Between The Lines

BETWEEN THE LINES

February 23, 2004

A silent, pricey `e'

While taking his first look last week at the $70 million Hopewell Pointe development sprouting on Hopkins Creek in eastern Baltimore County - a colony of semidetached homes, condominiums, a marina and restaurant - resident and activist Bill Wright pulled on his chin for a moment before speaking.

"This revitalization will eventually be a good thing for our community ... young families, BMWs, trendy names," said the retired steel worker and former union leader who grew up in Baltimore during the Depression. "And whoever moves into Hopewell Pointe better realize they will be paying about $10,000 for that `e' on the end of their new neighborhood."

- Joe Nawrozki

Got their number

The number "58" has dominated Baltimore's biggest news story of the month. The city school system has both a $58 million deficit and a $58 million cash flow shortage this year.

Perhaps numerology - the occult belief that numbers can foretell events - could explain the significance of the recurring number. (Seems fitting considering all the voodoo economics evidently at play in the school system.) A quick check of a numerology Web site (www.numerologysoftware.com) may provide some rare good news for schools. The definition for 58 reads: "This number shows a willingness to work hard and is usually successful."

Add the two digits together (5+8) and you get 13. The Web site says 13 is considered, aptly enough, a "karmic debt number."

"Those with the 13 Karmic Debt will work very hard to accomplish any task. Obstacles stand in their way, and must be overcome time and again. ... There may be a desire to surrender to the difficulties and simply give up on the goal, believing it was impossible to attain in the first place. But efforts are not futile, and success is well within reach."

Let's hope.

- Doug Donovan

Red ink, hot line

Call him the Jerry Lewis of Baltimore politics.

City Councilman Nicholas C. D'Adamo Jr. says he is nervous about city government's impending $21 million deficit for the current fiscal year. It's an imbalance city finance officials are confident they will fix by June 30.

D'Adamo, chairman of the council's budget and appropriations committee, wants to be sure. So, he is holding a four-hour "Tell It Straight to the Chairman Telethon." He is not raising money, as the word telethon would imply. Instead he is giving city employees the chance to anonymously drop the dime on city agencies that may be dropping the ball on fiscal prudence.

Each caller will be given five minutes to sound off on misspending they know of. D'Adamo and two assistants will man three phones from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. Calls can be made to: 410-396-4808, 410-396-3921 or 410-396-4806. If he gets a good response, D'Adamo said he might do it annually.

- Doug Donovan

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