Jim Martin says the county is ripe for something new, something green.
The Annapolis business owner is talking about third-party politics. As he sees it, many county voters have seen enough of what the Democrats and Republicans have to offer and are ready for the Green Party.
Yes, Green as in the Greens, the party that began in West Germanyin 1977 with an environmentalist, anti-nuclear platform. It's the same Green Party that stepped onto U.S. shores in 1988 and now has 300 local chapters, including an official party in Alaska that has elected nine of its members to the state legislature.
Martin, who runs Free State Press in Annapolis, says it's time for a chapter in Anne Arundel County. He's not supplying any names, but he says he's heard from a number of people, including some elected officials, who are interested in going Green.
The Republican party's social agenda, he says, is dedicated to making the "rich richer and the poor poorer." Andhe likens the Democratic Party to "someone in the early stages of Alzheimer's. They're confused."
"Any good business develops a business plan," said Martin. "It's incredible to me that America does not have a business plan."
Martin envisions the third-party campaign asa way of getting more people involved in politics and running their government, "using the Green Party as an educational process."
To the extent that it pulls more people into the discussion, state Sen. Gerald W. Winegrad says, a third-party movement is fine. But the District 30 Democrat says it would be "more appropriate for people to form green wings" of existing parties.
Winegrad, the strongest environmentalist in the state Senate, says "we're all frustrated that not enough is being done" about the county's environmental problems, many of which are caused by overdevelopment.
But Martin says there's more to this than environmentalism. "We're trying to create a social movement, a political movement, an environmental movement," Martin says. The Greens want to reform the entire process to give citizens more say in government decisions, he says. The dispute over the proposed Severn River bridge, he says, is just the most blatant example of a decision made by top administrators with little citizen involvement.
Martin, who attended the national Green Party conference in Elkins, W.Va., in July, says he expects to hold a Green Party introductory meeting in this county later this month.
A CREATURE IN THE NIGHT
I've always had a bleeding heart for small furry creatures that jump up from out of the dark and onto my leg. These poor things usually belong to some would-be criminal or other misguided soul whose path has crossed mine during the daily grind of my job as a police reporter.
Such was the case Friday night while I was riding along with two undercover county narcotics officers.
We pulled up in front of the modest house in the 700 block of Chapel Gate Road in Odenton, having just spent a long night rounding up people on warrants for distributing cocaine. The man who lived in the house was one of the last names on our list.
The officers pounded on the door. Although a child stared at us through a living room window and we could hear a baby crying,no one answered.
The officers decided to check the back of the house. The yard was fenced in and it was dark. I followed an officer into the yard. That's when I felt it.
A tiny thing jumping up on my leg. The officer shined a light on it.
The furry thing clutching my leg with its paws was about 2 feet long and less than a foot high. It had shaggy hair. I bent down to take a closer look. It smelled funny.
Although the little dog wasn't making a sound, it was wagging its tail furiously -- apparently a lot happier to see us than its owner would have been.
By now, two other officers were in the backyard cooing over the dog with me. It was a chilly night and the poor thing was shivering.
A few minutes passed. It was plain the man we were looking for was not home; his children were holed up in the house,and they were not answering the door.
I picked the dog up and brought it to the front of the house, where the two officers I was riding with were waiting. They did a double take when they noticed me clutching the dog.
"That thing has fleas," one pointed out. The second, whose jacket I was wearing, said: "Yeah, and it's (urinating) on mycoat."
I looked down. Not only was his jacket at risk, but so wasmy new pink chamois shirt. But the dog was doing nothing of the kind.
I wanted to take it home with me. The officers rolled their eyeswhen I announced my intentions.
"We're here for a man, not a dog,Ms. Antonelli," they reminded me.
"You could be locked up for theft," another said.