Schaefer buries hatchet with Shore legislators Uproar about remark is over, delegate says

February 06, 1991|By Peter Jensen | Peter Jensen,Annapolis Bureau of The Sun

ANNAPOLIS -- After a 40-minute face-off with Gov. William Donald Schaefer yesterday afternoon, Eastern Shore legislators said they've patched up their differences with the governor.

Delegate Samuel Q. Johnson III, D-Wicomico, chairman of the Shore's 13-member delegation to Annapolis, said Governor Schaefer insisted that he was only joking when he asked a delegate, "How's that s - - - house of an Eastern Shore?" during a joint session last Friday.

"We had a good conversation," Mr. Johnson said. "The governor said he meant his comments as a joke, and we proceeded to talk about a lot of things."

House Speaker R. Clayton Mitchell Jr., D-Kent, who called Monday for the governor to make a public apology, referred all questions about the meeting to Delegate Johnson.

Governor Schaefer also declined to talk further about the incident, telling reporters as he left the State House: "Whatever they [Eastern Shore legislators] said is fine with me. Have a nice day."

Delegate Johnson said while the governor did not apologize during the meeting, he considers the episode over. "We didn't press him, and he didn't press us," Mr. Johnson said.

Nevertheless, the brouhaha showed little signs of abating on the Eastern Shore, where some residents have taken the governor's comments quite personally.

Lieselotte "Lollo" H. Pennewell of Snow Hill said she mailed a package to the governor demonstrating the discontent: 10 corn cobs wrapped in toilet paper and newspaper.

The corn cobs were once used in place of toilet paper in Eastern Shore outhouses, Ms. Pennewell said.

"Since he thinks we are country bumpkins and backwards, I thought, well, we ought to send him corn cobs to remind him of what we are," said Ms. Pennewell, a longtime Worcester County Republican activist. "We don't like to be treated with such contempt so unbecoming a head of state."

Ms. Pennewell said she is planning to lead a caravan of protesters from the Eastern Shore to the State House next week.

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