Lights, camera - Glendening

The Political Game

Support: A film tribute to the governor features many who benefited from his final legislative session.

May 21, 2002|By David Nitkin | David Nitkin,SUN STAFF

IN PREPARING a film tribute to Gov. Parris N. Glendening, the Maryland Democratic Party knew where to find the best footage: interviews with those who benefited most from the governor's final legislative session.

When Glendening received a leadership award at a state party dinner in Woodlawn last week, the tribute included more than a laudatory introduction from Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

The lights dimmed, the projector rolled, and the banquet hall was filled with giant images of Glendening supporters plugging his accomplishments. The filming occurred two weeks after the General Assembly session ended last month, so it's easy to figure out why the filmmakers chose their subjects.

FOR THE RECORD - In Tuesday's "The Political Game" column, the location of a fund-raising dinner last night for Democrat Al Gore was incorrectly reported. The dinner was in Bethesda.
The Sun regrets the error.

University of Maryland, Baltimore County President Freeman A. Hrabowski Jr. praised Glendening's commitment to higher education. In the final days of the session, Glendening appealed for $15.3 million in the state budget for a new public policy building at UMBC.

Patricia A. Foerster, president of the 56,000-member Maryland State Teachers Association, spoke of Glendening's support for schools. The governor successfully backed a bill this year that expanded teachers' bargaining rights.

And Dru Schmidt-Perkins, of the environmental group 1,000 Friends of Maryland, told the camera that Glendening's name is synonymous with Smart Growth. The governor made sure that Maryland's critical-areas law was strengthened to undo the effect of recent court rulings, and that protections were extended to Atlantic coastal bays.

David Paulson, a spokesman for the state party, said the film - which cost $10,000 to produce - had twin themes: "One was that this governor has been great for the state. And the second was this party is vibrant and the future looks great."

Some prominent Democrats missed the message. While Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes and a host of legislators attended the dinner, several tables were empty. Among those who didn't pick up their "I Luv the Guv" buttons: Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, Prince George's County Executive Wayne K. Curry and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley.

GOP official might have eye on new 3rd District

At his final bill-signing session last week, Glendening made official a new map of Maryland's eight congressional districts, a plan that divides Baltimore County among five districts and Anne Arundel County among four. Two incumbent Republican congressman were placed into the same district. (One of them, Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., is running for governor.)

But unlike a similarly politically motivated legislative map, which has 14 lawsuits pending, the congressional plan has drawn no legal challenges.

"I'm inclined to say I'm not [suing]," said Maryland Republican Party Chairman Michael S. Steele. Despite Glendening's effort to tilt the congressional delegation's balance toward Democrats, Steele said he likes the shape of many of the districts.

In fact, Steele is so intrigued by the 3rd District, which includes portions of Baltimore and Baltimore, Howard and Anne Arundel counties, that some observers say the Prince George's County resident is pondering a challenge to incumbent Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin.

"The year is young," said Steele, ducking the question about a run. Is he considering moving? "Columbia is kind of nice," he said.

Democrats like Stein as Finifter replacement

Democratic leaders appear to have settled on a replacement for Del. Michael J. Finifter, whom Glendening has appointed to Baltimore County Circuit Court. Dana Stein, 43, a Harvard graduate with a Columbia law degree and Princeton master's in public affairs, is the leading contender.

Stein is executive director of Civic Works Inc., a youth community service organization founded by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. He is chairman of the Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee, the group that will fill the delegate vacancy.

Gore in town tomorrow to spear some funds

Former Vice President Al Gore will be in Baltimore tomorrow for a $2,500-to-$5,000-a-head dinner to raise money for his political action committee, Leadership '02. The host is D. Jeffrey Hirschberg, a lawyer and former lobbyist with Ernst & Young, who has been one of Gore's top fund-raisers.

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