Tuesday, April 19, 2011

RIP William Donald Shaefer

Baltimore lost its patron saint yesterday. The 60s, with its white flight, drugs, and crime took a toll on America's cities and Baltimore was as bad if not worse than most. But William Donald Shaefer put urban renewal into the popular lexicon. He was a tireless advocate for Baltimore and transformed it into a different city. He was a mixture of pit bull and clown, but always, always, always with the city in mind. He could be nasty and abrasive, he could be goofy and charming. Living as a row house with his mother, ever the bachelor -- even with his friend Hilda Mae Snoops -- Shaefer was unlike any other politician you would ever meet. He played the eccentric, the droopy-eyed loser, but nobody ever doubted that he was as skilled a political player behind the scenes as you will ever find. He got things done and he got people to do them. He made government work and the city of Baltimore is forever changed for it.

Rest in peace Willy Don.