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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

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

Friday, December 11, 2009:


Judge: Maryland has 45 days to comply with food stamp laws

"A Maryland judge ruled Thursday that the state government is failing to provide food stamps and other public benefits as promptly as federal and state law requires," writes The Post's Henri Cauvin. "Thousands of families have been affected by the delays over the last few years, and in announcing his decision, Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams said the Maryland Department of Human Resources had engaged in a pattern and practice of violating the law. The judge gave the department 45 days to provide a plan to correct the problems and a year to bring the agency into full compliance with the laws governing food stamps, temporary cash assistance and medical aid."

Mikulski harshly criticizes Metro management
Mikulski photo.jpgSen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) angrily criticized senior managers of Metro at a hearing on Capitol Hill," reports The Post's Lena Sun and Joe Stephens. "Mikulski testified that Metro has been paying 'lip service' to lapses in safety oversight and accountability. She said she was 'really hot about this' and called on the Metro board to take 'appropriate and immediate action.'" Hours later, Metro's chairman said a management shakeup is on the way.

Dixon sentencing set for Jan. 21
Dixon photo.jpg"Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon will be sentenced on January 21, a date that could become her last day in office if her bid for a mistrial is unsuccessful and other legal maneuvers fail," reports The Baltimore Sun's Annie Linskey.

Baltimore casino developer misses deadline
Baltimore casino.jpg"Doubts about the viability of Maryland's second-largest planned slots casino increased Thursday, as developers of the Baltimore facility missed a self-imposed deadline to provide the state with updated plans and an additional $19.5 million licensing fee," writes The Post's John Wagner. "Donald C. Fry, chairman of the state panel choosing slots locations, said the Baltimore City Entertainment Group asked for additional time in a letter received Thursday, saying the group was in "advanced negotiations" with an additional investor. 'We're obviously going to have to consider whether to grant this request,' Fry said. 'We have expressed our concern that this has been dragging on for some time.'" The Sun's take is here.
Meanwhile, The Gazette's Alan Brody looks at the impact of table games coming to surrounding states.

Grasmick proposes teacher tenure, compensation changes
Grasmick photo.jpgMaryland state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick made bold proposals Thursday to alter teacher compensation, tenure and evaluations - changes she said are needed to reform education and position the state to be competitive in applying for $250 million in federal stimulus money," reports The Sun's Liz Bowie.

School funding cuts could be on the way
County governments could have an easier time cutting education funding under recommendations adopted by a legislative panel Thursday, writes The Post's Nelson Hernandez.

House spending bill passes with money for Maryland
"Nearly $100 million in spending earmarked by Maryland lawmakers appears headed to more than 70 projects in the state under a huge year-end spending measure that the House approved Thursday," writes Paul West at The Baltimore Sun. "The new money is on top of more than $800 million in additional spending for Maryland projects that was requested by President Barack Obama in his 2010 budget and placed in the $1.1 trillion package agreed upon by House and Senate negotiators late Tuesday. The measure includes $150 million for the Washington-area transit system, $138 million for consolidation of the Food and Drug Administration's offices at White Oak and more than $500 million for military construction projects in the state."

O'Malley campaign manager says more online events likely
Despite some audio and visual glitches - and online heckling - Gov. Martin O'Malley's campaign manager says he expects the campaign will do more "virtual" campaign events.
"The connection issues that popped up toward the end of the town hall were unfortunate," O'Malley campaign manager Tom Russell wrote in an e-mail to The Post's Aaron Davis. "But, otherwise, we were very happy with this event. The governor likes to take issues head on in this type of format ..." Head-on wasn't how some O'Malley hecklers viewed it. A handful of O'Malley opponents repeatedly questioned the authenticity of the event in online posts. Russell said Thursday that the 50 or so guests and questioners at the event were invited. According to Ustream, the free online broadcasting site that hosted the town hall, 1,143 people viewed the event.

Developer threatened with fines in MoCo

"Montgomery County's planning agency is threatening to fine Clarksburg developer Newland Communities for what it says are at least 400 unauthorized changes in new plans for the still-unbuilt town center, more than four years after residents alerted the county to dozens of violations at the northern Montgomery community," writes The Post's Miranda Spivack.

Foreclosures down in Md, Va; up in DC
Foreclosures in Washington, D.C., jumped 40 percent in November from the month before, but were only 5 percent higher than one year ago. The reverse was true in Maryland, where foreclosures fell 4 percent in November but were 83 percent higher than a year ago. Virginia had the best mortgage performance, with foreclosures falling 16 percent compared with October and declining 19 percent from November 2008," writes Tucker Echols in The Washington Business Journal.

Briefly:

  • Employment is emerging as a top issue in 2010, Erin Cunningham writes in The Gazette.
  • Budget cuts not that bad in Frederick County; services unaffected, county officials say.

  • Sen. Alex X. Mooney (R-Frederick) has a target on his back, says The Gazette.

  • New leaders for Anne Arundel County Democrats.

  • O'Malley, Sen. Benjamin Cardin, Transportation Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley, Harford County Executive David R. Craig, Aberdeen Mayor Michael E. Bennett and others are gathering in Aberdeen this morning for a funding announcement about plans to advance BRAC-related intersection improvements.

  • A Prince George's County Circuit Court jury on Thursday convicted a Maryland State Police trooper assigned to the Forestville barrack of two counts of felony theft and five counts of misconduct in office.

  • Gov. Martin O'Malley on Thursday announced he'll take questions on Maryland's budget during a special hour-long edition of "Ask the Governor" on Maryland Public Television on Wednesday, Dec. 16t at 7 p.m

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    By Aaron C. Davis  |  December 11, 2009; 6:45 AM ET
    Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click , John Wagner  
    Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Baltimore casino developers miss a deadline
    Next: Unspun: Douglas F. Gansler

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