Volume 13, Issue 24 ~ June 16 - 22, 2005

Letters to the Editor
Bay Reflections
Earth Talk
Dr. Gouin's Bay Gardener
Where We Live
Weekly Crab Forecast

Way Downstream

Bill Burton
Sky Watch
Earth Journal
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Bay Weekly Summer Guide

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Crab Feasts, Breakfast Buns and Hungry Politicians

Here’s a tip on how to enhance your summer fun while making yourself a better citizen: Get to know those political candidates fanning out around the state preparing for Maryland’s biggest political year in decades.

In 2006, Maryland likely will have a competitive Senate race for the first time in memory now that Sen. Paul Sarbanes is retiring. And that’s on top of the governor’s race, in which Gov. Robert Ehrlich is almost certain to be fighting for his political hide.

To test the waters — and we don’t mean jumping into the inviting, jellyfish-free Chesapeake Bay — aspirants for these high offices and many others on the state and local level are showing up at breakfasts, barbecues, picnics and everywhere crowds gather. The big event of the political summer is July 20’s 29th Annual J. Millard Tawes Crab & Clam Bake at Somers Cove Marina in Crisfield (rsvp: 800-782-3913). But politicians are hitting two and three events a day; track them in 8 Days a Week and the political columns of your daily paper.

Now is the time when they will decide whether to forge ahead or watch their Dreamsicles melt in the summer sun.

Along with the slaw and potato salad are plots and sub-plots aplenty.

Will Lt. Gov. Michael Steele run for the GOP Senate nomination? (Of course.)

Will Rep. Chris Van Hollen jump into the Democrats’ primary contest with Rep. Ben Cardin and former Rep. Kweise Mfume, perhaps producing a spoiler effect? (Not likely.)

Will Del. Peter Franchot, a Democrat, take on Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, a Maryland institution and a Democrat in name only, in the Democratic primary? (We hope so.)

By next summer, if the Democratic primary is moved forward to June, the winnowing will be nearly complete. So now’s the best time to size up all this political horseflesh and seize the opportunity to guide the political debate.

While dining al fresco, why not grill a politician or two? Why not look this fresh crop of would-be leaders in the eye and ask how they feel about things that matter to you. For instance:

  • Why, when the technology is available, are we not moving faster to clean up the sewage treatment plants and septic systems that are poisoning the Chesapeake with nitrogen pollution?
  • Will you stand up to the nuclear industry on building another nuclear plant in Calvert County?
  • What is your definition of sustainability and how would you help achieve it on land and water?

Who knows? If they answer your questions and don’t squirt mustard on your tank top, you might find yourself a candidate or two while enjoying your summer.

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