'Misinterpretation' can make a governor cranky


So, the governor of Maryland says there's no deal on slots. Instead, he says, there was a "misinterpretation." By that he means the mayor of Baltimore "misinterpreted" what he said a few weeks ago about putting slot machines at race tracks and giving the city about $25 million in new gambling revenues for the public schools.

So, there is no deal, was no deal, nothing firm anyway.

That's what the governor of Maryland says.

Of course, just two weeks ago, the mayor of Baltimore -- aside from those cast in bronze, our most cautious public official -- said there indeed was such a deal. In fact, he said it was a done deal.

Whom do you believe?

I'm inclined to believe the mayor, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Tell you what else: I believe the governor of Maryland was pretty peeved that word of the deal got out -- he had asked the mayor to keep it a secret -- and got even more peeved when he started catching flak for making a secret agreement on something as controversial as slots. Plus, this all happened while the governor was trying to have a vacation on the West Coast, and what with the reporters and their questions and the daily stories and the phone calls, well, it must have been enough to make a person really -- how shall I put this? -- cranky.

So, there was no deal. And even if there was one, it's off. That's what the governor says. Now, he's riding high on a moral horse, complaining about the "aggressiveness of the casino interests," saying he would never, ever approve of slot machines. Not while he's governor. No, sir.

Big difference from what Schmoke had told us. Just two weeks ago, we're ready to size Glendening for a pinky ring; now he's washing his hands of the dreaded casino bacteria.

Well, he can scrub-a-dub-dub all he wants, but I don't think it'll do much good.

Ronald Reagan was the Teflon president. Parris Glendening is ++ turning into the Velcro governor. Things seem to stick to this guy. (Remember the Prince George's pension-severance scandal? Remember the time he sought a $1.5 million taxpayer-funded bailout of a failing company owned by one of his longtime supporters?)

A deal on slots? He can posture all he wants against more gambling in Maryland and say Kurt Schmoke "misinterpreted" what he said, but come on. Had the slots deal been kept secret, isn't it likely the governor would have finessed a change in his position down the road?

That $1,000-a-ticket fund-raiser in New York organized by a company that wants a $25 million state contract? The governor can refuse the contributions and say he was unaware of any conflict until the day of the event, but come on. He still got on the company's jet. He still went to New York. He's stuck with that and how it looks.

He can say he's "shocked" by allegations that racetrack owner Joe De Francis funneled illegal campaign contributions to Glendening through relatives in Buffalo, but come on. The governor raised $5 million in 1994 and is out to bag $11 million by 1998, and he's not exactly hesitant to sell fund-raiser tickets to those who want to do business with the state. So everyone just laughs when the governor says he's "shocked."

What's with this guy? I dunno. The governor was once a college professor, and some college professors have a tendency to look down on their students as a bunch of dumb clucks. He'd better watch out or he's not going to get tenure.

Update on Eidman case

As promised in this space in July, here's a follow-up on the death of Eric Eidman, the Terisguel's cook who was killed in an alcohol-related car accident on his way home from work at the Ellicott City restaurant. (Eidman, 36 and the father of a 3-year-old boy, was killed when an Isuzu Rodeo crossed the yellow line on Frederick Road near Dimitri's Restaurant and slammed into his car shortly after 10: 30 p.m. Friday, June 14.)

Monday, a grand jury in Baltimore County indicted 20-year-old Shawn P. Campion of Catonsville on multiple charges in Eidman's death. According to Deborah Robinson, assistant state's attorney, Campion was charged with automobile manslaughter (maximum penalty, 10 years in prison), homicide by motor vehicle while intoxicated (five years max), driving while intoxicated (one year max), and numerous other motor vehicle charges, including leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving and negligent driving. Three other young men and a juvenile girl, all of whom were in the Isuzu the night of the accident, have been charged with possession of alcohol under the legal age. All these cases should be set for trial within the next few weeks. More on this as the defendants go to court.

Toads and fleas

TJI reader Amy Strong was traveling north on Interstate 83 recently when she spotted a Winnebago towing a Subaru. As she passed the big RV, she noticed a large sign taped to the rear of the Subaru: "Warning -- Toad Car." (Mess with it and you get warts.)

Sign for a 4-H event, on Rolling Road and Windsor Mill Road: "Flea Dip/Bake sale." (Sounds great. Just stay away from the poppy seed cake.)

Far out

Life on Mars? OK, fine. But I'll be speaking with a Baltimore man today who believes he's identified life forms on Jupiter. Watch this space!

Pub Date: 8/14/96

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