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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

Your daily download of Maryland's top political news and analysis

Wednesday, October 21, 2009:

O'Malley gives up on settlement talks to lower electricity rates
In June Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) sent out a video over YouTube, Twitter and Facebook drawing attention to his largely unsuccessful fight to lower electricity rates for Baltimore Gas & Electric customers, saying too many families were having to chose between "whether to pay the BGE bill or to pay the grocery bill."

In July, he told The Post "people keep getting hit with their high electric bill every month...You add on top of that the global recession, and people feel like they're between a rock and a hard place."

Rising utility rates and O'Malley's public pledges to do something about them now appear all but certain to be a tough election-year question for the governor -- especially in the important swing districts of the Baltimore suburbs.

O'Malley tells The Baltimore Sun's Laura Smitherman that efforts behind the scenes to wrest concessions from Constellation Energy, BG&E's parent company, have failed.

Constellation is nearing approval to sell half its assets to a French energy giant to build a third nuclear reactor in southern Maryland.

As part of the deal, O'Malley had tried to strong-arm Constellation into rate reductions for BG&E customers.

O'Malley goes so far as to say he no longer wishes he'd tried to work out a deal with Constellation:

"I wish, in retrospect, that they had never called me. I wish we had never met or even discussed a settlement," O'Malley tells Smitherman. "It took a lot of time. It took a lot of energy. And the only settlement they appeared willing to join in was one that would have fallen short."

It's unclear if the breakdown could affect the state's ultimate decision on Constellation's sale and construction of the reactor. O'Malley recently appointed a new member to the board reviewing the decision. Final arguments are due next week.

Approval expected today for second Md slots site
A state commission is expected to approve Maryland's second slots license, to Penn National Gaming for 1,500 machines in Cecil County. More interesting could be discussion about the status of a proposed casino at Arundel Mills mall, which remains mired in a zoning fight before the Arundel County Council.
The Baltimore Sun's Annie Linskey also reports that the city's spending panel is expected to approve a pair of land deals with prospective casino owners today. The deals could "fulfill Mayor Sheila Dixon's pledge to lower city property taxes," Linskey writes.

Mikulski performance still being talked about in capital
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski's (D-Md) feistiness over the years is well documented but it hasn't been on display much since a serious fall this summer left her wheelchair-bound, and even led to questions about whether she will seek re-election next year.
Mikulski, however, was in rare form on Monday at the Maryland League of Conservation Voters' annual awards dinner. The state's senior senator joked about what she might do to Republicans with her orthopedic boot and took repeated swipes at former President George W. Bush.
You can now watch the video here.
"It's nice to have a president who knows what EPA ... and NOAA stand for," Mikulski begins as she accepts the John V. Kabler Memorial Award.
She ends with a call to action urging Democrats to continue supporting President Barack Obama.

O'Malley, Miller warn worsening budget picture means schools may no longer be kept whole
With Maryland facing a $2 billion budget shortfall next year, O'Malley warned the chiefs of the state's school systems Tuesday of hard times ahead, and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) told them that they were "going to have to start taking a portion of the hit." As O'Malley put it: "Public education, K to 12, is the only member of the herd that hasn't taken a trip to the slaughterhouse."

Md short on supplies of swine flu vaccine
Maryland officials were expecting 900,000 to 1 million doses by the end of this month. Now that number is 530,000, writes The Post's Michael Laris.
Also: Montgomery County health officer Ulder J. Tillman told county officials Tuesday that 1,900 young people had been sent home from Montgomery public schools since August for flu-like illnesses.

Odds and Ends:

Embattled Senate Budget and Taxation Chairman Ulysses Currie, (D-Prince George's) is raising money again, writes Adam Pagnucco in Maryland Politics Watch.

Baltimore's First Mariner Tower will not go to foreclosure auction today as planned writes Robbie Whelan in the Daily Record.

Fort Meade inches closer to cyber command, writes Daniel J. Sernovitz in the Baltimore Business Journal.

I Spy: A Md blogger stuck behind Biden motorcade. Eastern shore blogger Joe Albero happen to be trying to get on the Jersey Turnpike when it was apparently shut down as Vice President Joseph Bidden was nearby to campaign for Gov. Jon Corzine.

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By Aaron C. Davis  |  October 21, 2009; 7:50 AM ET
Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Pr. George's senior housing issue presents campaign risk
Next: Obama gives Jack Johnson a shout-out


I like the video. Keep it up!

Posted by: member8 | October 21, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

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