TENANTS DON'T VOTE WITH THEIR FEET - The two-year experiment of taxing apartment dwellers in Prince George's County apparently has not driven tenants out of the county, according to statistics compiled by the county's landlord-tenant commission.
County Executive Winfield Kelly said his much-criticized tenant tax "has not been a serious deterrent" to landlords, a fact that apparently bolsters Kelly's belief that he can impose a tier tax (higher for apartment owners than single family home owners) without setting off an exodus.
Kelly told members of the county's legislative delegation that the apartment vacancy rate in Price George's is about that of the national average (6.5 per cent) and not appreciably higher than the Washington metro area average of 5.5 per cent. In fast, the October vacancy rate in the county was down to 4.5 per cent, Kelly said.
JOHN HANSON LIVES - During the hotly debated tier tax discussion, State Sen. Peter A. Bozick of Camp Springs suggested one solution would be to split the sprawling county in half, with the new jurisdiction to be called John Hanson County. "Many of us up north would favor that," answered State Sen. Meyer M. Emanuel Jr. of Hyattsville.
TIER TARGETS - While Kelly's tier tax is aimed at apartment dwellers, the first tier taxes in America were aimed at more powerful interest. Royal Hart, the county's liaison with the legislature, studied tier taxes and found the first one, adopted by Montana in 1913, affected the railroads. Then Minnestoa went after the ore producers in the Mesabe Range, and the idea spread to several other states, mostly in the west and south. A more recent plan was adopted by Cook County (Chicago), under a local option law adopted by the Illinois legislature.
THAT WAS NO WOMAN, THAT WAS MY DELEGATE - Judith Toth, the tall, attractive Democratic delegate from Cabin John, was quoted in The Washington Star as saying that post-session drinking in Annapolis sometimes leads to rowdy behavior and, "there's nothing I hate worse than being pawed by these guys." The next day, sources overhear, Ms. Toth got calls form wives of four members of her Montgomery delegation, saying, "Is that my husband doing the pawing?" Deponeth sayeth not.
Speaking of The Star, it won the honor of being the first publication denounced from the Senate floor this session. Sen. Laurence levitan of Potomac, in remarks Monday night, took offense at an editorial that rediculed his proposal to require placards be placed on all cash registers warning would-be gun persons that conviction of carrying a hand gun means five years in prison in the state. He said he got the idea in South Carolina. Another member of Levitan's delegation, apparently siding with the newspaper, suggested the bill should be viewed as a consumer protection measure, saying, "Nothing slows down the check out line at 7-Eleven like a holdup."
MR. CLEAN GOES TO BALTIMORE - Lt. Gov. Blair Lee III, whose reputation for honesty is unchallenged, admits that he wouldn't reject help from Mandel pal Irvin Kovens if it where offered.
"Some people saying he's going to Schaeffer (the Baltimore mayor)M some say he's going to Venetoulis (the county executive) and some say he's going to jail," cracked Lee. "I'd just like to know where I stand (with Kovens). He's a valuable guy. he knows which of those political clubs in Baltimore are real, and which are paper organizations." Kovens also knows where the money is, and how to get it, and Lee admits he wouldn't turn his back on that kind of support.
AND HIS NEPHEW TAKES A WALK - Just before the Montgomery delegation voted Monday night on a proposal to elect members of the county Democratic central committee from districts, Delegate David Scull left the room. With Scull absent and Delegate Lucy Maurer absent (out-of-state), the recommendation to give the proposal an unfavorable vote failed 8-9, and likewise, a motion to give it a favorable report fell short 9-8.
Although some spectators who favored the idea thought Scull might have pulled the legislative disappearing act known as "taking a walk," the boyish, curly-haired Scull explained later than he had gone to the county's Senate delegation to speak in support of one of his bills. He said he'll cast a favorable vote the next time the proposal comes up, if he can add an amendment to elect some members from districts and other at-large.
BUT MAMA TAKES A STAND - Montgomery Council member Elizabeth Scull, the delegate's mother and sister of the lieutenant governor, sent a letter to Montgomery Delegation Chairman Donald B. Robertson, urging "most strongly" that the central committe all be elcted county-wide. Election by distict, Mrs. Scull wrote, might lead to "a political balkanizing . . . that will not be conducive to responsible action on county-side issues."
LAST ONE OUT LOCK THE DOOR - One of the popular programs scheduled to be affected by the financial squeeze in Prince George's County, as proposed by County Executive Winfield Kelly, is the community college. Kelly told the county's legislative delegation it might be necessary to limit future enrollment to 8,400 students, and cut the institution's budget by $70,000.
Del. Frank B. Pesci Jr., who also teaches at the college, chided Kelly, saying, "it's interesting now that you and your administrative assistant and your children have taken advantage of the school," that the executive chooses the college for a budget cut.
WHERE THEY ARE NOW - Bill Sher, former Montgomery County council president, and unsuccessful primary candidate for the democratic nomination for county executive in 1974, is happily toiling away in the bowels of the State House as prediliction toward philosphizing on non-governmental issues, is that he now has time to indulge seriously in hobbies. He has become a violin maker, with four new violins and one viola already completed in his home workshop. Sher also is taking lesson on his fiddles, and has "graduated from Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." And his wife, Patti, says it's the first time her husband has had a job where he gets home at regular hour. She's taking advantage of it by studying fulltime at the University of Maryland.