Richard Bukowsky doesn't know Stuart Berger, but he knows an opportunity to make a buck when he sees one. And the controversy over Dr. Berger's leadership of the Baltimore County school system was irresistible.
So the 42-year-old Pikesville businessman set up a 900 telephone number that gives residents an opportunity -- at $2.95 a pop -- to register their approval or disapproval of the superintendent.
The survey surfaced Wednesday in a discreet back-page ad in The Sun that invited people to give their opinion of the year-old Berger regime using the buttons on their Touch-Tone phones. Mr. Bukowsky said the ad will appear again Sunday, and he ZTC
expects to have the initial results the following day.
Mr. Bukowsky, whose main business is counseling students in search of college financial aid, said the Berger poll is his first venture into 900 telephone service.
No one put him up to it, he said. He got the idea after hearing the superintendent praised or damned constantly as he went about his daily af- fairs.
"I'm not on a Stuart Berger hunt, nor am I his savior," said Mr. Bukowsky, who has two children in county public schools and two in private school. He said he has never met Dr. Berger, "and I have no opinion about him that I'd like to voice."
But, he added, "There are real strong opinions out there, and we wanted to see what the silent people say about it."
If the telephone survey succeeds, meaning that he makes money, Mr. Bukowsky said, he might try again, taking the public pulse on national or regional issues as well as local questions.
Mr. Bukowsky said the telephone calls are answered and tabulated by a computer phone service in California. Callers will find the $2.95 charge on their telephone bills.
"It's just a little idea. We'll see if there's any interest in it," Mr. Bukowsky said.