This candidate promotion's a puzzler


July 23, 2006|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Anybody out there have any doubts that Andrey Bundley, who as a political newbie in 2003 snatched a third of the Democratic primary vote from Martin O'Malley, intends to make another run for mayor? I mean anybody besides Bundley, who told me last week that he's just "exploring the opportunity to run for mayor." He doesn't sound so tentative on his Web site, And I'm told it was full steam ahead at the "Bundley Revival," a meeting he held with at least 100 supporters Monday night at a North Avenue church.

But here's the more surprising bit of Bundley career news, which two people at the gathering tell me he dropped: The school system had offered him the job of deputy superintendent.

"He said he turned it down because, `Why should I take this employment when in 2007 I'll be the one making the appointment for superintendent?'" one of my sources says.

The mayor doesn't actually hire the superintendent, and the title is CEO, but that's beside the point. The point is: Can this possibly be true?

After all, less than two years ago, the former principal of Walbrook High Uniformed Services Academy admitted that he had allowed some students to move up to the next grade or graduate even though they hadn't met academic requirements. Bundley was reassigned at that time to a job working with struggling students. He continues to work for the system as an "intervention manager."

"I have been forgiven of my sins," my two sources recall him saying before going on to hint that the alleged job offer was an attempt to keep him out of city politics.

Reached by phone, Bundley told me: "I'm not going to comment on it." He nevertheless added: "The way it went down, it's all political. That's the only thing I can say. This political climate we're in, it amazes me, all that can happen once you run for mayor."

Hmm. That clears that up.

Think the school system would shed some light? Spokeswoman Edie House said: "We don't comment on personnel matters publicly." And then it was her turn to elaborate on a no-comment: "At this point, I am not aware of any job offer being made."

Precious memory

News of Precious the Skateboarding Dog's demise prompted this note, from Richard Cross, speechwriter for Gov. Robert Ehrlich:

"While I found Precious' tendency to lend her support to candidates of divergent ideologies puzzling, I always admired her professionalism and grace under fire. Back in 1996, I drove then-Rep. Bob Ehrlich in several July 4th parades, and watched the dog remain perched, costumed, and motionless despite facing a barrage of `snap 'n pops,' Silly String, and other projectiles from children. In any event, I was sad to learn of her passing - and therefore won't elaborate on the taxidermy idea that immediately springs to mind."

You don't have to be crazy to do this ...

As the city's health commissioner, Dr. Peter Beilenson warned people to stay inside and take it easy in triple-digit summer weather. So what was he up to during the most recent Code Red alert?

Walking around every day from 4:30 p.m. until 8 p.m., knocking on voters' doors. But Beilenson, who is running for Congress in the 3rd District, insists he's taking most of his own advice, drinking lots of water and slathering on plenty of SPF 50.

His secret for arriving on doorsteps looking like a guy bound for Washington, instead of the shower? He changes shirts two or three times a night and keeps paper towels handy to wipe his brow. Even so, the other night he had to duck into a Columbia pizza shop - so his sweat-soaked khakis could dry in the air conditioning.

There is an upside to this kind of political heat. "We got invited in at least 10 times out of 100 houses. `You want something to drink?'" Beilenson says. "They don't say, `How stupid.' They say, `You must really want this.'"

Miller for mayor: fact or fiction?

Have you heard the one about the hard-charging TV reporter running for Baltimore mayor? Jayne Miller sure has. "Third time I've heard it this week," she said when I asked about her rumored political aspirations. "Someone's trying very hard to plant it." Is it true? Is she running? "No. I'm not. I wonder if someone's trying to spread this because they're not happy with the reporting I do. I consider myself a very dedicated public servant in the private sector." ...

Just desserts?

Proof positive that we're a litigious society: WBAL-TV's Web site can't ask people to vote on "The hottest place to get dessert" without a "survey disclaimer." It reads: "Please keep in mind that our polls are for entertainment and are not conducted in a scientific fashion." The winner, at least so far, is Vaccaro's in Little Italy. (Does Miller know something about the cannoli that we don't?)

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