State Roundup, August 21, 2017

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NEW GROWTH PLAN: Gov. Larry Hogan announced a new effort Saturday for a statewide plan to guide growth and development across Maryland, writes Pamela Wood for the Sun. The plan, Hogan said, will “finally put local planning authority back in the hands of local government, where it belongs.” Speaking at the close of the Maryland Association of Counties conference, Hogan’s announcement drew hearty applause from an audience filled with local officials and members of his Cabinet.

ECONOMIC DOWNTURN EXPECTED: A leading state economist urged local government officials to prepare for an inevitable economic downturn that he said is coming soon, reports Bryan Sears in the Daily Record. Anirban Basu, speaking to a gathering of county leaders at the annual Maryland Association of Counties summer conference, said that while he is optimistic about the economy for the balance of the year he sees turbulence on the horizon. (More at the bottom of story if you can’t access the Daily Record.)

PURPLE LINE CASE: The federal government filed its brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. in the long-running Purple Line case on Friday and rebuked two rulings by a lower court by saying the judge erred in his conclusions, reports Andrew Metcalf for Bethesda Beat. The brief prepared by Department of Justice attorneys is the first one filed in the appeal in the D.C. court. It lays out why Maryland and the Federal Transit Administration believe District Court Judge Richard Leon’s rulings in the case should be overturned.

HOGAN ON CITY STATUES: Gov. Larry Hogan said Friday that it is not his place to tell cities across Maryland how to deal with statues of historical figures who, for many, represent a legacy of slavery and racism, reports Ovetta Wiggins in the Post. “We’re not going to tell every jurisdiction what to do,” said Hogan (R). “They have to make the decision for themselves.”

BACKLASH OVER TANEY REMOVAL: Gov. Larry Hogan’s decision to remove a controversial Confederate-era statue from the State House grounds has prompted a backlash within some facets of his Republican base, reports Erin Cox reports for the Sun.

PUGH’s QUICK ACTION: Baltimore’s Confederate monuments exited swiftly last week, but they might have left something behind: an image, however temporary it might turn out to be, of a city that got it done, Jean Marbella and Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports. “Ain’t nobody got time for this white supremacist foolishness,” began a gleeful account by the team at the website Blavity of the unannounced overnight takedown of the statues. “The city of Baltimore did not come to play with ya’ll.”

JOLENE IVEY ON RACE, TANEY TAKEDOWN: Jolene Ivey, former delegate and one-time candidate for lieutenant governor discusses race relations in America and the removal of the statue of former U.S Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney from the State House grounds with Ryan Miner of a Miner Detail podcast.

IDENTITY POLITICS: Montgomery County Legislative District 15 Republicans released an email blast on Sunday morning, affixed with a cartoon image of a child, ostensibly blasting Democrats for playing identity politics, one week and a day after white nationalists and Neo-Nazi groups collided with mostly peaceful protesters and some members of the anti-fascist group, Antifa, in Charlottesville, Ryan Miner notes in his Miner Detail blog. The cartoon image is of a white child, FYI.

STUDY: WIND TURBINES WON’T DETER TOURISM: Scores of wind turbines off Ocean City’s coast, many standing about as tall as the Washington Monument, likely won’t lower property values and may even become a tourism draw, a new report suggests. The economic analysis prepared on behalf of U.S. Wind Inc. seeks to allay concerns among Ocean City officials that the proposed structures will turn off tourists and mar the resort’s iconic ocean views, Jeremy Cox reports in the Salisbury Daily Times.

KUSHNER RENTAL FIRM REVIEWED: Congressional Democrats from Maryland are asking for thousands of pages of documents to review the business practices of the apartment rental company owned by Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior adviser to President Donald Trump. Kushner’s company owns 17 rental complexes, most of them in Baltimore County. In a letter Friday, Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Reps. Elijah E. Cummings, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes and Anthony Brown told Kushner’s firm that it must abide by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations because its tenants receive federal rental subsidies through the Housing Choice voucher program, Doug Donovan reports for the Sun.

POLS OUT AT MACO: What is it about Maryland that forces office-seekers to campaign in extreme weather conditions, often while the voters they are trying to connect with have Old Bay and crab guts on their hands? That phenomenon was on full display Friday evening during the annual crab feast at the Maryland Association of Counties summer conference in Ocean City, writes Josh Kurtz for Maryland Matters.

SEN. RAMIREZ TO RUN FOR COUNTY STATE’s ATTY: State Sen. Victor Ramirez (D) is poised to enter the race for Prince George’s County state’s attorney, according to multiple sources – setting off a scramble to replace him in Annapolis, writes Josh Kurtz in Maryland Matters.