A wide-ranging search without asking anybody

The Baltimore Sun

It's a wonder anybody wants a thankless job like Baltimore police chief, but lots of people want a hand in picking the poor schmo.

Mayor Sheila Dixon's chief of staff invited Pat Jessamy to be involved in the search, and the state's attorney was so thrilled that she issued a news release thanking Dixon, Jessamy's spokeswoman said.

But Jessamy didn't hear a peep from the mayor's office until this week, when Dixon announced that she was close to picking a new commish, Jessamy spokeswoman Margaret Burns told The Sun's Julie Bykowicz.

"It's perplexing," Burns said. "Mrs. Jessamy hasn't been part of any meetings. She hasn't had any follow-up phone calls. We just have not been involved."

Also feeling left out of the commish-selection loop: the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, whose president and vice president live in Maryland.

"They said they did a nationwide search. They went 50 miles down the Beltway," said NOBLE President Douglas DeLeaver, referring to one of the front-runners, former Washington Police Chief Charles Ramsey.

"We've got over 4,300 members," DeLeaver said. "We advertise [jobs] on our Web site. It's ironic that her office never contacted NOBLE ... when I'm the national president right here and the national vice president lives right here. We just thought that was strange."

"I don't know whether it's me or what," added DeLeaver, a Democrat who is friendly with Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich. (His daughter, Shareese DeLeaver, was the governor's spokeswoman.)

Dixon's spokesman declined to comment. The mayor was probably tied up with another law-enforcement issue - the charges filed against her former campaign chairman, who had a fishy $600,000 technology deal with her office.

So THAT's why we don't get conventions

Keiffer Mitchell, who led William Donald Schaefer on the comptroller's career-ending tour of Lexington Market last year, returned this week with another politician. This time, Mitchell's sidekick was Frank Conaway, who'd just dropped out of the mayor's race to back Mitchell.

The Mitchell-Conaway outing went better than the Mitchell-Schaefer one. No politically suicidal tirades about anybody's weight or clothes. There was some colorful talk, but it came from Conaway and was relentlessly upbeat - what you'd expect from a guy who always reports he's "outstanding but improving."

"If you looked any better, you'd be laid out," Conaway told a guy in a suit.

"Give me some sugar," Conaway told a woman, who gladly gave him a hug.

Best moment for Mitchell: running into a man he'd taught in a financial literacy class at Christopher Place.

Most awkward: getting an earful from another guy, who blamed the city's lagging convention business on pasties.

"They covered everything up, the pasties," the man said, gesturing to relevant body parts. "All the big conventions, they went to where they can see a show."

To Mitchell's credit, he didn't appear to know that dancers on The Block take it all off these days. Or if Mitchell knew pasties were things of the past, he knew better than to set the man straight. He just chuckled and moved along.

Better not invite them to kick you

City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was on Doni Glover's show on WOLB radio the other day, and she got one of those softball questions that make you think the caller's a plant. It was along the lines of, "How will your many years of experience help you lead the city?"

Her answer: "I find, especially in the black community, we'll find 10 different ways to kick you down before we'll take one to lift you up."

Rawlings-Blake went on from there to talk about how leadership "is more than just saying you're a leader" or "standing by yourself and complaining." Leadership is about working with other leaders, she said, as she has on the council, yada yada yada.

Former state Sen. Larry Young, who also has a show on WOLB, replayed her comments yesterday. While Young didn't take a position, his single-named sidekick, Coach, said the words were offensive to African-Americans.

Young spent 22 minutes on the topic. In that time, he took 20 calls - 17 of them in Coach's camp, Young told me later.

"It wasn't her intention to offend anyone," said Rawlings-Blake's campaign manager Luke Clippinger. "It was not meant to have a racist or racially based subtext to it. It was just a reflection that when people ... running for office are held up for scrutiny, it's a good thing."

Glover was surprised to hear yesterday that the comments had caused a flap.

"Anti-black? I didn't hear that," Glover said. "That doesn't make sense. She's black."


The city of Baltimore celebrated the conclusion of a two-year, $15 million public works project with - what else? - a mock issue of the late, great Weekly World News.

"Loch Ness Monster Finds a New Home," reads the banner headline on Montebello News. "Nessie Declares Lake Montebello Cleaner and Greener."

Other headlines from the paper, created by Wayne Butler, a graphic artist for public works: "Elvis Spotted Enjoying the Improved View of Lake Montebello" and "Martians Lose 20 LBS On New Walking & Biking Track."

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