Saturday, April 9, 2011

Checking In With Two Old Friends

Well, your humble narrator is back. Sorry for the delay in posting, but I recently started a new job which has taken up a fair amount of my creative energies. I try to keep my blogging and current professional lives separate, so I will just say I’m working someplace I’m very happy to be – and am proud to have gotten there on my own.

That said, I thought I would check in on two individuals who have been steady fodder for this blog in the past.

The first, Tony Campbell, is the chairman of the Baltimore County GOP Central Committee. As you may remember, he had a few controversies pop up shortly after he assumed his new duties last December. But since then, he’s been operating largely off the radar screen – just as a good party chairman should (Michael Steele, call your office).

His name came up recently, however, when someone shared with me an email he sent to GOP elected officials in Baltimore County, including members of the legislative delegation.

“The April Monthly meeting of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee will be held on Monday, April 11th, 2011 at the Holiday Inn Timonium, 9615 Deereco Road at 7 pm,” he helpfully reminded them. “Hope to see you there!”

I give Chairman Campbell due credit for attempting to build bridges. But, the invitation is a problematic one because it conflicts with a little something called “Sine Die” in Annapolis. Ever heard of it, Chairman Campbell? It’s the session finale of the Maryland General Assembly, and I think it’s fair to say that attendance by legislators is mandatory.

I hope Chairman Campbell continues his efforts to forge good relationships with the party’s elected officials. That said, I hope he doesn’t decide to schedule a future meeting of the Central Committee on July fourth.

The second update concerns my friend and fellow Ehrlich world veteran, Greg Massoni.

As I reported in my last blog entry, this determined Dundalkian followed former Governor Bob Ehrlich to the D. C. office of the international law firm King & Spalding. His new biography on the firm’s website identifies Massoni as a “consultant” to the firm's Government Advocacy and Public Policy Practice Group.

According to the story originally filed by the Baltimore Sun's Annie Linskey, Massoni was originally slated to join the firm's "communications shop."

But the truly interesting thing about Massoni’s bio is that it looks like whoever gussied up Paul “Of Counsel” Schurick’s own hagiographic write up took a pass at Greg’s, too.

I see two things worth questioning. The first is Massoni’s contention that he was “director” of the iconic Captain Chesapeake Show on WBFF TV while he worked there as a teenager from 1974-1980.

I grew up in Towson, and used to watch Captain Chesapeake after school almost every day. It was a cultural touchstone for locally-based Gen Xers like me. I even remember my mother taking my sister and me to Toys R Us in Loch Raven to meet the Captain, George Lewis, in person.

A few years later, a friend of the family married the Captain’s daughter, and we got to go to the wedding and subsequent reception. One memory stands out. There was a spot-on lookalike actor who would occasionally appear on the show as Abraham Lincoln, and I remember seeing him. How strange it was to see “Lincoln” wearing a J. C. Penny suit and smoking a cigarette.

Anyway, when someone claims to have had a hand in making such a legendary program a reality, it is a big deal. Still, Massoni never publicly mentioned his role with the show prior to the King & Spalding bio. In fact, his Womble Carlyle bio describes his role at the station as being a “Technician/Director,” and does not mention Captain Chesapeake at all.

The Baltimore Sun’s Laura Vozzella looked into this matter. She spoke to Dwight Weems, the program’s director of record, who seemed foggy as to what exactly Massoni’s role was. In the end, Massoni insisted that he was “one of many” who filled in as the show’s director after Weems’ promotion, and Weems did not quarrel with that contention.

Do I think Massoni filled in and performed directorial duties on the show at some point during his tenure there? Sure, probably. I wrote speeches for Rep. Helen Bentley on occasion when I was a college intern and later a junior full-time staff assistant. But that didn't make me her "speechwriter.”   

The second item was brought to my attention by another veteran of Ehrlich world, who questioned Massoni’s contention that he “oversaw scheduling…for the Ehrlich Administration.”

The tipster in question, who actually worked in the governor’s scheduling office, scoffed at this assertion. So would anyone who knows Ehrlich’s former scheduler, Terry Cox. Feisty and formidable in a Norma Rae kind of way, Ms. Cox maintained an authoritarian grip on scheduling matters. She did this not for reasons of ego, but because she understood the chaos that would result if scheduling became a committee responsibility.

Anyway, one of the running jokes in the administration involved the fates of people who tried to hijack Ms. Cox’s scheduling process. If Massoni was among those who attempted to tangle with Terry the tiger, he didn’t likely fare any better.

Laura Vozzella once called Massoni the “Where’s Waldo” of her column. "Forrest Gump" might be a better analogy. One has to wonder where this would-be participant in great events will turn up next. New Jersey, perhaps?

Anyway, that's the latest. Shoot me any tips if you have them. And, enjoy the emerging warm weather.


  1. I think Henry Gondorff also bought his suits at JC Penny.

  2. Good to have you back to posting.

  3. So we get an old story and very little original analysis beyond rehashing over your old anomisity toward Massoni? So boring. I thought maybe you would offer us an insight into the Congressional budget shutdown dynamic from a former staffer's point of view. You do realize that no one outside of 10 former Ehrlich staffers and 10 haters of former Ehrlich staffers really pay attention to this stuff right? Coming from the camp of neither, it is amusing at the effort put forward to trash each other. Keep eating your own!

  4. Anon @ 4/13/11 @ 10:04

    Thanks for the feedback, and reading this blog.

    I have not been able to devote a lot of time to it since starting a new job not too long ago. I threw the Campbell/Massoni thing up because it had been a month since I blogged, and both items landed in my lap at about the same time. It was a quick way to get back on the board, so to speak.

    I'm trying to determine in what direction I want to take this blog. The recently concluded leg session in Annapolis didn't much interest me - same games, no surprises - and I am just tuning into the budget machinations on the Hill. I may go more towards pop culture topics, as I planned to do originally but really have not accomplished yet.

    Yeah, I know no one outside of a small circle cares about Massoni and his ilk. Sometimes I yield to the impulse to pick on the fat kid in gym class, so to speak. I promise to address weightier topics (no pun intended) moving forward.


    P. S. I am not sure blogging about Massoni constitutes Republicans "eating their own." His relevancy to MD GOP politics died when Ehrlich's did.

  5. Whats a matter, Richard? Did my facebook group hurt your feelings? Looks like someone can dish it out, but apparently he is too much of a failure to take it.....