O'Malley's pettiness shines through again

Thinking small: Mayor uses school board appointments to pursue personal politics.

January 05, 2000

NOW comes Martin O'Malley, taking his place in the pitiful queue of Baltimore mayors who have thought small and acted smaller with regard to city schools.

Mr. O'Malley has wasted no time using his school board appointive power to exact petty political revenge. He booted board member Edward J. Brody last week -- basically because Mr. Brody worked vigorously on the mayoral campaign of Carl Stokes, one of Mr. O'Malley's chief rivals.

It wasn't possible to work with Mr. Brody, Mr. O'Malley said. Too much political history. Too many bad feelings.

Huh? Are we back in third grade on the playground?

Some advice for His Honor: Grow up. There's a reason they don't let kids be mayors.

The mayor's action might be more defensible if Mr. Brody were a slouch on the board. He's not.

On a board where everyone boasts some expertise and shoulders the work of five people (pro bono), Mr. Brody is a standout.

Mr. Brody, founder of one of the city's largest trucking companies, brings a business sense to school matters. He engineered many of the labor negotiations that yielded concessions from city teachers. He led the search for the schools' chief executive.

It wasn't uncommon for Mr. Brody -- like other members -- to spend upward of 30 hours a week working on school matters. Even if Mr. O'Malley finds an executive with Mr. Brody's experience to replace him, how likely is he to unearth one who will give so freely of his or her time?

Mr. O'Malley made his tantrum even more juvenile by leveling absurd accusations that Mr. Brody had something to do with literature on zero tolerance that called him a racist during the campaign.

Of course, Mr. O'Malley offers no proof. But on the playground, who needs proof? The bully always gets his way.

This isn't the first time Mr. O'Malley has shown himself to be more petulant than mayoral. He offered departing police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier a foot in the rear on his way out. And as a member of the City Council, he built a reputation for making sure his "enemies" got what he thought was coming to them.

The school system doesn't need a mayor like that. Neither does the rest of the city. If Mr. O'Malley can't see past political vendettas and act in the best interests of the people and institutions that can help save Baltimore, we're in for a rocky administration.

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