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Rolley opens shop in Hampden

Politics often has strange bedfellows.

For that, look no further than Hampden where, located between a tattoo parlor and a new age bookshop,  mayoral candidate Otis Rolley has opened his campaign headquarters.

Workers on Thursday morning hoisted a ladder to position a campaign sign on the three-story row house at 814 W. 36th St. Inside, the Geek Squad was working to set up high-tech communication lines under the watch of a few campaign workers.

The headquarters officially opened Wednesday evening with a mini-rally that drew close to 100, said a campaign staffer.

Dan Fee, Rolley’s campaign manager who has helped to head mayoral, city council and district attorney races in Philadelphia, said Rolley will formally announce his candidacy next Wednesday – but Fee was mum on any further details of where and when.

“The details will be available when we’re ready to tell them,” Fee said.

Rolley, 36, the city’s planning director under Mayor Martin O’Malley and then chief of staff for Mayor Sheila Dixon, said in a brief interview Thursday that locating his headquarters in Hampden is symbolic.

“It is centrally located, smack in the middle of Baltimore,” he said. “And a lot of my focus in this campaign is to bring focus back to all of its parts. Hampden is a good role model of what our neighborhoods should and could have.”

Rolley said his campaign, which favors lowering property taxes and growing the city’s job base, is progressing well and that he’s been listening to voters. That offered him a chance to take a swat at his opponent, current Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

“There seems to be an attitude that people are hungry for change, that there is a broken city government and a lack of customer service,” he said. “The issues I’m hearing about are consistent with my platform, and that’s encouraging.”