September 3, 2013

State Roundup, September 3, 2013

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HIGH LONG-TERM JOBLESSNESS: The rate of long-term unemployment is what makes the aftermath of the Great Recession crueler that past economic downturns, writes Neil Bergsman for Maryland’s Money Matters. As of 2012, 89,000 Marylanders were unemployed for at least 27 weeks, which is considered long-term unemployment. Prior to the Great Recession, in 2007, only 19,000 Marylanders had been looking for work that long.

HARBOR POINT CONTROVERSY: Tim Wheeler and Erin Cox of the Sun take a long look at the controversial Harbor Point project in Baltimore City, where millions in public financing have dominated debate this summer and a carcinogen buried beneath the proposed waterfront development has sparked concerns about the safety of neighboring residents and the people who will work at the site in Fells Point.

CHICKEN POO: Columnist Barry Rascovar writes for MarylandReporter.com that the case of the UM school of environmental law teaming up with Waterkeeper Alliance to go after an Eastern Shore chicken farm for pollution was mishandled from the start.

DWYER’S FUTURE: With Del. Don Dwyer — arrested a second time in a year for operating a vehicle while drunk — not answering questions, The Capital talked to some of the people invested in his career — individuals who donated money to his three election campaigns. While some said it was time for him to quit, others aren’t ready to give up on him, writes Zoe Read in the Capital-Gazette.

GOP ODDS: Richard Cross, in an op-ed for the Sun, looks at the history of his party and asks: Do Republicans have any chance of winning the governor’s mansion back next year? The piece makes for an interesting read.

LOLLAR LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN: Republican hopeful Charles Lollar plans to launch his campaign for governor today with a call for “new leadership in the state of Maryland” and a statewide bus tour that will end later in the week in Annapolis, where he hopes to serve, writes John Wagner for the Post. WBFF-TV interviews Lollar in this video report.

GANSLER’S DOMINOES: If gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler picks a running mate from Prince George’s County, expect serious downballot ramifications, opines Josh Kurtz for Center Maryland. His choice won’t just impact the politics in the district of whomever he selects but will have a domino effect in other parts of the county. Support for Anthony Brown in Prince George’s is broad but not necessarily deep, and Gansler’s choice could upset the entire fragile balance.

O’MALLEY LOSES STAFF: Gov. Martin O’Malley is losing two senior members of his communications staff, the latest in a series of departures as he nears the end of his tenure in Annapolis, writes John Wagner for the Post. Here’s KAL’s take on Gov. O’Malley’s future, for the Sun opinion section.

3 FORMER GOVS: In a wide-ranging interview arranged by Capital Gazette Communications and conducted by Tom Marquardt, Govs. Marvin Mandel, Bob Ehrlich and Parris Glendening lamented that a change in the culture of the General Assembly has made it more difficult for governors to build consensus.

Here’s a photo gallery of these three former governors. And here’s an hourlong video of the interview; a short video on whether O’Malley is ready to be president; and a longer one of their views of the death penalty.

CONGRESSIONAL ACTION: Labor Day offers no rest as congressional candidate Dan Bongino keeps punching, writes book on Obama ‘bubble’ and U.S. Rep. Sarbanes says he’s ‘sympathetic with president’ on Syria, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

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ON FEDERAL BUDGET: Over the next few weeks, U.S. Rep. John Delaney and his fellow lawmakers are set to confront dwindling federal borrowing authority, the threat of a government shutdown and debate over automatic spending cuts. It’s not an easy lineup, writes Bethany Rodgers for the Frederick News Post. But Delaney, the freshman Democrat from the 6th District, says his first eight months in office have helped establish him as a cooler head who can work across the aisle to find common ground on complicated issues.

ON SYRIA: Members of Maryland’s congressional delegation welcomed a debate on whether the U.S. should launch a military strike against Syria but said Saturday they want to review classified intelligence reports — and hear about the scope of President Barack Obama’s plan — before deciding whether to sign off, report John Fritze and Matthew Hay Brown for the Sun.

WICOMICO COURT HOPEFULS: Nine lawyers have applied to be Wicomico County Circuit Court’s new judge, reports Vanessa Junkin for the Salisbury Daily Times. Two work for the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office, and one works for the Bureau of Support Enforcement in Wicomico County. The other six applicants are private attorneys.

SURPLUS SPACE IN FREDERICK: Frederick County officials have laid out a strategy to get rid of extra building space and free up more room in the budget, writes Bethany Rodgers in the Frederick News Post. Relocating county staff members and programs will allow officials to sell several properties, cancel a $2.5 million maintenance project and end two leases, officials said. A task force has been working since last year to sketch out the five-year building consolidation plan approved Thursday by county commissioners.

PENSION PROBLEMS: Barry Rascovar, in his continuing look into the Maryland pension system for his polticalmaryland.com blog, publishes a letter from Dean Kenderdine, executive director of MRPS, who asks to clarify remarks published in Rascovar’s blog by Hagerstown Del. Andy Serafini about the pension fund’s move to shrink its projected rate of return on future investments.