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Showdown, Election 2006 (MD Governor Mentions FR in Local Magazine [MD4Bush Alert]
Baltimore SmartCEO ^ | September 01, 2006 | David Callahan

Posted on 08/30/2006 8:01:16 PM PDT by Crouching Intern Stolen Sofa


Baltimore Mayor MARTIN O'MALLEY:

CEO: Speaking of police, when you entered the Mayor’s office, crime was your top issue. In the first half of your tenure, things went pretty well, but then you experienced a lot of upheaval with your police commissioners. You’ve got one ex-commissioner hosting a radio show where he’s routinely not being very nice to you and another ex-commissioner is suing to get his old job back, saying he was wrongly terminated. Why has there been such a problem managing that position? What’s been going wrong?

MO: You know, I wish the appointments that I make to all these departments came with a crystal ball, so that I could foresee the decisions that they would make that would make them incapable of continuing with those duties. None of them comes with a crystal ball. And while stability and tenure are good things to have in an administration, continued progress is even more important.
I’m very grateful to the men and women of the Baltimore police department for the job they have done. It is the reason why we are making a comeback as a city. You don’t allow yourself to be the most addicted city in America every year, year after year, as we were for eight years, according to the DEA. Or the most violent city, as we were, according to most of the FBI’s seven measures in 1999. You can’t be that and expect to be able to retain your tax base. You can’t retain the residence or the business tax base.
So we’re making progress again as a city and we’re doing it because we brought people together over economic and racial lines of division to agree that we are all in this together and that there is more than unites us than divides us and one of the things that unites us most is a common desire to raise our children in a city that’s becoming safer.
And so, we’ve been able to keep that together. We’re reducing violent crime and we’re going to continue to do that. I’m not sure what the average tenure of a big city chief is. It’s probably two-and-a-half years. It’s certainly longer than the 58 days of my first police commissioner. And detractors, like Bob Ehrlich, who take no responsibility for improving public safety, who declare no goals, so that they can never be judged not to have succeeded, will continue to jump up and down in a patronizing way and wag their finger at us and say “ah-ha-ha,” you’ve had two commissioners, three commissioners or sometimes they’ll say seven or eight commissioners, depending on how far back they want to go and whether they want to count interims.
The most important thing to me is continued progress and I think people are smart enough to see whether we’re making progress or not.
Improving public safety is very important and there’s not another city that took on a tougher challenge in that score than we have. Nor is there another city that has been coming back as quickly as we have, I don’t believe. Not even New York over these seven years.

CEO: What’s the biggest lesson learned over the last six years?

MO: I’ve learned not to allow department heads to continue to serve when I become clear in my gut that they are no longer effective. By the time you see that a department head is no longer effective, I’ve got a jump on that by a few months. And sometimes my compassion gets the better of my judgment and so the thing I’ve learned is not to allow that to happen when it comes to the effectiveness of department heads.
Because progress is not inevitable. It takes commitment, perseverance, and a willingness to try, and failure is not an option. With constant performance measurement and relentless follow-through, progress is possible. That, I believe, is the true story of our city's progress over these last six years."

Due to schedule constraints, our interview with the Mayor finished at this point with a promise to follow up on the phone. The Mayor phoned our offices a little over a week later. The prior evening, WBAL-TV (Channel 11) in Baltimore had filed a report that former Baltimore City police commissioner Kevin Clark, whose wrongful termination lawsuit was recently reinstated upon appeal, was leveling a charge as part of his court case that that the true reason for his firing revolved around a laptop computer that was stolen from the home of Baltimore Labor Commissioner Sean Malone on October 7, 2004. The laptop, recovered by police a few weeks later is alleged by Clark to contain data that links Malone to the “MD4Bush” controversy that led to a “dirty tricks” investigation of the Ehrlich administration and the firing of former Ehrlich aide Joe Steffan over rumor-mongering. (The account “MD4Bush” was allegedly created a week after the laptop disappeared).
Clark’s dismissal from his post in November 2004 was perhaps most notable for the fact that a Baltimore City S.W.A.T. team was deployed to carry out the task. A source close to the O’Malley administration tell us that the police department’s tactical decision to use S.W.A.T. was an internal call and had nothing whatsoever to do with the Mayor. Other former law enforcement officers describe the move as bizarre and highly unusual, if not unprecedented. At the time of his firing, Clark was said to have been dismissed because the Mayor had grown weary of an investigation into Clark over domestic violence.
While I had not originally planned to prod the Mayor any further on the matter, given the new development in the Clark saga, I felt obliged to seek further clarification of the reasoning behind his dismissal.

The following conversation occurred in the afternoon of July 26.

CEO: We left off the last interview discussing department heads and you spoke about learning to trust your gut when it became clear in your head that they were no longer effective. I spent the morning reviewing this report that WBAL filed last night.

MO: I’m not aware of it. What is it?

CEO: The report was about former Commissioner Clark’s lawsuit being revived and that now he is claiming that a laptop computer is the reason he was fired, because there was some information on a computer that the police department had.

MO: Right.

CEO: Why was he let go?

MO: You know, I answered all of that back at the time and I suggest you go online and pull all of the things that were said at the time, because it’s not good practice, form or law for me to make comments about things that are in a litigation posture and are also a personnel matter. I can tell you that generally, the decisions I make regarding department heads and their continued service are about making sure that we continue to make progress in every single department in the things that people expect from their local government. And none of those functions is more important than safeguarding the lives and public safety of the people of Baltimore.
But, there was a ton of stuff written at the time [about why Clark was dismissed.]

CEO: Well, I know, and I’m not going to press further about it, but I’d be derelict, since this came out last night, if I didn’t ask. It’s the key question, because he is essentially challenging you on the reason he was let go.

MO: Nobody did at the time and I would encourage you to take a look at it and pull the statements that were made at the time. It’s all about improving public safety and saving lives. When a department stalls in doing that, for the good order of the department, from time to time, changes need to be made. And that’s what we did. And I’m just not at liberty to talk about it because it’s in litigation and it’s a personnel matter and as much as they may want to try this in the public arena, we’re not going to.

[Editor’s note: We did check and the mayor is indeed correct that the allegations about the computer are entirely new. In fact, in February, Clark was intimating that his firing had to do with an entirely separate matter - an audit that he was conducting into the city’s crime statistics.]


CEO: Do you want to comment on Commissioner Clark’s firing? I asked Mayor O’Malley about that…

RE: Really? How did he respond? I’m guessing not well. (laughs) Clark knows a lot. That computer knows a lot. What’s on that computer, Greg?

Greg Massoni: A lot of porn.

RE: No – other than that.

GM: I don’t know. Something about some contact named “MD4Bush.”

RE: Yeah – the noose is closing on this whole MD4Bush thing, as you know.

CEO: Well, I happened to interview the Mayor the day after Commissioner Clark came out with his accusation. Now, one of the things the court said about Clark is that he was improperly let go.

RE: Right.

CEO: So, if the mayor can’t fire the police commissioner, whose role is that? Should you have stepped in to stop it?

RE: No, that’s the mayor’s issue and it’s not my issue. It’s his police commissioner. He’s had a bunch of police commissioners and has had issues with each. The issue here is what’s on that computer? That’s the issue. Actually, there are two issues. The other is: was he fired legally? And that’s a function of law and the courts will decide that, ultimately.
I have great empathy for [Commissioner Clark] and I hope he’s treated fairly, but I’m very interested about what’s on that computer. The narrative that WBAL-TV has been running – story after story after story on the whole MD4Bush setup — this whole strange, weird Democratic Party Internet entrapment scheme setup. I’m fascinated. Who came up with it? Who ran it?

CEO: How hard are you going to try and find that out?

RE: We have been asking those questions since February of 2004, when this whole thing broke.

GM: Interestingly enough, only one television station has pursued it. No one else. Nothing has been printed in The Sun or The Post about it. The Post, who was apparently a willing accomplice on this, has yet to come clean with anything. A committee that was formed…

RE: Don’t forget – MD4Bush logged in from The Post…

GM. Two times. Two times that we know of.

RE: This is fascinating and I want to know.

GM: A committee was formed with this whole process that gave themselves the ability to issue a subpoena. The [owner of] the Free Republic website group said, “Subpoena me! I want to tell you who MD4Bush is!” And the amazing thing is 17 meetings and a million dollars later, they’ve yet to do that. They just brought in Joe Steffan, which is kind of interesting, because they said they couldn’t find him. And yet, every reporter in the state of Maryland and Senate President Mike Miller, sine die, sat down and drank with him. But [Committee Counsel]Ward Coe, being paid a million dollars, couldn’t find him. [Editor’s note: “Sine die” is the Latin term “without day” that refers to the final day of a legislative session.]

RE: We just want to know. Just come clean, you know? It was a fascinating idea. It almost worked. It was too cute by half. To set yourself up on the Internet and to start rumors in order to kill those rumors in order to trap someone. It’s a fascinating game plan. Clearly it was a member of the Democratic party senior leadership, either that or someone connected to the O’Malley campaign.

GM: All one and the same.

RE: Just say, “Alright, this is what we did and we messed up.” That’s all. Because I believe that Jayne Miller is going to get to the end of this by Election Day.

CEO: Is it more serious than that? I mean, you’re a lawyer and I’m definitely not, but is what Kevin Clark is accusing the Mayor of something that rises to obstruction of justice or some other illegality? How serious is this accusation from a former public official?

RE: I don’t know and I have not talked to the Commissioner. My interest here, just as any citizen, is knowing why he was fired and whether it was legal.
As someone who was forced to watch this incredible charade play out over two years with Mike Bush and Mike Miller and Brian Frosh. We had tens of thousands of documents [scrutinized] from my administration. Members of my administration were hauled before that committee. And they haven’t proved anything. After all this, they haven’t shown one person we fired illegally. Not one! After all this! I just want to know who came up with this scheme and who knew about it.

What was the Watergate question? What did the Mayor know and when?

[end of excerpt]

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Free Republic; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Maryland
KEYWORDS: ehrlich; freerepublic; maryland; md4bush; omalley

1 posted on 08/30/2006 8:01:19 PM PDT by Crouching Intern Stolen Sofa
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To: Crouching Intern Stolen Sofa; NYConservative


2 posted on 08/30/2006 8:02:54 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar
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To: Jim Robinson

I just want to know - why the heck has it taken so friggin' long for anyone to ask you with a subpeona just what happened here? Not that you can answer, it's just a hypothetical question.

3 posted on 08/30/2006 8:04:26 PM PDT by dirtboy (This tagline has been photoshopped)
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To: dirtboy

I can answer that question. The people who could issue a subpeona are not going to issue one. They already know what it would show. And the Rats in power in Maryland don't want to show that the whole thing was a setup.

4 posted on 08/30/2006 8:13:22 PM PDT by quikdrw (Life is's even tougher if you are stupid.)
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To: conservative in nyc

MD4Bush ping!

5 posted on 08/30/2006 8:14:58 PM PDT by RebelBanker (If you can't do something smart, do something right.)
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To: NCPAC; MD4Bush; xcullen; Anti-Bubba182; Mo1; cyncooper; BillF; crushkerry; Howlin; backhoe; ...

MD4Bush Ping!

6 posted on 08/30/2006 8:17:13 PM PDT by conservative in nyc
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To: dirtboy

Maryland is every bit as lawless as Arkansas. Corruption is the order of the day. It is routine for whistle blowers to have the entire government structure come down on them like thunder. The skeletons hidden away would glut Greenmount Cemetery.

7 posted on 08/30/2006 8:20:42 PM PDT by Louis Foxwell (Here come I, gravitas in tow.)
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To: Crouching Intern Stolen Sofa

wow...good to hear the governor is completely up to date on ALL the angles at play here...

8 posted on 08/30/2006 8:25:01 PM PDT by Katya (Homo Nosce Te Ipsum)
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To: Katya
If I'm following the article correctly, Greg Massoni, the Governor's press secretary, made the comments about Free Republic. It's clear that the governor's is following the whole MD4Bush saga, though.
9 posted on 08/30/2006 8:29:10 PM PDT by conservative in nyc
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To: dirtboy
I just want to know - why the heck has it taken so friggin' long for anyone to ask you with a subpeona just what happened here?

Don't forget what state this is happening in. Maryland has been run by a good ol' boy network of corrupt 'Rats for a long, long time.

The 'Rats running the MD legislature do not want to get to the bottom of this, because the bottom of this leads back to the fat 'Rats running MD politics.

10 posted on 08/30/2006 8:32:36 PM PDT by tgslTakoma (September 23rd - Washington, DC - Support Our Troops Rally - Will YOU be there?)
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To: Amos the Prophet

"Maryland is every bit as lawless as Arkansas."

Maryland IS Arkansas, but with all their teeth.

11 posted on 08/30/2006 8:33:23 PM PDT by Tulsa Ramjet ("If not now, when?")
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To: tgslTakoma; Jim Robinson

All it would take, from what I sense from JimRob's posts on the matter, would be a right (RIGHT) minded attorney to give him justification to bust this story loose. And it is bizzare that such has not happened yet. Methinks there is a lot below the surface here that would amaze us if it came to light.

12 posted on 08/30/2006 8:34:50 PM PDT by dirtboy (This tagline has been photoshopped)
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To: conservative in nyc
It sure sounds to me like this commission investigating doesn't really want to find the answers

Almost reminds me of the 9/11 commission

Out of sight .. out of mind

Can't comment or report if they don't see the evidence
13 posted on 08/30/2006 9:30:39 PM PDT by Mo1 (Bolton- "No one has explained how you negotiate a ceasefire with terrorists")
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To: Mo1
The commission has no interest in the MD4Bush saga - just whether the mean, evil Republican governor has illegally fired a handful of the seven-thousand or so poor, innocent at-will employees political hacks the Democrats placed on the state payroll over the past 35 years of virtually uncontested rule.
14 posted on 08/30/2006 11:28:00 PM PDT by conservative in nyc
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To: conservative in nyc

Thanks for the ping!

15 posted on 08/31/2006 4:51:16 AM PDT by Abby4116
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To: conservative in nyc


Massoni is wrong, though: I did not sit down and drink with EVERY reporter in the State of MD. I did, however, have a drink with Mike Miller at Sine Die - though he may have been drinking Coke.

Since I have no contact with the Ehrlich Administration any longer, I had no clue the Administration is still following this MD4Bush story so closely. At this point, it seems they are keeping closer tabs on it than I am.

16 posted on 08/31/2006 9:42:47 AM PDT by NCPAC
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To: conservative in nyc

Thanks for the ping.

17 posted on 08/31/2006 3:14:11 PM PDT by Anti-Bubba182
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