Port of Call

The idea of making the port of Baltimore independent should get some more traction now that former Republican congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley has made that recommendation. As a lefty, I get hives whenever someone brings up privatization, but this proposal makes some sense. "The port is a business and needs to be administered as such," Bentley told the state Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, according to Michael Dresser's Sun story. Ugh, those words make me shudder. "The gummint needs'a be run like a bidness," says every small-town used-car salesman Republican running for Congress or whatever. But the 81-year-old matriarch of Maryland Republicans has a point. The port is in the business of making money through, well, business, while the DOT, which now oversees the port, paves roads and shit, and makes its money through, well, socialistic programs like toll roads and ferry fees. Also my favorite Free State elephant, DOT Secretary Robert Flanagan, is for keeping the port under him. So I gotta root for independence.

Anyway, further down in the story, the dueling form-letter campaigns--port customers criticizing Flanagan and port executive director James White's resignation/push out, then other port customers praising Flanagan's much-criticized port marketing-department hires (one of them a Repub. hack whose experience is as a former pro figure skater)--is just silly and slimy. Stop it.

Missed It: James White, who resigned his post as director of the port last month, and started this whole mess, has found a new job at Weehawken, N.J.-based Ceres Terminals.

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