Dock of the Bay
|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.
Marylanders practice politics
With Marylands 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.
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 Marylands.
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 Deans campaign, but they were fired up with enthusiasm after Kerrys come-from-behind victory in Iowa.
Wendy Shuford, the groups 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 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.
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.
|photo by Louis Llovio
Supporters of Sen. John Kerry meet in downtown Baltimore.
Emily Eason, 18, one year out of high school, hadnt 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.
Im still shopping for a candidate, said Cheryl Johnson. But Ill 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.
Im excited by second place, said Caroline Rivera of Deans double-digit finish in New Hampshire. Though Im a little disappointed in the numbers, I think he still has momentum and isnt 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.
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 Years 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 Germantowns Poplar Park Trail, where new trees were planted in 2002 to replace trees cut so severely by the utilitys 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 mayors passion for this issue.
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 mayors list for consideration of undergrounding.
artwork by Sonia Linebaugh
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&Es 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.
to the top
In New Hampshire, which held the nations 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 theres more monkeying around than you can imagine. Theres even multi-color monkeying around.
Thats 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