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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

Your Daily Download of Maryland's Top Political News and Analysis

Friday, Sept. 11, 2009:

Eight Years Later
   State and local leaders will mark the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks with acts of service, following a call to do so by President Barack Obama. Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) will participate in a Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake project in Baltimore. Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) will wrap up a week of service-oriented events in Bladensburg, attending a ceremony to remember the 23 residents of Prince George's County killed in the attacks.
   The Post's Eli Saslow explores how the attacks are beginning to be taught to school-age children.
   "Eight years later, this is an example of what Sept. 11, 2001, has become for a generation that's too young to remember much, if anything, about that day: It is an educational DVD, a 167-page textbook, a black binder of class handouts titled "A National Interdisciplinary Curriculum," Saslow writes. "Militant," "imploding" and "rubble" are boldfaced vocabulary words for students to memorize."

Draft Chesapeake Recovery Plan Revealed
   A series of seven major reports released Thursday by federal agencies provided a glimpse at a possible "next generation" of Chesapeake Bay recovery efforts. The reports, which were ordered by President Obama three months ago, pledge to usher in a "new era" for the treasured estuary. The reports conclude the bay remains in dismal shape in many areas despite decades of work. Widespread advances in water quality and other measures, the reports say, will require stronger regulations and enforcement, writes The Post's David Fahrenthold.
   The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking power to punish states that don't do enough to stop pollution from washing downstream, he writes. If carried out, the recommendations "would transform the federal government's role in the cleanup from that of a shepherd -- cajoling a diffuse group of state and national agencies to do more -- to a taskmaster," Fahrenthold writes. Under the draft proposal, the EPA would have the power to go over the heads of states that act too slowly and withhold grant money and reject new permits for factories and sewage plants.
   The Baltimore Sun quotes Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker saying that he was encouraged by the pledge to action, but that the reports were missing "clearly identified bold, specific and measurable pollution reductions."
   The draft reports will be finalized over the next three months and a full plan will be finished by May.

Prince George's Discusses County Layoffs with Little Notice
   Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson met with members of the County Council on Thursday morning to discuss layoffs and other impacts of state budget cuts in a meeting noticed for the first time at 10 p.m. the night before on a bulletin board inside a mostly empty county administration building, writes The Post's Jonathan Mummolo.
   Johnson issued only a brief statement after the 9:30 a.m. meeting, which said $22 million in "cost containment measures and the layoffs of county employees" were being considered.
   Union leader said they would have attended the meeting with more notice.
   Mummolo notes the session was reminiscent of a closed-door meeting Johnson held with state lawmakers and council members in November to inform them of a projected $70 million budget shortfall. In that instance, a reporter was barred from the meeting, and officials who did attend later declined to discuss it on the record.

O'Malley in on White House Conference Call on Health Care
   O'Malley (D) sang the praises of President Obama on Thursday afternoon during a conference call with reporters that the White House organized as a follow-up to Obama's health-care speech, The Post's John Wagner writes.
   "I think he hit a home run," O'Malley said. "I'm looking forward to doing everything we can in Maryland to help him bring this home."
   O'Malley, who is vice chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, took part in the half-hour call with White House Domestic Policy Council director Melody Barnes and two other Democratic governors, Jim Doyle of Wisconsin and Deval Patrick of Massachusetts. The latter fielded the majority of questions from reporters about the state's experiment with universal health care.

Baltimore Judge May Be Seated on Federal Appeals Court
   The Baltimore Sun's Paul West writes that "new talks are under way that should finally clear the way for the confirmation of federal Judge Andre M. Davis of Baltimore to the long-vacant "Maryland seat" on a federal appeals court ... Democratic and Republican Senate leaders have been negotiating the exact timing of confirmation votes on several of President Barack Obama's judicial nominees, including Davis. A deal could be reached by early next week, " West writes.

Briefly:

  • O'Malley's office Thursday said $30 million more will flow into the state for transit and other projects, including rehabilitating the Mondawmin Transit Center in Baltimore and the Maryland Transit Administration's aging bus maintenance facilities, and $13 million for highway safety, resurfacing, drainage and bridge improvements.

  • An anti-health-care reform bus tour is coming to Annapolis on Monday. Americans for Prosperity group Patients First says on its Web site that Obama's speech this week changed nothing: "We see Washington politicians working feverishly to impose a government-run health care system that will limit health-care choices while driving health-care costs higher and threatening life-saving innovations. And we must act now to stop it.

  • Montgomery County District 17 Senate challenger Cheryl Kagan has begun ramping up her campaign, according to Maryland Politics Watch, which posts her first campaign mailings.

  • By Aaron C. Davis  |  September 11, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
    Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click  
    Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: O'Malley: Obama "Hit a Home Run"
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