August 3, 2015

State Roundup, August 3, 2015

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HOGAN IN-YOUR-FACE: Gov. Larry Hogan’s in-your-face approach contrasts with the pledges of bipartisanship he made after his election and at his inauguration. And although it is thrilling many of his supporters, it is stirring resentment among some Democrats in the General Assembly, whose support Hogan would need if he wants to make changes that require the passage of new laws, Ovetta Wiggins reports for the Post.

  • But Barry Rascovar, political columnist for MarylandReporter.com ask what happened to the friendly, smiling, easy-going Larry Hogan? Mr. Nice Guy has morphed into Mr. Nasty. Perhaps he’s spent too much time with his pal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the combative presidential hopeful with the mouth that roars … Or maybe it’s just a recognition by Maryland’s Republican governor that tough talk and decisive action go over well with his conservative-to-moderate constituents. But the actions come with consequences.

RIGHT DECISION: The editorial board of the Sun opines that the Baltimore City Detention Center needed to close. Any discussion of Gov. Larry Hogan’s surprise announcement Thursday that he was shuttering the facility needs to start with that. Yes, he should have consulted with the mayor and key members of the legislature about his plans beforehand — or at least informed them. And no, he did not need to ridicule his predecessor, former Gov. Martin O’Malley, and the members of the legislature who studied the problems at the jail and recommended a 10-year replacement plan. He did not win Mr. Congeniality on Thursday. But more important is whether he made the right decision, and on a fundamental level, the answer to that is yes.

RED LINE PLAN B: Kenneth Burns of WYPR-FM reports that Baltimore City and county leaders say they’re looking for a transit Plan B to replace the east west Red Line that Gov. Larry Hogan killed last month. And even state Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn says he’s on board for an alternative. But nobody seems to know, or is willing to say, what that is.

ANNAPOLIS TO HOST YOUNG GOP-CON: Annapolis will host the 2017 Young Republicans National Convention, Mayor Mike Pantelides announced Saturday. Gerald Fischman and Kelcie Pegher of the Annapolis Capital report that Pantelides, who has been in Chicago since Wednesday on an economic promotion trip, said “the convention will not only highlight our many attributes on the national stage, but it will also create a boost to our economy, due to the hundreds of people expected to travel here to participate.”

HOGAN ON HEALTH, HAIR: After announcing he was closing the long-troubled Baltimore Men’s Detention Center Thursday, Gov. Larry Hogan gave the public an update on his battle with cancer.  “I feel pretty good except for the funny hairdo,” the governor said. “I’m a little more tired than I normally am, but I feel great considering what I’ve been through.” Hogan has been diagnosed with Stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and has lost his hair due to chemotherapy treatments, writes Luke Broadwater for the Sun.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN MARYLAND PART 1: In Part 1 of a five-part series by Capital News Service on human trafficking in Maryland, Katelyn Secret, Jin Kim, Jessica Evans and Courtney Mabeus report that traffickers find vulnerable young women, seduce them with promises of security, then force them into the sex trade. When they resist, they are beaten, drugged, threatened with the loss of their children. And the businesses are everywhere. From a brick house in a quiet neighborhood to a three-star hotel near a swanky mall, sex trafficking has infiltrated the most ordinary of surroundings in Maryland.

MARYLAND BRACES FOR POSSIBLE GOV’T SHUTDOWN: Rino Imperiale has a message for Washington as the possibility looms of a second government shutdown in two years. “Time to be adults,” he said. “Time to find solutions. Time to stop the bickering. Time to do what’s best for the country.” Imperiale, a retired naval officer who works at Aberdeen Proving Ground, is one of Maryland’s nearly 300,000 civilian federal employees. They make up 10% of the state workforce. And as Congress and the White House charge toward a repeat of the 2013 budget stalemate that led to a partial government shutdown, many face the possibility of furloughs and missed paychecks, Yvonne Wenger and Lisa Mascaro report in the Sun.

ON YUMI HOGAN: She was graceful and engaging while entertaining the politicians from South Korea. But Yumi Hogan blushed from time to time during the reception at the governor’s mansion, appearing a little uncomfortable at the flattery that often came her way, writes Jonathan Pitts in this Sun profile of Hogan. She’s the first lady of Maryland, but the Korean-born Hogan invariably describes herself in a decidedly personal way — as a first-generation immigrant, a former single mother of three, an “artist first and a political person second.” But she’s also reaching out to the many people of diverse ethnic backgrounds in the state.

CARDIN CENTRAL TO IRAN DEAL: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin has emerged as a central figure in the debate over the pending nuclear deal with Iran, joining a small group of lawmakers who could decide the future of one of President Barack Obama’s most significant foreign policies, writes John Fritze for the Sun.

PLASTER RUNS FOR CONGRESS: A black recreational vehicle has been rolling through Maryland’s broken-winged pterodactyl district — otherwise known as District 3. While a bus plastered with a candidate’s name was Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s trademark during his campaign, a new candidate has taken up the moving billboard mantle, reports Chase Cook for the Annapolis Capital. He’s a lawyer. He’s a doctor. He served overseas in Iraq.  Annapolis resident Mark Plaster is running for Congress in the district, seeking to replace Democratic incumbent and likely favorite Rep. John Sarbanes. The GOP primary is scheduled for April 26.The GOP primary is scheduled for April 26.

WA CO PROJECTS BEFORE BPW: Proposed grants and loans totaling $2.4 million for projects in Washington County are on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting of the Maryland Board of Public Works. The board’s staff has recommended it approve eight local projects, including a grant of $990,000 to acquire conservation easements to protect farmland, forests and Civil War sites within view of Washington Monument State Park, South Mountain Battlefield State Park, Antietam National Battlefield and its approaches in the Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area, Tamela Baker reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

AA’S NEW STATE’S ATTY: When Wes Adams was running for office last year against former State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess, he promised he would do a number of things if elected — work closely with police to build strong cases, do away with weak plea agreements and build better relationships with the community, to name a few,  Tim Pratt reports for the Annapolis Capital. So far, Adams — the only Republican to hold that post in decades — appears to be living up to his promises, said O’Brien Atkinson, president of the county’s largest police union.

HEROIN PREVENTION PANEL: Elisha Sauers of the Annapolis Capital writes that when someone in Anne Arundel County dies after injecting or snorting heroin, it’s only a matter of time before a small group of people gathers to begin poring over the most personal details of his or her life. They might look at how many times first responders resuscitated him during other close calls when he refused to go to a hospital. They might see that time he had back surgery and needed medicine to cope with the pain. What they hope they’ll find among the autopsy reports, medical histories and criminal rap sheets are answers: How could we have prevented this?

MOSBY DERAILED HOMICIDE PANEL: Kevin Rector of the Sun is reporting that Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn  Mosby recently derailed an initiative to bring together city leaders, law enforcement commanders, academics, public health officials and others to identify real-time homicide trends and develop targeted responses — the latest crime-fighting program to falter amid a dramatic spike in violence. After months of promising unprecedented transparency and collaboration with law enforcement partners, Mosby said she didn’t want to share information that others in the fledgling Baltimore Homicide Review Commission considered critical to success. She said providing information on ongoing cases could compromise investigations or jeopardize the safety of victims and witnesses.

PG POLICE STATION RALLY: More than 100 residents braved the morning heat Friday to demand that Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker reconsider his decision to delay by one year the opening of a highly anticipated police station in the Fort Washington area, Arelis Hernandez reports for the Post.