Cindy Walsh for Mayor of Baltimore
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Cindy Walsh vs Maryland Board of Elections
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Brief for Maryland Court of Special Appeals
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Cindy Walsh goes to Federal Court for Maryland election violations
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- Maryland Board of Elections certifies election on July 10, 2014
- Maryland Elections ---2016
No. 10 Maryland Unemployment rate: 6.58%
Benefit as a percentage of income: 32.99%
Wealth disparity ratio: 1.42
Maryland's manufacturing industry took a hit last year. Such companies as RG Steel, Unilever, Hostess Brands and Phillips Foods cut thousands of jobs as steelmakers and others shut plants. While the state's 6.6 percent unemployment rate is lower than the national average of 7.5 percent, the situation for those without jobs is dire. Unemployment insurance covers just 33 percent of lost income, and the state's big wealth gap -- the highest in the nation, after New Jersey's -- makes being jobless here harder than in most of the country. For every household making less than $10,000 per year, 1.42 households make at least $200,000. Pew Charitable Trusts says the federal "sequestration" budget cuts will lead to a $3.4 million cut in federal grants to unemployment insurance in Maryland.
This is a neo-liberal for you and if you look at Federal pension trusts the neo-liberals are doing the same there. Obama and a neo-liberal Congress allowed to stand a Post Office rule that took massive prepayments of pensions.....billions of dollars from the Post Office revenue each year to prepay benefits decades into the future. They are now 'dipping' into these pre-paid funds to fund government just as all of the payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security sent to the US Treasury instead of public trusts was raided and spent. So, whether on the national front, or as we see with O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake in Baltimore proposing pensions need to go to 401K plans when all know the stock market is systemically fraudulent....the intent is not to make these pension accounts earn more....it is to use the money for corporate wealth and profit in funding development that has nothing to do with job creation.
Maryland's structural deficit is the lost of almost all corporate and wealth taxation with subsidy and loopholes and tax breaks emptying public coffers. It is here that the state and Baltimore need to go for revenue and not the public's wealth. We have yet addressed the pension fraud from the 2008 collapse and we are again heading for economic collapse with pensions again thrown in the worst of investments just to buoy a collapsing market. This is public malfeasance and getting that 1/2 value lost in pension fraud back will make these pensions flush.
Broken promises [Editorial] Our view: O'Malley's plan to divert pension savings to the general fund is unfair to workers and potentially harmful to Md.'s fiscal health
In 2011, Maryland's state government was facing significant budget challenges in both the short term and the long term. The lingering effects of the recession and the waning of federal stimulus funds had blown a hole of about $1.6 billion in the state's general fund budget for the next year. And the stock market crash coupled with a history of under-investment had caused a precipitous drop in the levels of funding for the state's employee pension systems, meaning big liabilities for the state in the decades ahead.
Gov. Martin O'Malley took the politically unpopular but necessary step of addressing both. Although it led to massive protests outside the State House from public worker unions — generally some of his strongest supporters — the governor proposed requiring higher worker contributions into the pension plan and lower benefits for workers after they retired. Mr. O'Malley proposed to use $120 million of the resulting savings to shore up the fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013 budgets but to eventually reinvest all of it — up to $300 million a year — into the pension fund so that it would more quickly achieve full funding.
This year, though, he's proposing to backtrack on that plan and to permanently siphon off $100 million of the savings every year for general budget relief. The General Assembly should reject the idea. It's a breach of trust with state workers, and it could have long-term ill effects on the state's creditworthiness.
The pension reforms of 2011 increased teachers' and general state workers' contributions to their pension funds from 5 percent of their salaries to 7 percent. The reforms also lowered the caps on cost of living increases for future retirees, meaning they would eventually receive reduced benefits. Union members weren't happy at the time, but looking back three years later and knowing what happened to municipal pensions in Detroit thanks to that city's leaders' unwillingness to make such difficult decisions, the deal may not look so bad. As long as it stays a deal, that is.
Governor O'Malley says the reduced investments won't significantly delay the point at which the system is projected to be 80 percent funded, and analysis from the Department of Legislative Services backs him up. Under the original plan, the fund would have hit the 80 percent mark in 2024, and under this proposal, it would reach it in 2025. Under either scenario, 100 percent funding is expected in 2039. But if the savings from pension reform aren't being reinvested into the pension fund, that means state employees are effectively paying a special tax to keep state government running, and that's not right.
But if that doesn't move lawmakers, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp's dollars-and-cents argument should. She testified before a House Appropriations subcommittee last week in opposition to the governor's plan for fear that it would jeopardize Maryland's AAA bond rating. "This is a difficult thing to defend" to the bond rating agencies, she said. "Not necessarily because of the difference of $100 million but because we set out the plan, we were going to stick to that plan. ... It's a question of trust, in all candor."
Maryland is one of only a handful of states that has a AAA rating from all three major credit rating agencies, and that distinction means we pay lower interest rates on state debt. Would we really lose that distinction if the legislature approves Mr. O'Malley's plan? We'd rather not find out, but there is reason for worry. In their most recent ratings letters about Maryland, all three agencies expressed concern about the low levels of funding for Maryland's pension system, and all three cited the 2011 reforms as an important factor in their decisions to maintain the AAA rating. Standard & Poor's said the under-funded pensions represent "downside risk to the rating." Moody's explicitly listed "failure to adhere to plans to address low pension funded ratios" as something that could make its rating go down.
Mr. O'Malley's move helps eliminate Maryalnd's long-term gap between projected revenues and expenditures, which is also a concern of the ratings agencies. But thanks to the governor's earlier actions, the so-called "structural deficit" is at this point expected to be a relatively manageable problem whether this pension shift happens or not.
Ms. Kopp is no rabble-rouser, nor is she in any way a foe to Mr. O'Malley. She has generally supported his initiatives (even, occasionally, when we thought it unwise). If she is speaking up about this, the legislature should pay attention.
We do not want to lessen minority and special needs students as they work their way through school and graduate..but we need to correct the statistics because if allowed to stand, then subpar education programming will gain hold. O'Malley has a history of fudging stats and this is one. The problem is that the Baltimore Sun allows these articles to go out without question. So, you will see this headline in O'Malley's 2016 campaign which is what this article is for.
We have had numerous articles, government watchdogs, parents and social justice advocates shout that the underserved and special needs are being warehoused and given horrible education opportunities since Race to the Top and O'Malley ended Brown vs Board of Education equal access and opportunity. How is that for a headline? Does it sound like the one on this article? Of course not. The tiered funding/use of charter schools to segregate and vocationalize the underserved in Balt is horrendous and the definition of what can be termed high school graduation has been watered so that off campus classes in non-profits that do not meet standards..even going as far as sending students to PA for graduation is absurd.
These students are encouraged to stay home for state/national tests so MD will look higher in stats than it is. We are spreading the word!
I have friends in BAltimore taking their children out of special needs schools and homeschooling because conditions are so bad now for Baltimore students it is unacceptible.
Students are sitting in front of canned computer lessons checking boxes with no attempt to make learning interesting in many schools. So, if you are going to create a tiered system of education warehousing the underserved and special needs....you need to state that so people do not confuse MD with states giving equal opportunity and access public schooling!
Maryland graduation rate rises to 85 percent More African-Americans, special-education and Hispanic students graduated in 2013
- By Liz Bowie and Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun 8:26 p.m. EST, January 28, 2014
Maryland's high school graduation rate has been climbing steadily for the past four years and reached nearly 85 percent — far above the national average — this past June, according to data released Tuesday.
More students from every corner of the state are staying in school to earn a diploma, but the increases were most pronounced among Hispanic and African-American students.
State education officials credited the passage of Maryland's Dream Act, which gave hope to Hispanic students who want to attend college in the state, as one of the factors for the 2.5 percentage point increase in the graduation rate for Hispanics.
The Dream Act, which offers in-state tuition to undocumented college students, "has given a level of hope and possibilities for the future," said state school Superintendent Lillian Lowery.
The use of technology and online classes in helping students catch up as well as a general sense among parents that a high school diploma is necessary for any job have also helped boost the graduation rates, officials said.
Statewide, the graduation rate is up 1 percentage point from last year, to 84.97. In addition, the dropout rate has fallen to 9.3 percent, the lowest on record.
"The challenge now is: What is it going to take to get everyone to 90 percent or higher, and can we do that any quicker than 1 point a year," said Robert Balfanz, co-director of the Everyone Graduates Center, which researches and analyzes national graduation and dropout trends. "There is no job to support a family in the 21st century without a high school diploma. We need to be preparing at least 9 out of 10 of our students for that reality."
Balfanz said Maryland's upward trend in the last three to four years mirrors the nation's.
The national graduation rate for the class of 2010 was 78 percent, the latest data available. Vermont graduated 91.4 percent of students, the highest rate in the country.
Balfanz said Maryland's increases in the rates for minority and special education graduates were particularly encouraging.
The graduation rate for African-Americans rose nearly 2 percentage points to 78.3 percent, and the rate for students who are economically disadvantaged was 75.8 percent.
Baltimore, Baltimore County and Howard County had some of the largest increases in the graduation rate. Howard County increased its four-year graduation rate to 93.25 percent, up nearly 3 percentage points. Baltimore and Baltimore County rose 2 percentage points and 2.5 percentage points, respectively.
After he arrived 18 months ago, Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance made a strategic plan to help students catch up who were just a few credits shy of graduation and to address the dropout rate. City officials said they have spent the past two years focused on improving instruction, adding a more demanding curriculum and encouraging more students to go to college.
At Overlea High School in Baltimore County, which has a high percentage of minority students, the graduation rate rose from 75.4 percent to 81.2 percent in one year.
Overlea Principal Marquis Dwarte said the district made sure every school had a committee that met regularly to focus on how to help students who were in danger of dropping out and "engage families and students in a conversation saying they are not on track to graduate."
Baltimore County's graduation rate increase was the largest single-year gain in four years and a jump of nearly 5 percentage points in three years. Only three of the county's 24 high schools didn't see gains, and two of those already have rates over 98 percent.
Nearly every demographic group saw increases in the county, and the gap between the percentage of white and black graduates narrowed to less than 3 percentage points. There were large jumps for students whose second language is English, as well as special education students.
Mark T. Bedell, assistant superintendent for high schools in Baltimore County, has taken the charge personally, going to schools to tell students his own story of growing up the eldest of eight children among "a lot of poverty, neglect and abuse."
He has encouraged students to stay in school and said he hopes to make a home visit to a student who dropped out just one credit shy of graduation to support a new baby. He would like to persuade the student to come back and finish.
Bedell said the school system has successfully spread its use of online classes to students who have fallen behind. For example, a student who enters senior year having failed some classes can catch up by taking online classes during school hours. In addition, teachers have worked in small classes after school and on Saturdays to teach students concepts they were lacking so they could catch up.
ACTUALLY IT IS JUST AS SHOCKING THAT NONE OF MARYLAND'S ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS LIST THESE AS THE PROBLEM!!!!!
One has to ask.....the three top concerns for the Bay involving MD policy is the dredging of Port of Baltimore with the goal of international port that will absolutely fill the bay with invasive species that will kill all of what is in the environmental agreement so far, the push for the natural gas terminal that all know will pollute, and the global corporations that are meat Perdue and global Agriculture on the Eastern Shore which have chicken waste leeching not only phosphates and nitrogen, but hormones and anti-biotics. Global Ag owns much of the farm land and uses fertilizer with a heavy hand. I won't even list the Harbor East building on toxic waste. These are the drivers of Chesapeake Bay health and if you notice...all involve global corporations reeking havoc on our public policy. You will not hear O'Malley/MD Assembly say a peep about that because that would not be 'business friendly'.
The solution is easy peasy and I don't know anyone that doesn't agree..GET RID OF GLOBAL CORPORATIONS IN MD--PERIOD. Yet, all of O'Malley's and Baltimore Development involves global/national corporations that simply overuse an area to send product overseas for profit.....you know, like Chinese environment destroyed by US corporate industrial pollution.
We are watching as Obama's EPA is the Bush EPA-neo-con and neo-liberals work for corporate wealth and all MD pols are neo-liberals!
Environmentalists slam new bay pact CBF "shocked" draft agreement ignores toxic pollution, climate change
A person walks on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay. (Jen Rynda / Patuxent Publishing / January 28, 2012)
Tim Wheeler 11:21 a.m. EST, January 30, 2014 Baltimore Sun
Environmentalists are slamming a new draft Chesapeake Bay restoration agreement for failing to address toxic pollution or even mention climate change as a complicating factor in the three-decade effort to revive the ailing estuary.
The Chesapeake Bay Program, a "partnership" of the Environmental Protection Agency and the six states that drain into the bay - including Maryland - released Wednesday a draft agreement "to guide the next chapter of restoration across the watershed." Officials said it "clarifies" the "visions and values" of the multistate effort.
The 12-page document contains seven broad "goals and outcomes" the states and federal government pledge to work toward. They include: protecting and restoring the bay's fish, shellfish and other living resources, restoring lost wetlands, underwater grasses and forests, expanding public access to the bay and instilling "environmental literacy" among the region's students.
"By signing this agreement, bay program partners will acknowledge that our environment is a system and that these goals will support public health and the health of the watershed as a whole,” Nick DiPasquale, director of EPA's bay program office said in a statement accompanying the pact's release.
The draft comes after more than a year of seeking input, and release of an abridged version last summer. It replaces and updates an agreement signed in 2000.
That 13-page document listed 102 specific goals, including a pledge to work toward eliminating toxic pollution's impacts and a commitment to evaulate the potential impact of climate change on the watershed. It also specifically acknowledged that population growth and development are threats to the bay - something unmentioned in the new pact, though it does pledge to work toward conserving farmland and forests.
Kim Coble, vice president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said she was "shocked" that the new pact has no specific goals to reduce toxic contamination.
"This draft agreement moves us backward not forward with regard to stopping toxic pollution," she said in a statement released by the Annapolis-based group.
"We are also shocked," she added, " that this draft agreement fails to address one of the most critical environmental challenges to our planet - global climate change. How could this be possible in 2014?"
Gov. Martin O'Malley, who took over in December as chairman of the bay program's executive council, had said then that he believed the agreement still being drafted at that time ought to address toxic pollution and climate change.
The bay program plans to hold a signing ceremony in the spring. Meanwhile, officials said they are seeking public input on the draft agreement. The deadline for submitting comments is March 17.
THIS IS O'MALLEY POLICY!
This is a joke as the Minority Contractor lawyer has shouted constantly about the loss of black voice in city business as well as development and Jack Young always votes with Baltimore Development.
The important thing to remember about public rec centers is that they are historically a place for the public to meet to talk politics and community issues freely as were public schools. When you hand all public institutions to private corporate non-profits they will tell you......WE CANNOT BE POLITICAL SO TAKE YOUR TALK SOMEWHERE ELSE. That is why all these public institutions are being closed. Let's face it, the $300,000 to renovate and run is pennies to $100 million handed to Exelon for nothing. So, this privatization is not about expense.....it is about getting all public venues for gathering under control of corporate leadership.....these directors are hand-picked by the corporations 'donating' for their operation.
Baltimore is almost completely privatized now by Johns Hopkins. This Health and Education reform these few years is handing all public health and public education over to corporate private non-profits so we do not have control of any public policy. THAT'S THE GOAL AND JACK YOUNG AND CITY HALL ARE ALL ON BOARD WITH THIS.
If we do not wake up as citizens to run for all offices in primaries to shake these corporate pols out of the rug.....we will no longer be citizens. That is what all this behind the door policy-writing is all about. WAKE UP AND RUN FOR OFFICE FOR GOODNESS SAKE!
Young questions lack of minority participation in rec center consulting
The Colorado-based consultants would fly to city and conduct sessions with Rec and Park staff and sponsor a leadership summit
Mark Reutter January 29, 2014 at 6:31 pm Baltimore Brew
Rec and Parks wants a Colorado firm help it identify its core values and mission. The Madison Square Rec Center serves the low-income Oliver neighborhood.
A consulting contract to help the Recreation and Parks Department define its “values, vision, mission and core businesses” was held up today when City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young questioned the absence of minority participation.
Approval of the $53,000 contract to Colorado-based GreenPlay LLC was deferred for one week at Young’s request during the Board of Estimates’ pre-meeting, which takes place before the public meeting.
While miniscule compared to many consulting agreements – last week, for example, the spending panel approved $2.5 million for roadway paving consultants – Young was concerned that there was no minority participation in the Rec and Parks agreement, his spokesman, Lester Davis, said this afternoon.
The city requires 27% minority and 10% women-owned business participation in public contracts. The city’s rec centers and parks serve an overwhelming African-American clientele.
Paperwork accompanying the Rec and Parks request, reviewed by The Brew, asserted that the contract could not be “segmented” to include minority and women’s participation. This was partially because the consultant uses “proprietary methodologies and tools” to assess the success of recreation programs and facilities.
Cost Recovery Strategies
In a letter to the agency, Greenplay’s Chris Dropinski summed up the purpose of the contract as “you are looking to reactivate the department” to be “much more purposeful in what you are providing” to the public.
GreenPlay said it would concentrate on helping senior staff identify duplicative efforts at city rec centers and develop “pricing and cost recovery strategies.”
In short, the consultant – who plans to fly in several members from Denver to work for several days at a time in Baltimore – will pursue the “privatization” plan favored by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and outlined in a 2011 report by a mayoral task force.
The plan to close or turn over to private operators as many as 20 inner-city rec centers has been highly controversial. The two of the plan’s principal architects – department director Gregory Bayor and chief of recreation Bill Tyler – left the agency after brief tenures (here and here).
Delayed City Audit
Rec and Parks is currently undergoing the first audit in at least 25 years by the City Comptroller’s office.
The audit, originally planned to be released last summer, has been delayed due to various problems in assembling financial data for City Auditor Robert McCarty. The bulk of the audit has been completed, but has not been publicly released.
Ernest W. Burkeen Jr., appointed as agency director 14 months ago, requested that the Board of Estimates approve the GreenPlay contract as part of what he called a master plan for community centers for youth and adults.
GreenPlay, established in 1999, provides consulting, community outreach, strategic planning and staff training to park, recreation and open-space agencies around the country.
The group said it plans to hold a “leadership summit” with community leaders and government agencies in Baltimore to focus on a long-term plan to better serve the city’s recreation needs.
Under the proposed contract, three principals of GreenPlay would each be paid $150 an hour by the city.
The consulting salaries would amount to no more than $44,100, the contract states, while travel and hotel expenses would total about $9,000.
The group’s proposal suggests that the company expects to be retained by Rec and Parks after the initial contract expires in a year.
Regarding the speed camera debacle:
Those who were at the Baltimore Board of Estimate meeting that moved speed camera business from one corporation to, as we see now, another corporation that is failing know the problem.
First, the entire public works system has been dismantled and is now run by Baltimore Development Corporation who handles awards like a candy store for friends and family. You cannot have good public policy is policy is driven by who is connected with whom and what will I get if I give you this?
Second, as this one example shows, all of these deals being made by City Hall.....your City Council person who says -----WE HAVE NO VOICE-----are of course supposed to be shouting against all of this but are paid to sit silently and nod approval------are written in a way that allows failure to end with mitigated business losses paid for by taxpayers. Think failing banks due to outright incompetence and fraud with everyone leading still in place. Same thing on the local level. So, we listened as the last speed camera corporation was kicked to the curb for failing but we did not hear that this corporation needed to take its faulty cameras and reimburse the city.....we didn't hear that this failing corporation needed to pay the taxpayers for all the costs of consequences of service failures, citizen's refunds, time and cost of our elected officials talking about this. This is called 'DAMAGES' TO THE PUBLIC. No, we didn't hear any of that. We heard instead that Brekford would take over. Immediately this award was protested as bad by fellow contract bidders and the public as this corporation showed no ability to handle such a big job. Yet, as we see they are now no doubt going to go away with money from a cancelled contract.
Everyone knows all of this is fraud and public malfeasance and as I always say----when government suspends Rule of Law it suspends Statutes of Limitation. So, the problem is that we have no public justice that would have stopped this way back when the first contract was made.
THE ENTIRE CONTRACT IS WRITTEN AGAINST THE PUBLIC INTEREST AS WE HAVE NO PROTECTION FROM INCOMPETENCE AND FAILURE.
The problem lies with the Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler and City Attorney Bernstein both of whom have no agency staffing to monitor what we all know is massive and systemic white collar fraud in the state. THAT'S THEIR JOB AND THEY ARE CHOOSING NOT TO DO IT. SUSPENDED RULE OF LAW. If they were working, City Hall would not even attempt to move such convoluted and corrupt policy through. They would be afraid of being held accountable! Do you hear the current candidates for both Maryland Attorney General and Baltimore City Attorney shouting loudly and strongly that all this is criminal and they are going to seek justice for the public? I DO NOT HEAR ANYTHING FROM THESE CANDIDATES----THEY MUST BE PART OF THE CRONY! Why does labor and justice not run candidates that shout for public justice and holding white collar crime accountable?
The solution for the short term is for the public to act as those public employees that should be monitoring and prosecuting all this. It is easy peasy!
BE THE INVESTIGATOR AND DATA COLLECTOR YOUR GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE AND HAVE INFORMATION READY FOR WHEN RULE OF LAW IS REINSTATED!
These next elections are critical and neo-liberals and crony pols have a farm team waiting in the Baltimore and Maryland Democratic Committees. You would not go there for candidates in any primary. You would run people you know from your communities and who you trust to be passionate for justice. There are people like that! Once we shake the bugs from the rug we can go back and claw-back lost city revenue from fraud and corruption.
City plans to pay Brekford $600,000 to end speed camera contract
Board of Estimates scheduled to vote Wednesday on proposed settlement
By Scott Calvert and Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun
8:30 p.m. EST, December 16, 2013
Baltimore plans to pay its speed camera vendor $600,000 to end a troubled relationship that has left the city's once-lucrative automated enforcement program offline since April, city officials said Monday.
Termination of the contract with Brekford Corp. puts the future of the city's speed and red-light camera system in question. One city councilwoman says it's time to stop using technology to nab speeders and red-light runners.
Close Political Ties For Maryland Speed Camera Vendor
Connections to O'Malley
March 7, 2013
by Mark Newgent
Yesterday, a Baltimore County Circuit Court judge ruled the county’s speed camera contract with its vendor, Xerox State & Local Solutions, is illegal.
Since their adoption in 2009, speed cameras have been controversial, and there are several bills filed in the legislature to either eliminate or reform the state’s speed camera law. A Baltimore Sun investigation found numerous errors in Baltimore City’s program, including a camera that issued a citation to a stopped vehicle.
Xerox State & Local Solutions, formerly known as ACS, the speed camera vendor for many of Maryland’s jurisdictions has extensive political ties to Governor Martin O’Malley and the circles of political power in Maryland.
A review of state campaign finance records shows John Brophy Sr., ACS Group President of State and Local Solutions and his family contributed tens of thousands of dollars to O’Malley and key Maryland Democratic politicians.
ACS is also a top state contractor. Between 2008-2012 earned more than $3.2 million in state contracts. Xerox acquired ACS in 2010 for $6.4 billion. Brophy is now no longer with Xerox.
Brophy’s son, John Brophy Jr., was a classmate of O’Malley at Gonzaga High School in Washington, D.C. and held high dollar fundraisers at the exclusive Columbia Country Club where he is an officer. State campaign finance records show the younger Brophy gave generously to O’Malley.
Federal Election Commission records show the elder Brophy is also a prolific donor to Democratic politicians, including the political action committee associated with Democratic Minority Whip, Steny Hoyer from Southern Maryland.
After failing to adopt them in 2008, Maryland approved use of speed cameras in 2009. State lobbying disclosures show that during both the 2008 and 2009 legislative sessions, ACS enlisted several high priced Annapolis lobbyists including the former Speaker of the House of Delegates, Casper Taylor, to ensure passage of speed cameras.
One of those lobbyists, Sean Malone, of Harris Jones & Malone LLC, has ties to O’Malley going back to his tenure as mayor of Baltimore. Malone served chief legal counsel for the Baltimore City Police Department, and the city’s labor commissioner, then as top legislative aide when O’Malley became governor.
Disclosure records show ACS spent $240,000 on lobbying for the 2008 and 2009 legislative sessions.
When ACS wanted to expand the speed camera programs in Baltimore County and Howard County, they enlisted the assistance of the politically connected firm of Kearney O’Doherty Public Affairs. Kearney O’Doherty crafted an Astroturf campaign of “citizen groups” complete with Facebook pages, to create the appearance of wide spread citizen support for unlimited expansion of speed cameras. The firm’s principle partners are O’Malley’s former communications director Steve Kearney, and Damian O’Doherty, an aide to former Baltimore County Executive, Jim Smith.
After Patch.com broke the story of Kearney and O’Doherty’s involvement on behalf of ACS, the company added a disclosure statement to the Facebook sites acknowledging the groups receive support from the company.
ACS mounted a similar campaign in Pennsylvania to approve red light cameras.
Kearney and O’Doherty are also the founders of Center Maryland, a news and aggregator site, which purports to provide “the news you need straight down the middle.” However, Kearney and O’Doherty have proven themselves to be quite the partisans. The company is a generous donor the Maryland Democratic Party, and during the 2010 gubernatorial election they set up a series of high-dollar fundraisers for Governor O’Malley’s reelection campaign featuring Vice President Joe Biden, and then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Center Maryland features an occasional video podcast with O’Doherty and lobbyist Lisa Harris Jones, who is partners with Sean Malone in Harris Jones Malone, LLC. Lobbying disclosures show ACS paid Lisa Harris Jones to lobby for speed cameras.
In addition to speed cameras, Kearney O’Doherty has represented clients for other controversial issues. They represented MGM on behalf of the gaming corporation’s push to expand gambling in Maryland, and the group of politically connected developers of the State Center project, which is on hold due to the O’Malley administration’s violation of state procurement laws.
Kearney and O’Doherty have refused to disclose whether or not Center Maryland features articles that benefit their clients.
This is a good graph of public revenue. Keep in mind, for a state like Maryland, revenue and expenditures include the fact that almost all of the subprime mortgage settlement of $1 billion was sent to the state coffers.....O'Malley shed all of teacher's pensions to localities knowing localities cannot pay them......and O'Malley gutted Medicaid and cut Medicare state funding. At the same time he leveraged most of development projects so the citizens of Maryland have enormous debt for decades that hides spending right now. THIS IS HOW NEO-LIBERALS LOOK GOOD ON PAPER. HOW REPUBLICAN OF THEM!
State Government Financial Data: Revenues, Expenditures Governing
View detailed revenue and spending totals for state governments by selecting a state below.
Total fiscal year 2011 revenues for all state governments increased to $2.27 trillion from $2 trillion in 2010. Much of the changes in total state government revenue in recent years stem from gains and losses for social insurance trusts, which include state retirement systems. General state expenditures climbed 3.7 percent in 2011 to $1.7 trillion.
Data, listed for fiscal years 2009-2011, is compiled from annual surveys of state government finances conducted by the Census Bureau.
This is why Baltimore politics is so crony and corrupt. We have O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake political machines all supplying these Baltimore Development Corp politicians that walk the walk for the rich in Maryland. The citizens of Baltimore should be insulted by this outburst from an O'Malley crone.
There is no doubt Stokes, who has always supported TIFs and not for the good of the public, was at bat for Angelos as all of the development money is going to Harbor East. Still, we love to hear a pol shout out for what is good for the public as well.
I hope Baltimore citizens will send a message and vote out all those City Council that DID vote for this bill....that would send O'Malley and his crone a message as well. O'Malley is fighting for this because of Exelon's connection to Chicago and Obama.....a campaign contributor getting the proper pay to play deal in Maryland.
- Thursday, September, 12th, 2013 12
- Consultant for Harbor Point threatens to “go after” Carl Stokes Ex-O'Malley aide Steve Kearney says he'll defeat opponent of the Harbor Point TIF in the next election.
Steve Kearney (left) speaks with Councilman Ed Reisinger before last week’s hearing where the Harbor Point TIF bill was advanced by Reisinger over the objections of committee chairman Carl Stokes.
Following Monday’s City Council meeting where Carl Stokes stood out as the only councilman vocally opposed to a $107 million TIF financing subsidy for Harbor Point, the developer’s public relations consultant marched up to the councilman with a blunt message.
“You’re done,” Steve Kearney told Stokes, according to two witnesses. “I’ll make sure you’re through in politics in Baltimore.”
According to the witnesses, Stokes replied, “You don’t determine that.” Kearney then told Stokes he better hope that his “dinosaurs” come through with political support in the next election because “I’m going after you.”
Stokes confirmed tonight that the conversation took place, but declined to discuss the matter further.
“Too stupid,” Stokes calls the threat
“It was too stupid,” Stokes told The Brew in a phone interview tonight. “I don’t want to go there.”
Stokes said he feared that publicity of the exchange – which took place in the Council chambers where Kearney spent the evening watching the session and buttonholing council members who momentarily left the floor – would distract from what he termed the real issue – the “unjustifiable use of taxpayers’ money to subsidize a developer who doesn’t need a subsidy.”
Kearney did not respond to an email request for comment sent through Kearney O’Doherty (KO) Public Relations, the firm he co-founded with Damian O’Doherty.
Kearney was Martin O’Malley’s director of policy and communications while O’Malley was mayor of Baltimore and director of communications when O’Malley became governor.
On its website, KO Public Relations describes itself as a “strategic communications firm that helps clients win where business, government, politics and media meet.”
Hired by Michael Beatty, the developer of Harbor Point, KO Public Relations has played an active behind-the-scenes role in moving the $107 million TIF tax increment funding legislation through City Hall.
Kearney has attended all of the City Council hearings about the TIF proposal, while his KO colleague, Howard Libit, a former Baltimore Sun editor, has served in various capacities, including transporting poster boards to media events where Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has lauded Harbor Point.
A Pawn of Peter Angelos?
The “dinosaurs” that Kearney alluded to in his exchange with Stokes is a reference to Peter Angelos, owner of the Baltimore Orioles.
In briefings with editors at The Daily Record and with the editorial board of The Baltimore Sun, Kearney and other members of the Beatty team have presented disclosure statements of campaign contributions that Stokes received from Angelos in 2011.
KO’s spin is that Stokes is being used as a pawn by Angelos, who is opposed to Harbor Point because of his large real estate holdings downtown and alleged rivalry with John Paterakis, the H&S Bakery mogul who has close ties to Beatty.
“Angelos is the story,” Kearney likes to tell reporters covering the Harbor Point controversy.
The campaign contributions from Angelos to Stokes were reported by The Brew as part of this website’s exhaustive coverage of the 2011 campaign finances of local officeholders.
Through six business entities, Angelos contributed $15,000 to Stokes as he ran for his 12th District Council seat – and an additional $5,000 during his exploratory campaign for mayor.
In an interview last week, Stokes was asked if his opposition to the $107 million Harbor Point TIF was directed or influenced by Angelos. His reply: “Peter has never picked up the phone and asked me to do this or that [on the Council]. He helped me out two years ago, and I do talk to Mr. Angelos off and on.”
Stokes said he has acted entirely on his own when he denounced fellow members of the Taxation Committee for voting to pass the Harbor Point TIF legislation without thoroughly vetting the issue.
Stokes said he knew KO Public Relations was spreading “misinformation” to the media about his relationship with Angelos. “When you don’t have the facts on your side, you go to slander and innuendo,” he said.
Jolivet is exactly right and it is the election spurring this bill. There is one more thing driving it....immigrant labor and companies. As we see Maryland encourage immigrants to come to Maryland we see private contracts handed to these firms that hire. What makes this a bad situation is that immigrants are greatly exploited in wages and workplace abuse because they are not citizens. As Jolivet says......there is no oversight so these workers are preyed upon openly.
Equally it is true that Maryland passes progressive labor and justice laws and then do not support or enforce them. Maryland is the bluest of states by laws but it is deep purple in enforcing laws that protect labor and justice. O'Malley is only working to give businesses in Maryland the cheapest labor if he is not protecting immigrant labor and seeing that they are paid/have the same workplace laws as domestic workers! The driver's license law does the same. It expands immigrants into more
O’Malley sets 29% minority goal for state contracts Advocate for minority contractors says the goal needs to be enforced to be effective
. Mark Reutter August 21, 2013 at 6:26 pm Baltimore Brew
The O’Malley administration today upped its “aspirational” goal for minority participation in state-funded contracts from 25% to 29%, with the governor and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown lauding the effort in a press release.
In 2012, the General Assembly authorized the governor to set a goal for MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) participation in state contracts.
Over the past year, the governor’s minority affairs office considered many factors, including the availability of MBE businesses and their past participation in state procurement, before hitting upon the 29% figure, one of the highest goals in the country.
“By continuing outreach to our minority and women-owned business communities, we will continue to create jobs, expand opportunity and strengthen our middle class,” O’Malley said in a press release.
Lt. Gov. Brown added, “Our minority- and women-owned businesses are going to be a critical part of our state’s future, and we’re going to continue to support them and encourage their success.”
Gov. O’Malley speaks and Lt. Gov. Brown listens. (somdnews.com)
The term-limited O’Malley is laying the groundwork for a bid for the U.S. presidency in 2016, while Brown is running as his hand-picked successor.
Does It Mean Anything?
Arnold M. Jolivet, managing director of the Maryland Minority Contractors Association, said today’s announcement had been expected for a long time.
“The new goal doesn’t really mean anything if the administration does not simultaneously put in place an enforcement mechanism,” he said.
Too many state agencies ignore or circumvent the state’s minority goals, Jolivet charged – a practice he says also happens in Baltimore City where MBE (minority) participation is set at 27% and WBE (women) participation at 10%.
The governor’s office of minority affairs says it will work with state agencies to identify more opportunities for MBE participation and will also “increase education relating to MBE rights and responsibilities while performing on state contracts.”
The new 29% goal will be in effect during the current (2014) fiscal year and fiscal 2015.
We know all of O'Malley' appointments have to do with corporate interests throughout government so this is no surprise....we will get the word out across America for the Presidential race. O'Malley and his protege Anthony Brown are both working hard for corporate wealth and profit as neo-liberals. O'Malley is tapped to run nationally for just that reason.
What we need to understand is that all of the candidates running for governor next election are the same....neo-liberals who will do the same thing as would republicans. So, we simply need to run people for these executive positions ....Governor and Mayor/County Executives....who are people and not corporate pols. Who will be running against Brown/Ulman, Gansler, Mizeur ....all corporate candidates for Governor? MAKE SURE YOU VOTE FOR A LABOR AND JUSTICE CANDIDATE AND NOT THESE NEO-LIBERALS SO WE CAN REBUILD THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN MARYLAND!
O'Malley names energy executive to PSC
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun 5:50 p.m. EDT, August 14, 2013
Gov. Martin O'Malley on Wednesday appointed Anne E. Hoskins, an executive with a New Jersey-based energy company, to the powerful board that regulates utility rates in Maryland.
Hoskins, a Baltimore resident, would fill the vacancy left on the Public Service Commission when Kevin Hughes was named chairman of the agency. If confirmed by the Senate, her term would continue until June 2016.
In a statement. O'Malley said Hoskins would help protect the interests of Maryland families.
"As an expert in clean energy and climate change, Anne understands the importance of ensuring a resilient electric grid for all Marylanders in the face of increasingly severe weather," he said.
For the past six years, Hoskins has been senior vice president for public affairs an sustainability for the Public Service Enterprise Group, a publicly traded energy company based in Newark. She also served as a visiting research scholar at the Andlinger Center on Energy and the Environment at Princeton University.
A graduate of Cornell University, Hoskins also holds a masters in public administration from Princeton and a law degree from Harvard.
The U.S. Export-Import Bank makes loans and loan guarantees to private companies to encourage the export of U.S. products by assuming the financial risks involved in international trade.
Does that sound familiar....taxpayer funded protection against all corporate losses? Aren't neo-liberals the best corporate team-players and aren't O'Malley and Obama the best at lying about commitments to environment and global warming while exporting coal and placing Fracking into overdrive by pushing exporting natural gas...
But we needed to create markets to grow jobs we hear these neo-liberals say. We see job creation exploding overseas, we see corporate profits exploding from overseas investments with free money and 'job stimulus' money. No jobs are made with this export market.
Democratic voters need to stop voting for neo-liberals...they work for wealth and profit. Run and vote for labor and justice candidates in all primaries coming up!
Bank sued over coal export financing at Baltimore, Hampton Roads
Coal exports from Baltimore, above, have tripled since 2009 and have nearly doubled at Hampton Roads, Va. Reasons include high demand in China and Europe and a glut of cheap natural gas from domestic shale, which U.S. utilities have been substituting for coal (Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun / June 8, 2011)
By Max Ehrenfreund, The Washington Post 8:29 a.m. EDT, August 1, 2013
Above the harbor in Curtis Bay is a 1-acre urban farm. "Look out over the harbor and you can see piles and piles of coal," says Jason Reed, a community organizer who works there.
That coal is the subject of a lawsuit filed Wednesday by a coalition of environmental groups against the U.S. Export-Import Bank, challenging the federal agency's financing of fossil fuel exports from ports in Baltimore and Hampton Roads, Va.
The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in California, targets a $90 million loan guarantee the bank made last year to Xcoal Energy & Resources, a Pennsylvania coal broker, to sell coal from Appalachian mines to customers in Asia and Italy. The plaintiffs say the bank failed to conduct a required environmental review before providing the guarantee. They want to block a portion of the $90 million that hasn't yet been disbursed through Xcoal's intermediary, PNC Bank.
The U.S. Export-Import Bank makes loans and loan guarantees to private companies to encourage the export of U.S. products by assuming the financial risks involved in international trade. The bank has been increasing its support for domestic and foreign fossil-fuel projects, according to Doug Norlen, policy director for Pacific Environment, one of the plaintiffs. Norlen attributes the increase to an effort to meet President Barack Obama's stated goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015.
In a speech on climate change last month, Obama announced that the bank would no longer support the construction of new coal-fired power plants overseas. Fumes from coal combustion are particularly heavy in carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs contend that the financing ban should also apply to domestic coal exporters.
"What we see with this case is a clear problem in coherence between the administration's ending of support for overseas projects but a lack of oversight for projects, specifically export projects, here at home," the Sierra Club's Justin Guay told reporters Wednesday.
The bank declined to comment on the lawsuit, noting in a statement that it is trying to balance "the need to protect the environment" with its mission of "supporting U.S. exports and American export-related jobs."
Phil Smith, communications director for the United Mine Workers of America, said the union has "thousands of members whose jobs depend on that coal, at least in some part, being exported. Their families depend on that, their communities depend on that, their school districts depend on that."
Coal exports have increased rapidly in recent years for several reasons, including high demand in China and Europe and a glut of cheap natural gas from domestic shale, which utilities have been substituting for coal. Traffic at the Hampton Roads port, site of the country's busiest coal export terminals, has nearly doubled in volume since 2009. Exports from Baltimore's two privately owned terminals have tripled in the same period.
Environmentalists say the increase is harmful to the global climate and to residents who live near shipping facilities and railroads. Coal dust, which can contain mercury and arsenic, is everywhere in Curtis Bay, according to Reed, the community organizer. Some residents have to wash their windows every few days, he said, and the dust is so fine that it accumulates inside cars even if they have been locked overnight.
After noticing that many of the children he works with in the garden seemed short of breath, and worrying about the acrid, metallic smell that seemed to cling to the back of his tongue there, Reed began to feel "a moral prerogative" to try to improve ecological conditions in the area. He joined the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, another plaintiff.
Xcoal plans to use the loan to move $1 billion in coking or metallurgical coal, which is used to manufacture steel. If the lawsuit succeeds, the company would still be able to seek commercial funding for its venture, though a loan at the market rate would presumably be more expensive than borrowing from the federal government.
I think this article tried to refer to the major problems in this StateStat data website, but didn't come out to say what all analysts who try to gather information find.....the data is always skewed and with absolutely no oversight of the data that is collected it is found to be faulty and is often unreliable. This goes for CityStat as well. If you go to NYC from where O'Malley copied this system and having been around long enough to have a history (not to mention investigative reporting holding powers accountable) you will see the same complaints of lack of relevance and reliable data as we see here in Maryland. Let's be clear....CityStat was designed to be a development tool for what in the early 1990s the 1% knew was a push for urban development and they wanted figures to target communities with money and associated programs. It was as well used as a crime fighting tool. As we know with any data collecting process, if there is no oversight as to the data being entered, then the goal becomes to make the data say what you want. THAT IS HOW THE DATA IS USED TODAY. IT GIVES GOVERNMENT FIGURES TO BACK POLICY THAT IT WANTS TO SEE IN PLACE.
As a researcher who is constantly accessing data I can tell you that regardless of the category.....crime, health care, poverty, education......all of the data is skewed. The state or city wants to show improvement in education then the data sets are produced to show an increased in achievement but has no basis in actual gains. It is all statistics. We have very little gains in education achievement but we have changed the way we calculate achievement to make it look like gains. It isn't that funding education does not improve education, it is that most of education funding went to building the infrastructure for corporate advanced education platforms. College attendance up? Well, career 'colleges' or job training is now done at community colleges on the taxpayer dime. Same with crime stats where we heard quite publicly the police were skewing what they entered on incident reports to show a drop in crime. In reality much of Baltimore's drop in crime had to do with the police simply not responding to calls especially in underserved communities where much crime occurs. Health care funding in underserved communities is up? Well, actually all of the funding is going to Enterprise Zones slated to gentrify a poor community moving to affluent so funds are not being used to help the poor, they are being used to build health infrastructure for what is expected to be an affluent neighborhood. People receiving social services? Well, social workers have caseloads that far exceed any capacity of actually providing anything more than a check-in by the client....if that.
All of the data on these StateStat and CityStats are just like this and the NYC model from where it came......even worse. It is easy to conclude that these data are not meant to give an accurate picture or else they would have a solid audit and oversight system in place where there is none. Rather, they are simply used to provide data that support whatever the politicians are selling. We are talking hundreds of millions of dollars invested in these programs at a time that Baltimore communities were going to blight and revenue being sent to programs that are not serving the desired purpose.
When Maryland public policy groups try to sell the public on the fact that Maryland is not bad as far as transparency I want to say......who paid you to say that? Just think of the non-existent Open Meetings where the public is left sitting while the meeting happens behind closed doors for goodness sake!
Analysis: StateStat measures much, but delivers less than promised
June 12, 2013 at 7:42 am
By Charlie Hayward Maryland Reporter
Gov. Martin O’Malley talked to reporters about his delivery goals in December.
StateStat is a substantial part of Maryland state government’s transparency enhancements relating to performance measurement.
The program, an outgrowth of the CityStat initiative Martin O’Malley began as mayor, was much touted in the early days of the O’Malley-Brown administration, but now chugs along in obscurity. While StateStat conveys much information, it can be substantially improved so that it comes close to living up to the high expectations inherent in the governor’s StateStat messaging.
O’Malley promotes StateStat as a tool for managing and reporting the state’s performance related to 16 wide-ranging, high-priority goals. Those goals are reported within four categories: Opportunity, Security, Sustainability, and Health. The Governor’s Delivery Unit (GDU) works closely with StateStat and Maryland agencies to monitor and track progress or deterioration for each goal.
O’Malley talked about the progress toward the goals at a long meeting with reporters in December.
StateStat serves to enhance transparency in several ways. For example, it conveys to the public much of the same extensive data reported by the state’s departments and agencies to the delivery unit for managing performance, and it contains considerable meeting minutes and other materials documenting interaction among the governor, GDU, and agency managers.
StateStat’s website evidences large-scale and proactive work towards achieving goals by O’Malley, his GDU teammates, and state agencies.
StateStat’s goals seem reasonable, unbiased and ambitious. And there is good documentation of regular, active engagement between the governor and state agencies, including good information sharing, course modifications, and direction setting. Moreover, the site is regularly updated to convey the latest executive direction and progress towards reaching goals. Indeed, as of March 2013 most goals’ delivery plans were completely updated, including more ambitious goals and new timelines.
Improvements could be made
However, there are many improvements the governor and his delivery unit team may want to consider.
1. Goals have long-term deadlines, from 2014 to 2025, so mismatches abound with the governor’s remaining 19 months in office, and between the extensive short-term activities reported in StateStat, vis-à-vis deadlines set far into the future.
2. High-level goals are supported by two lower levels of statistics and data. Users can drill down into secondary statistics and below them into detailed datasets. However, the audit trails are weak among the three tiers. Navigating from the 1st to 2nd and 2nd to 3rd tiers is not “user friendly” because the more detailed data mostly don’t agree with and don’t support data in the higher tier. Weak audit trails could confuse users and marginalize the value of the lower-level data.
3. StateStat’s Reports tab leads users to numerous meeting minutes, reporting templates, and graphs. This information is uncategorized; users who want to evaluate reports for a particular goal are out of luck unless they want to reconstruct from the content of reports and meetings they think may be relevant, forward to the relevant goals.
Some delivery plans missing; no audits done
4. StateStat has no delivery plans for two of 16 of its goals Greenhouse Gases and Health IT.
5. State statutes governing StateStat provide that the Office of Legislative Audits should periodically audit the data. However, StateStat has never been audited and the most recent audit work on performance measures was July 2011. The auditor’s scope might include testing for perverse incentives that may be created by pressures on management to achieve numerical goals.
6. Based on a text-search of all laws passed in this year, there is only one reference to StateStat. This suggests StateStat is not being used by the legislature. That begs the question about who uses StateStat, whether the legislature is a stakeholder, and what is StateStat’s true value proposition compared to its cost. The governor may want to get legislators involved by soliciting their inputs on which goals to measure and what deadlines should be set.
7. One goal, Health IT, appears to be inactive since 2012.
8. StateStat’s website should contain a section devoted to caveats about performance measures. First, many factors outside the governor’s control can have a direct and material effect on performance results. Second, performance measurement via statistics, while useful, is one of the least accurate ways of evaluating success or failure of government initiatives.
For instance, StateStat claims 132,800 jobs recovered since the great recession’s bottom (February 2010), or 91% of the goal. However, there is no way to know the true correlation between StateStat activity and jobs recovered and it’s conceivable the state’s other actions including last year’s tax hikes on the wealthy actually impaired job growth.
Performance auditing or program evaluations are expensive, but often are far more effective for evaluating how government is doing. Third, users should know that StateStat has no information about the cost-effectiveness of using taxpayer dollars for any goals being tracked.
9. The state, by law, reports extensive performance measurement data outside those available in StateStat. These “outside” data are reported annually in the state’s budget books. The StateStat website should link users to that additional measurement information and explain fully the relationships between the two measurements.
StateStat captures plenty of detail indicating the governor is focused on priorities embodied in his 16 goals. However, the site’s owners should recognize StateStat could be improved in many areas described above. Also, for those interested to see an alternative way to convey state performance, please compare StateStat against its counterpart in the State of Washington.
Charlie Hayward recently retired after 30 years’ experience with performance, IT, and financial auditing of a wide variety of government programs and activities. He is an avid reader of MarylandReporter.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
O'Malley an environmentalist? FORGET ABOUT IT!!
Opponents of fracking believe that through O’Malley’s alliance with the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD), an industry group led by representatives from CONSOL Energy, Shell, Chevron, EQT Corporation and the Environmental Defense Fund, the governor is promoting the idea of industry-sponsored self-regulation. This week, Americans Against Fracking, Democracy for America and MoveOn.org will deliver to O’Malley more than 3,000 petitions urging him to ban fracking.
100+ March for Ban on Fracking and End to Democratic Governors Taking Dirty Money May 22, 2013 EcoWatch
Americans Against Fracking
Today a coalition led by Americans Against Fracking, 350.org, Democracy for America and Food & Water Watch, among others marched at the Spring Policy Conference of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) calling for a ban on fracking and demanding that the organization “Stop Taking Dirty Money,” citing the more than $3.5 million the DGA has taken from companies in the oil and gas industry since 2008, according to analysis out this week by Food & Water Watch.
The march takes place in the wake of new research released by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press that shows that nationally, only 33 percent of Democrats polled favor the increased use of fracking.
The march is the beginning of a summer-long effort with planned actions at other DGA meetings in Colorado and possibly other cities to pressure five governors in particular— Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, California Gov. Jerry Brown, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn—who are currently facing stark opposition to efforts to frack for oil and gas in their states.
“While it’s not surprising that the oil and gas industry is supporting a political organization, what is surprising is how much their support of the DGA has increased in the past five years—contributions are up more than 140 percent between 2008 and 2012,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “We need to expose their support of this organization, many of whom are presently the key decision makers on whether or not fracking goes forward in their states.”
Maryland Gov. O’Malley, the host of the DGA’s Spring Policy Conference, has attracted criticism from activists for his failure to use science to guide his decision on opening up the state to fracking. Last April, the O’Malley-appointed Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission issued a draft report warning that fracking could have significant negative impacts in Maryland. Still, O’Malley and other Maryland leaders are pushing forward with drilling as if it is inevitable.
Opponents of fracking believe that through O’Malley’s alliance with the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD), an industry group led by representatives from CONSOL Energy, Shell, Chevron, EQT Corporation and the Environmental Defense Fund, the governor is promoting the idea of industry-sponsored self-regulation. This week, Americans Against Fracking, Democracy for America and MoveOn.org will deliver to O’Malley more than 3,000 petitions urging him to ban fracking.
“We know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that fracking causes environmental destruction that risks the health and safety of entire communities,” said Jim Dean of Democract for America. “A handful of Democratic governors, including DGA Chair Gov. Peter Shumlin, have stepped up and led the charge to ban fracking in their states and they should be applauded. Other democratic governors need to be made aware that the people they’re elected to govern want them to stop cozying up to the oil and gas industry and start proactively working to prevent fracking from poisoning drinking water, releasing potentially radioactive elements and jeopardizing our climate future.”
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose presidential ambitions are a poorly kept secret, has faced fervent opposition to fracking. He recently deferred a decision on the future of fracking in New York to state health commissioners. Some New Yorkers have expressed concern with the process, stating that any review of the cumulative health impacts of fracking should take place in a transparent manner, not through backroom deals. A Siena College poll released this week found that more New Yorkers oppose fracking than support it, with 41 percent of respondents stating that are against the process.
Mike Hersh of Progressive Democrats of America and MoveOn said, “Democratic Party leaders must realize the base strongly opposes fracking. We need clean, green, 21st century energy. We don’t want to trade clean water and air for natural gas.”
In Illinois, a coalition of grassroots organizations recently urged Governor Pat Quinn and Speaker of the House Michael Madigan to reject a bill that would lay the legal groundwork for fracking in the state, and instead pass a moratorium on the controversial energy extraction process. Although fracking is not currently taking place in Illinois, HB 2615 would bring regulatory certainty to the oil and gas industry and in effect open up the state to fracking. It would also endanger public health by establishing weak standards of operation for the oil and gas industry.
“Fracking raises genuine public health, safety, policy and environmental questions that have been completely pushed aside by energy industry influence. It is disheartening to see our elected officials so eager to take policy guidance from corporate donor interests and less so from the people who elected them. The problems facing America headed towards a ‘fracking’ future are very real and frightening and they won’t go away just because we put our heads in the sand or pass weak regulations,” said Fred Tutman, Riverkeeper and CEO of the Patuxent Riverkeeper.
With 47,000 fracked wells throughout the state, and the oil and gas industry looking to substantially expand that number in the next decade, many consider Colorado the epicenter of fracking in the U.S. Earlier this year, residents of Longmont became the first in the state to ban the process and many other communities are now following suit. Yet, Governor Hickenlooper remains an ardent fan of fracking. Earlier this year, he testified before Congress against rules to regulate fracking on federal lands, opining that the government should leave decisions on the process up to the states.
Momentum against fracking is building on the West Coast too. In April, three bills that would halt the process in California won key votes despite intense pressure from the oil industry. Oil and gas wells have been fracked in at least nine California counties without fracking-specific regulation or even monitoring by state oil and gas officials.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
It's time for O'Malley to join the revolving door of lobbyist/Wall Street employee. He has single-handedly given more of Maryland public wealth to Wall Street than an other state by population size. He worked since his time in Baltimore in setting up the subprime mortgage fraud so that large sectors of the working class in Baltimore were subjected to this fraud with the goal of claiming imploded/foreclosed family homes for the conversion to affluent development. He defunded public pension programs at the local level, oversaw their investment in a crashing stock market....they were moved from the safety of stocks to the collapsing stock market in 2007....and then as governor declared they were too much to handle. It took a lot of malfeasance to get to that point!
He boost transportation funding by raising gas tax rates. This in a state that pushes hybrids and electric vehicles we see large sectors....business and affluent not paying for the roads they use as much or more than others. These same drivers received much of the old transportation fund as it went to completely rebuild Montgomery County transit and the ICC. There is the hybrid and electric as well. He needs to shout to have the financial reform bill rule that protects the public from commodities speculation/manipulation enacted to lower gas prices as a whole. That would be a public servlce!
The structural deficit was created by massive corporate fraud of government coffers and massive losses in corporate tax revenue. This is the structure deficit at all levels of government. O'Malley just as with the Third Way corporate democrats in Washington are pretending the problem is with spending cuts and public sector pensions and wages. He failed to fund K-12 to the Thornton agreement and failed to honor the state court judgement of $700 million for shortfalls to funding of Baltimore City schools so much of that balancing was on the backs of public schools. He and Attorney General Doug Gansler took the parking ticket of bank mortgage fraud settlement of $1 billion and stuck just about all of it in the State General Fund. So the working class and their communities for whom that settlement was met never saw anything other then groceries.
This is true scandal. Taking from the poor and giving to the rich is not a virtue and this is O'Malley's legacy.
Regarding O'Malley's legislative 'accomplishments:
When media calls legislation that works against public interests 'accomplishments...you know you have captured media.
Wind Farms: When the amount of energy captured will be 5% of total grid are you really legislating for environment or are you meeting a political pay to play for Obama's bundlers who want to profit from the construction of these turbines? We know this....early in this policy game we heard the wind turbines would not even be built in America...Germany would be the source but now they say they will be built in Maryland. Since nothing that is said actually happens in Maryland...we will no doubt find this to be untrue. Unions will not work on Maryland's Eastern Shore says the Ocean City offshore site. They certainly won't as unions almost never are included in actual work in Maryland, they simply join the advertisement for policy. We know what will actually happen as with all Maryland development is a national investment firm will take the public money and bring the cheapest labor from somewhere else. The environmental benefit of all this: NADA
Gambling: Remember when gambling was sold as 60% of proceeds heading towards education and state coffers? Now, of course we are watching as slot machines having what is now closer to 50% are being ditched for table games that have closer to a 20% threshold for state proceeds and we see the education piece becoming casino job training and Baltimore's school building which involves privatized corporate charter schools. Since the unions have been kept from the Baltimore casinos so far as Horseshoe fights unionization and the Maryland and Baltimore pols failed to produce the laws allowing employees with criminal records work in these casinos as was promised....if you commit fraud....Maryland's favorite crime you can work in a casino!!! So, we are seeing all the campaign promises disintegrate with the gambling bill as well. Why did O'Malley flip flop on gambling.....something that democrats fought for years because it harms society and brings no value to the economic engine of local and state government? Harry Reid is the Third Way leader of the Senate and his backing for O'Malley's run for national office is needed. Harry Reid = Las Vegas and casinos.....hence gambling in Maryland with mega profits for the casinos!!!! They will fund O'Malley's campaigns in the future....another pay to play.
Death Penalty: with poverty crushing the poor ever harder and the violence and crime that comes with it and the police ramping up brutality and abuse in Maryland; with health care reform ending Medicaid and access to health care for most people but especially the poor with early death assured....with prison labor now handed to private contractors in Maryland....what is the importance of the Death Penalty legislation that affects maybe a dozen people over decades? It is important to be rid of the death penalty no doubt, but it is for whom it was done and not why it was done that is important. The death penalty issue was pursued by O'Malley because of the Catholic Church and their stance against this issue....not for the people of color who are often the ones dying from this sentencing. So, now O'Malley will tote this for support from the Catholic Church offered as a counter to the Gay marriage issue even as people of color have a war against the poor in full force!!
I will go on!!!
This is so perverse as we look at what should be a public utility working deceptively for corporate profits. Here in Baltimore, O'Malley sold the citizens of Maryland to this national energy giant knowing it would prey upon the people and now we hear that they are fighting wind-power.....O'Malley just passed wind farm legislation last month.
In each case his motivation was political gain. He handed us to Exelon to gain support from Obama and his Chicago donors and he is pushing wind-farms for the green energy bundlers that fueled Obama's campaign. Neither pol could care less about the environment.
Exelon Falls From Green Favor as Chief Fights Wind Aid By Jim Snyder & Julie Johnsson - Apr 1, 2013 10:58 AM ET Bloomberg Financial
Exelon Corp. (EXC) left the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2009 over the group’s opposition to a climate- change bill, declaring the “carbon-based free lunch” was over.
The company had a change of heart and rejoined the nation’s largest business lobby a few months ago.
Cooling towers emit steam at the Exelon Corp. Three Mile Island nuclear power plant with decommissioned cooling towers, at left, in Middletown, Pennsylvania, in this March 18, 2011 file photo. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
It’s just one of the ways Exelon’s political and environmental allegiances have shifted under Chief Executive Officer Christopher Crane as he confronts cheap natural gas and government-subsidized wind power. Both are eroding profit at the Chicago-based utility, the nation’s biggest operator of nuclear reactors.
Since Crane took over 13 months ago, the company -- considered an ally by some environmentalists -- has dropped its support for a clean-coal project in Illinois and shifted its political donations. Last year, for the first time in six years, it gave more money to Republicans than Democrats running for federal office. It has also come out against a tax credit for wind-energy production, resulting in its expulsion from the board of the American Wind Energy Association.
“I think of them as an admirably self-interested company,” said Richard Caperton, an energy analyst at the Center for American Progress who has battled Exelon over its opposition to the wind tax credit. “I want to believe they wanted to do the right thing on climate change, but their nuclear fleet would have benefited hugely by putting a price on carbon.”
Corporate Support Support from a corporation such as Exelon can bring money, organization and credibility to a cause. The company’s advocacy for measures to combat climate change and in support of tougher clean-air rules has helped advance those issues, Rebecca Stanfield, a Chicago-based senior energy advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in an e-mail.
“When some companies are trying to convince policy makers that a proposed regulation is going to close down the power sector, it’s very helpful to have other industry leaders counter that the regulations are needed to protect public health, achievable and cost-effective,” Stanfield said.
Conversely, Exelon’s opposition to wind energy is making clean-energy development more difficult in the Midwest, she said.
Exelon was among the most vocal corporate supporters of a sweeping cap-and-trade bill designed to reduce the risks of climate change by pricing carbon emissions. The measure passed the Democratic led U.S. House of Representatives in 2009 before dying in the Senate.
“Inaction on climate is not an option,” then-CEO John Rowe said in a speech announcing his company’s exit from the Chamber, which said the legislation threatened the economy.
Corporate Merger Rowe, 67, who has a law degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and has funded professorships of Byzantine and Greek history at the school, had built Exelon by merging Unicom Corp. with PECO Energy Co. in 2000.
The combined operation became the largest owner of nuclear plants, with stakes in 21 reactors. The company refashioned itself into a green, low-emissions energy provider after selling most of its coal plants and spending $893 million to buy wind farms in eight states.
Rowe “was kind of an iconoclast in the industry,” said Martin Cohen, regulatory policy consultant and former executive director of the Citizens Utility Board, a Chicago-based consumer watchdog group. “He favored carbon taxes, for example. That did well with the nuclear strategy, but I think it also reflected his view on climate change.”
Daunting Economics Driving Exelon’s new advocacy efforts are daunting economics in wholesale electricity markets, and a new chief executive who hasn’t hesitated to publicly challenge adversaries.
Wind’s rapid growth has wreaked havoc with power prices in Illinois, where Exelon operates 11 nuclear reactors with a combined 11,526 megawatts of capacity, enough to light 9.2 million homes.
Spot prices fall below zero on gusty days when demand is light as wind operators chasing the tax credits continue to send their surplus to the grid. Coal and nuclear plants must continue running even as this “negative pricing” forces them to pay grid operators to take the power they produce.
The average price for off-peak power in Illinois fell to minus $41.083 a megawatt-hour on Oct. 11, 2012, the lowest level since 2005. The on-peak average fell to minus $7.85 a megawatt- hour on Feb. 19, the least since Dec. 24, 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Style Difference The company cut its quarterly dividend for the first time in its history after its fourth-quarter profit declined 38 percent to $378 million on lower electricity prices and higher nuclear fuel costs. The second-quarter dividend will be 31 cents a share, down 41 percent from the previous level.
Crane, 54, has been quick to fight what he says are unfair government policies hurting his company’s performance.
“There no question there’s a style difference,” Paul Patterson, a utilities analyst, said of the erudite Rowe and Crane, who rose to the top of the corporate ladder without a college degree.
“I’m not sure what these guys are supposed to do,” Patterson, a New York City-based analyst with Glenrock Associates LLC, said in a telephone interview. “They’re being confronted by policies that are damaging their bottom line. It’s their fiduciary duty to react.”
In the process, Crane has turned old friends into enemies. The company was booted from the board of the American Wind Energy Association last year for opposing the extension of a 2.2-cent per kilowatt hour production tax credit that spurred a 10-fold growth in U.S. wind installations since 2003.
Tax Credit While Congress extended the tax credit through the end of 2013, Crane continues to lobby to end the subsidy, which he says distorts power pricing already driven to 10-year lows by an influx of cheap natural gas.
“We’re saying stop the insanity,” Crane said in a Feb. 7 telephone interview. “We have to let this market stabilize.”
Ellen Carey, a spokeswoman for the wind group, said wind power is lowering consumer prices.
If Exelon lost a few friends in the process, it has made new allies among think tanks in Washington that advocate for fossil-fuel development or smaller government.
Benjamin Cole, a spokesman for American Energy Alliance, a group that promotes fossil fuel development, said his group and Exelon communicate in weekly e-mails about how best to fight another extension of the tax credit. The alliance says the credit raises electricity prices.
“They are a major company that took a strong stand and put the issue on the radar,” Cole said in an interview. “They brought a voice and they brought volume.”
Shifting Interests In Washington, shifting interests often push companies, trade associations and non-profits to join forces on one issue while fighting each other on another, James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional & Presidential Studies at American University in Washington, said in an interview.
Environmental groups and ideological non-profit organizations often seek out corporate partners both for the money they have and for their employees, who provide a natural grassroots lobbying base, Thurber said.
Paul Elsberg, an Exelon spokesman, said the company decided to rejoin the Chamber after it bought Constellation Energy Group Inc.
“Exelon aligns with the Chamber on a number of issues that are critical to our industry,” Elsberg said.
Two other utilities that quit the Chamber over climate change, PG&E Corp. (PCG) in San Francisco and New Mexico-based PNM Resources Inc. (PNM), have yet to rejoin, spokeswomen for the companies said.
Lobbying Donations Exelon is also spending more to make its point of view heard in Washington. Exelon spent $3.7 million on lobbying when the U.S. House debated climate legislation in 2009, according to federal records. In 2012, it spent $6.6 million, a 78 percent increase.
Its political action committee gave $645,100 to federal candidates for the 2012 election, 64 percent of which went to Republicans, with the remainder to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
In 2009 and 2010, Exelon gave $548,899 to federal candidates. Of that, Democrats received 59 percent and Republicans 39 percent, according to the Center.
Exelon last gave more to Republicans than Democrats in the 2006 election, according to the Center.
The company ran afoul of one particular Democrat, Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, when it sued in February to overturn a ruling by the Illinois Commerce Commission requiring its Commonwealth Edison utility to purchase power from a project called FutureGen.
FutureGen Project Exelon previously had been a member of the alliance of companies that won $1 billion in Energy Department funding for FutureGen, which proposed to outfit an Illinois coal-burning plant with technology that would capture and store underground its carbon emissions.
Durbin, a champion of his state’s beleaguered coal-mining industry, called Exelon’s new opposition a “heavy-handed corporate betrayal” with “few parallels in Illinois history.”
The company said it never officially joined the alliance. Its opposition now “reflects our long-held position that customers should not be forced to pay enormous above-market charges for electricity, as the project is now seeking,” Elsberg said in a statement.
THIS IS A BEHIND THE DOORS DEAL THAT WAS ILLEGAL FOLLOWED BY A FOIA REQUEST THAT LEADS NOWHERE......THIS IS VINTAGE O'MALLEY!!!
U. of Maryland Didn't Keep Copy of Big 10 Contract March 25, 2013 - 3:00am
Inside Higher Ed
The University of Maryland at College Park doesn't have a copy of the contract it signed to join the Big 10, The Washington Post reported. The Post filed an open records request for the contract, and was told that the university didn't have a copy. The Big 10, which is not subject to open records requests, keeps all such copies. Maryland officials said that not keeping a copy was in line with Big 10 policies, which are designed to reflect that most of its members are public universities, subject to open records requests.
We want to say this to Ms Kopp....not as a conservative pundit but as a progressive/labor pundit....we know that state and city pensions were thrown into the stock market just before the crash in 2008 after being moved from a then safe bond market. This was deliberate as pensions, both private and public, were used to prop the falling market to give connected investors a profit right to the end while pensions were left to take the brunt of the crash. Kopp will remember this.
Flash forward to present and again it is public/private pensions in what is now the collapsing market....municipal bonds ready to implode from all of the movement by pols of government debt to credit bond markets and due to the heavy investment of pensions in the European sovereign debt market....all of which is about to crumble. So don't think these high returns will last and Kopp knows this.
It is Kopp who plays the propagandist in stating the high returns prove sound figures for future gains. As she knows these figures are so inflated because of this bond bubble and will crash with the market. What people with pensions need to know is that you have a class action lawsuit over the malfeasance in 2008 and what will be this soon to occur collapse!!
State pension returns are on target 9:00 a.m. EST, February 19, 2013 Baltimore Sun
In her recent column, Marta Mossburg opines that the state pension system's assumed rate of return of 7.75 percent is unrealistic, pointing to last year's earnings of 0.36 percent as proof ("On state pensions, 'Everyone else is doing it' is no excuse," Feb. 13). Interestingly, she failed to mention the system's 20 percent earnings in fiscal year 2011 and 14 percent in fiscal 2010. That data didn't fit her narrative.
Ms. Mossburg and other critics of the pension system seem to have difficulty acknowledging the reality that the assumed rate of return is based on a long-term horizon. Since the system is charged with pre-funding benefits during the working life of public employees, the board appropriately looks at the rate of return as an average over that period, which is typically 25 years or more.
When determining the rate of return, the board and its investment advisors do not expect the system to match it year after year. In some years, the earnings far exceed the assumed rate, and in other years we fall short, as evidenced by the figures I mentioned above. However, when averaged over the working life of the typical employee, the board has done well in setting the rate. The latest data (as of January 31, 2013) shows that the system has earned 7.97 percent on average over the last 25 years and 7.69 percent over the last 10 years, one of the worst periods in history. The board will review this data later this year during its annual actuarial review.
As I stated in my column to state retirees — which Ms. Mossburg cites, but unfortunately mischaracterizes — we take the long view. Benefits are paid out by the system over the long-term, requiring a long-term investment horizon and funding strategy. Read it here and see how it squares with Ms. Mossburg's portrayal.
Nancy K. Kopp, Annapolis
The writer is Maryland State Treasurer and chairs the board of trustees of the State Retirement and Pension System.
Thank you for acknowledging the middle-class shrink in Maryland....the nations wealthiest and most inequitable state in the country. Gov O'Malley will try to run nationally as good for middle-class families when in fact he and Rawlings-Blake fight hard to hand Maryland's working class to corporations as cheaply as possible by circumventing existing wage and labor laws and turning their heads to massive contracting fraud that openly ignores contractual agreements as regards labor and hiring. As important is O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake and all of their administration's effort to privatize all that is public through public private partnerships taking middle-class workers and sending them into poverty and no benefits under the guise of budget deficits. We all know massive corporate fraud across all business sectors claims billions of dollars in taxpayer money in Maryland alone all occurring because the state has no oversight and no justice department enforcing Rule of Law for white collar crime. Add to all of this sucking of government revenue through business tax breaks and grants funding the World Class development that create poverty jobs and you get taxation and fees that hit only the middle-class and gambling revenue that hit the poor. WOW.......O'Malley really hates the middle-class families doesn't he?
Middle-Class Areas Shrink as Income Gap Grows, New Report Finds
Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times The Germantown area of Philadelphia was formerly considered solidly middle class but is now mostly low income. "Everything started going down in the dumps," a longtime resident said.
By SABRINA TAVERNISE Published: November 15, 2011
WASHINGTON — The portion of American families living in middle-income neighborhoods has declined significantly since 1970, according to a new study, as rising income inequality left a growing share of families in neighborhoods that are mostly low-income or mostly affluent.
The study, conducted by Stanford University and scheduled for release on Wednesday by the Russell Sage Foundation and Brown University, uses census data to examine family income at the neighborhood level in the country’s 117 biggest metropolitan areas.
The findings show a changed map of prosperity in the United States over the past four decades, with larger patches of affluence and poverty and a shrinking middle.
In 2007, the last year captured by the data, 44 percent of families lived in neighborhoods the study defined as middle-income, down from 65 percent of families in 1970. At the same time, a third of American families lived in areas of either affluence or poverty, up from just 15 percent of families in 1970.
The study comes at a time of growing concern about inequality and an ever-louder partisan debate over whether it matters. It raises, but does not answer, the question of whether increased economic inequality, and the resulting income segregation, impedes social mobility.
Much of the shift is the result of changing income structure in the United States. Part of the country’s middle class has slipped to the lower rungs of the income ladder as manufacturing and other middle-class jobs have dwindled, while the wealthy receive a bigger portion of the income pie. Put simply, there are fewer people in the middle.
But the shift is more than just changes in income. The study also found that there is more residential sorting by income, with the rich flocking together in new exurbs and gentrifying pockets where lower- and middle-income families cannot afford to live.
The study — part of US2010, a research project financed by Russell Sage and Brown University — identified the pattern in about 90 percent of large and medium-size metropolitan areas for 2000 to 2007. Detroit; Oklahoma City; Toledo, Ohio; and Greensboro, N.C., experienced the biggest rises in income segregation in the decade, while 13 areas, including Atlanta, had declines. Philadelphia and its suburbs registered the sharpest rise since 1970.
Sean F. Reardon, an author of the study and a sociologist at Stanford, argued that the shifts had far-reaching implications for the next generation. Children in mostly poor neighborhoods tend to have less access to high-quality schools, child care and preschool, as well as to support networks or educated and economically stable neighbors who might serve as role models.
The isolation of the prosperous, he said, means less interaction with people from other income groups and a greater risk to their support for policies and investments that benefit the broader public — like schools, parks and public transportation systems. About 14 percent of families lived in affluent neighborhoods in 2007, up from 7 percent in 1970, the study found.
The study groups neighborhoods into six income categories. Poor neighborhoods have median family incomes that are 67 percent or less of those of a given metropolitan area. Rich neighborhoods have median incomes of 150 percent or more. Middle-income neighborhoods are those in which the median income is between 80 percent and 125 percent.
The map of that change for Philadelphia is a red stripe of wealthy suburbs curving around a poor, blue urban center, broken by a few red dots of gentrification. It is the picture of the economic change that slammed into Philadelphia decades ago as its industrial base declined and left a shrunken middle class and a poorer urban core.
The Germantown neighborhood, once solidly middle class, is now mostly low income. Chelten Avenue, one of its main thoroughfares, is a hard-luck strip of check-cashing stores and takeout restaurants. The stone homes on side streets speak to a more affluent past, one that William Wilson, 95, a longtime resident, remembers fondly.
“It was real nice,” he said, shuffling along Chelten Avenue on Monday. Theaters thrived on the avenue, he said, as did a fancy department store. Now a Walgreens stands in its place. “Everything started going down in the dumps,” he said.
Philadelphia’s more recent history is one of gentrifying neighborhoods, like the Northern Liberties area, where affluence has rushed in, in the form of espresso shops, glass-walled apartments and a fancy supermarket, and prosperous new suburbs that have mushroomed in the far north and south of the metro area.
Lawrence Katz, an economist at Harvard, said the evidence for the presumed adverse effects of economic segregation was inconclusive. In a recent study of low-income families randomly assigned the opportunity to move out of concentrated poverty into mixed-income neighborhoods, Professor Katz and his collaborators found large improvements in physical and mental health, but little change in the families’ economic and educational fortunes.
But there is evidence that income differences are having an effect, beyond the context of neighborhood. One example, Professor Reardon said, is a growing gap in standardized test scores between rich and poor children, now 40 percent bigger than it was in 1970. That is double the testing gap between black and white children, he said.
And the gap between rich and poor in college completion — one of the single most important predictors of economic success — has grown by more than 50 percent since the 1990s, said Martha J. Bailey, an economist at the University of Michigan. More than half of children from high-income families finish college, up from about a third 20 years ago. Fewer than 10 percent of low-income children finish, up from 5 percent.
William Julius Wilson, a sociologist at Harvard who has seen the study, argues that “rising inequality is beginning to produce a two-tiered society in America in which the more affluent citizens live lives fundamentally different from the middle- and lower-income groups. This divide decreases a sense of community.”
A version of this article appeared in print on November 16, 2011, on page A16 of the New York edition with the headline: Middle-Class Areas Shrink as Income Gap Grows, New Report Finds. _____________________________________________________________________
Maryland just received a fleet of what are called Emergency Rescue Helicopters....each costing tens of millions of dollars. Do you think these helicopters are for roadside accident victims or civil unrest?
COMPREHENSIVE LIST: URBAN MILITARY TRAINING EXERCISES
PLEASE SHARE: ALL LINKS INCLUDED
What do you think about all this? Urban military training exercises, a comprehensive list. Compiled by my friend, Notitia Recolligo. I have used her comprehensive list with her permission, so that you might share with all of your friends.
Americans are not used to seeing the hardware for war in their own cities and neighborhoods, on trains, or on their roads.
It will take a while, but please try to watch each video, and realize as you watch that the national media appears to be complicit in NOT REPORTING these activities, most are reported by local, and most are CBS affiliates, strangely enough.
If you know of more, please post links in the comments section.
Let's see...the state of the state. O'Malley and AG Doug Gansler played tag team in making sure all of the financial fraud settlement money went into the states general fund and hardly any of it went to the victims of fraud..we are talking a billion dollars. The state has over a billion in legal liability to Balt regarding unpaid education funding that O'Malley simply refuses to pay instead backing a Wall Street financial instrument to send our schools deeper in debt. His health care reform led by Hopkins works squarely for corporate profits at the expense of access and quality of care as Medicaid is made a public health program on par with Haiti rather than that of first world countries so most of Maryland's citizens are not accessing any meaningful level of care but medical businesses have never been more profitable. Is that success? If you are in the 1% it is gold.
Let's see...Maryland is at the bottom for fraud, corruption, and transparency so we lose billions of dollars each year from government coffers and into those same 1% pant pockets. Good again for the 1%. The most regressive of economies that prey on the lower/middle class for fees and taxes and job creation that centers on tourism and poverty wages and worker exploitation. Gambling as a central revenue driver for funds that never make it to our government coffers and a fleet of rescue helicopters for what?
O'Malley takes a bow Our view: State of the state gives Maryland's governor a chance to brag, but budgetary turmoil in Washington should temper the enthusiasm
As Muhammad Ali once observed, "It's not bragging if you can back it up." Thus, even his most caustic critics will have to concede that Gov. Martin O'Malley's State of the State address may have been the most heavily footnoted piece of braggadocio in Maryland history.
Here's the CliffsNotes version of what Governor O'Malley had to say this afternoon: In the economic downturn, Maryland had to make tough choices, but they were good decisions — better than made elsewhere — and now things are looking pretty good. (Add no fewer than 28 footnoted claims about how the state leads the nation in public education, entrepreneurship, median family income, etc., as well as a fairly ambitious legislative agenda for 2013, and you can delete the speech from your DVR).
As boastful as that may seem, the governor had some valid points to make — and it's more than worthwhile to walk through the last half-decade or so of economic downturn and recovery to consider the journey Maryland has taken. Much of it involved finding a balance between preserving the services provided by government against substantially raising taxes and fees.
For the most part, core functions like public schools and higher education won out. Mr. O'Malley and the General Assembly raised taxes (on more than one occasion) to address deficits and make sure schools were sufficiently funded. The governor pushed through a substantial expansion of legalized gambling (which might be considered a tax on the foolish). But he also cut back on many government programs, constrained the growth in spending, shrank local aid, and forced state employees to contribute more to their pensions.
Today, state government appears to be in much better shape, particularly its budget. Instead of the $1.7 billion structural deficit the governor faced just five years ago, the projected shortfall is now "nearly" eliminated, as Mr. O'Malley noted. Meanwhile, Maryland schools are generally well-regarded (with some exceptions, of course), the economy is growing (albeit modestly), violent crime is down, the state's credit rating is as high as ever and Baltimore's port and airport are doing record business.
As for looking forward, the governor reiterated his support for the major items in his legislative agenda: gun control, abolishing the death penalty, offshore wind power and some tax credits. He even put in a plug for addressing the "worst traffic congestion in the country" but found little enthusiasm in his audience of lawmakers and political glitterati for the obvious — though unspoken — remedy of a higher state gas tax.
We could quibble with some of the governor's more self-serving assertions (aside from his unyielding support for the Ravens) but perhaps the most glaring shortcoming of the address was a notable absence: not even so much as a passing reference to $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts, the much-feared federal sequestration, that could become a reality in one short month.
If Mr. O'Malley thinks he has introduced a "jobs" budget because it contains some modest tax incentives and supports some capital projects, he may find it wholly inadequate on March 2, the day after the congressional deadline. The standoff seems much like the fiscal cliff debate of last year — only with even less chance of compromise, given that the Bush tax cuts are no longer on the table. Those sequestration cuts to government agencies, defense contractors and others will be felt most keenly in Maryland, perhaps more so than anywhere else.
That's not to rain on the governor's parade. If this was an audition for the 2016 presidential election, Mr. O'Malley demonstrated some much-improved oratory skills in his seventh State of the State speech. He smartly packed the audience with some notable achievers, ranging from a teen entrepreneur to an award-winning scientist. He's made those good, if difficult, policy choices over the years, and it's reasonable to crow about some of them.
But for all the happy talk, there's a pretty serious threat to this state's well-being lurking just a 45-minute drive west from the State House. Perhaps there's little the Democratic governor of a medium-sized state can do about partisan gridlock in Washington, but it should be A-material for a potential presidential candidate. Off-message, maybe, if the point was to look like a problem-solver, but all that optimism called for a little bit of caution, too.
We want to stress here that this pol having a record from when he was a young man seems to not to be the problem as he has the faith of his caucus. It seems that Governor O'Malley wants to give Mike Miller what he wants over the people living in this district. This is called Crony politics and it is the latest example of the political process being circumvented.
The answer is to vote incumbents out of office. They are the ones who year after year vote Mike Miller as leader and then we watch as these incumbents pretend to be forced by said Miller to make votes their constituents do not want. Maryland has a problem with incumbency and cronyism and activism is the solution. Run and vote labor and justice candidates in next elections at all levels of government!
Governor names ex-delegate to Alston seat
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun 11:45 a.m. EST, January 25, 2013
Gov. Martin O'Malley has named a former Prince George's County lawmaker to take over the seat vacated by former Del. Tiffany Alston last year after a criminal conviction.
The governor announced Friday that he has chosen former Del. Darren Swain, who represented Prince George's in the House from 1999 to 2003, to fill the 24th District seat. Like Alston, Swain is a Democrat.
In choosing Swain, O'Malley passed over three candidates suggested by the local Democratic State Central Committee and chose a candidate backed by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.
Normally, the central committee would choose the replacement and the governor's appointment would be pro forma. But O'Malley objected to the committee's original choice, who had a criminal record in his past, and the panel agreed to withdraw the nomination. A Prince George's court ruled that because a statutory deadline had passed, the committee could make only a nonbinding recommendation to the governor. The same judge also upheld Alston's automatic removal from office after her conviction on charges of misconduct in office.
Swain, 42, works as assistant vice president for alumni relations at Bowie State University.
The state budget's turnaround has everything to do with mortgage and bank fraud settlements that just get put in the State General Fund and do not make it to the people who were victims of the frauds and it does not make any attempt to rebuild the non-existing white collar criminal agencies as is directed in all settlements. Maryland has a habit of making it impossible for its citizens to seek damages for fraud on their own and when the state or federal government makes even a cursory settlement it rarely makes it to the people.
What is important to remember is this:
The state owes $1.5 billion at the very least to Baltimore City Schools per law suits; $700 million needs to go to underserved communities from mortgage fraud so they can decide how to spend the money; the public sector pensions need to be fully funded as we are not going to watch them disappear through neglect; the transportation fund which we all are sure was a victim to budget balancing now needs to be replenished without taxing average citizens or Wall Street credit bond instruments as the Muni-market is getting ready to implode.
So, there really isn't a balanced budget there is just a deliberate decision to not pay people what the state owes them and calling it a closed case.......which isn't first world and it is not democratic.....it is a campaign stunt.
Big improvements for Md.'s budget Our view: Gov. O'Malley's spending plan still has some soft spots, and dangers lie ahead, but it represents a remarkable turnaround in the state's fortunes
2:35 p.m. EST, January 17, 2013 Baltimore Sun
Amid the boasting typical of a governor's budget proposal, Gov. Martin O'Malley's new spending plan includes this peculiar claim to fame: The O'Malley administration has managed to effectively eliminate Maryland's structural budget deficit not just once but two times. This is a bit like bragging that you've married the same person twice — it suggests you've gotten to the right place in the end but glosses over some unpleasantness in the middle.
The fiscal unpleasantness, in Mr. O'Malley's case, was particularly severe, and to be fair, not really his fault. When Mr. O'Malley came into office in 2007, the state had a substantial cash reserve, thanks to the real estate bubble, but obvious underlying budget problems. That fall, Mr. O'Malley pushed through a package of new revenues — tax increases and slot machine gambling — and new spending that, on balance, should have put the state on sound footing. Then the global economy melted down, and the state was in worse shape than ever.
The climb back has been long and painful, but it is nearly complete — at least for the moment. The state's structural deficit — the chronic imbalance between projected spending and revenue — falls to just $166 million, according to the Department of Budget and Management. Considering the gap for this year was estimated at one point to be almost $1.9 billion, that's quite a turnaround, and little of it came easily.
The O'Malley administration and the General Assembly approved income and alcohol tax increases, shifted some teacher pension costs to local government and benefited from some modest improvements in the economy. The bulk of the improvement, however, comes from holding spending to a much slower rate of growth than had been expected — thanks in no small part to innovative efforts in the health department to hold down Medicaid costs. That the governor has managed to do that during such difficult economic times while maintaining historic investments in K-12 and higher education is remarkable and a testament to his priorities.
Still, it's not time for celebration just yet. Mr. O'Malley uses his budget book to tout Maryland's recovery from the recession and its record of job growth in recent years, but that progress is exceedingly fragile. A failure by Congress to raise the federal debt ceiling could ruin the economy again, and Maryland is more vulnerable than almost any other state to the kinds of spending cuts that will be required to bring the federal budget deficit back to a manageable size.
Meanwhile, there are some soft spots remaining in Governor O'Malley's budget. He is proposing that the state not make this year's installments in its plans to repay an income tax reserve fund the state raided during the height of the recession, or open space funds diverted by the Ehrlich administration. Each move saves the state $50 million. And Mr. O'Malley is proposing to continue for the next five years his practice of shifting real estate transfer tax funds from their intended purpose, land preservation programs, to the general fund, and instead paying for those programs through capital funds. Such a maneuver is legal, and previous budgets relied much more heavily on it and tactics like it. They got us through the recession, but their long-term cost is becoming apparent.
Debt service payments have increased from $654 million in Governor O'Malley's first year in office to a projected $984 million next year. By 2022, annual payments are expected to approach $1.5 billion. The state portion of the property tax is dedicated to making those payments, and it is expected to grow only modestly during that time. Before long, the state will likely have to raise the property tax rate or start dedicating money that could otherwise go to pay for schools, health care or other operating expenses to pay off the bonds.
The new spending and tax breaks the governor is proposing for next year are relatively modest. He is asking for a 3 percent pay raise for state workers, perfectly reasonable given the pay freezes and furloughs of recent years; a $25 million investment in school safety; $1.5 million for a much needed-study of the environmental and economic costs and benefits of allowing hydraulic fracturing in Western Maryland; and an assortment of new or expanded tax credits designed to boost employment in cybersecurity, the film industry and other sectors.
Still, legislators should carefully examine them and the rest of the $37.3 billion spending plan. The General Assembly could easily cut enough to wipe out what remains of the structural deficit, but that need no longer be the major focus. Given the uncertainty created by federal budget deliberations and the costs the state put off during the last few years, lawmakers need to concern themselves with increasing the resiliency of Maryland's finances. Governor O'Malley wisely proposed to increase the state's rainy day fund from 5 percent of revenues to 6 percent, and he is leaving another $236 million in unallocated funds. Legislators should seek to go further to help the state withstand what could be more difficult times ahead.
I HAVE NEVER LIVED IN A STATE THAT FEELS IT CAN OPENLY CHOOSE TO NOT PAY COURT AWARDS AND MARYLAND AND BALTIMORE IS ONE OF THESE STATES AND IT ALMOST ALWAYS INVOLVES A MINORITY CLAIM.
The ACLU MD needs to speak out for the $800,000 million that the Maryland courts awarded the Baltimore City schools and Historically Black Colleges a few years ago. This is a significant failure on the part of the ACLU as they push Wall Street funding of school building while billions remain uncollected in judgements and subprime mortgage fraud against mostly black homeowners. The $700,000 that Doug Gansler simply put in the state general fund from the subprime mortgage settlement needed to come to the communities victimized by the fraud.....almost all black neighborhoods. We want to use that money to build schools as well. The charade that is the Baltimore Board of Estimates and how it circumvents minority bid awards is obscene and illegal.
Board of Public Works refuses to obey federal court order on attorney fees December 24, 2012 at 9:52 am
Board of Public Works: State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, Gov. Martin OMalley and Comptroller Peter Franchot
By Ilana Kowarski
The Board of Public Works last Wednesday refused to obey a federal court order to pay nearly $200,000 to the attorneys of plaintiffs who successfully sued the State of Maryland for civil rights violations. The failure to act in this long-running legal battle drew a stinging rebuke from the American Civil Liberties Union.
“We think it is outrageous for the governor and comptroller to refuse to pay a judgment in a civil rights case that a federal court has ordered the State to pay,” said Debbie Jeon, legal director of the Maryland ACLU. “Playing political games now that the bills have come due will only waste more in taxpayer funds, as this forces us to pursue a collection action against the State.”
Comptroller Peter Franchot first raised objections to the judgment at last week’s board meeting, saying that it was “not appropriate,” and Gov. Martin O’Malley questioned why the state was being punished for actions he rescinded when he took office.
“This litigation required no litigation, because I changed the policy as soon as I got into office,” O’Malley said. “Do you mean to tell me that they [the plaintiffs] get more money on top of the money they shouldn’t have received?”
Court case over voter registration
The dispute began in 2006 when the Maryland Transit Administration started requiring citizens to obtain permits before staging political demonstrations or voter registration drives on public transit. Two ACORN employees were permanently banned from registering voters on Baltimore city buses and subways, and these employees sued in January 2007, claiming that the Transit Administration was interfering with constitutionally protected activity.
A federal district court agreed, and revoked the speech regulations, an action which O’Malley describes as “utter irrationality” since his administration had stopped enforcing them. The district court did not initially require the transit authority to compensate the plaintiffs’ attorneys, but the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overruled that decision, writing that “this is the very form of litigation Congress wished to encourage” by allowing civil rights plaintiffs to be compensated for their court costs since it “successfully vindicated important First Amendment rights.”
Assistant attorney general Matthew J. Fader warned the board that the plaintiffs could garnish state funds, and he said that it was highly unusual for a state to defy a federal court order. “I’m not aware of a precedent for a federal judgment that was not paid when it was rendered against an official operating in their official capacity,” he said.
But Franchot was undeterred. “With all due respect to the Fourth Circuit, I’m going to vote no,” he said. “I’m happy to see what compliance the plaintiffs plan to pursue.”
Franchot spokesman Joe Shapiro said that the comptroller was taking a “principled stand” against the federal court’s decision. “We disagree with the court. The civil rights issues were resolved very quickly by the governor. The lawsuit didn’t solve anything.”
Report questions if Md. can monitor cost of tax breaks3:00 pm Sun, December 16, 2012 Posted: 3:00 pm Sun, December 16, 2012
By Alexander PylesThe Daily Record
Daily Record Business Writer
A report by the Pew Center on the States says when it comes to responsibly managing tax incentives, Maryland is helping to bring up the rear.
The report, released by Pew last week, says the state is among 25 others that are “trailing behind” in terms of monitoring the cost of tax breaks it uses to attract and retain businesses.
Only 13 states, the study said, are “leading the way.” Researchers found “mixed results” in other states. Maryland is one of 16 states that has not published a report evaluating tax incentives between 2007 and 2011, Pew’s study found.
The report’s authors say states designing tax credits should include reliable fiscal estimates and an annual spending cap.
“States should consistently use these two tools together to ensure that tax credits, exemptions and deductions for economic development are affordable and manageable from day one,” said Jeff Chapman, research manager at the Pew Center on the States. “When policymakers create tax incentives without knowing the expected costs and guarding against economic changes beyond their control, they leave their states vulnerable to budget pressures that are entirely avoidable.”
The Daily Record found last year that of the more than 300 loopholes in the tax code, very few are actually monitored for effectiveness by the state. Some are controlled, however, such as a credit that defrays costs for film and television production in the state. That credit caps annual spending at $7.5 million.
Other Maryland tax loopholes, however, are less well-managed, Pew found.
Researchers highlighted Maryland’s enterprise zones, a commonly-used economic development tool meant to revitalize stressed areas. There are 28 enterprise zones in the state, ranging from the far reaches of Garrett County in Western Maryland, to Baltimore neighborhoods, south to Prince George’s County. Pew found the state has not published a rigorous evaluation of the program.
A spokeswoman for the state Department of Business and Economic Development did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Some tax credits are being reviewed by state lawmakers. Legislation sponsored by Sen. Richard S. Madaleno and Del. Bill Frick, both Montgomery County Democrats, was approved by the legislature and signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley this summer. The law calls for eight tax credits to be reviewed between July 2014 and July 2017. 8 tax credits!!!!!!!! Oh, really!!!!!!!! and they aren't ashamed of that????
The original bill called for 31 tax credits to be reviewed, but Madaleno said at the time that the Department of Legislative Services did not believe it could handle such a hefty workload.
But Chapman said even periodic review of tax breaks was not enough. He cited a 1994 tax exemption passed in Louisiana for natural gas drillers that cost the state just $285,000 in fiscal year 2007. But the discovery of a large natural gas deposit in the state — combined with the expansion of horizontal drilling technology that has coincided with hydraulic fracturing in the northeast — had pushed the price tag to $239 million in fiscal 2010.
Arizona’s Quality Jobs Tax Credit of 2011, California’s Film and Television tax credit of 2009 and Florida’s Manufacturing and Spaceport Investment Incentive of 2010, were all pointed to as examples of how to responsibly cap incentives’ cost.
“Regular evaluations of existing incentives are essential, but not sufficient to prevent the unexpected costs these policies can cause,” Chapman said. “Clear estimates and annual spending limits from the outset are the best approach to avoid unnecessary fiscal risk without sacrificing the economic returns of effective tax incentives.” How can you fleece the system of billions if you are monitoring it?
Whereas I don't like the policies of Change Maryland as they work to give businesses even more benefit over people if that is possible, I did appreciate the public reference to O'Malley's persistent habit of spinning data. He is also engaged in an approach that does not grow jobs. What these groups seek to do is draw large businesses to Maryland rather than give individual citizens the opportunity to become business owners. We do not want all of these national chains as our only choice.
Maryland's economic development agency uses more resources to market the state than it does to develop the state's job market, according to a report by an anti-tax group that is frequently critical of the O'Malley administration's business acumen.
In an eight-page report expected to be released Monday, Change Maryland Communications and Policy Director Jim Pettit charges that the Department of Business and Economic Development is a "not a job-creating organization," but a "politically-driven marketing agency."
The same could be said of Change Maryland, said DBED spokeswoman Karen Glenn Hood, who called much of the report "blatantly inaccurate."
"This really is, quite frankly, the opinion of a political organization that doesn't have its facts straight or really have a concept of what DBED does," she said.
In the report, Pettit notes DBED has more than double the number of employees in its marketing and communications division (32) as it does in its Office of Business Development (15). Another 39 employees work in the Office of Administration and Technology and 42 people work within the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, the report says.
"The DBED division charged with recruiting business facilities to Maryland has less resources than administrative and marketing divisions and recruitment goals are low," the report says. "DBED's budget priorities are not allocated to the mission of attracting jobs."
But Hood said the report fails to take into account the "between 50 and 60" employees in the Division of Business and Enterprise Development, which includes the Office of Business Development and also regional and industry-specific employees working to foster job development.
Pettit said, though, said Change Maryland was focused on upping staff levels in the Office of Business Development.
"Those are the people that are supposed to be recruiting corporate facilities in Maryland," he said. "And our point is we need more of them."
As far as marketing, Hood said Change Maryland shouldn't discount those efforts.
"We all work together for the same common goal of job creation, and marketing is tremendously important," Hood said. "You can have as many programs as you want, [but] if no one knows about them, they're not effective. So we've made it a priority."
James T. Brady, who was DBED's secretary under Gov. Parris N. Glendening before resigning in 1998, said marketing needs to complement serious regulatory reform in Maryland.
"Marketing always plays a role, but if you're interested in job development, this isn't purely a marketing play," Brady said. "You need to begin to put in place policies and procedures that would cause companies to want to locate in Maryland and grow in Maryland. That is about substance, that is dealing with the regulatory environment."
Change Maryland calls itself a nonpartisan, grassroots organization concerned with the state's "anti-business attitude and out of control regulations." The organization was founded by Larry Hogan, the former appointments secretary for Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
Hogan has frequently criticized Gov. Martin O'Malley and other administration officials for focusing heavily on rankings and data that paint a favorable picture of the state's business climate. Other reports are critical.
For example, the Tax Foundation's State Business Climate Tax Index ranked Maryland 41st in the nation, CNBC rated Maryland the 31st-best state for business and Forbes ranked Maryland 19th.
Administration officials have focused instead on top rankings for innovation and entrepreneurship delivered by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Kauffman Foundation and others. While touting the state's positive October jobs report, O'Malley cited the States Project ranking of Maryland as second in the nation for "economic opportunity,"
Change Maryland's report called such rankings "narrowly-defined areas" that do not accurately portray the state economy.
"DBED reduces its own credibility by cherry picking certain reports and data sets that reflect favorably on the state," the report says.
Hood didn't deny the department tended to advertise the good news.
"We're going to support the positive rankings, but that doesn't mean we don't recognize there are [other] rankings out there," she said. "And we do look at each and every one of those reports and look for ways to make things better."
The report also criticizes DBED's apparent stance on federal jobs. Some economists say Maryland is overly dependent on federal spending for job creation, with 5.6 percent of jobs being federal, compared to the national average of 2.2 percent.
"DBED sends the wrong message about developing an economy less reliant on the federal government sector" by touting Maryland's proximity to federal agencies and pledging to "defend and opportunistically expand Maryland's share of federal spending."
The report also says DBED fails to disclose meaningful economic dashboard indicators. In September, an issue paper by the National Governor's Association encouraged states to develop such a dashboard, quantitatively disclosing both the strengths and weaknesses of the economy.
Hood said information about the state economy is already on DBED's website and that organizations that develop reports on Maryland do a fine job of marketing those studies themselves.
Brady, now managing director of Ballantrae International Ltd., a management consulting firm, said DBED is not the problem.
"DBED's doing exactly what the administration has asked them to do," he said.
(c) 2012 Dolan Media Newswires. All Rights Reserved.
THE REASON MARTIN O'MALLEY IS RUNNING FOR NATIONAL OFFICE IS HIS COMPLETE COMMITMENT TO ALL THINGS WALL STREET AND THAT INCLUDES POLICING. EVEN TODAY WE HAVE A POLICE COMMISSIONER WHO COMES FROM THE WALL STREET MOLD. AS THIS ARTICLE SHOWS, THE PROGRAM COMSTAT, DATA DRIVEN YOU KNOW......HAS DEVOLVED INTO 'ACCOUNTABILITY' THAT IS ABUSIVE AND BY EXTENSION, INEFFECTIVE.
THE NEW POLICE COMMISSIONER BATTS HAS INVITED THE PUBLIC TO SIT IN ON PARTS OF THESE COMSTAT MEETINGS. REMEMBER, THESE ARE COMMUNITY POLICING MEETINGS ABOUT HOW TO AFFECTIVELY POLICE A NEIGHBORHOOD AND THIS IS THE FIRST ATTEMPT TO OPEN THEM TO THE PUBLIC. NEVER FEAR .....THE PUBLIC WILL NOT BE TALKING OR CONTRIBUTING......THIS IS A LISTEN-ONLY SESSION.
Saturday, April 10, 2010 Baltimore Puts Comstat on Hold Will Baltimore pull the plug on Comstat?
Matt Mangino A former prosecutor's musings on crime and punishment in America.
The term Comstat is a derivation of Compstat which is short for computer statistics. Compstat was introduced in New York City by by Jack Maple of the Transit Authority Police. At the time it was called Charts of the Future. Maple methodically plotted and tracked crime with pins stuck in wall maps. Charts of the Future was credited with cutting rampant subway crime. Chief of the New York City Transit Police William J. Bratton was later appointed Police Commissioner by Rudolph Giuliani, and brought Maple's Charts of the Future to NYPD.
Compstat became a more sophisticated version of Charts of the Future. Compstat is the use of technology and communication to reduce crime, and expend personnel and resources. Compstat utilizes Geographic Information Systems to map crime and identify problems. In weekly meetings, police executives meet with local precinct commanders to discuss issues in there neighborhoods. The sessions are intended to devise strategies and tactics to reduce crime, and improve quality of life throughout the community. Besides New York and Baltimore, Compstat is used in Austin, TX, Los Angeles, Newark Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Vancouver to name a few.
Baltimore began using some Compstat principles in the late 1990s. Governor Martin O'Malley, then mayor of Baltimore, brought in New York consultants shortly after he became mayor to implement a more sophisticated review of data. According to the Baltimore Sun, O'Malley vowed to get tough on crime, he instilled the New York philosophies into the Police Department's operations and expanded it across agencies. The broader program, known as CitiStat, won a Harvard innovation award in 2004.
Comstat was first implemented by Former Baltimore police Commissioner Edward T. Norris, who led Compstat sessions in New York and later Baltimore, and said the weekly meetings were necessary and revealing.
Norris told the Sun,"It allows the strongest commander to shine, and it exposes the fakers very quickly." Norris, went on to say, "I don't care what company it is. If you are a good employee, do you want to be buried or get a chance each week to stand in front of the CEO and show him how smart you are?"
So why walk away from Comstat?
Anthony Guglielmi, Baltimore police spokesman, told the Sun that Comstat meetings has been suspended for the 30 days as the Police Commissioner looks for "creative ideas to revamp Comstat," which Guglielmi called "laborious" and "stale."
According to the Sun, the meetings have been criticized by some officers who say they often devolve into browbeatings. Commanders often take a day or more to compile thick binders of information and are holed up for hours memorizing facts so as not to be caught off-guard. Confrontations are frequent.
"It's a beat-down session," said Robert F. Cherry, president of the Fraternal Order of Police union told the Sun. "It's become a forum for finger-pointing and just running through a lot of numbers without giving some concrete strategies for fighting crime."
The idea of accountability can be threatening to some executive officers. The weekly scrutiny of your work in an open forum can be embarrassing especially for under performing executives. However, will a more kind and gentle approach yield the same kind of results experienced in New York City.
William J. Bratton took over as police commissioner in 1994 and introduced Compstat to the city. Only four years earlier, there were 2,245 homicides in New York City. In 2009, there were 412.
By all accounts, the Compstat meetings were rough in New York City. Precinct commanders who could not perform were replaced. However, no one can argue with the results. The unprecedented reductions in crime have saved literally thousands of lives and billions of dollars.
As Baltimore requests $2 billion in bond leverage we need to know how far in debt O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake with all Third Way pols are taking Maryland. All of this debt is in lieu and taxes and fraud recovery and it is unacceptable!!!!
O’Malley administration seeks to float $750 million more in bond debt September 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm
By Len Lazarick
The O’Malley administration is seeking authorization to float $750 million more in state debt over the next five years, a move Comptroller Peter Franchot objects to as potentially triggering a property tax hike.
The administration presented the plan at a meeting of the Capital Debt Affordability Committee last Monday. Franchot called it “an out-of-left field request” with no document to show how the money was to be spent and little to justify it. According to Franchot, Sen. James Ed DeGrange, chairman of the Senate Capital Budget Subcommittee and a non-voting member of the Debt Affordability Committee, also raised objections.
There were apparently no reporters or other observers at the meeting because there had been no public notice of the meeting as is required under the Open Meetings Act for public bodies created by statute, such as the debt committee.
No action was taken last Monday, and a follow-up meeting was scheduled for 3 p.m. today in order to meet a deadline for consideration by the legislature’s Spending Affordability Committee. When MarylandReporter.com complained on Friday morning that there had been no public notice of either meeting posted anywhere, in apparent violation of the Open Meetings law, a notice was posted within the hour on the website of State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, who chairs the debt committee.
“We missed the boat on that,” said Deputy Treasurer Susanne Brogan. “We should provide notice. We overlooked that.”
No explanation for the spending
Brogan said that Budget Secretary Eloise Foster, a member of the committee, was asked last week to provide a memo for today’s meeting explaining how the money would be used.
Franchot said the request last Monday was not in writing, and the only paperwork was a briefing document showing how it would impact the state’s current debt standards. Currently Maryland does not permit debt obligations to exceed 4% of personal income in the state, and the debt service on the bonds – principal and interest – may not exceed 8% of state revenues.
Page 8 of the briefing document, which had been adjusted for the increase in debt and the increase in state revenues, shows the total new debt is well within those limits.
“I saw it as a back door tax increase,” Franchot said. “Adding that much debt is going to cause an increase in the state property tax,” which is dedicated to paying off the debt.
“It just added to this culture of debt,” he said. “We also have a culture of secrecy in this state.”
Among its budget-balancing techniques in recent years, Gov. Martin O’Malley has beefed up the general fund by taking money out of special funds supported by dedicated taxes, such as the Open Space Program and the Bay Restoration Fund. He has replaced the money with bonds to support those programs.
“Long after Martin O’Malley is finished as governor we’re going to be paying off this debt,” Franchot said.
WONDER WHY WE ARE NOT SEEING JOB CREATION AS ALL OF THIS TAXPAYER MONEY IS SUNK INTO THESE ECONOMIC TROUGHS? ALL OF THESE SCHEMES TO MARKET THE STATE ARE MET WITH A WORLD OF SIMILAR MARKETING AGENTS THAT ARE LOST IN THE HYPE. WE ALL KNOW HOW TO MAKE JOBS.......WE HAVE PEOPLE IN OFFICE BENT ON MAKING THOSE BUSINESSES INTERNATIONAL. WE WATCH AS O'MALLEY GOES TO INDIA AND ISRAEL ON ECONOMIC JUNKETS.......WE ARE PAYING FOR HIS NATIONAL CAMPAIGN SPOTLIGHTS
Report: DBED just a ‘marketing agency’ Posted: 9:00 am Mon, November 26, 2012
By Alexander Pyles
Daily Record Business Writer
Maryland’s economic development agency uses more resources to market the state than it does to develop the state’s job market, according to a report by an anti-tax group that is frequently critical of the O’Malley administration’s business acumen.
WONDER IF O'MALLEY, ANTHONY BROWN, MAGGIE MCINTOSH, AND RALWINGS-BLAKE IS WORKING FOR THE CITIZENS OF MARYLAND, OR FOR THE 1% WITH GLOBAL INTERESTS?
SINCE VEOLA HAS TAKEN OVER MARYLAND TRANSPORTATION WORKERS FROM TAXI DRIVERS TO BUS DRIVERS HAVE BEEN FORCED TO TAKE WAGE CUTS AND LOSS OF BENEFITS. TAXI DRIVERS WERE MADE INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS WHO NOW CAN'T AFFORD HEALTH INSURANCE.
THESE GLOBAL CORPORATIONS ARE CUT THROAT AND HAVE COMPLETE CONTROL OF HOW SERVICES ARE DEVELOPED AND RUN. THEY ARE BROUGHT TO THE STATE TO DO THE DIRTY WORK OF IMPOVERISHING WORKERS THAT USED TO BE MIDDLE-CLASS. WITH TAXPAYERS PAYING ALL THE CAPITAL COSTS......SHAREHOLDERS ARE ON EASY STREET.
WHY WOULD WE WANT THESE KINDS OF BUSINESS CONNECTIONS? WE DON'T!!!
Veolia Rejects Federal Mediator's Proposal, PG County Bus Service Continues to Suffer Veolia Management Refuses to Allow Workers to Return WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Members of Teamsters Local 639 working for Veolia/TheBus remain on strike today after the company refused to agree to a settlement proposed by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service that would have resulted in an end to the current job action and an immediate restoration of regular bus service to the residents of Prince George's County, Md.
Late Wednesday night, the union agreed to a proposal by Federal Mediators to end the strike, return to work and extend the current contract another six months to allow for additional bargaining between the two sides. Veolia negotiators refused to immediately agree to the proposal, promising to give their answer to the Federal Mediators the morning of Thursday, Sept. 30. Late Thursday night the mediator was informed that Veolia completely rejected an extension and refused to allow drivers back to work.
"We have done all we can to settle this dispute," said Tommy Ratliff, President of Local 639 in Washington D.C. "The County Executive has been notified that the company is refusing to agree to a six-month extension, and is effectively refusing to negotiate. Our members are ready to get back to work, but the company is stonewalling."
Company representatives have made it clear that they are unwilling to accept even the most reasonable offers during negotiations, turning down every proposal the union put on the table – even those that would have saved Veolia more than $150,000 in health care costs.
"When the Federal Mediators are stunned by the company's behavior you know something is wrong," Ratliff said. "We received nothing but compliments from the mediators for our efforts to resolve the dispute. The only way I can describe Veolia's actions during bargaining is bizarre, and that may be an understatement."
Veolia is a French Multi-national company with operations throughout the US and Canada. The Teamsters represent thousands of Veolia members at all three of its North American subsidiaries. Veolia derives over $1 billion in revenue from its U.S. operations and more than $7.6 billion worldwide.
In contentious contract negotiations in Phoenix, Arizona yesterday, hundreds of workers at Teamsters Local Union 104, Amalgamated Transit Union Local No. 1433, and the International Union of Operating Engineers 428 agreed to a contract extension through midnight Sunday. All three unions are preparing for strike action, while the company has indicated that they intend to lock workers out if there is not an agreement by Sunday. In Phoenix, Veolia's maintenance staff is represented by Teamsters Local 104, Amalgamated Transit Union Local No. 1433 represents the more than 600 bus operators, and the International Union of Operating Engineers 428 is the bus mechanics' union.
Local 639 represents more than 8,000 workers in the Washington Metro area, a large number who reside in Maryland. Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
SOURCE Teamsters Local Union 639
THIS IS FROM BEFORE VEOLIA CAME TO BALTIMORE. THERE IS A LITANY OF LAWSUITS ET AL THAT YOU CAN READ ABOUT WITH THE LINK BELOW.
Terminate Indianapolis's Contract with Veolia Don't let Veolia into your town or city
Excerpts from http://www.polarisinstitute.org/files/veoliapdf.pdf Return to Home
Since the late 1990’s, the multinational corporation Vivendi (now known as Vivendi Universal) has gone through a number of fundamental shifts in operational focus. Moving away from the environmental services management business and towards communications and media, Vivendi Universal has almost completely retreated from its roots in the water services industry where it began operations in France 1853. The Vivendi legacy, however, synonymous with water privatization and corruption, lives on in a new corporation created in 2002 out of their water and wastewater services division. The new company, Veolia Environment, which was known as Vivendi Environment until 2003, carries all of Vivendi’s history and reputation into its new corporate entity.
Vivendi, the notorious water services privateer, originally called Compagnie Générale des Eaux, was formed in the 1850s in France as a private water services provider. After more than a hundred years of global expansion in the water and wastewater services business, they expanded its business in the 1980’s with the acquisition of a waste management services and transportation provider and an energy services provider. In 1998, following the acquisition of several communications and media companies they changed its name to Vivendi. The same year Vivendi continued to extend its global environmental services activities with the acquisition of the leading water and wastewater treatment services company in the US, United States Filter Corporation.
In 1999, Vivendi created Vivendi Environment to conduct all of its environmental management activities. At this point, because of its now huge scope, Vivendi began to fall into some serious financial difficulties. Investors began to believe that the company was overstretched, causing a major sell-off of shares and a drop in Vivendi’s share price. They had to write off almost $17 billion dollars in the first quarter of 2002 and took $4.85 billion charge on their 2nd quarter earnings statement, because the value of their assets had dropped after the stock tumbled.
In April 2003 Vivendi Environment changed its name to Veolia Environment (VE).4
At the same time VE became a limited liability company under French law with a Board of Directors, replacing a Management Board and Supervisory Board structure used under its former core shareholder VU. This move essentially split VE from its former majority shareholder.
Like its predecessors, Veolia Environment profits from pro-privatization policies. VE has allied itself with international institutions and capitalized on its extensive links with the French government to ensure that the use of public private partnerships is a widely promoted and accepted economic development initiative. VE makes money managing privatized water utilities and it is in their interest to influence governments and institutions to privatize public services.
VE has also been charged with corruption, bribery and anti-competitive business practices on a number of occasions.
002 – 2004: Indianapolis, Indiana – Indianapolis authorities are realizing the mistake they made when they bought a 130-year old water utility from NiSource in 2002 and handed it over to US Filter instead of keeping it a public utility. Since US Filter was awarded the contract, lawsuits have been filed and customer complaints have gone up by 250% for the water utility, which serves over 1 million.
Within one month of requesting management proposals, US Filter was granted a contract. Opponents criticized the excessive secrecy and “fast-tracking” surrounding the agreement. At its first opportunity, the company, limited by the contract from firing employees in the first two years, began to cut corners by slashing employee benefits. A report by Public Citizen, member of the Indianapolis Citizen’s Water Coalition, states that “non-union employees lost their valuable "defined benefit" pension; health care coverage was reduced, vacation time, personal days, sick days and holidays were all reduced.85 The employees claim that over $9000 in annual benefits have been lost or $4.3 million per year. Employees are angry and fearful as talk of the first layoffs in 130 years circulate. CEO Jim Keene told employees, ‘Being fair does not mean having a job for life’.” The employees have brought a federal lawsuit against the City charging breach of contract.
WHAT O'MALLEY DID WAS TO CREATE LEGISLATION THAT FIRST DEFUNDED UNDERSERVED AND STUDENTS WITH DISABLITIES AND THEN HE CREATED LEGISLATION TO ALLOW CORPORATIONS AND PRIVATE NON-PROFITS TO DONATE MONEY TO INDIVIDUAL SCHOOLS.
O'MALLEY MADE A PRIORITY OF SEEING THAT THE POOR AND DISABLED WOULD HAVE SEPARATE AND UNEQUAL FUNDING IN MARYLAND......
February 19, 2009 Introducing the Baltimore Education Coalition It might already be familiar to many of you reading, but... it's a pretty big deal that more than 20 advocacy groups are joining forces on behalf of Baltimore schools. I don't know that the city has ever had this kind of organization before.
The first fight for the Baltimore Education Coalition is, of course, school funding. As you'll see in my story today, the stimulus will put a lot of money into city schools. But for now at least, Gov. O'Malley isn't backing down from his proposed changes to education funding formulas that would disproportionately hurt Baltimore and Prince George's County. Coalition members have vowed to bring out up to 3,000 people for a rally in Annapolis March 3.
O'Malley has presided over the most comprehensive war on the poor that 20 years in office can allow. He is single-handedly responsible for the depths of poverty in Baltimore and Maryland.....the 30 years of lifespan difference in Baltimore and Maryland because of lack of health care......he is responsible for the academic achievement due to lack of funding for Baltimore schools over these decades.....and he allowed corporations to prey upon the poor through fraud and workplace abuse.
NOW HE WANTS TO BE KNOWN AS CARING FOR CHILDREN IN MARYLAND!!!!!
AIN'T THAT SPECIAL!!!! AIN'T THAT A LIE!!!!
Governor names new head of Office for Children Manager for "No Kid Hungry" campaign is O'Malley appointee
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun 9:23 p.m. EST, November 16, 2012
Gov. Martin O'Malley on Friday appointed the director of the "No Kid Hungry" state campaign to lead the Governor's Office for Children.
Anne Sheridan will take on the governor's goal to make Maryland the first state to end childhood hunger among its residents by 2015. The Office for Children also promotes youth health and wellness.
"In our state, we believe in our children growing healthy, growing educated, and growing strong," O'Malley said in a statement. "We know that Anne's wealth of knowledge and expertise will help us protect the priorities of Maryland's children and improve their quality of life so, together, we can give them the tools they need to build a better, stronger future."
Sheridan served as manager for Share Our Strength's "No Kid Hungry" campaign in Maryland for the last three years. Among her other experience, she has worked as co-chairwoman of the Maryland Partnership to End Childhood Hunger, was community relations director for Harrah's Entertainment Inc. and served on Sen. John Kerry's campaign for president in 2004.
Sheridan is a graduate of Georgetown University and Simmons College.
"I have seen [O'Malley's] commitment to investing in children through coordinated prevention, early intervention and community-based services, and I am thrilled at the opportunity to continue this important work," Sheridan said in a statement.
She replaced Rosemary King Johnston, who left the position in June.
Below you will see my comment regarding gambling proceeds and education funding. I will be sharing with everyone the REAL Governor Martin O'Malley of Maryland who will be running for President in 2016. This man is so corporate, so corrupt, so anti-worker that we need to get the word out now! Please share info in your neck of the woods. Mind you, O'Malley is not alone in the company of Third Way corporate pols running as Democrats!!!
MY COMMENTS TO THE ARTICLE BELOW:
Am I missing something here by asking how transportation money taking gamblers will be paid for from proceeds designated for governement coffers? The casino would subsidize that themselves. The government uses its revenue for schools remember? Governor O'Malley was in hundreds of millions of ads telling us that!
We will be challenging this expenditure.
New bus route planned from BWI to Maryland Live Casino Anne Arundel County would pay for route with money from casino
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun 8:10 p.m. EST, November 15, 2012
A proposed new bus route would ferry passengers from BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport to the Maryland Live Casino and elsewhere through the Hanover neighborhoods of Anne Arundel County.
Money generated by the casino and sent to Anne Arundel County government would pay for the new route connecting the airport and its train station to the Arundel Mills mall. Preliminary plans were unveiled Thursday night to a committee overseeing how to spend Anne Arundel's $15 million annual cut of gambling money.
George Cardwell, the county's director of transportation planning, said tentative plans are spend $380,000 to buy two 26-seat buses that would begin offering $1 rides in April. The route is not set, but other proposed stops include the neighborhoods of Dorchester and Arundel Preserve and the Baltimore Commons Business Park.
I WANT TO BE CLEAR........AS THIS ARTICLE STATES TRADERS KNOWING THIS LIBOR RIGGING FOR YEARS TRIED TO GET THIS ADDRESSED. GEITHNER AND THE FED KNEW THEY SAY FOR A FEW YEARS BUT THAT IS DEBATABLE GIVEN TRADERS WERE YELLING ABOUT IT. THIS LIBOR WAS HANDLED THE SAME WAY AS SUBPRIME LOANS WAS HANDLED WHEN IN 2005 ALL 50 STATES ATTORNEYS GENERAL STATED PUBLICLY THAT THERE WAS MASSIVE FRAUD IN THE MORTGAGE SECTOR. THE FEDERAL RESERVE SAID LET IT CONTINUE AND THAT IS THE CASE WITH LIBOR. EVERYONE KNEW! SO, WHEN O'MALLEY AND RAWLINGS-BLAKE TELL US THEY ARE FIGHTING FOR US WITH LIBOR AS THEY ENTER EVERMORE RISKY BOND CREDIT DEALS....................THEY ARE NOT TELLING THE TRUTH!!!!! THIS IS WHY WE ARE GETTING NO PROSECUTIONS/PENALTIES.
THEY ARE EVEN JUSTIFYING LANCE ARMSTRONG'S CORRUPTION AS 'EVERYONE IS DOING IT'.
Rigged Libor Hits States-Localities With $6 Billion: Muni Credit By Darrell Preston - Oct 9, 2012 12:00 AM ET Bloomberg Financial
The Libor bid-rigging scandal is poised to more than double the losses suffered by U.S. states and localities that bought $500 billion in interest-rate swaps before the financial crisis.
Manipulation of the London interbank offered rate cost issuers in the $3.7 trillion municipal-bond market at least $6 billion, according Peter Shapiro, managing director of Swap Financial Group in South Orange, New Jersey. Shapiro, a muni adviser for more than 20 years, specializes in the contracts.
Any taxpayer losses on derivative deals linked to Libor would add to at least $4 billion in payments that localities have already made to unwind backfiring interest-rate swaps sold by Wall Street banks as hedges to cut borrowing costs, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
“This number shows that banks can’t be trusted in this market,” said Marcus Stanley, policy director for Americans for Financial Reform, a Washington group that has pushed for stronger regulation of lenders. “Municipalities would be the group most likely victimized by the abuse of Libor.”
Issuers from New York to California have entered swap agreements, which are bets on the direction of interest rates. They attempted to lower borrowing costs while guarding against increasing rates by exchanging variable-rate loans for fixed ones. The strategy went awry when the Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark rate almost to zero to counter the 18-month recession that began in December 2007.
$500 Billion Banks sold as much as $500 billion of swaps to municipalities before the credit crisis, according to a report by Randall Dodd, a researcher on the U.S. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. Shapiro based his calculation of losses on his estimate that $200 billion of the derivatives were tied to Libor and that banks suppressed the rate by 0.30 percentage points for three years.
Some U.S. municipal interest-rate swap payments were tied to Libor, the basis for more than $300 trillion in securities and loans worldwide, which is supposed to represent what banks pay each other for short-term loans. While traders have said for years that the benchmark was rigged, the suspicions were confirmed in June when Barclays Plc (BARC), Britain’s second-biggest lender by assets, paid a record 290 million-pound ($468 million) fine for manipulating the rate.
Raised Cost Three-month dollar Libor, the most commonly used of the rates overseen by the British Bankers’ Association, was at 0.35025 percent yesterday, down from 0.58250 percent at the start of the year.
In the derivatives market, setting Libor too low raised what issuers had to pay to their swap counterparties. That drove up their costs and boosted the price of ending the arrangements.
Libor losses may spawn “a wave of lawsuits,” said Michael Greenberger, who studies derivatives at the University of Maryland’s law school in Baltimore. He said civil complaints, settlements with more banks, and, possibly, criminal indictments lie ahead.
“Libor was a bid-rigged rate,” said Greenberger. “Almost all interest-rate swaps begin with Libor.”
Five-State Probe Since the Barclays settlement, governments around the U.S. have started their own probes, including attorneys general of at least five states, including Florida and Connecticut. Jaclyn Falkowski, spokeswoman for Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, and Jennifer Meale, spokeswoman for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, each confirmed the investigations. They declined to comment further.
“I have a board and they want to know what Libor is doing to us,” Brian Mayhew, chief financial officer of the San Francisco Bay area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which finances roads and bridges, said in an interview.
The Libor investigations have implications for states and cities that are still contending with the fiscal legacy of the recession, which left them grappling with falling tax revenue and rising costs. States have had to deal with combined deficits of more than $500 billion since fiscal 2009, according to the Washington-based Center on Budget & Policy Priorities.
Baltimore, Maryland, and the New Britain Firefighters’ Benefit Fund, a pension for workers in the Connecticut city, had already sued more than a dozen banks before the Barclays settlement, alleging Libor was artificially suppressed as part of a conspiracy.
Rates Diverge Baltimore claimed that Libor’s divergence from its historical correlation to overnight swaps showed manipulation. Since the financial crisis, the spread between three-month Libor and three-month swap rates has increased by 95 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Hilary Scherrer, a lawyer for the plaintiffs at Washington- based Hausfeld LLP, didn’t return a phone call seeking comment.
North Carolina is among states waiting for findings from federal investigations into the abuse of Libor, Treasurer Janet Cowell said in a Sept. 28 interview on Bloomberg Television.
“We don’t know what the manipulation was at this point,” Cowell said. “It’s a lot of analytics and data collection.”
Because each swap is unique in its pricing and structure, it is possible that not all issuers were harmed by the Libor rigging.
Libor Theory “There’s a theory that the Libor manipulation lowered the interest rate we got paid on our swaps,” said Mayhew. “But the inverse of that is it also then lowered what we were paying on the variable-rate debt.”
Mayhew said he doesn’t expect a quick resolution.
“This is one of those things that won’t be solved in court, it won’t be solved by lawsuits,” said Mayhew. “This is going to be a global settlement where whoever is guilty of whatever gets in a room, makes a global settlement, and then that’s it.”
In muni trading last week, the yield on 10-year munis rated AAA dropped about 0.07 percentage point to 1.65 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The index touched 1.63 percent on July 27, the lowest since at least January 2009, when data collection began. The U.S. bond market was closed yesterday for the Columbus Day holiday.
Following are pending sales:
CITY & COUNTY OF DENVER plans to issue $700 million in airport system revenue bonds as soon as Oct. 10, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The debt will be used to finance part of Denver International Airport’s capital plan. Standard & Poor’s rates the securities A+, fifth-highest. (Added Oct. 9)
MASSACHUSETTS SCHOOL BUILDING AUTHORITY will sell $725 million in sales-tax bonds as soon as Oct. 11, Bloomberg data show. Proceeds will be used to refund debt. S&P rates the bonds AA+, its second-best grade. (Added Oct. 9)
WE SEE YET ANOTHER GOVERNMENT COMMISSION WITH APPOINTEES BY A GOVERNOR WHO IS VERY CORPORATE. HOW DO YOU THINK THEY WILL MOVE REGULATIONS AND PROFIT RATIOS? IF YOU LOVE LOSING PUBLIC INPUT ON ALL THINGS PUBLIC, O'MALLEY IS YOUR MAN.
O'Malley names seven to new gaming commission
Baltimore Business Journal by Gary Haber, Staff Reporter Date: Saturday, October 20, 2012, 8:34am EDT - Last Modified: Monday, October 22, 2012, 9:00am EDT Enlarge Image Jack Lambert | Staff Gov. Martin O'Malley named seven to a new commission charged with overseeing the state's gaming program. Above, slots at Maryland Live casino.
The chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, who also headed the group that advised Gov. Martin O’Malley on an expansion of gaming in the state, is among those O’Malley named Friday to a new commission to oversee casino gaming and the Maryland lottery.
John Morton III will be one of seven members of the new State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission. The group was created as part of legislation O’Malley signed earlier this year. The seven-member panel replaces the nine-member State Lottery Agency.
Joining Morton on the panel are:
• Bert Hash Jr., CEO of MECU credit union in Baltimore.
• Kirby Fowler Jr., president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.
• F. Vernon Boozer, an attorney with Covahey, Boozer, Devan & Dore.
• E. Randolph Marriner, CEO of Marriner Enterprises and owner of Victoria Restaurant Group.
• Diane Lee McGraw, a retired computer scientist and program manager with the National Security Agency.
• Kimberly Robertson Pannell, senior partner at Raffa PC, a CPA firm.
Fowler, Boozer, Marriner, McGraw and Pannell were all members of the State Lottery Agency. Fowler chaired the group.
You did not allow people to comment. I would like to suggest that these figures are election oriented and with all the disclaimers given it seems as though it was better not to print the numbers. It will only be used as headlines in campaigns.
It is important with Maryland hiring to be clear about jobs promised and jobs created. As we hear in the gambling ads everyone knows that these two things are now all fabrication. It is a news journal's job to make these figures clear. If not, people think the paper has an agenda. Trust in media has fallen to that of banks and congress because of this.
We know for example that Exelon promised to bring 6,000 jobs to Maryland and now I read they are saying forget about it. They fired 600 local management and brought people from outside the area to fill them. I hear on the street people saying that Baltimore businesses are firing staff and downsizing or bringing in new people, again from other regions.
What we know is happening is that national corporations/chains are filling our Enterprise Zones and as such are bringing people with them. These are not new jobs and this is not good for the citizens of Baltimore yet, we hear nothing of this in our media.
This is the story on jobs in Maryland and especially Baltimore.
AS THE REPORTER STATES THROUGHOUT THE ARTICLE THESE NUMBERS MAY NOT BE TRUE. SO WHY WRITE IT? IT IS STRICTLY FOR CAMPAIGN HEADLINES FOR NOVEMBER'S ELECTION. CARDIN, SARBANES, AND CUMMINGS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH JOB CREATION....THEY HANDED A LOT OF MONEY TO THE RICH.
Maryland gains 9,800 jobs in September Labor Department: State unemployment rate drops to 6.9%
By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun 12:07 p.m. EDT, October 19, 2012
HERE IS MARTIN O'MALLEY SPINNING THIS FAKE JOBS REPORT ON THE SAME DAY! THESE PEOPLE ARE SHAMELESS!
October 19, 2012
We have good news to share!
Last month, Marylanders created 9,800 new jobs--the single greatest month of job creation in 29 months and the result of a thriving private sector that created 98% of all new jobs in September. Together, we've now driven our unemployment rate down to 6.9%, which remains 12% below the national average.
This past year, we've created 25,500 new jobs and to date, Maryland has recovered over three-quarters of the jobs we lost during the Bush recession.
Though we're recovering jobs at one of the fastest rates in the nation, our work continues. Even one mom or dad out of work is one too many. We wanted to take this opportunity to share a valuable resource for job-seekers and employers, The Maryland Workforce Exchange. Through this portal, you can find a job, post a job and discover job resources around our State, like our one-stop centers.
Thanks to the choices we've made together, Maryland remains a leader in one of the nation's strongest job growth regions. As the hub of growing innovation sectors like cyber security, information technology and aerospace, we continue to prove that we are on the cutting edge of the next wave of job creation.
Maryland, let's keep moving forward.
YOU CAN BET THAT WALL STREET'S MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG IS O'MALLEY'S FRIEND......NO ONE HAS DONE MORE FOR WALL STREET THAN MARTIN O'MALLEY!
I wanted to make sure you saw this note from my good friend, Mayor Michael Bloomberg on why he's for question 6 here in Maryland. He, like thousands of Marylanders across our state, understands that this issue is about fairness and protecting everyone equally under the law. Check out his message below and sign up today to defend dignity.
Maryland will always hold a special place in my heart. I went to college at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and have remained active in the Hopkins community. So when Governor O'Malley asked me to support Question 6, I didn’t hesitate.
As a business leader and Mayor of New York City, I do not believe that government has any business telling one class of couples that they cannot marry. The 14th Amendment guarantees us all equal protection under the law, and that's what Question 6 does -- it treats all citizens equally under the law, while protecting religious liberty at the same time.
Two years ago, I was proud to support the effort to pass marriage equality in the State of New York -- and the bi-partisan support it received resulted in one of our state’s great civil rights victories.
Around the country, a few legislatures and state courts have taken action to extend marriage equality to all couples, regardless of gender. But never before have voters affirmed marriage equality in a statewide referendum. By voting “FOR” on Question 6, I believe Maryland will become the first state in the nation to affirm marriage equality at the ballot box.
On Tuesday, November 6th – Election Day – you will have an opportunity to make history.
The next great barrier to full equality under the law is marriage equality. There is no doubt in my mind this barrier will fall, just as so many others have. The question is not if, but when. And it is my hope that you will answer that question for Maryland on Tuesday, November 6th. Please join me and support Question 6.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg
BELOW YOU SEE HOW MARYLAND'S INCUMBENTS ARE MOVING TOWARDS ONLINE VOTING. CAN YOU IMAGINE ANY WAY EASIER TO COMMIT ELECTION FRAUD THAN HACKING ONLINE VOTING???? IT BEATS BALLOT BOX STUFFING! WOULD YOU KNOW THAT IT IS BALTIMORE'S SENATORS AND ELECTION LEADERS HELPING TO PUSH THIS POLICY???? JOAN CARTER CONWAY IS THE ELECTION CHAIRPERSON AND ROSS GOLDSTEIN OF THE STATE ELECTION OFFICE IS RIGHT HERE IN BALTIMORE.
All election advocates agree that online voting offers no protections from fraud and should not be advanced in any form. If a government agency or bank cannot keep its accounts from being hacked, how will the Election Board? The answer is it won't. Any attempt to change paper ballots that can be checked and verified is just another step away from accountability!
SHOUT OUT TO ATTORNEY GENERAL GANSLER, JOAN CARTER CONWAY, AND GOLDSTEIN AS WELL AS ALL YOUR INCUMBENTS THAT MARYLAND DOES NOT WANT THIS SLOW MOVE TOWARDS ONLINE VOTING!!!!
Maryland election board looks at online ballot marking May 29, 2012
By Glynis Kazanjian
The State Board of Elections may move to implement an online ballot marking system for all absentee voters in time for this year’s elections, depending on an opinion from the attorney general. But some voter advocacy groups worry about the potential for fraud.
The move to online ballot marking comes after a 2010 federal mandate that required states to provide overseas voters and active military personnel with access to online absentee ballot applications.
The attorney general’s opinion, requested by Sen. Edward Kasemeyer, would say whether or not the elections board should seek federal and state certification for the online ballot marking tool. The board staff is currently developing the device through a Department of Defense grant.
Certification would test the system and look for vulnerable areas, including where fraud or manipulation could occur. All whole voting systems are federally required to receive certification, but the state board argues the ballot marking tool would be only part of a voting system.
Group worries about voter fraud
Some critics, including the voter integrity group SaveOurVotes, say that without proper federal and state certification, there is a high risk for voter fraud and a potential breach of security of voter information.
“Voting system certification requirements exist to ensure that voting equipment conforms to consistent standards that safeguard our elections against tampering and error,” SaveOurVotes Co-Director Rebecca Wilson wrote in an April 30 letter to Attorney General Douglas Gansler. “Waiving certification requirements for such an undeveloped and untested system as this would set a dangerous precedent.”
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) offered an informal opinion on the matter in February at the request of State Elections Board Administrator Linda Lamone. The commission staff said that an online ballot marking wizard did not meet the definition of a voting system and therefore “was not considered eligible for testing and certification under the EAC program.”
The Election Assistance Commission is supposed to have a fourfive-member board, but it hasn’t had a quorum since December 2010 and currently has no board members serving.
Federal requirements for military and overseas
In early 2010, the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act) required states to provide active military personnel and overseas voters with an electronically downloadable online ballot. The state elections board implemented the change as required, but went beyond the scope of the mandate by allowing all domestic voters to request absentee ballots over the Internet.
As a result, almost 80% of 11,375 absentee voters that received their 2010 ballots online were “domestic, civilian voters,” according to an elections board memo.
Some critics charge the expansion to all absentee voters occurred without a formal board vote. The board did vote to approve the absentee ballot application, 4-0, on Feb. 25, 2010, but minutes from January and February 2010 board meetings do not indicate a distinction was made between MOVE Act absentee voters and in-state absentees.
A state regulation the board published March 12, 2010 only refers to “voters authorized to vote under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.”.
But state board deputy administrator Ross Goldstein said staff used the word “voter” and it was not limited in any way.
“The board was informed of our plans and had two different opportunities to vote on the concept of sending ballots to voters via the online delivery system,” Goldstein said.
AG opinion due in June or July
Attorney general spokesman David Paulson said the opinion should be issued in June or July. If the attorney general finds the state does not have to go through certification, the board will then decide whether to limit the online ballot marking option to three classes — active military personnel, overseas voters and disabled voters — or to open it up to all domestic voters, as they did with the online absentee ballot delivery option in 2010.
Other critics of the online ballot marking tool, including Montgomery County activist Holly Joseph, also claim the board did not vote on the use of the absentee ballot marking tool for the 2012 presidential elections.
There was no record of a vote in the monthly meeting minutes, but Goldstein said the vote happened, according to an audio tape of the meeting reviewed by staff.
“I can confirm that a vote was taken to approve the absentee voting materials, including the absentee ballot application, during the September 2011 meeting,” Goldstein said. “It was unanimously approved.”
Possible gateway for online voting
SaveOurVotes and other critics also contend the move to allow absentee voters to mark their ballots online will eventually become a gateway for statewide online voting. Maryland’s policy of no excuse absentee voting by mail allows any registered voter to request an absentee ballot without providing a reason for needing one.
“I believe that most activists suspect that it will now be very easy for the State Board of Elections to go from offering online voting processes to a subset of voters to offering it to all,” said Mary Kiraly, a former Democratic member of the Montgomery County Board of Elections.
Currently, all absentee voters can download an absentee ballot online, which they mark by hand and mail to their local board of elections. There, the ballot is duplicated into a scannable ballot and compared with the voter’s original hand written ballot by a bi-partisan election review team.
The proposed online ballot marking tool eliminates the need for staff to create a matching scannable ballot. Instead, the ballot would be created through the ballot marking wizard and embedded with a barcode that included the voter’s selections made online.
The local board staff would then print out the embedded ballot and scan it through new printers, already purchased with the DOD grant funds, which could read the barcode. The bi-partisan review team would then compare the mail-in ballot with the ballot created online.
Board distinguishes between voting online and marking ballot
Goldstein said it is important for people to understand the distinction between voting online and using a ballot marking wizard to expedite an internal procedure.
“Nobody’s voting online,” Goldstein said. “People are marking ballots through the wizard, but there is no actual voting that’s taking place online. This is a ballot delivery system and what’s really being added to it is just a way to help improve the ballot marking and the ballot duplication process.”
“It would be one thing if we said we were going to use this barcode and rely on this barcode on its own as part of the voting process, but that’s not what we’re saying,” Goldstein said. “We’re saying we’re going to use this barcode to duplicate the ballot, to make the ballot duplication part faster, easier and more accurate.”
Sen. Roy Dyson, D-St. Mary’s, who chairs the Senate’s elections law subcommittee, introduced a bill (SB1078) this year that would have permitted the state board to use the online ballot marking tool without certification requirements. The bill passed the Senate 43-4, with four Montgomery County Democrats opposing it. The bill failed to pass the House. THIS MEANS THAT ALL BALTIMORE'S SENATORS VOTED FOR THIS ONLINE PROCESS THAT IS ONLY A STEP CLOSER TO ONLINE VOTING!!!!
GOP prefers traditional method
State Republican Party Executive Director David Ferguson said he prefers the traditional method of voting.
“I am very suspect of any voting that does not take place at the ballot box,” Ferguson said. “People have been expressing concern about the electronic processes that are currently being used. A paper ballot that has been given with a proper ID has been the standing and best practice across the country. I would encourage Maryland to move toward those best practices and not away from them.”
Robert Walker, chairman of the State Board of Elections, resigned in December 2010 but remains a member of the board. Walker agreed to stay until a replacement had been appointed, but according to Goldstein, a replacement still hasn’t been named.
The board also voted to allow Bobbie Mack, a Democrat, to continue as vice chair. The board’s bylaws state that the vice chair is supposed to be the opposite political party of the chair after the current vice chair’s term ends.
Voter Registration Rolls in 2 States Are Called Vulnerable to Hackers
By NICOLE PERLROTH Published: October 12, 2012
Computer security experts have identified vulnerabilities in the voter registration databases in two states, raising concerns about the ability of hackers and others to disenfranchise voters.
In the last five years, Maryland and Washington State have set up voter registration systems that make it easy for people to register to vote and update their address information online. The problem is that in both states, all the information required from voters to log in to the system is publicly available.
It took The New York Times less than three minutes to track down the information online needed to update the registrations of several prominent executives in Washington State. Complete voter lists, which include a name, birth date, addresses and party affiliation, can be easily bought — and are, right now, in the hands of thousands of campaign volunteers.
Computer security experts and voting rights activists argue that a hacker could use that information to, say, change a person’s address online to ensure that the voter never receives a ballot in Washington, where voting is now done entirely by mail. In Maryland, hackers could ensure that a voter is not listed on the precinct register at a designated polling station. In that case, the voter would be redirected to another precinct, or asked to fill out a provisional ballot. In both cases, the person would not be able to vote in local, or possibly, Congressional races.
But the real concern, critics say, is that large numbers of voters from one political party, or demographic, could have their information changed by automated computer programs. A program that could change tens of thousands of voter records at once, they say, would require only a dozen lines of code.
Rebecca Wilson, co-director of Save Our Votes, a voting rights nonprofit, said her organization did not initially track how states set up their online systems. “We thought, ‘How badly could you mess that up?’ Well, we learned,” Ms. Wilson said. “Now, anyone in the world can write a computer program that commits absentee ballot fraud on a mass scale.”
Maryland and Washington are not considered swing states in next month’s election, but as other states move to online registration systems, security experts worry that they will follow Maryland and Washington’s example.
Officials in the two states say that concerns of a widespread cyberattack are exaggerated. Washington officials point out that voters who do not receive their ballots can still print them online, and they say, they have never received a complaint about an address being unknowingly changed.
In Maryland, officials say they consult with their own security experts to pick up unusual patterns in online traffic, like an effort to change thousands of addresses from a single Internet address. They point out that address changes require a confirmation letter be sent to the new address. If that bounces back, the change is deemed invalid.
Washington officials also cite their use of “captchas,” which are meant to help weed out humans from computer programs. Captchas — those puzzles used by e-commerce sites that require people to type in a set of distorted letters and numbers — are easy for humans to read and retype but difficult for machines to decipher.
“What is technically possible and what realistically could happen are very different,” said Ross Goldstein, the deputy administrator for Maryland’s Board of Elections.
But security experts say that these measures are not enough to prevent a determined hacker from disenfranchising scores of voters and influencing an election. Critics say that hackers could use botnets, networks of infected computers, to change voters’ addresses. And new machine learning technologies can beat captchas, or people can be paid to type them in, in real time, for as a little as a penny per captcha or less.
“They could influence an election with 20,000 votes for less than a penny a head,” said J. Alex Halderman, one of the computer scientists who first discovered Washington’s loophole. “That would be a great return on investment for them.”
In Florida last month, Republican state officials paid a company $1.3 million to register voters, but county election officials noticed several registrations contained unauthorized address changes and names of dead people. Laws in the state make it difficult to vote if an address is recently changed.
“In theory, the same scenario is possible online, where it is much easier to do,” said Charles Stewart III, a political scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Last week, Mr. Halderman, David Jefferson, a computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, and Barbara Simons, a retired IBM computer scientist, sent a letter to Washington and Maryland election officials with seven recommendations for security, including authenticating voters with nonpublic information like the last four digits of their Social Security numbers and setting up disaster plans that would let them shut down their systems during an attack.
Shane Hamlin, Washington’s co-director of elections, said that the state’s registration closed last week, but that his team planned to review transaction logs for unusual activity. “Their suggestions are all reasonable and doable,” Mr. Hamlin said. “Some we have in place and can build on, some are longer term.”
The computer scientists say that they have yet to receive a response from Mr. Hamlin’s counterparts in Maryland, where online registration remains open.
“We want to make voting as accessible as possible,” Mr. Goldstein said. But “there’s always risk in all systems.”
TWO YEARS AGO MARYLAND REMOVED THE CAPABILITY OF CANDIDATES OF USING SOCIAL MEDIA FOR CAMPAIGNS. THE PEOPLE NEEDING TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR CAMPAIGNS ARE THOSE WHO CAN'T AFFORD PRINT/NEWS MEDIA......THAT'S RIGHT.......CHALLENGERS TO THE INCUMBENTS. THIS IS DELIBERATE FOLKS!!!!! THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT WORKING FOR YOU AND ME.
DID YOU HEAR MAGGIE MCINTOSH, JOAN CARTER CONWAY, BARBARA ROBINSON, CATHERINE PUGH, CHERYL GLENN, KURT ANDERSON, MARY WASHINGTON, SHAUN TARRANT, AND JILL CARTER.......MY POLITICIANS........ SHOUTING LOUDLY AND STRONGLY AGAINST THIS?
Maryland lawmakers pass new election law restricting Facebook today
July 20, 2010
The new regulations go into effect in just two weeks.
Del. Michael Smigiel, a Republican from the Eastern Shore, was the sole lawmaker in the 12-member committee to oppose the regulation that requires campaigns to add a disclosure sentence to their social-networking sites that mirrors the one they are required to put on their printed campaign literature.
Smigiel said he feared the regulation would have a "chilling effect" on the free speech of candidates, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Last month when elections officials decided to regulate candidates' use of social networking sites some felt the regulation was overdue, but others believed enforcing the new law could be a nightmare and that it unfairly hurts new candidates with little cash and limited access to media coverage. To such candidates social networks had become a great equalizer.
A step toward regulating the Internet?
One of the problems some have with the new regulation is that they see it as a back-door way for the state to regulate the Internet piece meal. Other critics say that election officials should concentrate on aggressively enforcing laws being violated that are already on the books and eliminating existing campaign contribution loopholes.
Still, others who believe the new election regulation has merit say it would be impossible to enforce. How can you track every social network site launched by an anonymous individual or groups? It would take an army of state workers to accomplish this -- at a time when there are state and city hiring freezes.
More cynical observers argue that the the board of elections is simply focusing on the Internet to get the spotlight off of its glaring deficiencies and lack of transparency
THERE HAS BEEN NO JOB GROWTH IN MARYLAND AND IN FACT UNEMPLOYMENT HAS TICKED UP. THE ONLY EMPLOYMENT IS IN THE PRIVATE NON-PROFIT SECTOR HIRING ONE PERSON AND PAYING COLLEGE VISTAS WITH TAXPAYER MONEY TO WORK. SMALL BUSINESSES ARE BEING FORCED TO CLOSE BY NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COMPANIES AND NATIONAL CHAINS WHO BRING THEIR OWN PEOPLE FROM OUT OF STATE. MOST LABOR IN THE STATE ARE FROM RIGHT TO WORK STATES.
O'MALLEY HAS BEEN A LIFESAVER FOR GOVERNORS IN RIGHT-TO-WORK STATES WHERE MOST JOBS ARE CREATED BY MARYLAND CONSTRUCTION.
Monday, October 15, 2012 3:40 PM October 15, 2012
In Maryland, our small and family-owned businesses--the backbone of our economy--are leading our way forward out of the Bush recession, with the 8th fastest rate of job recovery in the nation.
Today, we're able to announce that our unemployment insurance tax rate will be lowered next year by as much as 55% for many businesses across our State.
Because we are a national leader in jobs recovery, because of the strength of our businesses and because of the effective, cost-neutral legislation we passed together in 2010, our rates are being lowered. But the real credit for these rates coming down is to the employers who kept people working.
We have more work to do. We won't rest until every Marylander is back to work because even one mom or dad without a job is one too many. But news like today's, is a sign that we are moving in the right direction. We are moving forward.
Thanks again to all of our small businesses for believing in Maryland,Martin O'Malley
WE LISTENED AS O'MALLEY AND ALL POLITICIANS TOLD US THAT THE BGE MERGER WOULD NOT LEAD TO RATE INCREASES AND WITHIN 6 MONTHS, PLANS FOR RATE INCREASES. O'MALLEY SAYS THE CITIZENS NEED TO PAY FOR INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADES IF THEY WANT BETTER SERVICE. WE SEE HOW HE IS WORKING FOR THE CORPORATION AND AGAINST THE CITIZENS HE WAS ELECTED TO SERVE. IF PEOPLE PAY FOR INFRSTRUCTURE AND OPERATIONAL COSTS IN ORDER TO BOOST SHAREHOLDER VALUE.......O'MALLEY WORKS FOR EXELON. DO YOU HEAR YOUR INCUMBENT SHOUTING LOUDLY AND STRONGLY AGAINST THIS POLICY OF CORPORATE WELFARE? DO YOU HEAR MEDIA EXPLAINING THESE POLICIES AND HOW THEY AFFECT THE PUBLIC OR DO THEY SIMPLY REPEAT WHAT THE POLITICIANS SAY? THAT'S RIGHT, MARYLAND'S MEDIA IS CAPTURED!
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!
O'Malley electricity panel recommends surcharge for grid upgrades