No 'Hon,' No Money?

March 17, 1994|By Robert Timberg | Robert Timberg,Sun Staff Writer

Displaying its impish side, the state Senate affirmed last night that Hon is fun and told Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke to get a life.

By voice vote, senators adopted an amendment to the proposed state budget that would hold hostage $1 million in city highway funds until a sign on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway that now says "Welcome to Baltimore" is changed to read "Welcome to Baltimore, Hon!"

In recent years, first one prankster, then a second, has been altering the sign that greets commuters and visitors to the city by adding the word "Hon," Bawlamer's time-honored expression of fondness.

No sooner does the civic elf work his will, however, than someone -- presumably a grinch in the employ of the city -- takes down or erases his handiwork.

"It's a good old neutral term," Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman, a Baltimore Democrat, told her colleagues. "We thought it might be a good idea to encumber some of the city's money until the mayor develops a sense of humor."

The joke was lost on Sen. Larry Young, another city Democrat. The city is facing tough times, he suggested, adding, "Maybe there's not so much of a sense of humor in City Hall right now."

He offered a concession. "Maybe $50,000 or $100,000," he said, "but a million?"

Senator Hoffman wouldn't budge.

Groused Senator Young, "I hope the mayor continues to resist it because I don't think we want to force him . . . to do something he doesn't want to do."

Despite the Senate's action, the city won't have to change its civic salutation unless the House of Delegates backs the amendment, too.

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