Republican council member Charles Feaga turned his ire on the Bobo administration for what he believes is a crediting of Democrats only for ending a controversial state road project in his district.
Dead, at least for now, is a State Highway Administration planning study for a road linking routes 97 and 32 in the fifth council district in western Howard County.
Word that Gov. William Donald Schaefer had killed the study came Monday in two pieces of correspondence made public by William Toohey, new media officer for County Executive M. Elizabeth Bobo.
The first was a Sept. 25 letter from Bobo to Schaefer that restates a request by Bobo and state Sen. Edward Kasemeyer, D-14th, that the road study be terminated.
The second was a terse, two-paragraph note from the governor dated Oct.
1. It said that, based upon Bobo's request, the governor was "stopping the study effective immediately."
Feaga said that when news of the governor's decision was "leaked" to him by a council secretary late Monday afternoon, he felt like the victim of a political flim-flam.
He said that despite the fact that he never favored the road to begin with, political opponents had told his constituents something quite the contrary -- that he was responsible for including the road in the county's new General Plan.
That information was so widespread, Feaga said, that 13 days ago he met with about 300 people at Glenelg Methodist Church to clarify the situation.
At issue was a Feaga amendment to the General Plan in July that called on the county to "continue to participate in roadway studies of regional significance which cross jurisdictional boundaries."
The study Schaefer killed Monday does exactly that. The area for the connector road under consideration is in both Howard and Carroll counties.
Feaga has maintained that his amendment was not an attempt to bring the road into the county through the back door, but to alert constituents to the fact that the state was undertaking planning studies in Howard County.
The day following the Glenelg meeting, Feaga sent a memo to Bobo and the the council along with a draft letter to State Highway Administrator Hal Kassoff calling for termination of the road study. Feaga also drafted two anti-road-study resolutions for introduction at Monday night's council meeting. One would have requested the study be withdrawn and the other would have deleted the study from the 1990 General Plan.
Although Bobo mentioned Feaga's Democratic challenger, Susan Scheidt, in her letter to Schaefer four days later as having "approached me in an effort to work together to stop this study," Feaga himself received no mention for what he believes was his own considerable work on the issue.
"This is typical of the way the Bobo administration has worked with me on anything I have suggested in the last four years," Feaga said. "You would think that after a memo, a letter and two resolutions asking for help stopping the road, I should have been given the courtesy of learning -- without it being leaked to me -- that the governor had agreed to say 'no.' "
Although the lone Republican on the County Council said that the governor's "no" is a sign the "system does work," he said he has doubts about the way the situation was handled.
He told the council he wondered if this -- and a truck stop idea for north Laurel that Schaefer also quashed recently -- were not "formulated just so he could get rid of it" to help local Democrats in an election year.
If the administration had acted "properly" when Feaga first mentioned what he terms "misinformation" surrounding the connector road, much of the "hullabaloo" could have been avoided, Feaga said.
He then withdrew his resolution.