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O'Malley and the George Bush "Mini-Me"


Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley on Saturday dismissed as "politically motivated" a recently disclosed grant by the administration of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) to a University of Maryland researcher to determine whether Baltimore and several other jurisdictions are correctly reporting crime stats.

"It would appear to be a very thinly veiled attempt by the governor to mask his innuendo with an academic," said O'Malley, a Democrat running for governor.

His assessment came following an appearance before about 150 campaign volunteers in Prince George's that included several other swings at Ehrlich -- including calling him "the George Bush Mini-Me of Maryland."

The issue of crime stats was also the subject Saturday of a Baltimore Sun story about an O'Malley-commissioned audit of violent crime numbers from 1999, the last year of his predecessor's administration. The crime count was adjusted upward that year, from 15,251 to 18,735, as a result of the audit, which was conducted with the help of the FBI.

The higher count has allowed O'Malley to claim on the campaign trail--as he did just yesterday at a rally in Prince George's County--that violent crime has dropped more rapidly in Baltimore than any other of the nation's largest 25 cities. Based on the unaudited figure, violent crime would have declined nearly 24 percent between 1999 and 2004, rather than the roughly 37 percent that O'Malley cites.

Campaign aides to Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, O'Malley's Democratic primary rival, were quick to point to the Sun story, which also recounted some more recent statistical glitches. Duncan aides said it provided evidence of "fuzzy math" on the mayor's part. Duncan, who lags behind O'Malley in the polls, is set to unveil a crime plan Monday that will include a call for a statewide crime audit-- a not-so-subtle suggestion that something is amiss with Baltimore's current numbers.

O'Malley said the city's crime figures have been subject to several internal audits in recent years. And he said he would be open to an outside audit of more recent crime counts "if it could be done promptly and professionally..., it might be a good move," O'Malley said. But, he added, "whatever we initiate ourselves, our critics will say is part of the conspiracy and cover-up."

John Wagner

By Phyllis Jordan  |  February 11, 2006; 11:58 PM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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Wellford appears to be legitimate, but whatever the result, it will be cherry-picked by Ehrlich for political purposes.

Jim Brady is a liar. I don't know him; I don't want to know him. I know what he writes and he writes lies. For people who value integrity, it must be unpleasant to work for such a man. Perhaps, if you know him, other personal qualities compensate for his lack of integrity

Posted by: elliottg | February 12, 2006 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Is there any gun control legislation before the Maryland General Assembly this year?
I just want to remind them that ---guns don't shoot people, Vice Presidents do.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2006 9:19 AM | Report abuse

If I could be so presumptuous, I suggest that Jim Brady have a meeting or web chat with elliottg and talk this issue out. elliottg seems like a sincere and determined person who feels he has been wronged. As a regular Post reader, I'd sure like to know who is right and what went wrong. Maybe they both have legitimate points but how about if Mr. Brady acts like a mensch and just talks/chats honestly with this reader and resolves the problem for the future.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Not only are the crime statistics rigged, but also there are numerous violent crimes, according to WBAL-TV, Channel 11 in Baltimore, that are not even recorded!

Posted by: Marc Jan | February 15, 2006 4:35 AM | Report abuse

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