- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 7, 2006

Maryland’s political environment is a bit unsettled, and anything can happen this election year. So said Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens.

“I think in this particular election, everyone is vulnerable. I’ve never seen voters so angry. The whole electoral process is volatile right now,” said Mrs. Owens, 62.

The county executive announced last week that she will run for state comptroller, making her the second candidate to challenge William Donald Schaefer, 84, in the Democratic primary in September.

Delegate Peter Franchot of Montgomery County also has announced that he would challenge Mr. Schaefer for the Democratic nomination.

• Baseball fans

Now that the Washington Nationals have an owner and construction of a ballpark in Southeast is under way, city politicians are free to really enjoy America’s pastime.

Three Democratic mayoral candidates — D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, council member Vincent B. Orange Sr. and former Verizon executive Marie C. Johns — attended the groundbreaking for the ballpark Thursday.

“We have baseball, and we have to also ensure baseball [drives] the redevelopment for our Southeast waterfront into a mixed-use community,” Mrs. Johns said.

Mr. Orange of Ward 5 said revenue from the business the baseball stadium is expected to bring into the city will become vital in coming days.

“This is a way for us to generate revenue for us to address some of the social issues of the day,” he said. “Every candidate has to figure out how to pay for what they propose, and this revenue is one of the ways.”

• Alien nation

Maryland Comptroller William Donald Schaefer has no truck for illegal aliens — and let everyone at Wednesday’s Board of Public Works meeting know it.

“If you come in this country legally and get a job, fine,” Mr. Schaefer said. “If you come in this country in tunnels underneath the borders, if you come in at midnight, if you come in packed vans, if you come in to take our social services, all of the things that we pay for, that’s wrong.”

The two-term comptroller also revealed unofficially that he will seek re-election as the state’s tax collector.

But he mostly railed against illegal border crossings and recent rallies supporting illegal aliens.

“People come in, take our jobs, our social services, our health benefits, all the things we are paying for … and then they are unhappy with our county,” the former two-term governor and four-term Baltimore mayor said.

“They hold a big rally [with] thousands and thousands of people?” he said. “I guess we are supposed to open up the gates and let everybody in across the borders to take the jobs [and] the social services.”

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican seeking re-election, also voiced dismay with some aspects of the demonstrations, especially a school boycott by some immigrant children. He stressed that state law requires children to go to school.

“To keep kids in a particular school system away from school was certainly one way not to express an opinion concerning the national debate on immigration,” he said.

• Nixing the annex

Voters in Mount Airy, Md., voiced a resounding “no” to a planned annexation.

Results posted on the town’s Web site show the controversial Zeltman farm annexation was defeated by a greater than 2-to-1 margin in Tuesday’s election. Nearly 2,000 votes were cast.

Meanwhile, annexation opponents swept the three municipal offices at stake.

Frank Johnson was elected mayor, and John Woodhull and Gary Nelson were elected to the Town Council.

The Town Council voted in favor of the 164-acre annexation in February, but opponents conducted a petition drive to put the issue on the ballot.

Plans called for 275 homes to be built on the property.

• His lasting legacy

Forget about balancing the District’s budget. Don’t mention attracting businesses into the city. Ignore the ongoing redevelopment all around town.

We all know what Mayor Anthony A. Williams will be remembered for: bringing baseball back.

At last week’s groundbreaking for a ballpark complex in Southeast, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said baseball likely will be seen as Mr. Williams’ crowning achievement.

“I tease him that I’m going to try to remind him that he is remembered for more than baseball,” she said. “But it will be remembered as his signature issue.”

Mr. Williams, a Democrat, is not seeking a third term as mayor.

• Out of the race

Sheriff Thomas Golding of Harford County, Md., says he won’t seek election this year to a full term as sheriff, saying he didn’t want to see the office torn apart by what he called “petty politics.”

In a statement Thursday, Sheriff Golding said his critics were using what he described as “underhanded tactics” to discredit him and predicted a potentially nasty campaign.

Meanwhile, Maryland Transportation Authority Police Chief Gary McLhinney told the Baltimore Sun that he is thinking about becoming a candidate and has talked to Sheriff Golding about it.

There is one other candidate. Maj. Jesse Bane resigned from his command position in the sheriff’s office last month and announced his candidacy.

Sheriff Golding was appointed to the sheriff’s office in 2003 by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. after Sheriff Joseph Meadows resigned during a misconduct investigation.

• Saying goodbye

Maryland Delegate K. Bennett Bozman’s friends and colleagues remember him as a tireless campaigner who loved to talk and loved to laugh.

Mr. Bozman, 69, died April 27 after suffering a heart attack while being transported from Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin to University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore.

A longtime diabetic, he was being treated for an infection in his foot and leg, the Salisbury Daily Times reported.

“He loved to laugh, loved to talk. I never saw him with a frown on his face. He always seemed to smile. I never saw him mad,” said David Bloxom, chief of the Berlin Fire Department.

The Democratic delegate’s funeral was held Tuesday at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City.

“We’ve lost a true friend,” said fellow Eastern Shore Delegate Norman Conway.

The Worcester and Wicomico Democratic Central Committees will select a replacement to serve the remainder of Mr. Bozman’s term, which was to end in January.

• Local politics

Joe Trippi kick-started Howard Dean’s Web campaign for president and has advised politicians as far away as Italy.

But from his home in Talbot County, Md., he is turning his attention to a local campaign — restoring the Chesapeake Bay.

Three years ago, Mr. Trippi was trying to elect a former Vermont governor as president.

He had the idea to use the Internet to build support, and Mr. Dean quickly became a pioneer of grass-roots campaigning in the digital age.

Mr. Dean’s early success made Mr. Trippi a go-to guy in political circles. He has advised Italy’s Romano Prodi, who unseated Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and has spoken in Moscow before the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

For the past several months, Mr. Trippi, 49, has been working with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to stop the Blackwater Resort, a development that could bring 3,200 homes and a golf course near Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and Cambridge.

Mr. Trippi told the Baltimore Sun that he wants to coordinate grass-roots gatherings and mass Internet drives in the style of Mr. Dean’s campaign, this time to rile the public about imminent threats to the Bay.

It’s a different sort of cause for the inveterate campaigner, who has been a part of seven presidential runs. It is, he said, about fighting for his home.

“No one’s against development, but at some point there are developments that don’t make sense,” Mr. Trippi told the newspaper. “And if you don’t stand up to those, you might as well walk away from the Chesapeake Bay.”

• S.A. Miller and Amy Doolittle contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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