State Roundup, October 13, 2010

STATE PENSIONS: In a strongly worded editorial, the Washington Post criticizes the silence of both Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Gov. Bob Ehrlich on Maryland’s $18 billion in unfunded pension liabilities for state employees and teachers, as well as $15 billion more for health care benefits. “The numbers reflect a sorry record of political avoidance, cowardice and pandering by decision-makers in Annapolis, often in thrall to public employee unions,” says the Post.

DEBATE ANAYLSIS: WEAA’s Marc Steiner and Anthony McCarthy are joined by Susan Turnbull of the Maryland Democratic Party and Tony Campbell of the Baltimore County Republican Party to discuss the debate between O’Malley and Ehrlich and the upcoming election. Marta Mossburg writes for the Frederick News Post that neither candidate strayed from well-worn talking points and could have easily substituted campaign commercials for live appearances.

BEER IN HAND, DEBATE ON: In an amusing piece for the Annapolis Capital, Eric Hartley gives us his rundown on the debate in a way many might have wanted to watch it — with a six-pack of beer.

O’MALLEY WINS: Sun TV critic David Zurawik gives the debate to O’Malley, hands-down, from his suit to his mannerisms to his speech.

BASHFUL BOB?: Adam Pagnucco of Maryland Politics Watch runs a video, released by state Democrats, of Ehrlich apparently avoiding the press following Monday’s debate.

SLOTS FACT-CHECK: Dave Collins of WBAL-TV does a fact-check on Ehrlich and O’Malley’s ads and contentions on slots issues.

SLOTS IN A BOX: Aaron Cahill of the Dagger takes a spin through the Hollywood Casino and finds it little more than “slots in a box,” without “the bells and whistles found at its regional gaming competition.”

EHRLICH FUNDRAISING: Ehrlich visited Frederick yesterday for two fundraisers: one for Sen. David Brinkley, followed by a more intimate reception for about 35 big-dollar Ehrlich donors, Meg Tully of the Frederick News Post reports.

STUMPING FOR O’MALLEY: The previously reported O’Malley campaign fundraiser featuring former President Bill Clinton will now also include a public rally, the governor’s re-election campaign said. Annie Linskey blogs the change for the Sun. Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith may be on his way out of office, but he’s still more than happy to cut a commercial for O’Malley, blogs Bryan Sears of Patuxent Publishing. You can also view the commercial in his blog. Smith is also doing a radio ad for O’Malley. Julie Bykowicz reports on the ad and also fact-checks its truthfulness.

ON THE POLLS: Brian Griffiths of Red Maryland attacks recent polls and comments that say O’Malley is pulling ahead of Ehrlich in the race for governor.

CALVERT CLIFFS: O’Malley met with officials from French utility Électricité de France on Tuesday in an effort to jump-start plans for a third nuclear reactor at Calvert Cliffs, reports Gary Haber of the Baltimore Business Journal.

WIND ENERGY: Maryland’s first-ever commercial wind farm is set to begin partial operations in less than one week, according to developer Constellation Energy, Megan Miller of the Cumberland Times-News reports. And Hanah Cho and Frank Roylance of the Sun write that a Maryland company has proposed a $5 billion transmission network, partly owned by Google, that would harvest electricity from wind farms along the Atlantic Seaboard — a project designed to increase green energy sources and improve the reliability of the region’s taxed electricity grid.

FORECLOSURE STOP: A spokeswoman for Maryland’s judiciary says state court officials are reviewing a request from O’Malley and others to halt all foreclosures in the state for at least 60 days, the Washington Examiner runs an Associated Press story.

VOTE SMART: Project Vote Smart has developed a website that allows voters to quickly decide if they want to support a candidate seeking office in Maryland, Adam Bednar of the Carroll County Times reports. Use this link to get to the page Bednar mentions:

CON-CON:’s Megan Poinski writes about the ballot issue that is more powerful than any candidate, but has a very inactive campaign: whether the state should have another constitutional convention.

INDEPENDENT FRANCHOT: Nick Sohr of the Daily Record interviews Comptroller Peter Franchot, who says that no matter who is running the state in 2011, he will continue as “an independent voice” and not deviate from pushing for fiscal restraint and criticizing programs he considers too costly or wasteful.

NONPROFIT INFLUENCE: Nonprofit groups outline to’s Barbara Pash what they hope candidates will do for their causes if elected.

HOCO EXEC POLL: Two polls were released recently that show Howard County Executive Ken Ulman leading Republican challenger Trent Kittleman, although by dramatically different margins: one by 25 percentage points and one by 8 percentage points, writes Lindsey McPherson of the Columbia Flier.

BACO EXEC FORUM: Baltimore County Executive candidates Kevin Kamenetz and Ken Holt aired competing views on the budget, schools and economic development in a forum Tuesday night, as the Democrat Kamenetz defended the current administration’s record of management and the Republican Holt insisted more could be done to save money, Arthur Hirsch reports for the Sun. Pat Warren of WJZ-TV attended the forum. View her video report here. And read her article here.

STATE’S ATTY: Bryan Sears of Patuxent Publishing writes about an the race for Baltimore County State’s Attorney and how the two candidates — who are colleagues — keep politics out of the office.

ARUNDEL SHERIFF: Annapolis blogger Paul Foer of Capital Punishment writes about charges of a cover-up in the race for Anne Arundel County sheriff.

STATE CENTER: Work is scheduled to start this winter to transform the biggest state government complex in Maryland into a model of 21st-century urban design, a $1.5 billion “village” that clusters offices, homes and shops around mass

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