For Preservations Sake, Give Glendening His Due
Its a hard road these days for leaders who stumble.
Like many people, we watched the two-week soap opera that led to Sen. Trent Lotts fall from top-dog in the Senate to Americans doghouse after thoughtless comments that were perceived as racist.
It took Gov. Parris Glendening somewhat longer to land in Marylanders doghouse. We think that for at least one reason his success in land preservation he should not be consigned to permanent residence there.
Glendening, who leaves office next week after eight years as governor, invited scorn with his personal and political missteps. Dalliance and divorce is not what people tolerate from chief executives these days. (Unless, perhaps, youre Rudolf Giuliani and true disaster arrives to let you make amends.)
And even though Glendening is uncommonly averse to political niceties for a politician, he should have realized that carrying on a feud with a Maryland icon Comptroller William Donald Schaefer would cost him political capital that he could ill afford to waste.
(The bad blood boiled at an unseemly meeting of the Board of Public Works just before Christmas when the cranky Schaefer badgered arch-foe Glendening over preservation and then inexplicably voted for the land purchase.)
You wouldnt know it by Schaefer, who accused Glendening of being the most irresponsible governor weve ever had, but not every problem in Maryland is Glendenings doing. Those who take the time to look at the financial woes of other states might see that Maryland is no worse off. The sour economy is bedeviling many governors, Republicans and Democrats alike.
While getting skewered, Glendening is missing out on praise that might normally be coming his way. Had he played his cards better (or at least closer to the vest), the daily newspapers would be brining us fuzzy retrospectives about the outgoing governors record achievements in saving land from developers.
That would have been factual. During his eight years in office, Glendening engineered the permanent preservation of more than 300,000 acres of Maryland lands, many of them parcels along the Chesapeake Bay.
That is land on which you and your grandchildren will see crops, trees and rolling green as opposed to mansionettes and strip malls.
In the decades ahead, governors will come and go. But the land that Glendening saved from developers will be there for generations of Marylanders to enjoy.
We hope Glendening emerges from the doghouse to the credit hes due.