Ellen O. Moyer was sworn in for a second term as mayor of Annapolis on Monday and, echoing promises made in her campaign, vowed to bring the city closer through conversation.
Moyer (D) said she plans to hold a series of small group discussions across the city as her administration develops a new comprehensive plan to guide growth over the next 10 years. The state-required land-use plan, entitled Annapolis Vision 2018, is due in December 2007. Moyer said she hopes every resident will participate in the meetings.
"There are those who contend talk is cheap," Moyer said in her inaugural address. "But talk is the most valuable currency we humans exchange. It is our special element, just as water is to fish. Because conversation -- forthright and direct, where views are discussed openly and honestly -- is an action. Nothing happens except through conversation."
About 400 people attended the 4 p.m. ceremony at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts as the season's first snow fell outside.
Moyer was sworn in after short speeches by a foursome of powerful Maryland Democrats: Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens, House Speaker Michael E. Busch, U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes and U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin.
Moyer addressed growing concern over the rapid pace of development that became a prominent issue in her re-election. Many of the projects now under construction were in keeping with the last 10-year plan, which is coming to a close, she said. That plan came about as a result of residents' concerns over vacant land and abandoned buildings.
"It was their concept to infill available space with residences and retail, to diminish our need to get into our cars for daily shopping," she said.
"Looking back, would we have chosen differently?" she added. "I doubt it."
But with the new growth, she said, "we now have new issues. In the face of change, how do we stay connected to this very special place?"
Moyer said she was committed to making this 10-year planning process the "most inclusive, participatory and insightful planning process ever."
After taking her own oath of office, the mayor swore in the City Council for a new term. The nine-member council, which includes five new aldermen, will hold its first meeting Dec. 12.
Cause of Fire Unknown
Annapolis fire officials still don't know what caused the Nov. 25 fire that destroyed a late 19th-century building and damaged two others on Main Street downtown. Fire investigators are working with insurance investigators to determine the cause, said Annapolis Fire Department spokesman Capt. Joseph F. Martin. Arson has been ruled out, he said.
The fire is believed to have started in the space between the first and second floors of Zachary's Jewelers at 124 Main St. The building, which had been modified over the years, dates to at least 1885, the first year it appears on city fire maps.
The building has been condemned and is scheduled for demolition. The two damaged buildings on either side of it are expected to be restored.
Martin said electrical engineers hired by the insurance companies were examining the charred electrical components from the building to help determine what caused the fire.
Damage to the main structure was estimated at more than $1 million, but a total dollar figure on damages has not been determined, Martin said.
Zachary's, meanwhile, re-opened Friday at a new location just a few doors away, at 100 Main St.