Seeing red: Who wants to curb hostility?

March 02, 2000

Gee. Who ever would have predicted that Larry Vaughn and Wally McClure, the Lucy and Ricky Ricardo of Hagerstown city politics, would come to blows? Bet you didn't see that coming.

Former council member Vaughn says current council member McClure has some 'splainin' to do over his stance on perhaps the most crucial problem to face the City of Hagerstown so far this millennium: red curbsides.

Larry suspects Wally is soft on the Red Menace and would paint over these curbs to allow for more parking. This would be bad for fire trucks, somehow.

Wally says he fielded a request for an increased number of parking spaces in the West End, but after riding around the neighborhood in a fire truck he became convinced that the streets were too narrow for a row of parked cars.


OK, in review: Larry wants to keep the red curbsides. Wally wants to keep the red curbsides.

This agreement has touched off a feud that has escalated with each passing day.

Now I know what you're thinking and let me stop you right there before you say something that will demonstrate your ignorance of the situation.

Remember, the Red Curb Caper is occurring in the West End, which sees itself as Hagerstown's Masada, the last bastion against the creeping loonism that has engulfed the rest of the city. Therefore, political statements are greeted, as they should be, with suspicion.

So when Wally says he doesn't want to paint over the curbs, maybe that means ... he does. And Wally is a man of action.

True story: My own neighborhood had a parking problem and a resident mentioned this to Wally, and he agreed to look into it for her. He visited the neighborhood personally and within a week there were five new streetside spaces. You can't get that kind of service at JiffyLube.

So Larry attended a City Council meeting, where he aggressively chastised Wally for even thinking about painting the curbs and then chastised Councilman Al Boyer, who, during the council's opening prayer, publicly called on Christ to step in and arbitrate the dispute.

Good for Larry. Settling this dispute in a fair and adult manner is in no one's best interest, particularly mine. I'm rooting for the loudest, most childish public meltdown imaginable.

Which could very well happen. Last week Wally sent Larry a registered letter, contents unknown. Not even by Larry, who refused to accept the letter. He did want to know what it said, however, to which Wally responded that if he wants to know what's in it, all he has to do is open it.

I can relate to this, because it happened to a couple of friends of mine, Tara and Becky in Miss Keiter's second-grade homeroom. See, Becky was in love with Tommy, and she found out that Tara had sent a note to Jimmy asking who Tommy liked better, but Jimmy liked Tara, so he didn't want to answer Becky unless he could find out - well, you get the idea.

As a citizenry, I believe our next step is to march with our pitchforks up to Larry's house and demand that he open the letter. I think we have a right to know what it says.

Gosh, I sincerely hope it's not an apology. I don't want any settlement to the Hatclures and the McVaughns. Matter of fact, I'm mightily tempted to host a "Guess the Contents of Wally's Letter" contest. What did the letter say?

"Death to West End undershirt swappers?"

"Pipe down or the next thing I paint won't be your curb?"

Who knows?

But jot those guesses down on a postcard; the winners get a free curb-painting.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist

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