State Roundup, May 3, 2019

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BALTIMORE MAYOR PUGH RESIGNS: Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh resigned Thursday, apologizing for the harm she has caused to the city’s image amid a growing scandal over her sales of a self-published children’s book series, Ian Duncan, Jean Marbella and Luke Broadwater report in the Sun.

REACTION: “This was the right decision, as it was clear the mayor could no longer lead effectively. The federal and state investigations must and will continue to uncover the facts,” Gov. Larry Hogan said of Pugh’s resignation. Other politicians have weighed in as well, the Post reports.

PUGH WAS NOT LEADING: Fern Shen and Mark Reutter of Baltimore Brew write that long before the unsavory details involving Pugh’s “Healthy Holly” children’s books were revealed, many Baltimore residents had already concluded they didn’t have much of a mayor to begin with. “That explains why there was no support for her after Healthy Holly broke. She had already blown it,” developer David Tufaro told The Brew. They outline the former mayor’s missteps and stumbles.

TIMELINE TO A RESIGNATION: Christina Tkacik of the Sun writes up a timeline of the Healthy Holly scandal, from Pugh’s joining the UMMS board in 2001 to Sen. Jill Carter’s sponsorship of a bill that would make it illegal for board members to profit from contracts with the hospitals they govern to the news revelations, all the way to yesterday’s announcement.

WHAT’s NEXT FOR PUGH: Catherine Pugh has represented West Baltimore as an elected official for nearly two decades: first on the City Council, then in the General Assembly and, until her resignation Thursday, as Baltimore’s 50th mayor. Doug Donovan and Liz Bowie of the Sun ask, “what’s next for the 69-year-old Democrat as she trades in the daily pressures of running a city for the lingering anxiety of enduring investigations into her business dealings?”

PUGH’s POLITICAL CAREER: Sarah Meehan of the Sun assembles a chronological look at some key points from her tenure on City Council, in the Maryland General Assembly and as mayor. It’s topped by an interesting video of her political career.

YOUNG BECOMES MAYOR: Ian Duncan of the Sun reports that City Council President and interim Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young became the 51st mayor of Baltimore on Thursday, his new role made official by Catherine Pugh’s resignation. Young, like Pugh a Democrat, has dismissed some of her closest aides and sent other signals that he was settling into the job, but Pugh’s resignation ends the uncertainty that hung over his leadership for the past five weeks. The new mayor was in Detroit for an economic development conference when the moment finally arrived.

OPINION: POLITICAL DOWNFALLS: In a column for the Sun, Dan Rodricks writes that “Pugh’s demise as mayor of Baltimore took less than two months. That’s astounding. That may be a Maryland record for revelation-to-resignation, rivaled only by the relatively snappy downfall of Spiro T. Agnew, vice president of the United States, former Maryland governor, former Baltimore County executive and longtime crook.”

11 MAYORS BEFORE PUGH HAVE RESIGNED: Fred Rasmussen of the Sun writes that 11 other mayors have resigned from office for a variety of political, criminal and personal reasons. Who are they are why did they quit?

LAWMAKERS ASK BPW TO DELAY HIGHWAY VOTE: A coalition of state lawmakers from Montgomery and Prince George’s counties is asking the Board of Public Works not to take action on a controversial transportation proposal to increase capacity on the Capital Beltway (I-495) and Interstate 270 at its May 8 meeting, because one member of the panel will be out of the country, Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters. Treasurer Nancy Kopp, who serves on the board with Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot, will be in Japan with her husband, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary next week.

WHO IS SPEAKER ADRIENNE JONES? Listening and consensus-building are two of Speaker Adrienne Jones’ trademarks, admirers say. Jones is no stranger to policy or politics, Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters reports. She spent most of her adult life working for Baltimore County government, dealing with fair practices, community affairs and human resources. In her job, she spent a lot of time attending community meetings, but was never particularly politically active.

WINNERS, LOSERS IN RACE FOR SPEAKER: In an analysis for Maryland Matters, Josh Kurtz writes up his long list of winners and losers following the race for Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates. At the top of the winners list is of course new Speaker Adrienne Jones. But Kurtz also cites Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski and Comptroller Peter Franchot among those in the winners circle.

‘COLUMBIA PROMISE’ ONLINE: The new Maryland Public TV documentary about the planning of Columbia, Md. and how it turned out is now available online.

EMERGE MARYLAND GETTING WOMEN IN OFFICE: Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters reports on a Thursday night fundraiser for Emerge Maryland, the training program for Democratic women seeking elected office. The theme of the 2019 fundraiser was momentum, something the organization seems to have. Last November, 19 of 25 Emerge Maryland alumnae won their races; 11 were elected to the General Assembly – with a 12th on the way, in Annapolis Alderwoman Shaneka Henson, who has been nominated to fill the vacancy left in the House of Delegates after the death of the late Speaker Michael E. Busch (D).

OPINION: CHANGE PROCESS OF FILLING VACANCIES: In a column for the Annapolis Capital, Brian Griffiths opines that the writing was on the wall before the application process was completed. Shaneka Henson was going to be the new delegate from District 30A, replacing the late Mike Busch. The selection process was designed to minimize participation from Democrats living in District 30A. The only fair way to ensure voters have their voices heard when vacancies occur is to allow voters to make the choice. We need to have special elections to fill vacancies for state Senate and the House of Delegates.

APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS MO CO PESTICIDE BAN: A Maryland appeals court on Thursday overturned a lower court’s ruling that Montgomery County’s ban on the use of cosmetic pesticides on lawns conflicted with state law, clearing the way for the county to enforce what would be the first-ever ban by a major jurisdiction, Jennifer Barrios of the Post reports.