Love conquered all last week -- even maverick state Del. Herb McMillan, the newly elected Republican who sued to regain GOP control of the Anne Arundel legislative delegation.

The defendant, Anne Arundel delegation chairman Mary Ann Love (D), stood accused of calling a meeting to amend the committee's bylaws to allow three Democratic delegates -- Barbara A. Frush, Pauline H. Menes and Brian R. Moe, whose district lies mostly in Prince George's County -- to have one full vote apiece where before they had had only one vote combined.

The result, naturally, was to preserve an 8 to 7 Democratic majority on the delegation, when under the old rules the Republicans would have had a 7 to 6 majority of their own.

McMillan and his freshman colleague Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel) protested the decision, saying it gave the three Prince George's delegates -- who represent only 24,000 Anne Arundel residents total -- a disproportionate share of the power on the delegation that influences which local bills make it to the House floor.

But the case of McMillan v. Love was, alas, not meant to be.

Seconds after the two sides finished their arguments, Anne Arundel Circuit Court Judge Joseph P. Manck dismissed the suit, saying that the "one person, one vote" principle did not apply to county delegations.

"I'm very discouraged with the decision of the court," said Dwyer, who added that the system had "failed the citizens of Anne Arundel County." He said Tuesday that he is still deciding whether to take a new argument to court.

Meanwhile, Love was re-elected Monday to her post as delegation chairman.

Computers for City Police Cars

Annapolis police officers will soon be taking their investigative powers to the next level with the installation of computers in 20 of their patrol cars, allowing them to run checks on drivers.

The computers, which should be in use in about a month, will allow officers to make their own checks rather than rely on dispatchers in the office to do the research. Sgt. Brian Della said the 15-inch screens, which will be mounted to the dashboard, and the keyboards, which will be on the center console, will greatly increase efficiency -- particularly during shifts when there are 15 to 20 officers on duty but only two or three dispatchers.

If all officers call in at the same time, Della notes, "that's quite a backlog."

The computers in the cars "eliminates the middle man," he said.

In fact, they're deemed such a hot idea that everyone wants one, Della says, but not everyone will be able to get one.

So far, costs for the new program have run about $300,000, said Capt. Gary Simpson, but those costs will grow as the five-year program expands to include as many as 40 computers.

New Proposal for Ferndale School

The controversy over what to do with Ferndale Elementary continues.

Last week, the county Board of Education voted to hold a public briefing and hearing on a proposal by School Superintendent Eric J. Smith.

Smith wants to close Ferndale as a K-5 school and turn it into a regional early childhood center. Under the proposal, students assigned to Ferndale would go to George Cromwell Elementary School, and students from Cromwell and Hilltop Elementary would be sent to the early childhood center.

The changes would be phased in from fall 2003 to April 2004.

For years, the Ferndale school has been the subject of emotional debate, with some community members adamant about keeping the school open and others determined to see the dilapidated building closed down.

Schools spokesman Jane Beckett-Donohue said Smith's quick and decisive action on the controversial issue has been refreshing.

"It says that he is a man who moves on his decisions," Beckett-Donohue said.

The public briefing and hearing on the Ferndale proposal will be scheduled for late February or early March, she said.

Liz Wagner, one of several parents who have lobbied to keep the school open, said she likes Smith's proposal much more than options presented in the past.

"I know that this community school has pride, has value to the community," said Wagner, who is also co-vice president of Ferndale's PTA. "He gave us hope in that we won't lose that community school."

Staff writer Vikki Ortiz contributed to this report.