WHAT a difference a new mayor can make. When Baltimore's new chief executive, Martin O'Malley visited Annapolis recently, he and Gov. Parris N. Glendening quickly reached consensus on the city's most pressing concerns.
Need money to fight crime? No problem.
Want funds to put computers and technology in city school classrooms? Happy to oblige.
How about cash to unclog the city's courts, beef up the state's attorney's office and add drug treatment slots? Sure thing.
These two are on the same wave length.
It helps that the governor is sitting on a stunning $925 million budget surplus and that the mayor of Baltimore no longer is named Schmoke. Gone are the icy exchanges we often saw when Kurt L. Schmoke was mayor.
Indeed, Mr. Glendening sounded downright giddy -- and a little bit like Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca" -- when he declared, "I think it's the beginning of a really good partnership."
Mayor O'Malley knows he won't get all the money he requested -- roughly $200 million in city priorities. But he made it clear, in his best "Batman" mode, that funds for Baltimore are imperative because "we've got a city to save."
Good chemistry between these two leaders is important. Baltimore desperately needs state assistance to bring down a dangerously high murder rate, combat a massive drug addiction, rescue failing schools and pump new spirit into a demoralized citizenry.
Let's hope the two men continue to develop their newfound friendship, for the good of the city and the state. To succeed, this must become an Era of Good Feeling not just in words but in deeds.