Between The Lines

BETWEEN THE LINES

April 12, 2004

Lost in translation

During a visit to City Hall last week by Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell, Mayor Martin O'Malley winced at a word that didn't translate well.

"You have good schemes here," McConnell said, referring to the city's plans to improve government efficiency and attract more immigrants, which Scotland is also trying to do.

"I like that term, schemes," O'Malley replied. "But when we use that term here, it tends to draw the attention of the U.S. attorney."

When McConnell gave O'Malley a bottle of whiskey and a silver bowl, the mayor was quick to announce that he would declare both gifts to the city's ethics commission.

- Tom Pelton

Home sweet Pimlico

The jockeying continues.

Mayor Martin O'Malley is not opposed to the idea of a state-owned "supertrack" for horse racing near M&T Bank Stadium, an idea being seriously studied by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

But O'Malley said he still has a spot in his heart for Pimlico in the troubled neighborhood of Park Heights.

"I'm attached to the holy ground up there on Old Hilltop," O'Malley said last week. However, he's willing to entertain the idea of a supertrack if the state promises to provide redevelopment money for the neighborhood around Pimlico. "All that sentimentality hasn't done much for Park Heights," he said.

- Doug Donovan

Our weather's better, too

Baltimore has its problems, but there's one thing the city can always count on: Detroit.

The rate of violent crime here is second in the nation, according to the FBI. Second, that is, to Detroit.

And while the Orioles disappointed the Camden Yards faithful with a 71-91 season last year, the misery in the Detroit bleachers was far more profound. The Tigers posted the worst record in the major leagues - a measly 43 wins and a spirit-crushing 119 losses.

The Motor City came through again last week, when it was learned that Baltimore records more water main breaks than many cities. The American Water Works Association Research Foundation has set as a "reasonable goal" of 25 to 30 breaks per 100 miles of pipe per year.

Baltimore had 34 breaks per 100 miles. Detroit had 45.

- Laura Vozzella

Good luck you don't want

A Baltimore man was shot seven times Friday night in Northwest Baltimore and none of his wounds was life-threatening.

Police found the man's good luck hard to believe - and eerily familiar. A few weeks ago in the same part of town, another man was shot seven times and survived. The bullets didn't hit vital organs.

"It's amazing," said Sgt. Robert Messner. "That's a lucky number, seven, I guess."

- Laura Vozzella

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