Maryland Attorney General Stephen H. Sachs, in a frontal assault on his gubernatorial opponent's greatest political strength, accused Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer tonight of lavishing his city's resources on the "glitz and the glitter" of the Inner Harbor while ignoring the city's human problems.
Speaking to a predominantly black, center-city Democratic club, Sachs accused the popular four-term mayor of demonstrating "a preference for tourists over our own children" and of "specializing in two Baltimores -- one for the haves and one for the have-nots."
Sachs' speech, peppered with statistics his aides believe will puncture the image of an urban rejuvenation for which Schaefer takes considerable credit, marked a significant departure in the attorney general's underdog campaign to win the Democratic nomination on Sept. 9.
Schaefer, currently a 2-to-1 favorite to capture the Democratic nomination, has concentrated his campaign on a promise to aggressively promote economic development and apply to state problems the kind of personal, hands-on approach he has brought to city government in the last 15 years.
The mayor's television commercials have promised that he can do for Maryland what he has done for Baltimore.
"Heaven help us if he does," concluded Sachs, reciting statistics on teen-age pregnancy, poor housing conditions, school problems and poverty that he said Schaefer must take credit for along with Baltimore's highly publicized renaissance centered around its harbor.
Schaefer, "will spend everything necessary for the glitz and the glitter of the Inner Harbor," Sachs charged, "but give him a human problem, give him a people problem, give him an opportunity like public education and he will look the other way."
"The mayor can't have it both ways," Sachs said. "The mayor can't take credit for . . . the accomplishments of the Inner Harbor and then make believe he has no responsibility for the gloom and the difficulties elsewhere in the city. There are two Baltimores . . . He likes to brag on one and he likes to hide from the other."
The campaign message unveiled by Sachs tonight is reminiscent of the "two Baltimores" theme used to little effect in the 1983 mayoral election by former Circuit Court judge William H. Murphy Jr., who was overwhelmed by Schaefer at the polls.
Mark Wasserman, campaign manager for Schaefer, said tonight that Sachs' comments had "the same old tired, distorted sound to it that the rhetoric of 1983 had. The voters were too smart to be fooled by such nonsense then, and I have every reason to believe that the same will be true this year."
Specifically, Sachs criticized Schaefer for the city's lowest ranking among all state jurisdictions in the percentage of local revenue it spends on education, for favoring a plan to withhold welfare grants as a means of reducing school truancy, for having 42,000 people on waiting lists for public housing, for heading a city that has become the nation's seventh poorest and for having the nation's highest rate of teen-age pregnancy.