Those scholarship scams again! Elected...


September 17, 1994

HERE COME those scholarship scams again! Elected legislators in Annapolis just can't stop dipping into the patronage tin for a few goodies for themselves.

The latest outrage concerns first-term Del. David M. Valderrama of Prince George's County. For being a loyal soldier and running for re-election on a ticket headed by state Sen. Gloria Lawlah, Mr. Valderrama received a choice reward: a four-year, $6,400 senatorial scholarship grant for his daughter, who is studying respiratory therapy at Salisbury State University.

Of course, both the delegate and the senator deny anything is amiss. Senator Lawlah claims she stays out of the selection of scholarship winners, that she picks a committee to handle it. The delegate says his daughter applied on her own.

Funny, when the name came out of the committee, neither the delegate nor the senator felt any need to step in and negate the scholarship award on ethical grounds. As a former legislator once said, "Conflict of interest? How does this conflict with my interest?"

Even funnier is that Mr. Valderrama, who was renominated on Tuesday, said he voted to abolish the legislative scholarship program entirely earlier this year. Now he has one more reason to get the program killed: a campaign embarrassment that makes him look like a patronage hack.

* * *

IN THIS political season, here's a thought that connects the past to the present. What if Republican Bill Shepard and his wife, Lois, running in 1990 as a husband-and-wife team for governor and lieutenant governor, had actually won?

What if Lois' political ambitions had clashed with Bill's (a loser in the latest primary) as this year's elections approached?

What if Lois decided that Susana Higuchi, the wife of Peru's President Alberto Fujimori, had a point in deciding to run next year against her husband in a race for her nation's highest office? And what if Lois had acted upon that fact and had beaten Governor/Husband Bill?

Then, friends, Maryland would have had the most remarked primary election in the land. Can you imagine the pillow talk?

* * *

IN A COUNTRY obsessed with food and waistlines, it's no surprise that the No. 1 form of malnutrition in teen-agers is obesity, a condition that also qualifies as the most common physical abnormality of American youth.

Dr. Deidre Tyson of the Children's Hospital in Richmond, Va., reports that between 10 and 20 percent of adolescents are obese, that obesity is higher in winter and spring and higher in the Northeast and in urban areas.

And, to no one's surprise, children's chances of becoming obese increase with the amount of television they watch.

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