State Roundup June 25, 2010

O’MALLEY ON MARC: Following Gov. O’Malley’s symbolic MARC commute to atone for the sweltering “hell train” that left Penn Station passengers stranded, he and opponent Bob Ehrlich exchange criticisms over the other’s handling of transportation issues, writes Michael Dresser for the Sun. View Joy Lepola’s report for WBFF-TV on the back and forth. Sun editorial writers say that MTA and Amtrak officials are long on apologies but short on explanations for the poor service.

FILM TAX: Ehrlich’s claim that his film tax credit helped bring the hit TV show “Homicide” to Maryland is blatantly false, writes Sun media writer David Zurawik, while Ehrlich spin doctor Andy Barth admits the error and says, “We won’t do it again.”

O’MALLEY AD: Gazette columnist Blair Lee goes after the O’Malley ad describing Ehrlich as a lobbyist for big oil. Columnist Barry Rascovar joins him in stomping on the ad.

TEA ANYONE?: Laslo Boyd in the Gazette examines what impact the Tea Party folks will have in Maryland, and whether Ehrlich will associate himself with them.

GOP PRIMARY FOE: Chevy Chase resident Brian Murphy who heads up a small business investment group hopes to give Ehrlich a run in the Republican primary, reports Scott Dance for the Baltimore Business Journal.

ELECTRIC RATES: The state Public Service Commission says the old “price to compare” formula, a weighted average of summer and non-summer electricity rates, is no longer helpful, and orders a new formula to be created, Danielle Ulman reports in the Daily Record. The commission has told electric utilities to put more information on customers’ bills to help them decide whether to buy electricity from their utility company or a separate supplier, Margie Hyslop writes in the Gazette.

LOBBYISTS’ PAY: Maryland’s top-tier lobbyists saw their earnings ebb with the economy, but lots of money was still spent to get messages before legislators, reports Nicholas Sohr for TDR.

SLOTS DEFENDED: State lottery chief Stephen Martino defends the slot machines purchase and says there is a lot of misinformation floating around about just how much was spent per machine.

BAY GROWTH: Limitless population growth is unsustainable in the Chesapeake Bay region, writes Tom Horton in

OIL SPILL: The Frederick News-Post editorial board urges citizens not to boycott the independently owned BP gas stations to protest the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. And government scientists say it’s unlikely that Maryland’s shores will see any direct impact from the continuing oil spill, Paul West reports for the Sun

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Maryland will spend more than $500,000 in federal stimulus money to build 65 stations where drivers will be able to recharge their electric vehicles, and $498,000 to upgrade truck stops that will allow drivers to power their trucks with electricity, Nicholas Sohr reports for TDR

DEATH ROW: The state’s death row — currently made up of five inmates — is moving from Baltimore to the maximum security North Branch Correctional Institution in Cumberland, while the execution chamber will remain in the city, Jeffrey Alderton reports in the Cumberland Times-News.

ANTI-SEMITIC CHARGE: Baltimore County executive candidate Joe Bartenfelder is called anti-semitic in a political flier mailed to Pikesville residents, writes Bryan Sears for Patuxent Publishing.

BOTTLE TAX: The Baltimore City Council gave its final approval to a 2-cent tax on bottled beverages, Julie Scharper writes for the Baltimore Sun. Watch Lowell Melser’s report on the tax issue on WBAL-TV

ANNAPOLIS MANAGER: Michael D. Mallinoff, a Baltimore County resident who has been named Annapolis city manager, hopes to model his tenure after BSO conductor Marin Alsop,  Nicole Fuller of the Sun reports.

OPEN GOVERNMENT: Alan Brody at the Gazette gives us more details about the webcasting of Annapolis hearings.

NOTEBOOK: The Gazette Reporters Notebook (actually it’s mostly Alan Brody’s notebook) includes items about Peter Franchot, a different Daniel Snyder, a lame protest, mom lobbyists and a departing Hoyer aide.

ENDORSEMENTS: Some liberal groups face tough choices making endorsements in primary fights, Alan Brody reports in the Gazette.

KENNEDY COPYCAT: A GOP candidate for delegate in Harford County borrowed liberally from a speech by Robert F. Kennedy in announcing his run, Alan Brody reports in the Gazette.

PUNCHING IN: Calvert County delegate candidate Bob Schaefer will stay in the race, despite GOP calls that he drop out of the race after punching fellow Republican candidate Mark Fisher two weeks ago, says Alan Brody’s Gazette.

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