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Schaefer on the Border

Comptroller William Donald Schaefer can't seem to keep from commenting when it comes to immigrants.

"I get so irritated that we just open the borders, let everybody in, put everybody in the schools, educate them, all that sort of stuff, and that's the way it is," the 84-year-old comptroller said yesterday at the Board of Public Works. "And Americans [are] going to have to bear the cost."

Schaefer's remarks came as the three-member board, on which he sits, was approving a contract for English language proficiency tests for the state's 30,000 students taking such classes.

Schaefer, who faces two Democratic primary challengers, sparked controversy in 2004 when he recounted an encounter with a McDonald's clerk who he said had difficulty speaking English.

More recently, Schaefer, a former governor and Baltimore mayor, made headlines after ogling a 24-year-old aide to the governor at a board meeting, telling her to "walk again" so he could admire her backside.

Yesterday's outburst brought a sharp rebuke from one of his opponents, Del. Peter Franchot (D-Montgomery).

"This is the latest in a long line of inexcusable events that has cast serious doubts on William Donald Schaefer's mental and emotional fitness for the office of comptroller," Franchot said in a statement. "The second most powerful constitutional office in our state is in the hands of someone who isn't in control of himself."

Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens is also seeking the Democratic nomination.

John Wagner

By Phyllis Jordan  |  July 6, 2006; 11:57 AM ET
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I'm amused at Franchot questioning anyone's mental fitness.

Posted by: Bryan | July 6, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I think that this article is missing another critical issue. In his follow-up with reporters after the meeting, Schaefer dismissed a reporter from the Sun, mockingly referring to her as a "sweet little girl" and later as a "nice looking little girl."

I find that most offensive. I don't care if he is the best Comptroller in the world, I can't see ever voting for that guy again.

Posted by: Prince George's voter | July 6, 2006 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Voicing a commonly-held belief about an important policy matter is an "inexcusable event" that "cast[s] serious doubts on William Donald Schaefer's mental and emotional fitness?"

Will the delegate use the "second-most powerful constitutional office in our state" (not how I'd describe the position) to establish reeducation camps for those who don't hew to his line?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 6, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Schaefer's honesty quotient is high with me. I might not like what he says, but I don't get that slimeball feeling I get from other politicos.

Posted by: RoseG | July 6, 2006 2:37 PM | Report abuse

These comments are amazing. Schaefer badgers and demeans everyone and everything but, by golly, how refreshingly honest he is!!!!

Posted by: howie | July 6, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Unlike Franchot, Comptroller Schaefer is willing to recognize and acknowledge that taxpayers are going to be paying the cost of teaching immigrants English.

We could use a few more politicians who are as honest and as thrifty as Schaefer.

Posted by: LW | July 6, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Once again ol' Willie Don sticks his foot in it. I guess he has forgotten that while their parents may be in the US illegally, children born here are US citizens entitled to all the benefits of any other citizen. Folks, there is a difference between being "refreshing" or "honest" and simply being misinformed or wrong. You might like what he has to say, but that doesn't make him or you correct.
We can only hope that the "cute" little aides who care for Willie Don in the "home" speak sufficient English to not rile the old coot up.

Posted by: jmsbh | July 6, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Gotta change that law. Born here and you are a citizen. The 'Don' speaks for me. He has my vote.

Posted by: Dim | July 6, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Schaefer is a German name, right? I wonder how well Willie D's ancestors spoke English when they came across the ocean. I guess lightning just hit one day and they were struck by the holy English-speaking spirit.

And how is it that he complained last year about immigrants not being able to speak English and now he has a problem with people trying to teach it to them?

Posted by: MoCoPolitics | July 6, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I think it was the Sun (might have been the Post) had a story once on the immigration experience of Schaefer's family, and the breadth of community and public supports that were available to them when they arrived in Baltimore.

The irony is--this whole issue was about using federal funds to teach kids English. He complains about people not speaking English, but he doesn't want to release the funds to make that happen? It wasn't even state money--they were federal funds.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 6, 2006 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Phyllis Jordan | July 6, 2006 6:19 PM | Report abuse

In one of his oldest protest songs, "What did you learn in school today", Tom Paxton opines: "Our leaders are the finest men, and we elect them again and again." Maybe Schaefer is no longer the finest available. Maybe we Marylanders should no longer re-elect him. Then he can doze on the porch and blather with his cronies about this and that.

Posted by: Paul Cawthorne | July 6, 2006 7:16 PM | Report abuse

You rock, Phyllis. Thanks for posting that article.

If Schaefer is counting on the "demean professional women as little girls" vote, I think that his days could be numbered.

Posted by: Thanks Phyllis | July 6, 2006 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Schaefer is honest? That's not the first thing that comes to my mind.

Schaefer is immature.
Schaefer is a bully.
Schaefer is disrespectful
Schaefer is an a-- (you can edit that if necessary, Phyllis)(done-pwj)
Schaefer is an embarassment.

Posted by: I'm with Howie | July 6, 2006 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Various polls suggest that at least half of taxpaying American citizens tend to agree with Schaefer, probably even a majority.

The Post tends to side with the minority who want to protect and extend benefits to people who have willfully violated our laws.

I don't understand why I should be taxed to support these criminal immigrants when our local officials can't manage either to control our native criminals or to provide a decent education for our children of native and legal immigrant families.

Posted by: D.C. Russell | July 6, 2006 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I would venture a guess that there are LEGAL immigrants who don't speak English either. Can you deal with them or allow them to learn English? Assuming you can tell the difference, of course. And what makes someone native? I'm referring to D.C. Russell's "children of native and legal immigrant families."

Schaefer is not right for the job anymore. Being in public office carries a certain responsibility. It doesn't give anyone the right to treat people the way he does.

Posted by: CalvertPol | July 6, 2006 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Being a sensible, moderate Democrat (at least relatively speaking) and therefore a dying breed, Schaefer may be the last Democrat I ever vote for. The Republican won't win, and every vote he gets rubs salt in the eyes of you leftists. As a matter of fact, if it weren't for there being some competitive GOP primaries to vote in (including one involving the infamous Don Dwyer, whom I will gladly vote for), I might have registered as a Democrat to lend Schaefer my vote in September. Rock on, Willy Don.

Seriously though, it's bad enough that my property is confiscated to pay for a gargantuan and ever growing socialist boondoggle. What's worse is that the architects of our leftist la-la land don't seem to be interested in restricting its gravy to US citizens. Or in placing some reasonable limit on the number of people who may become US citizens. I guess Marx was right after all. The revolution will have no borders.

Posted by: Brandon | July 7, 2006 12:01 AM | Report abuse

A vote for Franchot is a vote for the illegal alien support organization Casa De Maryland.

I'll take Schaefer any day.

Posted by: John C | July 7, 2006 12:09 AM | Report abuse

The U.S. economy would collapse without immigrants. Good luck getting health care without immigrant nurses. Good luck finding a long term care facility without immigrant aides and nurses. Good luck finding produce at the grocery store. Good luck finding labor for a major construction project, or someone to clean the building once it is built.

Posted by: son of an immigrant | July 7, 2006 2:20 AM | Report abuse

The question isn't about immigrants, it's about illegal immigrants.

The rule of law is too important to our nation to sacrifice to any economic or politial expediency. Send the illegals home.

Posted by: Rufus | July 7, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."- Theodore Roosevelt 1919

Posted by: HARRY G. HUDAK | July 7, 2006 10:43 AM | Report abuse

If Schaefer somehow wins the primary, there's still no way I'd vote for him in the general election. Unless the Republican is a total whackjob too, I might cast my first vote in MD for a Republican. (I have voted for a couple of socially liberal R's in NY and NJ.)

Oh, and thanks, John C., now I know to vote for Franchot in the primary.

I'd rather have incredibly hard-working, family-oriented illegal immigrants as my neighbors and friends than any self-absorbed, bigoted, sexist old perv like Schaefer.

Posted by: The Cosmic Avenger | July 7, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Schaeffer is my hero! Tell it like it is!

Posted by: Registered Voter | July 7, 2006 1:53 PM | Report abuse

We don't jog as fast as we used to, and we might not be able to dance like we once did. We have to wear eyeglasses to read the newspaper. We aren't as good as younger people at using computers. But there's one thing that we do more than anyone else.

We vote.

And now more than ever, we'll be voting for Schaeffer.

Posted by: Leisure World Resident | July 7, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Note to Dim and Willie Don:

Ever since the 14th Amendment to the Constitution was adopted, any person born in the territorial jurisdiction of the United States is automatically a citizen of the United States. At the very least, all citizens are equally entitled to the public education that is provided by State governments. How else are they going to learn English?

Posted by: Rick | July 7, 2006 5:25 PM | Report abuse

It is always interesting to see how the haters show up on the blogs when immigration is the topic.

Posted by: A voter | July 7, 2006 10:48 PM | Report abuse

"It is always interesting to see how the haters show up on the blogs when immigration is the topic."

It is always interesting to see how the left tends to label those it disagrees with as haters, or bigots, or some similarly charged pejorative this is presented as substitute for debating the issue on its merits. You don't think welcoming with open arms millions upon millions of non-English-speaking foreign nationals into our society and granting them the same benefits as native residents is a good idea? Why, you must be a racist. You have doubts that society will benefit from radically altering an institution as fundamental as marriage without popular consent? You're just a bigot.

Posted by: Brandon | July 8, 2006 1:25 AM | Report abuse

So now Franchot asked why should a Korean-American CEO of a biotech company in Seattle move his company to MD instead of VA? Apparently this person will be offended by Schaefer's remarks and suddenly won't move their business because of one politician's commentary. Does Peter Franchot honestly think voters were born yesterday with a ridiculously stupid question like that?

The real answer is this CEO won't move his business here because the MD Senate can't find time to vote for an extension to R&D tax credit, because the MGA tried to increase corporate income taxes, because the MGA raised the minimum wage, because the MGA targeted on business and one business alone when they were angry, and because nearly at every corner they've been of their leaders in this anti-business crusade was none other than *drum roll please* Delegate Peter Franchot!

Posted by: Bryan | July 9, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

does this still work

Posted by: bruce on the loose | July 14, 2006 3:03 AM | Report abuse

does this still work

Posted by: bruce on the loose | July 14, 2006 3:03 AM | Report abuse

does this still work

Posted by: bruce on the loose | July 14, 2006 3:03 AM | Report abuse

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