June 17, 2011

State Roundup, June 17, 2011

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ROBOCALL INDICTMENT: Longtime political operatives Julius Henson and Paul Schurick, who worked on ex- Gov. Bob Ehrlich’s unsuccessful 2010 gubernatorial campaign, were indicted and charged with ordering election night robocalls designed to keep people from coming to vote, report Annie Linskey and Julie Bykowicz of The Sun. The indictments are available here in the Sun. Bykowicz blogs some of the details here.

Schurick was Ehrlich’s de facto campaign manager, and Henson was a paid aide, reports The Post’s John Wagner. There is no indication that Ehrlich is personally targeted in the investigation.

Charges include three counts of conspiracy to violate state election laws, one count of attempting to influence a voter’s decision whether to go to the polls through the use of fraud, and one count of failing to provide an authority line on distributed campaign material. Schurick also has been charged with obstruction of justice, according to an Associated Press report from Brian Witte that appears in the Annapolis Capital.

The two are scheduled to be arraigned on July 18, writes Steve Lash from the Daily Record.

Ehrlich issued a statement supporting Schurick, reports The Washington Times’ David Hill.

A spokeswoman for O’Malley, who won the election by a 15-point margin, called the indictment unfortunate, reports The Examiner’s Brian Hughes.

The Sun’s editorial writers feel that maybe such a high-profile indictment will show people in Maryland that dirty election tricks aren’t worth it.

WBAL’s Jayne Miller has a video story. Fox 45 also had video on their homepage.

PUSHING BROADBAND: Gov. Martin O’Malley appeared with Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder to call for national wireless broadband for public safety officials, writes The Sun’s John Fritze.

TOLL HIKE PROTEST: Hundreds of people showed up to protest proposed toll hikes at a Maryland Transportation Authority public hearing on Thursday night at Perryville High School, with about 1,000 people actually attending the meeting, writes Bryna Zumer of the Aegis.

There was also  a crowded hearing on the Bay Bridge toll hikes Wednesday night at Kent Island High School, Dan Menefee reports in the Chestertown Spy.

CLAGETT FOR COMPTROLLER: In a Gazette op-ed, Joe Volz writes that Del. Galen Clagett is likely to run for comptroller if Peter Franchot runs for governor.

MAYORS IN BALTIMORE: The U.S. Conference of Mayors has its annual four-day conference in Baltimore this weekend, which Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said is an “incredible opportunity” to show off the city, writes The Sun’s Julie Scharper.  In the Baltimore Insider blog, the Sun’s Laura Vozzella comes up with mayors who she’d like to see duking it out on the bocce court in a Friday night tournament in Little Italy. The Baltimore Business Journal’s Alexander Jackson runs down several of the other events scheduled for the weekend.

ASIA TRIP: Columnist Barry Rascovar in the Gazette writes that the payoff to Gov. Martin O’Malley’s trip to China, Korea and Vietnam could be years away.

OYSTER POACHING: Stopping oyster poaching is crucial to the health of the Chesapeake Bay, Benjamin Ford reports in the Gazette.

UNIVERSITY DIVERSITY: In a speech to the American Association of University Professor, Towson’s Richard Vatz decried the lack of political diversity on university campus, Alan Brody writes in the Gazette.

COUNTY EXECS FOR RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, and Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett all endorsed Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for another term, reports The Sun’s Julie Scharper.

ONE MORE CANDIDATE: Investigative Voice’s Regina Holmes reports that the Rev. Daki Napata, a community organizer and activist, plans to join the field of candidates running for Baltimore mayor.

ORDER IN THE COURT: Daily Record opinionators say an audit showing problems with reconciling, collecting and making payments in the Baltimore City Circuit Court should be enough to force the courts into becoming more organized.

AA FIREARMS REPORTING: Anne Arundel Councilmember Jerry Walker is lobbying to exempt secondhand firearms dealers from reporting acquisitions to police, reports The Sun’s Nicole Fuller.

CARROLL COUNTY ON MARRIAGE: The Carroll County Board of Commissioners and its General Assembly delegation passed a resolution saying that a marriage between men and women builds a foundation for healthy families, reports Christian Alexandersen of the Carroll County Times.

PLEA IN JOHNSON CASE: The owner of a Langley Park liquor store pleaded guilty to offering bribes to former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson in exchange for official favors, reports The Post’s June Wu and Ruben Castaneda.

MOCO SCHOOL INVESTIGATION: After a surplus of $14.5 million was found in the final days of budget negotiations, he Montgomery County Inspector General’s Office will take a close look at the Board of Education’s budgeting process, reports The Examiner’s Rachel Baye.

PG REDISTRICTING: A new political action committee has been formed to make sure that legislative and congressional district lines are drawn fairly this year, Alan Brody reports in the Gazette.

REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: The Gazette’s Reporters Notebook has items on UnderArmour’s Kevin Plank; Sen. J.B. Jennings return home; education level of lawmakers; departure of GOP spokesman Ryan Mahoney; a quick Montgomery County delegation meeting; and several Howard County events.