Fri October 18, 2013
The Port Strike Continues, Mizeur Unveils Pre-K Proposal, and “Abnormally Dry” Conditions Are Over
The longshoremen’s strike at the Port of Baltimore is now in its third day. Gubernatorial hopeful Heather Mizeur rolls out her proposal to expand MD’s pre-K programs. Recent rains end “abnormally dry” conditions. Plus: Harbor Point, fewer free 411 calls for MD Verizon customers, and more.
Port Strike Enters Third Day: As a longshoremen’s strike continues at the Port of Baltimore, there's concern it could have a major impact on the city. Hundreds of longshoremen struck on Wednesday after one union local rejected a contract proposal and three other unions joined the work stoppage in solidarity. More than 15-thousand jobs at the port alone are being affected. WJZ reports that longshoreman are asking for more workplace guarantees and better pay. The Port of Baltimore generates more than $300-million a year in tax revenue. It’s number one in the nation for car imports and exports, and is overall the nation's ninth-busiest port by volume. It is also a growing port for cruise ships. Royal Caribbean, Carnival and American Cruise lines all sail out of Baltimore, however, the Baltimore Sun reports the strike is not affecting cruise operations. An arbitration meeting has been scheduled for today, in hopes of stopping the strike quickly. There’s more here from the Washington Post.
Mizeur’s Pre-K Proposal: Montgomery County Delegate Heather Mizeur has put forth her proposal to expand pre-kindergarten education in Maryland – and the Washington Post reports that her plan goes farther than proposals issued last week by her two rivals for the Democratic Gubernatorial nomination. Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown wants to offer half-day pre-K to all 4-year-olds statewide; Attorney General Doug Gansler wants to offer full-day pre-K to 4-year-olds from low-income families. Delegate Mizeur says she wants all 4-year-olds around the state to be eligible for full day pre-K programs… and wants to offer half-day pre-K to 3-year-olds, whose families make less than 70-thousand dollars-or-so a year. Mizeur says she also wants to expand funding and support for after-school programs. The Delegate’s proposal would cost about $280-million a year; she hasn’t said how she wants to pay for it, but does say she’s opposed to using revenues from casino gambling for that purpose. Brown and Gansler both want to use such revenues to fund their pre-K expansions. More here from the Baltimore Sun.
Lawsuit Filed Over Ethan Saylor’s Death: The Frederick County Sheriff's Office is being sued by the family of a man who died in police custody. Ethan Saylor died in January after he was restrained and forced to the ground at the Westview Regal Cinemas. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide, but a grand jury determined that no charges be filed against the three deputies involved in the incident. The 26-year-old Saylor had Down syndrome, and WJZ reports that his parents are suing under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Last month, Governor Martin O’Malley created a state commission designed to improve training for state employees whose jobs can require them to deal with people with disabilities. The Frederick News Post reports that the commission was created in response to Saylor’s death. There’s more here from the Baltimore Sun.
Before Construction Begins, Harbor Point Gets Environmental Scrutiny: WYPR's Fraser Smith and Tim Wheeler of the Baltimore Sun talk about the chromium contamination near the Harbor Point project in Baltimore, and what experts and regulators think about it. It’s this morning’s edition of Inside Maryland Politics.
Recent Rains Eliminate MD’s “Abnormally Dry” Conditions: Looks like last week's rain is paying off for Maryland. A new report from the U.S Drought Monitor shows the near-drought conditions have been wiped out. Just a week ago, 70-percent of the state was considered "abnormally dry." The Baltimore Sun reports that BWI Airport has now recorded more than 34-inches of rain this year, which is slightly more than average.
Fewer Free 411 Calls For Verizon Customers: Residential customers of Verizon Maryland are now allowed only two free 411 calls a month… that’s half of the four-call limit that had been in place until this month. The state Office of People's Counsel tells the Baltimore Sun that after the two free calls, the cost for directory assistance is $1.99 a call. A Verizon spokesperson says there are other directory assistance options including online searches. The People's Counsel says the charge doesn't apply to those with disabilities who can't use a directory.
Police Training Instructor Found Guilty Of Reckless Endangerment: A Baltimore police training instructor who shot and critically wounded a cadet during a training exercise has been found guilty of reckless endangerment. A Baltimore County jury yesterday convicted the instructor on that charge but found him not guilty of second degree assault in the shooting. The Baltimore Sun reports that a University of Maryland police recruit was hospitalized for months after the incident, and was left blind in one eye.
Baltimore Football: The Ravens hit the road this Sunday to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens are now 3-and-3 for the season, after last weekend’s loss to Green Bay. The Steelers won their first game of the season last weekend, and are 1-and-4. The two teams faced off twice last season, winning one game apiece.