Da Boss plays a game of the rich get richer


November 27, 1998|By DAN RODRICKS

Question: Do you think Peter Angelos found the tobacco settlement to be "deeply flawed"? The attorney general of Maryland called it that, but we didn't hear from Da Boss. I guess Da Boss knows when da bird's in hand.

The state will collect $4.2 billion from the tobacco industry in a settlement of a huge lawsuit. The aim was to recover billions spent over the years on the smoking-related illnesses of Medicaid patients. The industry agreed to pay $206 billion to 46 states, the largest settlement in the history of lawyers.

The Angelos law firm will get at least 12.5 percent of Maryland's share - and possibly twice that much. Da Boss, in a moment of magnanimity, said he will try to collect his fee from the tobacco industry, rather than from Maryland's settlement funds, through an arbitration process. However, he reserved the right to seek more money from the state if he's not happy with what he gets from arbitration. "We don't relinquish any rights under our contract," he said.

If Angelos can get a billion bucks from the tobacco companies, fine. More power to him.

But $600 million from the state for an attorney who's a multimillionaire?

Your honor, I object on aesthetic grounds. I find this, like, gross.

Is local ownership of the Washington NFL franchise that important?

Could we ask Da Boss, firm believer in the minimum wage, to embrace the concept of a maximum wage?

Did Da Boss work up a sweat in the tobacco case? Can we see itemized bill?

Would Da Boss consider taking less? How about $300 million? How about a buck-50? One hundred-and-fifty million, cash money, and we'll name a highway rest stop after you.

Do something. Whatever. You're grossing us out.

Keeping money at home

The good thing about Angelos is, he keeps putting his money into his hometown - office buildings, the Major League Baseball team, redevelopment projects, a hotel, charities, right here in Baltimore. He's looking at buying that dreadful football team down in Landover. And he recently bought Ross Valley, the sprawling, pretty-as-a-turf-calendar horse farm that you can see from Interstate 83, in northern Baltimore County. The farm has a huge house. If I lived there, and had Da Boss' money, I'd have a dish of Smokehouse Almonds in every room, and I'd have the almonds changed every hour.

Seafood ad questions

Have you seen the new television commercial for Maryland seafood? Very nice, but I'm thinking: Seafood from Maryland amounts to - what? - oysters, crabs and rockfish. OK, maybe a perch, spot, croaker or sea trout now and then. Or once in a blue moon a bluefish. (Most people I know hate to eat bluefish.) What else? Watermen harvest soft-shell clams but ship them out of state. Occasionally, someone eats muskrat or nutria. That's not seafood, but it's certainly bounty from the bay. (How's this for a radio spot? "No one's neutral about nutria, a savory Maryland delicacy, now at your grocer's.")

I have another question: Does anyone find it strange that we're being encouraged to eat more crab meat after the worst summer harvest on record? ... One more question: Since when did scallops become a Maryland thing? The people at Williams-Sonoma, merchants of overpriced culinary gadgets and gourmet food items, have published a holiday catalog featuring "Maryland scallop cakes" (Item No. 34-2134773). I know what you're thinking, something like: Huh? Maybe they exist, but we ++ don't remember seeing scallop cakes on any menus around here. Can't remember the last time we heard the state running numbers on the annual scallop harvest. A check of The Sun library found one mention of scallop cakes, and that was at a Preakness party in 1992. But who am I to question Williams-Sonoma? Scallop cakes - a Maryland tradition since 1998. Enjoy.

More Baltimore knowledge

You know you're from Baltimore if ...

You don't need a sign to tell the Inner Loop from the Outer Loop.

You spend Thanksgiving at the in-laws, out of state, and wonder why there's no sauerkraut on the holiday table.

You've driven out to gawk at Cal's house.

You know the exact date when Stewart's Root Beer on Pulaski Highway ("Home of the Steamburger") closes for the season.

You know you can win friends by opening a box of Berger's Cookies in a crowd.

You miss Two Guys.

You remember the upside-down Christmas tree in Love's, 25th and Charles, now a sushi place.

You remember when that Chinese place on North Charles was Jimmy Wu's, and the shopping center across the street was Chesapeake Cadillac.

Here are more entries from TJI readers:

You know you're from Baltimore if ...

Richard Crystal: "Some of your Sunday afternoons as a child were spent driving out to Friendship Airport to stand on the observation deck and point to jets."

Vanilla4u (by e-mail): "You've grown up and it's time for you to leave the nest and you move to a house within 20 blocks of mom and dad. (When I tell people I moved here from Memphis, they ask incredulously: 'By yourself? Without your family? Your parents let you do that?'")

Harry Romano: "You think a red light is only a suggestion."

Morton Marcus: "You remember Dave Stickle, Channel 2's likable, avuncular [I like that word] election day analyst, and Al Herndon, the Channel 11 weatherman."

Greisenheim (by e-mail): "You remember when - or at least know why - German Street was changed to Redwood."

N.K.H. Perry: "You still refer to a police car as a radio car."

Which reminds me of that great only-in-Baltimore word for a police officer's nightstick: Espantoon. (You can look it up.)

TJIDAol.com is the e-mail address for Dan Rodricks. He can also be contacted at 410-332-6166, or by post at The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

Pub Date: 11/27/98

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