What's in it for Ehrlich's new boss?

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April 27, 2007|By LAURA VOZZELLA

I can see why Bob Ehrlich, a competitive guy, would want to reclaim the governor's mansion four years from now. And why, given the ridiculous cost of campaigns, he'd start raising money now.

What I don't get is, what's in it for Womble, Carlyle, the law firm serving as the ex-gov's Elba-on-the-Patapsco?

"Kendel, Drew, Josh and I have settled into our new home just outside of Annapolis and I've started an exciting new job with a large law firm," Ehrlich writes in a recent fundraising letter that notes his campaign headquarters will stay open. "Among many positive things, the job allows me to continue leading the thousands of Marylanders like you who have not given up on Maryland."

Is that what Ehrlich is doing at the firm, leading thousands of Marylanders?

I asked Anna Juby, media relations manager for the North Carolina-based firm that hired Ehrlich to open a local office. Just what is Ehrlich doing to earn his paycheck? Will he actually try cases? Or does the firm have some sort of commercial interest in simply keeping the Ehrlich buzz alive?

"A lot of it is counseling clients," Juby said, before referring me to members of Ehrlich's former State House communications gang, which the firm also hired even though they're not lawyers.

One of them, Henry Fawell, said the leading-Marylanders line refers to Ehrlich's weekend job on WBAL radio. (That gig is mentioned in the letter, but later.)

"I think if you listen to the callers who call his radio show in droves," Fawell said, "it's quite clear that thousands of Marylanders still believe in him."

A parting jab

Ehrlich's fundraising appeal inspired Comptroller Peter Franchot to write a letter of his own. It says Annapolis has changed.

"You would hardly recognize the place," he writes to Ehrlich. "Republicans, Democrats, legislators, Cabinet Secretaries, are all actually talking to each other and trying to work together to make progress on the challenges that face our state."

Sound like the one-party-rule lovefest Ehrlich and taxpayers everywhere dread? Well, it's not all nicey-nicey.

The letter begins: "Just wanted to send you a note wishing you well in your new radio career and also to let you know I received a copy of your hypocritical fundraising letter."

Jerking the chain of command

Martin O'Malley is doing his best to dispel the notion that Democrat-dominated Annapolis can't muster some internecine jabs. He took his second swipe of the week at Mike Miller yesterday.

(That's O'Malley's second public swipe. Who knows what bons mots he and son William have been swapping about the Senate president over dinner.)

The first swipe was the gov's warning that Miller should "fear the turtle," after the Senate president compared the administration to one.

The second came at Aberdeen Proving Ground, where the gov took a helicopter ride. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown came along for the conference but protocol precluded both state officials from flying together, The Sun's Mary Gail Hare reports.

Army officers gave O'Malley the option of overruling the policy. The gov thought for a second and decided not to waive it.

"If something happened to both of us," O'Malley said, "we might have Mike Miller as governor."

Actually, under the state constitution, the Senate president would only serve as acting governor until the General Assembly picked a new one.

So O'Malley can rest easy. Miller would only be governor temporarily - until the General Assembly elected Mike Busch.

How 'bout that, hon?

Only Baltimore could produce an offbeat baker like Duff Goldman, the Ace of Cakes star who has managed to shape flour, eggs and fondant like broccoli, brains and BLTs.

But nothing says Charm City like a rowhouse cake - especially if the front porch is falling off.

Shirley Reynolds' family wanted something special to celebrate her 80th birthday. So they ordered a confection from Goldman's Charm City Cakes that was supposed to look like her Wyman Park rowhouse.

Inside was plain yellow cake. Outside, pure Beech Avenue - red brick with a front porch. There was even a likeness of Reynolds, the one-time Frazier's Restaurant owner and Lord Baltimore Hotel switchboard operator, sitting out front.

At least, that's how the cake looked when it left Goldman's Remington bakery. But the short trip over to Reynolds' house took its toll. The porch started going the way of, well, an old rowhouse porch.

But the Ace of Cakes crew, which filmed Reynolds' party for a future Food Network episode, made one of its famous confectionary saves.

"They sent a - quote - cake repair technician and he had a little bucket of toothpicks and dowels and extra icing," said Brian Davis, one of Reynolds' children. "It was kinda neat."

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