October 5, 2010

State Roundup, October 5, 2010

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FORECLOSURE HALT: Gov. Martin O’Malley has joined U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings in calling on mortgage servicers to voluntarily halt foreclosures in Maryland until they’re certain they’re following state law and can ensure residents aren’t being mistreated, Jamie Smith Hopkins reports for the Baltimore Sun. Here’s the story from the Gazette. The Associated Press’s Brian Witte wrote about O’Malley’s request. His story appears on the WTOP-Radio web site.

TURNOUT MATTERS: John Wagner of the Washington Post blogs that voter turnout will matter most in the race for governor.

FARM STUMP: Ex-gov Bob Ehrlich met with farmers in Frederick County yesterday to discuss their myriad concerns, writes Ike Wilson of the Frederick News Post. Ehrlich faced raw autumn weather and falling hay bales to make the pitch that he would be a friend to farmers if he were elected again, Fred Kunkle blogs for the Post.

REGULATORS ATTACKED: Meg Tully of the Frederick News Post writes that Ehrlich is attacking state regulators for creating an anti-business climate in the state. Here’s video excerpts of his interview.

CAMPAIGN TOUR: With one month to go, O’Malley will begin a tour of the state as he pushes on toward the November election, Julie Scharper blogs in the Sun. Sarah Breitenbach of the Gazette writes about O’Malley’s itinerary.

MIKULSKI POLL: U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s stature as “the most popular politician in Maryland” has been cut down a notch or two after the Post’s recent polls, though she still holds a commanding lead in the race, blogs Paul West of the Sun.

AFTER KRATOVIL: The national GOP and a pair of newly organized conservative operations are pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into attack ads against Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil in the increasingly negative fight for Maryland’s easternmost House district, Paul West of the Sun reports. West blogs about the GOP’s attack ad against Kratovil.

DISTRICT 31: In the race for state Senate in District 31 which Bryan Simonaire now holds, the debate has turned to money – who spent it, how much they spent and what they bought, writes Allison Bourg of the Annapolis Capital.

SUPER PAC FOR HOLT: Just months after the Supreme Court ruled that limits on corporate contributions in elections are unconstitutional, a D.C.-based organization is running ads in support of Republican Ken Holt for Baltimore County executive, surprising even him, blogs Bryan Sears of Patuxent Publishing. The ad is embedded in the text.

SMITH CLEAR: Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith won’t have to reimburse the county for use of plain clothes police protection who were present Sept. 14 while Smith worked at least one polling precinct in Parkville, blogs Bryan Sears for Patuxent.

HOLTON DEMOTED: Baltimore City Councilwoman Helen Holton lost her position at the helm of a powerful committee Monday after she pleaded no contest to a campaign-finance violation related to her work on the panel, Julie Scharper reports for the Sun. Joy Lepola of WBFF-TV reports on Holton’s no-contest plea.

BERNSTEIN’S BURDEN: Ann LoLordo of Baltimore Brew writes that small voter turnout gives Baltimore Attorney General candidate Gregg Bernstein less to crow about in his defeat of incumbent Pat Jessamy. It’s a sober reminder of the odds he faces as he attempts to deliver on the promise of a safer city.

PENSION CIO LEAVING: Mansco Perry, the chief investment officer for Maryland’s $33.7 billion pension fund for the last two and a half years, is returning to Minnesota where his family continued to live after he came to Maryland. He’ll be managing a much smaller $587 million endowment at a liberal arts college, reports Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com. Here’s an interview with him from June, conducted by Doug Halonen of Pensions & Investment.

PENSION PREVIEW: The Sun editorial page says repairing Maryland’s beleaguered state employee retirement system will require less reliance on pension benefits and more on defined contribution plans.

FUNERAL PROTESTS: The Post’s Michael Ruane reports that bikers protested the funeral protesters during an Arlington burial of a Silver Spring Navy SEAL. The funeral protesters are in D.C. for the start of the Supreme Court’s hearing on whether their inflammatory protests are legal.

PEPCO PROBE: State regulators are investigating Pepco’s reliability after a summer of long outages, and now a high-profile citizens group appointed by Montgomery County is jumping in as well, Michael Laris blogs for the Post.

BGE HEARINGS: Hanah Cho of the Sun reports that state regulators are holding public hearings on BGE’s rate increase request, giving citizens their say.