'Our Work Is Not Done,' O'Malley Says
Md. Democrats Turn Out For Baltimore Inauguration
By John Wagner
Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 8, 2004; Page B08

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (D) touted his city's "comeback" as he was sworn in to a second term yesterday but acknowledged that some goals remain unfulfilled.

"While we have not accomplished all that we envisioned, we have achieved more than many believed was possible," said O'Malley, who is widely expected to run for governor of Maryland in 2006. "Though older, grayer and humbled by setbacks and tragedies, we gather today to declare that our work is not done," he said.

O'Malley rattled off several measures of progress since his 1999 election, including a rise in city home values, billions in new business investment, rising test scores among schoolchildren and a 40 percent reduction in crime.

Though he alluded to shortcomings, O'Malley made no specific mention of some of the less favorable news that has greeted him in recent months, including an increase in the homicide rate and the firing last month of his third police commissioner since taking office.

O'Malley's stewardship of the long-ailing city is likely to become a prominent issue both in the Democratic primary for governor and a general election against Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), if O'Malley becomes his party's nominee.

Yesterday's noontime inauguration ceremony drew several hundred people to the War Memorial Building across from City Hall, including some of the state's top Democrats: U.S. Sens. Paul S. Sarbanes and Barbara A. Mikulski, as well as Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr., O'Malley's father-in-law.

Joining O'Malley on stage were his wife, Catherine, whom he called "my sword and my shield," and their four children, the eldest three of whom spoke briefly to the crowd.

O'Malley, who in November won 87 percent of the vote in the heavily Democratic city, has just completed a five-year term, an anomaly in Baltimore politics. City voters backed an initiative in 1999 to align the mayoral elections with presidential contests as a way to save money on administrative costs.

The Maryland General Assembly, however, reserves the right to designate primary election dates and has since declined to move Baltimore's primary to the same year as its general election.

As a result, Baltimore voters approved another initiative last month restoring its old election cycle. To compensate for the change, the term O'Malley began serving yesterday is scheduled to expire in three years.

O'Malley used his second inaugural address to call upon residents to continue working to clean up neighborhoods, mentor Baltimore's children and join with citizens groups to fight drugs.

"In Baltimore, there is no such thing as a spare neighborhood, and there is no such thing as a spare American," O'Malley said. "Everyone is needed."

© 2004 The Washington Post Company