Kurt L. Schmoke's 12-year run as Baltimore mayor is winding to a close, and several prominent Baltimore politicians want NAACP President Kweisi Mfume to take over the reins of the city.
But that hasn't stopped state lawmakers from pushing legislation that would reduce the city residency requirement for the next mayor from one year to six months. Mfume, a former Baltimore City Council member, now lives in Baltimore County. The residency measure is up for final passage this week in Annapolis, despite criticism that the law should not be changed to benefit Mfume. Mfume has said he doesn't want the job, but he fueled further speculation by bidding recently on a condominium in the city. To make the job more attractive to the former congressman, the Baltimore City Council is considering raising the mayor's salary from $95,000 to as much as $150,000. Schmoke (D) supports the change.
Comptroller William Donald Schaefer (D), a former Baltimore mayor, is urging Mfume to run. And Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) jokingly referred to Mfume as "mayor" at a recent news conference in Annapolis. And there is talk all around about a "Draft Mfume" campaign to begin soon after the legislature adjourns next Monday.
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