Mon September 9, 2013
Harbor Point, Biden Visits Baltimore’s Port, Background Checks, and MD Lawmakers On Syria
The Baltimore City Council will likely give final approval today on a plan to grant the Harbor Point development $107-million in tax increment financing. Plus: Vice President Biden visits the Port of Baltimore, MD Police get help on gun purchase background checks, and MD lawmakers on Syria.
Many MD Lawmakers Undecided On Syria: As Congress prepares to debate whether the US military should conduct strikes in Syria in response to the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons, most Maryland lawmakers appear uncertain as to how they’ll vote. The Daily Times has a roundup of their current positions here.
Harbor Point: The Baltimore City Council is set to cast a vote today on controversial legislation that would grant some $107-million in tax increment financing to the Harbor Point development; the measures won preliminary approval last month, and are expected to get final approval today. The Baltimore Sun has more here.
Biden At The Port Of Baltimore: Vice President Joe Biden is set to visit the Port of Baltimore today to talk about transportation investments and growing the economy; Governor Martin O’Malley is expected to attend the event. Biden’s visit comes while the port is planning improvements to handle an expected increase in freight in coming years from the Panama Canal. The Washington Post has more here.
Police Get Help In Gun Purchase Background Checks: The Maryland State Police are getting help from other state agencies in addressing a huge backlog in gun purchase background checks. Checks used to take a week, but high demand has stretched the process out for several months. This as Maryland continues to see a spike in gun sales… in part, because of the state’s new restrictive gun laws set to take effect on October 1st. Over the weekend, data entry personnel from several state agencies began assisting the State Police licensing division; they’re not doing background checks, but are inputting backlogged gun purchase applications into electronic forms, which should make it easier for police to get the checks done. The Baltimore Sun notes that a gun-rights group, the “Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore” has protested the move, because confidential information is being seen by civilian workers, and not the police themselves. Police say that the employees have signed confidentiality agreements, and note that they work for agencies that routinely handle sensitive personal information.
How 2014 Governor's Race Can Be Opening For GOP: WYPR's Fraser Smith and Todd Eberly of St. Mary's College and The FreeStater Blog talk about why Republican Theodore McKeldin won the Maryland governorship twice and how the right GOP candidate could exploit a potentially bruising Democratic primary. It’s this morning’s edition of Inside Maryland Politics.
Jealous Announces Retirement From NAACP: Ben Jealous, the president of the NAACP, is leaving his position at the end of the year. Jealous tells the Baltimore Sun that he has decided to step aside from the Baltimore-based civil rights group to spend more time with family and to start teaching. Jealous became president of the NAACP in 2008, and recently helped lead the charge to repeal the death penalty in Maryland.
KKK Rallies In Washington County: The Ku Klux Klan held a rally in Maryland over the weekend, at Antietam battlefield in Washington County. Turnout wasn’t huge; the Baltimore Sun reports that 8 Klansmen attended the event – at which one hooded speaker denounced the Affordable Care act, and called for the impeachment of President Obama.
Closures On The Bay Bridge, JFX: Folks whose evening travels will take them across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge should be aware of some closures this week – including overnight closures of the entire westbound span. The MdTA has information here. Meanwhile, parts of the Jones Falls Expressway will be closed over the next 10 months, beginning with evening closures between 41st and East Fayette streets; the Baltimore Sun has more here.
“Diamond Jim” Captured: The 2013 Maryland Fishing Challenge is over – and for the first time in the nine-year history of the event, an elusive rockfish known as “Diamond Jim” has been captured. The 19-pound fish was tagged by the state Department of Natural Resources; “Jim” was hooked by a fisherwoman from Herndon Virginia – who wins a $25-thousand cash prize for the catch.
Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles lost yesterday’s game against the Chicago White Sox; the score was 4 to 2. The O’s are now two games back of the Rays for the final wild card spot. Tonight, the Orioles begin a four game series with the New York Yankees; first pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm at Camden Yards.