A political chronology

January 15, 1995

1950: William Donald Schaefer, a graduate of University of Baltimore law school, opens downtown law practice. Runs unsuccessfully for the House of Delegates from West Baltimore.

1954: Fails again to win seat in House of Delegates.

1955: Wins campaign for Baltimore City Council on ticket organized by political kingpin Irvin Kovens, who would become one of Mr. Schaefer's closest friends.

1967: Runs citywide and is elected City Council president, serving with Mayor Thomas J. D'Alesandro III.

1968: Helped direct National Guard, called out to quell riots after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King.

1970: Champions first Baltimore City Fair, despite fears of street violence. The event is later cited as a milestone in the city's recovery from the riots.

1971: Wins the Democratic primary for mayor with 56 percent of the vote, against three candidates. He wins easily in the general election.

1974: During national energy crisis, as Americans are urged to keep thermostats down, a reporter writes that the temperature in City Hall is 74 degrees. Next day, Mr. Schaefer turns off the heat. "Does it seem like 75 degrees now?" he chortles as reporters shiver through a press conference.

1975: Re-elected mayor with slogan: "Mayor Schaefer: Worth Repeating."

1976: Begins "Baltimore's Best" program, a boosterism project meant to reward unsung heroes in the effort to improve city life.

1978: Defeats opponents of Harborplace in a referendum.

1979: A snowstorm buries Baltimore. Looting breaks out in West Baltimore. Mayor Schaefer imposes a 7 p.m. curfew. The National Guard is called in.

1979: Baltimore Convention Center opens.

1979: Re-elected to third term.

1980: Harborplace opens to national raves. Mr. Schaefer revels in the praise heaped on the Inner Harbor, including a Time magazine cover story that declares "Cities Are Fun" and features Baltimore's revitalization efforts.

January 1981: Declares that the new aquarium under construction at the Inner Harbor is progressing well. If it doesn't open on time, he announces, he'll "jump in the tank."

March 1981: With President Reagan cutting the federal budget, Mr. Schaefer goes to Washington to plead for continued aid to cities. When legislators don't respond sympathetically, Schaefer says, "I'm so angry I can't see."

1981: Calls in business executives and persuades them to begin "Blue Chip-In," a program that raises $400,000 privately in its first year to fill gaps caused by Reagan budget cuts.

July 1981: Before network television cameras, Mr. Schaefer -- dressed in an old-time bathing costume and carrying an inflatable duck -- steps into the National Aquarium's seal pool.

January, 1982: When snow cancels a presidential tour of Baltimore, Schaefer and aides drive to the White House to make pitch for urban enterprise zones. Schaefer wears a Baltimore's Best tie and gives the horse-riding Ronald Reagan a yellow-and-black Baltimore's Best horse blanket.

1982: Columnist George Will writes: "Schaefer embodies his community more completely than even Richard Daley or Fiorella LaGuardia embodied Chicago and New York."

November 1983: Re-elected mayor, easily holding off a challenge in the primary from former Baltimore Circuit Court Judge William H. Murphy Jr. In the general election, Mr. Schaefer wins with 93 percent of the vote.

1984: In an article that captures Mr. Schaefer's manic management style, Esquire magazine runs a cover story declaring Baltimore's leader "the best mayor in America." Staff, thrilled by the headline, are later chagrined to find the article depicts the mayor as a nudge who patrols alleys for trash.

1984: The Baltimore Metro opens.

March 1984: Robery Irsay calls Mayflower movers and packs up Baltimore's Colts off to Indianapolis.

1985: Appoints himself "supreme commander" and launches an "assault on trash," naming four top aides generals in a military-style effort to clean up the city. City Hall reporters are called "war correspondents visiting the front."

May 1986: With longtime companion Hilda Mae Snoops at his side, Mr. Schaefer stands on the porch of his Edgewood Street rowhouse and declares his candidacy for governor.

Summer 1986: Explains his Do-It-Now philosophy at an Ellicott City campaign stop: "Get it done. Do it now. You know why? You are all here right now. It has to be nice for you who are here right now. Not 10 years from now. You may not be here. It has to be nice, right now."

July 1986: In a campaign interview, Mr. Schaefer calls his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Stephen Sachs, a "dumb a--," among other things. Mr. Schaefer later claims he never said it. Told that the reporter had recorded the interview, Mr. Schaefer says: "I said it. But it was off the record."

September 1986: Defeats Mr. Sachs in the Democratic primary for governor.

November 1986: With 82% of the vote, he beats a little-known Republican to win the governorship. It is the biggest margin of victory for any governor elected that day.

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