"I don't want you to use my name in your column," Brochin said Monday on the phone. "I'd be glad to discuss this off the record."
Off the record? As in "confidentially speaking"?
That took me by surprise.
I was asking a state senator to support and elaborate on a statement he'd already made in public — in the form of a letter to the editor. Why would he need to go off the record to do that?
Brochin wouldn't say.
When I refused to go along with the off-the-record business, the senator said he was finished with the conversation, and he wished me a nice day.
So while the senator is on the record as saying that I missed the facts, we have no proof of the claim and don't know why he would even make it.
It makes you wonder if his statement about the Inner Harbor last summer — "My constituents don't want to go down to the city anymore" — was factual, or exaggerated, or just made up.
I checked with the county police to see what they knew about the origins of the young people who had gathered in Towson that night.
"We have no information to indicate that a majority of the crowd came from Baltimore City," said Elise Armacost, the Baltimore County public safety spokeswoman.
And that was on the record.