THE ONCE-FROSTY relationship between former Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke has a new glow about it.
Not that you would characterize the bond between the two men as warm and fuzzy. But in the latest indication of a steady thaw, Schmoke is opening the door -- literally -- to Schaefer and his loyal following to celebrate the former governor's 75th birthday next month at City Hall.
Lainey LeBow-Sachs, Schaefer's one-time top aide, said she telephoned Schmoke's office about the possibility of a birthday fete and, within 10 minutes, the mayor himself called back.
"Before I even finished my two sentences, he said, 'Yes,' " LeBow-Sachs recalled.
"They've had their differences, but underneath, I think there's a great deal of respect," she said. "I think this gesture is right in line with how Kurt really feels -- even when they were arguing like hell."
The Schaefer-Schmoke relationship -- which may have hit a low during the Democratic mayoral primary last year, when the former governor backed Mary Pat Clarke -- clearly has warmed in the past few months.
In fact, in the heat of battle over the control and funding of city schools last summer, Schmoke put a shot over the bow of his old ally, Gov. Parris N. Glendening, while seeming to praise Schaefer, his one-time nemesis.
"I've lived under a situation where the governor didn't like me personally but always cared about the city," Schmoke said at the time. "I don't recall a time that in order to achieve a policy objective a governor has taken money away from schoolchildren."
Ironically, for years Schmoke laid part of the problem with city schools at the feet of Schaefer, blaming him for historically underfunding the system.
But the memory of those days seems to have faded with time.
"At this point, they're probably on the best terms they've been on since they've known each other," said Clinton R. Coleman, the mayor's press secretary.
"It doesn't surprise me at all that the mayor has agreed to allow this celebration in City Hall," he said. "They've lunched together since Governor Schaefer left office and have had the occasion to talk several times together."
Geeez, think of the muscle the city could bring to the table in the 1998 governor's race if Schmoke's political organization were teamed with the remnants of the Schaefer camp to back a particular candidate.
The Schaefer bash -- a chance for a little cake, a little music and a lot of schmooze -- is set for Nov. 3 (the day after his birthday) from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at City Hall, where Schaefer spent 31 years as councilman, council president and then mayor, before being elected governor.
Tickets are $25, with the money going to offset the cost of the event.
What's in a name? Plenty in Maryland
You can call him Al.
Except in Maryland, where you have to call him Albert -- Gore, that is.
For years, a little section in the state's arcane election code has prohibited the use of nicknames, along with titles, degrees and other professional designations, for candidates on the ballot.
Thus, the state election board has rejected the name "Al" Gore and instead certified ballots with the name "Albert" Gore as the Democratic vice presidential candidate.
The reason? "Because the diminutive form 'Al,' used by a man with the given first name 'Albert,' may be presumed to be a nickname," explained Jack Schwartz, the attorney general's chief counsel for opinions and advice.
But if Albert ran for president as, Schwartz notes, he no doubt will do in 2000, his name would appear on the ballot as "Al Gore" -- just as "Bob Dole" will greet Maryland voters on Nov. 5, instead of "Robert J. Dole," and "Bill Clinton" will show up, instead of "William Jefferson Clinton."
That's because the attorney general's office has held that presidential candidates are different. They get to use the name by which they are generally recognized.
Schwartz is urging a state commission studying changes in the election code to allow all candidates that right in future elections.
Pub Date: 10/08/96