Keep tumbling. We don't mean walls being...


March 18, 1998

THE WALLS keep tumbling. We don't mean walls being demolished inside the Power Plant at the Inner Harbor, but the invisible walls that long hemmed in Baltimore and Maryland to their economic disadvantage.

The joint bid by business executives from Maryland, Washington and Virginia to woo the 2012 Summer Olympics is practically an Olympian development in itself: The entities of this metropolitan market rarely see eye to eye.

Corporate leaders have agreed to put up $6 million to $12 million in the next two years to prepare a "consolidated" bid for the International Olympic Committee. The United States has played host to the Summer Games four times, in 1904 in St. Louis, 1932 and 1984 in Los Angeles and 1996 in Atlanta.

Issues remain, such as what to call the joint effort. But the parties seem determined not to let petty distractions of the past derail the larger imperative this time: to land the coveted international event for its economic bang and its lasting status.

A smaller boundary-breaker didn't fare as well recently -- a bill in Annapolis to let two or more jurisdictions seek money from a state fund for joint economic development projects.

The plan was relegated to a summer study to be conducted by the state business development department. Other states have regional funding pools; the idea merits a try in Maryland.

It is in the state's best interest to encourage localities to spend less time defending old political turf and more time solving common problems.

THE MARVELOUS Rodgers and Hammerstein classic from 1959 about the von Trapp family, "The Sound of Music," has begun a Broadway revival. Reviews are mixed. And no wonder. Mary Martin (the original Broadway star) and Julie Andrews (who starred in the 1965 movie version) are tough acts to follow.

Meanwhile, descendants of the von Trapps are engaged in a bitter feud over a mountain guest lodge the family built in Vermont after fleeing Nazi-occupied Austria in the 1930s. Unless they can reach an agreement, the lodge is likely to become a Marriott property.

As to their beloved Salzburg, a traveler complains, "The town is positively plastered with signs for 'Sound of Music' tours and dozens of plaques denoting the many, many different places Mozart lived, played an organ or got smashed. After two days there, I never wanted to hear about Mozart or the film 'The Sound of Music' ever again."

Pub Date: 3/18/98

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