Politicians Can Also Do Good Deeds ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY


Salvage yard operator and County Council candidate Tom Redmond has sent a few cynical eyebrows shooting skyward with his winning $1 bid to tear down the old Brick House Bar on Pasadena's Mountain Road.

Since his competition for the county contract estimated the job would cost $43,793, some people are wondering, "Hmmmm. There must be something political going on."

Well, maybe there is. Mr. Redmond's $1 deal has gotten him some publicity and earned him a few points with his would-be Pasadena constituents, who have been waiting since the mid-1980s for someone to demolish this burned-out eyesore of a building, which the county assumed from a delinquent former owner.

Yet there is nothing shady or illegal about submitting a $1 bid. There's certainly nothing wrong with a candidate for public office trying to improve his own community. And if, come November 1994, Mr. Redmond should benefit at the polls because some people remember he ripped down the Brick House Bar for almost nothing, well, what is wrong with that? Why, even County Councilman Carl G. "Dutch" Holland, whom Mr. Redmond is trying to unseat, said, "More power to him," if he can turn a profit -- monetary or political -- by offering such an irresistible deal.

Interestingly, were he not running for election, Mr. Redmond's deal no doubt would be hailed as pure, unselfish community activism. Because he has no experience in demolition, he's recruiting other Pasadena businesses to volunteer their expertise. His terms, besides the $1, include permission for business and community groups to lease a portion of the bar property for a buck a year. He also wants approval for those groups to build a sign on the site welcoming visitors to the community. (The county is still negotiating this point).

It's possible Mr. Redmond will get something out of all this politically. But it's a certainty Pasadena will get something out of it. Is Mr. Redmond's contribution to the community any less valuable because he is a candidate? Of course not.

Politics and community activism are not mutually exclusive, though we have come to treat them as such. Good politicians do nice things for their neighborhoods. If Mr. Redmond has figured that out, then, as Mr. Holland said, more power to him.

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