August 7, 2013

State Roundup, August 7, 2013

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ELECTION ROUNDUPS: MarylandReporter.com’s attempt this week to provide an overview of candidates and campaign activity from July generated a lot of email — mostly from candidates or their supporters who thought we had left them out inadvertently or, of course, on purpose.

PURPLE LINE PRIVATIZATION: WYPR’s Fraser Smith and John Wagner of the Washington Post talk about Gov. Martin O’Malley’s announcement that the state will seek a public-private partnership for construction and operation of the Purple Line in the Washington suburbs, and what that means for Baltimore’s Red Line.

GANG LEADER PLEADS GUILTY: The man investigators say ran the dominant Black Guerrilla Family gang from within a Baltimore City Detention Center has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy. He is also at the center of a scandal involving prison guards, according to WMAR-TV.

DWYER AGAIN PLEADS GUILTY: Del. Don Dwyer again pleaded guilty to operating a boat while drunk during a crash last year that left seven people injured, including himself, Michael Dresser reports in the Sun. Dwyer entered the plea in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court three months after he admitted to the same charge in county District Court. He decided to appeal to the higher court after a judge sentenced him to 30 days in jail, a $1,000 fine and a year of supervised probation.

It will be up to a visiting judge, however, to decide in October whether to accept the plea deal that Dwyer reached with prosecutors, which calls for no additional incarceration, reports John Wagner for the Post. Dwyer previously spent two days under lockdown in an alcohol treatment program.

District Court Judge Robert Wilcox sentenced Dwyer to jail for the misdemeanor offense, saying a lawmaker should be held to a higher standard, according to an AP story in the Capital-Gazette.

O’MALLEY STUMPS FOR BOOKER: Gov. Martin O’Malley plans to head to New Jersey on Thursday to campaign for Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the favorite in the Garden State’s U.S. Senate race, the Post’s John Wagner writes.

O’Malley will host two solo events in Trenton and Paterson and appear alongside Booker in Newark, Erin Cox writes in the Sun.

FEWER FURLOUGH DAYS: Thousands of workers at Fort Meade and the Naval Academy received welcome news Tuesday when the Department of Defense cut civilian workers’ furlough days from 11 to six, report Alex Jackson and Sara Blumberg in the Capital-Gazette.

As many as 1,350 civilian workers at Fort Detrick will soon see that relief as well, reports Courtney Mabeus for the Frederick News-Post.

CRAIG BLASTS OBAMACARE ‘TAX:’ Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate David Craig Monday said expected increases in health insurance rates mandated by the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amounts to a “massive new tax” on residents, writes Bryan Sears for Patch.com.

According to a recent GAO report, the least expensive Obamacare plan will be 83% higher than the least expensive plan under Maryland’s current system, Sarah Hurtubise writes in the Daily Caller.

MIZEUR SEEKS INQUIRY: John Wagner of the Post reports that Del. Heather Mizeur, a Maryland gubernatorial candidate, on Tuesday called on Gov. Martin O’Malley to launch a state inquiry into the case of a Frederick County man with Down Syndrome who died while being arrested for overstaying his visit to a movie theater.

Robert Ethan Saylor, 26, died Jan. 12 of asphyxiation after the three deputies brought him to the floor and briefly handcuffed him in a movie theater, writes Danielle Gaines for the Frederick News-Post.

PICKING PIPKIN’S REPLACEMENT: The decision of state Sen. E.J. Pipkin to resign from the state Senate is already setting in motion the mechanism to choose a successor, writes Jack Shaum of the Bay Times.

Del. Mike Smigiel said he has put his name in for the nomination to replace Sen. E.J. Pipkin, who will resign effective Aug. 12. Republican Central Committees from the four Upper Shore Counties will submit a name or names to the governor, reports Daniel Menefee for MarylandReporter.com.

DEL. LEE SEEKS SEN. FROSH’S SEAT: Del. Susan Lee has filed for the Maryland Senate just after her District 16 colleague, Sen. Brian Frosh, announced his intention to run for Maryland Attorney General, writes David Moon of Maryland Juice.

The Post’s John Wagner writes that Lee, who had signaled her intentions some time ago, became the first to file for Frosh’s seat in the wake of his entry into a potentially crowded Democratic primary field for attorney general.

FAIR PLACE FOR POLITICIANS: Like any large gathering, the annual Howard County Fair, which opened Aug. 3 and runs through Saturday, Aug. 10, is a great place — some say the best place in the county — for elected officials and wannabe elected officials to see and be seen, writes Pete Pichaske for the Howard County Times. A Sun video by Jon Sham tops the article.

SUPER PENSION: Robert Tomback ended his first and only term as superintendent of Harford County Public Schools in June, and will be taking with him a $12,000 a month from the state pension system, based on the last three years of salary. He served in the state education system for 37 years, reports Cindy Mumby of the Dagger.

DUNCAN OFFERS TO RESTORE AID: A bill to increase income assistance for working families has not only divided the Montgomery County Council, it has found its way into county executive campaign rhetoric. In an email soliciting campaign donations, Doug Duncan said that when he was executive, he created the subsidy, provided to working families living at or near poverty and that, if elected in 2014, he would restore it to pre-recession levels, reports Kate Alexander in the Gazette.

DEL. MILLER DEFENDS HERSELF: The Montgomery County GOP has tried to link Del. Aruna Miller to the troubled Silver Spring Transit Center, but Miller will have none of it and fires back, writes Kara Rose for the Gazette.

ANNAPOLIS ELECTIONS: Although three Republicans have announced campaigns for the Annapolis mayoral race, Republican voters on the whole will have few choices going into this fall’s city elections. In many wards, Republicans will go without representation on the ballot. And in four wards, candidates face no opposition at all, Elisha Sauers reports in the Capital-Gazette.

MAYOR TAPS INTO DNC: Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has tapped connections at the Democratic National Committee to hire a new communications and policy director, writes the Sun’s Luke Broadwater.