During the recent gubernatorial campaign, an Eastern Shore newspaper conducted a survey of the candidates, asking such questions as "What is your favorite drink? Favorite TV show? Favorite actor? Favorite actress?"
Gov. Harry Hughes, after learning that Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein had answered "milk" as his favorite drink, picked "water" as his. He also listed "Hughes commercials" as his favorite television show and chose Katherine Hepburn as his favorite actress.
After the election, Hughes received a note in the mail from the newspaper's publisher. In it was a letter the publisher felt compelled to forward to the governor. It read: "Good for Harry Hughes . . . . signed Katherine Hepburn."
The normally low-key Hughes was thrilled with the note, which was on Hepburn's personal stationery, and did not disagree when someone said to him that receiving a note from Hepburn was far more impressive than defeating Republican opponent Robert A. Pascal.
Benjamin L. Cardin, speaker of the House of Delegates, often is kidded by members of his leadership about the way he dominates the running of the House and, more specifically, the leadership.
After last year's General Assembly session, Del. Thomas B. Kernan (D-Baltimore County) said: "After all the things Ben made me vote for this session I'm not sure I can vote for me." Kernan survived his own opposition to win reelection and will be speaker pro-tem.
More on Cardin's leadership: During the recent orientation session for the 51 rookie delegates, one of them asked Del. Gerard F. Devlin (D-Prince George's), a member of the leadership, the best way to deal with Cardin and his leaders.
"Easy," Devlin answered: "Do what you're told."
Cardin and Majority Leader Donald B. Robertson also are known for being extremely precise. How precise? During the orientation, they planted questions with veteran delegates during a session on the House floor.
This led to the rather amusing sight of 12-year House member Helen L. Koss (D-Montgomery County) rising to ask in a genuinely quizzical tone, "Mr. Speaker, could you explain to us which doors are open and which are closed while the house is in session?"
Undoubtedly, the question had been bothering Koss for years.
Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer made a pilgrimage to Montgomery County last week to meet with six legislators from the 17th and 20th legislative districts over lunch. Just an informal get-together, Schaefer told the legislators.
Informally, the mayor showed up with four aides. Informally, the mayor and his aides had a Montgomery Journal reporter who wanted to sit in on the meeting kicked out by the owner of the Anchor Inn, where the meeting was held.
Informally, the mayor made sure to remind the legislators the city could have allowed Montgomery to be stripped of its one Senate chairmanship (Sen. Laurence Levitan, budget and tax) and that the longtime alliance between the city and Montgomery should continue.
What is Schaefer up to?
A decision in the Baltimore City-Somerset County school aid lawsuit--a fight over how much money wealthy counties (like Montgomery) are allowed to spend on education--is expected some time in 1983.
If the city loses, which state officials are predicting, Baltimore is going to need Montgomery's votes in the legislature all the more to ensure that it continues to receive all the state aid it believes it should get for education. Without Montgomery's votes, the city would have problems in the legislature.
Another thing: Schaefer, 61, tells people he is too old to run for governor in four years. Not everyone believes him.
During the Democratic caucus Dec. 6, when Sen. Melvin A. Steinberg (D-Baltimore County) was unofficially chosen as the new president of the Senate, Sen. Frederick C. Malkus Jr. (D-Dorchester) angrily railed against Steinberg on the floor. The speech so infuriated Steinberg that he decided to strip the 32-year Senate member of his last vestige of prestige, the largely honorary position of president pro-tem.
Malkus, 69, already had lost his committee vice chairmanship and his large office, part of the reason for his angry speech. When he learned Steinberg was planning to take the pro-tem post away, he met with him. After the meeting, Steinberg announced Malkus would retain his position.
"Mickey didn't want to seem vindictive. That's important to him," said a Steinberg aide. "But if Fred gets out of line when the session starts, he's gone."
Malkus is the dean of the Senate, once a powerful and articulate figure. But in 1966, a bloodless coup led by then-Sens. Harry Hughes, J. Joseph Curran Jr. and Harry J. McGuirk stripped Malkus of his committee chairmanship and left him a bitter outsider.
In recent years he has been known for his rambling speeches on the floor against urban interests. He shocked some observers with a letter to Steinberg in which he accused Steinberg of "doing to the rural senators what you have done to the Palestinians." Steinberg is Jewish.
Along those same lines, Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-Prince George's), Steinberg's principal lieutenant in his drive for the Senate presidency, recently received a letter accusing him of "aiding the Jewish-Zionist conspiracy" because of his efforts on Steinberg's behalf.
Said Miller: "It's just mind-boggling. As a redneck, I've never gotten one like that before."
A final Christmas note in defense of legislators who are accused of caring only about themselves. On Jan. 5, the joint legislative committee on pensions will meet in Annapolis for what will be a very long session needed to keep the state's pension system functioning smoothly in 1983.
Three members of that committee, Sen. Edward J. Mason Jr.(R-Allegany), Del. Frank C. Robey (D-Baltimore) and the chairman, Del. John R. Hargreaves (D-Caroline), are lame ducks, having lost reelection bids. Each of them goes off the state payroll on Jan. 1. Each of them will be at the meeting, unpaid.