www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-rodricks-0927-20120926,0,2905359.column

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Of football refs, retail politics and an unusually quiet state delegate

After the Towson melee, wondering what Pat McDonough would say

Dan Rodricks

8:11 PM EDT, September 26, 2012

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Nobody asked me but . . .

I was worried about Pat McDonough, the Republican state delegate who represents parts of Harford and Baltimore counties. We hadn't heard from him all week. This was really odd.

Usually, when there is mob violence in our community, Pat speaks up. He is our Mobtown Herald. He issues dire alerts and hyperbolic warnings to the news media.

He suggests that the local police are incompetent or overmatched.

He calls for the Maryland National Guard.

He blames liberal Democrats for coddling violent youth.

He tells people all over the world to stay away from our unsafe streets.

So, given events from the weekend, I was concerned that something might have happened to the guy.

There was mob violence — hundreds of youths in the street, fights, one person shot, police dogs and pepper spray, several police officers injured, a terrible mess. "These kids were running wild and were out of control along York Road," said a spokesman for the police.

Of course, that's the Baltimore County police, and the part of York Road referred to runs through Towson, the county seat.

Buy where was the loquacious Pat McDonough?

With his silence, one might have gotten the idea — and I know this is crazy, he's such a well-meaning guy — that Pat only cared to call attention to Baltimore and the "roving mobs of black youths" because the city is always an easy target for loud-mouth, grandstanding, fear-mongers from the suburbs. Could that be?

Wednesday, a reporter made contact with the unusually quiet Pat. When asked for comment, did he sound an alarm about youth mobs and declare Towson a "no travel zone," as he did the Inner Harbor in May?

No.

He told Patch.com that what happened outside the Recher Theater was "an anomaly," and the result of "poor planning" by the organizers of an event there, and isn't that special? How nice that the Baltimore-bashing delegate can be so discerning and understanding — and resist issuing one of his sarcastic broadsides — when trouble hits closer to home.

Still, nobody asked me, but if I were Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore, I'd call for the National Guard to start patrolling Towson Circle — just for laughs.

Nobody asked me but ...

A new poll indicates growing support for the Maryland Dream Act, which provides the in-state tuition rate for undocumented immigrants who graduate from Maryland high schools and whose parents pay state income taxes. The Dream Act is another of Pat McDonough's causes. He vehemently opposes any kind of break for anyone who came into the country illegally, even if they were infants at the time. Again, where's Pat? Where's his coordinated campaign against the Dream Act? I kinda miss the guy.

Nobody asked me but ...

If NFL players wanted to get the real officials back into the game, there was a simple solution all along — refuse to play.

I know: They can't do that. Apparently, the NFL Players Association, under the contract it signed last year, can't call a strike unless to preserve the union. That sounds like a bad contract — not to mention a clear violation of constitutional rights. If a corporation can be a person and give millions of dollars to a politician as a form of speech, NFL players ought to be able to refuse to work to express support for officials — and to protest work conditions.

In fact, as the Daily Kos points out, the players certainly would be within federal labor law if they walked out because they believed the NFL owners had rendered their work environment unsafe. Basically, you're not considered to be on strike if you do so "in good faith because of abnormally dangerous conditions for work at the place of employment."

Of course, the players haven't gone that route, and the no-strike clause took away their right to a work stoppage in solidarity with the officials who keep their game fair and honest and safe. Thus the mess.

So I'll hear no bellyaching about scab officiating from the players, thank you. They should have shown more courage and confidence — they're the performers people pay to see, after all — and they should have stood with the real refs from the start, contract or not.

Nobody asked me but ...

Glen Glass, a freshman delegate who represents Harford and Cecil counties, brings all new meaning to the term "retail politics." Where some public officials crusade for noble causes — marriage equality, a common-sense immigration policy — Glass throws his weight behind (drum roll) keeping Walmart in his district! The freshman Republican is fighting the move of Walmart from Abingdon to a new, larger space in Bel Air. "It is very inconvenient for my constituents to have to drive to Bel Air to shop at Walmart especially when the current location is conveniently located off of I-95 and Route 24," Glass says. "Having made the drive myself, I can verify the rigors that they would encounter." Where do we find such men?

drodricks@baltsun.com