BALTIMORE County officials have long bemoaned the...

Salmagundi

November 09, 1992

BALTIMORE County officials have long bemoaned the migration of county residents to neighboring jurisdictions where housing is said to be more affordable. Funding for the construction of affordable housing was at the heart of Ballot Question F, which the county offered as a way to slow the outward migration. County voters approved the measure last Tuesday, two years after defeating a similar bond issue.

Losing low- to moderate-income citizens is bad enough. But does the county now have to worry about losing its high-income citizens too, as a recent condominium auction in Baltimore suggests?

Between sips of white wine and nibbles on hors d'oeuvres, bidders paid from $116,000 to $291,000 for two- and three-bedroom condos at the ritzy St. James tower in the city's affluent Guilford section.

And who was the lucky buyer who forked over the top price of 291 grand? None other than Charles E. "Ted" Herget Jr., a prominent Baltimore County businessman who plans to unload his three-acre county spread.

Ouch.

Mr. Herget was also, until this past summer, chairman of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce, a group that promotes the county as a good place to live and do business.

Double ouch.

* * *

A NEW sound has been cleaving the north Baltimore night, audible to commuters home in their beds. Up the relaid tracks of the Northern Central or Light Rail R.R. go, at intervals, as many as five freight trains, per scheduling agreement between Conrail and the MTA. Approaching a crossing, the engineers give warning. And the echoes from those diesel horns bring to half-awake mind the great locomotive cries that resound in American literature.

Whooooo-eeeeeeeee! But that's a poor approximation. Reducing a sound to printed words is never easy. Does any reader have a better rendering to offer?

* * *

BEST soundbite from post-election television interviews:

"We didn't find the key to the electoral lock here. We just picked it." -- James Carville, President-elect Clinton's chief political strategist at a post-election briefing, broadcast on CNN, Nov. 4.

* * *

IN THE aftermath of the election, the Great Mentioning Game is in full swing. In a Nov. 5 story, The Washington Times mentioned Mayor Kurt Schmoke as a candidate for attorney general. The same day, the Wall Street Journal included the mayor's name in a list of possible HUD secretaries.

For his part, the mayor has dismissed the speculation.

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