Challenges for Angelos


WHEN IT comes to Baltimore movers and shakers, Peter Angelos sits atop most people's lists. With his interests in the Orioles, nationally known law practice, development ventures and track record of civic involvement, he probably gets a lot of unsolicted advice.

So, in the interest of contributing to the public debate, we asked some civic leaders what projects Mr. Angelos should tackle next.

Kweisi Mfume, president, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People:

If I had the right to ask Peter, I'd ask that he continue working to help revitalize downtown Baltimore and his quiet but effective philanthropic throughout the greater Maryland.

There are a number of development projects under way that bear Peter's thumbprint. When completed, they'll only add to the second renaissance of Baltimore.

Brendan Walsh, social activist and co-founder of Viva House, a Catholic Worker soup kitchen, 26 South Mount Street:

One of the most critical problems is where are all poor people going to live? One-quarter of the population of Baltimore lives under the poverty level. Would [Angelos] have the foresight to put as much money into finding decent, affordable housing for all of those people as he does with ideas for hotels? If so, he'd have to abandon the concept of profit and think instead of reward.

Herman Neuberger, president of Ner Israel rabbinical college: I would ask him to train people for jobs -- people who have no purpose in life, no profession, no skills. If these people could be trained for a vocation and earn a living, it would benefit society.

Mark Wasserman, vice president of external affairs and development for University of Maryland Medical Systems:

Peter Angelos is one fellow, and there aren't a lot of them, who has "Baltimore" written across his chest. The passion he displays for Baltimore is scattered in a variety of directions, but the one I hope he'll stick with and lead is the revitalization of the west side of downtown.

John Prevas, Baltimore Circuit Court judge:

If he can afford it, I'd like to see him start 24-hour a day, 7 day a week, walk-in drug treatment for all the people who claim they want it. If [Mr. Angelos] could accomplish this, all his other projects would go more smoothly. To keep it going, I think it would take an endowment of about $45 million and I think the police department could probably run it better than the health department.

Ralph Moore Jr., vice president and director of community services at the Center for Poverty Solutions, 2521 North Charles Street.

I'd like to see him go back to Johnston Square, the community where he was intending to relocate Our Daily Bread, and help the Oblate Sisters who run St. Frances Academy there. They've done a lot of good and haven't really been recognized. They could use a gym and a number of other things. I don't know if he would ever do something like that, but he was willing to buy a plot of land to relocate a soup kitchen there.

Robert C. Embry Jr., president, the Abell Foundation.

I'd like to see him work on the Orioles. They're clearly losing their tremendous fan support. The Ravens are becoming more popular than the Orioles. My Number One priority for the team would be to get David Cone from the Yankees. They need somebody's attention.

Karen Bond, executive director of the Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust:

I would ask Mr. Angelos to consider funding for [poor] children to go to private schools. Kids who were born with less than enough deserve to go to a place where it's OK to be smart. Sports is important, but I'd like to see the same energy spent on building stadiums to build classrooms.

Michael S. Easterling, vice president, the Chapman Company investment firm.

With that kind of clout and resources, including a highly visible ball team, I'd like to see him tackle public education in Baltimore. I'd like to see him encourage business leaders to provide a leg up for a faltering school system that's being supported by an eroding tax base. His wealth and dedication to Baltimore could get it started.

Timothy Armbruster, chief executive officer of the Baltimore Community Foundation and the Goldseker Foundation:

If I had Mr. Angelos' ear, I'd suggest two things. One is that the ambitious plans for Charles Center and for west side development are followed through. I'm talking about more than money -- it requires consistent leadership. Secondly, he ought to turn his attention to helping create a redevelopment vision for his old neighborhood of Highlandtown. It badly needs a coherent plan and there's seemingly no one able to pull it all together.

Robert Hillman, attorney with Whiteford, Taylor and Preston and a trustee of the Enoch Pratt Free Library:

I think if Peter Angelos could direct his resources and his will toward reducing class size in Baltimore schools and improving the teacher competence, it would be the greatest contribution anyone could make to the city. Its going to take initiative outside the present school bureaucracy. I'm not sure if it would be for-profit or non-profit, it just has to be good.

Interviews were conducted by Sun reporter Rafael Alvarez

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