An Orientation Getaway

While there will be only two new faces on the Prince George's County Council, eight members -- old and newly elected -- journeyed to picturesque Solomons last week for a two-day, overnight post-election "orientation" session.

The agenda in this Southern Maryland maritime town 40 miles from the Prince George's county seat of Upper Marlboro included such dry subjects as transportation, public facilities, county business climate, the budget, county planning and zoning and water and sewer issues.

Council spokesman Don Hirzel said the session was held in Solomons "to get away from this environment, the telephones, the interruptions."

The two new council members are James C. Fletcher Jr., former mayor of Glenarden, and Stephen J. Del Giudice, the mayor of Takoma Park who mounted what apparently was Maryland's first winning write-in bid for state or county office.

Only council member -- and maverick -- Sue V. Mills stayed away. "I didn't know anything about it until this morning," she said the first day of the session. "There is no need. That's why I don't go to those things. . . . . I don't know about them, but I've got office work to do."

Four staff members also stayed overnight. The total cost to the taxpayers: $1,200.

The last council orientation, in what were perhaps less austere times, was held in tony St. Michaels on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Del Giudice Camp in the News

Speaking of Del Giudice, 300 poll workers for the write-in candidate received an Election Day newspaper delivered by runners to precincts around the inside-the-Beltway second councilmanic district.

In the noon report, one of two published, workers were instructed to stop handing out the scarce stamp pads with the candidate's name, and to hand out only embossed campaign pencils instead. The poll workers were further directed to "Politely request the pencils back after the person votes. If the voter wants to keep it for history -- let it go."


With the line for write-ins appearing at the top of the ballot of all the other races, poll workers were told, "TONIGHT: Tell voters to 'look up!' "

A total of 19,000 "Official Democratic Write-in Instructions" were printed for distribution, the newspaper said.

In the "Things You Should Have Seen" column: "Steve Del Diudice mistaken by a senior citizen for ABC television character "Doogie Howser" at St. John's polling place in Chillum.

Let's hope voters didn't write in "Howser."