Voting suspense

The Baltimore County Council may be home of the 7-0 vote, but it likes to maintain at least the air of suspense.

Monday's meeting was the annual election of a council chairman. One person was nominated, Democrat Stephen G. Samuel Moxley of Catonsville, and after his name had been seconded, the body's lone Republican, T. Bryan McIntire, began to congratulate his colleague.

"I'd like to welcome Mr. Moxley to the chairmanship," McIntire said.

The outgoing chairman, Pikesville-Ruxton Democrat Kevin Kamenetz, cut him off, noting that the vote had not taken place.

"You're a little premature, sir," Kamenetz said.

His authority on that point was a bit diminished, though, because he was sitting at the time above Moxley's nameplate, which had been moved in front of the chairman's seat.

- Andrew A. Green

Cold market cornered

You think you've been chilly during the recent cold snap that has blown through the East Coast? People who work in downtown Baltimore's World Trade Center believe they have the corner on shivering.

The courtyard in front of the building's entrance is the nippiest spot in the city, says defense lawyer Kenneth W. Ravenell, who has offices in the center.

"It's the spot where the building blocks the sun and the wind blows off the water," Ravenell said. "You brace yourself and put your head down when you get 20 feet from the building. It's definitely the coldest spot in the city. Everyone who works there knows it."

- Allison Klein

Sick day

Even county executives get sick and have to miss work-related events.

Friday, when Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. was out with a cold - and working on a list of legislative priorities for this year's General Assembly session - county administrative officer Anthony G. Marchione filled in for him at the Bureau of Corrections recognition ceremony. Corrections Administrator James P. O'Neill, who was the master of ceremonies, found himself explaining Smith's absence while trying to play down Marchione's fill-in status.

Referring to Johnny Carson's sidekick, he said, "Not that he's Ed McMahon."

- Laura Barnhardt

Wrong house

An invitation addressed to the "Honorable Martin O'Malley" inadvertently arrived at the home of a Sun editor last week. We returned it to the mayor (unopened, thank you) Wednesday and were told it was an invitation to the inauguration for the mayor of Charleston, S.C.

"It's just one of the many invitations he gets," said O'Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory.

- Doug Donovan

Developing ties

Baltimore City Councilman Kwame Osayaba Abayomi is traveling to Colombia this month to develop ties between African-Americans and African descendants there.

He leaves Jan. 19 and will travel with the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization. While in Colombia, Abayomi will share strategies for addressing many issues faced in Baltimore: the war on drugs and guns.

- Doug Donovan

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