Stop the presses: Potomac comes to Patapsco

The Baltimore Sun

A nonprofit group attempting to turn Washingtonians into Baltimoreans is using reporters of all things to sell Charm City.

The Live Baltimore Home Center hoped to promote the city at a happy hour this week at the district's Front Page restaurant. The newspaper-themed location was a bit of a joke because the event - snowed out Wednesday, but now on the boards for early next year - had a lure besides drink specials and free appetizers: Washington journalists who live in Baltimore.

"You read them every day in The Washington Post, the Washington Afro-American newspaper and The Washington Blade and hear them on National Public Radio and other media outlets," read an ad. "Now, hear the 'tell all' stories about the benefits of living in Charm City from the journalists who live here."

No surprise that some Washington journalists get priced out of the district and set up housekeeping in Baltimore. But does advertising that fact help sell the city? I mean, does anybody want a reporter for a neighbor? The public holds journalists in low regard, somewhere between used-car salesmen and pedophilic priests.

(Maybe below priests if they say a quick Mass. Before the guy at St. Leo's was sent packing, I'm told his weekday Mass was all of 11 minutes. He may have been the only priest in town who could schedule services 30 minutes apart and still give parishioners plenty of time to get their cars in and out of the lot. No wonder they're holding candlelight vigils in Little Italy. But I digress.)

At the happy hour, prospective Charm Citizens were to hear from: David Brown, Post medical writer and Mount Washington resident; Ann Hornaday, Post film critic and Evergreen resident; Kevin Naff, Blade editor and Guilford resident; Tim Page, Post classical music critic and Charles Village resident; Lisa Simeone, NPR's 'World of Opera' host and Charles Village resident; and Zenitha Prince, Afro editor and resident of Bel Air-Edison.

Of the crew, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Page might make the best case for Baltimore. That's because our mayor and City Council members, whatever their faults, aren't Marion Barry.

Page let Barry's spokesman - and subsequently, the whole world - know his opinion of the former D.C. mayor and current councilman last month, while trying to rid his in-box of Barry's blast e-mails.

"Must we hear about it every time this crack addict attempts to rehabilitate himself with some new - and typically half-witted - political grandstanding?" Page wrote, according to reports in The Post and elsewhere. "I'd be grateful if you would take me off your mailing list. I cannot think of anything the useless Marion Barry could do that would interest me in the slightest, up to and including overdose."

Page later apologized. If he has anything nasty to say about Baltimore pols, I'm guessing he'll keep it to himself.

But it's not as if there was wagering

Oh, those wacky county executives!

"Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, who in the past have enjoyed a close working relationship, parted ways this week on an important regional matter," began a news release issued yesterday under the title "Smith and Ulman at Odds."

They were just joshing, unfortunately for those of us who make our livings off good political squabbles. The execs have a friendly wager over tomorrow's 2A state football championship game between Baltimore County's Eastern Technical High School and Howard's River Hill High. The losing executive will serve as the other's special assistant for a day.

The executives did manage a few internecine jabs in their jointly issued releases. Smith's said he looked forward to having Ulman work for him, especially since Howard's whippersnapper executive would earn points toward his "Boy Scout merit badge."

"I'm excited that Jim has agreed to be one of my staffers," Ulman said in his release. "His many years of top-level public service in Baltimore County uniquely qualify him to be a junior staffer here in Howard County."

Connect the dots

Sheila Dixon's one-shoulder inaugural gown proves it: Baltimore can have a mayor who bares more upper body than Martin O'Malley. Who has the better biceps, Madame Mayor or The Gov? "They're both looking good, but I think Sheila might be giving him a run for his money," said Veronica Meza, senior sales manager at Merritt Athletic Clubs, where both pols work out. "She's in fantastic shape." ... Partial results from the celebrity tie auction taking place this week on 101.9 Lite FM: the cravat autographed by Cal Ripken Jr. commanded $2,000; the one with Dr. Ben Carson's signature brought in $850; and the one with Governor O'Malley's John Hancock fetched, um, $400. More ties, including one signed by Ray Lewis, will be auctioned on the air this morning between 7 and 9. Money raised goes to the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. ... City Hall media advisory: "City Council Members Photo Shoot Postponed." Somebody having a bad hair day? Shaun Adamec, spokesman for Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, said yesterday's council inauguration and lunch just ran late. The shoot was rescheduled for later that afternoon.

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