Volume 12, Issue 5 ~ January 29-February 4, 2004

Current Issue
This Weeks Lead Story
Dock of the Bay
Letters to the Editor
Bay Reflections
Burton on the Bay
Chesapeake Outdoors
Sky and Sea
Not Just for Kids
8 Days a Week
Bayweekly in Your Mailbox
Print Advertising
Bay Weekly Links
Behind Bay Weekly
Contact Us

Powered by

Search bayweekly.com
Search WWW

This is one of a series of profiles of activists working toward victory in Maryland and beyond in the Democratic presidential primaries. On the Republican side, there is no contest, for President George W. Bush is unchallenged.
Dock of the Bay

Primary Colors
Marylanders practice politics

With Maryland’s presidential primary upcoming March 2, Marylanders are choosing sides and — with road trips to New Hampshire and Iowa and meetups throughout their home state — reaching out to persuade voters.

In Baltimore last week, 20 supporters and political shoppers met up at the fashionable City Café to volunteer and plan work for Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. The group lacked the grassroots organization that has become synonymous with Howard Dean’s campaign, but they were fired up with enthusiasm after Kerry’s come-from-behind victory in Iowa.

Wendy Shuford, the group’s unofficial leader, directed would-be volunteers to an e-mail address at the national headquarters, where they could sign up to support their candidate by making phone calls at home or canvassing in Delaware and South Carolina.

Supporters of former Vermont governor Howard Dean, meanwhile, were heading to New Hampshire, where Dean would make a measured comeback but still place second behind the new front-runner — Kerry.

On the Friday before the Tuesday vote, young enthusiasts, led by State Sen. John Giannetti (Prince George and Anne Arundel counties) loaded up in a bus in the freezing early evening to head to Portsmouth, N.H., where some slept on supporters’ floors after knocking on doors in a New England winter even harsher than Maryland’s.

On that same evening, Marylanders for retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark met for a fundraiser at the Annapolis home of John and Barbara Holum, both of whom worked in the administration of Bill Clinton. He was a top official in the State Department, and she was a commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The Holums invested in the future of their preferred candidate by raising more than $1,000 for Clark.

On the night this week of the New Hampshire primary, supporters of North Carolina Sen. John Edwards had planned a Maryland meetup. But they proved fair-weather fans, staying home to watch the returns on television instead of braving snow and sleet.

That was just as well, as Edwards placed a disappointing fourth.

photo by Louis Llovio
Supporters of Sen. John Kerry meet in downtown Baltimore.
Across Maryland, Democrats appear excited about this campaign season. And thanks to the Internet and Web-organized meetups, campaigns are reaching new audiences this year that consist of young voters and people who had simply lost interest in the political process.

Emily Eason, 18, one year out of high school, hadn’t paid attention to politics before. Now, she says, “Kerry is the best person to follow.” She found her candidate by logging onto selectsmart.com. “They paired me up with him,” she said, “based on what my beliefs in the issues are.”

Shuford decided on Kerry the old-fashioned way. “I remember liking him from his days on the Paul Tsongas campaign” in 1992, she said.

However they came to their candidates, these Marylanders agree on one thing: Change is needed in the White House. At the end of the day, they say, they will support whoever comes out of the primary season a victor.

As the candidates left New Hampshire and headed out for the first big national test in seven states, it looked increasingly like that candidate will be Kerry. But in a season of surprises, voters were hedging their bets.

“I’m still shopping for a candidate,” said Cheryl Johnson. “But I’ll vote for anyone that can beat Bush.”

“The important thing,” echoed Barbara Holum, “is to beat Bush.”

Bush is running without serious opposition in the Republican primaries.

“I’m excited by second place,” said Caroline Rivera of Dean’s double-digit finish in New Hampshire. “Though I’m a little disappointed in the numbers, I think he still has momentum and isn’t dead in the water.”

That kind of optimism will carry the candidates and their followers through the Maryland primary and into the general election.

In the end, being involved will be worth the bus trips and the cold nights out campaigning.

— Louis Llovio

to the top

Right Trees and a Righteous Mayor
In Annapolis, planting short trees now; power lines later

Baltimore Gas and Electric surprised the city of Annapolis with an unsolicited New Year’s gift last week. A $10,000 contribution to the city/utility partnership Right Tree/Right Place will help plant 36 new native trees in Truxtun Park, mitigating damage from hurricane Isabel.

This is a story with roots deeper than many of the trees toppled by wet, windy Isable.

The BG&E grant will also pay for markers along Germantown’s Poplar Park Trail, where new trees were planted in 2002 to replace trees cut so severely by the utility’s tree trimmers that Annapolis Mayor Ellen Moyer complained of “a scorched earth policy.” That severe trimming style followed Hurricane Floyd in 1999, when citizens complained loud and long about power outages.

Now, along Poplar Park Trail, BG&E will promote a new policy: the right trees for the right place. Here, the right tree is the star magnolia, which grows just 10 feet tall but has a wide-spreading canopy. Their shape keeps them out of the electric wires, keeping both citizens and utility company happy — or so it is hoped.

Now the story branches into the future.

For Mayor Ellen Moyer, the right tree in the right place is not nearly change enough. “The mayor is still very much committed to undergrounding,” said spokeswoman Jan Hardesty. “BG&E understands the mayor’s passion for this issue.”

artwork by Sonia Linebaugh
Moyer has formed a citizens’ panel to look into costs and considerations for digging up the streets to bury lines. But neighbors have to want it, Hardesty says, for the short-term inconvenience is considerable — especially in the cramped downtown streets where the problem is worst. The Cornhill area off State Circle was hard hit by Hurricane Isabel, with power outages that dragged on due to the congestion of wires. Adjoining Fleet Street and King George Street along the edge of the Naval Academy grounds are also on the mayor’s list for consideration of undergrounding.

“As businesses add to their electrical needs, the utility companies add transformers and wires and diverters at the most convenient source,” says Hardesty. “Downtown Annapolis is a mess.”

Meanwhile, BG&E’s small contribution to beauty in other parts of the city will distract us from the painful utility of poles and wires.

Make the quest for beauty personal. Annapolis Recreation and Parks invites you to purchase a young tree ($150) or a park bench ($600) for a park or open space area within the city through its Memorial Tree and Bench program. Engraved plaques are extra: 410/263-7958.

—Sonia Linebaugh

to the top

Way Downstream …

In New Hampshire, which held the nation’s first presidential primary this week, Sen. John Kerry captured the endorsement of the national League of Conservation Voters, the political arm of the environmental movement…

In Britain, a bus driver has found a fossil of what is being called the oldest creature to have lived on earth: a millipede more than 400 million years old. Mike Newman found the rock-hard remains near a harbor. Henceforth his rare find will bear his name — Pneumodesmus newmani

Our Creature Feature comes from China, where there’s more monkeying around than you can imagine. There’s even multi-color monkeying around.

That’s because in celebrating the Chinese new year this month — the Year of the Monkey — a Chinese safari park dyed the fur of its monkeys red, yellow, green and a host of colors. “They seemed surprised at their new strange coats when they woke up,” a park worker said, noting that the monkeys had been anesthetized for their dye jobs.

to the top



© COPYRIGHT 2004 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.
Last updated January 29, 2004 @ 3:15am.