Doubts exist for Sauerbrey on environment


DOES ELLEN Sauerbrey want us to believe she would have stopped Chapman's Landing from being developed? I think so. That's what I got from a recent Sun story on the so-called "moderation" of her views on key issues. In an interview, she offered no opposition to what the governor has done -- stop the huge development planned for Charles County and buy out the developer for $25 million -- and suggested she would have moved faster.

To which I say: Yeah, right.

Sauerbrey once could boast to her right wing, government-is-the-problem spouse and friends that she had one of the worst environmental records of legislators in Annapolis. As recently as 1995, she joined the executive board of Frontiers of Freedom, a staunchly conservative "property rights" group that calls itself "the antithesis of the Sierra Club." It wants to repeal the federal Endangered Species Act and open Alaskan wildlife refuges to oil exploration.

Here comes Sauerbrey, running for governor again, telling us she not only would have stopped Eddie Podboy from building his mini-city of 12,000 residents and 4,600 homes on the banks of the Potomac, but suggesting she would have bought him out earlier and cheaper.

The state is due to close on the deal with Podboy at the end of the month, preventing him from tearing up nearly 2,000 acres of woodlands for his development.

Perhaps the governor and his gang never should have allowed Podboy to get as far as he did -- and maybe the final cost will be higher than it would have been with an earlier buyout.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

Had she been elected in 1994, do you think Sauerbrey would have stopped Chapman's Landing? She wants us to believe she's moderated her views on an assortment of fronts, including the environment. Pardon me while I remain unconvinced.

A bargain candidate?

Maybe John Bishop, the Republican candidate for Baltimore County executive who is in need of some kind of appeal to voters, could use this as a pitch: "Elect me. It's cheaper." The question of his popular Democratic opponent's handsome county pension could have some appeal to the bean counters and North County gripers who always are protesting taxes and the cost of government. But the proposition will have far more limited appeal to voters who think C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger is doing a good job as county executive and that the cost of his pension, even inflated by his re-election, is neither his doing nor something to be held against him.

But let's run the numbers anyway and see what happens.

Right now, with 13 years of county employment under his belt, Ruppersberger is eligible for a pension of $58,500 a year. Not bad, but ...

If he wins re-election next month, and retires in 2002 after a second term, he'll have 17 years of county service. That means he'll be eligible, upon leaving office, for 85 percent of his salary as pension. He'll make another $30,000 a year -- $89,250 a year, to be exact. (He'll have contributed $145,000 toward his retirement by 2002.)

Overall, that's a sweet deal.

Ruppersberger is 52 now. He'll be 56 by the time his next term ends. He can collect when he leaves office. If he lives to be, say, 79, Ruppersberger will cost county taxpayers an additional $600,000 to $700,000 in pension costs over his lifetime.

If he eats a lot of yogurt, takes human growth hormone and gets regular exercise, he could live to be 100. (BEGIN ELLIPSES) ... (END ELLIPSES) My god, the cost could run into the millions!

I guess voters will have to decide if he's worth it.

Or settle for something cheaper.

Consultant complaints

Robert Dashiell, the Baltimore County school board member who lost his bid for a state Senate seat in the Democratic primary, paid nearly $34,000 in consulting fees to campaign manager Julius Henson's Politics Today Inc., and he doesn't think he got his money's worth. He characterizes Henson's effort as a disorganized "one-man operation" that failed to recruit volunteers and create a database of potential supporters. In its late stages, he said, the campaign was in turmoil. "I lost 30 percent of my remaining hair," said Dashiell, who garnered 30 percent of the Democratic vote in an attempt to unseat 10th District Sen. Delores G. Kelley. "In many cases we were working from the seat of our pants."

We'd ask Henson for a comment about the criticism, but he's made it clear he doesn't want to speak to reporters.

It doesn't pay.

What's up at Doc's

Our official food taster and chief cultural correspondent, Joey Amalfitano, reports:

"Last Thursday night, Maxine and I pushed our way into the grand opening of Doc's Eastside, 2522 Fait Ave., right off Montford, in Canton. What a crowd! It was packed with folks who wanted to wish good luck to owner Steve Cochran, 'the rock-n-roll doctor' and baron of Bohager's. Steve's calling the new place a bistro, with meals in the $8- to 16.50-range, which ain't bad for that trendy section of town. Doc's takes over where the Neon Moon martini place was. (Apparently, the Moon's owners went on a very long vacation, if you know what I mean.) Stevie, who grew up in Armistead Gardens and Eastwood, is bringing in specials like Sicilian stew and deep-dish chicken pot pie, plus some Cajun fare, crab cakes and steaks. At the bar, you can grab a beer or high-ball, which is what my mom used to call mixed drinks. The place is decorated with screen paintings by Dee Herget, Tom Lipka and Chrissy Maxwell. Nice touches."


Unlike the gourmet "last supper" it described, Friday's TJI column was not perfect. I referred to the owner of the award-winning Inn at Buckeystown, in Frederick County, as Dave Pelz. As all of his many guests know, his name is Dan Pelz. (I know a writer named Dave Belz, and apparently allowed the two names to become scrambled.) I regret the error. Just call me Bob.

Pub Date: 10/05/98

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