Politics

  • Gansler sharpens attacks on Brown

    Democrat Douglas F. Gansler sharpened his public attacks against rival Anthony G. Brown, charging Wednesday that his chief political opponent "did absolutely nothing" during his tenure as lieutenant governor and failed at the two main tasks he was given. During a radio interview on "The Marc Steiner Show," Gansler called the state's work to prepare for an influx of military workers "an unmitigated disaster" and again criticized Brown for the failed rollout of Maryland's health insurance website, two projects that Brown oversaw. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Bill Clinton to host Anthony Brown fundraiser

    Former President Bill Clinton will host a fundraiser for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown's gubernatorial bid next month, according to a fundraiser invitation that called it "a once in a lifetime event." Clinton formally endorsed Brown earlier this month and praised him as "uniquely qualified" to be Maryland's next governor. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Elimination of state prosecutor ‘a no win’ for state’s attorneys

    A campaign proposal to eliminate the Office of the State Prosecutor is being met with disapproval by some state’s attorneys who would be charged with filling the role. “It’s a real no-win situation,” said Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess. Leitess and Harford County State’s Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly, a Democrat and Republican respectively, said Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler’s proposal would place intense amounts of political pressure on local prosecutors. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

  • Prince George’s is making progress, but work remains, county executive Baker says

    Wherever the Prince George’s county executive goes, an oft-repeated slogan is sure to be echoed nearby. Whether Rushern L. Baker’s III is at the groundbreaking for a new development, talking to constituents one on one, or speaking to a room full of business owners, he will be the first to declare “Prince George’s is the place to be.” That’s because Baker (D) has spent his nearly-complete first term giving the county and its a government a facelift to help erase perceptions of a jurisdiction long overshadowed by its wealthier, more populous and attractive neighbors in the region. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

Center Maryland

  • Laslo Boyd: The Vanishing Voter

    In 1994, nearly 40% of registered voters turned out in the Primary Election for Maryland Governor. That was also the last time before this year in which there were seriously contested primaries for the gubernatorial nomination in both the Republican and Democratic Parties. With some fluctuations, the turnout trend has been decidedly downward since then, reaching its nadir in 2010 when only 25% of registered voters showed up at the polls on Primary Election Day.Read Full Article

  • Josh Kurtz: Bulwark

    Criticizing someone’s military service – that’s a winning campaign strategy? Doug Gansler has done it again. Just as the Democratic race for governor was starting to tighten, in the opinion of many Maryland political insiders, just as Gansler’s ads were making him seem likeable again, just as voters were beginning to pay enough attention to question Anthony Brown’s competence, Gansler inserts foot in mouth once more and – intentionally or not – questions the value of Brown’s military record. What it amounts to isn’t just an attack on Brown – it’s on military veterans everywhere. Read Full Article

  • Josh Kurtz: The Known Unknowns

    Here’s a shocking piece of news: We’re already in the home stretch for the June 24 Maryland primary. The primary is just nine weeks from today; early voting begins in seven weeks. How can that be possible when, in many ways, it feels as if the campaign hasn’t even begun yet? And what are the implications? To mark the kick-off of the home stretch, the beginning of the end, we pose 10 questions about the primary that we’re calling “The Known Unknowns.” That’s a twist on the title of a new and damning documentary about Donald Rumsfeld called “The Unknown Known,” inspired by the outrageously obtuse comment he made in the run-up to the Iraq War. Read Full Article

  • Laslo Boyd: A Time of Reflection and Recommitment

    This week marks the celebration of both Passover and Easter. These two religious observations are among the most important days of the year to Jews and Christians throughout the world. Last week saw the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, legislation which brought fundamental changes in the legal protections provided to African Americans in the United States. Commemorations of the past are opportunities to reflect upon the significance of prior events for today’s world. Read Full Article

Business

  • Downtown construction soared in 2013

    Baltimore’s downtown continued to be a magnet for investment in construction last year, but it’s off to a slow start so far this year. The volume of construction activity increased to $891 million — a 50 percent increase year-over-year. Completed projects in 2013 also represented $188 million in investment compared to $105 million in 2012. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

  • Hopkins, union to begin negotiating again

    Service workers fighting for higher wages will begin negotiating again with The Johns Hopkins Hospital April 30 during a meeting set up by a federal mediator, according to Hopkins and the union representing the workers. The SEIU United Healthcare Workers East labor union has been negotiating on behalf of 2,000 workers, including organizing a three-day strike earlier this month. The Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service stepped in after the two sides continued to disagree. Union leaders have said workers could strike again if an agreement is not reached. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Harford leaders hope 'House of Cards' doesn't leave town

    If "House of Cards" folds in Maryland, will Harford County businesses feel a slump? A number of county officials believe the hit Netflix series has brought an economic boost, not to mention free publicity, to Harford since cameras first started rolling in 2012. Knight Takes King, the "House of Cards" production company, has been threatening to leave Maryland, citing $3.5 million in tax incentives that were left out of legislation approved by the Maryland General Assembly last month. (Aegis) Read Full Article

  • Harbor Point tower builder named

    The developer of Harbor Point announced Wednesday the selection of a Virginia-based contractor for the $165 million construction of the first tower on the site. Beatty Development Group's choice of Armada Hoffler to build the new regional headquarters of energy company Exelon continues a partnership established during the construction of Harbor East, which Beatty Development Group President Michael Beatty led before founding his own company last year. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

Education

  • Walter G. Amprey, city schools superintendent, dies at age 69

    Walter G. Amprey, the Baltimore schools superintendent from 1991 to 1997 who was remembered as an innovative educator, died of a pulmonary embolism Tuesday at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The Finksburg resident was 69. "He always put the interests of the children ahead of his personal interests," said former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who hired Dr. Amprey. "He was superintendent at a difficult time, too." (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • University of Maryland law school dean Phoebe Haddon named chancellor of Rutgers-Camden

    Phoebe A. Haddon, dean of the University of Maryland’s Francis King Carey School of Law and a former law professor at Temple University, has been named the next chancellor of Rutgers University-Camden. Before she was appointed dean of the law school at the University of Maryland in 2009, Haddon taught courses for more than 25 years at Temple’s Beasley School of Law. She focused on constitutional law, torts and product liability. (Balt. Bus. Journal) Read Full Article

  • Pre-K plan alarms day care operators

    Maryland’s 4-year-olds aren’t the only ones who should care about the state’s expansion of pre-kindergarten this year. Private-sector child care providers also need to pay attention, or risk being squeezed out of business. Several such providers, such as owners of small day care centers, said they worry it will be tougher to attract paying families once more seats open up in free, public programs. (Daily Record) Read Full Article

  • Elementary school task force to report in June on options for longer day in Montgomery

    As Montgomery County has debated a proposal to delay the opening bells of high school to 8:15 a.m. — giving teenagers more time for sleep — a district-created study group has discussed potential changes to elementary school hours. It has asked: If the elementary school day were extended for another 30 minutes, how would the extra time best be used? School officials say the study group’s report is now expected in June, when Montgomery’s school board also will discuss the broader question of changing bell times. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

Around Maryland

  • Pratt decries lack of action on replacing wasteful city phones

    The drama over Baltimore's dysfunctional phone system began its next act Wednesday, with the city authorizing a private attorney to defend Comptroller Joan M. Pratt amid an ethics investigation — and Pratt leveling more accusations that the Rawlings-Blake administration is wasting taxpayer dollars through inaction. The Board of Estimates approved $2,000 for Pratt to hire an attorney as the city's ethics board investigates whether she should have accepted free legal work from Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos' law firm in 2012, when she sued the administration alleging illegal practices. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and her staff contended the legal work violated the city's ethics code, which generally prohibits elected officials from taking gifts from people who do business with their agencies. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Carroll County's top administrator stepping down

    Steve Powell will be stepping down as chief of staff to the Carroll County Board of Commissioners in June to serve as the vice president of finance for Carroll Lutheran Village. Powell began working for the county in October 1985, as the county's budget officer before becoming the director of the Carroll County Department of Management and Budget in 1988. Commissioners Perry Jones, Julia Gouge and Dean Minnich promoted him to the position of chief of staff in 2003. (Carr. Co. Times) Read Full Article

  • Long-sought Rec and Parks audit finally complete

    After years of demands by activists, Baltimore's Department of Recreation and Parks has finally been audited. The audit found the agency kept erroneous financial statements, confused revenue and expenses, and lacked procedures on how employees should handle cash. The agency "did not initially provide accurate financial statements," city auditor Robert L. McCarty told the Board of Estimates on Wednesday. The agency could not figure out why its records did not match city accounting and payroll numbers, he said, and later "developed separate financial statements." (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Ocean City, Wicomico County developing sports tourism partnership

    Wicomico County and Ocean City may strike out on a new partnership to attract large youth sports tournaments to the Lower Shore. An agreement being negotiated between both jurisdictions may be a first of its kind in the country, organizers say. It establishes a new entity called the Mid-Atlantic Amateur Sports Alliance and pitches $20,000 — $10,000 from both parties — toward a website and other marketing materials. (Daily Times)Read Full Article

Commentary

  • McCartney: Maryland governor’s race could mark shift in political power from Baltimore to D.C. suburbs

    Regardless of who triumphs in the Maryland Democratic gubernatorial primary June 24, the state’s Washington suburbs are almost certain to come out ahead. In a sign of expanding regional clout, the three major primary candidates hail from our area. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown is from Prince George’s County. Attorney General Doug Gansler and Del. Heather Mizeur are from Montgomery County. Given the Democrats’ dominance in the state, it’s therefore very likely that the next governor will come from our region for the first time in 12 years — and for only the second time in nearly a century and a half. As a result, this year’s election could mark the tipping point in a change underway for more than two decades as the Free State’s center of political power shifts from its historical home in the Baltimore region to our more-populous, faster-growing area. (Wash. Post) Read Full Article

  • Pay up, Kamenetz

    Baltimore County Circuit Judge Michael J. Finifter knows how to get County Executive Kevin Kamenetz's attention. A year and a half after Maryland's highest court upheld an arbitrator's decision that Baltimore County had overcharged a group of police department retirees for their health insurance benefits and owed them recompense, the county still has not paid and is working its hardest to avoid ever doing so. Now Mr. Finifter has threatened to hold Mr. Kamenetz in contempt and to throw him and two other top officials in jail. That's a little extreme and of questionable legality, in that Mr. Kamenetz, County Administrative Officer Fred Homan and Finance Director Keith Dorsey aren't actually named in the lawsuit. Nonetheless, it's time for someone to bring the Kamenetz administration to its senses. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Amanda Hughes: The PARCC test is a welcome change

    While no standardized test can ever truly measure all that a child has learned or can do, the new Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam represents a vast improvement over the Maryland School Assessments (MSA). Both teachers and students are ready for this welcome shift. (Balt. Sun) Read Full Article

  • Giving Maryland the bird

    The osprey is a noble bird of prey that not so long ago was headed toward extinction. Ospreys are making a comeback under federal protection. Killing one is a federal and usually a state crime, punishable by stiff fines and a long stay in prison. In Maryland, however, harassing ospreys has become something of a sport for certain state officials. (Wash. Times) Read Full Article

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