She (loves) suburban life


May 06, 2007|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Tracy Gosson, who spent most of the past decade promoting city living, has a new cause: suburbia.

The former executive director of the Live Baltimore Home Center has launched her own marketing and economic development consulting firm. One of her clients is Howard County, so she's had to do a U-turn. And another. And another.

Gosson is lost in a land of cul-de-sacs and camouflaged commerce.

"I've been driving around. I'm just looking for a flippin' gas station," she said. "The constant cul-de-sacs, I don't know where I am. ... With the zoning on signage and everything so low-key, I'm dong U-turns all over the place. Whoa, I just passed it!"

Non-through streets aren't enough to stop Gosson. Her new firm is Sagesse Inc., a name that suggests the Wonkettishly sassy, girl-power attitude that she brought to her Live Baltimore mission.

There was always a lot of humor in the Live Baltimore ads, sometimes at the expense of suburbia. Her last campaign there paired a photo of a cookie-cutter development next to a shot of Charles Village painted ladies. On the McMansion side, it read: "Generica. Get out of it." On the other: "America. Get in on it."

But in some ways, suburbia will be an easier sell, said Gosson, who, among other things, is helping the county promote a June 2 housing fair and trying to spread the word about affordable housing for seniors. Even the "older villages" seem pretty bright and shiny.

"This is the bad neighborhood?" Gosson recalled asking. "Oh, OK. No problem."

You have the right to run for mayor

Running (maybe) for Baltimore mayor: Ed Norris.

I wrote the other day that the way seemed clear for the ex-con/ex-commish to run now that Maryland had restored voting rights to felons. Norris responded by e-mail:

"I am seriously exploring the possibility of running."

I don't know if Norris is what this city needs, but he's definitely the answer to this snooze of a mayor's race.

Mayor Sheila Dixon's declared challengers haven't made much noise. The worst thing Councilman Keiffer Mitchell has called her is "interim mayor." And the closest we've come to drama is a little will-he-or-won't-he tease from Kweisi Mfume.

All that changes if Norris, who goes after Dixon with gusto on his WHFS radio show, jumps in.

Just imagine the racial politics - Shoeless Sheila against another white guy from outta town.

And the stark choice on crime-fighting strategies: The blunt-spoken, Zero Tolerance commish versus the mayor who, when asked three times at a news conference last week if she favored decriminalizing drugs, declined three times to answer directly.

Dixon and Norris would surely make corruption an issue, though of the two of them, only the law-and-order guy has been busted for anything.

We'd hear all about fishy contracts and steak dinners, Missy Boyer and Misses No. 1-8.

Now that would be interesting.

May 6 and July 2, two busy, busy days

As a convicted felon, Ed Norris can't be a cop. But he could be mayor, the guy the city's top cop reports to.

That is, unless someone wants to make an issue of this provision of the City Charter: "The mayor shall be a person of known integrity, experience and sound judgment."

Would Norris' federal corruption conviction disqualify him on the integrity front? "It would be up to a court to interpret," meaning someone would have to sue, said Ross Goldstein, the state's deputy elections administrator.

There are other obstacles.

Under state law, a mayoral candidate must be a Baltimore resident for six months prior to the Nov. 6 general election. That means Norris, who has been living in the county, would have to move to the city by May 6 - today.

State law also requires that candidates be registered voters. Norris and other felons get the right to re-register July 1. Since that's a Sunday, his first chance will be July 2, which also happens to be the deadline for filing as a candidate.

But it's doable, Goldstein said. "Somebody could do both things on the same day."

Connect the dots

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