State Roundup, May 14, 2018

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KAMENETZ SENDOFF: Political pundit Barry Rascovar in his politicalMaryland blog writes that if Kevin Kamenetz had received the same outpouring of respect, admiration and gratitude in life as he did in death, his political future might have been limitless. His political colleagues heaped immense praise on Kevin for being on top of issues, for dedicating his life to public service and for making Baltimore County government function better. Had he received that level of recognition for his accomplishments during his run for governor, Kamenetz might have been far ahead in the Democratic primary.

KAMENETZ FALLOUT: An increasingly large factor in the political fallout on the gubernatorial race is a frequently overlooked section of Maryland election law that could have unexpected and far-reaching consequences for the June 26 primary – including the possibility of reprinting all 747 versions of the ballot, at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $3.5 million, on an extraordinarily tight deadline, Bill Zorzi writes in Maryland Matters.

DOLPHIN SURGE IN THE BAY: Researchers have confirmed some 450 sightings of bottlenose dolphins over the past year in the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries including the Potomac River. Scott Dance reports in the Sun. They hope the unexpected deluge of reports is a sign that improving bay health is inviting more of the marine mammals to visit.

CHANGING BALTIMORE: The Baltimore region has become more diverse and educated in the past two decades and the economy is more driven by technology, medicine, higher education and professional services, Meredith Cohn writes in the Sun. Those are the findings of a report to be released Monday night by the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Baltimore Metropolitan Council at the GBC’s 63rd annual meeting.

POST ENDORSES FOR MoCo EXEC: The giant sucking sound you heard over Montgomery County this weekend was the possible implosion of four of the six Democratic candidates for county executive, writes Josh Kurtz in Maryland Matters. That’s because The Washington Post weighed in with its highly anticipated endorsement this weekend – and the editorial board has gone with wealthy businessman David Blair over his five vastly more experienced opponents. The Post has had an outsized influence in Montgomery County elections for decades, rivaled only by that of the teachers’ union, which has yet to decide on the executive race.

UNBOUGHT CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR: Ethan McLeod of Baltimore Fishbowl interviews a little known candidate for governor, Ralph Jaffe. His war chest is $415. You read that right. This is by design. Jaffe, a Pikesville resident and teacher, and his sister and running mate, Freda Jaffe, raised the same amount together in 2016, when he launched a bid for U.S. Senate, and he never went above $490 in prior campaigns for Senate in 2012 or governor in 2010, he says. “You cannot be ethical if you take campaign contributions because you’ve been bought,” he says.

WOMAN DOCTOR FOR CONGRESS: Paul Schwartzman of the Post reports that a female Democratic candidate hoping to succeed U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) says in a new television ad that she is running because Congress has “too many multimillionaires and politicians ‘mansplaining’ health care.” The ad by Nadia Hashimi, a Montgomery County pediatrician and novelist, highlights that she would be the only woman doctor in Congress if voters in Maryland’s 6th District elect her in November.

TWO WOMEN FOR PG EXEC: Angela D. Alsobrooks is the only woman ever elected state’s attorney in Prince George’s County. Donna F. Edwards is the only black woman ever elected to Congress from Maryland. The two Democrats are vying to become Prince George’s first female county executive, generating strong support in a county where women have long been politically active and economically successful but say they still have been held back from center stage, Rachel Chason on the Post reports. “It’s our time,” said one Alsobrooks backer.. An Edwards supporter called the candidacies of two such highly accomplished women “a real bright spot for the state.”

CUMMINGS ATTACKS TRUMP DRUG PLAN: As President Donald Trump laid out a plan Friday to reduce prescription drug prices, U.S. Rep. Elijah   Cummings accused him of abandoning a campaign proposal to allow Medicare to directly negotiate lower prices with drug companies, Jeff Barker of the Sun reports.  “I think very expensive champagne will be popping in drug company boardrooms across the country tonight,” said Cummings, a 12-term representative from Baltimore who is the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

SIGNS OF THE TIMES: Annapolis Capital columnist Jimmy DeButts unpacks the recent political  sign that attacks three Republicans in Anne Arundel County and urges voters to do their homework. It does not bare an authorization tag. Still he asks, isn’t this still free speech?

EATING MOSQUITOES: April showers bring May flowers — and mosquitoes. This spring, a team of researchers with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is looking into whether the annual onslaught of those pesky blood suckers can be curbed by some tiny, shrimplike critters called copepods, Tim Wheeler of the Bay Journal writes in MarylandReporter.com.

BALTIMORE POLICE: On his first day as acting Baltimore police commissioner, Gary Tuggle  filed a city ethics statement on Friday that – twice – listed his home address as Baltimore, Md. Tuggle, in fact, lives with his wife in a $760,000 house in Prince George’s County, reports Mark Reutter in Baltimore Brew. The city code requires department heads to live in Baltimore, but it is not clear if this applies to acting department heads.