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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

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

Tuesday, January 5, 2010:

Leadership of Chesapeake council is transferring, Northrop Grumman is coming and Montgomery County's top lawyer is going

EPA chief takes over Chesapeake program
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Scenic bay.jpgThe government council responsible for setting the policy agenda for the Chesapeake Bay cleanup program will transfer authority today from Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson. Gov. Martin O'Malley and other members of the Chesapeake Executive Council are expected to be on hand for the ceremony, reports The AP.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Ben Cardin.jpgRelated news: Chesapeake Bay Foundation president Will Baker has asked Jackson to support Maryland Sen. Benjamin Cardin's latest restoration bill. In a letter, Baker told Jackson that only 18 of 53 members of Congress from bay watershed states are co-sponsors and urged Jackson to lobby for passage, the AP reports: "The EPA is developing a restoration strategy in response to a presidential order. Cardin's bill, meanwhile, would reauthorize the bay program, and contains measures such as a cap-and-trade program for nitrogen and phosphorus pollution credits."

Defense contractor surveying region for best tax deal
"Northrop Grumman said Monday that it plans to move its corporate headquarters from Los Angeles to the Washington area by 2011, solidifying the growing importance of Washington as a center for the defense industry and other businesses," reports The Post's Dana Hedgpeth and Thomas Heath. "Northrop executives said they are looking for a site in Maryland, Virginia or the District and plan to identify one by spring. ... The company is looking for the best tax incentive package in each jurisdiction."

Another top Maryland attorney leaves for Justice Department
Montgomery County's top lawyer, Leon Rodriguez, is stepping down to become chief of staff to former Maryland labor secretary, Tom Perez, who recently took over the Justice Department's civil rights division, writes The Post's Michael Laris. "Rodriguez, who has been Montgomery's county attorney since 2007, told his staff of the move Monday. He starts the job Jan. 19, at a time when the division is rebuilding after a mass exodus of attorneys during the Bush administration. Turnover was about 70 percent, he said."

Foes of slots site confirm use of paid petition help
Inside casino.jpg"The president of the Maryland Jockey Club confirmed Monday that a coalition plans to use paid signature-gatherers in its efforts to force a public vote on a new zoning law that allows construction of the state's largest slots casino at Arundel Mills mall," reports The Post's John Wagner. "The Jockey Club, which operates Laurel Park racetrack, has teamed up with anti-slots activists in a bid to derail last month's zoning decision by the Anne Arundel County Council. Like other Maryland jurisdictions, Anne Arundel allows residents to challenge legislation through a ballot drive. If the opponents collect about 19,000 signatures, the zoning law will be suspended pending next year's election."
The Baltimore Sun's take on the petition drive is here.

Around the state:

  • Prince George's County: Furloughs are front and center as the county sheriff's department's union considers an endorsement in the county executive's race, writes The Post's Jonathan Mummolo.

  • Saqib Ali.jpg
  • Montgomery County: District 39 Delegate Saqib Ali has announced a "listening tour" this week to prepare for his next campaign. "Ali neither notified nor invited the other members of his district delegation -- Senator Nancy King and Delegates Charles Barkley and Kirill Reznik -- to participate," writes Maryland Politics Watch blogger Adam Pagnucco.

  • Eastern Shore: "Like other Republican candidates around the country, Andy Harris is stressing fiscal responsibility as he attempts to unseat Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil in this fall's election," writes The Baltimore Sun's Paul West. "Harris vows to abstain from earmarking if he becomes the congressman from Maryland's first district, which covers the Eastern Shore and portions of Baltimore, Harford and Anne Arundel counties.

  • Frederick County: "The Frederick GOP Central Committee has selected three finalists for an open state delegate seat, paring a list of eight applicants," reports The Sun's Julie Bykowicz. "Mike Hough, Charles A. Jenkins and John R. Lovell Jr., will interview for the job Wednesday, one week before the General Assembly's 90-day session begins."

  • Baltimore: "Some of the jurors who convicted Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon of a misdemeanor embezzlement charge have reportedly continued to communicate on Facebook" despite a judge's request they discontinue discussing the trial, reports WBAL-AM and The AP.

  • Baltimore County: Councilman John A. Olszewski Sr. was elected chairman of the Baltimore County Council this year by a unanimous vote Monday night, The Sun reports.
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    By Aaron C. Davis  |  January 5, 2010; 7:00 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: Foes of slots site confirm use of paid petition help
    Next: Curry tribute kindles more talk of governor's race

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    Posted by: iofferkicks411 | January 5, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

    The reason anyone can pay anyone else to collect signatures on a petition is because of the Federal lawsuit I won in 1996 overturning state law which prohibited the paying of petitioners. Of course one cannot pay another person to sign the petition however.

    Why do the Washington Post and Gazette newspapers keep mentioning that petitioners are being paid? It is a simple first amendment exercise to pay them. It is just as legal as printing and selling a newspaper.

    Posted by: robinfickerofrobinrealty | January 5, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

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