EDWARD REISINGER AND HIS FAMILY own a tiny little bar in Morrell Park called Good Times, where amusement devices line the narrow walls. Reisinger, a Democrat, is the 10th District city councilman and chairs the Land Use and Transportation Committee, which in April recommended expanding the presence of such regulated devices in neighborhood businesses like his. The machines are known to be used for illegal gambling, yet the Baltimore Licensed Beverage Association, which represents bars and other liquor establishments, requested the bill, and its supporters have donated heavily to Reisinger's re-election campaign. The measure still awaits a full City Council vote.
Let's recap: A bar-owning councilman's committee touts a law backed by his campaign donors to expand opportunities for illegal gambling at bars. That is some old-school politics, but Reisinger comes from the old school. His father was a South Baltimore state delegate during the midcentury apex of the Stonewall Democratic Club's since-waned power, when the late state senators George W. Della Sr. (father of today's 46th District state senator) and Harry J. "Soft Shoes" McGuirk ran the show south of the Inner Harbor ("Bossin' Around," June 29, 1979, reprinted Aug. 1, 2007). Reisinger himself showed his Morrell Park colors three summers ago, when he got into a scrap with a convicted drug dealer who assaulted him after Reisinger stepped out of Good Times and confronted the guy for throwing trash in the street. "The system took a drug dealer off the streets of Morrell Park, and that's what I wanted," Reisinger told the judge after his attacker got six months in jail ("Street Violence," Mobtown Beat, Oct. 13, 2004).