Schmoke campaign manager defending Jessamy
Over the Baltimore Crime Beat blog, Baltimore Sun colleague Justin Fenton tracks down the sender of an unsigned e-mail written in support of Baltimore City State's Attorney Paticia C. Jessamy:
The first line read, "Jessamy: Tough and Smart on Crime," (her campaign slogan) and it proceeded to explain that since Jessamy took office in 1995, crime had declined substantially. It didn't say whether Jessamy was taking credit for this decline, nor did it draw any parallels between prosecutions and crime rate. There was no contact information.
In an attempt to discern the sender's identity, I wrote back. It turned out it was from none other than Larry S. Gibson, an old hand in politics once described as the "man behind [former mayor] Kurt Schmoke" and a political "kingmaker" in the city. Though the statistics and exact wording of the email appear on the front page of Jessamy's election web site, Gibson said he had prepared the email as a private citizen because it was important that the "public know the truth," calling Democratic primary challenger Gregg Bernstein "dishonest."
Gibson said he has had almost no involvement in local politics since 1999 (he ran former state's attorney Stuart Simms' failed bid for Attorney General in 2006), but wants to get involved with the Jessamy campaign. "I intend to do what I can to re-elect Patricia Jessamy," he wrote in a reply email.
Among the stats highlighted is the 80 percent decline in rapes, which victim's advocates say "doesn't make sense on any planet" as a team of detectives audits police investigations.
It's an interesting strategy, to be highlighting police statistics as she is criticized over conviction rates, which she has called an "old school" way of measuring effectiveness. The police, among Jessamy's biggest critics, would say they achieved those declines in spite of her office, not because of it. But it's not the first time Jessamy has made the claim, telling The Sun's Julie Bykowicz in May: "I tell everyone ... crime has been going down since 1995, and the only consistent thing there has been me."
Read more on Patricia C. Jessamy and Larry S. Gibson at Baltimore Crime Beat.