Mon September 16, 2013
The Syria Compromise, Budget Battles In Congress, The Grand Prix, and Brown Makes It Official
What the diplomatic breakthrough on Syria means for Maryland's Congressional delegation… and at budget negotiations in Congress. Plus: the Grand Prix of Baltimore will not be held in 2014 of 2015, Brown becomes the first official 2014 gubernatorial candidate, and more.
Van Hollen On Syria: 8th District Congressman Chris Van Hollen says President Obama has the upper hand in negotiations with Russia over the removal and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons. Van Hollen’s comments came yesterday, in an appearance on Fox News Sunday.
What Syria Diplomacy Means For Maryland Congressional Delegation: WYPR's Fraser Smith and Andy Green of the Baltimore Sun talk about what the diplomatic breakthrough on Syria means for Maryland's Congressional delegation. It’s this morning’s edition of Inside Maryland Politics.
Budget Battles: Now that a deal over Syria’s chemical weapons has been reached, Congress is turning its focus to the budget. And speaking on Fox News Sunday, 8th District Congressman Chris Van Hollen said that Republicans are threatening to hold up the budget to defund the Affordable Care Act. On the same program, Georgia Republican Congressman Tom Price said that Democrats are stoking fears of a government shutdown. But Price deflected questions about whether he would vote to block bills that fund the healthcare law. Politico has more here.
Grand Prix Cancelation: If you missed the Grand Prix of Baltimore over Labor Day weekend… you may have missed it for good. The City and IndyCar Series announced Friday that the street racing festival has been canceled through 2015… and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says there are currently no talks about a 2016 Grand Prix. There’s more here from the Baltimore Business Journal and here from the Baltimore Sun.
Brown Makes It Official: Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown has become the first official candidate in the 2014 Governor’s race. The Washington Post reports that when Brown filed his paperwork with the State Board of Elections on Friday, Elections Administrator Linda Lamone joked “what took you so long?” The Democrat formally announced his candidacy back in May, but candidates for state office in Maryland don’t become official until they file their papers… and many gubernatorial candidates put off that filing until well after their declarations, because they need to have a lieutenant governor on their ticket to do so. Brown has named Howard County Executive Ken Ulman as his pick for lieutenant governor. Other Democrats in the 2014 gubernatorial race are Heather Mizeur, who’s declared her candidacy but not filed the papers, and Attorney General Doug Gansler, who says he’ll declare next week. Republicans who’ve declared but not filed include Harford County Executive David Craig, Anne Arundel County Delegate Ron George, and Charles County businessman Charles Lollar. Meanwhile, Larry Hogan, chairman of the conservative group Change Maryland, says he’s considering a gubernatorial bid of his own; he says he'll make a decision by the end of this year Back in May, one candidate DID file his papers to run as a Republican – Brian Vaeth. But as the Post notes, the person Vaeth named as his campaign treasurer is not registered to vote, as required, so the Board of Elections has put Vaeth’s candidacy on hold.
Will Daryl Jones Return To The AA County Council? The Anne Arundel Council will meet today for the first time since a court ruling on Councilman Daryl Jones, who was removed from office last year after being sent to federal prison. While he was away, the Council voted unanimously that he had given up his residency, and booted him from his post. But on Friday, On Friday of last week, an Anne Arundel Circuit Court Judge ruled that vote improper, saying that Jones never gave up his residency, and calling the bill that removed him from office null and void. Jones appears to want to return to office, but it’s unclear what will happen now. The man who currently holds Jones’s old seat, Councilman Pete Smith, said he would abide by a court order to reinstate Jones to his old post – but a county attorney notes that the court has not ordered the council to take any action. The Council will discuss the ramifications of the ruling tonight. The Baltimore Sun has more here.
City Council To Ban Cell Phone Sale Kiosks: The Baltimore City Council appears poised to ban automated kiosks where people can turn in their old cell phones and electronics for cash. Council members say the kiosks may encourage the theft of smartphones. At the moment, there are no such kiosks in Baltimore, but the Baltimore Sun reports that there are 16 located around the region, in places such as Owings Mills, Annapolis and Columbia. San Diego-based ecoATM is the company that makes the kiosks; it has said that less than 1 tenth of 1 percent of the devices it processes are stolen. But a compromise that would have let the machines run in Baltimore if they met the same reporting standards as pawn shops has been thrown out, and the Sun reports that an outright ban is likely to pass tonight.
Construction Season Continues: It's still construction season and drivers can expect a lot more backups around Baltimore for the next two and a half months. One project involves the JFX with only one lane open while repairs to the barrier are made near Guilford Avenue. The entrance ramp from Madison Street and Fallsway to northbound JFX is also closed for the next ten weeks. And BGE will be working downtown at Pratt and Light. WJZ has more here.
Stormwater Fee Discussions In AA County: Anne Arundel County residents can learn more about stormwater management fees at a series of town hall meetings starting this week. County Executive Laura Neuman says she is still getting questions about how they are assessed the fees that opponents have dubbed the "rain tax." The Anne Arundel Patch reports that the first meeting will take place tonight in Brooklyn Park… there’s another scheduled on September 26th and a third on October 2nd.
Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles took down the Toronto Blue Jays 3 to 1 in yesterday’s game. The O’s are 2 and a half games out of a playoff spot. The O’s have today off; they’ll go up against the Boston Red Sox tomorrow.
Baltimore Football: The Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns 14 to 6 in yesterday’s game. The Ravens will play against the Houston Texans next week.