See ya' round the loan officer's desk


April 28, 2006|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Jim Belushi fans who tuned in as usual to Channel 2 the other night did not find According to Jim. Instead they saw Baltimore, According to Ritz. The comedy was replaced by See Ya' Round Downtown, a half-hour advertorial brought to you by the Downtown Partnership, the Ritz-Carlton and others in the luxury home-building and -selling biz.

Don't let the folksy ya' fool ya'. It was all about Charm City's fanciest-schmanciest side: waterfront condos, upscale shops and clubs. The idea is to drum up interest in downtown living.

What does it cost to bump a prime-time TV show?

Stacy Walsh, a WMAR sales and marketing executive who worked on the project, wouldn't say. She indicated that the station was interested in having viewers see the program. (The price would be higher, presumably, for just hawking juicers.)

The project set the Downtown Partnership back about $50,000, including production and staff costs, said spokesman Mike Evitts. The Ritz and other sponsors kicked in about $30,000, he said.

The program will air again - in slightly rejiggered form - tomorrow at 11:30 a.m., when paid programming is the norm. The show had to be altered slightly because the original "didn't stress Ritz-Carlton enough in the beginning," Evitts said.

"In our contract, we promised to refer to them in a certain way, `Ritz-Carlton presents,'" he said. "We certainly want to make them happy."

AAA might have been quicker

You'd think one of the top law enforcement officials in one of America's most crime-ridden cities would know the first law of urban survival: Leave nothing in your car.

But Pat Jessamy left $3,000 in jewelry and other personal items the other day in her city-owned GMC Denali, in an overnight bag that, according to the police report, was "lying in plain view."

What was the state's attorney thinking? That a member of her security detail was staying with the car, says spokeswoman Margaret Burns.

Two police officers had picked Jessamy up Sunday at BWI when she returned from a holiday visit with family in Atlanta. They drove to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History for an afternoon event, parking nearby on Granby Street. One officer escorted Jessamy into the building. She assumed that the other was staying behind with the car and her bag, which contained a pearl necklace and other Easter finery, Burns said.

Jessamy found out otherwise when she returned to find a window smashed and her stuff gone.

You might assume the prosecutor might get preferential treatment from police. Wrong.

At 4:54 p.m., police records show, dispatchers got the call - theft from the STATE'S ATTORNEY'S car, a CITY-OWNED car, TWO BLOCKS from POLICE HEADQUARTERS.

Officers arrived at 6:13 p.m.

Bid for drinks with a fun couple

New item on eBay: happy hour with Baltimore's top cop and prosecutor.

"Got ideas about law enforcement in Baltimore City? Take them to the top!!!! State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy and Police Commissioner Leonard Hamm invite you to join them for Happy Hour at a mutually convenient time and place." (Read: not Scores.) "The Commissioner will buy the first round."

Proceeds benefit the Baltimore Child Abuse Center, a children's advocacy center on whose board Hamm and Jessamy serve.

Bidding starts at $100 and ends May 3. Worried that the get-together could get a little tense? Jessamy has, after all, been critical of city police - even before they lollygagged over her smash-and-grab.

Relax, says Peggy Mainor, executive director of the child abuse center. "There seems to be this perception that they don't get along," she said. "They get along fabulously. They're both so much fun."

Say, uh, how's it goin', uh, anyhow?

Charles Boutin isn't shying away from Harford County hotels anymore.

The PSC commissioner and former Aberdeen mayor once used his state e-mail account to arrange a meeting with a prostitute at "one of the new hotels at the Belcamp exit" but apparently got cold feet.

"I had some concerns about location, due to the fact that I am well known in Harford County," he wrote her.

But yesterday, despite publicity over the e-mails and anger over soon-to-soar electric bills, Boutin showed up at Aberdeen's Clarion, where he was keynote speaker at a chamber of commerce luncheon. My spies tell me he spoke for about 30 minutes, defending the Public Service Commission and the need for energy prices to go up to keep up with rising costs of business.

No mention whatsoever of his personal troubles, not even an ice-breaker joke. Overheard were a few "So ... how are things going with you?" queries that were of the "I want to ask you how you're doing after being publicly humiliated but want to do it without mentioning that you were publicly humiliated" variety.

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