O'Malley receives award for city problem solving

Conservative institute praises crime reduction

July 17, 2002|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF

A conservative research group based in New York City honored Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley yesterday for implementing creative programs to solve urban problems.

O'Malley is not the first self-described liberal Democrat to receive the Urban Innovation award from the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

Jerry Brown, the mayor of Oakland, Calif., was a co-recipient of the award last year, following a more conservative Democrat, Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago.

"We don't see liberalism or conservatism, we look at what policies work in improving cities," said Henry Olsen, executive director of the institute's Center for Civic Innovation, which helped promote the ideas of former New York mayor Rudolph W.Giuliani.

During an awards ceremony at the Admiral Fell Inn in Fells Point, Olsen praised O'Malley's success in reducing violent crime and instituting the Citistat data analysis program to track the efficiency of city services.

O'Malley insisted he was just the point man on a team of "kleptocrats," who have stolen good ideas from other cities, including New York, where Giuliani's police department - which included Edward T. Norris, now Baltimore's police commissioner - used data mapping to target troubled neighborhoods.

"I'm proud of our crime reduction, but we need to keep it up for the next eight to 10 years to put the crime rate where it should be," said O'Malley.

The mayor said he doesn't regard the reward as an indication of his conservatism.

"I think there were great things Giuliani did," said O'Malley.

"But I consider myself a pretty progressive liberal democrat. And really, these labels don't mean much anymore."

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