State Roundup, September 10, 2018

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ETHICS PANEL COULDN’T SUBSTANTIATE CLAIM AGAINST ANDERSON: Michael Dresser of the Sun reports that the Maryland General Assembly’s ethics committee could not substantiate the most serious allegation that Baltimore Del. Curt Anderson faced during a sexual misconduct investigation, according to the panel’s report released Friday.

SINGLE DEBATE CHEATS VOTERS, SAY EXPERTS: After all the bluster over gubernatorial debates, candidates in Maryland typically settle on at least two debates. Not this year. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and Democrat Ben Jealous will meet only once, on Sept. 24 — the fewest televised debates in 16 years in Maryland, writes Doug Donovan for the Sun. And that’s a huge loss for the state, experts say. “It’s a shame for Maryland voters,” said Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College. The candidates “need to step back and recognize that this is a function that campaigns serve for American democracy.

PROGRESSIVE DEMS STRUGGLE WITH FUND-RAISING: The progressive Democrats who have won nominations this year for governor have a lot in common. They are highly critical of President Trump and his immigration policies; they generally favor legalizing marijuana; and they want to expand health care, in some cases with single-payer plans. They are also having a hard time raising money, Alan Greenblat of Governing Magazine reports.

JEALOUS CAPITALIZES ON TRUMP SWIPE: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous may be struggling to get his message out to Maryland voters, but he has earned the attention of President Donald Trump. Trump, at a rally in Montana on Thursday night, criticized Jealous over immigration — though not by name. “In Maryland, the Democrat candidate for governor wants to give illegal aliens free college tuition courtesy of the American taxpayer,” Trump said. The crowd booed. But the Jealous campaign on Friday cheered, seizing on the spotlight by issuing a statement and holding a conference call with fellow Democrats to try to tie Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to Trump, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports.

HOGAN RUNS: Political commentator Frank DeFilippo opines in Maryland Matters that while Gov. Larry Hogan may appear to be running wildly ahead of his Democratic opponent Ben Jealous as he seeks a second term as governor, he may not be able to outrun the velocity of current events.

JEALOUS’s JAIL PLAN: In an op-ed for the Sun, justice advocates Marc Schindler and Vincent Schiraldi ask why, at a time when Maryland appears to have already taken steps to curb mass incarceration, would a candidate for governor – Ben Jealous – put forth a proposal to cut incarceration by another 30%? Because that might be the state’s best strategy for safer neighborhoods and stronger communities.

WHO’s MORE LIKE TRUMP? In an op-ed for the Sun, Hogan campaign volunteer Noah Diekemper contends that “the Trumpian figure in this race, the stand-in for the national party who would drag Maryland back from our progress of these four years — is Ben Jealous.”

JEALOUS CONFRONTS STUTTER: As he struggles not to stutter, gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous confronts the issue head on during the campaign, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.

WILL TRONE BE REPLACED? Multiple sources have informed Red Maryland that Democrats may be seeking ways to replace Democratic 6th District Congressional nominee David Trone, writes Brian Griffith for Red Maryland. Trone announced several weeks ago that he was being treated for cancer. It is expected that Democrats hope Trone removes himself from the race this week, allowing Democratic Central Committees to select a replacement.

IN RESPONSE A STATEMENT FROM TRONE CAMPAIGN MANAGER JERID KURTZ: “It’s incredibly offensive that Amie Hoeber’s Republican attack dogs are playing politics with news about David Trone’s health, and we call on Hoeber to demand they immediately stop. David is committed to doing everything he can for the people of the 6th District, his prognosis is excellent, and he’s fully committed to this race. Like Governor Hogan, David is prepared to handle the duties of elected office, and any suggestion otherwise is a lie.”

NEW PARTY FOUNDER GOES TO COURT: Rebuffed by the voters in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and rebuffed again by state election officials in his desire to set up a new political party and appear on the Senate ballot this fall, Jerome Segal has decided to take his case to court. Segal, a peace activist who is proposing to set up a socialistic Bread and Roses Party, and two other plaintiffs, filed suit against the Maryland State Board of Elections in federal court in Greenbelt last week, Josh Kurtz reports for Maryland Matters.

ON TEACHERs’ SECOND JOBS: In a commentary for MarylandReporter, former first-grade teacher and now Professor James Shuls writes that “One of the great things about teaching that is … Unlike a lot of other professions, teachers have an incredible schedule. Almost a year in advance, you know every single day that you are required to work. You know the start times, the end times, and you never have to worry about an unplanned business trip calling you out of town. Oh, and did I mention that you have summers off? It is exactly the type of job that is suitable to having an extra job. So what should we make of the recent survey finding by the Maryland State Education Association that 41% of the state’s teacher’s work a second job to make ends meet?”

BAY HEALTH: The health of the Chesapeake has shown signs of improvement in recent years, with underwater grass beds reaching levels not seen in decades, and dissolved oxygen levels ticking upward in deepwater areas. The persistent storms could be a setback, at least in the short term, for recovery efforts, though it will take weeks, if not months, of monitoring for scientists to fully assess the potential damage — or even know the amount of water-fouling nutrients and sediment that were flushed into the Bay, reports the Bay Journal’s Jeremy Cox in MarylandReporter.

  • In a commentary for MarylandReporter, the Bay Journal’s Tom Horton writes that oligotrophication is the opposite of “eutrophication,” which is the over-fertilizing and murking up and deoxygenating of waters with human wastes and fertilizers — the sorry norm for the Bay and the planet for many decades. Oligotrophication would be a good thing for our Chesapeake, promising cleaner, clearer waters, lusher with all the life that abounded when Boynton first saw the Bay in 1969.

WHAT’s KRISH UP TO? Meghan Thompson of Maryland Matters catches up with former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Krish Vignarajah to see what she is up to since losing her primary. Vignarajah sees her showing – just 0.1 points behind the third-place finisher, attorney James L. Shea – as far from the end of her fight for equal representation for women in Maryland. She said she is happy about the campaign she ran, and discovered, “Clearly there [is] a thirst, maybe even a starvation, for a new generation of leadership.”

BA CO EXEC HOPEFULS EYE SCHOOL PROBLEMS: As students returned to Maryland public schools last week, Baltimore County once again became Ground Zero in the never-ending political fight over inadequate classroom facilities in the state, with 10 schools closed due to the extreme heat. Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters writes that this time the fight is between county executive candidates Al Redmer, a Republican, and Democrat Johnny Olszewski.

AC CRISIS FROM COMPTROLLER’s POV: Len Foxwell and Valerie Radomsky of Maryland’s Comptroller’s office will break down the air conditioning crisis in Baltimore schools on A Miner Detail Radio Podcast. Reporter Bryan Sears of the Daily Record also joined the show to discuss the latest hubub at the Board of Public Works meeting.

MO CO EXEC CANDIDATES’ SUPPORT STAFF: All three candidates for Montgomery County executive have new staffers on board as they prepare for the marathon between now and the start of early voting. Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes that, since you can’t tell the players without a scorecard, here’s a look at the folks — some old names, others not so much — who will be trying to steer their candidate to victory in November.

ETHICS PANEL REJECTS PUGH REQUEST: The Sun’s Ian Duncan reports that Baltimore’s ethics panel has unanimously rejected Mayor Catherine Pugh’s request to be exempted from rules that bar city employees from raising money for charitable causes without prior approval. Pugh was seeking a waiver from the city’s ethics regulations so she could solicit funds from private donors that would help pay for her administration’s social programs and other community initiatives.