The rush to remember Louie Goldstein statue: Deceased comptroller would be horrified at shortcuts used to honor his memory.

November 14, 1998

HOW SHOULD we honor Louis L. Goldstein, the popular state comptroller for nearly 40 years? That question deserves careful consideration. We should not rush to erect a monument we may later regret.

We can understand the desire of Robert L. Swann, who replaced Goldstein after his death in July, to approve a statue of the late comptroller before Mr. Swann leaves office in January. But the haste to create this memorial would have incensed Goldstein. It ignored established state procedures that Goldstein held sacred.

A $100,000 statue should not be awarded without submissions of competitive artistic renderings to a committee of experts. A site (or sites) should not be determined without input from a host of government officials. The state archivist, not the comptroller, should have handled this matter.

Mr. Swann has recognized he goofed. He has handed off the artistic selection to the proper authorities. Too bad the state secretary of general services didn't warn Mr. Swann of these pitfalls earlier.

The site chosen by Mr. Swann, a courtyard between two buildings in the comptroller's complex, is a fine setting for a memorial that workers in Goldstein's beloved agency can admire daily. But what about other Marylanders? Shouldn't a Goldstein memorial be near the State House? Or in Prince Frederick, near )) his family home? Has anyone thought about a 6-foot-tall version of the gold coins Goldstein handed out -- the ones inscribed, "God bless you all real good" -- as a tribute?

Let's give this careful thought. Haste makes waste, as Goldstein would surely remind us.

Pub Date: 11/14/98

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