October 17, 2012

State Roundup, October 17, 2012

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GALLAUDET CONTROVERSY: Jenna Johnson of the Post reports that the president of Gallaudet University says that the chief diversity officer put on administrative leave after signing an anti-gay marriage petition is welcome to eventually return to her position. But an attorney representing Angela McCaskill said that would likely only happen if the university compensates McCaskill for the emotional distress she endured, along with the damage to her reputation. There are also calls for university trustees to examine the situation. McCaskill said she is pro-democracy, not anti-gay, Johnson reports.

Speaking at a news conference yesterday outside the Maryland State House, McCaskill said, “This has been a tremendously horrific time for myself and my family. The university has allowed this issue to escalate out of control. They have attempted to intimidate me. They have tarnished my reputation.” Annie Linskey reports the story. There is also video from the conference.

PASTORS ON GAY MARRIAGE: Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM speaks with four area pastors about the the gay marriage referendum, which is finding defenders and detractors among the clergy.

REDISTRICTING MAP: Comptroller Peter Franchot has become the latest prominent Democrat to reject the congressional redistricting map drawn by Gov. Martin O’Malley and the General Assembly, urging Marylanders to vote it down at the polls Nov. 6, the Sun’s Michael Dresser is reporting.

Alexander Pyles of the Daily Record quotes a statement from Franchot, sent after he made comments on WBAL Radio’s The C4 Show: “I am a Democrat, and I like to win elections as much of the next guy. But not by fixing the outcome and not by compromising our state’s reputation by making a mockery of the electoral process.”

Rachel Baye of the Washington Examiner is reporting about a new study that finds that four of Maryland’s recently redrawn congressional districts are among the 25 least-compact congressional districts in the country.

OPEN MEETINGS: In an opinion piece for MarylandReporter.com, Len Lazarick addresses the state Open Meetings Act, its need for revision and for a revitalized Open Meetings Compliance Board.

EXPANDED GAMBLING: Blogging in the Post, John Wagner writes that Michael Steele and Audrey Scott, two prominent Maryland Republicans and former Ehrlich administration officials, on Tuesday threw their support behind Question 7, the state’s expanded gambling measure.

At a summit that brought a host of Prince George’s County and state officials to Upper Marlboro last week to discuss the future of gambling in Maryland, a new player revealed his hand – Bowie Mayor G. Frederick Robinson officially stood in support of passing an expansion of gambling, Alan McCombs writes in the Gazette.

PIT BULL SUIT: A lawsuit challenging both the Maryland Court of Appeals ruling that pit bulls are “inherently dangerous” and a Baltimore landlord’s decision to ban the animals from its property to avoid liabilities created under the ruling was recently amended to include the state’s governor, attorney general and chief appeals judge as defendants, reports Kevin Rector in the Sun.

LIFELONG REPUBLICANS? Mark Newgent at Red Maryland posts this: Looks like Democrats have found another one of those “lifelong Republicans” to cut an ad in support another one of their causes. And by “lifelong Republican” they mean Democratic activists and contributors. In this case, it is John Hawks of Monkton, who cut an ad in support of the Maryland Dream Act and has contributed to national Democratic candidates.

TEETH FOR AUDITORS: Tired of auditors finding the same problems in state agencies over and over again, legislators on the Joint Audit Committee kicked around proposals that would put some teeth in the law and force agencies fix the problems auditors found, writes Sam Smith of MarylandReporter.com.

DWYER CRASH PROBE: Erin Cox of the Sun reports that the eve of the next General Assembly session will arrive before authorities complete an investigation into Del. Don Dwyer, who admitted he was drunk while piloting a speed boat in a collision that seriously injured six people this past summer. Authorities said that witness interviews and toxicology screens are still incomplete.

SOBHANI TO DEBATE: U.S. Senate candidate Rob Sobhani says he has found bipartisanship in Washington, and he doesn’t like it one bit. Sobhani, who is running as an independent for Ben Cardin’s seat, has accused the two major-party candidates of making a pact to exclude him from public debates, writes Frank Kunkle in the Post. But on Tuesday, he got word that Salisbury University has agreed to sponsor a debate among all senatorial candidates at 3 p.m. Oct. 30.

Jennifer Shutt of the Salisbury Daily Times writes about the debate plans.

BARTLETT’S TOUGH HAUL: Thomas Schaller, in an op-ed for the Sun, writes that David Wasserman, who handicaps House races for the Cook Political Report, rates Maryland’s 6th Congressional District race “likely Democratic,” attributing John Delaney’s advantage over incumbent Roscoe Bartlett to his deep pockets, the Democrat-favorable map, and the fact that Bartlett “failed to get the opponent he wanted” from the Democratic primary.

3rd & 4th DISTRICT FORUM: Tim Prudente of the Capital-Gazette writes about the well-attended debate held last night for the 3rd and 4th Congressional District races.

PRESIDENTIAL POLLING: Jimmy DeButts of the Capital-Gazette talks to Annapolis area businesses that are selling presidential items, including food, and discovering their customers’ political tastes.

CLINTON ON ECONOMY: Former President Bill Clinton told a sold-out crowd in Baltimore last night that he is confident Washington will work quickly through the nation’s looming fiscal crisis after the election despite predictions that partisanship will continue to leave the federal government gridlocked next year. John Fritze of the Sun also writes that Clinton also held a fund-raiser for 6th Congressional District candidate John Delaney.