When City Councilmember Belinda Conaway (D-7th District) this year sued the Examiner newspapers and Baltimore blogger Adam Meister for defamation over Meister's revelation that she'd signed affidavits that her principal residence was her Randallstown home in Baltimore County in order to obtain tax credits there, we scratched our heads. Politically, it seemed unwise; not only did it give renewed publicity to the negative information Meister had unearthed, but it left the impression that she couldn't take the heat of being a public figure in elected office. Plus, though she might not like the messenger—Meister, after all, ran unsuccessfully against Conaway in the past—the documents spoke for themselves, and she had, in fact, signed them. The closest local precedent we could find was back in the 1990s, when Ruthann Aron, an unsuccessful Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Maryland, sued her primary opponent over apparently accurate statements, based on public records, that he'd made about her in a debate; things did not end well for Aron, who not long after filing the lawsuit ended up convicted in a murder-for-hire plot. Ultimately—and predictably—Conaway dismissed the suit, since it was, in fact, utterly frivolous. What was she thinking? Perhaps the barrage of rhetorical head-slaps she's gotten since, not to mention her unseating at the hands of challenger Nick Mosby in the recent Democratic primary, will clear her mind.
Correction: Adam Meister did not run against outgoing 7th District City Councilmember Belinda Conaway for her seat. Meister ran unsuccessfully for an 11th District City Council seat in 2007, when his Reservoir Hill neighborhood was part of that district. It became part of the 7th, represented by Conaway, earlier this year. City Paper regrets the error.