Mr. Angelos keeps his distance


April 12, 2006|By LAURA VOZZELLA

No surprise that there was arm-twisting on the Baltimore school takeover bill on the last day of the General Assembly. But the arms of Peter Angelos?

The frenzied search for votes to override Gov. Robert Ehrlich's veto of a bill delaying the takeover led, oddly enough, to the Orioles owner.

Glen Middleton, a statewide leader for the AFSCME labor union, asked Angelos to help persuade Sen. Norman Stone of Dundalk, a lawyer in Angelos' law firm, to vote for the delay.

The Orioles owner might seem like an unlikely ally in that effort, since he is close to Ehrlich and no friend of Mayor Martin O'Malley, who was pushing for the delay. Yet Angelos has made a fortune as a personal-injury lawyer by working closely with labor unions.

Did Angelos do Middleton's bidding and try to twist Stone's arm?

Doesn't sound like it. Angelos didn't call me back, but the senator says Angelos "thinks the kids deserve more" than what they're getting from city schools.

"I spoke to Mr. Angelos on this matter," Stone said. "But he never tells me what to do."

Stone, by the way, voted nay.

Enough with the seals - keep your salmon

Animal-rights types and people who cook up creatures for a living have forged an unlikely alliance, boycotting Canadian seafood in the name of protecting harp seals.

Among those who have pledged to pass on Canadian seafood until that country's annual seal hunt is banned: former NBA player and restaurateur Mike Riordan, owner of Riordan's Saloon and Restaurant in Annapolis.

He and hundreds of other restaurant owners have teamed up with the Humane Society of the United States. But don't expect them to get cuddly with PETA and switch to vegan menus.

"What's strange here is, all of us make our living off food and seafood and whatnot, and we don't have a problem with the harvesting of animals for nourishment, for a useful purpose," Riordan told me. "But we have a problem with people killing baby seals so people can look good."

Herding the press for Oprah

How many police officers does it take to keep Oprah safe in Baltimore City? Eight - some of them escorting reporters to their seats at the Meyerhoff and making sure that they stayed there. The officers - two of them were department spokespeople, Donny Moses and Nicole Monroe - were off-duty, so the city didn't pick up the security tab, police tell The Sun's Gus Sentementes.

At the same time, organizers now say Oprah wasn't behind that odd, partial camera ban imposed on Monday's appearance. So says Joan Fishbein Feldman, spokeswoman for Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, which asked Winfrey to headline its scholarship fundraiser.

Feldman said last week that Oprah's production company would allow cameras only for the first 10 minutes of her presentation. Now Feldman says that she was misinformed, and that the restrictions were set by the Meyerhoff and school as a way of deferring to attendees who had paid a lot of money for the event.

Scenes from sine die

As Senate President Mike Miller called everyone to order, Sen. Lowell Stoltzfus presented him with big "Smith Island" cake. "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down," the Eastern Shore Republican said. Baltimore County Democrat Delores Kelley looked the gift-cake in the mouth, The Sun's Jill Rosen reports. "Mr. President," she shouted. "Are you sure this isn't a Trojan horse?" ... Signs that Jack Abramoff has a future as a headgear trendsetter. Not one but TWO guys - young guys - wearing fedoras at Martin O'Malley's end-of-session soiree on State Circle. "I swear I'm not a crook," said one of them, Jeremy Rothwell, 20, a Washington College student who interned for Del. Bennett Bozman of Worcester County. ... Also in the crowd: Paul Hollinger, husband of state Sen. Paula Hollinger, who is running for Congress in the 3rd District. He was chatting about how the stem cell legislation his wife championed hinged on semantics: the word "embryo," had to be changed to "material," and finally "product," before the bill could fly. ... O'Malley enjoyed what appeared to be a Guinness at Galway Bay in Annapolis at lunchtime Monday, after the Senate overrode the Gov's veto on the school takeover bill. A young waitress swooned, my spies tell me, but in a backhanded way. "He's dreamy," she said, "for an older guy."

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