Archive: February 2006

Who's got the biggest heart?

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s Democratic rivals used a news conference this afternoon to decry his past Medicaid cuts in strikingly similar language that sounded like a preview for the upcoming contest. In tough budget times last summer, some recent...

By Ann Marimow | February 28, 2006; 6:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

AFL-CIO Endorses O'Malley, Cardin

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley's campaign for governor secured an unusually early and lopsided endorsement today from Maryland's largest labor organization. A committee of the Maryland State and D.C. AFL-CIO, which claims nearly 300,000 members, voted 52-11 to back O'Malley (D)...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 28, 2006; 4:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Steele and his "Come to Jesus Moment"

Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele yesterday exhorted religious leaders to build stronger ties between church and state and called for targeting more state money for community programs run by faith-based groups. "Oops I am not supposed to use the word:...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 27, 2006; 6:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Treasured Triple "A" Status

The major bond rating agencies have reaffirmed Maryland's strong status as one of only six states with a AAA rating from Fitch, Moody's and Standard & Poor's. The announcement by State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp comes as Maryland prepares to...

By Ann Marimow | February 27, 2006; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Duncan On Schaefer

Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan found himself in the awkward position last week of criticizing the behavior of a man who has delivered one of the most high-profile endorsements of his gubernatorial bid: Maryland Comptroller William Donald Schaefer ....

By Phyllis Jordan | February 25, 2006; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Ehrlich Backs Bush--on Ports and Spying

After his brief split with President Bush over the management of the nation's ports, Gov. Bob Ehrlich on Friday wanted to make it abundantly clear the two are on the same page when it comes to the nation's security. Speaking...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 24, 2006; 11:25 AM ET | Comments (0)

Baltimore Port Secrets

Maryland Transportation Secretary Robert Flanagan Thursday told the budget committee that oversees the Port of Baltimore he would not answer questions about the state's contract with Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. P&O is the British firm that has signed...

By | February 23, 2006; 4:36 PM ET | Comments (0)

Terrorists in White House???

Like any politician in a high stakes race, Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan may want to start screening the people who appear on stage on him. Or, at the very least, have a campaign staffer preview their speech. Duncan...

By Tim Craig | February 23, 2006; 4:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Green Grades

The League of Conservation Voters has issued its annual National Environmental Scorecard, which grades members of Maryland's Congressional delegation based on what the group considers pro-environmental votes. Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Jr. and Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes lead the...

By Ann Marimow | February 23, 2006; 9:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Pig Will Fly...

In this year's debate over same-sex marriage in Annapolis, one of the most outspoken voices has been Anne Arundel County Clerk Robert Duckworth. Duckworth has made his reputation conducting civil marriage ceremonies at the court house -- more than 6,000...

By | February 22, 2006; 5:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Ethics Education

The group that oversees the University of Maryland will get an ethics lesson April 7. But still no word on whether they will investigate the activities of Board of Regents chairman David Nevins. Nevins held meetings with top lawmakers earlier...

By | February 22, 2006; 10:08 AM ET | Comments (0)

Port in a Storm

Gov. Bob Ehrlich has been known to cloak himself, quite literally, in homeland security. After Hurricane Katrina, the Republican governor held a news conference dressed in a homeland security blazer. During his state of the state address last month, he...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 21, 2006; 4:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

Prince George's: Do the Math

The calculus of Democratic politics in Maryland has alway involved three essential components: Montgomery County, Prince George's County and the city of Baltimore. Now with one Democratic candidate for governor, Doug Duncan, hailing from Montgomery County and the other, Martin...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 20, 2006; 6:46 PM ET | Comments (3)

Ethics 101

When the chairman of the board that oversees the University System of Maryland came to Annapolis recently to hobnob with top lawmakers on behalf of the state's largest power company, lawmakers were baffled. The legislature had, afterall, passed a law...

By | February 20, 2006; 6:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

Schaefer Apologizes

Two days after drawing criticism for ogling a 24-year-old aide at a public meeting, Comptroller William Donald Schaefer apologized to the woman today in a hand-delivered letter. The letter was delivered at 2:45 p.m. to the woman, who works in...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 17, 2006; 3:33 PM ET | Comments (4)

Ivey Won't Endorse

Prince George's State's Attorney Glenn Ivey has decided to stay on the sidelines in the upcoming Democratic primary for governor and U.S. Senate. Instead of endorsing a candidate, Ivey said recently that he will work to make sure the Democratic...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 17, 2006; 11:26 AM ET | Comments (0)

Reaction to Schaefer: Dismay, Humor

The two Democratic candidates for governor expressed dismay Thursday with Comptroller William Donald Schaefer for ogling a 24-year-old woman in a public meeting Wednesday, aides said. Even so, Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan has no plans to remove a...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 16, 2006; 6:44 PM ET | Comments (4)

Ehrlich and Zeese on Elections

It's a rare day when Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and third party Senate candidate Kevin Zeese see eye to eye on anything. That happened yesterday, when within a matter of hours both politicians released missives fretting over the...

By Ann Marimow | February 16, 2006; 9:49 AM ET | Comments (5)

Steele Staff Shake Up

Lt. Gov. Michael Steele's campaign manager quietly left the U.S. Senate campaign earlier this month--underscoring a broader tug of war between the Republican candidate's Washington advisers and his longtime loyalists from Maryland. Graham M. Shafer, a Maryland native whose ties...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 16, 2006; 3:17 AM ET | Comments (20)

Adding Up Crime

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, who earlier this week put a spotlight on Baltimore's crime problems, today joined a group of lawmakers in Annapolis calling for a statewide audit of crime figures. Del. Jill P. Carter (D-Baltimore) said legislation...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 15, 2006; 6:33 PM ET | Comments (4)

Schaefer Remarks Criticized

Comptroller William Donald Schaefer--infamous for referring to women, even cabinet secretaries, as "little girls"--inflamed sensibilities again today at a Board of Public Works meeting. The meeting had just begun, with more than 100 people in attendance, when a young woman...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 15, 2006; 12:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

The "ashtray" of the east

Supporters of turning Maryland's bars and restaurants smoke-free were ecstatic about news that Virginia's Senate had gathered momentum to pass a statewide smoking ban. "It appears to me that hell has frozen over in Richmond," said Del. Barbara Frush (D-Prince...

By Ann Marimow | February 14, 2006; 6:26 PM ET | Comments (1)

Video: Veterans Voice Support

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By | February 14, 2006; 1:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

Plenty of heart in the Senate

There are few places, it would seem, where Valentine's Day is a bigger holiday than on the floor of the Maryland Senate. Several female members and staff wore red power suits today. Some of their male counterparts donned ties adorned...

By John Wagner | February 14, 2006; 12:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Planning hire questioned

Maryland Planning Secretary and former Prince George's County Councilwoman Audrey Scott said yesterday she's facing pestering questions about a recent hiring decision. Scott hired Doug Burkhardt to run the state's Smart Growth office after conducting a four-month search. She said...

By | February 14, 2006; 11:14 AM ET | Comments (1)

Mfume declares support for same-sex marraige

Some African-American politicians have shied away from the debate over same-sex marriage, saying it has nothing to do for the fight for racial equality they waged decades ago. Kweisi Mfume, a former NAACP president and congressman running for the U.S....

By Phyllis Jordan | February 13, 2006; 7:26 PM ET | Comments (13)

O'Malley "too cute" for Jessamy

Patricia Jessamy, the top prosecutor in Baltimore, and Martin O'Malley, the city's mayor, have not had the most cozy of relationships for some time. More evidence of that came this morning, at a news conference in Baltimore where Jessamy stood...

By John Wagner | February 13, 2006; 5:23 PM ET | Comments (2)

Cooking the books?

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) today accused Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley of tinkering with crime statistics to make his city appear safer than it really is. In a question and answer session with reporters in Takoma Park, Duncan...

By Tim Craig | February 13, 2006; 5:23 PM ET | Comments (4)

Still waiting

For the second time in a week, state Sen. Gwendolyn Britt (D-Prince George's) joined Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) at a campaign event. Britt has been frequently mentioned as a possible running mate for Duncan, who is seeking...

By Tim Craig | February 13, 2006; 4:53 PM ET | Comments (2)

O'Malley and the George Bush "Mini-Me"

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley on Saturday dismissed as "politically motivated" a recently disclosed grant by the administration of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) to a University of Maryland researcher to determine whether Baltimore and several other jurisdictions are correctly...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 11, 2006; 11:58 PM ET | Comments (4)

Steele supports stem cell--sort of

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele expressed qualified support today for embryonic stem cell research, two days after causing an uproar by linking the science to medical experimentation during the Holocaust. Steele, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, used a...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 11, 2006; 5:16 PM ET | Comments (7)

Steele's Day of Contrition

Michael Steele had some apologizing to do Friday. It was a day after the Republican Senate candidate and lieutenant governor had compared embryonic stem cell research to Nazi experimentation, offending some who heard him speak at the Baltimore Jewish Council....

By Phyllis Jordan | February 10, 2006; 11:15 PM ET | Comments (4)

Steele's Stem Cell Storm--Updated

Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's remark yesterday comparing embryonic stem cell research to Nazi experimentation during the Holocaust reverberated through Maryland politics today. Hounded by reporters on campaign stops in Prince George's County, he said: "I offended members of the...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 10, 2006; 10:17 AM ET | Comments (0)

Maryland: the worst legislature?

Maryland's General Assembly is "way out in front" as the worst state legislature in the U.S., according to a columnist for the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page's online OpinionJournal.com. Writer John H. Fund points to the reversal of the governor's...

By Ann Marimow | February 10, 2006; 6:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Marriage Issue Persists

Persistent worries among Democrats about how -- and when -- Maryland's highest court will resolve the question of same-sex marriage has prompted a second attempt by House members to delay any ruling from taking effect before November's election. Del....

By | February 9, 2006; 7:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

Crime on their minds

Maryland's two leading Democratic candidates for governor each, in their own way, sought yesteday to bolster their crime-fighting bona fides. Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan yukked it up on a Baltimore radio show hosted by Ed Norris, who once...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 9, 2006; 6:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

Paper trail benefits disputed

A pair of Maryland professors hired by the State Board of Elections to study voter-verification equipment told legislators yesterday that the technology makes it more difficult to vote, increases the time it takes to participate and decreases the privacy with...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 9, 2006; 5:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Taking a stand on same-sex marriage

Former Takoma Park City Council member Heather R. Mizeur, a Democrat running for the House of Delegates, has put her party's leadership on notice that she and other gay and lesbian voters expect full marriage rights. In a letter...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 9, 2006; 12:18 AM ET | Comments (0)

Happy Anniversary

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the day Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. fired long-time aide Joseph Steffen for a series of Internet postings in which he described an orchestrated effort to smear one of the governor's political rivals. And...

By | February 8, 2006; 5:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Duncan on Norris

In his run for governor, Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan has taken his share of swipes at Democratic rival Martin O'Malley for his handling of crime in Baltimore. Tomorrow Duncan will be chatting with a guy with first-hand knowledge...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 8, 2006; 1:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

Ehrlich Restrained on Death Penalty Ruling

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said he was surprised by the the state's high court decision to halt the execution scheduled for this week of Vernon L. Evans Jr., who was first sentenced to die more than two decades ago...

By | February 8, 2006; 6:42 AM ET | Comments (0)

Civility has its limits

The state Senate broke from a partisan debate over air pollution this morning to get some nonpartisan advice from one of the state's political legends: Comptroller William Donald Schaefer (D). Both chambers of the General Assembly celebrated Schaefer's more than...

By Ann Marimow | February 7, 2006; 7:00 PM ET | Comments (2)

Join the Crowd

More than a dozen Maryland political enthusiasts have expressed interest in running for the open 3rd District congressional seat this year, and that group will now include Annapolis businessman John White. White is one of the few Republicans to express...

By | February 7, 2006; 5:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

Wal-Mart battle goes to court

This just in: Maryland's new law forcing Wal-Mart to spend more on employee health care is now the subject of a lawsuit. The national Retail Industry Leaders Association filed the suit, which asserts that Maryland's law, and a similar one...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 7, 2006; 2:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Ehrlich's Embarrassment

It took a few Democrats by surprise when Gov. Bob Ehrlich unloaded Monday on Democratic lawmakers, blasting them for overriding a record number of his vetoes. "Some of these votes are meant to embarrass me and the administration," said Ehrlich,...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 7, 2006; 12:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Political predictions

The Greater Washington Board of Trade's legislative briefing wrapped up this morning with a request for political predictions. First from Ways and Means Committee Chairwoman Sheila Hixson (D-Montgomery), who offered more of a wish than a prediction. The Democratic Party,...

By Ann Marimow | February 6, 2006; 5:34 PM ET | Comments (2)

Duncan and Britt

Lots of people have been speculating that Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan and state Sen. Gwendolyn Britt would get together for an announcement, but this wasn't it. Duncan, who's seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, appeared in neighboring Prince George's...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 6, 2006; 2:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

On the Fringes

Ever wonder who are the most liberal and most conservative members of the Maryland General Assembly? A group calling itself the Maryland Accountability Project has developed rankings based on how all 188 lawmakers voted on 25 bills last year. Findings,...

By | February 6, 2006; 11:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

Steele's Conservative Contributors

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, the leading Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, has sought to move to the middle as he runs for election in a state where Democrats hold a nearly two-to-one advantage in party registration. But...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 4, 2006; 11:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

Breaking Ranks

The Republican effort to usher a constitutional ban on gay marriage onto the House floor for debate last week was short-circuited by the Democratic leadership before Minority Whip Anthony J. O'Donnell had a chance to deliver it. O'Donnell vowed...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 4, 2006; 11:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Same-Sex Marriage Ban Defeated Again

A Republican effort to revive a measure banning same-sex marriage went down to defeat on the floor of the House of Delegates Friday afternoon, a day after a House committee killed the proposed constitutional amendment. The House debated whether to...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 3, 2006; 5:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Hot Date for the Maryland Legislature

Maryland's General Assembly was nominated this morning for a rare accolade: "Best Legislature in the Country." The praise came from Rachel Maddow, a liberal commentator on the Air America radio network, who also declared Maryland's legislature the one she'd "most...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 3, 2006; 11:08 AM ET | Comments (0)

Playing Prince George's Song

Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) finished his speech about the need and desire for high-end retail in Prince George's and sat down. He then realized that he had not introduced his invited guest, Montgomery County Executive Doug...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 3, 2006; 7:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

"Otherwise sensible" governors

Chris Edwards, tax director at the libertarian Cato Institute, picks on Republican governors in Maryland and California as examples of what not to do with their respective state budget surpluses. In a column for National Review Online, he writes that...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 2, 2006; 4:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

The shrinking budget battleground

A bipartisan committee of the General Assembly gave itself some wiggle room today as it prepares to try to trim from Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr's (R) budget of popular programs. Based on better than projected revenues, the chief legislative...

By Ann Marimow | February 1, 2006; 7:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

Real Estate Politics

Remember that aborted land deal, the one where Gov. Bob Ehrlich's administration tried to sell state parkland in St. Mary's County to a well-connected contractor? Or how about the failed attempt to see a patch of University of Maryland land...

By Phyllis Jordan | February 1, 2006; 6:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

 

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