Between The Lines

BETWEEN THE LINES

July 04, 2005

Running appears to run in the family

They are politicians, hear them roar.

With the governor's race already in full - albeit unofficial - swing with 16 months to go, the Conaway family of Baltimore has decided to announce its 2006 ticket.

They're calling it the "Three Bears Slate."

The campaign flier, which includes a cartoon of two bears hugging a swaddled baby bear between them, states: "Once upon a time, there were three bears ... "

Papa Bear - Frank M. Conaway, Baltimore Circuit Court clerk.

Mama Bear - Mary W. Conaway, Baltimore register of wills.

Baby Bear - Frank M. Conaway Jr., candidate for the 40th District seat in the House of Delegates.

The parents have held elected office for a collective 30 years, with Mary Conaway serving in her position for more than two decades. Their daughter, Belinda Conaway, won a seat on the Baltimore City Council last year. (She isn't up for re-election in 2006). Frank Jr. is making his second bid for elected office and will face the same opponent who beat him out for a council seat in 1999 - Catherine E. Pugh.

Pugh was appointed to the 40th District seat last month by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. Conaway will also have to get past Wendell Rawlings, son of the late Del. Howard P. Rawlings.

- Doug Donovan

Me, myself and you

The only strange thing about Richard E. Israel's fund-raiser for his Annapolis alderman campaign last week was that there were two Richard E. Israels working the room at Reynolds Tavern. Mushroom tarts and political speeches were served, including remarks by House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr.

Ward 1 alderman candidate Richard E. Israel is well-known in state capital circles as a retired assistant state attorney general and a student of history.

The other Richard E. Israel is a lawyer and real estate developer who had never met his counterpart until they ran into each other at Grauls grocery store recently. They even live near each other in Annapolis. But the name confusion might not be all bad in the open-seat race, said the chief campaign strategist.

"Anything that goes wrong, we're blaming the other Dick Israel," said W. Minor Carter, a lawyer and lobbyist who is chairman of candidate Israel's first run for public office.

-Jamie Stiehm

Official, turn off thyself!

While Carroll County school board members and administrators discussed last week proposed changes to a policy that would tighten rules on cell phone use as well as other electronic devices in schools and on buses, an unmistakable squawk punctuated the air.

As if on cue, the unexpected disruption by a beeping cell phone served as an example of something that school officials maintain is happening far too often in classrooms and on school buses, causing unwanted disturbances for teachers and dangerous distractions for bus drivers.

Seemingly unfazed, Transportation Director James Doolan and Stephen Guthrie, assistant superintendent of administration, continued to field questions from board members, but neither could help wondering about the errant cell.

"I was just hoping it wasn't mine," Guthrie said after the meeting.

- Gina Davis

Noisy place, that Carroll

Kevin Dayhoff, chairman of the Carroll County Environmental Advisory Council, brought a laptop filled with information germane to a discussion with the county commissioners last week. The computer came on with a distracting, jarring jingle that disrupted the meeting.

"Sounds like a calliope," said Commissioner Dean L. Minnich.

Dayhoff replied, "I have been called worse."

- Mary Gail Hare

Maybe it's a branch library

To put it mildly, Columbia is an understated community.

There are no billboards and few directional signs. Even typical hard-to-miss landmarks - from a mall to a concert amphitheater - are nearly hidden behind trees and berms.

So when University of Maryland professor Reid Ewing walked around the planned community's downtown for five hours to study its pedestrian access, he found it wasn't very accommodating. One of the problems is that buildings are set far back from the street and aren't easy to find, he told a crowd of nearly 400 residents who had gathered Tuesday night to hear General Growth Properties' draft plans to transform the area into a bustling urban core.

To illustrate his point, Ewing displayed a photo of Bethesda's library, which is just off a main street and clearly visible. Then, he pointed to a photo of a grove of trees off Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia.

"This is your library," he said, referring to the photo, in which the building is completely hidden. "I didn't know it was there for the longest time. I finally noticed the sign."

- Laura Cadiz

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