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Ehrlich visits Towson resident with oversized sign

Yard 3.jpgFormer Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) on Thursday brought his campaign to get his old job back to the front lawn of Steve Kolbe.

The Towson resident's effort to advertise his allegiance to Ehrlich -- by way of a 32-square-foot campaign sign there -- has become a cause celebre for Republicans ever since Baltimore County officials ordered Kolbe to take it down.

"It's a shame that we're here today," Ehrlich told Kolbe, as television news cameras rolled. "You would think that the county inspectors would have something better to do than harass you."

County law prohibits signs larger than 8 square feet, and officials in the battleground jurisdiction have said politics played no part in their issuance of a citation to Kolbe, whose sign measures 8 feet by 4 feet. Failure to take down the sign could result in a $200-a-day fine or 90 days in jail, or both.

Kolbe, who described himself as "a law-abiding citizen," said he took the sign down after the May 7 order. It was back on display briefly Thursday during Ehrlich's campaign stop.

"I hope the county doesn't come here in the next hour and issue us another citation," Kolbe said.

Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith is a Democrat, and he is a close ally of Gov. Martin O'Malley, the Democratic incumbent who defeated Ehrlich in 2006.

Asked if partisanship was an issue, Ehrlich said: "I don't know. I know it just flies in the face of common sense."

Kolbe filed a lawsuit in federal court this week, arguing that the county's sign rule is "tantamount to a ban on political free speech."

"I have a big front lawn, and I live on a busy road," he told reporters. "I just want to put up one sign."

The lawyer representing Kolbe is Mike Pappas, a former parliamentarian of the Maryland Republican Party who explored running for governor this year but decided against moving forward.

By John Wagner  |  May 27, 2010; 7:30 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections , John Wagner  
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Wow, Ehrlich cares about First Amendment rights?!?! That sure does contradict his stance when he was using State Police to spy on peaceful poetry readings!!

Posted by: hamsandwich | May 27, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Any relation to Caps broadcaster Steve Kolbe?

Posted by: vtavgjoe | May 27, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't there a similar First Amendment/big sign issue concerning abortion protests recently? I think it was on a local college campus where protesters held up large signs depicting aborted fetuses. I think the judge ruled against them because their signs were "too big."

Posted by: BaltimoreRepublicanExaminer | May 27, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

O'malley special!!
($ in Millions)

Motor Vehicle Title Registration Fee-HB5 $23 to $50 120%

Car Titling Tax-HB5 5¢ to 6¢ 20%

Cigarette Tax- HB2 $1 to $2 100%

Retail Sales Tax-HB2 5¢ to 6¢ 20%

*Expansion of sales tax to computer services-SB2

State Corporate Income Tax- SB2 7% to 8.25% 18%

Electronic Bingo & Tip Jar Amusements-HB2 20% tax on net receipts
New Transfer Tax on Real Estate Transfers-SB2
(through sale “controlling interest)

Personal Income Tax Brackets Revised–SB2
Single, Depend Filer, Married Filing Joint, Head of Household, Widower
Rate MD Taxable Income Rate MD Taxable Income
2.00% $1 - $1,000 2.00% $1 - $1,000
3.00% $1,001 - $2,000 3.00% $1,001 - $2,000
4.00% $2,001 - $3,000 4.00% $2,001 - $3,000
4.75% $3,001 - $150,000 4.75% $3,001 - $200,000
5.00% $150,001 - $300,000 5.00% $200,001 - $350,000
5.25% $300,001 - $500,000 5.25% $350,001 - $500,000
5.50% Excess of $500,000 5.50% Excess of $500,000

* Repealed in the 2008 Regular Session and replaced by a new law that imposes a temporary surcharge in tax years 2008 through 2010 of 6.25% on the amount of taxable personal income that exceeds $1 million. Known as the “Millionaire’s Tax”

($ in Millions)

Geographic Education Cost Index (GCEI) $38

Health Care Expansion Program-SB6 $77

Chesapeake Bay Fund-HB5 $50

Higher Education Investment Fund $55

Helicopter Replacement Fund-HB5 $33

Prince George’s County Hospital – SB6 $20

Posted by: amdactivist | June 3, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

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