow the other.

"We talked after the general election, and he said he did not want to take away from the inauguration for the first female and first African-American comptroller," McLean said.

The inauguration of the City Council president and 18 council members is scheduled Thursday.

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