Are you ready for Myers - Bowers I, the Scorcher in the Orchard?

March 16, 1998

Tim RowlandAre you ready for Myers - Bowers I, the Scorcher in the Orchard?

And now in a no-holds-barred tag team steel cage grudge match, United Sports Features of Las Vegas asks, "are you ready to rumble?"

Huh? No, I'm not talking about WWF, I'm talking about WWIII, the planned debate in Smithsburg between Mayor Mickey Myers and former Police Chief Tommy Bowers.

The Scorcher in the Orchard. Sergeant Slaughter meets the Marauding Mayor. I just hope no one's allowed to introduce a foreign object.


Myers-Bowers I. Man, Smithsburg hasn't given us this much entertainment since last year's dueling fruitstands.

If I'm the town council, I charge $10 admission, which by my calculations ought to add up to about a $1 million endowment fund for municipal improvements.

The background on this is that last year Myers and the council fired Bowers as the town's police chief, at first giving no reason and later giving lots of reasons, which portrayed Bowers sort of like a McCloudesque character who despised paperwork, taking orders and performing his duties by the book.

Bowers said the council never told him it wanted a secretary and filed suit against the town for wrongful dismissal. Not satisfied with that, he recently tossed his hat into the ring for this year's mayoral race against Myers, who is running for re-election.

Which begs the question, if Bowers wins the race for mayor and then wins his lawsuit appeal, does he have to pay damages to himself?

Why Myers, Bowers or anyone else would want to be mayor of a small town is something I'll never understand. It's like standing up and saying "Why yes, I'd like to be the one everybody calls at three in the morning when their sewer backs up."

So it's good that two people have such civic interest. That it also borders on civil unrest is just so much cream on the peaches.

To say the issue has divided the town is like saying that the antlerless deer season has divided hunters and whitetails.

I don't think there should be a vote. The town should just form two opposing gangs and fight it out in the street like the Sharks and the Jets in "West Side Story."

Myers says she wants the debate to include all issues pertinent to Smithsburg, including the firing of Bowers. Bowers says that's fine with him, so long as his lawyer says it's OK.

Of course his lawyer would look pretty doggone stupid if he says it's not, because one of the early complaints was that the town wasn't releasing enough information about the dismissal.

But then looking stupid is not a complication that ever seems to much bother an attorney.

If they can't talk about the dismissal, there go ticket sales right down the drain. This would have all the appeal of President Clinton debating Kenneth Starr, but strictly on the role of NATO in post-unification Europe.

Basically the question everyone wants answered is: "Did the council fire Bowers because he failed to alphabetize his Rolodex and kept the paperclips in the wrong cubbyhole of the pencil drawer, or was there something else going on?"

An equally compelling question is who they're going to get to moderate the affair. Let me suggest the Martinsburg 167th Air National Guard. I mean, nothing against the League of Women Voters, but if you have Aunt Bea up at the rostrum trying to preserve law and order there could be trouble.

Actually I'm less worried about Bowers and Myers than I am about the audience. We better pray for fixed seating - no folding metal chairs. And they better set up an egg-and-tomato detector at the door.

After all, this isn't some raucous, dirty, hateful, sleazy, back-biting, debauched, embarrassing free-for-all - this is politics.

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