O’MALLEY TOUTS INNOVATION: Gov. Martin O’Malley sat in a gray armchair at 1776 — a start-up incubator a few blocks from the White House that has become a must-stop for politicians — and described his state as an entrepreneurial utopia in the making, reports Jenna Johnson for the Post. The Democrat, who is contemplating a 2016 White House run, said Maryland openly shares data, goals and deadlines that leaders elsewhere keep hidden. He talked about gains in education, public safety and jobs, plus progressive legislation like allowing same-sex marriage and increasing the minimum wage that, he said, has made Maryland more inclusive and poised for change. “We are not ideologues — we are entrepreneurs,” O’Malley, 51, said during a “fireside chat” to a mostly younger audience Tuesday night.
SHARFSTEIN JOINS HOPKINS: Maryland’s top health official, Joshua Sharfstein, announced Wednesday that he will leave at the end of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s term in January to become an associate dean at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, writes Jenna Johnson for the Post.
- Sharfstein has led DHMH since 2011 and has become more visible this year as the state’s lead voice during the troubled rollout of Maryland’s online health exchange, reports Alex Jackson for the Annapolis Capital.
- Alissa Gulin of the Daily Record writes that health experts say that as secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene since January 2011, Sharfstein has either spearheaded or contributed to countless other projects that likely have affected far more Marylanders than the botched insurance exchange.
UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN: Kate Alexander of the Gazette reports that unaccompanied immigrant children reaching the U.S. border with Mexico have a history of being placed in Montgomery County and County Executive Ike Leggett said Tuesday the county is willing to welcome more. “My view is, these are minors. We need to do what is compassionate, what is right, what is moral, what is ethical and we’re going to do that,” he said.
- Opinionmaker Blair Lee of the Gazette chimes in on the ongoing debate over aiding illegal immigrant children, writing that, “Most of us would open our hearts and our wallets to a dirty, frightened kid knocking on our door. And people like my wife would adopt every stray dog that peers out from those animal control newspaper ads. But that’s not how you make either national policy or household policy.”
NO APOLOGY: Politicalmaryland’s Barry Rascovar chimes in with his own defense of his recently attacked column, writing that, “One of the goals of column-writing is to stimulate discourse and discussion. The column I wrote focused almost exclusively on how certain state Republican officials have reacted to the recent wave of child immigration. I avoided getting into the broader immigration issue that has tied national Republicans and Democrats in knots. The central point of the column was this: As Americans, we have an obligation to humanely care and shelter these children until their cases are resolved. Maryland Republican officials mentioned in the column opposed the “helping hand” approach proposed by local religious and government leaders.”
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HEROIN DEATHS: The editorial board for the Frederick News Post opines that despite the governor’s plans to reduce by 20% the number of heroin-related deaths in the state by the end of 2015, the numbers have continued to climb, Gov. Martin O’Malley announced last week. We’d caution against reading too much into these numbers or losing hope. It’s early yet — too early for the ramped-up efforts of the state to have had a significant effect on what is a Byzantine problem with deep roots.
CLIMATE CHANGE IGNORANCE: Laslo Boyd, in an opinion piece on climate change for Center Maryland, opines that, “The growing tendency of some political groups to reject science and reason in favor of ideology and religion is a major and direct contributor to the dysfunction that we observe in so much of our politics at all levels. … when one group is certain that revealed truth is on their side, compromise is not possible. Similarly, if overwhelming scientific evidence is rejected because it either doesn’t fit with a preconceived view of the world or is inconvenient to economic interests, we stick our heads in the proverbial sand and risk later disaster.”
STATE AIDS BUSINESS EXPANSION: Maryland officials on Wednesday announced the formal approval of a $1 million conditional grant to Washington County to assist in the expansion of National Golden Tissue, a Hagerstown manufacturer of value brand paper products, C.J. Lovelace reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.
NO DUMB CLUCKS: Tom Horton, teacher and environmental writer, writes about Karen Davis and her long and up-hill crusade to educate the public about the intelligence of chickens, in a state that slaughters half a billion meat birds a year. His piece appears in MarylandReporter.com.
DEL. CARDIN’S FUTURE: Del. Jon Cardin, who lost the primary campaign for attorney general, says he was the victim of the “most negative smear campaign in a Democratic Party primary in Maryland’s modern history.” Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports that in a Facebook post this week, Cardin, who runs his own law practice, also said he plans to return to private life, after losing last month to Montgomery County State Sen. Brian Frosh.
PEROUTKA WON’T BACK DOWN: Speaking at a news conference Wednesday in Glen Burnie, Michael Peroutka said those who are targeting him are injecting race in the campaign rather than focusing on issues. Joe Burris of the Sun reports that he criticized GOP gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan specifically, saying he “never took the time to even ask me if I was a racist or reach out to have a dialogue with me.”
- Republican candidate for Anne Arundel County executive Steve Schuh said Wednesday he would not support Michael Peroutka’s candidacy because the County Council candidate would not distance himself from a group that believes in southern secession, reports Rema Rahman for the Annapolis Capital.
- Peroutka, reports Van Smith for the City Paper, is a highly successful debt-collection attorney whose brother and law partner Stephen Peroutka is a board member of the Babe Ruth Museum. He is white, smart, and rich, but it’s doubtful that many of his potential constituents have used their advantages in the way his brother has: to advance a militant theocratic agenda. Smith goes into great detail on Peroutka’s background and philosophy.
- Jonathan Hutson of the Huffington Post has probably the most detailed accounting of Wednesday’s press conference by Peroutka, including a link to him singing “the national anthem” — not the “Star-Spangled Banner,” but “Dixie.” Hutson writes that Peroutka refused to resign from the the League, which he calls “a Christian, free market group.” But for all of his effort to come across as bold, principled, and forthright, he managed to reveal himself as both weaselly and demagogic, Hutson says.
ARUNDEL DISTRICT 4 CANDIDATE: Dressed in a Redskins jersey, jean shorts and brown flip flops, Chike Anyanwu greeted just about everyone Sunday who entered the cafeteria of Annapolis Area Christian School. The Republican candidate for Anne Arundel County Council in District 4, Anyanwu said his faith will play a major role in his campaign. He’s doing it without much help beyond a handful of volunteers. He has reported no contributions, and has told state election officials he plans to spend less than $1,000 on the campaign. Sarah Hainesworth reports for the Capital Gazette.
PRE-K GRANTS FOR FREDERICK: About 85 children will be able to attend preschool in Frederick County free of charge this academic year, thanks to nearly $300,000 in state grants intended to boost early education programs at seven local providers, reports Rachel Karas in the Frederick News Post.