$32 Million Can Bridge Other Gaps As Well

Money Would Be Nice Without The Structure

August 11, 1991|By Phil Greenfield

Forgive me for being confused, but I've been lugging home so much furniture from Mr. Shaivitz's soon-to-be-defunct emporium that I'm having trouble keeping things straight.

Since Tuesday, I've bagged a dining room table, six chairs, a two-piece hutch and a sleeper sofa. And I'm a modest shopper compared to some of the predatory bargain hunters I've been dodging over here.

"Shall we pack that credenza for you, madam?"

"No thanks. I'lleat it here."

I haven't seen such unbridled acquisitive lust since the County Council's last zoning meeting.

OK, so tell me if I'vegot this straight. If we don't build the bridge, we lose 32 million bucks, so we have to build the bridge to get the money for a bridge that a lot of people don't seem to want. Do I have it right?

The apocalyptic rhetoric surrounding this proposed structure has been giving me a headache for weeks now. I am particularly "enamored" of the self-styled aesthetes who want to construct a new low drawbridge alongside the old one; a proposal that is the rough equivalent of building a brand new road in order to incorporate all the potholes of the old.

I suspect that one letter writer to The Capital spoke the word ofGod on all this when he suggested we knock down the rickety old monument to gridlock, say "kaddish" for it, then swim, paddle or drive across the Severn via the Route 50 bridge forevermore. The end.

Except that blows the 32 million balloons. If only there was a way to dump the bridge and keep the loot. Maybe the key is to convince somebodythat we can do a lot of good with the money without depriving the Wardour-Pendennis types of their unimpeded view of the "Earth Station" satellite dish. We could do so much. Hey, it's worth a try.

* Thirty-two big ones could sure buy a lot of cherry cabinets for the kitchen of the Governor's Mansion.

* For $32 million we could treat everyone in the Clay Street garage to pizza. And have enough cash left over for an armored personnel carrier with which to deliver it.

* By my rough calculations, $32 million would buy approximately 2,178,352 CDs from Tower Records. I'd volunteer to . . .er . . . audition them for the county.

* For that kind of money, we could bring MichaelJackson, Frank Sinatra, Vanilla Ice and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to Annapolis for First Night on New Year's Eve. And you thought it was mobbed last year. Do you think "Ol' Blue Eyes" could fill St. Anne's?

* With 32 million clams we could build that new museum for Parole way ahead of schedule. What a noble cause. "Strip Malls and the Human Spirit," "From Bauhaus to Chow House: Fast Food Restaurant Architecture in Parole," and a hands-on computer game entitled "Can You Create Gridlock?" are but a few of the proposed exhibits, I understand. Can't wait to bring the kids.

* For $32 million, Cape St. Claire could build a state-of-the-art post office, appropriate a really zippyZIP code and not let Annapolis use either one.

* Then again, we could just invest it. Maybe the county could go halfsies on an island paradise with Tom McMillen.

* We could donate the money to the Orioles with the stipulation that it be used to buy a couple of startingpitchers who don't display an overwhelming urge to take a shower in the third inning. While we're at it, we could buy Jeff Ballard and Jeff Robinson and a pair of REALLY nice houses in Rochester. Anything to get them to stay there. Money is no object.

* We could buy Pee Wee Herman a VCR.

Yes, we could do so much. And I'll just bet we could get the Secretary of Transportation to funnel the money our way. All we'd have to do is give O. J. Lighthizer a couple hundred thousand right off the top to subsidize the commemorative volume he's sure to publish when he leaves the Transportation Department. That's no problem. Hell, we've done it before.

When he's not spending money he doesn't have, Phil Greenfield writes music and theater reviews for the Anne Arundel County Sun.

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