September 1, 2011

State Roundup, September 1, 2011

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BALTIMORE COUNTY VS. BGE: Baltimore County lags behind the rest of the state in getting power restored after Hurricane Irene, and officials are getting more critical of Baltimore Gas and Electric, report The Sun’s Annie Linskey and Hanah Cho.

BGE officials responded to a critical assessment of their performance that Del. Pat McDonough gave to the Public Services Commission, saying that the delegate was “flat wrong” in pronouncing the utility to not be storm ready, according to an Associated Press story in The Daily Record.

Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is closely tracking hour-by-hour progress in restoring power on his iPad, said that he will not be happy until all customers in the state have electricity, reports The Sun’s Annie Linskey. At noon on Wednesday, there were still 140,000 households without power, blogged The Daily Record’s Nick Sohr.

OCEAN CITY LOSSES: Comptroller Peter Franchot says the evacuation of Ocean City cost the state about $2 million in revenues, the first estimate of the hurricane’s impact on state revenues, John Wagner reports in the Washington Post blog.

STORM DAMAGE: Gov. Martin O’Malley and other state officials continue to tour storm damage in Anne Arundel and St. Mary’s counties, John Wagner reports in the Post.

LEAVE CONTROVERSY: Baltimore officials are demanding that mayoral candidate Otis Rolley repay the city $26,000 for paid leave his wife took – but had not earned – while Rolley says that the controversy is “political bullying,” reports The Sun’s Julie Scharper.

WBAL has video.

CORDISH CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS: Meanwhile, other mayoral candidates want Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to return campaign contributions she received from developer David Cordish, reports Baltimore Brew’s Fern Shen. She received $16,000 when he was seeking rent relief for his Power Plant attractions, plus $4,000 from a Cordish-controlled partnership and $1,000 from Cordish’s wife, reports Brew’s Mark Reutter.

EARLY VOTING: Early voting starts today in the Baltimore City elections, reports The Sun’s Nicole Fuller. A list of polling places is here.

Listen to a roundtable discussion on the city elections from the Marc Steiner Show on WEAA.

INVEST MARYLAND BOARD: O’Malley swore in the nine-member Maryland Venture Authority Board, which will oversee his Invest Maryland program, designed to pump at least $70 million into new high tech companies, blogs Nick Sohr of The Daily Record.

The Board’s chairman is Peter Greenleaf, president of MedImmune, reports Scott Dance of the Baltimore Business Journal. He goes through the board’s other members here.

ENDANGERED OYSTERS: A new University of Maryland study says that Chesapeake Bay oysters are more depleted than previously thought, and recommends the end of their commercial harvest, reports The Sun’s Timothy Wheeler.

DAN BONGINO: Ben Pershing of the Post profiles Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Bongino.

FEDERAL HIGHWAY FUNDS: Marylanders Adam Vencill and Chris Negley, both of whom are senior inspectors for KCI Technologies, joined President Obama in the White House Rose Garden as examples of people who will lose their jobs if Congress doesn’t pass a highway bill by the end of the month, reports The Sun’s John Fritze.

SEWAGE SPILL: Safeguards to protect pumping stations from sewage overflow failed to prevent 12 stations from dumping into the Patapsco River, a public works official tells Marc Shapiro of Patch.com.

REPLACING JOHNSON: A crowded field of 15 candidates – 14 Democrats and one Republican – are in line to replace former Prince George’s County Councilwoman Leslie Johnson, who resigned over corruption charges in July, reports The Washington Post’s Miranda Spivack.

AAA FOR PG COUNTY: Fitch Ratings announced that Prince George’s County will keep its AAA credit rating, reports The Gazette’s Erich Wagner and Daniel Leaderman. The county is waiting on ratings from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.

REDISTRICTING: MarylandReporter.com’s Len Lazarick attends redistricting hearings in Anne Arundel and Howard counties, listening to Republicans asking for more fair district lines and complaints about the process.

People from Anne Arundel County begged members of the Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee to put all of the county into one Congressional district – or at most divide it between two districts, reports The Capital’s Earl Kelly.

Meanwhile, Howard County residents asked committee members to keep communities together and avoid gerrymandering, reports the Howard County Times’ Lindsey McPherson.

GARRETT COUNTY GETS LEAN: Garrett County Commissioners will be appointing a nine-member Efficiency Task Force to recommend less costly county government practices and save money reports the Cumberland Times-News’ Angie Brant.