November 24, 2009
I t's welcome news that Baltimore County is taking over operations and maintenance of Robert E. Lee Park, with plans to devote more attention to this hidden gem than the city, which actually owns the land, has been able to offer. The most visible sign of that change is the replacement of the pedestrian bridge just downstream from the dam on Lake Roland; two weeks ago, work crews tore down the old, structurally unstable bridge, and a new one will be built over the coming months. But the county has more plans in mind in the hope that by improving the facilities it can double park use from about 41,000 visitors a year to 100,000 or more.
June 7, 1995
A decade after the 693-acre Turf Valley development was approved as a "planned golf course community" by county officials, its first residents are expected to move into their posh country club homes this fall.Despite continued worries about Howard's real estate market, the western Ellicott City development will feature $350,000 to $500,000 luxury homes -- with great-rooms looking out on plush greens and fairways of Turf Valley's 56 holes of golf.About the same time, Mangione Family Enterprises, Turf Valley's owner, also will be trying to market European-style flats with large porches radiating from its hotel complex.
December 28, 2006
No doubt a lot of people were appalled at the news that Thomas L. Bromwell, the former Baltimore County state senator soon to be tried on federal corruption charges, is getting $400,000 and 18 months of health benefits to voluntarily step down from a plum state job. But let's make sure the public is indignant about the right thing. The problem is not the amount of money involved (a sum determined at the time of his hiring) or his potential guilt (because that's yet to be decided). It's the Annapolis insider mentality that puts a veteran legislator in such a job in the first place and keeps him there as long as possible.
August 8, 2012
Here are the best things you can say about Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's use of complementary tickets to shows at 1st Mariner Arena : Every mayor has done it, and the number of tickets she and her family used make up a relatively small portion of those her office doled out. And it's not like she was stealing gift cards from poor kids. Indeed, there are plenty of worse things she could do, but plenty of better ones, too. In the grand scheme of challenges Ms. Rawlings-Blake has faced - from budget deficits to out of control pension obligations - this doesn't amount to much.
October 25, 2012
GrandView, a condominium highrise in the heart of Annapolis Towne Centre, certainly lives up to its name, especially in the 12th-floor penthouse of Barry and Olga Scher. In this three-bedroom, 3½-bath unit with a den, living room, dining room, open kitchen and two balconies, the couple marvels at the views of the Bay Bridge and the sailboats, cruise and cargo ships that pass beneath it daily. Former residents of Washington's Georgetown/Palisades neighborhood, the Schers, tired of climbing the stairs in their four-story home, set about searching the area for the perfect condo, even checking out the Capital's infamous Watergate complex.
April 2, 1992
Eighty-three percent of SUNDIAL callers, or 380 out of 453, say there should be full disclosure of White House spending. Against full disclosure are 73 callers, 16 percent.Of 448 callers, 350, or 78 percent, say they think taxpayers are paying for President Bush's political travels. Ninety-eight callers, 21 percent, disagree."It's Your Call" represents a sampling of opinions from certain segments of the community, but it is not balanced demographically, as a scientific public opinion poll would be.
September 24, 1993
Maryland's governor received an unwarranted one-two punch last week when Money magazine and "Prime Time Live" named William Donald Schaefer the "prince of perks" among the nation's governors for his lavish lifestyle. It was, as his press secretary termed it, a cheap shot.To call Mr. Schaefer frugal would be an understatement. He is a notorious penny-pincher whose idea of a good meal out is McDonald's; whose suits are years, if not decades, out of fashion; whose vacations take place not at posh resort hotels but in his own trailer in middle-class Ocean City.
June 1, 1994
With the assorted problems facing Carroll County -- growth, lack of jobs, crowded schools, road congestion -- the issue being made of per diem and mileage payments to the county commissioners makes little sense. The amount of money -- which averages about $10 a day -- has already generated derisive pot shots and insulting comments from some residents. If the commissioners' overall compensation is considered, these payments are meager sums, not a financial bonanza.The commissioners generally work more than 40-hour weeks on county business and are paid $30,000 a year.
December 16, 1994
Suddenly, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and Baltimore's powerful Sen. Clarence W. Blount say they have seen the light: Legislative scholarships are bad, they now confess, and it's time to do away with them.Funny, but that's not what the two men said last session, when they blocked all efforts to abolish this lavish patronage plum for legislators.In the next four-year term, lawmakers will hand out more than $32 million in scholarship aid with few set guidelines on how the money should be distributed.
April 9, 1992
I have to write this really fast because I'm due at the White House briefing on "Perk Take-Backs" in about 20 minutes. Rumor has it Marlin Fitzwater will announce that the five White House calligraphers being let go are to be replaced with five Palmer Method volunteers from a local elementary school.Then I'm off to the Match-a-Perk Rally being held poolside by a group of House and Senate leaders over at the Rayburn Building gym. House Democrat Vic Fazio is expected to wow the assembled lawmakers once more with a repeat of his recent "We-will-match-every-perk-we-have-with-a-White-House-perk" speech.