O'Malley for state's attorney

May 26, 2010

Dear Martin,

Let me be the first to offer felicitations and condolences on your impending election to another term as governor. I know, I know, we all have to suffer through another campaign — bells, whistles, fortunes raised and fortunes wasted, mud, blood and a great deal of flatulence from WBAL radio. But we all know that Bobby Ehrlich can't beat you.

During his miracle term 2003-2007, he forgot that he was a Republican with veto-proof Democratic majorities in both houses of the General Assembly. He decided not to work with Democrats but to fight them. He lost. This year he promises that if elected, he'll fight them again. What do they say about those who repeat behavior and expect a different result?

The disentombed, yet-to-be-resurrected body of Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin would be a better governor than Bobby Ehrlich.

Not that you, either, have given us the best part of yourself in Annapolis. This is not the place to go into it. Suffice it to say that during the last election cycle I gave you $1,000 (cough, gasp). During this cycle I've given you $100.02. The $100 was for two tickets to a fundraiser in 2008. The two cents is my response to the letter you sent me and my wife last month asking for a cool $4,000.

Let's get on with your future. What are you going to do in 2014? Go back to practicing law? I think you'd rather chew glass. Trade jobs with Doug Gansler? What to do to get noticed for the 2016 national ticket? I have it! Your old dream job! Baltimore City state's attorney!

As you well recall, State's Attorney Pat Jessamy needed replacing a long time ago. She has only intensified her habits of blaming the police for her own shortcomings and surrendering her better judgment to her flack, Margaret Burns. For chapter and verse, go to pagecroyder.blogspot.com, the No. 1 Jessamy Watch site.

Ms. Jessamy survived the 2002 primary as two weak challengers, Anton Keating and Lisa Stancil, divided up the 60 percent anti-Jessamy vote. In 2006 she swatted away Steve Fogleman, who parlayed his pesky, puny effort into the chairmanship of the Liquor Board.

As mayor you put through a staggering pay raise for the state's attorney's job. Ms. Jessamy now makes $229,500 a year — $80,000 more than you do. I surmise you hoped to entice some civic-minded lawyer to challenge her. Unfortunately Baltimore is fresh out of civic-minded lawyers. This crime fighter who has run up 16 years of conspicuous inadequacy is well tolerated by the politico-legal establishment.

And the whole idea backfired; the raise served only to keep Ms. Jessamy in the job longer so that she can retire with a fat pension. And though you'd dearly love to hasten that retirement, you aren't about to risk your second term as governor by trying to find a replacement for her.

But in four years, what fun! You could prove to us skeptics that it's not all about Martin O'Malley. You'd have the chance to put together the finest staff of prosecutors since the term of the unsung Milton Allen, 40 years ago. You could take a real bite out of crime. As you put away the drug sellers and the killers they hire with some real years of exile, instead of the sweetheart pleas they're used to working out with Ms. Jessamy and the judges, we'll work on reducing the demand for drugs. We'll have a chance to show how great — and safe — a city Baltimore can be.

Your pal,

Harold Riedl, Baltimore

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