Pushing hard for votes in the waning days of Baltimore's mayoral campaign, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke promised yesterday to help create thousands of new jobs and wage an aggressive battle against crime, and lashed out at rival Mary Pat Clarke for once proposing to tax drug dealers' profits.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Clarke, the City Council president, darted into shops and bus stops along one of the city's rundown retail districts. She was with Councilman Lawrence A. Bell III, one of five candidates running to succeed her, and two of the city's most popular political figures -- Rep. Kweisi Mfume and former Rep. Parren J. Mitchell.
Although both said they were stumping for Mr. Bell and were neutral in the mayor's race, the Clarke campaign clearly felt their presence would boost her credibility in the predominantly black neighborhoods of West Baltimore that both men have represented for nearly a quarter of a century.
The frenetic pace of yesterday's activity -- Mr. Schmoke appeared at three back-to-back events, while Mrs. Clarke marched nonstop for hours -- reflects the tightness of the race. The two-term council president trails the mayor by just six percentage points with less than a week to go before next Tuesday's Democratic mayoral primary.
Against the backdrop of a long-abandoned East Baltimore brewery that is being transformed into an $11 million housing and business center, Mr. Schmoke said the project was typical of the kinds of developments he would encourage during his next four years in office.
"We're not a broken city financially or morally," Mr. Schmoke said, in an obvious reference to Mrs. Clarke's campaign slogan, "If it's broke, fix it."
"We are a city of hope, not despair. We are a city of change for the better," the mayor added at a news conference at the old American Brewery attended by community residents and city and state officials, along with Mr. Mfume.
Mr. Schmoke used the event to detail what he would do if elected to a third term.
In a 10-page "Blueprint for a Better Baltimore," an accompanying 12-page statement and an interview, Mr. Schmoke pledged to:
Create "thousands" of high-paying jobs. Jobs would be created by the newly opened Columbus Center for marine biotechnology and the laboratory of AIDS researcher Robert Gallo, he said, and from using millions of dollars in new federal revitalization funds and tax credits to encourage businesses involved in biotech and recycling to locate here.
* Wage the "most aggressive fight against crime this country has ever seen." Specifically, the mayor said he would follow through on a previously announced plan to transfer 300 police officers from desk jobs to street patrol and increase spending on computers.
* Gradually increase spending authority of local schools and increase the Sylvan Learning Systems and use of the private Calvert School curriculum. Also, the mayor said he would add an unspecified number of school police officers and said he would increase teacher training.
* Increase the number of drug treatment slots with $5 million in empowerment zone funds and expand the needle exchange program.
* Cut property taxes and streamline city services -- in part by developing a new computerized system for financial management.
* Continue the demolition of public housing high-rises.
Mr. Schmoke reiterated a summary of his vision of Baltimore's future at an afternoon event to celebrate the start of an $8 million project to fix up 80 dilapidated rowhomes in Sandtown-Winchester on the West Side, the neighborhood that has been the model for his urban renewal efforts.
In between the two events, Mr. Schmoke assailed Mrs. Clarke for introducing a bill in the City Council in the spring of 1993 to place a 15 percent tax on money earned by drug dealers from street-corner sales.
This time, the mayor's backdrop was 20th Street and Greenmount Avenue in East Baltimore -- once one of the city's most notorious open-air markets and the site of the first of several "drug sweeps" that are a central part of his administration's crime-fighting strategy.
The bill is part of a new 30-second television campaign spot that includes clips of Mrs. Clarke in the council chambers, haltingly trying to explain her legislation to other members. The ad concludes: "Mary Pat Clarke for Mayor? You've got to be kidding."
Mr. Schmoke accused Mrs. Clarke of "pure hypocrisy" for introducing legislation to simply tax drug deals while advocating during the campaign a policy of "zero tolerance" to drug dealers.
"The bottom line, ladies and gentlemen, is here we have finally, exactly what her drug policy is," the mayor said. "And I'm telling you, what we intend to do if drug dealers show up on these corners is to give them 15 years in jail, not take 15 percent of their profits. And that is the difference between Kurt Schmoke and Mary Pat Clarke."
Mrs. Clarke yesterday defended her bill, which never even had a hearing, noting that many of her council colleagues co-sponsored it and saying it grew out of the council's "frustration with the drug dealing."
"What the law really was about is if you want to have a drug convenience store on the corner, we're going to make it inconvenient for you," she said.
Yesterday, Mrs. Clarke was one of several politicians invited by Mr. Bell to join him for part of a six-hour march from the western end of North Avenue to the east to talk with prospective voters about combating crime. Her campaign seized on the opportunity to send out press releases with the names of Mr. Mfume and Mr. Mitchell and the headline that they would all "Walk Together for Baltimore's Future."
The council president met up with Mr. Bell and Mr. Mitchell, the pioneering civil rights leader, around the crowded intersection of Pennsylvania and North avenues. Mr. Mfume showed up about 45 minutes later.
Mr. Mitchell exchanged pleasantries with Mrs. Clarke, and the two walked side by side for several minutes, but the state's first elected black congressman said he has been avoiding questions about the mayoral race.
Mr. Mfume stuck close to the side of Mr. Bell, who happens to be his cousin, clapping the 4th District councilman's shoulder and saying, "This is my endorsement right here."
Noting that he had worked with Mrs. Clarke in the council and also has supported Mr. Schmoke in the past, he answered repeated questions about his choice for mayor by saying, "They're both friends."
Mrs. Clarke said she did not seek endorsements from Mr. Mfume or from U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, another former council colleague, who is also taking a neutral stance.
But Mrs. Clarke also tried to emphasize that she was there with Mr. Bell, Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Mfume because all of them shared the same concerns.
Later, Mr. Schmoke downplayed the significance of the North Avenue tour. Mr. Schmoke said he too had never sought an endorsement from Mr. Mfume because of the 7th District Democrat's relationship with Mr. Bell. The mayor, who has frequently been at odds with Mr. Bell, is supporting Vera P. Hall for the council presidency.