April 20, 2011

State Roundup, April 20, 2011

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MORE REMEMBRANCES OF SCHAEFER: The Sun’s Jean Marbella and Jacques Kelly speak with those close friends and aides who were with William Donald Schaefer as his health failed and when he died on Monday. It included an impromptu trumpet rendition of “Maryland, My Maryland.

The Gazette’s Margie Hyslop and Sarah Breitenbach report that politicians and lobbyists who knew both his generosity and fits of pique over two decades in statewide office say that Schaefer was an adversary, benefactor and mentor to generations of Montgomery residents.

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman took time off from his vacation earlier this week to Twitter a farewell to Schaefer, the iconic Baltimore mayor, Maryland governor and comptroller whom Ulman described as an “all-around Maryland legend,” reports Luke Broadwater for the Columbia Flyer.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz recalls his own Schaefer experiences in the summer of 1979, when he drove Schaefer around Baltimore City during the mayor’s re-election campaign, writes Bryan Sears of Patch.com.

Ed Waters of the Frederick News Post speaks with Comptroller Peter Franchot, who defeated Schaefer for that office, and local politicos about his legacy.

Stevenson resident Lainy LeBow-Sachs is remembering her longtime boss and friend, William Donald Schaefer, as a man whose entire life was driven to public service, writes Kevin Rector for the Towson Times. She was holding the former Baltimore mayor’s hand when he died on Monday.

Fern Shen of Baltimore Brew writes that the late mayor “blew through the city like a public works and public relations cyclone.”

On a steeply sloped block in West Baltimore, Schaefer is remembered as a neighbor who meticulously trimmed his rose bushes, received offerings of mud pies from small children and helped neighbors find jobs, Julie Scharper reports for the Sun. At the top of the page, you can view a video interview with Gov. Martin O’Malley, who speaks of Schaefer’s enduring legacy of listening, then acting.

Liz Kay of the Sun tours several spots that shout Schaefer’s legacy to speak with people, including Jon Koscher, general manager of the Sheraton Inner Harbor, who had brought his coffee and muffin to the Schaefer statue at the Inner Harbor to pay his respects to the “founding father of tourism in Baltimore.”

And the editors of Esquire post that famous Richard Ben Cramer profile of Schaefer from 1984.

In this Sun video clip, two former Schaefer aides speak about what it was like to work for him.

WHAT JOURNALISTS SAY: Sun sports writer Peter Schmuck recalls traveling with the California Angels in the late 1970s and being told there was no reason to go downtown – until there was. Ten years later, Schmuck was happily living in a Baltimore revitalized thanks to Schaefer.

Former editorial writer Ray Jenkins, who had his share of run-ins with the late mayor, writes that political leadership takes three qualities: vision, courage and tenacity, and Schaefer had all three.

On Midday with Dan Rodricks of WYPR-FM, WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Gil Sandler; Sandy Banisky, former Sun deputy managing editor, who covered Schaefer as a reporter, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and developer David Cordish share their memories of one of Maryland’s most colorful and controversial political figures. Listen to the first hour here, and the second hour here.

Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland writes that he never really understood the mystique surrounding the late Mayor and Gov. William Donald Schaefer, especially in his later cantankerous years.

Columnist Thomas Schaller writes in the Sun that what made Schaefer successful beyond mere longevity was the fact that his successes, and the manner in which he achieved them, were anything but secret.

FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS: Doug Tallman of Patch.com reports that Schaefer will be given a very public farewell.

Before he is laid to rest, reports Yeganeh June Torbati for the Sun, the body of the former Maryland governor and Baltimore mayor will be taken on a grand “final tour” of the iconic city sites he is largely responsible for making reality: the sports stadiums, Harborplace and the National Aquarium.

The Associated Press lists the funeral schedule in the Daily Record.

OPEN GOVERNMENT: Maryland made strides toward getting more of its government information easily accessible to the public during the last General Assembly session, writes Megan Poinski for MarylandReporter.com. But transparency advocates say there is still a long way for the state to go.

KONTERRA SETTLED: Gov. Martin O’Malley and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker made it official yesterday: The state has agreed to pay $74 million in infrastructure costs to settle a long festering lawsuit that has held up Konterra, one of the largest proposed mixed-use projects in Prince George’s, writes Miranda Spivack for the Post.

BUT FIRST WE WAIT: We usually wait around at media events for the governor to show while local officials cool their heels, blogs Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com. But yesterday, O’Malley was unusually on time and the cameras, flacks, developers and assorted functionaries waited – and waited – for Prince George’s County Exec Baker to show.

CRAB HARVEST: Even though the numbers are down, O’Malley pointed to a new estimate of the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab population yesterday, saying it was more evidence of the wisdom of controversial limits imposed on harvesting in 2008, John Wagner reports for the Post.

Pamela Wood of the Annapolis Capital reports that while the blue crab population is shrinking after three years of resurgence, scientists aren’t worried because other crab indicators are pointing in the right direction.

MO CO SMALL BIZ: Montgomery County small-business owners told U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin that they want more help accessing capital, loans and government contracts, writes Kevin James Shay for the Gazette.

DEPORTATION PROGRAM: Montgomery County is expected to begin participating in a federal deportation program in September, in which anyone brought into county jails is fingerprinted and that information is sent to the FBI and immigration officials, reports Erin Cunningham of the Gazette. One county councilwoman has concerns about the program.

LEOPOLD’S BUDGET: Given a miserable situation – a weak economy and shrunken tax revenue – County Executive John Leopold’s fiscal 2012 budget proposal is a good performance, opines the editorial board for the Annapolis Capital.

And Republican Michael Collins predicts in the Capital that the budget shows battle lines forming along three fronts: School board vs. county employees; School and county employees vs. taxpayers; and Democrats vs. Republicans.

WICOMICO TAX HIKE: Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt has proposed a $111.4 million budget for next year, an austere spending plan that hits public schools with more cuts and boosts revenues with a 5-cent property tax hike, Greg Latshaw reports for the Salisbury Daily Times.