First Click -- Maryland
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Monday, August 10, 2009:
It's MACo Week in Maryland (pronounced May-Co) for those uninitiated in the Ocean-City-drink-fest-and-golf-marathon between politicians and lobbyists that masquerades each August as the summer conference of the Maryland Association of Counties.
Political activity across the state will grind to a halt by Wednesday as hundreds of local and state lawmakers caravan (perhaps, quite literally this year) across the Bay Bridge for the four-day conference.
To be fair, MACo has scheduled dozens of panels on weighty topics, such as preparing for the expected H1N1, or Swine Flu, outbreak this fall to navigating new federal labor laws that affect public employees. But one of the more provocative questions at MACo this year will be who pays for all the drinks? Gov. Martin O'Malley warned state employees not to indulge. But the drinking and networking will almost certainly go on. Will some of the state's top lobbyists pick up the tab? Perhaps Joel Rozner who just recorded earnings of $905,211, over a six-month period? Word is some of the state's top lobbying firms plan to sponsor open-bar events for budget-conscious state employees, and that others are packing their corporate American Express to cover bar tabs.
Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) will lead a smaller-than-usual entourage of no more than six county officials to Ocean City, according to his office. Aside from possible policy discussions, the convention could give Johnson a chance to bend the ears of the state's major political players. Johnson again last week floated the idea of running for statewide office and said he's planning a listening tour after Labor Day to gauge interest.
Alan Suderman at The Washington Examiner takes a look at Johnson's chances should he decide to run.
In other news:
Reverberations continue after O'Malley's decision last week to endorse a light-rail route for the Purple Line in the D.C. suburbs and a controversial path for the Red Line in Baltimore:
Adam Pagnucco of the blog Maryland Politics Watch analyzes Baltimore City's influence and the role of MTA director Henry Kay.
Michael Dresser at the Baltimore Sun writes that the governor's decision on the Red Line could still end up being debated in Annapolis and Washington.
Childs Walker at the Baltimore Sun records the end of the Maryland Army National Guard's 2nd Battalion 110th Field Artillery Regiment. The unit, which had been around for 94 years, was deactivated over the weekend. The Guard says its more "modular force" has eliminated the need for a state artillery unit.
Aaron C. Davis
August 10, 2009; 7:14 AM ET
Categories: Aaron C. Davis , First Click
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