State Roundup, April 19, 2011

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As Baltimore mayor, Maryland governor and state comptroller, William Donald Schaefer was the dominant political figure of the last half-century of Maryland history. He died yesterday after a “do-it-now” career that changed the face of Baltimore while bringing a new burst of energy to the city he loved. Michael Dresser writes the Sun obituary for the 89-year-old Schaefer.

Adam Bernstein of the Post writes that Schaefer was incapable of passing up any stunt to draw media attention to his city or himself, famously turning a construction delay of the Baltimore aquarium into a public relations win by plunging into the seal tank while wearing a Victorian-era swimsuit and holding a rubber duck.

Pamela Wood and Eric Hartley of the Annapolis Capital write that, from “Do it now!” to “reach the beach,” Schaefer’s driving ambition was to make life better for Maryland citizens.

Jennifer Gilbert of WBFF-TV recalls Schaefer’s work to bring Baltimore back from the brink.

Schaefer disliked being called a ‘bricks-and-mortar’ politician, writes the AP’s Tom LoBianco in the Hagerstown Herald Mail. But he built his reputation as a man who got things done with projects such as Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and a new stadium for the Orioles baseball team.

Matthew Cella and David Hill of the Washington Times write that Schaefer found success harder to achieve in the larger political arena of Annapolis, unlike Baltimore, where he often won by imposing his will upon the City Council and most everybody else in his working-class hometown.

The former governor, Baltimore mayor and state comptroller who died will lie in state at the State House in Annapolis and in the rotunda of Baltimore City Hall, write Doug Donovan, Doug Tallman, and Bryan Sears of

Funeral services will be held April 27 at Old St. Paul’s Church in downtown Baltimore, according to WBAL-TV.

PHOTOS & VIDEOS: Here is a link to two videos about Schaefer’s legacy, including an interview with current Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake. The link also includes many familiar photos of the late mayor and governor.

The Sun offers an extensive photo gallery of Schaefer’s life.

The Post also offers a photo gallery of Schaefer’s life.

The Sun compiled several videos of Schaefer from around the web, include KAL’s animated cartoons.

Here are front pages of the Sun that highlighted Schaefer’s career.

Here’s a sampling of Sun editorial cartoons directed at Schaefer through the years.

REMEMBRANCES: Friends, rivals and former governors and mayors remember Schaefer.

Gov. Martin O’Malley speaks about Schaefer for WMAR-TV.

Lower Shore residents recall Schaefer reaching out to help them in tough economic times, write Liz Holland, James Fisher and Deborah Gates.

Longtime aide Lainy Lebow-Sachs, who was holding his hand when he died, had said at Schaefer’s 85th birthday party, “There was the Inner Harbor and all, but the main thing was helping people,” report C. Fraser Smith and Melody Simmons for the Daily Record.

Jean Marbella and Julie Scharper drop by two places important to Schaefer’s legacy, Harborplace and Camden Yards, to speak with passersby about the late mayor and governor. They also speak with Rick Dempsey and Art Modell.

WMAR-TV interviews residents around the Inner Harbor who recall Schaefer’s work to rebuild those neighborhoods.

FROM JOURNALISTS:’s Len Lazarick writes that Schaefer used newspaper reporters for his higher purposes, and reporters used him with all his strengths and flaws for some of the most flamboyant head-shaking stories we will ever remember.

Sun columnist Dan Rodricks writes of Schaefer: He wore silly hats. He dressed in costumes. He mugged for the cameras. … he liked making a splash in public. But his performances were informed by genuine passion in defense of his city.

The Sun’s Laura Vozzella writes that Schaefer’s biggest achievement was also his most unlikely: A man insecure enough to earn the nickname “Shaky” managed to restore the self-confidence of an entire city.

ON BUSINESS: Schaefer did his share of both cajoling and browbeating business folks, as well as everybody else. If he was more successful at boosting commerce than his successors, writes Jay Hancock for the Sun, maybe it was partly because the national economy crescendoed in time with his long career.

TIMELINE: A Sun timeline of the highlights of Schaefer’s public life can be found here.

FAVORITE SON: The Sun editorial board calls him “Baltimore’s favorite son, greatest cheerleader and most irascible politician.”

YOU REACT: You can leave your recollections and remembrances about the late governor in the Sun.


ASSEMBLY PRAYERS: Christian Alexandersen of the Carroll County Times writes about the process of offering prayers at General Assembly sessions and that county’s reactions to it.

SEPTIC STUDY: Ann Marimow of the Post writes that Gov. Martin O’Malley showed that he’s not backing down from a proposal to curb the construction of new septic systems that contribute to pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Yesterday, he formally created a work group to take a broad look at the issue and lay the groundwork for legislation next year.

PAROLE FEE: Little-noticed in the slew of bills approved by the General Assembly in the waning hours of its 90-day session last week was a measure requiring new parolees to be told about how they can apply for an exemption from the state’s monthly supervision fee. That will no doubt prove helpful — but the fact that the state charges a supervision fee at all is maddeningly shortsighted, opines the editorial board for the Sun.

EXPAND HEALTH CO-OPS: Health co-ops, which would lower costs while improving care, should be expanded, not limited, opines Dr. Peter Beilenson, health officer of Howard County,  in the Sun.

CURRIE AIDE SENTENCED: State Sen. Ulysses Currie’s former campaign treasurer has been sentenced to a year in jail for stealing more than $150,000 from the senator’s campaign, according to an AP report in the Daily Record.

GRASMICK REPLACEMENT: The Maryland State Board of Education will soon hire a search firm to begin looking for a replacement for state school Superintendent Nancy Grasmick, Liz Bowie writes in the Sun.

IMPROVE OUR SITE: is looking for volunteers to participate in a user study that will be used to make the site better. Find out more here.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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