Season’s Greetings ... From Big Brother?
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) _ Diane Frampton’s Christmas card from Gov. William Donald Schaefer had a little present inside - two photographs of her and her children - at an anti- Schaefer rally.
There was no explanation. Just the photos and the governor’s signature on a card bidding her a joyous Noel.
Mrs. Frampton is certain Schaefer was trying to intimidate her.
″It doesn’t bother me,″ she said Friday from her Easton home. ″It won’t stop me″ from protesting. ″In fact, it might make me protest sooner.″
It’s a new wrinkle for Schaefer, who is known for dashing off nasty notes to opponents or dropping by a critic’s house for an unannounced visit.
Responding to a letter from 63-year-old David Nottingham last year criticizing the governor for increasing the size of his staff, Schaefer wrote: ″Dear David Nottingbrain: Your letter sounds like a frustrated little boy. How old are you?″
To a woman who gave him the thumbs down gesture, he wrote: ″Your action only exceeds the ugliness of your face.″
Mrs. Frampton, from Maryland’s rural Eastern Shore, is the second recipient of photographs from the February rally to step forward. Annette Lavelle, another resident of the area who also attended the rally, got three photographs in a Christmas card.
A Schaefer aide, Daryl Plevy, said the governor told her he mailed four or five cards with photographs to protesters at the Statehouse rally, organized after Schaefer described Maryland’s Eastern Shore as an outhouse.
The Democratic governor said later he made the remark in jest to a friend in the legislature.
Last week, Schaefer said he sent the photographs to Ms. Lavelle because ″they were nice photographs.″ He denied he intended to harass or intimidate her. Schaefer was on vacation Friday and unavailable to comment on Mrs. Frampton’s card.
″I did feel intimidated,″ Ms. Lavelle said Friday. She interpreted the photographs as a message from Schaefer that he knew who she was and what she was doing.
The photographs were not taken by police, but were given to him by a private photographer, Schaefer said. He would not say who took the photographs or how he identified Ms. Lavelle and found out her address.
″It smacks of a police state. It’s kind of stupid politically,″ said Bert Booth, president of the state board of the American Civil Liberties Union. She said the cards ″are not proper.″
″You don’t take pictures of demonstrators. That’s the intimidating part,″ Ms. Booth said.
Mrs. Frampton said her card arrived four days before Christmas. It contained two photographs of her and her two children sitting in their truck as she drove around the Statehouse.
″He’s had this on his mind for a while. You’d think he would let it drop,″ Mrs. Frampton said.
She said she was worried about how the governor found out her name and address. She believes he used motor vehicle records because the card was sent to her and her husband at a previous address where the truck was still registered.
Mrs. Frampton said she was ″outraged that my tax money is going to do this. ... The state has no money, and he has this big staff he won’t cut. Does he keep them just to do stuff like this?″
She said the photos were ″real good pictures. We didn’t get any and now I have a couple.″