• By popular demand, Esquire posted scans of its longform profile of Schaefer from October 1984, titled "Can the Best Mayor Win?"
The setup on the magazine's politics blog:
Insider-baseball as it may sound, these Beltway beat writers were referencing one of the great Esquire stories not just in the history of Esquire stories, nor Esquire mayoral stories ... nor even Esquire stories about Baltimore -- just one of the great stories about a great American whom we happened to lose yesterday.
An excerpt from the piece itself:
He roamed the neighborhoods in the Buick. He'd talk to anybody about their own street, the clogged storm sewer, the noisy corner bar. It wasn't enough to know Baltimore. It was like he meant to ingest it.
• Patch.com's obituary by Doug Donovan, Doug Tallman and Bryan P. Sears includes quotes from several people Schaefer worked with, even those he didn't necessarily get along with, such as gubernatorial successor Parris N. Glendening.
M.J. "Jay" Brodie, president of the Baltimore Development Corporation and one of Schaefer's earliest supporters, told Patch:
He was the best mayor I've ever seen and I've seen quite a few in Baltimore and in other cities," said Brodie, who worked as Schaefer's city housing commissioner. "He had great instincts. He didn't get it out of a book or take a poll to see what people want. He had great leadership instincts and guts to follow through on the instincts."
• In The Washington Post's obit, Adam Bernstein wrote of Schaefer's "rough-edged personality," which, he says, Schaefer said was necessary to hold power.
He addressed a newspaper editor with "Dear Edit-turd." He answered one angry taxpayer's letter with, "I'm glad you have recovered from your lobotomy." He likened the conservative, rural Eastern Shore -- which had not voted for him as governor -- to an outhouse. He taunted his gubernatorial successor, Parris N. Glendening (D), by clucking and flapping his arms and calling him a chicken.
• The New York Times' obituary -- whose headline identifies him as "Baltimore Mayor," not "Maryland Governor" -- framed Schaefer's legacy this way:
New York had its Fiorello H. La Guardia. Chicago had its Daleys. And Baltimore had William Donald Schaefer: the name on park benches, garbage trucks, office buildings, construction sites, horse races at Pimlico -- and on the psyche of Baltimoreans in the 1970s and '80s. It was a kind of anticlimax when he became governor: they called him the mayor of Maryland.
• On the Center Maryland blog, Josh Kurtz writes that while those who didn't live here when Schaefer was mayor and governor might never totally "get" him, his influence is hard to escape.
We know how his record of accomplishment, how his drive and performance, inspired generations of Maryland leaders who came after him, even though none was as authentic - or as bombastic or as colorful - as the real thing.
And we know he will deserve every accolade that's thrown his way in the days ahead, as the city and state mourn not only his passing, but the end of an era, and the death of a larger-than-life personality who probably could not have succeeded in these days of poll-driven, blow-dried candidates who measure every word before they utter it and labor mightily to steer clear of controversy.
• Red Maryland expressed a similar sentiment, saying, even if you disagreed with his politics or style, "you can't argue that he cared."
In this era of politicians on both sides of the aisle who are programmed and try not to offend, William Donald Schaefer was somebody who was unique, and real, and who really cared.
I'm sure that he's already trying to get the potholes filled in the afterlife...
• Baltimore Brew's Fern Shen points out that some of Schaefer's biggest accomplishments -- Harborplace, the aquarium, the convention center, the stadiums -- weren't universally popular. Critics, she writes, charged that his "waterfront-based Renaissance left large swaths of the city in the Dark Ages" while enriching developer friends.
But defenders said Schaefer's vision included neighborhoods across the city, pointing to the flowering of ethnic fairs and the offering of "dollar houses" to urban homesteaders under his leadership. There was a new sense of pride and optimism in the city, and Schaefer -- odd bird though he was -- seemed to be driving it.
• On Investigative Voice, Alan Z. Forman begins his piece:
How does an investigative news website report the passing of a giant? A towering figure who was Baltimore incarnate. A former mayor and governor who embodied and enabled what is best about this city, but who, like Baltimore itself, was deeply flawed.
Despite his feet of clay William Donald Schaefer set the modern standard for what it means to be Mayor of Baltimore.
• From the sports blogosphere, Baltimore Sports Report says Schaefer's "shadow looms large over the city's two biggest sporting franchises, even if he never threw a touchdown pass or hit a home run."
The loss of the Colts also made Schaefer work to keep the Orioles in town. Afraid that the Orioles would leave just like the Colts did, Schaefer pushed to have a new stadium built to replace Memorial Stadium. ... Schaefer was at the forefront of a movement that saw new stadiums crop up to keep teams in town or to lure teams from other locales to come in. Camden Yards stands today as a jewel of a baseball stadium, some twenty years after first opening, thanks to the efforts of the former governor.
• Maryland Reporter's Len Lazarick shares a journalist's perspective.
For 30 years or more, Schaefer was the man to be covered and quoted: bully, do-it-now tyrant, clown, visionary, momma's boy, lover of Baltimore, friend of business, enemy of potholes. He inspired immense loyalty from his staff, and the gratitude of abused scribes, who seldom walked away without some kind of story.
-- Compiled by Steve Earley