Schaefer's on the loose again

The Baltimore Sun

William Donald Schaefer has kept a low profile of late, but he is scheduled to give a lecture about his days as City Councilman and mayor on Sunday at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. He'll speak there again March 16 about his tenure as governor and comptroller. Both times, Schaefer will share the stage with C. Fraser Smith, the WYPR senior news analyst, Sunday Sun columnist and author of a Schaefer biography.

All of which seemed to be news to Schaefer when I called him yesterday.

"I'll be doggone," he said. "I'm glad you told me because I would like to know those things."

I'm pretty sure Schaefer was joking, but it's not always easy to tell with him. Deputy Museum Director Carole Baker assured me he was pulling my leg.

"It's been set up for six months," she said.

In any case, Schaefer said he'll be glad to get out of the house, which is where I reached him.

"I haven't been doing anything," he said. "I just stay home and look at the birds. One day a blue finch flew by. I'm old now, clickety clackety."

Please excuse Mary Beth's absence

Mary Beth Marsden has always wanted to wear a gown on Oscar night, and this year, the Channel 2 anchor got her wish.

Only it was a hospital gown.

On Sunday night, Marsden had to go to work, even though her stomach was killing her. It was the last week of February sweeps, a time when station talent can't take time off.

Heading for the station, feeling worse and worse, Marsden decided to swing by St. Joseph Medical Center to get checked out. The diagnosis was quick and fatal - not to Marsden, but to her plans to tough it out for WMAR.

Appendicitis is one of the few things that will get you out of sweeps duty.

"The ratings period is an important time when we don't have our talent on vacation or off. Every station is like that," said WMAR news director David Silverstein.

But, he said, Marsden got a pass this time. "We want to make sure she gets well."

Marsden, who expects to be back at work Sunday, would like to thank the Academy - er, the staff at St. Joe's:

"I'd like to give them an award," she said.

Who will speak for Ralph Nader?

With Ralph Nader running for president again, does that mean Kevin Zeese will play a role in the campaign?

Zeese, who ran for Senate in 2006 against Ben Cardin and Michael Steele as the Green-Libertarian-Populist candidate, served as Nader's press secretary during the consumer advocate's 2004 White House bid.

Not this time, Zeese tells The Sun's Matthew Hay Brown. He's working instead for a group called VotersForPeace, which is organizing "peace voters" but not endorsing any particular candidate.

But Zeese said another Marylander is following in his footsteps, at least for the time being. Chris Driscoll, the Populist Party candidate for Maryland governor in 2006, is Nader's interim press director.

The Nader campaign was a bit busy yesterday, so I never connected with Driscoll. A guy who answered the phone at Nader HQ confirmed Driscoll's position, but couldn't shed any light on the "interim" bit.

Marc Steiner, that corporate lackey

Yet another front has broken out in the Bring Back Steiner war. Local Green Party members - already split over whether to let activist Bob Kaufman join their efforts - can't decide if Steiner is a man of the people or just The Man.

"Charm City Greens, a Baltimore City local of the Maryland Green Party, distances itself from individual Greens and others who are fighting to bring back Marc Steiner to WYPR," reads a press release from co-chairman Myles Hoenig, who claims that Steiner was cozy with mainstream pols and sponsor Constellation Energy but gave short shrift to third-party types.

I bounced that off Steiner, who, incidentally, said he's "looking ahead." (He's been talking with "a couple" of radio stations and doing interviews for his blog. He just posted audio of his 40-minute chat with journalist Maria Hinojosa about her PBS report on child brides. Find it by Googling "Marc Steiner blog.")

Steiner got a laugh out of the Green's anti-Steiner wing. Or rather, as YPR listeners will recall, he got a cackle out of it.

"That's insane," Steiner said. "Nobody gave the Green Party as much space on the air as we did. ... Corporate Steiner, that's me."

Connect the dots

Maria Allwine, the former Green Party candidate for City Council president, would really, really like me to stress that she's not the only one who kept activist Kaufman from joining a Steiner strategy session. (A photo caption that ran with this column made it sound as if she was acting alone.) ... At Olney Theatre Center through March 9: Doubt. One of the producers: former Maryland first lady Frances Hughes Glendening.

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