Townsend's slogan seems destined for lameness


KATHLEEN K. Townsend has been going around promising an activist government that will help all of us Marylanders achieve what she calls our "indispensable destiny." (Well, at least she didn't say "manifold destiny.")

The lieutenant goob, who seeks promotion to head goob later this year, apparently is sticking to the script, using this dopey phrase, "indispensable destiny," despite the fact that it has left many who've heard it - at her big campaign announcement in Annapolis on Sunday and again on the Eastern Shore on Tuesday - scratching their heads.

(To me, "indispensable destiny" sounds like a bad name for a bad rock band.)

So, the KKTisms accumulate, along with her campaign contributions.

Meanwhile, Martin O'Malley, the mayor of Baltimore, continues to weigh getting into the Democratic primary and taking on Townsend.

At a dripping-with-spring-fashions fund-raiser for the House of Ruth on the Ravens stadium club level Wednesday, Townsend got a taste of O'Malley's star power and what must be an annoying fact of life: She's a Kennedy, but he's more Kennedyesque.

O'Malley made an unexpected appearance, lit up the big room, moved confidently through a sea of smiles and sold-out tables - filled mostly with women who had paid $125 each to be there - and greeted the luncheon's keynote speaker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough, with a pat on the shoulders.

KKT, who was scheduled to address the crowd, struck an observer as mildly annoyed. She shrugged at the situation and was heard to say, "I'm tougher than he is." The mayor spoke for two minutes and "he owned the room," says my tattletale, trying her best to be a detached observer. When it was her turn, KKT spoke for a few minutes but just couldn't beat O'Malley at buzz-making.

What was that about destiny?

Ugly Tie reminder

This is another reminder for the First Maybe Annual Baltimore Sun Ugly Tie Contest, to be held on Flower Mart Day, May 15, at some unappointed moment between noon and 1 p.m. Please note: Entries should not be mailed or left on my stoop. Contestants must appear with their ugly ties fully deployed. Ties should be stunning to the senses - the louder, the splashier, the older and the funkier the better.

Contestants should look for me somewhere near the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon. I'll be the one in the blue game-show-host sport coat. Make yourself known to me, and our judges - Sun columnists Rob Kasper, Kevin Cowherd and a woman to be named later - will evaluate your entry. The grand prize will be pretty nice, but hasn't been determined because the lady who has the keys to the prize closet here at the Sunpapers could not be found yesterday. But she'll come up with something - and I don't mean travel mugs. Anyway, that's not the point. The point is ... more on that Monday. I got a whole rap about ties for Monday.

Flocking to Boston

Our old friend and intermittent TJI correspondent Bush Hog James writes from Reisterstown:

"I try not to become too invested in the news of the day, but the events in Boston are truly stunning. Not Cardinal Law's Demolition Derby. I'm talking about the sightings of the Eurasian kestrel (first in New England since the 19th century) in Chatham and the California golden plover on Plum Island. Folks have been flying in from the West Coast to see them - people who weren't extradited. Now, Mrs. Hog and I are headed to Canada to become immersed in the warbler migration at Point Pelee, so I'll be off the air for a week."

'Believe' in change

There is a message in the "Baltimore Believe" campaign for the majority of us who live in the city - and remain free of heroin or cocaine addiction.

I made the connection the other day on Greenmount Avenue. A city worker had just come through with one of those fancy trash sucker-uppers and the avenue looked clean again. This was in the stretch from Waverly down through Harwood to 25th Street. People were opening shops, and women were taking little kids by the hand to school and to day care. Maybe it was the way the sun hit the street. Maybe someone had slipped something in my morning coffee. But Greenmount Avenue looked great, actually bursting with a kind of new-day quality. It struck me that, with a little more sweat - keeping the streets clean, painting some storefronts and rowhouses - these neighborhoods could thrive again. It doesn't happen without investment, without consistent support from the city. But it most certainly doesn't happen if the people who live and work don't believe in it first.

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