The littlest officeholder

The Baltimore Sun

How many bigwigs can live under one roof?

There's already a governor and a judge chez O'Malley. Now, residing in the same household, is a lieutenant governor.

Grace O'Malley was elected lieutenant governor this week at the statewide Youth and Government program in Annapolis. She is the 17-year-old daughter of Gov. Martin and Judge Katie, not to mention granddaughter of a former lieutenant governor, Joe Curran, though he was the grown-up variety.

Grace O'Malley's term as youth LG begins next year. This week, she served as a state delegate in the youth General Assembly, part of a YMCA civics program that educates high-schoolers in democracy.

As a delegate, Grace O'Malley proposed a bill to crack down on parole and probation violators. (Right out of Dad's playbook.) She voted to legalize prostitution. (Pretty sure he's not on board with that one; his office wasn't commenting on any of it.) She also backed a repeal of the death penalty (presumed thumbs up from Dad), and voted to give civil union rights to same-sex couples (ditto, so long as they don't call it "marriage").

Courting the reluctant billionaire

President Bloomberg? There's a group in Baltimore who'd like to see the New York City mayor move up -- not to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., but to Homewood.

Dozens of Johns Hopkins University faculty and staffers have signed a petition urging the university's presidential search committee to consider Michael Bloomberg, a Hopkins grad and trustee who's written at least one -- and probably three -- $100 million checks to his alma mater.

After all, Hopkins needs a new president, and the term-limited mayor needs something to do.

"We do not want him for his billions, though his hundreds of millions in gifts to the university should give him credibility with potential donors that no other university president could conceivably have," said the letter.

Matthew Crenson, a retired political science professor who was Bloomberg's Phi Kappa Psi fraternity brother at Hopkins in the 1960s, drafted the letter and started circulating it a couple of weeks ago.

"We had over 40 signatures just in Arts and Sciences," Crenson said. "It was pretty widespread support. We know he's going to become available. He may have other plans, but we wanted to be on his agenda. He's a former chairman of the board of trustees, he's on the board now, he led a capital campaign. He wouldn't need any start-up time. We said in the letter, we wanted him not for his money, but his skills as a manager of a large organization. And his very successful record as a financial manager, too."

Crenson decided to stop circulating the letter after news of it leaked out to the New York Sun this week. He said he was worried about discouraging other candidates. He also said he did not want to put the university or Bloomberg in an "awkward position."

No loss, perhaps, since back in March, when Hopkins President William Brody announced he was stepping down, Bloomberg told The Sun's Gadi Dechter that he had "zero" interest in the job.

"It's a long shot, I have to admit," Crenson said. "But we thought it was worth trying, and now we're just going to let it sit."

Yo-ho-ho and $90 for a party of four

City leaders have decided to welcome a new criminal element to Baltimore. Fear not. The new outlaws are the avast-ye-matey variety.

An outfit named Urban Pirates has won the city's permission to dock its 48-foot faux pirate ship on the South Ann Street Pier, so it can cruise around the Inner Harbor under the Jolly Roger.

Cheesy-sounding tourist attraction, perhaps, but one that at least has roots in local history. The Brits who attacked Fort McHenry in 1814 called Baltimore a "nest of pirates."

Urban Pirates will pay the city $1,400 to dock the ship from May to October this year. The company can recoup that cost with just two sold-out cruises -- even if all the passengers are kids 3 and up. (It's $20 a head for kiddos, $25 for grown-ups. Family of four: a whopping $90. And that's without the hardtack and scurvy.)

The outfit is looking for "Captains with a 50-ton license and Pirate Performers who are comfortable acting on a moving vessel," according to its Web site. "Crew members must be charismatic entertainers who are excellent at working with children."

Just in case any of Baltimore's real bad guys are interested, the site notes, "All staff is subject to criminal background checks."

Did those two need any more exposure?

A Baltimore advertising firm has been having so much trouble getting Employee of the Month nominees that it has resorted to, well, advertising.

Around the office at Euro RSCG Baltimore, posters ask, "Who's Your Nominee?" To create a little buzz -- these people are marketing masterminds, after all -- the posters tap into a slightly higher-stakes contest.

There's a photo of Hillary Clinton and her fictional boss at a Bell South call center. ("[S]he was always prepared to answer the call any time of day -- especially at 3 a.m.")

Beside her is Barack Obama and glowing words from his faux manager at Coinstar. ("Barack was a guy who loved change. I mean, he seemed to live and breathe change.")

Unlike the Democratic primary, the end is in sight for the employee-of-the-month contest. It wraps up next week. And nominations are up.

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