House Votes To Authorize Lawsuit Against Obama, Baltimore Unemployment, & Sharfstein Steps Down

Jul 31, 2014

Republicans in the House of Representatives voted yesterday to authorize a lawsuit against President Obama. Anne Arundel County Council candidate Michael Peroutka says he will not distance himself from the “League of the South.” The unemployment rate for the Baltimore area went up in June. Plus: resignations from MD Health Secretary Dr. Joshua Sharfstein and Baltimore City Finance Director Harry Black, the annual Chincoteague Pony Swim, and more.

House Votes To Authorize Lawsuit Against President Obama: Republicans in the House of Representatives voted yesterday to authorize a lawsuit against President Obama. They’re upset with Obama's use of executive actions, which they say overstep his authority. The President says his increased use of executive orders is necessary because of congressional inaction. No Democrats voted in favor of the lawsuit, and five Republicans joined them in voting no. But Maryland’s only GOP lawmaker in the House wasn’t one of them. 1st District Congressman Andy Harris voted with the majority of his party, calling the planned lawsuit “necessary” and characterizing it as a “first step toward restoring the rule of law.” But Maryland’s Democratic Representatives in the House are opposed to the lawsuit. House Minority Whip – and 5th District Congressman -- Steny Hoyer says the suit doesn’t stand a chance.

Peroutka Refuses To Cut Ties With “League Of The South”: Anne Arundel County Council candidate Michael Peroutka says he will not distance himself from the “League of the South.” The Republican Peroutka has long had ties with that organization, which calls for the southern states to secede from America and has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center due to its views on race. Peroutka said yesterday that the “hate group” designation is unfair and politically motivated and says he is anti-racist. Peroutka is also denouncing the political and community leaders who have called on him to distance himself from the group. Those include GOP gubernatorial nominee Larry Hogan, who disavowed Peroutka last week. And after Peroutka announced yesterday that he would not denounce the “League of the South,” Republican Anne Arundel County Executive nominee Steve Schuh also said he will not support Peroutka’s candidacy. The Capital Gazette has more here; there’s more here from the Baltimore Sun.

Baltimore Area Unemployment Rate Rises: The unemployment rate for the Baltimore area went up in June, according to data released yesterday by the US Labor Department. As the Baltimore Business Journal reports, the numbers indicate that Greater Baltimore’s jobless rate was 6.5 percent last month. That’s up from 5.9 percent in May.

Parking Garages, Rec Centers, Curfews: All Politics Is Still Local Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake recently announced a plan to sell four city parking garages to raise money for recreation centers. WYPR’s Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith says it’s another reminder of the challenges that face American cities. Fraser comments in his weekly essay.

Sharfstein Steps Down: Maryland's health secretary is stepping down. Dr. Joshua Sharfstein is being added to the full-time faculty at Johns Hopkins University. Sharfstein says he'll stay on the job through the end of the year while the state's revamped website is launched for the next open enrollment period in November. There’s more here from the Baltimore Sun and here from the Washington Post.

Black Steps Down: Another resignation announced yesterday: that of Baltimore City finance director Harry Black. He’s held the job for the last 2 ½ years… his final day on the job will be August 20th, after which he’ll head to Cincinnati, where he’ll serve as city manager. The Baltimore Sun notes that Black is one of at least half a dozen high-level departures from City Hall in a year. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake yesterday issued a statement praising Black’s work in creating the city’s 10-year financial plan, and credited his budget work with recent property tax reductions and cuts to the city’s long-term structural deficit.

Baltimore Approves Nearly $12-Million For Post-Collapse Street Repair: Baltimore's Board of Estimates has approved nearly $12-million in funding to repair a section of a Charles Village street that collapsed this spring during heavy rains. The contract covers costs for construction of a new retaining wall and other infrastructure-related repairs. The collapse took place on April 30th, sending cars and a block of East 26th Street tumbling onto railroad tracks below. The Baltimore Sun has more.

Jarrell Named Acting Annapolis City Manager: Annapolis Public Works Director David Jarrell has been named acting city manager. Jarrell replaces Brian Woodward, who resigned citing health reasons. Mayor Mike Pantelides says Jarrell will serve as city manager for the "next few months" while the city searches for a permanent manager. He becomes the fourth city manager since Pantelides took office last December. The Capital Gazette has more.

Chincoteague Pony Swim: Thousands of people watched about 150 ponies swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island on Virginia’s Eastern Shore yesterday. It was the 89th annual Chincoteague pony swim, part of a larger event which raises money for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. The Daily Times has more.

Baltimore Baseball: another win for the Orioles; they beat the LA Angels 4 to 3 in yesterday’s game. The two teams wrap up their series tonight; first pitch at Camden Yards is set for 7:05pm.

Washington Baseball: the Washington Nationals won their game against the Miami Marlins yesterday; the score there was (also) 4 to 3.