State Roundup, October 9, 2018

Print More

JOSEPH TYDINGS DIES: Christina Tkacik of the Sun reports that Joseph D. Tydings, a Maryland lawyer and “Kennedy man” who followed his adoptive father’s footsteps into the U.S. Senate, died Monday of cancer in Washington surrounded by family. He was 90.

AGING BRIDGES: Drivers make millions of crossings on Maryland bridges each day — from busy interstate overpasses to urban viaducts and rural spans. Some of these spans — their median age is 46 years — have been in use for far longer than their designers intended. Christine Zhang and Christina Tkacik of the Sun report that 288 (5.4%) of the bridges in Maryland were classified as being in both “poor” and “structurally deficient” condition in the FHA’s 2017 National Bridge Inventory. That’s less than the national average of 7.7%.

MARYLAND’s BLUE WAVE?: When Donald Trump unexpectedly won the 2016 presidential election, a lot of Maryland progressives were appalled and shocked into action. But experienced political observers asked, “Is this anger going to blow over, or will it translate into real changes in the next election?” Bob Guldin of Maryland Matters has been checking in with these left-leaning “resistance” groups around the state, and the answer seems to be: They’re fired up and in full campaign mode.

4th HIGHEST MONTH IN CASINO TAKE: Maryland marked its fourth best month for casino revenue in September, according to the latest numbers from Maryland Lottery and Gaming. Amanda Yeager of the Baltimore Business Journal reports that the state’s six casinos brought in total revenue of $143.8 million last month, a 6.9% year-over-year increase that continues to be led by MGM National Harbor in Prince George’s County.

GOOD FISCAL NEWS: Political pundit Barry Rascovar opines in his Political Maryland blog that, “at the moment, Maryland is sitting on a $503 million surplus from the last fiscal year. But the news gets even better, At the last Board of Public Works meeting, Comptroller Peter Franchot announced a $325 million increase in the state’s revenue estimates for the current fiscal year and a $407 million increase in projections for the fiscal year that starts next July.”

HOGAN’S JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS: In an op-ed in the Sun, retired U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Douglas opines that Douglas Colbert’s recent op-ed piece regarding whether Gov. Larry Hogan or Ben Jealous would make better judicial appointments demonstrates that “Mr. Colbert is knowledgeable about neither the judicial appointment process in Maryland nor the judicial appointments that Hogan has made over the last three and a half years.” (“Maryland’s highest court will turn over during next governor’s term; whom do you trust to make the appointments?,” Sept. 27).

BETHESDA BEAT VOTERS GUIDE: Here’s Bethesda Beat’s 2018 Voters Guide.

GOP SEES 12th DISTRICT IN PLAY: As they work toward their goal of flipping five state Senate seats now held by Democrats, Maryland Republicans believe they have put another seat in play, Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters reports. A recent poll showed businessman Joe Hooe, the Republican, leading Del. Clarence K. Lam (D) in the race for the open 12th District seat, in Howard and Baltimore counties. The single-day poll of 353 likely voters, taken on Oct. 1, had Hooe at 39% and Lam at 32%. The survey had a 5.5-point margin of error.

KIND WORD FOR PHRAGMITES: And now, a kind word about one of the Chesapeake Bay’s most hated invasive plants: phragmites. The tall, feathery-plumed marsh reed is the bane of waterfowl lovers around the Chesapeake Bay region, as it crowds out native wetland plants. But a new study finds that Phragmites australis and some other invasive plants help to fight climate change by enhancing the storage of “blue carbon”, the Bay Journal’s Tim Wheeler writes in MarylandReporter.com.

ANNE ARUNDEL FORUMS FOR LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATES: The League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women are sponsoring three forums in the next two weeks for candidates for the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates in legislative districts representing Anne Arundel County. The District 31 forum scheduled for tonight, Tuesday Oct. 9,  has been canceled.

  • Districts 30 Oct. 10, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. at Congregation Kneseth Israel, 1125 Spa Road, Annapolis, 21403.
  • District 32 Oct. 17, 7 p.m.- 9 p.m. at Ark and Dove Presbyterian Church, 8424 Piney Orchard Pkwy, Odenton 21113.
  • District 33 Oct. 11, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church, Zimmerman Hall, 611 Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd, Severna Park 21146.

SIMON POINTS TO CARDIN’s DECADES IN OFFICE: Potomac businessman Neal Simon on Sunday got his first televised opportunity to debate his opponents—and repeatedly went after the two-term incumbent, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin of Baltimore, writes Louis Peck in Bethesda Beat. Simon—at the end of an hour-long session that also included the Republican nominee, Towson University political science lecturer Tony Campbell of Baltimore—declared: “Sen. Cardin was first elected in 1966, and I’m sure he had good intentions, and I’m sure during his first two to three decades he got some things done. But today he’s part of the problem—he follows party leaders who are contributing to the partisan brawl that we’re all so tired of watching.”

ETHICS COMMISSION HAS 45 DAYS IN PITTMAN COMPLAINT: The Anne Arundel County Ethics Commission has 45 days to review an ethics complaint filed against County Executive Steve Schuh by his Democratic foe Steuart Pittman, Lauren Lumpkin of the Annapolis Capital reports. But with the general election less than a month away, the commission is under a tight deadline. Pittman called for an investigation Saturday after his opponent, Steve Schuh, used Anne Arundel County letterhead to send a memo to Crofton-area residents.

FLOREEN RETURNS DONATIONS: The Post’s Jennifer Barrios reports that Montgomery County executive candidate Nancy Floreen has returned $18,000 in campaign contributions after a county resident filed a complaint alleging that the donations were improper. Floreen’s campaign manager, Rich Parsons, said the campaign scrutinized the $57,000 in contributions listed in the Sept. 15 complaint and found that five of them, totaling $24,000, could have been made by entities that are owned by the same individuals.

MO CO EXEC CANDIDATES USE PUBLIC FUNDING: Running in the first competitive general election contest in decades, the Democratic and Republican contenders for county executive, Marc Elrich and Robin Ficker, have tapped into the county’s public funding system for more than $500,000 with a month left until Election Day, Dan Schere and Louis Peck report for Bethesda Beat.

ROSENSTEIN SAFE FOR NOW: President Donald Trump declared a reprieve Monday for Rod Rosenstein, saying he has no plans to fire his deputy attorney general whose future has been the source of intense speculation for two weeks, Eric Tucker and Jonathan Lemire of the AP report. “I’m not making any changes,” Trump told reporters as he returned to the White House after traveling with Rosenstein to an international police chiefs’ conference in Florida. “We just had a very nice talk. We actually get along.”

TOP MD DONORS TO TRUMP: Andy Giegerich and Carley Milligan of the Baltimore Business Journal reports that between July 2017 and June 2018, Trump collected $189,181 from a total of 2,549 Maryland residents. Who were the top donors from Maryland and how much did they give? A nifty little slide show tops the story.