Lighthizer Tome Touches A Nerve

'Achievement Through Strategic Planning' Not On Everyone's Top 10

January 13, 1991|By Phil Greenfield

I like to keep abreast of what the public is reading, so this week Icurled up with a nifty new volume entitled, "The Lighthizer Years 1982-1990: Achievement Through Strategic Planning."

As you know, theformer exec has taken a royal pasting from all quarters for publishing this Orvillic Ode at taxpayer's expense to the tune of some 100,000 smackers.

Apparently the self-aggrandizing tone that many seem to think runs through "Achievement Through Strategic Planning" (What a sassy title!) has turned people off.

But I'm here to say that this is a tasteful, restrained opus that should be read by one and all as an example of an all-too-rare humility that more public servants should emulate.

There was so much that could have been said; so many incidents and achievements that might have been enumerated but weren't, that our former leader merits admiration, not censure. Look at all these things that were left out of the volume in this spirit of self-effacement.

1. Presided over an eight-year period during which no foreign power dared invade so much as 1 inch of Anne Arundel County soil.

2. An earthquake-prevention program, unlike any in the country, that kept Anne Arundel County quake-free during the Lighthizer tenure.

3. An award from the American Guardians of Gazebos (AGOG) for single-handedly resurrecting that architectural phenomenon in the Mid-Atlantic region.

4. The walking on the waters of the Severn River.

5. Received a citation from Amnesty International extolling the humane treatment of drug growers in his employ.

6. Named the most industrious would-be builder of amphitheaters since the days of the Roman Emperor Vespasian. Ave O.J. Spoliarturi te salutamus! (Hail, O.J. We whoare about to despoil salute you!)

7. There were more than 1,986 days of sunshine during Lighthizer's tenure.

8. The designation of cement as Parole's official surface and stumps as the official tree of the City of Annapolis.

9. In a creative partnership with Jones Intercable, the county opened a hot line for people with no problems. Which is good because, in the Jones Intercable tradition, nobody answers the phone.

10. Presided over the eight-year period that saw the collapse of global Communism and the disintegration of Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe.

11. An innovative countywide public health policy that resulted in eight straight years with no deaths recorded from the bubonic plague.

12. On the interstate and international trade front, economic relationships with such "sister" areas as Jamaica, New York City, and Los Angeles expanded dramatically, as out-of-country and state drug entrepreneurs continued to make their presence felt in the local market.

13. Lighthizer's throwing the silver dollar across the South River. (Lest one think he was squandering county resources, rumor has it that he had county auditor Joseph Novotny combing the sands of Hillsmere Shores looking for it until late the nextday.)

See what I mean?

So let the ex-chief alone. And I, for one, can't wait for the sequel due to appear in 1994: "From Gridlock to Light Rail: Transportation Achievements Through Strategic Planning."

From what I hear, Denise Rankin may be reving up her word processor even as we speak.

When he's not reading modern masterpieces, Phil Greenfield teaches at Annapolis High School and is a music critic for the Anne Arundel County Sun.

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