November 12, 2014

State Roundup, November 12, 2014

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JUDGE EDGAR SILVER DIES AT 91: Barry Rascovar writes a tribute to the late Edgar P. Silver for MarylandReporter.com, saying that for well over half a century, Silver was the “unsung hero” of Maryland politics. Few in the public knew the name, but the politicos sure did. Consigliere to elected leaders. Trusted adviser to politicians — left, right and center. A  judge’s judge. A friend to the end. Known simply as “The Judge” to his legion of acquaintances, Silver, died at the age of 91. His Rolodex contained just about every important Maryland politician’s personal phone number. His days were spent with a phone to his ear and nary a stitch of paper on his desk.

FARM DEAL QUESTIONED: The O’Malley administration has struck a deal to buy a Kent County farm for $2.8 million and then lease it for $1 a year to a company controlled by an organic farmer and Democratic campaign donor. The proposal — to be presented today to the Board of Public Works — has drawn criticism over unfair competition. Also in the pipeline — but not on the agenda Wednesday — is a deal in which the same company would receive $500,000 in state bond money toward the cost of establishing a $2.3 million “food hub” in Easton, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun.

SUPREMES TO HEAR TAX CASE: Bill Turque of the Post reports that the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments this morning in a Maryland case that could cost Montgomery County and other localities hundreds of millions in income tax revenue should justices rule against state officials. At issue in Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland v. Brian Wynne is whether residents are entitled to a tax credit for certain income earned outside the state.

END DEATH SENTENCES: After years of contentious debate, Maryland last year did away with its death penalty. The legislation, however, did not apply to the four individuals who were already awaiting execution on the state’s death row.  That exception to the new law has created a controversy that needn’t have occurred, but can be easily put to rest by Gov. Martin O’Malley — if he has the political will to do so, opines the editorial board for the Frederick News Post.

Franchot and Hogan

Comptroller Peter Franchot and Gov.-elect Larry Hogan before the starts of  the Leonardtown Veterans Day parade. They will spend many hours sitting next to each other at the Board of Public Works over the next four years.

HOGAN’S POLICIES: Gov.-elect Larry Hogan said Tuesday that his transition team is working hard to “put a government together” but that he does not plan to talk publicly about substantive policy issues until he is sworn in, report Jenna Johnson and John Wagner in the Post.

HOGAN’S BUSINESS: Where is a $2 billion question floating around Larry Hogan’s new role as governor-elect. What will he do with his business? The newly elected governor is the founder and CEO of The Hogan Cos. in Annapolis, a real-estate company that has engaged in $2 billion real estate transactions since its inception in 1985, writes Chase Cook for the Annapolis Capital.

CRAIG ON BOARD? Harford County’s outgoing Executive David Craig is expected to be part of governor-elect Larry Hogan’s transition team, although details about the team have not been officially released, writes Bryna Zumer for the Aegis. Craig says he would “be willing and able to do whatever [Hogan] wants,” but the county executive’s office declined to speak further on the issue Monday.

Hogan in Leonardtown

Gov.-elect Hogan greets crowds at Veterans Day parade in Leonardtown. (Photo from Change Maryland Facebook page)

THANK YOU TOUR: Maryland’s next governor, Larry Hogan, had the chance Tuesday to relive one of his favorite campaign trail activities: running along a parade route and meeting as many voters as possible, reports Jenna Johnson in the Post. But the Republican also got a taste of what a chunk of his time as governor will include: attending a wreath-laying ceremony, giving a speech and then listening intently as others give similar speeches.

BLUE COUNTIES, GOP BLUES: Bill Turque and Arelis R. Hernández of the Post write about the GOP in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, which is also celebrating Larry Hogan’s victory but not much else. With low voter turnout in both counties, the party must find a way to court discontented voters.

RACE & POLITICS: Thomas Schaller, in an op-ed for the Sun, writes that somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 presumably white Marylanders who pulled the lever for either Martin O’Malley, Doug Gansler and Peter Franchot in 2010, or Franchot and Brian Frosh this year, did not support Anthony Brown’s bid to become Maryland’s first black governor.

MIKULSKI SUMMONS: John Wagner of the Post, following up on a Center Maryland story, writes that in the wake of Democrat Anthony Brown’s stunning loss in last week’s governor’s race in Maryland, Sen. Barbara Mikulski has summoned party leaders to a meeting next Monday in Annapolis to discuss “victory in 2016,” according to an e-mail distributed by the state party.

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE? Mileah Kromer of the Goucher Poll writes in Center Maryland that it’s tough to predict whether Brown’s defeat will directly damage O’Malley’s presidential hopes. Some argue that Brown’s defeat was a referendum on O’Malley’s legacy, while others point out that the Brown campaign’s efforts to distance itself from the governor puts O’Malley in clear.  She goes on to examine others’ potential runs for the presidency.

BROCHIN CALLS FOR RAIN TAX END: Baltimore County state Sen. Jim Brochin is calling for the repeal of Maryland’s two-year-old stormwater management fee and drawing the ire of an environmental group who endorsed him, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.

PEAS IN A POD: Bryan Griffiths of Red Maryland lambasts two members of the Republican Party, whom he calls two peas in a pod and embarrassments. He writes: “Yesterday the Anne Arundel County Republican Central Committee was sworn in. These Central Committee members, elected by the voters in the June 24th Republican Primary, include two members who are total embarrassments to the Republican Party.” One of course is a newly elected Arundel County Council member, Michael Peroutka, whose political views lie very much outside of the Republican Party and most other parties as well.

DEFENSE OF NIMBYism: Environmental reporter Tom Horton, in a column for Bay Journal News Service in MarylandReporter.com, defends NIMBYism and those who are trying to protect the Chesapeake Bay by slowing the population growth in its watershed.

SCHUH TO REPLACE FIRE, POLICE CHIEFS: Incoming Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh will replace the county’s police and fire chiefs when sworn into office next month.Schuh transition spokesman Owen McEvoy said Tuesday morning that Schuh respects the service of police Chief Kevin Davis and fire Chief Michael Cox, but the administration wants to head in a “different direction,” Ben Weathers and Tim Pratt report in the Annapolis Capital. Both had resigned earlier.