FORMER ANNE Arundel County Executive O. James Lighthizer's memoirs are creating a stir. It seems the book, "The Lighthizer Years 1982-1990 -- Achievement Through Strategic Planning," cost county taxpayers more than $100,000. This included a 25,000 copy printing and $25,000 in design work by a Baltimore firm. A tad pricey for a literary effort that began as a "report card" on Mr. Lighthizer's administration.
In a letter explaining himself, Mr. Lighthizer said it "seemed appropriate" to venture beyond the pro forma "dry, hard to understand financial report -- something that would be attractive, readable and provide the citizens with important, useful information: a legitimate public service."
Presumably, this is why he hasn't offered to reimburse the county, though some decidedly irritated residents have asked. The slick 96-pager sounds like a real coffee table tome, complete with charts, graphics and 173 -- count 'em 173 -- photographs, more than a third in full color. We're a bit miffed that we didn't make the mailing list. Who got those 25,000 copies, anyway? Oh well, maybe next time. Mr. Lighthizer's new post overseeing Maryland's Department of Transportation holds all kinds of possibilities.
* * *
THE GREATER Baltimore Committee last month invited the four newly elected executives of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard counties to an intimate little breakfast for 400.
Robert Neall, of Anne Arundel, warmed upon the group by proposing an inter-jurisdictional drug task force, extolling the light-rail system as a means of tying the region together and ending with the good old bromide that "what is good for all of us is good for each of us."
Roger Hayden, of Baltimore County, stressed the need to apply normal business techniques to the business of running government. "Our job," he said, "is to serve our customers, and our customers are the taxpayers."
Eileen Rehrmann, of Harford, spoke of her work in the General Assembly on behalf of the Port of Baltimore, noting its economic impact on the whole region, including her county. She also stressed her hopes of bringing a four-year higher education program to Harford, noting the links between a knowledgeable work force and economic growth.
Charles Ecker, of Howard, reiterated the calls of his colleagues for regional cooperation and placed his emphasis on helping and keeping existing businesses.
Gallimaufry's performance awards go as follows (envelopes, please): Rehrmann, Neall, Hayden and Ecker, in that order.
* * *
The Iceman cometh,
Our Neighbor sloweth,
The Appraiser assesseth,
And Triple A toweth.