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Election is no time for good government

May 21, 1997

It's Tuesday morning and I'm about to go out and vote. But this time it's because I want to vote, not because some do-good, democracy apologist, feel-happy community group has shamed me into it.

I had a nice chat with Hagerstown mayoral candidate Bob Bruchey last week - he seemed pretty nice and reasonable and all in all it was a pretty routine political interview.

But as I was leaving, a cold chill went down my spine. What if he, heaven forbid, wins?

Not to make it appear that I'm too wrapped up in Numero Uno here, but I've been punching my lunch ticket on Mayor Steven T. Sager for the past three years. If he's out of a job, I'm out half my material.

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Oh sure, there's always the chance that Mr. Bruchey could get into office, totally erupt and provide a rich, mother lode of material for the coming four years.

But right now, sitting where I'm sitting, I just don't feel like I can take that chance. I mean a lot of people who went to the Yukon seeking certain fortune came home bitterly disappointed.

After all, how many people could be counted on to accept a $500 campaign contribution from their chief antagonist, as Steve Sager did with downtown vacancylord Vincent Groh?

Ole Vince sure knows on which side his bread is buttered, no? I used to take a dim view of Mr. Groh, and I still believe his decaying properties are the greatest obstacle to downtown revitalization. But my oh my, you have to admire Vincent for the way he plays City Hall like a flute.

Of course he wants Mayor Sager re-elected. Because he's exactly like me - he needs Sager. Without Sager there's no more taxpayer-funded building renewal program.

So basically the election boiled down to choosing from these two alternatives.

Sager: Let the mostly low- to middle-income city taxpayers spend their hard-earned dollars in the name of downtown rehab.

Bruchey: If private enterprise can't get the job done, let downtown cave in.

I'll tell you who else I'm going to vote for, and that's Susan "The Check's In the Mail" Saum-Wicklein. Because I identify heavily with her.

She has problems with the state tax department. I have problems with the state tax department. She has problems with banks. I have problems with banks.

I feel she represents me.

As a matter of fact, you could throw in the health insurance industry to make a trifecta and jettison the whole wad into outer space and we'd all be the better for it. No candidate who has a bias against tax offices and financial institutions is going to lose my vote.

I think I'm going to vote for Larry Vaughn, too, because I like his haircut.

And I'm going to write in the name of Mark Jameson. Why do the good die young? Why do the decent politicians retire too soon?

Then I'm going to vote for Ellen Sauerbrey, because I liked what she had to say at her campaign speech at Richardson's. What was it? "Maryland, Be All You Can Be" or "Maryland, We're Looking For A Few Good Men," or some such.

The Governorship: It's not just a job, it's an adventure.

Wait, did someone say governorship? Isn't that? Yes, that's what I thought - two years away.

What ever happened to the peaceful, non-electoral off-season? Political turmoil here, political turmoil there, turmoil yesterday, turmoil tomorrow.

That's it, I need some peace.

I'm moving to Keedysville.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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