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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

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

Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009:

Gambling in MD by May? First Slot License Expected Today
   The state's lottery commission is expected to award Ocean Downs racetrack with the state's first slot-machine gambling license this morning, a move its owners said would allow betting at the Eastern Shore location to begin as early as Memorial Day, according to The Post's John Wagner.
   Check back here midday for news on the vote. If the commission approves the license, it would mark a major milestone in Maryland's long-running slots debate. Real uncertainties remain about the viability of other locations authorized by voters last year. But state officials last week said they continue to count on roughly a half-billion dollars annually in revenue from slots in coming years to balance the budget.

Napolitano in Maryland
   Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is traveling to Baltimore this morning to announce an as-yet unspecified amount of stimulus funding for ports, transit centers and fire stations. Gov. Martin O'Malley and top state law enforcement officers are expected at the announcement.

D.C. Suburbs' Sway Dwindling in Governor's Cabinet
   With the appointment of Virginia's Alex Sanchez as Maryland's new labor secretary, Montgomery County has been almost totally locked out of Gov. Martin O'Malley's cabinet, notes Adam Pagnucco, in the blog Maryland Politics Watch.
   Budget Secretary T. Eloise Foster is the only county resident in the governor's 20-member cabinet, compared to 10 secretaries who live in Baltimore City or County, and four others who have served in local Baltimore-area governments, according to Pagnucco's tally. (Newly appointed Transportation Secretary Beverly Swaim-Staley once served as Montgomery's budget director, but is an Anne Arundel County Resident. Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin also lives in Anne Arundel, but has a D.C. connection -- he headed the WSSC for five years.

Cardin Working to Capitalize Off Dundalk Flooding
   Sen. Benjamin Cardin took the Senate floor Tuesday "to urge action on a measure he introduced last spring that would make it possible for the federal government to channel more money to state and local governments for wastewater treatment and clean drinking water," writes Paul West in The Baltimore Sun.
   There's $6 billion in federal stimulus funds for water projects, but Cardin wants $35 billion over the next five years.
   On Tuesday, Cardin also called for more centralized authority in the administration to enhance security at Frederick's Fort Detrick and other biological research labs.

Hits Continue for Pierre in Annapolis Mayor's Race
   Zina C. Pierre, the first black woman to win the Democratic nomination for Annapolis huddled with Democratic Party officials Tuesday to assure them of her ability to win the race for mayor, even as news spread that court documents show she may be a Prince George's resident, and thus ineligible to run, writes Joshua Stewart in The Capital.
   On Friday, Pierre withdrew from the race after Annapolis blogger Paul Foer broke news that she faced a series of financial and legal troubles, including a Bowie home in foreclosure and unpaid state taxes.
   A day later, a new campaign spokeswoman said Pierre was back in the race and suggested she'd never really withdrawn.
   Today, Foer adds that Pierre's robocalls this month by former President Bill Clinton -- her former employer -- also may have violated city law.
   Pagnucco also breaks down the tricky challenges Democrats face because of Pierre's troubles.

Briefly:

  • The Baltimore Regional Transportation Board has approved Gov. O'Malley's plan for building the proposed east-west Red Line as a light rail system.

  • Montgomery's County Council has reversed course and purchased land for a science center, but set a deadline of year's end to decide how much to build.

  • The Post's John Wagner analyzes Maryland's Republican Party heading into next year's gubernatorial election.
  • By Aaron C. Davis  |  September 23, 2009; 7:55 AM ET
    Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click  
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