State Roundup July 12, 2010

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O’MALLEY AD: Gov. Martin O’Malley released his first TV commercial, which will begin airing in Baltimore today, writes WBAL’s Robert Lang. A spokesman for challenger Bob Ehrlich says the ad “ignores the facts and distorts the record.” The 30-second ad, called “Tough Choices,” moves away from O’Malley’s earlier negative radio ads and highlights O’Malley’s record, blogs Aaron C. Davis of The Washington Post. Annie Linskey of The Baltimore Sun delves into financial records to determine the ad’s truthfulness.

GOVERNOR’S RACE: Annie Linskey of the Sun introduces the people running for governor who aren’t incumbent Martin O’Malley or Republican challenger Bob Ehrlich.

AN LG’S JOB: What does a Maryland lieutenant governor do for $125,000 a year, besides waiting for the governor to become incapacitated? Whatever the governor tells him or her to do, writes Len Lazarick of

BALTIMORE SHAKEUP: Public Works Director David Scott resigned because of a “difference of opinion” with Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s administration, and two other departments — Transportation and General Services — get new leadership, writes The Baltimore Sun’s Julie Scharper. Melody Simmons of The Daily Record writes about new Public Works Director Alfred H. Foxx Jr. — the former head of transportation — and new transportation head Khalil A. Zaied — the former head of General Services. Video of Scott and Rawlings-Blake’s statement on the shakeup are available from WBAL’s Robert Lang.

MARC: MTA chief Ralign T. Wells tells Michael Dresser of the Sun about his plans to turn the agency around.

HARFORD COUNTY: No Democrats are running for the county’s top elected offices in this former Democratic stronghold, writes Mary Gail Hare of the Baltimore Sun.

HOMELAND SECURITY: Gov. Martin O’Malley is serving a second term as co-chair of a National Governors’ Association panel dealing with homeland security. O’Malley is sharing panel leadership with Arizona Gov. Janice Brewer, writes Liz Kay of The Baltimore Sun.

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY: County Council candidate Perry Ealim has a warrant for failing to appear in court, County Council candidate Demetria Stallings is on probation until October for abusing two vulnerable adults in her care, reports Scott Daugherty of The Capital. Other candidates for county offices don’t have much in the way of court records, Daugherty writes.

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY: County Council member Tony Knotts, a Democrat who told media he was running for county executive, and even has a campaign website, did not file as a candidate for office, The Washington Post’s Jonathan Mummolo blogged. A recent civil lawsuit claims Knotts was trying to get campaign contributions in exchange for a county-funded office lease, and state prosecutors are investigating those claims.

TEACHER UNIONS LAW: A new law stripping the Maryland State Board of Education of the ability to resolve disputes between teachers’ unions and local school boards may drastically diminish the state’s bargaining leverage, says an editorial in The Washington Post.

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION: Why hold a constitutional convention when there’s no need for one, ponders the Sun’s editorial board.

SCHOOL SPENDING: O’Malley’s pledge to spend $1 billion on school buildings is a much needed investment in the state’s future. Read that piece, by the Sun’s editorial board, here. Megan Poinski at reports that state audits of local school spending have been made permanent.

BALTIMORE COUNTY EXEC RACE: Ron Harvey, a last minute entry in the Democratic Primary for Baltimore County exec, says county government hiring practices worry him, reports Robert Lang for WBAL Radio.

WOMEN ON COUNCIL: Bryan Sears of Patuxent Publishing devotes his blog to a letter from Tracy Gingher, who writes that Baltimore County would be better off with women on the council.

CAMPAIGN SIGNS: The corner at the Double-T diner is packed with signs: One for Ehrlich, another  for O’Malley. One is for Kamenetz; another for Bartenfelder,  blogs Len Lazarick of

LIVING WAGE: Adam May of WJZ-TV reports that the living wage issue pits Baltimore City government against big business.

DIVERSITY IN SOMERSET: Somerset County voters will have a wide choice of candidates in the upcoming elections, including a large number of African-Americans running for office, Liz Holland writes for the Salisbury Daily Times.

CARROLL COMMISSIONERS: 28 hopefuls vie for Carroll County’s Board of Commissioners, which now elects one candidate per district, reports Charles Schelle of the Carroll Eagle.