Here are some of the major stories and commentary posted from Dec. 24 through Dec. 30, 2013.
FUNDRAISING LAWSUIT: Attorney Dan Clements, who backs Doug Gansler’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor, filed a lawsuit in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court against the State Board of Elections chief Linda Lamone, Lt. Anthony Brown and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman. The suit seeks to invalidate the board’s ruling that Ulman – as Howard County executive — is not covered by the fundraising moratorium that applies to state officials while the legislature is meeting.
The Republican ticket of David Craig and Del. Jeannie Haddaway are not part of the suit because they have yet to file, Clements explained, according to Bryan Sears of the Daily Record.
Clements, an attorney with a Baltimore firm, has given tens of thousands of dollars to candidates in recent years and for 12 years chaired the political action committee of the Maryland Trial Lawyers, the Sun reports.
BWI ORGANIZING: At Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Unite Here, which represents hospitality workers throughout the United States and Canada, is ramping up its organizing campaign to a critical stage, writes Bruce Vail for In These Times. The campaign focuses on food and service workers in the airport, most of whom would easily match President Obama’s description of Americans, including airport workers, who “work their tails off” at poverty level wages.
OBAMACARE POLITICAL FALLOUT: The troubles hitting Maryland’s health exchange could have a lasting impact by tarnishing the political image of Gov. Martin O’Malley and his handpicked successor, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, according to experts assessing elections in 2014 and beyond, Erin Cox reports in the Baltimore Sun.
LEOPOLD HEARING: Former Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold will have the appeal of his misconduct convictions heard by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals on Feb. 5, Pamela Wood reports in the Sun.
PG SCHOOL HIRES: Prince George’s County Schools Chief Executive Kevin Maxwell, who came to the district as part of an overhaul of the school system, has added four new executive-level positions to his administration, hires he said will improve academic achievement, reports Ovetta Wiggins in the Post. Maxwell, in the job since August, has spent $1.5 million to hire a chief of staff, a diversity officer, a health officer, a performance and evaluation officer and 10 employees to assist them.
GAY RIGHTS AT MORGAN: An openly gay student at Morgan State University protested his exclusion from a fraternity there, which was found to discriminate against him, Jenna Johnson reports in the Washington Post.
HARFORD COUNTY TEACHER PAY: Despite all the public posturing over the past several years about teacher pay increases, Harford County Public Schools has one of the highest teacher retention rates in the state, according to a recently released report on teacher recruitment and retention, David Anderson reports in the Aegis. But school officials continue to warn that Harford’s system faces challenges in recruiting and retaining teachers and other staff members as pay rates fall behind neighboring counties and the cost of benefits increases.
ASSEMBLY PREVIEW: As part of a General Assembly preview, WYPR’s Fraser Smith discusses bail reform with Bryan Sears of the Daily Record.
DEL. DWYER: The editorial board of the Capital says Del. Don Dwyer should resign or the legislature should expel him.
KATHARINE WEYMOUTH INTERVIEW: In Bethesda magazine, Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth is interviewed by Eugene Meyer, a former Post staff writer.
WOMEN LEADING ANNE ARUNDEL: It’s not just Anne Arundel County’s name that is feminine, reports Elisha Sauers reports in the Annapolis Capital. The county executive, the state’s attorney, the community college president and the interim school superintendent are all women.
DOWN THE DRAIN FOR THE NSA: Howard County has agreed to supply treated wastewater to cool a massive computer center being built at Fort Meade by the National Security Agency — a money-saving, environment-conserving deal that officials say could serve as a model for other organizations, Matthew Hay Brown reports in the Sun.
BaCo SUPERINTENDENT ETHICS: Del. Pat McDonough has filed a complaint with the Baltimore County school board’s ethics panel, saying he wants it to rule on whether Superintendent Dallas Dance violated board policy when he took a part-time job with a company doing business with the school system. Liz Bowie reports in the Sun.
STATE DISEQUILIBRIUM: Given anticipated improvements in national economic activity built into state budgetary forecasts, Maryland must be in disequilibrium, write economist Anirban Basu and Zach Fritz in a Sun op-ed. Our economy is simply not expanding quickly enough to finance all of the spending in which Annapolis’ policymakers want to engage.
Md. TO THE LEFT: Maryland has long been a heavily Democratic state, but 2013 may have cemented its status as a truly liberal one, the Sun editorial board writes in a long piece analyzing the state’s political drift to the left. Has the pendulum swung too far to the left or not far enough?
DUNCAN v. LEGGETT: The last time someone not named Doug Duncan or Isiah Leggett held the office of Montgomery County executive, Bill Clinton was a first-term president, “Forrest Gump” was the year’s top-grossing film and Netscape Navigator was the consumer favorite for browsing something called the Web. The Post’s Bill Turque runs down the race for executive that includes Council member Phil Andrews.
WASHINGTON COUNTY CANDIDATES: Gus Basu in the Hagerstown Herald-Mail gives a rundown of the state and local races in Washington County.
MIZEUR PROFILE: The Gazette’s Kate Alexander has a long profile of Del. Heather Mizeur in her run for governor. She’s running to “blow the doors off” in Annapolis.
Mizeur, one of eight openly gay legislators in the Maryland General Assembly, didn’t understand why the gay-rights group Equality Maryland wouldn’t endorse her campaign for governor, reports Ryan Marshall in the Gazette.
ICC TOLLS: Groups are lobbying to cut the tolls on the Intercounty Connector from I-95 to I-270 to increase the volume of traffic, but that would also reduce revenue, a study said, according to Kevin James Shay in the Gazette.
CHICKEN LEE: Gazette columnist Blair Lee didn’t get what he wanted most from Santa — live backyard chickens. Urban chicken-raising is the hottest new fad among hip, green, locally grown sustainable food progressives, he writes.
DOG BITE BILL: Maryland lawmakers will try again to free the state’s pit bulls from breed-specific restrictions that hold landlords and owners strictly liable if a pit bull bites, reports Kate Alexander in the Gazette. State Sen. Brian Frosh and Del. Luiz Simmons are behind legislation for the upcoming session of the General Assembly that would repeal the strict liability imposed by a 2012 high court decision.
CASINO BOOZE: Round-the-clock alcohol at casinos has some local watering holes upset, Freedom du Lac and John Wagner report in the Post.
DEL. CONWAY FILES: Hoping to put Maryland taxes on par with surrounding states and secure funding for Lower Shore transportation projects, House Appropriation Committee chairman Norman Conway has filed for re-election, Jennifer Shutt reports in the Daily Times of Salisbury. The 71-year-old incumbent plans to talk to voters during 2014 about how the partnerships he’s formed and his chairmanship on the appropriations committee make him a strong representative for District 38B.
DISTRICT 12: Gordon Bull, the second Republican to file in Howard and Baltimore counties’ District 12 says he’s the candidate for voters interested in small government and individual freedoms, Amanda Yeager reports in the Sun.
Re: DOWN THE DRAIN FOR THE NSA
It doesn’t cost Ulman $2 million/day to operate the wastewater treatment plant, and it’s the height of duplicity to allow the county a windfall/effortless profit on the backs of U.S. taxpayers. This arrangement is beyond Rube Goldberg and is more proof NSA has too much money.