In the ignoble profession of politics...


October 28, 1991

AH WHAT IRONY in the ignoble profession of politics. Consider what happened in the current charade over redistricting congressional seats in Maryland.

In the first carve-up, engineered in part by Democratic Rep. Tom McMillen of Crofton in Anne Arundel County, neighboring Baltimore County would have been sliced into five parts.

The real purpose was to keep House Speaker Clay Mitchell's beloved Eastern Shore intact in one district and to throw its Republican congressman, Wayne Gilchrest, into a head-to-head with fellow Republican Helen Delich Bentley of Lutherville. That would have given Democrat McMillen a clear shot for re-election.

When things were going his way, Tom confided to a bunch of us that this plan would be just splendid for Baltimore County.

Instead of having just one congressional voice in Congress, it would have five. Granted, these voices might also reflect larger constituencies elsewhere and, granted, the Eastern Shore wanted no such proliferation of representation, but what the heck.

Then along came the final carve-up, which ended in putting Mr. McMillen head-to-head with Mr. Gilchrest and dividing Anne Arundel into four parts. Although, Anne Arundel's delegates in Annapolis are livid, can we assume that Mr. McMillen is ecstatic that his country will have four voices in Congress?

If so, why not eight voices next time around?

* * *

FOR TWO DECADES, starting in 1958, the Ambassador House restaurant was one of the few places downtown that stayed open 24 hours a day.

Located in a federal-style 1830s row house in the 400 block West Pratt St. and made of Flemish bond (alternating long and short bricks), it was one of the chief gathering spots of Baltimore's night owls.

Truck drivers and longshoremen went there; so did dancers from The Block, even an occasional journalist.

In 1979, the Ambassador House's building was razed to make way for a parking lot that ultimately became the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor Hotel. For a couple of years, the restaurant found a home near the corner of Eutaw and Lombard streets (in an L-shaped space right behind the Tic Toc Club), then it went out of business.

On a recent walk around the neighborhood surrounding the new Oriole Park at Camden Yards, we happened on that corner again. It was a sunny morning and the Tic Toc Club, with its nude dancers, was closed. The long-vacant Ambassador House premises, however, were now occupied by a 24-hour restaurant called Three Stooges.

The grand opening should be sometime soon.

We suggest dropping by Three Stooges next time you are in the neighborhood at 3 a.m., which was always an interesting time at the old Ambassador House.

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