October 25, 2013

State Roundup, Friday, October 25, 2013

Print More

GANSLER ADMITS MISTAKE: The Sun’s Erin Cox and Michael Dresser report that Attorney General Doug Gansler said Thursday that showing up at a “beach week” party of teenagers and not investigating whether there was underage drinking was “a mistake that I made.” “Perhaps I should have assumed there was drinking going on, and I got that wrong,” Gansler said.

John Wagner and Ann Marimow of the Post report that it is just a month after launching his campaign for governor that Gansler finds himself entangled in yet another controversy, this time acknowledging a lapse in judgment when he appeared at a beach-house party and did nothing to stop apparent underage drinking going on there.

In Delaware, the legal drinking age is 21, although the law has exceptions that allow those underage to drink in a private home with parental consent, writes Meredith Somers for the Washington Times.

The Post also has a bunch of documents from that beach week, including house rules, what the boys were to bring and a police report about a theft that occurred “after tenants had left.”

Here’s audio of Gansler speaking with the press in which he first said it wasn’t his responsibility.

Sun reporter Erin Cox talks about the story on CNN.

Here’s a photo gallery covering the controversy.

Sun columnist Dan Rodricks ends up defending Gansler’s parental judgment, but starts off his column writing, “I guess the only thing worse for Doug Gansler would be the revelation that he ordered his Maryland State Police driver to run red lights to get the attorney general to his son’s senior week party on the Delaware shore. If that happened, could the trooper involved … call me at 410-332-6166? All conversations confidential. I have another question: Was that a selfie Gansler was taking with his cellphone while the cast of “Porky’s II” swirled about him at the beach house?”

The editorial board of the Sun seems to agree with Rodricks, writing that the attorney general’s role in a wild teen-age bash is terrible politics; whether it’s bad parenting is a much harder question.

Sun editor Kristine Henry ponders the question, as a parent, how would she have handled it?

BROWN DENIES DIRTY CAMPAIGNING: WBAL-TV reports that the recent controversy concerning Attorney General Doug Gansler has raised questions about dirty campaigning and where the accusations are coming from, something Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown on Thursday denied.

OFF TO THE RACES: MarylandReporter.com rounds up some other campaign events of the past week: labor endorsements, an AG forum, a GOP radio debate, and an award for Gov. Mandel.

ZERO EMISSION CARS: Aiming to boost the fledgling market for plug-in vehicles, Maryland and seven other states pledged Thursday to use their governments’ tax and spending powers to get 3.3 million “zero-emission” cars, trucks and vans on the road in the next dozen years, Tim Wheeler is reporting in the Sun.

SPEED CAMERA INFO SUIT: A Maryland motorist group is suing two municipalities for failure to comply with public records requests seeking information on their speed camera systems. Ron Ely, chairman of the Maryland Driver’s Alliance, filed complaints in Circuit Court against the towns of Brentwood and Morningside, both in Prince George’s County, writes WatchDog Wire’s Mark Newgent. According to court documents, Ely filed a records request seeking copies of any correspondence between the town and the speed camera operator, the Maryland State Highway Administration and then-State Sen. David Harrington.

W.VA CASINO LAYOFFS: Competition from casinos in Maryland is causing Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races to lay off some poker dealers, reports Richard Belisle for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

ROBEY AT TOP; OTHER CHANGES: Following up on a MarylandReporter.com story, John Wagner of the Post writes that Sen. James Robey (D-Howard) will serve as Senate majority leader during his final year in the Maryland General Assembly, taking over the leadership position from former Sen. Rob Garagiola, who recently retired from the Senate and has landed at Alexander & Cleaver, a law firm with a major lobbying presence in Annapolis.

Alex Jackson of the Capital-Gazette reports other committee assignments have been made, among them: Sen. Catherine Pugh will replace Garagiola as chair of the Senate Finance committee‘s Health Subcommittee, and Sens. Brian Feldman and David Brinkley will join the Senate Finance Committee.

BUSCH, ASTLE FILE FOR RE-ELECTION: House Speaker Michael Busch, Sen. John Astle and Anne Arundel County Councilman Chris Trumbauer have filed for re-election, writes Alex Jackson in the Capital-Gazette. Busch and Astle have run together as a Democratic ticket since the 1990s, and welcomed Trumbauer for the race in 2014.

SCHOOL HONORS BUSCH: Annapolis High School planned to name its athletic complex in honor of House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch last night, writes Pamela Wood for the Sun.

SEARCH FOR SUPER: The Anne Arundel County school board will hire an out-of-state search firm to help find its next superintendent, Tim Pratt reports for the Capital-Gazette.

TWICE THE PAY: Barry Rascovar of politicalmaryland.com writes about the coming pay raises for Montgomery County Council members that will rise rise over the next four years to $136,000, saying that, in populous Baltimore County, council members take home $54,000 a year and in Baltimore City with its immense urban challenges council members are paid less than $53,000. Apparently Montgomery’s councilmen and women are twice as good as those legislators. Or Montgomery has twice as many problems to handle. Or they are overpaid.

MoCo UNION UNHAPPY: A critical ally of Democrats, labor leaders in Montgomery County say the party has strayed from core progressive values and so the union is turning to 2014 to swing the party back left, Kate Alexander reports in the Gazette. “Our perception is that in Montgomery County, in spite of their reputation of being very liberal and progressive, they are more like the rest of the country’s drift to the right than they are different,” said Bob Stewart, executive director of United Food and Commercial Workers/Municipal & County Government Employees Organization (MCGEO) Local 1994.

GONZALES POLL: Gazette columnist Blair Lee gives his analysis of last week’s Gonzales poll on the race for governor.

DELANEY INFRASTRUCTURE BILL: One of Rep. John Delaney’s first major pieces of legislation, aimed at funding improvements to America’s infrastructure, continues to move along through the legislative process, gathering support from members of both parties in the House of Representatives and coming close to a similar achievement in the Senate, Ryan Marshall reports in the Gazette.

SIMMONS ETHICS COMPLAINT: State Del. Luiz R.S. Simmons believes politics is driving an ethics complaint about his sending state Department of Transportation maps to constituents, according to Ryan Marshall in the Gazette. Simmons (D-Dist. 17) of Rockville said he purchased the maps from the state and paid for envelopes and postage to send them, something he’s done throughout his 12 years in the General Assembly.