State Journal: Strictly county; Record of the bizarre

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In an unusual show of state power, Gov. William Donald Schaefer of Maryland and several state lawmakers have gotten involved in a dispute over the location of a high school.

The debate focused on the future of Blair High School, an aging facility located in an older part of the fast-growing, affluent Washington suburb of Montgomery County.

At the behest of a state delegate who wanted a new school built in his district, state leaders reportedly lobbied a Montgomery County councilman, William E. Hanna, who was a swing vote on whether to renovate or relocate the Silver Spring school.

Mr. Hanna is said to have complained of being pressured to vote for the school's relocation in exchange for gubernatorial support of a mall project in nearby Rockville.

The lobbying effort apparently backfired, however, when the county council voted last week to rebuild the school on the same site.

Those who supported renovation said they felt railroaded by state politicians with no business involving themselves in local issues.

Moreover, at least one state lawmaker has expressed concern about his colleagues' involvement in the matter.

"There is absolutely no reason for a delegate to bring a council member down here to get involved in something that is strictly a county issue,'' said Del. Michael R. Gordon.

A bill encouraging schools to make available copies of important documents from U.S. history to students does not seem very controversial. But such a measure recently fell victim to a veto by Arkansas's new Governor, Jim Guy Tucker.

Mr. Tucker, who moved up from the lieutenant governorship following Bill Clinton's election to the Presidency, said he vetoed the measure because the documents covered included the Congressional Record.

"Having served in the United States Congress, I am aware of the diverse nature of the items inserted in this Record,'' said Mr. Tucker, who was a member of the House of Representatives from 1977 to 1979.

"These include bizarre polemics on religious and political positions, as well as excerpts from other documents, that Arkansas parents would be startled and appalled to have foisted upon their children--particularly in the lower grades,'' the Governor warned.

The sponsor of the measure later told a reporter that he had meant to focus on such documents as the Declaration of Independence and the Mayflower Compact, and would have deleted the Record if he had known it would result in a veto.--J.P. & H.D.

Vol. 12, Issue 30

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