Young won't be out of Senate for long


January 14, 1998|By DAN RODRICKS

Don't worry, LY. You'll be back. They can kick you out of the Senate - you could even resign tearfully - but you probably can win re-election in your district, even as soon as this fall. (Filing deadline: July 6.) I'm sure heir-apparent and ardent supporter Clarence M. Mitchell IV (the breathless CM4) will step aside, when the time is right - right? - to let you have your seat back.

Seat back.

Sounds like setback.

Which is all this is, right?

The smart boys in the legislature - those valedictorians in the Jos. A. Bank suits, the ones who speak of "integrity" and "public trust" - will ride you out of the Senate for your blatant ethics violations, but that won't matter. They've just punched your ticket to martyrdom. There are a lot of votes in the special kind of martyrdom your defenders are crafting for you.

You wouldn't be the first man the voters returned to public office after getting the boot. Look at Nathaniel "Natty O" Oaks or Marion Barry down in D.C. This phenomenon jumps the racial barrier. Remember the late Dale Anderson? Or how about John Arnick, who gave up his House of Delegates seat to be a District Court judge? After his judicial nomination went down in a sudden and vulgar burst of flames, he won his seat back, bigtime.

So, why that frown, LY?

Here's some advice: Show up, freshly chastened, at a large prayer vigil with your supporters - let CM4 be master of ceremonies - admit a few mistakes, list the good deeds you've performed for your constituents over the years and vow to return. Take a full-time job as a talk-show host at a radio station that doesn't care about being overly cozy with politicians - Ellen Sauerbrey did it once - or maybe Willie Runyon will make you a temp dispatching ambulances. A short campaign in the late summer and fall, and a year from now you could be back in your old seat.

Call me a cynic, but I'm betting this can happen. I'm taking Green Bay by 10 in the Super Bowl, too.

Mayor Annoyed

We hear the mayor of Baltimore bellyaching that he has to go to Annapolis to fight an annoying effort to send to referendum the issue of public financing of the Big John (Paterakis) Hotel at Inner Harbor East. But the mayor has no one to blame but himself. His blatantly political decision almost a year ago to back Big John over other proposals at better locations raises a lot of legitimate issues - foremost the one reflected in the referendum effort. The state invested millions of dollars in the Baltimore Convention Center and, later, its expansion. The location of a convention hotel a mile east of it strikes a lot of people as foolish. Pete Rawlings and Perry Sfikas, the two state lawmakers backing the referendum idea, have a perfectly legitimate point about protecting the state's investment. (If I were the governor of Maryland, I'd support Rawlings-Sfikas. A hotel referendum in the fall could bring out city voters in an otherwise boring election, thereby helping Glendening in his bid for a second term.)

African-American films

High-fives to Michael Johnson and his partners in the Heritage Playhouse Theater. After an initial failure, they've stepped back to the plate with a slightly different but more promising idea. This time, it's the Heritage Museum of African-American Films, a wise expansion on the original theme from the original location on 25th Street. This time, Johnson & Co. will move operations into the old 5 West movie house (originally the Parkway) on North Avenue. They hope to open by May.

"It's not just a theater this time, it's a museum," says Johnson. "We hope to become an attraction on the scale of Great Blacks In Wax or other standard tourist stops in Baltimore."

Johnson's partners are his wife, Felecia, Debbie Perry and Rene Robinson. Their cinema, which opened in February in the old Playhouse on 25th Street, closed a couple of months ago. It just didn't work - not enough group bookings, too many films that could be seen on cable or rented in video stores. An expensive projector blow-up and the city's long, drawn-out repaving work on 25th Street didn't help matters, either.

Instead of dropping the whole idea, Johnson and his partners maintained their passion for the subject and decided a museum dressed with memorabilia - set pieces, costumes, posters, original scripts - from the early days of African-American filmmaking could enhance their attraction. In fact, the first series of films slated to be shown at the theater will be built around a theme - "The Pioneers" - focusing on Harlem Renaissance figure Oscar Micheaux and silent-film producer and actor Noble Johnson.

Fries to go

Gina "Lola" Grosala, a friendly, exotic-looking and mildly eccentric waitress at Frazier's On The Avenue, Hampden, got to ribbing one of her customers for not finishing his meal with a clean plate. "Look at all the french fries you left," she said. "I think you should take them home with you."

"If you wrap each one individually, I will," the customer kidded back.

The waitress took the challenge - and the plate - back to the kitchen. In minutes, she returned with each of the fries individually wrapped in foil and used them to spell a message on the tablecloth: "T I P S."

She got a nice one, too.

"I'm saving my tips to buy a computer," she says.

Pub Date: 1/14/98

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