Thursday, August 31, 2006

Flush Fee In Action

The Board of Public Works recently approved grants totaling $18.6 million for planning and design of improvements to the Patapsco and Back River plants. The plants are two of the most active in processing sewage for the Baltimore metro region, and the proposed upgrades will help prevent 7.5 million pounds nitrogen from entering the Bay annually. The funds for the projects will come from the $76 million already collected by the $30/year fee.


District 30, 32, & 33A House Profiles

Today's Capital includes a profile of the District 30 House, District 32 House, and District 33A House races. District 30 includes Annapolis and parts of South County. District 32 includes Glen Burnie and parts of North County, while 33A includes Crofton and parts of West County.


Washington Post Voter Guide

It's available here, and has a wealth of information. Remember, Primary Day is September 12th.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Capital Coverage Galore

Today's Capital is chock full of articles of import. Coverage of the often undercovered District 21 Senate and House races.

Coverage of the District 31 Senate and House.

New growth continues on without the adequate infrastructure.

Councilman Ed Reilly throws a wrench into the effort for a land swap at Lee Airport.

Coverage of the Riverkeepers' County Executive Forum at Annapolis High School.


District 6 Profile

Today's Sun also profiles the Democratic side of the District 6 race for County Council. Candidates Classie Gillis Hoyle, Josh Cohen, and Phil Dales are profiled.


District 4 Profile

Today's Sun profiles the campaigns of the 4 Democrats and 2 Republicans running to represent District 4, which includes West Anne Arundel, on the County Council. The 4 Democrats are: Jamie Benoit, Andrew C. Pruski, Devin Tucker, and Walter K. Moody, and the 2 Republicans are: Sib Saab and David A. Tibbetts.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Riverkeeper County Executive Forum

If you haven't had enough of them already, tonight is your opportunity to go back for a second helping. Several environmental organizations, including the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, the Chesapeake Environmental Protection Association, the South River Federation, the Severn River Association, and the West/Rhode Riverkeeper are sponsoring the County Executive debate that will be held this evening at Annapolis High School (2700 Riva Road) at 7pm. Should be a good chance to separate the rockfish from the guppies.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sheriff Candidate Profiles

Sunday's Sun profiles the Republican candidates for Sheriff, John E. Moran IV and Wally Campbell. Democrat Ron Bateman is unopposed in the primary.

Capital coverage.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Wal-Mart in the Wetlands

Friday's Sun reports that, in response to citizen outcry, the Maryland Department of the Environment is going to hold a public hearing on the wetlands filling license that has been applied for by the developer looking to put a Wal-Mart in the wetlands of the Little Patuxent River. The mounting public opposition has also caused Wal-Mart to offer to scale back the size of its store by 20%. Traffic concerns remain a major issue among opponents of the project.

Once the date of the hearing becomes available, I will post it here.

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Executive Forum Wrap-Up

On Thursday night, all seven candidates for County Executive took to the stage, and the airwaves, for the Political Forum at AACC. The event was very thorough, and well worth watching for anyone concerned about the future of Anne Arundel County. Sun coverage is here , the Capital coverage was Friday as well.

If you missed it the first time, you can catch the re-runs of the debate at the following times on Comcast channel 95.

  • Saturday 8/26 at 10 p.m.
  • Sunday 8/27 at 1 and 6 p.m.
  • Sept. 2 at 10 p.m.
  • Sept. 3 at 1 and 6 p.m.


  • District 1 Profile

    On Friday, the Sun ran its profiles of the Democrats running for the District 1 County Council seat. The two Democratic candidates running are Rik Forgo and Daryl Jones.


    Wednesday, August 23, 2006

    Callahan Gets Desperate

    Two and a half weeks before the primary election, Dennis Callahan (D) has decided to fire the opening salvo against his Democratic opponent for the County Executive spot, George Johnson. Callahan, who has been difficult to find on the campaign trail seems to have finally gotten a clue that he's not polling particularly well among the electorate. And, he's decided to start throwing mud at the Sheriff in the hope that some will stick.

    Callahan's claim: There are between 11,000 and 11,500 unserved warrants.

    Johnson's response: The backlog of unserved warrants was 14,000 when I took over the task of serving them from county police in 1998. I've cut that number while dealing with between 600 and 1,200 new warrants a month, all with limited staff.

    Callahan's claim: The Baltimore County Sheriff's Office has only 2,600 unserved warrants.

    Johnson's response: In Baltimore County, the Police Department serves criminal warrants. The Police Department has 8,580 unserved warrants. [Total warrants: 11,180]

    Callahan's claim: 94 people have left the Sherrif's Department since 2001.

    Johnson's response: The high turnover is a result of pay and benefits that lag behind the county Police Department.

    Callahan's claim: There was a recent murder sentencing in which the shooter had an unserved arrest warrant at the time of the killing.

    Johnson's response: That warrant was from the city of Annapolis and is held by city police, not the Sheriff's Department.

    These are the charges of a desperate politician, and his lax research skills don't speak particularly well to his ability to handle the mental rigors of the County's highest office.

    My sense is, that on September 13th, Mr. Callahan may finally begin to get a clue that his arrogance, his short-sightedness, and the long list of people he has put off, first as Mayor, and then as Head of the Department of Parks and Recreation has caught up with him. Such an election-day epiphany might well be worth the effort it took to run a half-gassed campaign.

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    Friday, August 18, 2006

    And So It Begins

    According to today's Sun, an Annapolis developer is planning 1,600 homes for an undeveloped 300-acre tract that abuts the Patuxent Research Refuge. John Stamato, owner of Ribera Development, wants to put a mixed use, commercial and residential project, on the land, which is currently zoned industrial. Stamato offered, "What we are anxious to do is sit down with residents and do a good project that meets the needs [of] BRAC and provide a town center."

    Isn't the ill-conceived "Odenton Town Center" supposed to be the regional town center in the area? Is this the new meme that we can expect developers to trot out, that every new development with housing, a Jiffy Lube, and Wendy's is a "Town Center?"

    Good aspects of the proposed plan? Apparently 10 percent of the homes would be set aside as affordable, "workforce housing." Of course, if our County Council and Executive had any will to face up to their development puppetmasters, such requirements would have been the law of the land years ago.

    Interestingly, it looks like the Executive has decided to put this one on the plate of the next in line. "I would recommend not introducing any project or any massive change in zoning at this time," said Owens. Of course not. It would indeed be hard to fend off the "Queen of Sprawl" accusations from opponents for the Comptroller seat with 1,600 additional homes under one's belt.

    Gem of the day: "Stamato is being assisted by Bob DiPietro, Owens' former chief of staff who is serving as the spokesman for her state comptroller campaign."

    Where is Ribera/Stamato spreading money around?

    George Johnson (Candidate - County Exec) $500
    David Boschert (Candidate - County Exec) $1000
    Pam Beidle (District 1) $500
    Ed Middlebrooks (District 2) $400
    Ron Dillon (District 3) $1500
    James Benoit (Candidate - District 4) $500
    Cathy Vitale (District 5) $500

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    Thursday, August 17, 2006

    Show Me the Money

    The Capital and Sun both have articles on the latest fundraising reports filed by the County Executive candidates, but if you want to have some real fun, take a look for yourself at the Maryland Voter Information Clearinghouse, run by UMBC (with data filed from the State Board of Elections). See who has got his or her hooks into your favorite candidate for County Council, or which Senate candidate has the broadest base of support. I think you'll be surprised at how the same names come up over and over again.

    The money on hand for each of the Exec. candidates is below:

    George Johnson - $514,300
    John Leopold - $412,000 (he has lent himself $200,000)
    David Boschert - $302,000 (he has lent himself $240,000)
    Dennis Callahan - $25,474
    Tom Angelis - $15,977
    Greg Nourse - $8,000
    Phil Bissett - $15,951

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    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    Growth is The Issue

    Last night was a victory for public involvement. As the Capital reports, in both Lothian and Crofton, county residents made it clear that they are fed up with uncontrolled growth.


    Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    Leader of the Pack

    Today's Capital reports that County Executive candidate, George Johnson, put forth his environmental program in a press conference in Annapolis this morning. The Sheriff re-affirmed his support for the stormwater utility fee and offered his intention to create the position of environmental ombudsman in his office.

    The Capital article quotes each of Johnson's Democratic and Republican opponents, but I think Republican Tom Angelis said it best: "I don't think any one of the seven of us would deny this something necessary to be done." You know what Tom, I don't think so either. I think anyone with a functioning cortex realizes the scale of the problem, making it all the more pathetic that every other one of the County Executive candidates wants to dance around the problem, proposing "creative" (read "imaginary") solutions, or none at all (see Phil Bissett).

    Some may think Johnson is putting himself out on a limb, after all his craven opponent in the Democratic primary, Dennis Callahan, is calling the Restoration Fund a "property tax", even after the Office of the Attorney General issued a decision to the contrary. The truth is, effective leaders do what they need to in order to get the job done, and leave the mealy-mouthed whiners wondering in confusion after the election's dust has cleared.


    Purple Line Passion

    The Post's Dr. Gridlock gives his take on recent efforts to push for the Metro Purple Line, which would link Bethesda to New Carrollton.


    Saturday, August 12, 2006

    Another Flare Up

    It's been some time since I added the first tiny blaze to the masthead map. Crofton has been under siege in one form or another for quite awhile. Originally, it was sand and gravel pits being swapped for public services. Now, the Route 3 corridor is slated to be developed like the Las Vegas strip. And, instead of holding his ground on the Route 3 moratorium, Councilman Ed Reilly has flip flopped and now opposes such a move.

    To make matters worse, it appears he has been shopping developers around the County looking for fertile ground. The latest targets? A Wal Mart looking to plop down in the wetlands of the Little Patuxent in Crofton, and a big box monstrosity planned for Wayson's Corner. Ed's campaign donor, Walt Petrie, has his sights set on 27 forested acres in rural Lothian. This Tuesday is your big chance to tell Big Ed, Mr. Berkshire and Mr. Petrie to take their plans somewhere else. Somewhere far away, preferably.

  • In Crofton, it will be Candidate's Night. The event will be held at 7pm at the Village Commons Community Center.

  • There will also be a public hearing on the proposed big box development in Lothian at the Wayson's Corner Bingo at 7pm.


  • Thursday, August 10, 2006

    Restoring Our Waterways

    Today's Post has good piece explaining the proposed Anne Arundel County Watershed Restoration Fund. In this election year, support for the fund, which would raise $36 million a year for the dedicated purpose of stream restoration and storm drainage projects is the local environmental issue facing county executive and county council candidates, as well the public-at-large.

    The County is currently spending about $9 million a year on the maintenance and creation of stormwater infrastructure, and it still has a several hundred million dollar backlog. As with school maintenance, if we ever hope to get out of the hole that we're digging, we need to get serious about funding our ongoing needs. The current Council and Executive, with the exception of Pam Beidle (District 1) and Barbara Samorajczyk (District 6) have failed to exercise the leadership necessary to make these improvements occur. Let's hope the next Executive and Council don't show the same lack of will.

    As of this post, only one County Executive candidate, George Johnson, has come out fully in support of the fund. Several County Council candidates, including Rik Forgo (District 1), Jamie Benoit (District 4), Devin Tucker (District 4), A.J. "Tito" Baca (District 5), Josh Cohen (District 6), Phil Dales (District 6), and Robert Tufts (District 7) have come out in support of the $5/month fee [If there are others, please send me an e-mail].

    [One correction in the Post piece: The article states, "Businesses would pay a proportionate amount. Coalition leaders are hoping a newly elected council this fall would determine the best way to raise the money. An increase in property tax is one possibility." In fact, a property tax increase is not a possibility, as the tax cap would prevent that from happening. The most likely option is an additional utility fee, like many county residents currently pay for water, wastewater, and trash.]

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    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    Important Upcoming Election Dates

  • Tuesday, August 22 - Voter Registration Closes
  • Tuesday, September 12 - Primary Election
  • Monday, September 25 - Voter Registration Reopens
  • Tuesday, October 17 - Voter Registration Closes
  • Tuesday, November 7 - General Election


  • Tuesday, August 08, 2006

    Fouling Our Waterways

    According to a recent report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, several Maryland beaches have had repeated violations for high bacteria accounts. The Post coverage mentions:

    Maryland's dirtiest beaches, according to the report figures, include Town Point at Arkhaven, Severn Grove and Annapolis Landing in Anne Arundel County; Lusby in Calvert County; Chester River Yacht and Country Club, Bogles Wharf and Kinnards Point in Kent County; and St. Clement Shores community beach, Wicomico Shores and the Golden Beach community beach, boat ramp and small beach in St. Mary's County.

    Both the Severn and South Riverkeepers are quoted in the story, each expressing little surprise at the report's findings.

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