Baltimore ponderings from here and abroad

This Just In...

February 25, 2000|By DAN RODRICKS

I SEE WHERE Herm Hannan, the owner of Bo Brooks Crab House, says his new seafood restaurant in Canton will have a "nautical motif." Boy, that's a relief. I was worried he might do something with wagon wheels and cactus.

Time magazine dissed Baltimore big-time during the mayoral campaign last summer. But, don't you worry, a British publication has us all dressed up and looking good again. The March edition of Bizarre, a schlock-shock-and-porn magazine, features a three-page spread of writer Jim Jazwiecki's 24-hour trip to Baltimore, headlined: "Home of John Waters [and] Billie Holiday, site of Poe's grave, Baltimore's history mixes high tragedy and camp trash." Everybody feel better now?

What the O'Malley administration needs that the Ravens already have: a salary cap.

Mid-May in Baltimore: Preakness Celebration Week. Mid-May in Atlanta: the Ray Lewis double-murder trial.

Orioles second baseman Delino DeShields: "I'll play someplace this year. Whether it's here or Milwaukee, it doesn't matter." Right. These days, you can phone it in from just about anywhere. I see Ol' Delino is about as excited at the coming Orioles season as the rest of us are.

The hunt is on for a new chief executive of Baltimore city public schools. Has anyone looked on eBay?

Maybe we could produce a TV show: "Who Wants To Run A Struggling Public School System?"

What Baltimore County schools need: Specially trained kid-sniffing Chihuahuas to work the bus parking lots.

And how about a scary picture of Dutch Ruppersberger on the dashboard, pointing at a bus driver and asking: "The route is finished. Do you know where your children are?"

I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to Dutch taking the first dip at Miami Beach again this spring.

Martin O'Malley has been blasting the judicial leadership in Maryland so much you'd think he really doesn't want his wife to get that District Court job.

But I'm sure he does. Maybe Katie Curran O'Malley could run the docket at Central Booking.

O'Malley's Celtic band, O'Malley's March, hasn't been the same without him. Trying to do rap covers without a front man just doesn't work.

But watch for O'Malley in a return appearance with the band at a March 12 Irish-laced, fun-for-family fund-raiser for Caroline Center, the welfare-to-work training program of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in East Baltimore. O'Malley wasn't going to do this gig -- at Notre Dame Prep, Towson (410-563-1303 for tickets) -- but he remembered a Catholic school rule: Never say no to nuns. And besides, his wife is chairing the event.

Did you see that picture of Paul Sarbanes in the paper the other day? It wasn't a file photo, either. He lives!

Don't let these springlike temperatures lull you into a false sense of security that the Maryland winter is over. I saw David Townsend stocking up on milk and toilet paper at Graul's the other day.

Yesterday, The Sun published a letter from Jack Nadol, former deputy secretary of the Department of Juvenile Justice. Nadol complained that he and other department leaders had to take the rap for system failures after years of understaffing and underfunding by Maryland politicians, the governor and the legislature. Self-serving, maybe. But I think he had it about right.

Here's one from McCain supporter and Carroll County state Del. Carmen Amedori: "The bottom line is, guns save more lives than they take." Right. If those teachers at Columbine High had only been armed.

Say, if there must be a sequel to "The Blair Witch Project," filmed in Maryland, can we get someone to hold the cameras steady this time? And how about cutting back on the profanity? And what about a little animation this time, huh? You know, something for the kids.

The General Assembly is considering a law to make it illegal for first cousins to marry in Maryland. Don't laugh. On this, we're trying to catch up with West Virginia.

A cozy arena deal

So what was Bruce Hoffman thinking? He's executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority, but in a few weeks he's taking a job with a Rhode Island company the Stadium Authority just selected to manage construction of the $107 million sports arena at the University of Maryland. Hoffman always seemed like an OK guy, but come on. If this arrangement were any cozier, he'd be wearing a shawl. He lined up the job months ago, at a time when he could still influence decisions at the authority. The company, Gilbane Building Co., gets a no-bid contract. Hoffman, meanwhile, claims he didn't discuss this with anyone in the authority. He recused himself from the vote on the contract, and that's supposed to clear the air of any foul odors. Unfortunately, it doesn't. Government officials or even quasi-government officials tempted to work for private companies ought to just make a beeline for the revolving door instead of trying to dance around conflicts. Go. Really. We'll be fine here without you.

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