Harsh words for his critics Glendening questions motives of group studying '98 challenge

September 04, 1996|By William F. Zorzi Jr. | William F. Zorzi Jr.,SUN STAFF

Gov. Parris N. Glendening stepped up his attack on administration critics yesterday, saying that some business leaders who are expected to meet this week to discuss a 1998 challenge to him are angry because he refuses to support their pet projects.

In an interview, Glendening criticized H. Furlong Baldwin, chairman and chief executive officer of Mercantile Bankshares Corp.; Calman "Buddy" Zamoiski, a Baltimore businessman and president of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; and Stewart Bainum Jr., chief operating officer of Manor Care Inc., a nursing home and hotel company.

Glendening said each of the businessmen has asked him for things that he has denied because the state cannot afford them -- and that as a result, they want him replaced as governor.

He said he also believed that casino interests upset by his opposition to slot machine gambling were partly behind the meeting of businessmen and Democratic elected officials scheduled for tomorrow night at Bainum's Chevy Chase home.

"None of these people is pure, is what I'm telling you," Glendening said. "They all have some self-interest."

The governor said Baldwin -- whom he described as "a major Republican banker who lives mostly in Virginia" -- is adamant about a cut in Maryland personal income taxes despite the state's tight budget.

"He has come to me on numerous occasions and said that I should simply fire 18,000 state employees," Glendening said. "His analogy was, 'If General Motors can do it, we can do it.' "

Glendening said Zamoiski has asked for $50 million to be included in the budget for a performing arts center in Montgomery County -- where the BSO could perform -- but the governor has said no.

"It makes no sense whatsoever," said Glendening, noting that construction of a $100 million arts center is under way in nearby College Park, in the governor's home base of Prince George's County.

As for Bainum, a former state delegate and senator who considered a gubernatorial bid in 1994, Glendening said he wants a highway widened in Montgomery County, where the Manor Care conglomerate is headquartered.

"I told him I'd look at it, but that money's not in the budget," Glendening said.

Efforts to reach Baldwin, Zamoiski and Bainum were unsuccessful yesterday.

Despite increasing pressure from Glendening supporters to call off the meeting to discuss the governor's performance, the gathering was on, as of yesterday.

The meeting, organized by Bainum, is seen by some as an effort to weigh a possible challenge to Glendening in the 1998 $H Democratic primary.

The guest list includes a variety of Democrats who have been mentioned as possible challengers to Glendening. Invited were Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin of Baltimore, House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. and County Executives C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III of Baltimore County, Eileen M. Rehrmann of Harford and Douglas M. Duncan of Montgomery.

Taylor has said he has not decided whether to attend the meeting, but Duncan said yesterday he that he planned to go.

"What's disappointing about Glendening's reaction is that instead of welcoming constructive advice, he's resorting to personal attacks," Duncan said. "Apparently, to attend a political meeting with the governor is fine, but without him is supposedly dirty politics."

Duncan said the meeting was not about finding a candidate to run against Glendening.

"I don't think there's any reason to pick someone to run against him -- and I wouldn't want to be a part of that," he said. "The invitation to me was to talk about the state of the party and where the party's headed over the next couple of years.

"That's the kind of advice the governor should welcome," Duncan said.

But Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. said he thought the Bainum meeting was "a bad idea."

"We should all concentrate on making this governor a better governor. And if a decision about changes is to be made, it should be made in 1998, not in 1996," Miller said.

Pub Date: 9/04/96

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