Redistricting? Process Borders On Insanity

ROUTE 2 -- A weekly journey through Anne Arundel County

November 06, 1991|By Phil Greenfield Chris Kaltenbach

What an untimely recession. No sooner do we get a straight shot of interstate on which to zip past Old Mill Bottom and Cape St. Claire with nary a traffic signal when -- KABOOM! -- nobody can afford to go to the beach anyway.

* Now let me get this straight: Maryland's new1st Congressional District includes South Baltimore, the Eastern Shore, a pinch of Anne Arundel, plus portions of suburban Cleveland. Am I close?

* I had a redistricting plan that I thought was a winner. It involved ceding the Eastern Shore to Delaware. Think about it: Tommy Mac gets to keep his seat, the governor gets an opportunity to find a whole new area of the state to alienate and, best of all, Clayton Mitchell becomes someone else's problem.

* "Eek," said the legislators. They didn't like the profanity in the letters they got from the Anne Arundel County school kids. Obviously our teachers aren't explaining proper notions of decorum to our youth. Someone should come in immediately to teach them the niceties of literary discourse. Maybe the governor would be willing.

* If there were some way to take the buckspassed by the General Assembly and deposit those bucks in the state kitty, boy, would we be running a surplus in a hurry.

* Must reading for one and all: P.J. O'Rourke's hilariously bitter book about American politics, "Parliament of Whores." He writes: "Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teen-age boys." And he's not even from Maryland.

* You know, I miss my main man, John Leopold. At least when he was waving at me, I knew he didn't have his hand in my pocket.

* I hereby sentence Senate PresidentMike Miller to a lifetime of Helen Reddy concerts.

* Funny how the appointment of Clarence Thomas is apocalyptic while the National Organization for Women doesn't say "boo" about lecherous idiots like Representative Gus Savage of Illinois, a liberal Democrat. To say nothing about Kennedy. Hmmm. . . .

* Did you see that our congressman, no joke, spoke approvingly of the name "Oriole Park at Camden Yards."Egad, maybe his favorite color really is plaid.

* Let me do my part to alleviate the budget crunch, governor. Save yourself a 29-cent stamp. I enjoyed my lobotomy just fine, thank you.

RIGHTS, IN PEACE AND WAR

As one whose birthday falls on Bill of Rights Day, Dec. 15,I've always had a special interest in that historic document, which guarantees everything from the freedom to worship whomever and however we please (a remarkable idea 200 years ago) to the right "to keep and bear arms" (no one seems certain what that one means).

So I wasespecially intrigued yesterday when a two-page announcement came over the office fax machine of a panel discussion set for Nov. 12 under the auspices of the Annapolis-Anne Arundel chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, the Annapolis-area chapter of Women in Communication, and Capital-Gazette newspapers.

I was even more intrigued when I saw the list of panel members scheduled to participate in a"Salute to the Bicentennial of the Bill of Rights."

There's Assistant State Archivist Gregory Stiverson; Frank DeFilippo, former News American columnist and press secretary to former Gov. Marvin Mandel; and ABC-TV news commentator Sheila Kast, who was covering the Soviet Union when democracy began running rampant throughout that country.

Also present will be Army Reserve Officer Dave Dragics, who served on the Military Intelligence Task Force for the Chiefs of Staff during the Persian Gulf war. He will be there, the press release says, to "present insights on the Bill of Rights in Time of War."

Dragics' contribution could be particularly interesting, since the press -- and freedom of the press is included in the Bill of Rights -- was severely constrained in what it was allowed to cover and where it was allowed to go during the recent unpleasantness in the Middle East. Wartime press restrictions are nothing new, but most major news services agreed the Pentagon went to unprecedented levels in handcuffing journalists during Operation Desert Storm.

Should prove to be an interesting discussion. The free show will run from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the council chambers of the Arundel Center in Annapolis.

For information, call 974-3885.

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