Polite politicians converge on school groundbreaking

October 12, 1994|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Sun Staff Writer

The sun was bright, the children were smiling, and the photographers were ready -- the perfect pre-election combination for Baltimore County politicians who gathered yesterday to break ground for Essex's new $6.8 million elementary school.

All was sweetness and light as Republican County Executive Roger B. Hayden and Essex's Democratic elected officials exchanged praise and accepted credit for the new school -- a sharp contrast from the remarks at a candidate's forum in Perry Hall late last week.

There, at the four-year old Joppa View Elementary school, Republican Council Chairman William A. Howard IV told voters that the Democrats had neglected the school's needs for years.

"Gone are the days when schools like Essex Elementary are falling apart and classrooms smell like human waste while politicians pass on pay raises, perks and privileges to any group that can return endorsements, poll workers and cash at the expense of children," Mr. Howard said.

School facilities planner James Kraft noted that there are still a dozen other schools in use that are older than Essex, which was built in 1925. They include schools that were built in 1908 and 1909. County officials took a renewed interest in Essex's plight two years ago after news stories were published describing deteriorating bathrooms so odoriferous that the bottoms of their doors had been cut off to help dissipate the smell.

Mr. Howard, whose Carney-based district is north of Essex, didn't attend the groundbreaking. However, Democratic Councilman Vincent J. Gardina of Essex did show up.

He joined Mr. Hayden, Sen. Michael J. Collins and two Democratic Delegates who attended Essex in the late 1930s -- E. Farrell Maddox and Michael H. Weir -- in praising the state-county cooperation.

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