First Click -- Maryland
Your daily download of Maryland's top political news and analysis
Tuesday, December 8, 2009:
Another delay for vote on Maryland's largest proposed slots casino; Montgomery County council president pushes economic development authority, and ACORN prober finds nothing illegal in controversial videos
Slots vote postponed until Dec. 21
Despite a lengthy buildup and public testimony from about 100 people, Anne Arundel County council members delayed a vote Monday night on a zoning decision that could bring a 4,750-slot casino to Arundel Mills mall after a council member missed the meeting because she had been taken to a nearby hospital. Tricia L. Johnson (R-Davidsonville) was being treated Monday night, apparently for a heart-related issue, reports The Post's John Wagner. Once public testimony had ended Monday night, slots supporters and opponents on the council agreed that they should wait until Dec. 21. By then, council members said Johnson will hopefully be back and a replacement should be named for Joshua J. Cohen (D-Annapolis), who was sworn in Monday as the new mayor of Annapolis.
The council's deliberations followed a 5-2 vote Monday by a state panel to approve a license for the facility contingent on zoning approval, Wagner reports.
The Baltimore Sun's take is here.
More cooks in kitchen to stir Montgomery County job growth?
"New Montgomery County council president Nancy Floreen is pushing the idea of creating an economic development authority to try to spur job growth in the county," reports The Post's Michael Laris. "She said Monday she wants officials to look at the experiences in Fairfax and Prince William counties and elsewhere, but didn't have specifics on what a Montgomery authority might look like."
Also Monday: County Executive Ike Leggett said in his state of the county speech that Montgomery will have to play better defense to stave off additional state budget cuts in the coming year.
Internal ACORN probe finds no wrongdoing
"An internal investigation of the community-organizing group ACORN concluded there was no criminal conduct by employees caught on videos offering advice on how to hide assets and falsify lending documents," writes The AP's Pete Yost. "The report, which ACORN's CEO described as "part vindication, part constructive criticism and complete roadmap for the future," was unlikely to stem continuing political criticisms of the group and its efforts."
Around the state:
A joint legislative audit committee today will examine a review that found state disabilities officials "did not claim $3 million in federal reimbursements that Maryland was eligible to receive and failed to recoup $3.6 million that it overpaid to service providers," writes Sean Sedam in The Gazette.
Maryland Politics Watch questions how many millionaires have really left the state because of tax increases on the wealthy.
O'MalleyWatch says short-term thinking by Gov. Martin O'Malley and others a big part of state's budget problem.
O'Malley on Monday proposed a temporary $3,000 tax credit for every worker taken off the unemployment rolls in the coming year.
The Sun reports that Baltimore housing department holiday charity event at the heart of three criminal charges against Mayor Sheila Dixon (D) has been discontinued.
Deaths from drunken driving fell in Maryland last year, exceeding a nationwide trend and placing the state among the 10 with the lowest rate of fatalities, The Sun reports.
Montgomery County officials have reached an out-of-court settlement with a former assistant fire chief involved in a four-car pileup last year, limiting the possibility that more details will be made public about his condition at the scene of the crash and about police and fire department responses to the incident, reports The Post's Miranda S. Spivack.
Officials in Prince George's County unveiled a $76 million public safety communications system Monday, paid for with county tax dollars and $14.9 million in federal funds.
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Aaron C. Davis
December 8, 2009; 6:45 AM ET
Categories: Aaron C. Davis , First Click , John Wagner
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