See Roger Run

August 11, 1992

See Roger.

See Roger at the Granite stump dump with print and TV reporters in tow.

See Roger at Essex Elementary School to announce a new full-day kindergarten program in an unprecedented joint news conference with county school officials.

See Roger with Anita Nall at a crowded outdoor ceremony welcoming the Olympic swimmer back home to Towson.

See Roger. See Roger run.

What Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden is running for is re-election in 1994, and he clearly has determined that the way to win another term includes being seen and heard at every available opportunity.

This is, of course, an old political practice in the tradition of handshaking and baby-bussing. It's just a little ironic to see Mr. Hayden doing it.

After all, Mr. Hayden defeated his predecessor, Dennis F. Rasmussen, partly by painting him as a glory hound who too often used his communications office to put his name and face before the public. A self-described businessman devoid of political slickness, Mr. Hayden pledged to avoid Rasmussen-style showboating. Indeed, one of his first acts as county executive was to slash the number of communications staffers from 11 to five.

His desired effect was to show he had a philosophy reflecting the scaled-down '90s. But Mr. Hayden's unassuming style sometimes did more bad than good, causing some to question his ability to guide the county through fiscal turbulence, particularly as controversy beset his economic development office earlier this year.

Now Chuck Jackson, the executive's new spokesman, sees his role as that of a "stage manager." And he has wasted little time getting his new boss photographed and interviewed at events all over the county. Starting tomorrow, Mr. Hayden will even have his own radio call-in show on WBAL, just like Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.

Good media play may be a many-splendored thing to a politician, but Mr. Hayden should keep in mind that he will be judged not by how often he was "live at five" or had his picture in the paper, but by how effectively he has led Baltimore County. Familiarity can breed contempt if the public perceives that a politician cares more about fattening his clip file than doing his job well. In generating more publicity about himself, Mr. Hayden must be careful he doesn't commit the same errors of which he accused Dennis Rasmussen two years ago.

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