Hopkins wants Annapolis to be 'communitarian'

December 07, 1993|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff Writer

Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins, who was sworn in yesterday morning for his second term as Annapolis' chief executive, may one day be known as the city's first "communitarian."

The 68-year-old incumbent invented the word during a 10-minute inaugural address, urging city residents to become "more active humanitarians in our own communities."

While drawing a standing ovation from hundreds of guests at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Mayor Hopkins struck a sour note with one alderman.

Alderman Carl O. Snowden, a Ward 5 Democrat, said after the 90-minute ceremony that the city appears headed toward a political spoils system that penalizes employee groups and precincts that opposed the mayor. The mayor lost only three precincts, the downtown historic district and the two in Mr. Snowden's ward. "I'm calling for an end to the retaliation and recriminations on city workers who chose another candidate," said Mr. Snowden, who organized an inaugural ball last night at Annapolis Loews Hotel independent of the mayor's party at the Fleet Reserve Club. "Bossism will not be tolerated."

Mayor Hopkins said during his address that he will devote his "energies over the next four years to building better communities throughout Annapolis" and pledged to begin immediately by forming a "Presidents' Roundtable" that will allow him to meet periodically with community association leaders.

"We are capable of solving the problems of society which the media presents to us daily . . . and these solutions must begin in our communities," he said.

Among the several hundred guests were many former mayors and aldermen who worked with Mr. Hopkins during his 32-year career. Mr. Hopkins was elected in 1961 to the City Council, where he served until he was elected mayor four years ago.

After taking the oath of office from Clerk of the Court Mary Rose, Mr. Hopkins swore in the city's eight aldermen, including Ward 1 Republican John Hammond, who learned last week from County Attorney Judson Garrett that he must choose between a new job as the county's chief budget officer and his post on the council.

Mr. Hammond said yesterday that he will not make a decision before the end of this week. If he resigns as alderman, the city must hold a special election to fill the seat.

In Annapolis, the mayor is a member of the council and acts as its chairman. The council oversees a $38 million budget, a 120-member police force, 80 firefighters, a mass transit system and the Annapolis harbor.

Mr. Hopkins, who is known for folksy tales of bygone days, was attacked by his opponents as a man of excellent hindsight and no foresight.

Yesterday, the mayor said, "It is well known that I have a healthy respect for our history, but not because I think it is right to be constantly looking backward, but as a yardstick for the future." He proudly noted that he graduated from the same stage 50 years ago during Maryland Hall's previous incarnation as Annapolis Senior High School.

During the ceremony and a reception immediately afterward, the guests lavished praise on the mayor as a man of humility.

"It seems like divine providence that that this local citizen was born to be chief executive of Annapolis at this time," said the Rev. LeRoy Bowman, minister of the First Baptist Church, who delivered a prayer during the ceremony.

Former Mayor Roger "Pip" Moyer, who held the post in the early 1970s, recalled when he and Mr. Hopkins were first elected aldermen.

"They called us the shoe-leather boys because we didn't have much money and we knocked on every door," Mr. Moyer said.

Mr. Hopkins revived that tireless style of campaigning when he upset Mayor Dennis M. Callahan four years ago and won re-election Nov. 2.

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