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May 25, 2008|By LAURA VOZZELLA

And you thought Baltimore couldn't keep a police commissioner. Frederick Bealefeld hit the six-month mark this week. That's especially noteworthy because under the City Charter, Bealefeld had until then to move to the city.

He made it, but just barely.

The Baltimore City Charter requires department heads to live in the city. There is a six-month grace period. But if they miss that, the charter states, "the appointment shall be terminated."

Bealefeld lived in Bel Air when he was sworn in on Nov. 20, so he had until last Tuesday to set up housekeeping in Charm City, The Sun's Annie Linskey reports. Plenty of time, especially since Bealefeld, his wife, two kids and two large dogs found a rental that suited them just "a couple weeks" after his nomination, spokesman Sterling Clifford said.

But before they moved in, owner Richard Demmitt planned to completely renovate the house, built in 1920 and located in the city's Southwestern police district. (That's as specific as I'm getting. If you want to find the commish, try HQ.)

City permits issued in late March and early April read like a season's worth of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Replace windows, kitchen cabinets and water lines. Install air conditioning, new gutters and gas line. Repair roof. Like every home improvement project since the first cave dweller applied paint to wall, the work took longer than expected.

With the house still unfinished but the city deadline looming, Bealefeld started moving some stuff in a few weeks ago. But he thought better of sleeping there after BGE offered a less-than-comforting assessment of the 70-year-old gas line: Better not run the furnace and stove at the same time.

For a guy committed to public safety, the choice was clear. He stayed put in Bel Air until he was assured the place wouldn't blow up.

Bealefeld finally moved in May 11, Clifford said. He had 10 days to spare.

Perhaps nobody but Kevin Clark, who once was and claims he still is Baltimore's top cop, would have tried to oust Bealefeld if he'd missed the deadline for moving to Baltimore. If Bealefeld keeps driving the murder rate down, he can live in France, for all I care.

The commish might have to rely on that sort of goodwill. He seems to have missed another termination-quality deadline.

The charter requires every department head not only to move to the city, but to register to vote there. The same six-month deadline and termination threat apply.

City elections officials could not find the commish in their records last week. Said spokesman Clifford: "His registration has been mailed but may not have reached the Board of Elections yet."

Mr. Clark, perhaps your services will be needed after all.

Some choose civility, but not at Harris Teeter

Civility took a holiday in Howard County the other day when gourmet grocer Harris Teeter threw open its doors. Vying for bites of sharp white cheddar and sips of Italian blood-orange soda, shoppers Chose Hostility.

Children trampled flowers around an outdoor fountain as their parents and others waited in the long line to get in, my spies tell me. "I hope they fall in the water, and I hope my kids push them," they overheard a woman saying.

As another woman butted into the long line for sodas, my spies Chose Sarcasm: "Oh, I didn't know it was OK to cut in line." Unshamed, the soda-seeker turned, noted that the spies held plates from another food station, and suggested they'd already had their fill.

County Exec Ken Ulman said his constituents lived up to their serene green bumper stickers. OK, he confessed to seeing "a little jostling," some "elbows here and there."

But he freely admitted to being taken aback by all the excitement.

"It was a mob scene," said Ulman, who, rushing from the airport, arrived five minutes late for the ribbon cutting to find it already snipped. "They had to cut the ribbon. There were so many people there they couldn't hold them back.

"They were literally coming in giddy. There was a woman passing out maps for the store. There was a lady next to me and she was, like, 'Thank you,' like it's a $100 bill. It's a very nice grocery store. I'm glad it's here, but it's not like they're giving away money."

You might think of her as a boutique hotel

Among the Baltimore hotels listed by Citysearch.com: the Del. Salima Marriott, at 2901 Druid Park Drive. And sheesh! The Web site doesn't give her a single star. "You really solved a mystery by calling me today," Deputy Mayor Marriott said when I alerted her to the listing. (The site lists the address and phone number for the former delegate's now-closed Druid Park Drive district office.) "I always wondered when I was a delegate working in my office very late why people always thought they had reached the Marriott hotel. Yes, I have the name of a hotel." But there's no vacancy.

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