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The Montgomery Campaign Trail

Governor

The campaign for governor moves to Montgomery County today with both Democratic candidates putting in appearances designed to highlight each other's weak spots.

In Silver Spring, County Exec Doug Duncan promises a "debate" on slot machine gambling with "special guests."

The special guests turn out to the be the stars of his television advertising campaign in Baltimore, cardboard cutouts of Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich and Democratic Mayor Martin O'Malley.

(There was also an uninvited cutout: A protester carried a cardboard version of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff with a sign reading "I HEART Duncan and Gambling"--a reference to campaign contributions Duncan returned last week from firms linked to the lobbyist)

Of the three gubernatorial candidates, Duncan is the only candidate firmly opposed to bringing slot machines back to Maryland. Ehrlich has advocated placing thousands of machines statewide to raise money for education, while O'Malley favors a more limited plan that would allow the machines at race tracks to help revive horse racing.

Duncan pledged to veto any slots plan that came before him as governor. Polls show Montgomery voters opposed the effort to expand gambling.

Later in the day, O'Malley arrives in Clarksburg, the northern Montgomery County community that has become synonymous with rampant growth. It was Clarksburg where residents discovered building irregularities: some houses were too tall and too close to the street.

The fault seemed to lie with the county planning department, which reports to the County Council, not to Duncan. But he has not escaped the backlash from anti-growth advocates, some of whom are lining up with O'Malley.

After the Clarksburg visit, O'Malley moves on to Germantown for a town hall meeting on sprawl. Today's events are the latest in the mayor's efforts to shift the campaign from Baltimore's woes to Montgomery's.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  June 1, 2006; 10:27 AM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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Comments

How does Duncan plan, then, on raising the money that slots would bring? While the rich liberals in lower Montgomery who denounce slots can easily afford the higher taxes to pay for everything they want the government to spend money on, many of the rest of us are hard pressed on our taxes as it is.

And I am a pro-slots Montgomery voter.

As for O'Malley's campaign, Germantown is actually an example of fairly (but not perfectly) well-planned growth. If he wants to denounce sprawl, he could go to places closer to Baltimore (Carroll, Harford, parts of Baltimore County) which better fit the image of haphazard sprawl growth.

Posted by: MHK919 | June 1, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Every 10 years or so, there is a backlash against incumbents in Montgomery County who are seen as too cozy with developers and are against the overall interests of the community at large.

This is the political environment that Fat Doug finds himself in today and what it means is that his campaign for governor is doomed.

4 years ago was Duncan's time to run for governor, not now.

Oh well, Duncan can always apply for a job as a real estate agent -- he's got plenty of experience.

Posted by: O'Malley campaign on track for victory in Montgomery County | June 1, 2006 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't think "rich liberals" are the only people denouncing slots. I think much of the opposition is coming from lower income areas where the proposed slots are going to get dumped. In Ehrlich's plan the slots were never going to come close to any high income areas (god forbid!). I think many feel that with slots and gambling comes more crime and bad elements. Come on, has anyone been to Atlantic City? I think there are better ways to get income to the state that are less regressive. Check out this study:
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/bal-md.gamble20feb20,0,2435169.story?page=2

Some interesting points to note:

The study by researchers at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, found that the rate of problem and pathological gambling among poor people is more than three times that of the most affluent segments of society.

"The study provides support for the notion that lower socio-economic-status Americans are being disproportionately affected by gambling," researchers wrote.


A study by Christiansen Capital Advisors LLC, a leading gambling industry analyst, on the potential of Maryland racetrack casinos predicted that the overwhelming majority of dollars that would be gambled at those locations would come from residents who live within a 25-mile radius.


O'Malley's plan will just suck more money from the low income areas that the race tracks are in. So unless they plan on putting slots in more affluent areas, what good are we doing state here? I'm with Duncan on this one...

Posted by: Mr. K | June 1, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Here's something about the slots debate I don't get: Heaven forbid the horse racing industry die a slow death.

We're going to put slots at the race tracks for the state to help prop up the racing industry?

Do we do the same thing when the Orioles crowds drop to under 10,000 a game? Will there be a plan to put 10,000 slots in the Warehouse beyond right field?

I guess my point is that the state should be more concerned with the negative effects that allowing slots will have on state and local services before it ever concerns itself with any potential positives slots may have for a slowly fading sport/industry that may be - dare I say it - past its prime.

Posted by: corbett | June 1, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

on Mr. K's point about gambling propensity among rich and poor....

Of course poor people gamble more through these means - on one level, they are already at the bottom and can really only go up. Rich people are at the top and can really only go down. On a percentage basis, there is a great deal more upside for a poor person to risk gambling than there is for a rich person.

This is different from taking financial risk however - rich people may put money into a high-risk, high reward investment opportunity and take chances with their money that way (gambling) but the poor don't generally have access to similar "gambling" options, so they use more traditional methods of lottery, slot machines, casinos, etc...

Everyone gambles based on personal levels of risk tolerance - the methods used for gambling though between rich and poor are probably pretty different though.

Posted by: hmmm | June 1, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

This slots/gambling debate is demonstrative of the challenge many individuals have with basic math. The only ones that make out are the big casino owners/investors, not the poor that are chasing a pipe dream.
As for delusional, the comparison of Duncan to OMalley is such a mis-match as to be comical in their accomplishments/leadership of growth and urban revitilization. The record speaks for itself if one only takes the time to review. If government is to provide quality services, as are provided in Montgomery County, then a vibrant and productive business climate must be encouraged and supported. Finding the appropriate mix is a challenge that Duncan has exceeded. Montgomery County is the envy of the state and region due in large part to his leadership.

Posted by: wdb | June 1, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I've thought of a creative way the Boy Mayor can dispatch of his primary opponent. The next time Duncan is campaigning in Baltimore (assuming he ever campaigns in Baltimore), O'Malley can simply order the city police (assuming he remembers the name of his current police commissioner) to arrest him for loitering and detain him in central booking indefinitely without being charged. This would both clear the path to his nomination and help meet his department's arrest quotas.

Potential drawbacks to this plan include drawing public attention to his police department's program of arresting people for little or no reason for the purpose of appearing to be fighting crime.

Posted by: Brandon | June 2, 2006 2:10 AM | Report abuse

Phyllis, the Planning Board reports to the COUNTY Council, not the City Council (see the next-to-the-last paragraph). Does anyone proofread these posts to the blog?

Posted by: Graham | June 3, 2006 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Graham,
Fixed

Posted by: Phyllis Jordan | June 3, 2006 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Finally, Doug Duncan's chickens are coming home to roost! He cannot hide the fact that he is bought and paid for by developers. Just look at his campaign contributors. Cosy relations with convicted lobbyist, Abrahamoff, the Russian immigrant in Silver Spring. Duncan gave away (lease-purchase) a county school building to Yeshiva of Greater Washington for a song. Imagine the bonanza for a Jewish school that has a 90 years lease along with $9.8 million thrown in to make the deal sweet. Is this the only example of the corruption in Montgomery County? Can anyone tell us how much Duncan got in kickbacks when he sold a prime parking lot to a bio-tech company for only $3 million in Silver Spring? What's going on? Why is the Post so sympathatic towards Duncan? One wonders, if the Post needs a slick land deal for another printing press? When will we get the full story? How long is the media going to try to cover up Duncan's sweet deals? To declare Duncan an "able" public servant and give him a certificate of honesty in the Post editorial is insane.

Posted by: Merlin | June 3, 2006 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Finally, Doug Duncan's chickens are coming home to roost! He cannot hide the fact that he is bought and paid for by developers. Just look at his campaign contributors. Cosy relations with convicted lobbyist, Abrahamoff, the Russian immigrant in Silver Spring. Duncan gave away (lease-purchase) a county school building to Yeshiva of Greater Washington for a song. Imagine the bonanza for a Jewish school that has a 90 years lease along with $9.8 million thrown in to make the deal sweet. Is this the only example of the corruption in Montgomery County? Can anyone tell us how much Duncan got in kickbacks when he sold a prime parking lot to a bio-tech company for only $3 million in Silver Spring? What's going on? Why is the Post so sympathatic towards Duncan? One wonders, if the Post needs a slick land deal for another printing press? When will we get the full story? How long is the media going to try to cover up Duncan's sweet deals? To declare Duncan an "able" public servant and give him a certificate of honesty in the Post editorial is insane.

Posted by: Merlin | June 3, 2006 11:36 PM | Report abuse

The Abramoff stories were damaging to the Duncan campaign but everyone wonders when will the Post look into contributions raised by O'Malley? It seems as though Duncan gets hit both ways: he is criticized for raising less than O'Malley, and then he is criticized for the contributions he does raise. Surely O'Malley too must have accepted support from people interested in decisions he makes as Mayor.

Posted by: Graham | June 4, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

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