Signs of defiance Flouting the law: Candidate Rehrmann's nTC campaign trashed Pimlico neighborhoods with lawn signs.

May 22, 1998

LAST WEEK, India paid about the same amount of attention to the wishes of the world's nuclear powers as Eileen M. Rehrmann's campaign paid to Gov. Parris N. Glendening, her Democratic opponent. Just as India thumbed its nose at the idea of keeping the Indian subcontinent nuclear-free, her organization ignored the governor's self-serving plea to keep the Preakness a "politics free zone."

Her volunteers Saturday trashed the neighborhoods surrounding Pimlico with scores of lawn signs. They were placed on public property on median strips, corners and road sides along Northern Parkway, Cold Spring Lane and Greenspring Avenue.

India never signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; it flouted only the agreement's spirit. Ms. Rehrmann's campaign violated the law -- city ordinances governing political signs.

When asked about the blatant disregard for city law, Ms. Rehrmann's campaign manager Larry S. Gibson -- a lawyer, law professor and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's closest political adviser -- demurred. "If there were signs, they were put up because at the Preakness, there is a certain relaxation of the norm," he said. "It's a Maryland tradition that the rules for Preakness are different."

This stunt bore the fingerprints of Mr. Gibson -- an admitted "sign nut." Four years ago, when he was running the governor's campaign, Mr. Glendening's signs greeted the Preakness crowd. Gibson's effort to blanket Laurel's utility poles with Ms. Rehrmann's signs resulted last month in a fine of about $650.

Mr. Gibson's obsession with signs dates to his student days at Howard University when he tried to elect a classmate, Georgia Brown, homecoming queen. With a stencil and spray paint, he plastered the campus with the slogan "Georgia on My Mind." For his efforts, he was almost dismissed, and Ms. Brown came in second. Mr. Gibson seems to have forgotten that.

Pub date: 5/22/98

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