Let us return to Baltimore City for this week's "Waste of the Week" where we talk about where Senator Verna Jones-Rodwell (D) is proposing $100,000 in new debt to help out the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion in SB968.
The Garrett-Jacobs Mansion is a historic building in Baltimore City built in the nineteenth century. It is a beautiful older building, but it seems Senator Jones-Rodwell always wants to send them money. In 2011, I saw Jones-Rodwell wanted $500,000 to help the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion, in fact it was a "Waste of the Week" then. In 2011, the Senate / House merged their bond bills together into one super waste of money. Jones-Rodwell's $500,000 was dropped to $25,000. Apparently funding this old building was not a priority then. It should not be a priority now.
This $100,000 is to help improve safety at the mansion. I have this to say to Senator Jones-Rodwell - donate to the building yourself. Become a "Tiffany Friend" of the Garrett-Jacobs house and donate your time and treasure. Stop trying to steal money from my children's future which we currently do not have in order to buy yourself some votes in Baltimore City. That's all a bond bill is - it's a means to buy votes through money to local projects. That's what pork is. That's wrong and we need to stop it.
Each week I will continue call upon conservatives in Maryland General Assembly to push a moratorium on new state debt. Be bold, be unafraid, be different than the opposition. If you're not, then what's the point in anyone considering voting for you over them.
For that set of reasons and the ridiculous amount of debt our state continues to carry, SB968 is Old Line Elephant's "Waste of the Week."
Congratulations the Senator Jones-Rodwell for trying to put the state a $100,000 further in debt to gain votes in Baltimore City!
Feel free to submit your suggestions in the comments section of wasteful spending in Maryland.
Been a week since we've discussed random news, so here we go:
- Wired prepared an incredibly detailed analysis of the Battle of Hoth from the Empire Strikes Back. They also offer suggestions as to how the Empire could have won and, frankly, should have completely destroyed the Rebellion in a route in this battle.
- Tonight as Rand Paul and Marco Rubio offer different responses to Obama's State of the Union address note - this may be a prelude to 2016.
- Governor Tom Corbett (R-PA) is proposing to privatize the sale of liquor in Pennsylvania. I say - good. Selling people alcohol is not the job of the state and I think this is long overdue.
- 2012 US Senate candidate Dan Bongino has decided against throwing his hat in the ring for the open Anne Arundel County Executive post or for MD GOP Chair. I'm disappointed, but as Michael Schwartz of monoblogue points out, it's not super surprising and may be his best option at the moment.
- On the flip side, former First Lady Kendel Ehrlich is definitely interested in running for the now open Anne Arundel County Executive. This will be her first bid for public office, looking to get the appointed role. Not sure if she gets it, if she'll run for a full term.
- Orson Scott Card, the author of the excellent Ender's Game, was tapped by DC Comics to write Superman. Some gay marriage advocates have a problem with this as Card is a practicing Mormon who believes in traditional marriage and has said so publicly. What misdirected anger.
- There are people like myself who tossed out the name of Red Maryland editor and MD Young Republican Chair Brian Griffiths to fill the open County Executive post, but he's currently running an aggressive campaign for National Young Republicans Chair, so this may all just be me randomly speculating...which is fun to do.
- Mitch McConnell is saying no to tax hikes and seems to be standing firm. Let's hope he really does.
- A brief note on Ray Lewis - detective Ken Allen who investigated the murders in Atlanta in 2000 said he never felt Ray Lewis should have been indicted for murder, never believed him to be the murderer, and felt those involved were star-struck trying to use Lewis as a symbol.
- Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore City offered some "bold reforms" to fix their awful financial state. What do these include? Requiring more city workers to contribute to their pensions, longer hours for firefighters, shifting new city hires to a 401K style system instead of a pension, increased tax collection fees, and cutting the city workforce by 10% over time. Not sure the timeframe on the last one. There is much to like and much to dislike from the plan, but I'm impressed that the plan included some semblance of pension reform. It's something we sorely need statewide too. It's, quite honestly, a lot bolder than I expected.
- Pope Benedict XVI has announced his retirement at the end of this month citing his age and declining health. It's admirable for a man to be willing to accept the weakness of his flesh leading to his inability to complete his job. I commend his humility in that regard. Marie at Catholic Coffee Talk has more on that as well. Pray for our Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ right now through this time. Also, expect wild speculation from the press on who the next Pope will be and what the next Pope should do.
Any news I've missed? Probably. Feel free to comment or add links you find interesting below.
It's been a while since I put a news roundup together, so here's some news.
- Baltimore City is heading toward financial ruin. Seriously, an outside accounting agency proved it recently. Baltimore City better be ready to be facing days of lean and better be ready to make serious decisions about spending / taxes or it really will hit financial ruin.
- In Baltimore County, attempts to petition complex zoning changes onto the ballot were blocked by the courts. Baltimore County has a much higher burden to overcome in order to petition things onto the ballot than the state. The Courts said that in order to make the ballot signatures valid, they needed to attach all 70+ pages of maps to go with the zoning changes and have every signer review them...which at its face is preposterous.
- Red Maryland still has a new 2014 poll open until tomorrow. Vote.
- Race42016 has the most obvious headline ever - Rand Paul is thinking of running for President. It's also a video of Rand Paul saying just that.
- Two Delegates of opposing parties [Sheila Hixson (D) and Michael Smigiel (R)] have put together competing proposals to cut the sales tax for the purchase of text books. Smigiel wants it year round, Hixson only wants it for part of the year. I mean - it's a gimmick, but it's also an attempt to get students to buy their books locally instead of via Amazon or other online booksellers. The problem? The online booksellers may still end up being cheaper and with free shipping as some offer, it's hard not to buy books online. It's a nice idea, but I don't know if it'll actually help.
- I apparently missed this video around Christmas, but the filming of the new Bible mini-series the History Channel is putting together looks very good.
- In August, regular USPS deliveries on Saturday will end. It's one of many cost cutting measures the USPS needs to do if it wants to remain...well, solvent.
- Delegate Dereck Davis (D) has proposed a pretty big type of "reform" for the Comptroller's office in HB660. The bill would strip the Comptroller's office of a number of its duties, specifically with regard to alcohol, tobacco, and motor fuel and put those responsibilities on an appointed member of the Governor's cabinet. In essence, the bill would strip the Comptroller of power and create a stronger Governor's office. This is a power grab plain and simple and needs to be opposed. Davis is trying to move powers away from Franchot, who has not been sympathetic to Davis' support of expanding gambling, etc - and put it into the hands of someone who supports said measures (O'Malley). I think Franchot is a liberal and I voted for Campbell for the position in 2010; that said, I do not think we need to entirely change the office because I disagree with the person serving in the position. This is a retaliatory move, plain and simple. Oppose HB660.
- Ben Howe of Red State has some reasonable comments on 2012 and Rove's new Super PAC entitled, "It's the Messaging Stupid." Yes, it's more reasonable than the title suggests.
- Dave Miller of SBC Voices wrote a thoughtful piece entitled, "I Disagree with the Baptist Faith & Message: Does it Matter?" I tend to agree with him, so check it out.
- Ron Paul made an awful comment about a recently murdered Navy SEAL veteran, Misfit Politics responds with "We've Had Enough Ron." I've had enough of him for years, but this needed to be said.
- Monopoly lovers - the newest piece has been revealed: it's a cat. The iron has been retired and the cat has replaced it. I voted for the mustachioed robot.
Any news I missed? Feel free to let me know. I'll end with Lecrae's "Death Story" - a hip hop track reminding us the simple truth - we all need Jesus:
Been a few weeks since I've rounded up the news. First, let me say congratulations to President Obama on the beginning of his second term. I disagree with him, but plan to be praying the Lord provides him the guidance he needs as he leads us. Second...let's get into the news items:
- On the waste front, I've done 3 "Waste of the Week" pieces so far - you should read them all. Here's my most recent.
- The O'Malley (D-MD) administration violated procurement laws in an attempt to strong arm things in Baltimore City. Red Maryland has more on it here.
- Solving all other problems, Governor Martin O'Malley (D) wants to curb second amendment rights in Maryland. Police say upwards of 400 marched on Annapolis to protest the potential infringement.
- Katy Perry performed at a children's inaugural event. Some found her attire inappropriate. I find the fact that a woman who's music is predominantly about sex would be selected to sing at a children's event to be inappropriate.
- In light of the President's reelection, Erick Erickson of Red State calls for conservatives to be the loyal opposition / happy warriors. I tend to agree with him.
- The Ravens are going to the Super Bowl, or as my wife likes to call it the Sup-Har-Bowl, as the two head coaches are the Harbaugh brothers. So, I'll be excited or super annoyed post-Super Bowl. Either way, let's rock this thing.
- What US Governor has 60% of his staff being female with 2/3 of higher level staffers who are making decisions being ladies? None other than Texas Governor Rick Perry (R). Which is interesting, considering President Obama pays women staffers less and does not have close to that percentage of high level female staffers.
- Breeanne Howe at Freedomworks wrote a piece on state income taxes. Bottom Lines: States without them are doing better than states which have them. Good to know.
- Associate Professor Denny Burk of Boyce College wrote a piece on homosexuality and sin, very brief, entitled, "Gay and Straight in the Image of God." I wrote a piece echoing a similar sentiment last week.
- In Wisconsin, a federal appeals court upheld the public sector union reforms of Governor Scott Walker (R). Walker continues to be my hero.
Thoughts? Comments on the news or items I missed? Feel free to comment.
Image via Colorants History
Last week we were in Caroline County with vote buying by Senator Coburn. This week, we travel closer to my home in Baltimore City for some vote purchasing by failed 2011 Mayoral candidate Senator Pugh (D). Here we have SB154 to stabilize the Roland Park Water Tower.
The Roland Park Water Tower was built in the early 1900s to do exactly what the name suggests, store water. In the 1930s, when the municipal water supply in Baltimore City changes it stopped being used. Since then, this old tower has pretty much just been sitting there doing nothing. In 2009, it was closed down to the public to prevent the public from being injured by falling debris - that's how poor a shape this tower is in.
Senator Pugh wants to put the state into new debt to the tune of $250,000 to help stabilize this structure. I say no. Until we have dealt with the $1 billion structural deficit, we should not be borrowing another dime. Stabilizing this water tower may be beneficial for the community - but so could tearing it down. This is a job for Baltimore City to deal with, not the entire state of Maryland. And if locals want to preserve the building - they will. They can donate to the local charity trying to preserve the structure. And if Senator Pugh really believes in this collapsing structure, why doesn't she fundraise for that instead of spending her time during off-years to try to run a quixotic bid to remove the incumbent Mayor of Baltimore City in a primary. I'm sure the funds she raised for that failed campaign (and she did fail, by a large margin) would have helped this charity that she seems to want to help so much. Instead, she's trying to use our money...money that we don't have, so have to borrow, to pay them. It's asinine.
For that set of reasons and the obvious ridiculous amount of debt our state continues to carry, SB154 is Old Line Elephant's "Waste of the Week."
Congratulations to Senator Pugh for wanting to put the state $250,000 in further debt to gain votes in Baltimore City!
Feel free to submit your suggestions in the comments section of wasteful spending in Maryland.