Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden won election in 1990 partly by campaigning against the imperial demeanor and spendthrift ways of the Democratic incumbent. The county's anti-tax protesters made Mr. Hayden their standard-bearer as they helped him unseat Dennis Rasmussen -- "Taxmussen," as they called him.
In the 19 months since, Mr. Hayden has gone from darling of the anti-taxers to sworn enemy. When the executive's economic development director was found earlier this year to have hosted Falstaffian business meals, the protesters pitched a fit. Later, when Mr. Hayden did the responsible thing in raising the local income tax to help offset a state aid shortfall, anti-taxers went ballistic and redubbed their former hero "Roger Rasmussen."
Now the protesters and their newsletter, The Challenger, have made it their business to publicize any impropriety they find in Hayden's administration. One incident involves Saverio A. Cortese, the highways chief in the county's Department of Public Works -- a Rasmussen-era appointee.