September 15, 2014

State Roundup, September 15, 2014

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Fireworks three with flag circled

Crowds by the thousands from the Inner Harbor to Canton, and probably beyond lined the Baltimore waterfront Saturday night for the fireworks celebrating the bicentennial of the Star Spangled Banner. This photo was taken from Boston Street side near the Burns Arena. The circle marks the flag at Fort McHenry.

TRANSPORTATION TRUST FUND: Maryland voters will get a chance this November to decide whether restrictions should be put on how the state uses money from a fund created for transportation projects, report Kaustuv Basu for the Hagerstown Herald Mail. The legislatively referred constitutional amendment will appear as “Question 1” on the Nov. 4 ballot and seeks to ensure that money in the Transportation Trust Fund be used for transportation-related bond payments and for the construction and repair of highways.

WAVERING ENTREPRENEURSHIP: In an op-ed for The Maryland Public Policy Institute, Christopher Summers writes that politicians and media are quarreling about the meaning of Maryland’s 0% job growth, rising unemployment rate and ballooning budget deficits. But there’s a more sinister threat in Maryland and around the country. Mounting evidence indicates that America’s centuries-old passion for entrepreneurship is wavering. Small businesses historically create two-thirds of new private-sector jobs in America, but as of June that share had declined to just 40%.

OBAMA SHOCKED: White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said Sunday that President Obama was “shocked” by the video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice hitting his then fiancee and Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York called the National Football League’s handling of the situation “outrageous,” writes John Fritze for the Sun.

COUNTERWEIGHT TO DEMS: Arelis Hernández of the Post is reporting that the Republican candidate for Maryland attorney general pitched himself Friday as a potential counterweight to the state’s Democratic power structure, promising to remove onerous regulations and hold officials responsible for the failures of the state’s health exchange Web site is he is elected in November.

REPLACING FROSH: Due to state Sen. Brian Frosh’s candidacy for attorney general, Senate President Mike Miller must choose a new chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee. Fraser Smith of WYPR-FM speaks with Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland about the two choices — Bobby Zirkin of Baltimore County and Jamie Raskin of Montgomery County.

QUINN V. ASTLE: For more than 30 years, John Astle has walked from his downtown Annapolis home to the State House, representing his friends and neighbors in Maryland’s General Assembly. He’s so well-known in the capital that he’s frequently stopped on the street. Astle hopes to keep doing the people’s work for at least four more years, reports Pamela Wood for the Sun. Standing in his way is Republican Don Quinn, a political newcomer who is young enough to be Astle’s son.

BOWIE RUNS FOR DELEGATE: When Robert R. Bowie Jr. decided it was time for him to give up his controlling interest in the law firm he founded, he looked around for a new challenge — something that would appeal to his desire to serve the public, write Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. Founder of what is now Bowie & Jensen, the nearly 67-year-old attorney-playwright-poet decided to run for the legislature as a Democrat in a heavily Republican district of Republican Dels. Rick Impallaria and Pat McDonough.

BROWN LEADS IN POLL: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown has a double-digit lead in the race for Maryland governor, according to a poll by New York Times and CBS News. The poll of 1,081 likely voters showed Brown leading Republican Larry Hogan 51% to 37%, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.

ANALYSIS: IS HOGAN POLL MORE VALID? Is it possible that a partisan Republican poll in the Maryland governor’s race has as much or even more validity than a poll done for some of the most respected names in the media? In an analysis for MarylandReporter.com, Len Lazarick writes that that is the surprising conclusion from looking at the numbers and methodology behind the two most recent polls pitting Democrat Anthony Brown against Republican Larry Hogan Jr.

BROWN, HOGAN STUMP: The two men vying to be Maryland’s next governor brought their stump speeches to a convention of municipal leaders in Annapolis on Friday, each promising they would offer local officials a better way forward than their opponent, Erin Cox of the Sun writes.

HOGAN DROPS POUNDS: The campaign trail has been kind to Larry Hogan’s waistline. The Republican nominee for governor has managed to shed at least 25 pounds this year as he has hit the pavement, knocking on doors and running — yes, running — down parade routes, writes Erin Cox for the Sun.

HOGAN AD SLAMS BROWN: Republican Larry Hogan released his first negative television ad of the campaign for governor Friday. It hits a point already hammered by Democrat Anthony Brown’s opponents in the primary: Brown’s role in the flubbed state health exchange, writes Erin Cox and Meredith Cohn for the Sun.

DGA AD SLAMS HOGAN: The Democratic Governors Association has put $750,000 into an advertising campaign questioning Republican nominee Larry Hogan’s commitment to education. The national group works to elect Democrats, but the ad released this past week never mentions the party’s nominee in Maryland. Instead, it focuses on Hogan’s position that the state cannot afford an expanded prekindergarten program, reports Erin Cox for the Sun.

DUNCAN TAKES LEADERSHIP ROLE: Amrita Jayakumar of the Post reports that Doug Duncan, the former Montgomery County executive who ran for Maryland governor in 2006, has been appointed chief executive of Leadership Greater Washington, a community organization that brings leaders together in the Washington, D.C., area.

O’MALLEY TO HEAD SOUTH: Gov. Martin O’Malley plans to return to South Carolina next weekend to campaign for the state’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee, John Wagner of the Post is reporting.

GOV. FORGOES HARKIN BASH: Few political events in Iowa are more important to an aspiring Democratic presidential candidate than the Harkin Steak Fry. And this year’s fundraiser is drawing some of its biggest names yet. The website celebrating the final year of the signature political event, being held Sunday in Indianola, Iowa, also has counted Gov. Martin O’Malley among its more prestigious guests in recent years. But, even though he’s weighing a presidential bid for 2016, O’Malley stayed home to celebrate the Battle of Baltimore, writes Erin Cox in the Sun.

OMalley on horse

HORSING AROUND: Gov. Martin O’Malley in period costume at Fort McHenry.

Mike Miller on horse

MORE HORSING AROUND: Senate President Mike Miller portrays Secretary of State James Monroe in Brookeville, Md., last week where top government officials moved after the British burned Washington.

EHRLICH TESTS N.H. WATERS: Former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich toed the presidential waters on Saturday, appearing in New Hampshire, home to the first primary in the race for the 2016 Republican nomination, reports Robert Costa for the Post.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE OUT OF HOSPITAL: Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was discharged from the University of Maryland Medical Center Sunday, where she had been since experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath Saturday night at the Star-Spangled Spectacular concert at Fort McHenry, Matthew Hay Brown reports in the Sun.

WA CO POLITICAL EVENTS: The Hancock Chamber of Commerce and the Hancock Lions Club are organizing an Oct. 7 candidates forum for those seeking countywide offices in the November election. And Del. Neil Parrott, R-Washington, who is seeking re-election to the state’s House of Delegates is hosting a meet and greet at Dunkin’ Donuts, Kaustuv Basu writes in his Political Notebook column for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

AA SALARY HIKE VOTE: The Anne Arundel County Council is poised to vote today on a bill that would hike the county executive’s salary, writes Rema Rahman for the Annapolis Capital. An amendment introduced at the council’s Sept. 2 meeting trimmed a proposed salary increase for the executive. That official’s current annual salary is $130,000; under the latest proposal, it would go up in increments, reaching $142,000 in four years.

MENTAL CRISIS RESPONSE: Last month, Anne Arundel County Police Chief Kevin Davis paired two full-time police officers with clinicians who respond to emergency mental health breakdowns. In recent weeks, 23 student resource officers in schools have been given training to identify and respond to mental health issues as Anne Arundel hopes to prevent mass tragedies such as Sandy Hook, writes Tom Marquardt for the Annapolis Capital.

MO CO PUBLIC FINANCING: The 2014 primary election for Montgomery County’s county executive and County Council would have cost taxpayers $2.5 million if a proposed public campaign financing system were in place, according to a new study by Common Cause Maryland, reports Bill Turque in the Post. The estimated price tag for the system is significantly lower than previous estimates by county staff, which placed the public cost of the 2010 primary at as much as $9.6 million.

  • MD observer

    O’Malley and Miller astride their horses really do look the part. Miller, however, may want to consider imitating William Howard Taft the next time.