Can Schaefer be mayor again?

February 03, 1992

When Gov. William Donald Schaefer bought a spanking new town house in Anne Arundel County a couple of years ago, we knew the guy would become terribly homesick sooner or later.

In January 1995, when his second term ends (the state constitution limits the governor to two terms), Mr. Schaefer will be a robust 73 years old. Retirement in Miami or his trailer in Ocean City? Perhaps. But we suspect he would go bonkers in a suburban housing development.

It is not surprising that Mr. Schaefer is begging to be asked to run for mayor again. He is, after all, a quintessential rowhouse-born Baltimorean.

He went to schools in the city. When he had a chance to leave it -- after administering World War II military hospitals in England and on the Continent -- he decided he could not. He became a lawyer and civic activist, a combination which propelled him to the City Council in 1955. After three terms, he moved up to the City Council presidency in 1967. When he was elected mayor in 1971, he liked the job so much he stayed for 15 years.

Even after he became governor in 1986, Mr. Schaefer kept wistfully looking back to the great fun he had in Baltimore.

If he clowns in Annapolis, other politicians are apt to say he has lost his mind. In Baltimore, however, he could do all the things his mother told him not to do in his youth. He could wear funny hats. He could paint sidewalks pink to make people think positive. He could jump into a fish tank at the National Aquarium and frolic with the seals. Come to think of it, we even have this rather amusing picture of him wearing a dark three-piece suit and pith helmet. He is holding a raven!

We don't know what Mayor Schmoke's political plans will be in 1995 or whether City Council President Mary Pat Clarke has any ambitions to become mayor. But it would be interesting to have Mr. Schaefer as mayor again.

But, then, he might have to answer to Governor Schmoke.

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