Saturday, August 22, 2009

ANNAPOLIS | A Maryland lawmaker is broadening his apology for a marriage-proposal stunt involving police resources at the Inner Harbor to include city residents and his constituents in suburban Baltimore County.

Democratic Delegate Jon S. Cardin, 39, already had apologized to the Baltimore Police Department and talked with Mayor Sheila Dixon. He detailed his further apology Thursday in a Web site posting “given the interest of the past few days.”

“I believe that public office is not held through entitlement, but through continued hard work in the service of others,” Mr. Cardin wrote.

Police are investigating the Aug. 7 incident, in which Mr. Cardin took his girlfriend on a boat ride with close friends. Police officers boarded the boat and pretended to conduct a search, and a police helicopter flew overhead. During the search, which Mr. Cardin described in a previous posting as a “fuss,” he surprised Megan Homer of Rockville with a marriage proposal, and she accepted.

The lawmaker wrote Thursday that “in retrospect, my plan — as romantic as it was for my fiancee — was ill-conceived. No matter how brief the event, city resources should not have been involved.”

“I very much hope that this mistake in judgment will not define my career or deflect from my continued efforts to improve and develop policies concerning smart energy, health, finance, and the environment,” Mr. Cardin added.

Mr. Cardin, the nephew of Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, Maryland Democrat, already has pledged to reimburse the city for expenses incurred by the incident.

“I hope that this statement will serve as my apology to the citizens of the great city of Baltimore and my constituents,” Mr. Cardin wrote.

Baltimore County Republican Party Chairman Chris Cavey has called on a General Assembly ethics panel to investigate whether Mr. Cardin “used his state office in abusing police resources for the delegate’s marriage proposal stunt.”

Delegate Brian K. McHale, a Baltimore Democrat who chairs the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics, said he thinks the police investigation should be completed before legislators take any action.

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