Dock of the Bay
Volume VI Number 35
September 3-9, 1998
Campaign Trail -- 11th-Hour Entry Sets Sights on John 'Gary' Klocko
photo by Betsy Kehne Challenger Tim Shearer, of Shady Side, promises to listen to people's problems with development.
The last time Tim Shearer ran for office, Lyndon Johnson was in the White House and the Grateful Dead hadn't played a note together. Shearer won the presidency - of the senior class of Occidental College in Los Angeles.
Thirty-two years later, thanks in part to disarray in the Democratic Party, Shearer is a candidate once more. He filed near the deadline as a Democrat to take on John Klocko, the council member for the southernmost district in Anne Arundel County.
"I think I can help folks out. I'm a good listener. And I'm at that phase in my life when I think I could contribute something," says Shearer, of Shady Side.
Shearer describes himself as a "part-time lawyer, a homemaker and a full-time dad." But his aw-shucks demeanor belies a background of accomplishments. He was an assistant attorney general in Maryland, handling courtroom duty for criminal cases and complex civil litigation. He was a lawyer for Washington D.C., where he set up the antitrust enforcement program and worked as a go-between with federal agencies.
He was an Air Force officer and an editor for a trade regulation report.
Now, at the age of 52, Shearer says he's ready for public life - and the man he refers to as John 'Gary' Klocko is his target.
"I'm hearing a lot about the problems people are having with John Gary Klocko. What I'm hearing is that he's simply not responsive to what's going on in southern Anne Arundel or even southwestern Anne Arundel," Shearer said.
Shearer's liberty with Klocko's name is based on what he sees as Klocko's close relationship with County Executive John Gary, a fellow-Republican. Shearer contends that Klocko's alliance with Gary is especially noticeable in issues related to development.
"Whenever people talk to me, it gets back to problems of development and the lack of schools, highways, firefighters, medical personnel - all the infrastructure. The developments are being thrown at people down here without first having what is needed before they bring in more people," Shearer said.
Klocko, who was elected in the Republican bumper year of 1994, does not dispute that he often agrees with Gary. But he points to times when the two have parted company - especially over Klocko's efforts to prevent construction of the Riverdale Baptist Church and its sprawling parking lot in Davidsonville.
Incumbent John Klocko, of Crofton, stands on aggressive representation.
"We didn't see eye to eye, but he came around to seeing it like I was presenting it," said Klocko, referring to his successful legislation that forestalled the construction that many locals opposed.
Klocko notes, too, his efforts on behalf of rural land preservation and wetlands protection during debate over the county development plan. "Of the 65 amendments, 47 were mine," he said.
Klocko says he doesn't know Shearer because he hasn't seen him around much. "He's certainly someone who hasn't been campaigning on issues on behalf of the South County of the 7th District. People who want to represent constituencies need to be aggressive on their behalf, not just get tossed in to fill a slot," he said.
Shearer insists that he can unseat the officeholder even though he hasn't run before for public office. "There's definitely a campaign being developed, and I think I've got a good shot at winning," he said. "But I know it will be tough; whatever his name is, it will have incumbent behind it on the ballot."
Who's Here - September's True-Blue Monday
Unlike the Monday holidays the feds created giving us three-day weekends instead of national celebrations on their rightful days, Labor Day remains true blue. Still, the holiday that separates summer from the rest of the year is somewhat diminished by earlier and earlier school openings.
That hard line between summer days and school days, between no shoes and the dawning of shoes is blurred. Now, families shop for school clothes and supplies before the beach towels go on sale. Before the monarch butterflies of summer's end drift our way. Before the last fireflies' light has flickered out. Before the crabs crawl south in the Bay. Maybe even before we have realized all the summer daydreams that can come to us only in a hammock on warm lazy afternoons in our own backyard. Or favorite vacation spot.
From my favorite vacation spot, a clear, cool lake in Maine, school buses already rumble over rural roads. Fall is in the air. Colors change in field and forest. With thoughts of the one true Monday holiday in mind, I ask a Mainer when he thought summer ended.
"When I take my third job," he replied, soberly, in a New England kind of way.
In a rural state in uncertain economic times, Labor Day is not a line blurred but a line crossed when the countdown toward winter challenges begins
As I drift south along with the brilliant monarchs and home to Bay country - where school buses already rumble - I know somewhere along the way I'll cross that line between summer's dreams and fall's realities, between leisure and labor.
Whenever and however we cross that line in our thoughts or on our calendars, most of us will at least have one more day of rest: on a true-blue Monday designed to celebrate the fruits of our labors. And labor itself. After all, a lot of folks in Bay country work three jobs, too.
More Fishing Fee Flap: Virginians Trump Maryland
John Deering, who used to be mad as heck, is smiling this week. But his place on anger street isn't empty.
Deering -- who splits his living between Virginia and Shady Side and his work between the State Department and charter captaining -- is waiting for the check in the mail. When it arrives, he'll be $350 richer. Until then, the righteousness of his cause is sweet as money in the bank.
It was, after all, a matter of principle. Doesn't Chesapeake Bay water belong to Virginia and Maryland equally?
The equality of both states upon Chesapeake Bay is the principle Deering stood on when, suddenly this summer, Maryland Department of Natural Resources upped Deering's $100 charter fishing license fee by $350.
Virginians who fish here for a profit, our state had decided, shouldn't get free what Marylanders pay for. So last year, according to DNR's fisheries director for legislation, fisheries management and regulations Howard King, the General Assembly decided out-of-staters should pay a "non-resident surcharge to pay their fair share of services Maryland provides and residents have already paid for, such as water quality protection, dredging and habitat improvement."
Somehow, that nice edifice of logic tumbled last week after Deering assaulted it with a stink bomb of outraged letters. Now Maryland's fishing rulemakers have decreed that, at least for this year, charter captains like Deering were not intended to be taxed under the rule raising the cost of out-of-state commercial fishing licenses.
In making this week's reversal, Maryland followed the dictates of custom and prudence. "We wanted to work with Virginia and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission to have a licensing system in the best interest of both states," King told NBT.
Were they deluged by complaints? No, said King, but had "even one legitimate complaint raised an issue of something that needed correction, we would have done it."
So Deering is smiling. "I haven't got my check back yet," said the happy man. "But I got my Maryland license today; it says paid, $100.
Virginia, meanwhile, is mad as heck.
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission, taking up the matter at a meeting last week, recommended a $350 license fee for Maryland charter captains fishing in Virginia waters.
"Though the final decision has not been made, the commission approved advertising proposals to require charter and head boat operators who are non-residents to purchase a non-resident's harvester license at $350," said Jack Travelstead, Virginia's chief of fisheries management
In addition, Virginia is considering capping its presently unlimited charter and headboat licenses at the number issued in 1999, the first year the fee hike would go into effect.
Both proposals will be voted on at the Virginia commission's September 22 meeting.
Was their action retaliatory, we wondered.
No, said Travelstead. But, he added, "There was certainly disgruntlement expressed by several members of the public who the commission heard. The disparity was brought to our attention by actions Maryland took."
Now that Maryland has retreated from the surcharge fray, what will Virginia do?
That we'll find out next month.
Meanwhile, federalist Deering had his cake and ate it too.
"Pretty quick work for two state governments," said he.
First Person Report: Bonnie Blows By
Kehne meets Bonnie, below.
On a dark and stormy August night, thousands of families of Ocean City vacationers huddled around the television for the latest weather report. The news was troubling but not grim: Bonnie seemed more likely to spoil a vacation than to devastate Maryland as she had the beaches of North Carolina and Virginia.
But you never know with hurricanes, and Bonnie was that twice over.
By Thursday, August 27, she was again wavering between tropical storm and hurricane as she churning northward not far off the coast. At the very least, generous helpings of wind and rain would last until the weekend.
Vacationers talked of heading home. Others, convinced they'd be spending the last days of their vacation indoors, sorted through board games, bestsellers and bags of goodies.
"Hey, I get to ruin my own vacation," commented one who had just heard the news.
As Thursday merged with Friday, Hurricane Bonnie churned by some 100 miles off the Ocean City beaches.
Whitecaps, illuminated by city lights, revealed wave after wave of angry water. The surf thundered in, blowing off blankets of froth. Winds buffeted the dunes. Inside an unair-conditioned beach house where one family vacationed, curtains whipped higher and higher, clinging to the ceiling as if nailed in place by the wind. Rain sprayed through open windows.
At the storm's peak, around 2pm Friday, wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour buffeted the beaches, blowing sand in stinging waves against beachcombers' legs. Dark clouds, steady rain and intermittent downpours kept most people inside. By midnight, most businesses on the boardwalk had closed - early for a Friday night.
In the end, Bonnie told a thrilling - but not terrifying - tale.
"It caused some anxiety, but that's about it," said Buzzy Bayles, assistant coordinator of Emergency Management for the town of Ocean City. "We had a little bit of rain, a little bit of wind, but no damage. No power lines down, no power outages. There was some water in the streets down south at high tides, but that's normal."
Bonnie moved on in less than 24 hours, having done little more than wet down the coast with two inches of rain.
Saturday morning, the skies were clearing, the surf had eased back into an easy rhythm and sunbathers were heading out to the beach.
So Ocean City was spared - this time.
"One of these days it's going to be our turn," Bayles said, invoking Gloria, in 1985, and the big storm of '33 that opened a sea channel in what had been a solid barrier island. "Hopefully, not too soon, though."
Meanwhile, out at sea, Earl is growing.
Way Downstream ...
In Virginia, the first big marina to be built in the Washington metropolitan area in 15 years will be located on the Virginia shore of the Potomac River across a tidal bay from the Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge. The developer, Preston Caruthers, who was able to beat back opposition from local citizens and government agencies, sees the marina as the center of a 325-acre development with businesses and residential development ...
A Delaware Bay study about fish had some good news and some bad. The good news is that new curbs on toxic discharges apparently are behind the rebound of several species, among them rockfish, croaker and the American shad. The bad news, according to the Delaware River Basin Commission study, is that there is still so much mercury, PCBs and other chemicals remaining that many people must watch what they eat ...
In Washington, D.C, the splashing over jet-skis is getting louder. The National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Personal Watercraft Industry recently invited congressional staff to roar up the Potomac River in wave-runners in a drive to cultivate their support. And this week, an alliance of heavyweight environmental advocates began a campaign of their own focusing on the pollution from personal watercraft ...
In England, they call him "Eco Boy." His name is Mathew Williams and he's described as a long-haired 11-year-old who neither reads nor writes, possibly because he lives with his mother in a tree house. She's among protesters in the town of Epsom angry about development of three acres ....
Our Creature Feature this week comes to us from China, where the population of giant pandas continues to dwindle. Researchers estimate that there may be fewer than 1,000 pandas left in the Chinese wilderness, along with another 125 or so in captivity.
Nonetheless, American zoos can borrow pandas once more now that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has lifted a five-year ban on their importation. But there's a catch: Under the new rules imposed last week, zoos bringing in pandas not only must agree to protect the pandas from visitors but also must conduct research aimed at helping pandas survive in China.
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Volume VI Number 35
September 3-9, 1998
New Bay Times
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