August 1, 2014

State Roundup, Aug. 1, 2014

Print More

FOOD DESERTS: Republican gubernatorial nominee Larry Hogan blamed Democratic rival Anthony Brown for Baltimore’s “food deserts” Thursday, suggesting that the O’Malley-Brown administration’s tax policies led the the recent demise of the Stop Shop Save grocery chain. In a statement released by the campaign, Hogan minimized the impact of Thursday’s opening of a new, 67,000-foot ShopRite store in Howard Park, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun.

‘HOGAN LOOPHOLE:’ A prominent Democrat lawmaker said Thursday he would work to close what he called “the Hogan loophole,” which he said allowed Republican Larry Hogan “to pocket” public money during Hogan’s campaign for governor, reports Erin Cox in the Sun. Economic Matters Committee chairman Del. Dereck Davis said he would seek stiffer rules for politicians who accept public financing, as Hogan has done. Among those provisions: forbidding spending public money in a way that improves a candidate’s financial fortunes.

SHARFSTEIN REPORT CARD: During his time as secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene — it will end up being almost exactly four years when he leaves in January — Dr. Joshua Sharfstein brought to the job energy, new ideas and a commitment to improving the health of all Marylanders, opines the editorial board for the Daily Record.

CARDIN BLAMES SMEAR: More than a month after losing the Democratic primary for Maryland Attorney General, Del. Jon Cardin declared in a long, frustrated letter posted on Facebook that he was the victim of “the most negative smear campaign in a Democratic Party primary in Maryland’s modern history.” In early polling, Cardin held a significant lead over two rivals. But that lead quickly disappeared in the weeks before the primary, as opponent Brian Frosh gathered high-level support and Cardin found himself ensnared in controversy, Jenna Johnson of the Post reports.

O’MALLEY, OIL & NATURAL GAS: Mark Newgent of Red Maryland writes that it should no surprise that the O’Malley administration — especially friendly toward environmental special interests — would allow public disclosure of documents relates to oil, as in the case of the Norfolk Southern and CSX International rail companies’ shipments through the state. However, it is a curious coincidence that this news breaks on the heels of O’Malley going against his environmental allies by voting for a temporary pier permit for Dominion Resources liquefied natural gas export facility at Cove Point in Calvert County.

DAM SEDIMENT: Federal officials have released a draft environmental impact statement for the relicensing of three Susquehanna River hydroelectric projects, including Exelon’s Conowingo dam. The key issue surrounding the Conowingo relicensing application is management of sediment that flows down the river toward the Chesapeake Bay, according to an AP report in the Daily Record.

BLUE CRAB BLUES: For the second year in a row, the Chesapeake blue crab population is in a serious slump; the number of females has dropped below the level considered necessary to sustain the overall population. Is it time for a moratorium on the harvest? Dan Rodricks of WYPR hosts longtime outdoors writer Angus Phillips, who recently wrote an op-ed about the problem in The Washington Post.

BAY & PHOSPORUS: WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Peter Jensen of the Baltimore Sun talk about phosphorus levels in the Chesapeake Bay and the uncertain status of proposed rules to more tightly regulate poultry manure.

SENATORS JUMP INTO NFL ASSAULT ISSUE: Three Democratic U.S. senators — none from Maryland — sent letters to the Baltimore Ravens and the National Football League on Thursday criticizing what they called “plainly inadequate” punishment for star running back Ray Rice. The three implored the league and the Ravens to revisit their sanctions against Rice, who was charged with felony aggravated assault after police said he knocked his then-fiancee unconscious at an Atlantic City, N.J., casino in February. Here’s a copy of the letter.

THANK YOU DAN! U.S. Congressional candidate Dan Bongino’s call for a boycott of MarylandReporter.com over a column by Barry Rascovar produced the third highest daily traffic MarylandReporter got since the General Assembly ended, with 3,900 page views and close to 1,800 unique visitors. That readership was only topped by our coverage the day after the June 24 primary, and two days in mid-May when had stories about Sen. Jim Brochin’s campaign signs being torn down by his opponent, and our annual piece about state employees who made $100,000 or more.

PEROUTKA & LEAGUE OF THE SOUTH: Given the history of the League of the South, opines the editorial board for the Sun, it’s a little hard to believe that someone running for the Anne Arundel County Council from a district centered on the affluent Broadneck peninsula running from Severna Park to the foot of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge would want to be associated with it. Yet when Republican candidate Michael Peroutka got the chance to put a little distance between himself and the League of the South this week, he did just the opposite — complaining instead about those who dared criticize his longtime involvement with the group.

Above is a 24-minute video from Wednesday’s news conference by Jonathan Hutson of the Huffington Post, which sees the Peroutka candidacy becoming a big national story.

BETTER RED: In an opinion piece for the Daily Record Fraser Smith outlines the importance of the Red Line to the revival of the city of Baltimore.

CECIL ANIMAL CONTROL FINED: Cecil County Attorney Jason Allison received copies of the consent order this week issued by the Maryland State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners on April 15 detailing its action against the county’s animal control agency for operating most of its first year in business without a veterinary hospital license, Cheryl Mattix reports in the Cecil Whig.