The news from 1987: new mayor, a new soccer facility

Written by on February 8, 2012 in Baltimore Voices - No comments

And make sure you get your VCR professionally cleaned for spring, hon

There were news reports of increased rates of teen pregnancy, violent crime in the neighborhoods and a state delegate being jailed on drug and racketeering charges, but a short article also detailed entertainer Liberace’s death at the age of 67.

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The issue of February 5 also included a photo of Gov. William Donald Schaefer congratulating Baltimore’s newly sworn-in mayor, Clarence “Du” Burns. Burns was the city’s first black mayor; he had been president of the City Council, and upon Schaefer’s election as governor, moved into the mayoral office.

The new mayor was expected to be present at a Feb. 11 meeting to discuss the proposed plans for an indoor soccer arena in Canton. CHICA and CHISCO (a local community soccer association) were hosting the meeting, in which the new arena, described as a “dream” for area children, was to be discussed. A previous recreational facility, located on Boston Street, had been closed to make way for the redevelopment of that corridor. An estimated 3,000 children had used the former facility each month, and officials were eager to give the youth a new place to play.

Soccer was big news, as Frank Morrocco noted in his column, “Throw-Ins.” Morrocco mentioned the meeting and encouraged supporters to be there. He also covered youth soccer, the Baltimore Blast, the National Open Cup and various snippets of news from FIFA (the international governing body of soccer).

More sports information: Increased sales taxes or liquor taxes had been suggested as the best possible options for financing the new stadium for Baltimore. Governor Schaefer, however, opposed a sales tax increase, and told Herbert Belgrad so. Belgrad, chairman of the stadium authority, had to look at the second choice: a hike in the state’s liquor tax, which was being noted as rather low compared to the national average.

According to the article, a 10-cent increase in the current 0-cent-a-gallon state tax on beer, and as much as a $1 increase in the $1.50-a-gallon tax on distilled spirits would generate $10 million each in a year, far more than the estimated $450,000 from a $1-a-night regional hotel tax increase.

Also in the Guide that first week of February was the information that phone service was now considered unaffordable by the poor following the breakup of AT&T. According to a survey by the U.S. Public Information Research Group, nearly one in five low-income households in America did not have a telephone, and had stated to the surveyors that service was too expensive. A whopping 40% of all homes without phones had dropped their service or had it taken away after the breakup of AT&T three years prior.

Ah, technology. Wordmaster Word Processing Services in the 1900 block of Eastern Avenue was offering typing of term papers, manuscripts, resumes, contracts, letters, dissertations and more. The business, obviously the work of an enterprising individual, listed office hours on weeknights and on Saturdays.

Of course, having handed off the typing to the word processing pro, a resident could take in a movie. Fleet Street Video was offering a lifetime membership for only $9.95, and professional VCR cleaning from $19.95. (Financing was available). Among the movies listed in stock: Karate Kid II, Big Trouble in Little China, Club Paradise, Wise Guys and Back to School.

While many were waiting for the sight of the first robin, others were already in the mood for summer, and of course, for crabs. Bud’s on E. Lombard Street had them. Those who weren’t ready for crustaceans (meaning those heathens who weren’t born in Baltimore and probably also rooted for the Yankees) could get a plate of spaghetti and meatballs at Bud’s for $2.50 each.

by Mary Helen Sprecher

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