Annapolis Notes

Art Callaham has no kind words for Board of Education office

Art Callaham has no kind words for Board of Education office

January 30, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

There was no word mincing last week in Annapolis when Art Callaham talked about the Washington County Board of Education's office.

During a meeting about incentives for reusing vacant buildings, Callaham brought up local examples, such as the former Allegheny Energy headquarters at Friendship Technology Park.

That building has been mentioned as a new home for the school board's office.

Or as Callaham, the executive director of the Greater Hagerstown Committee, referred to the current home, on Commonwealth Avenue: "the slum - I mean warehouse - I mean administrative office ..."

"I don't know how we ever hire a teacher," he added, referring to the first impression that prospective employees get when they see the building.


For emphasis, he quipped, "B.F. Skinner did his work with the rats in that building."

Callaham's wife, Ruth Anne, a Washington County school board member, sat in on the meeting, but didn't add any comments about the board office.

Afterward, Art Callaham clarified that his "rat maze" reference was aimed at the building and wasn't a commentary on the people who work inside.

A lobbyist in the penthouse

The Annapolis lobbyist representing a Washington County legislative coalition is close to the top of a new "most compensated" list.

Michael V. Johansen received $830,276 from clients for the period covering Nov. 1, 2006, to Oct. 31, 2007, according to State Ethics Commission records.

Johansen's total is third on the list.

The highest amount was $1,151,314.47, taken in by lobbyist Gary R. Alexander.

Second was Joel D. Rozner, who also is with Johansen's firm, Rifkin, Livingston, Levitan & Silver LLC. His total was $972,017.

The local legislative coalition that Johansen represents is made up of government bodies and business-related organizations.

His dozens of other clients include Maryland Pawnbrokers Association, Waste Management of Maryland, the city of Gaithersburg, Md., National Elevator Industry and Coalition to Save Maryland's Arcades.

Not your average bill, part III

The text of House Bill 320 reminds us that people need to be told exactly what they can and cannot do, just to be sure nothing unseemly breaks out, at any time.

Here is most of what you're not allowed to do in Maryland on public transportation or at a public transit facility:

(1) Expectorate (that's "spit" to the rest of us)

(2) Smoke or carry a lighted or smoldering pipe, cigar or cigarette

(3) Consume food or drink, or carry any open food or beverage container

(4) Discard litter, except into receptacles designated for that purpose

(5) Play or operate any radio, cassette, cartridge, tape player, or similar electronic device or musical instruments, unless such device is connected to an earphone that limits the sound to the hearing of the individual user

(6) Carry or possess any explosives, acids, concealed weapons or other dangerous articles

(7) Carry or possess any live animals, except seeing-eye animals and hearing-ear animals properly harnessed and accompanied by a blind person or a deaf person, and small animals properly packaged

(10) Urinate or defecate, except in restrooms

(12) Fail to vacate a seat designated for the elderly or handicapped when requested to do so by the transit vehicle operator, train conductor or a police officer

To do otherwise, we are told, is a misdemeanor and carries a fine of up to $500.

Holy (nasty word we'd rather not print)!

What's left?

Uh oh. In HB 320, Del. Melvin L. Stukes, D-Baltimore City, proposes adding one more action to the banned list:

(14) Use obscene language

And just how are we supposed to express ourselves when the bus runs late?

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