Friday in Annapolis went from the humorous to the deadly serious.
At Chic & Ruth’s Delly on Main Street, veteran journalist Lou Davis of Maryland Public Television was honored with the unveiling of a new breakfast plate — lox, eggs and onions. Behind the counter, Gov. Martin O’Malley read a whimsical proclamation marking the event, Speaker Mike Busch, who represents Annapolis chimed in, and Mayor Josh Cohen talked of his days working at the delly.
The eatery has a wall filled with dozens of sandwiches and other dishes named for politicians, and owner Ted Levitt said it was the first time a dish was to be named for a non-politico. Cohen said, “My life’s ambition was to get a sandwich named after me,” and he achieved his ambition when he was elected a city alderman in his 20s.
A seven-minute walk back to the State House, the final debate and vote on the O’Malley budget got underway. As expected, it passed easily 101-36, with four of the 43 Republicans voting for the $37 billion budget, the most that had voted for an operating budget in several years.
The delegates then turned to a two-hour debate on abolishing the death penalty. The House floor was unusually quiet as legislator after legislator spoke for and against, often from the heart. Scripture was quoted back and forth, and one of the more stirring speeches was by Del. Dereck Davis, D-Prince George’s, who talked of his own struggle on the issue after the armed robbery on his front steps, with a gun at his temple and one pressed into his right kidney. Ultimately decided he would vote for repeal, drawing applause from his fellow Democrats. The vote was 82-56.
A half-hour after the vote, there was joyous celebration in the governor’s reception room, joined by Kirk Bloodsworth, the first man exonerated from his death sentence by DNA evidence.