Ban on felon-lobbyist ends, in name of ‘progress’

April 14, 2010|By Laura Vozzella, The Baltimore Sun

When he first ran for governor, then-Mayor Martin O'Malley pledged never to meet with lobbyists who'd been convicted of felonies.

O'Malley didn't name names, but everyone knew he was talking about two top Annapolis arm-twisters in then-Gov. Bob Ehrlich's camp: Bruce Bereano and Gerard Evans.

So what's with the story going around that O'Malley and Evans met recently to discuss a collective-bargaining bill?

I reached Evans by phone Wednesday, and he confirmed that shortly before the end of the legislative session, he participated in a meeting about the bill on behalf of two clients, the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police and Maryland Transportation Authority Police.

(Anybody else think it's funny that police agencies have a felon for a lobbyist? But I digress.)

Evans said O'Malley was at the meeting. The governor's office confirmed that as well.

So is the ban dead?

"I would say in defense of his no-Gerry position, it was a meeting set up by [Senate President Thomas V. Mike] Miller," said Evans, who was convicted of fraud in 2000. "To be fair to the governor, I don't think he broke his pledge."

But the governor's office, while stressing that O'Malley attended the meeting at Miller's request, suggested the Gerry ban was, indeed, dead.

When I asked O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese about the state of the ban, he referred me to a passage in O'Malley's State of the State address: "In times of great adversity, we don't make excuses — we make progress. We set aside partisanship and embrace the power of citizenship, guided by the values that unite us."

Evans is on board with that sort of progress. He said he would support O'Malley in his rematch with Ehrlich.

"I'm for him 100 percent in this next election … because I think he's done a remarkable job and I think Bob can't win. It's just that simple."

Said Bereano, who was convicted of mail fraud in 1995: "What am I, chopped liver?"

"Chopped liver is phenomenal on Ritz crackers," Bereano added. "It really is."

President Ehrlich?

Bob Ehrlich looks in the mirror and sees a once-and-future governor. But someone else sees a president.

A president of the University of Maryland, College Park.

I have it on good authority that not long before Ehrlich announced that he would seek re-election, he received a letter from the chairman of UM's presidential search and screening committee, Donald Kettl. His committee is looking for someone to take over when C.D. "Dan" Mote Jr. retires in August. Kettl's letter invited Ehrlich to apply for the job.

I e-mailed Kettl, who is dean of UM's School of Public Policy, about that. He replied:

"The search process, including discussion of who might or might not be a candidate or nominee, is a confidential one. I can explain our process but cannot comment on individual names."

Emu and you

News of the weird, courtesy of Craigslist. Someone in Baltimore has an emu to "rehome."

"I have an emu chick that I will be looking to rehome in the future (2-3 weeks)," reads the ad. "She (I believe it to be female) is currently 2 weeks old (hatched 3/27/10). I would like her to go to a pet home, certainly not for meat. She has a great temperament and is very friendly. She's imprinted on humans so you should have no trouble having her bond with you. She follows you like a puppy and comes when called. She would make someone a great pet and/or livestock guardian."

This would be an open adoption, so emu-buyer beware.

"If you are still interested," the ad continues, "please tell me a little about yourself and your plans for her, and a few photos of where you plan to keep her would be great! Re-homing fee does apply and I'd like to keep in touch with whoever gets her."

laura.vozzella@baltsun.com

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