Governor scores political points Bowling: Parris N. Glendening and his son bowled against a couple of West Baltimore Democrats to help raise money for the Baltimore Neighborhood Recreation Facility.

The Political Game

September 24, 1996|By William F. Zorzi Jr. | William F. Zorzi Jr.,SUN STAFF

ON FRIDAY NIGHT, Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Maryland's first son, Raymond, rolled up their sleeves and put on their bowling shoes to accept a challenge from the governor's old political friend, Sen. Larry Young -- he who helps deliver the vote.

The Glendenings squared off against Young and his bowling partner du jour, Del. Nathaniel T. Oaks, another West Baltimore Democrat, to benefit the Baltimore Neighborhood Recreation Facility on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The pair from Prince George's County, who raised $3,463 through sponsors, lost three out of three, each time by a narrow margin. But the way Oaks tells it, the Glendenings got off easy.

"He's the governor, man," he said. "If you come to my neighborhood, I'm supposed to beat the pants off you.

"I mean, every bill that passes both houses [of the General Assembly] has got to be signed by the governor," Oaks said. "Of course I was holding back."

Glendening, however, pointed out that Young used "a ringer" to bowl for him in some of the games -- one Mary R. Parrish, a member of the Democratic Central Committee from West Baltimore's 44th District. "Apparently Mary bowls all the time," the governor said.

Oaks defended the substitution. "The senator was not feeling well, and besides, it didn't matter who I had on my team."

Through sponsors, the foursome raised more than $6,500 for the facility, once known as the Shake and Bake Family Fun Center until the city's Department of Recreation and Parks took it over 11 years ago.

The city -- through its nonprofit arm, the Baltimore City Foundation -- needs to raise $40,000 to qualify for a $400,000 state grant to refurbish the aging building.

That grant was authorized through a pork barrel bond bill -- sponsored by the city senators, with Young taking the lead -- during this year's General Assembly session.

Glendening's appearance went far in terms of buying good will in West Baltimore, as well.

"The governor could have been anywhere he wanted to be in the state -- at somebody's suburban home, drinking a bottle of beer -- but he gave that up to be in the inner city of Baltimore, on Pennsylvania Avenue, to support the community," Oaks said.

"Name me any other governor who would have done that," he said. "There are very few things that the governor would ask me that I wouldn't do for him."

Rest assured, one of those requests will come in 1998, when Glendening seeks help to get out the vote in Baltimore.

Page from the past provides a revelation

Judge Martha F. Rasin, the new chief judge of Maryland's District Court system, left her predecessor speechless last week.

Rasin was chatting with Judge Robert F. Sweeney, who retired as chief Sept. 16, about the death of Spiro T. Agnew, the former governor and vice president.

She happened to mention to Sweeney that she was a page at the GOP national convention in 1968, when Agnew was picked by Richard M. Nixon to be his running mate.

Sweeney, a lifelong Democrat, asked almost incredulously, "Martha, are you a Republican?"

The reply was in the affirmative.

"I guess no one asked," Sweeney said later. "Not that it would have mattered."

Rasin, who once worked for Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, the former Maryland Senate president whose name is synonymous with the Democratic Party, said, "I think it's wonderful that nobody did ask."

She said the question never arose when Chief Judge Robert C. Murphy selected her to head the District Court -- nor did it come up when former Gov. William Donald Schaefer appointed her to the bench.

"It was a matter of family pride to be in the minority," she explained of her party affiliation in a state dominated by Democrats.

"I vote Democratic; it just seemed too contrived to change over," she said.

Pub Date: 9/24/96

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