Seeking a place where the pool just has water

The Baltimore Sun

If a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged, what's to become of Warren A. Brown? Suburbanite? Prosecutor?

The prominent defense attorney, used to representing Baltimore thugs, hasn't been so comfortable with some recent, outside-the-courthouse encounters. Two weeks ago, his 18-year-old son was robbed at gunpoint a block from the family's Northwest Baltimore home. Then last weekend, a man who'd been shot in an apparent robbery wound up, with his sport utility vehicle, in the family pool. The man died.

"Must be something about this, something metaphysical, something beyond our understanding," Brown said. "How many people have a car crash through their wall, end up in the pool, and the owner just happens to be a criminal defense attorney who represents people who shoot people? It'd be laughable actually, except that it's traumatic for kids. They don't feel comfortable in the house."

Brown says he's glad his children - his son and 14- and 16-year-old daughters - spend most of their time at out-of-state boarding schools.

"As much as I love them, I almost don't like to see them come home for the summer and vacations because I worry about them getting caught in the crossfire," he said.

His son's robbery already had him mulling a move to the 'burbs. Now he really wants out.

"This is too much," he said. "Every time we get in the pool now, we're thinking about some guy who died in the pool. Who needs that thought? It's forever tainted."

Where would the Browns go?

"Wherever it is, I'm going to make sure the local residents are safe and not predatory in character."

How about a professional move, over to the state's attorney's office? Brown has used his legal skills to free plenty of predators. How about using those talents to put bad guys behind bars?

Not likely.

Even though he's angry that "things are so out of control," Brown said, that "doesn't deter me from my task, which is to make sure everybody, good and bad, reprehensible and sympathetic, are all protected by the Constitution. I got to represent some bad people sometimes who really are getting a windfall benefit from my zeal as it relates to people's constitutional rights."

Best exit from a campaign debate

The guy with the best mustache in Maryland politics dropped out of the Baltimore mayor's race with flair - during Monday's live television debate.

Circuit Court Clerk Frank Conaway insists he wasn't going for drama. He says the debate was just a convenient forum to announce his decision, which he'd made after a weekend dinner meeting with two other Democratic contenders, Keiffer Mitchell and Andrey Bundley.

At the dinner, Conaway tried to persuade them to drop out so they wouldn't split the anti-Sheila Dixon vote. Having failed, he bowed out and backed Mitchell.

"I thought about it all day Sunday," Conaway said. "I really had not worked it out. There was one piece that I needed to convince me, to make up my mind. And I got that piece."

Some sort of promise from Mitchell?

"Yeah, he promised to be a good mayor."

Not everyone was impressed.

"I think Frank's entrance into the race was a scam from the beginning," said Del. Jill Carter, another Democratic contender.

Mitchell, who will do a lunchtime meet-and-greet with Conaway at Lexington Market today, had a more positive take: "He's a very, very good man, and he's a statesman."

Canadian scorn spreads south

The (Toronto) Globe and Mail editorialized recently about our own Sam Porpora, the 92-year-old Charlestown retiree who recently claimed he's the guy who started leaving three red roses and a bottle of cognac on Edgar Allan Poe's grave.

The paper seems a bit miffed that the purported Poe Toaster said he started the whole thing not so much as a tribute to Poe but as a publicity stunt to help the financially strapped church with the author in its graveyard. The editorial compared Porpora to some Canadian political dirty tricksters who have been tinkering with Wikipedia entries for members of Parliament.

"It has been quite a month for the art of pulling the wool over people's eyes," the editorial begins. "Seems you can't always believe what you read about Edgar Allan Poe - or about Canada's parliamentarians."

Connect the dots

Bob Ehrlich is campaigning for somebody besides himself, and he's doing it someplace besides Maryland. He appears at a McLean, Va., fundraiser Sept. 18 for Dave Hunt, who's running for Virginia House of Delegates. For $5,000, donors get their picture made with the ex-Gov. ... Bob Kaufman, Socialist for mayor, called in a couple funny bumper stickers he spotted the other day: "Politicians and diapers need to be changed, often for the same reason." "Stop repeat offenders. Don't re-elect them." And, "We don't have a democracy. We have an auction." Kaufman spotted them while he was standing outside his house, waiting for a ride. They were on his own van, which is plastered with more than 50 stickers.

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