GOP mayoral candidates reveal visions for city


The following are edited excerpts of the responses by Republican candidates for mayor of Baltimore to a Sun questionnaire. The Democratic candidates' responses appeared earlier this week.

Carl M. Adair

On mayoral style and role model: I have observed several former mayors of Baltimore and have learned from each. My priority will be education: improve classroom instruction, classroom behavior, praising the good students and teachers. I will also reduce crime by using education and technical training of students. If our students are better trained, they will become employable and contributors to our city.

On criticism in Annapolis of Baltimore's use of state money: This is not a fair criticism.

On regional cooperation and tax-base sharing: My alternatives to tax-base sharing would be working cooperatively with officials in the region for the allocation of federal and state resources.

Arthur William Cuffie Jr.

On mayoral style: I would be a strong, hands-on and personable mayor. My role models are Thomas D'Alesandro III, Theodore R. McKeldin and William D. Schaefer.

On privatization: I do not favor privatization of city services.

Lynwood Hudson Leverette

On mayoral style: While both mayors Kurt L. Schmoke and William Donald Schaefer were excellent representatives for the city, I tend to admire the mayoral style of Mr. Schaefer, who was clearly a people's mayor. As mayor, I would be both manager and salesperson. Any mayor with any vision at all should observe both positions as an obligation, not an option.

Make no mistake, my No. 1 priority is to restore law and order. I fully intend to clean up this city within my first year. Second, education will be a priority in my administration. Recently, 287 teachers were fired. Why? How can they teach in fear of their lives and their jobs.

On privatization: Privatization of certain services elsewhere has proved effective. Again, divine direction would be sought as well as community considerations. If it would increase our unemployment lines, it would not be the moral direction to take. The more unemployment, the more crime.

On criticism in Annapolis of Baltimore's use of state money: It is unfair and politically motivated. However, I would recommend that we re-evaluate the use of such monies.

On regional cooperation, tax-base sharing and a commuter tax: It would require consideration by people far more knowledgeable than me. A good mayor knows his limitations. I would favor a commuter tax. Tax-base sharing would promote an attitude of complacency.

Roberto L. Marsili

On mayoral style and role model: Ronald Wilson Reagan and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. These presidents were the image of power and leadership. This city has a very bad attitude problem and image. My plan would be to privatize city properties laying in rubble and waste. Remove the Housing Authority of Baltimore City from the housing industry. Let private developers build high-end housing for middle- and upper-income buyers, not the likes of Sandtown. Baltimore's property taxes must be lowered to $2.80 per $100 of assessed value, putting it in line with surrounding counties. This would attract new housing construction and help return middle-income people to the city.

On privatization: I do not favor privatizing government service.

On criticism in Annapolis of Baltimore's use of state money: There are not only such critics in Annapolis, but in America. Housing and community development is corrupt to the core. In the Schmoke administration, no major organized gangs have been targeted, indicted or convicted.

David Tufaro

On mayoral style: My role model for mayor would be a composite of Republican Fiorello LaGuardia, who was mayor of New York from 1934-45, Baltimore Democrat William Donald Schaefer, Republican Mayor Stephen Goldsmith of Indianapolis, Republican New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Democratic Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell.

The characteristics that made them successful include energy, a sense of urgency, courage, a willingness to make unpopular decisions to help their citizens, a willingness to challenge entrenched bureaucracies, rapport with the citizens in the neighborhoods, a focus on positive results, selection of capable, strong men and women as members of their teams, an upbeat attitude, integrity, honesty, independence, toughness and the understanding that they represent the needs of the citizens and not special interests.

I would seek input from neighborhood groups and ask them to set agendas for their areas on crime prevention, housing, commercial revitalization and education.

A mayor is primarily a leader who sets an agenda, hires capable people, holds them accountable to high standards and has a high sense of urgency about addressing the city's problem. As mayor, I also would be the city's chief booster and salesperson. My first priority would be setting the agenda. I would then hire independent, capable men and women as department heads and for other key city positions that reflect my agenda, priorities, integrity and commitment to the city, but who are also creative and not afraid to tell me when programs are not working or when I need to adjust my priorities.

On privatization: I would encourage market competition in appropriate services such as trash collection, management of real estate, managing housing and running our recreation program. This may or may not involve privatization of certain government services.

There are numerous successful models of introducing market competition to the delivery of services both locally and in other cities. Baltimore County has private trash collection and an outstanding recreation program that is run substantially by volunteers. Mayor Goldsmith of Indianapolis successfully introduced market competition over the objection of some of the entrenched bureaucracies, but to the ultimate acclaim of the citizens of Indianapolis.

On criticism in Annapolis of Baltimore's use of state money: There is no question that Baltimore has been inefficient not only in its use of state money, but also in the use of federal and city money. I would insist on measurable results for how money is spent.

On regional cooperation and a commuter tax: Urban policy experts are out of touch with reality because their views represent a cop-out for the failed efforts of many big cities, including Baltimore. There are areas where regional cooperation is particularly appropriate, including transportation, trash, water resources and economic development. However, I am not optimistic for the short-term because Baltimore has been so terribly ineffective and because the city has squandered millions of dollars as a result of failed programs, incompetence and corruption.

The city needs to get its act together and demonstrate it deserves the support of other jurisdictions.

I am opposed to a commuter tax because it would not serve the interests of Baltimore. It would discourage the location of businesses here, which would be contrary to the city's interest.

Republican candidate Melanie M. Taylor did not respond to The Sun's questionnaire.

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