Republican County Executive Lawrence Hogan visited the state capital this morning for what was inteded to be a peace mission but within hours his relationship with the all-Democratic Prince George's delegation here had deteriorated into threats and name-calling.
At a closed-door breakfast meeting at the Maryland Inn, Hogan lambasted the county legislators for trying to remove some of his appointment powers and vowed that he would never consider appointment recommendations from the county's only black senator and an influential committee chairman. The black senator, Tommie Broadwater, retaliated by calling Hogan "a liar and you aint's---."
Hogan, who in recent weeks had been criticized by the Democratic delegates and senators for rarely keeping in touch with them during the legislative session, set up the breakfast as an attempt at fence-mending.
he opened the meeting by explaining he has been too busy to stay in constant touch with them, but praised the legislators for the "great job" they had done in getting state money returned to the county.
Then, before saying anything about his proposed 1980 budget that the group expected him to discuss. Hogan blasted the legislators for pushing a bil that would strip him of his power to appoint members of the zoning board of appeals. Hogan called the measure a "ripper bill"-a partisan-motivated attempt to transfer power from a republican county executive to a Democratic County Council.
"He's talking about the damn ripper bill and we're all sitting there with the budget in front of us," recalled Del. Kay Bienen. "Everylbody is sitting there getting more and more aggravated."
Bienen said Hogan went on and on about his opposition to the bill until about a half-hour before the delegates had to leave for the 10 a.m. House session.
Finally Robert Duncan, a county budget officer Hogan had brought along, started reading parts of the budget from the same piece of paper that had been distributed to all the legislators. One exasperated delegate was upset by this, saying: "I can read numbers, too. I would have liked to have asked questions."
Near the end of the breakfast session, after many of the delegates had left for the State House, Broadwater got up and asked a question that sparked the bitter fight with Hogan.
"Mr. Hogan," said Broadwater, "I understand that you've said you will not consider appointments recommended by me and Fred Rummage (the chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee) and Charles Blumenthal. Is that true?"
"Well, it's two-thirds right," answered Hogan, explaining that he only felt that way about Broadwater and Rummage, not Blumenthal.
Hogan said that he would not deal with Broadwater because, according to the county executive, the black senator had called him "insensitive to the poor" and a "racist."
Broadwater acknowledged that he had called Hogan "insensitive to the poor" recently when the county executive attempted to close down several deteriorating low-income housing projects in the county and thus displace scores of poor tenants.
"And as far as calling him a racist," Broadwater recalled after the breakfast meeting, "I told him I didn't have to call him that. That'll come out anyway in due time."
Hogan and Broadwater then got into an argumentt about Baber Village, a controversial housing project in the senator's district that has been the subject of a protracted fight over whether it should be torn down. When Hogan accused Broadwater of talking out of both sides of his mouth on the issue, Broadwater shouted: I'll tell your to your face you're a liar and you ain't s..."
As Broadwater was leaving the meeting, Hogan shouted out: "If you don't get those code violations fixed on that house in Brentwood, I'll get a warrant out for you."
Broadwater recently was cited by county inspectors for five code violations on a house he owns at 4502 Banner St. in Brentwood. He says that he spent $30,000 fixing the house up, but that a fire destroyed much of the second floor. The inspectors came after the fire and cited Broadwater for not having a smoke detector, leaving old boiler material in the basement and not having weather-proofing on the basement exit door.
"I'm glad you said that," Broadwayter shouted back when he heard Hogan mention the code violations. "So you're the one who sent those inspectors out there."
Hogan's confrontation with Rummage was somewhat milder. "I can't say Tommie was wrong for using language like that," the delegate said later. "But I didn't use it myself."
According to Hogan, Rummage crossed him several years ago by steering a resolution through the legislature that criticized Hogan, then a U.S. congressman, for quietly opposing federal impact aid to counties, such as Prince George's, that have government installations.
Hogan said he always voted for impact aid, and that waht Rummage had done was malicious. Rummage still insists that Hogan, while voting for the impact aid on the House floor, worked against it in committee.
Back in Upper Marlboro this afternoon, Hogan summarized his differences with Broadwater and Rummage by saying: "Cooperation is a two-way street. I just don't have any respect for those guys. Anybody who doesn't treat me fair, I'm not going to treat them fair."