Between The Lines


September 27, 2004

Political plot

City Hall is all abuzz over the latest season of The Wire, the HBO drama set in Baltimore. This year's plot delves deeper into politics and has people wondering whether the show's creator, David Simon, has modeled a fictitious city councilman on a real local elected leader.

Simon told The Sun that the character, Thomas Carcetti, played by Aidan Gillen, isn't modeled on anyone.

But the two names that surface most frequently are: Councilman Nicholas C. D'Adamo Jr. and Mayor Martin O'Malley, a former councilman.

O'Malley didn't want to talk about the show on the record, but he knows of the Carcetti character. (He also knows that The Wire features cameos by his former police commissioner, Edward T. Norris, who is serving time in a federal prison.)

D'Adamo said he does not have HBO but that friends are saying Carcetti is modeled after him: They're both Italian 1st District councilmen who have been chairmen of a council's committee.

His council colleague and friend, Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., does have HBO and said D'Adamo never railed against the Police Department like O'Malley did.

"If it's modeled after Nick, I would cancel my subscription to HBO," Mitchell joked, adding that he sees enough of the real D'Adamo. He added that Carcetti's fictional criticism of the police department is reminiscent of Councilman O'Malley's critiques of police policy in the late 1990s.

But, Mitchell said, Carcetti was missing a few details. "That councilman didn't have the muscles that O'Malley has," Mitchell said.

--Doug Donovan

Another mayoral contest

Baltimore's Nov. 2 general election ballot isn't the only ballot this fall that lists the name of Mayor Martin O'Malley.

Hizzonner also appears with those of 49 other city leaders from around the world who are up for the title of World Mayor 2004 in a contest sponsored by City Mayors, a London-based Web site.

The 50 finalists were culled by the editors of the Web site ( from "hundreds" of nominations from readers. Among them are nine from the United States -- including the mayors of Atlanta, Boston and San Francisco -- as well as from Tunis, Tunisia; Mulhouse, France; and Vilnius, Lithuania.

Four regional winners and an overall winner are scheduled to be announced in December, and votes and comments are being solicited. To ensure that mayors from small cities are not put at a disadvantage, the Web site says winners will be selected not just on the number of votes, but also on the "strength of argument."

Judging from one comment, the competition could be stiff. The comment was in support of Edi Rama, the mayor of Tirana, Albania, and an artist who became mayor after the social and economic upheaval of the late 1990s.

"The stagnation of the economy was reflected in every single kiosk vendor as they sat like lost birds in Tirana's streets," the comment said. It praised Rama for creating "a wonderful magic in people's minds" by painting the facades of buildings and following up with plans for urban development, education and welfare. "This is why I no longer feel shame in saying: `Yes, I am from Tirana.'"

It was signed, "Best regards, Blerta."

-- Eric Siegel

Game specials

During a recent Ravens football game, the staff at the new Giant in Waverly had different opinions about the relevance of the weekly specials.

First, a female sales clerk was heard on the loudspeaker, recommending that shoppers whose husbands were watching the game treat themselves to flowers. "A dozen and a half roses are on sale for the price of a dozen," she said.

A few seconds later, a male clerk piped up, countering that shoppers might instead want to treat their husbands to a post-game steak dinner: "Top round London broil is on sale for $3.99 a pound."

-- Laura Barnhardt

On the road again

A large Bush-Cheney sign on Glen Arm Road has gotten the attention of more than one Baltimore County motorist -- several of whom have called the county's Permits and Development Management Department to complain.

It's possible they object to the distraction at the sharp curve in the road or they may just not like the candidates. However, said permits director Timothy M. Kotroco, it's difficult for the county to fine anyone for sign violations during presidential election years: "You can't really go after Bush or Cheney."

The county tries to take down signs that are placed in the public right-of-way or that violate the county's restrictions on political signs. But, Kotroco said, "It's a lot like pulling weeds. As soon as you pull one, another pops up."

-- Laura Barnhardt

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