- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 24, 2002

In these allegedly tight budgetary times, as state politicians lobby for ever-higher taxes to fund "desperately needed" government services, it's pretty stunning to observe the profligacy and sketchy ethics of Maryland's Democratic Gov. Parris N. Glendening. First, the governor marries former aide Jennifer Crawford, an attractive woman some 30 years his junior who was also on the state payroll raking in a six-figure salary during at least a portion of their courtship. Now, he's spending $5,000 to install a new fence at the governor's mansion in Annapolis to accommodate his new wife's dogs, Leo and Maddie. It seems the small beasts both of them toy breeds were able to escape the existing fence. So Mr. Glendening decided, hey what the heck. Why not blow $5,000 on a second fence specifically designed to keep the yippers confined?
The money is not coming out of Mr. Glendening's wallet, either. Taxpayers are footing the bill. Money's tight for schools, roads and other incidentals. But there's plenty available to take care of Miss Jenny's doggies. Marie Antionette might have said, "Let them eat cake." Mr. Glendening, for his part, has described the new fence as "regular maintenance" but former Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer, currently the state comptroller, isn't buying it. "We're almost a billion dollars short" in revenue, he told The Washington Post, "and he spends money on a dog. He's not going to be there much longer. It's a waste of money." Mr. Schaefer, who evinces no love lost for the current governor, added: "I guess I should call Jennifer now and say, 'Jennifer, please turn on the fountain so the dogs can lap up the water and pee more.' "
Maybe $5,000 is not a massively large sum. But the cavalier manner in which Mr. Glendening is using funds that come directly out of the hides of hard-working taxpayers reveals the indifference with which members of the ruling class such as Mr. Glendening view the source of their endless horn o' plenty. Maryland taxpayers should keep a mental image of Miss Jenny's new fence in mind as they prepare to cut another check when their state income taxes come due.


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