Montgomery County's State Senate delegation, one of the more unruly collection of politicians in Annapolis, has discovered the ultimate topic for debate: Where to have breakfast once a week.
Last year, the seven-member delegation met every Wednesday morning at the posh Governor Calvert House hotel, and paid a flat $55 fee for all to enjoy coffee, juice, eggs and other breakfast fixings.
This year, the price went up to $75, which seemed reasonable enough to Sen. Sidney Kramer, the delegation chairman and its breakfast baron.
Two weeks ago, however, 13 persons attended the delegation breakfast and the Calvert House sent Kramer a $94 bill. Kramer, showing his fiscal-conservative colors, decreed that his delegation would take its breakfast business elsewhere.
But things are rarely simple with Montgomery's senators. Last week, the delegation met at Chick and Ruth's, a Main Street delicatessen that Kramer frequents for lunch. Unfortunately, the meeting -- in which everyone paid his or her own tab -- was held smack in the path of busboys and waitresses and within earshot of some noisy refrigerators.
"You'd be trying to make a point about something, and the waiter would come up and yell, 'Who's got the bagel with cream cheese?' " said one senator. "It was impossible."
Yesterday, the delegation moved its breakfast to a third location: a reception room in the Senate Office Building. Guests report the menu, at $3 a head, included white toast, coffee, a few jelly doughnuts -- and enough silence to get some work done.