Fee proposed on property owners to mitigate effects of stormwater runoff

By Tom LoBianco Counties would be forced to levy a new fee on property owners and use the money to mitigate the effects of stormwater runoff, under a measure proposed by Sen. Jamie Raskin. The money would go to pay for retrofits and stormwater management measures as the state struggles to curtail pollutants pouring into the Chesapeake Bay. “If we don’t take [care] of this issue now, we’re going to end up paying a lot more to clean up this problem in the future,” Raskin, a Montgomery County Democrat, said Thurday. The measure does not declare how much each county must charge, although it does set a handful of parameters, including a mandate that the levy on commercial properties be higher than the fee imposed on residential properties. Counties would have to keep that money in a fund dedicated to improving stormwater treatment facilities and public education on environmental issues. The... Continue reading
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VIDEO: Jim Smith on stormwater regulations

Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith talks about his concerns with Maryland's new stormwater regulations, which are set to go into effect in May. He stresses the importance of redevelopment projects in older neighborhoods, pointing out that such redevelopment improves the ability to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. And in case you missed it, be sure to check out the County Executive's op-ed piece that appeared this week in the Baltimore Sun, where he laid out why he thinks the new regulations threaten Smart Growth. A threat to Smart Growth... Continue reading
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Thursday’s List: Ranking the Lobbyists

For 90 days each year, Maryland’s lobbyists go head-to-head in Annapolis, battling in the General Assembly and executive branch on behalf of their clients. While it’s virtually impossible to objectively measure the lobbyists by their wins and losses, the Maryland State Ethics Commission offers one clear-cut ranking – compensation totals. Six lobbying firms earned at least $1 million, according to the commission, for the annual period from Nov. 1, 2008, through Oct. 31, 2009. 1 Rifkin, Livingston, Levitan & Silver, LLC $4,148,321.00 2 Alexander & Cleaver, P.A. $3,309,011.77 3 Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger & Hollander, LLC. $2,099,936.30 4 Manis Canning & Associates $1,362,350.00 5 Venable, LLP $1,270,566.00 6 G.S. Proctor & Associates, Inc. $1,143,164.00 More than 100 lobbyists reported compensation of at least $75,000 for lobbying activities during that same period. 1 $1,287,174.00 Rozner, Joel D 2 $1,146,963.73 Alexander, Gary R. 3 $1,126,002.00 Johansen, Michael V 4 $1,105,719.00 Proctor, Jr., Gregory... Continue reading
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VIDEO: Otis Rolley discusses the Yellow Line to connect Columbia to Lutherville

The Howard County Council unanimously approved legislation this week to create the zoning for a 30-year redevelopment plan of central Columbia. Otis Rolley, a co-founder of Center Maryland and the president of the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, discusses plans for a Yellow Line, connecting Columbia to Lutherville. In September, Rolley's organization recommended that construction of the Yellow Line be made the region's next transportation priority after completion of the Red Line. ... Continue reading
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More on the battle for Common Sense

Thomas L. Friedman of the New York Times warned recently that "if our elites do not behave with a greater sense of the common good, we could find our economy doing a double dip with a back flip." "We badly need leaders inspired by sustainable values," Friedman wrote, "not situational ones. Without that, we’ll just be digging our hole deeper and making the reckoning, when it comes, that much more ferocious." Read his recent op-ed and consider how his thoughts on the national debate might be useful for Maryland's elected leadership. Adults Only, Please... Continue reading
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