October 4, 2012

State Roundup, October 4, 2012

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CONGRESSIONAL SPRAWL: A new national study finds that Maryland is still the undisputed U.S. champion when it comes to drawing sprawling, weirdly shaped congressional districts, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

GRID UPGRADE: Scott Dance of the Sun reports that Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. customers could see a $1 to $2 fee added to their monthly bills under a proposal from Gov. Martin O’Malley to make the electricity grid more reliable.

COPPERFIELD PROMOTES GAMBLING: Recorded phone calls from David Copperfield, the world-famous magician, are now arriving in the homes of voters to promote the ballot measure on expanded gambling, John Wagner blogs in the Post.

O’MALLEY ATTACKS PENN NATIONAL: Amid an escalating multi-million dollar ad war, Gov. Martin O’Malley yesterday upped the ante, using the bully pulpit of his office to stage a counter assault, questioning the integrity of gambling opponents’ campaign, blogs Aaron Davis and John Wagner in the Post.

Gov. O’Malley had unleashed a withering tirade against Penn National Gaming over its ads in the state’s referendum over expanded gambling in Maryland, accusing the company of using “false and baseless” arguments to protect its West Virginia casino, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun.

O’Malley called the ads opposing Maryland’s expanded gambling referendum “a bunch of West Virginia hooey,” writes Alexander Pyles for the Daily Record.

MTA TOLL COLLECTION LEGISLATION: The Maryland Transportation Authority is drafting legislation that it hopes will make it easier for the agency to collect unpaid video tolling citations, Sam Smith writes for MarylandReporter.com.

JUVIE LOCKUP: Sun columnist Dan Rodricks writes that it’s not news that O’Malley says plans for a new youth detention center in Baltimore, first hatched under his Republican predecessor, are “moving forward,” despite substantive opposition to the idea, and despite the cost. The governor apparently believes that if there’s one thing taxpayers don’t mind, it’s spending money to lock guys up. Even if they’re 14 years old.

PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE WATCHING: John Fritze of the Sun spent some time with Johns Hopkins University students as they watched last night’s presidential debate and gets their reactions.

Pete McCarthy and Cara Anthony of the Frederick News Post writes that Republicans and Democrats met separately Wednesday night in Frederick to watch the long-awaited first presidential debate, casting President Barack Obama as “the better candidate” and challenger Mitt Romney as the right man “to create jobs and maintain jobs” in a poor economy.

DELANEY FAILED TO VOTE: Democratic congressional candidate John Delaney failed to vote in two recent elections, a record that drew a swift rebuke Wednesday from his foe in Maryland’s most closely watched race, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, reports Ben Pershing in the Post. John Fritze at the Sun has the story as well.

DEMS ON MOONEY: What a former state senator is calling a paperwork snafu has led to allegations that he violated federal election laws, writes Katherine Heerbrant in the Gazette. The Maryland Democratic Party maintains that former state Sen. Alex Mooney cannot be a congressional aide and a congressional candidate for the same seat at the same time

CHARTER GOVERNMENT IN FREDERICK: A panel of prominent local figures debated Wednesday night over whether a proposed reshaping of Frederick County government would bring decision-making home to the people or lock it behind closed doors, reports Bethany Rodgers in the Frederick News Post.

Charter supporters still have a lot of work to do ahead of the election, said Karlys Kline, a member of the Charter Education Coalition, which is making presentations to provide information about the ballot question, reports Ryan Marshall of the Gazette.

COLUMBIA DO-OVER: Dan Rodricks of WYPR-FM speaks with Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and Del. Elizabeth Bobo about redevelopment plans for Columbia, Maryland’s nationally famous planned community, founded in the 1960s by developer James Rouse as “The Next America.”