Smarting over growth; Carroll County: Governor's open attack on commissioners could give other officials reason for concern.

WHATEVER happened to Gentle Words, Manly Deeds?

Gov. Parris N. Glendening, whose official communications bear that state motto, ought to heed those words more closely.


He does not gain political points, in Maryland at least, by intemperate attacks on Carroll County in front of other elected officials from this state. Not even, we would venture, from political turncoats sitting by him on the public platform.

The source of the governor's petty pique is the county commissioners' recent rezoning of the 145-acre Rash farm in South Carroll for residential construction. It contradicts his personal view of the Smart Growth program, of rational land-use decisions designed to prevent wasteful, costly sprawl development.


The lamentable zoning decision by the county commissioners could open the legal door to rampant conversion of Carroll farmland to housing development. But the case is on appeal to the courts, where judicial wisdom may reverse the opinion of county officials. That is where this significant legal question, resting on state law, must ultimately be decided.

If Mr. Glendening suggests that zoning decisions must be political, not points of law, then the liberal Democratic governor may well attack mercilessly Carroll's conservative Republican county commissioners. In fact, he has criticized them on previous occasion.

But he did so in front of the Maryland Municipal League, whose ranks contain a good many other conservatives and Republicans and even officials of other persuasions who have reason to be wary of the political use of state Smart Growth powers.

Mr. Glendening's public mockery of Carroll County should give these officials pause to question the course of the governor's remaining 30 months in office.

Public embarrassment seldom sways the Carroll commissioners, in any case. Their bad decisions invariably need the correction of law and state administration.