Despite rain, sun shines on a bit of Gov. Schaefer's 0...



STRETCHING THINGS? — Despite rain, sun shines on a bit of Gov. Schaefer's 0) inaugural

Rain sufficient to signal the second coming of Noah greeted gubernatorial aide Lainy LeBow on the morning of Gov. William Donald Schaefer's inaugural last week.

Charged with staging the day's events, Ms. LeBow went about her work with the usual can-do spring in her step. Nothing dampens her spirit.

Oh, maybe there was one thing.

People kept asking her why she hadn't scheduled the event one day earlier -- when the temperature was above 50 degrees and the sky was clear.

"If anyone asks me that question again," she said, "I'm going to smash him in the face."

The question kept coming back, of course.

But the rains actually slackened.

And, miracle of miracles, when the governor stood to speak, the sun actually came out and stayed out until he had finished assuring his audience that he will continue to wield power and act energetically during his final term.


File this one under "Dirt-y politics."

The start of the legislative session this month brought out of the woodwork citizens who haven't forgotten the meaning of the democratic process. One such was J. Douglas Parren, a Calvert County landowner, who opposes recommendations of the governor's so-called 2020 commission on growth in the Chesapeake Bay region.

Mr. Parren, who ran unsuccessfully last fall for the Calvert County Commission, spent an afternoon filling plastic bags with soil from his property -- the "finest topsoil in the country," he said. He was protesting what he sees as a loss of local control of land under the commission's recommendations.

When the General Assembly opened for business, Mr. Parren was there with a bag and message for each of the 47 senators (and an extra big bag for his own legislator, Sen. Bernie Fowler, D-Calvert), plus a bag for the governor and the speaker of the House.

"This is all the rural Maryland land you should take control of now. Please vote NO on 2020," read the message on one bag. "This is the USA, not the USSR."

He had no dirt for the House of Delegates, 141 members strong.

"Do you have any idea how long that would take?" Mr. Parren said.

With more than 300 Maryland National Guardsmen on hand for last week's inaugural, Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell, D-Baltimore County, and Sen. American Joe Miedusiewski, D-Baltimore, grew nostalgic for the days when they served in the National Guard 20 year

L "Maybe we should have worn our uniforms," Mr. Bromwell said.

No chance, thought Mr. Miedusiewski, who weighed 129 in those days. Now, the figure exceeds 160.

"Could you get into yours?" Mr. Miedusiewski asked his colleague.

"No problem," said his colleague, not missing a beat.


Speaking out against a proposal to make helmets mandatory for motorcyclists, Chuck Blankenship offered a novel argument last week: "Fat cat" insurance companies would make a tidy profit from the bill.

Mr. Blankenship, an avid cyclist, said the proposed "right-wing" law would save insurance companies millions of dollars they would otherwise pay out in claims to brain-damaged motorcycle accident victims.

But, he noted, "insurance companies haven't promised to reduce premiums" with the savings.

Mr. Blankenship is state director of ABATE -- A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments. The motorcyclist group claims 2,000 members.


Baltimore Councilman Dominic "Mimi" DiPietro, D-1st, wore chartreuse Steinberg-Schaefer campaign cap to last Wednesday's inaugural.

The councilman had a big smile for the governor but little tolerance for Schaefer speechifying. As soon as the governor began his formal remarks, Mr. DiPietro was up and heading toward Baltimore.

"I've had enough," he said.

Two days later, at the governor's State of the State address, Delegate Carolyn Krysiak, D-Baltimore, wore a yellow, red and black scarf with the state flag motif.

She stayed for every gubernatorial word.

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