Psst, psst, Mr. Ehrlich. Over here in the Mossy Oak Gore-Tex media blind with Polarfleece seats.
So, what's new? Just kidding.
You've got a lot on your plate, for sure. There's a big helping of IOUs left by Glendening, plus phone calls from long-lost pals who need jobs and getting the governor's mansion off the PETA mailing list. One of those divided camp plates won't be enough, buddy.
But when you get around to second helpings, it's important that you don't forget the outdoors community.
OK, there's a smidgen of post-election indigestion, what with some sportsmen endorsing your opponent and all. But without the votes of a lot of sportsmen - Democrats and Republicans - you'd be the former congressman from Arbutus come January.
The hook-and-bullet folks aren't the only ones wondering what you're going to do with the Department of Natural Resources. Campers and birders and kayakers are watching, too.
You've promised to set a place at the table for all kinds of folks. The outdoors community would like to RSVP.
Maryland has spent a lot of money out of state promoting its outdoors opportunities: whitewater rafting in Garrett County, fishing for smallies in the Potomac and trout in the Gunpowder, birding by the Conowingo Dam, hauling in rockfish on the bay, hunting waterfowl on the Eastern Shore.
It would be a shame to gum things up by appointing some jobless political hack or has-been to run DNR just because some deride it as "the toy department."
Folks inside the agency are a tad anxious, too. Thanks to His Lameness, the agency changed its letterhead more often than Dennis Rodman changed hair color. DNR rank and file have endured pay and hiring freezes. The legislature cut the budget 22 percent. With the $1.7 billion projected state deficit, everyone's bracing for at least another 5 percent whack.
Dealing with environmental hazards such as Pfiesteria, the Crofton snakehead infestation and chronic wasting disease cost plenty. Building regional coalitions to protect and manage common resources takes time and money.
Divvying up all the land the state has bought during the past eight years won't be easy, quick or pleasant.
State parks need work. There aren't enough Natural Resources Police officers. Vehicles ought to be replaced. Folks can't go online to buy hunting and fishing licenses.
In short, DNR has a lot to do and not much to do it with.
Your spokesman, Paul Schurick, says it's "too early to be talking about specific people coming into or going out of the department."
But rumored candidates to replace DNR secretary Chuck Fox are stacked like cord wood. Here's a partial list:
Torrey Brown was DNR secretary under three governors, served as a delegate for 12 years and chaired the Environmental Matters Committee. The medical doctor is chairman of the board of Intralytix, a biotech firm based in the Camden Yards warehouse. A Democrat, he was forced out by Glendening, and friends say he wants his old job back.
House Speaker "Cas" Taylor needs a job, unless a recount reverses the Nov. 5 results. The Western Maryland Democrat knows the issues and the inner workings of Annapolis cold, but he's hankering for a more important role that may not be offered.
John Griffin was DNR secretary between Brown and Sarah Taylor-Rogers. He won the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's 1998 Conservationist of the Year award and was fired by Glendening a year later. It's hard to believe that Griffin would give up a $140,000 job running the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, one of the nation's largest water companies, to take the $125,000 state gig. However, the Annapolis resident was asked to be that city's administrator last summer, leading some to believe he wouldn't mind eliminating his nearly hourlong commute to Laurel.
James Farmer is a Waldorf lawyer and chairman of the Southern Maryland Chapter of Quail Unlimited. The blunt-talking farmer and hunter was named Conservationist of the Year last month by the Maryland Wildlife Advisory Commission and is a founder of the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen's Foundation. Although he strongly supported Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, he clashed with Glendening.
So what to do?
To paraphrase one of my favorite State House wags: "If you took Torrey's affability, John's zest, Sarah's sweetness and Chuck's wonkishness, you'd have a heck of a secretary."
As a candidate, you said the DNR secretary will "reflect my philosophy," but most of us still don't know what that is. You said DNR has become "politicized" by Glendening's anti-hunting cronies, but that's no longer true.
Since the firing of Taylor-Rogers in the summer of 2001 and the retirement of deputy secretary Stan Arthur (a Glendening mole), things have been looking up.