'Caring about city' unites ex-foes

THE POLITCAL GAME

June 28, 1995|By William F. Zorzi Jr. | William F. Zorzi Jr.,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore's strangest political bedfellows continued to make nice over the weekend as former Gov. William Donald Schaefer held a $1,000-a-head fund-raiser for City Council President Mary Pat Clarke's mayoral bid.

Mr. Schaefer, in his first fund-raising effort for Mrs. Clarke since publicly backing her earlier this month, greeted a skyboxful of 20 of her supporters who gathered to watch the Orioles lose to the Red Sox Saturday night.

L He gripped. He grinned. He hammed it up. Then he left early.

While he was there, Mr. Schaefer spoke against Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, repeating many of his complaints about the city "deteriorating" under the current administration.

Mr. Schaefer was preaching to the choir, some of whom were singing back in harmony. A few of Mrs. Clarke's supporters, however, declined to publicly assail the mayor, citing a "fear of retribution" from Mr. Schmoke or his campaign manager, Larry S. Gibson.

One who spoke up was Don Davis, a real estate salesman who owns the Central Station bar and restaurant downtown. He said he ponied up $1,000 for Mrs. Clarke's election effort because he wants to see the Schmoke City Hall years grind to a halt in 1995.

"Poverty's worse. Crime's worse. The school system's worse. There are more and more people moving out -- and I'm going to be next if he's re-elected," Mr. Davis said.

"Overall," he said of Mr. Schmoke, "he's a great guy, but he's lacks any kind of leadership."

The Schmoke campaign counters by saying Baltimore's a better place than it was under Mr. Schaefer's "mythical" 15-year tenure as mayor.

One elected official stuck his head into the skybox -- State Sen. John A. Pica Jr., who won re-election last year against a Schmoke-backed candidate in the 43rd District.

But Mr. Pica dodged the issue of support for mayoral candidates, saying, "I'm here with the [former] governor." He then ducked down the hall to the skybox of his lawyering boss, Orioles owner Peter Angelos.

The odd combination of Mr. Schaefer and Mrs. Clarke, who waged near-war during much of their time together at City Hall, still amazes some.

The governor conceded, "She drove me crazy when she was on the council and I was mayor." But, he added, "She's going to be good. She's going to let people who care about this city do something about it."

Mrs. Clarke explains their new alliance as simply a matter of "caring about Baltimore a lot."

"In many respects, the two of us see things the same way -- that you cannot tolerate anything less than doing your best for this city," she said.

Mr. Schaefer acknowledges that he could be a detriment to Mrs. Clarke's campaign in some circles, but he believes his nod will send a signal to some members of the business community to throw its support to her. Maurice M. Taylor Jr., the latest and least-known GOP presidential contender, flew into Baltimore Monday as part of a national "fly-around" to the hometowns of announced Republican opponents.

So what was he doing in Baltimore?

The Taylor campaign is pretending that Alan L. Keyes, Maryland's wanna-be favorite son, is from Baltimore instead of Montgomery County. (Details, details.)

Mr. Taylor, 50, of Grosse Pointe, Mich., is president and chief executive officer of Titan Wheel International Inc. in Quincy, Ill. By all appearances, he is serious about the White House, running under the banner "Taylor Made for President."

Despite his good intentions, he would have to rally to be considered a dark horse in the overcrowded Republican primary.

He is running his 11-day-old campaign from the refurbished third floor of a tire plant his company owns in Des Moines, Iowa, and reportedly financing it out of his own pocket.

"He's sort of an unknown; he's never run before for public office of any kind," said Baltimore's own Key Kidder, Mr. Taylor's acting press secretary in Des Moines.

The candidate's platform includes a "radical" reduction of the federal government, a reindustrialization of America, simplification of the tax structure and elimination of political action committees.

"His big thing is jobs, creation of jobs," said Mr. Kidder, who was press secretary for the unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign of Helen Delich Bentley last year.

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