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Sunday, February 09, 2014

Field Notes By Delegate Michael A. McDermott Week 5 February 3-7, 2014

Observations and Reflections on Legislative Activities

Monday Evening Session:
Of the Senate bills that crossed over, two stood out:
SB-6 would require certain certifications for mechanics performing preventative maintenance on automobiles.
SB-77 would increase the exemptions for certain farm vehicles as it relates to vehicle inspections.

Tuesday Morning Session:
Senate Bills on First Reader (two bills sent to House Rules which generally correct clerical errors in previous legislation.)
Tuesday Afternoon Judiciary Hearings:
HB-81 would restrict anyone from bringing a “telecommunications device” into a place of confinement and would expand the definition of a contraband device to include chargers, SIM cards, etc. The first offense would be a misdemeanor and a second or subsequent would be a felony.
HB-84 like some of the other bills heard today, this one would ban cell phones being introduced into a correctional facility, but it also goes further and identifies any contraband under the same restrictions and prohibitions.
HB-159 would also restrict telecommunications devices as several other bills heard today. Based upon testimony and questions, HB-81 seems to address more of the specific issues and concerns that folks had about the cell phones in our prisons.
HB-173 would permit the Department of Corrections to polygraph employees as a condition of employment. Surprisingly, the state is prohibited from utilizing this as a tool to insure that employees are not engaging in any inappropriate manner. There were many questions on this proposed change. The correctional officers union does not support the expansion  of the use of polygraphs.
HB-174 would change the name of the Internal Investigative Unit and would define who the unit reports to within the agency.
HB-175 would make it a misdemeanor for a person to “deliver” a telecommunication device to an inmate if signs are posted stating that such action is prohibited. This bill is one of several being offered in response to the Baltimore City Jail fiasco. This particular bill would only make the crime a misdemeanor.
HB-289 would severely restrict the use of automatic license plate readers by law enforcement and would also restrict law enforcement dissemination of the information captured.
HB-294 is referred to as “Christopher’s Law” and it seeks to mandate certain law enforcement training specifically dealing with the recertification on CPR techniques. It would also mandate regular use of force and sensitivity training for law enforcement.
HB-364 would allow the office of the State Prosecutor to provide qualified immunity to a witness in order to compel testimony. This is a tool that the State’s Attorneys have as well as the Attorney General’s office but the State Prosecutor is not included on the list of those who can grant immunity for testimony.
My Bill Hearings Tuesday Afternoon:
HB-75 was heard in the Ways and Means Committee. My bill would exempt the first  I $50,000 of any Marylanders retirement income from  State Income Tax. I shared with the committee members of the significant migration of our people and their money which is proving devastating to our economy. Maryland has lost close to 70,000 folks in the past ten years along with their $5.5 billion in earnings. Many states have moved to retain their seniors and attract others in their later years by cutting or eliminating income taxes, and eliminating other inheritance related taxes (like death and estate). Maryland is currently classified as the “worst state in which to die” if you want to pass on anything to your children. I explained that this is just one part in a plan to move Maryland toward greater prosperity.
HB-218 as amended, this bill would allow any state worker (who have all been forced to join the union) to opt out of paying the union their service fee and, instead, pay the equivalent amount to any registered non-profit organization of their choosing. Current law allows for a “religious exemption” in order to do the same thing. The process of receiving this type of exemption  is convoluted and this bill would simply recognize that anyone, for any reason, can  have their money go toward a non-profit as opposed to going to the union (that uses the money to support the democrat machine politics that is Annapolis).  Getting the democrats to vote against their own custom made slush fund is beyond wishful thinking, but shameful things like this need to be exposed and I hope the folks are paying attention. This bill was heard in Appropriations, so let’s see if Chairman Conway puts it up for a vote and then we can see where delegates stand on the issue.
HB-234 was heard in Judiciary. It would allow a person who makes a bomb threat to be charged in the jurisdiction where the alleged bomb or destructive device was rumored or said to be placed. With cellular communications and computers, it can be difficult to know exactly where a bad guy was located when he made such a threat. Current law requires a person to be charged in the jurisdiction where they conveyed the threat. I was able to get this bill out of the House last year, but it failed to move in the Senate.
Wednesday Morning Session
Senate and House Bills on First Reader
There were several bills from the House Economic Matters Committee which were on 2nd Reader. There was no debate on any of these bills as most were simple administrative changes to the law.
Wednesday Afternoon Judiciary Hearings:
HB-108 would create many new and increased fees applied to cases filed in the Court of Appeals Court of Special Appeals, and the various Circuit Courts. The money collected will be utilized to bring the courts into the digital age. There will be a significant increase in public accessibility of records and electronic filing of documents and requests will become common place. Case files will also be available online for viewing. The printing costs are simply going to be handed down to the local level where they will have to be absorbed by the Sheriffs and their respective counties.
HB-345 would alter the statute pertaining to Certificates of Merit involving court action/claims that are filed against licensed design professionals when a negligent act is alleged. It would require someone who wants to file a claim to have the work reviewed by a “qualified expert” licensed in Maryland who agrees with the complaint filed before the matter could go forward. It was brought up that it may be difficult to find an expert in Maryland who would be willing to testify against another fellow design professional (engineer, etc.).
HB-376 would make it illegal to sell any vehicle that it is illegal to operate in Baltimore City. It was said that they have a big problem with people operating “dirt bikes” within the city limits. I raised the issue of 4-wheelers while Delegate Kelly asked about folks who have a bike they want to ride out in the county. This type of transportation is said to be a big problem in the city, but this seems to be a very restrictive approach to address the problem. This is another bill that will take away liberty from Marylanders.
HB-385 would expand the coverage under law for many folks who would be considered “bloggers” as to their ability to protect information or sources. In essence, it would provide certain protections that traditional media currently utilize. There was an interesting discussion on the issue with some of the media representatives on the panel and it highlighted the different direction being taken by traditional media outlets.
HB-386 would assess points on a Maryland Driver’s License for anyone caught and convicted of littering in Baltimore City.
HB-395 would redefine some of the definitions concerning certain providers of medical care.
Thursday Morning Session:
Senate and House Bills on First Reader

Thursday Afternoon Judiciary Committee Hearings:
HB-120 is an administration bill which would create additional judgeships in the state. None of those positions is on the Eastern Shore (although a position was added last year). It was stated that this would cut back on the number of hours that retired judges are utilized in these jurisdictions.
HB-315 would grant juvenile status to illegal aliens to the age of 21 for those who claim abused, neglected, or abandoned status in this country. Currently, those here illegally who are under 18 years of age can apply for permanent residency if they show that they suffer, or would suffer from abuse or neglect if they were sent back to their country of origin or that they have been abandoned in this country by a parent or guardian. There were many questions about this system as it seems ripe for abuse by those seeking residency in the United States.
Currently, New York is the only state to have extended juvenile status to those that fall into this category. The committee did not seem convinced that this was a good idea.
HB-383 would change the required age for babysitters. Currently, one must be at least 13 years of age to watch other children. This bill would require one to be at least 15 in order to babysit a child under the age of 3. I think the bill is well intended, but I saw reluctance to change the law by other committee members. There are often tragic events that produce bills such as this one, but most of the time such events are the exception to the rule.
HB-407 would limit the ability of the state to detain any juvenile under the age of 12 for a crime unless the charge was: 1st Deg. Murder/Attempted Murder, 1st Deg. Rape, or 1st Deg. Sex Offense. There were many questions about the logic of releasing an 11 year old who has committed an Armed Robbery (or other violent crime) back into the community under certain circumstances. Our urban areas of the state are dealing with younger violent offenders and many on the committee do not want the ability of the courts to confine someone who represents a violent threat simply because the law would demand their release. An 11-year old who sticks a gun in a clerks face and takes the cash receipts is no longer a “child” and they did not arrive their overnight. I felt this was not simply a bad bill but a dangerous one as well.

Friday Morning Eastern Shore Delegation Meeting:
We met with Secretary of Agriculture Buddy Hance and heard a brief presentation. He indicated that a thorough economic impact study was under way on the PMT regulations and should be accomplished by summer. Frankly, this seems to be a moot point. Although there has been a lot of bloviating on this issue, the administration has made it clear they are moving forward with these regulations before the end of 2014. I heard nothing from Secretary Hance that alleviated those concerns. The secretary really did not have that much to say. He referenced some other programs and talked about the success of our cover crops; and he responded to several questions regarding the PMT and the governor’s comments the previous evening at an agriculture dinner which disparaged DPI Executive Director Bill Satterfield. The delegation demanded an apology from the governor for those comments.

The Delmarva Poultry Industry (DPI) was also on hand and made a presentation. They expressed their concerns over the proposed “Chicken Tax” and said they were pleased to hear the governor say he would veto such a bill if it passed. The regulatory environment of Maryland was mentioned regarding the growth of the industry on the shore. The growth of the industry in Delaware and Virginia continues while Maryland declines. We discussed the effect that even proposed regulations have on an industry when an uncertain future is on the horizon.

We also had a brief presentation from LEAD Maryland Foundation by Dale Brown and Wendell Meekins. This is a leadership training institute that many in the agriculture industry have attended and there were many members present in the audience from the foundation.

Many Eastern Shore Mayors attended the meeting as a part of their winter conference. It was nice to see Pocomoke City Mayor Bruce Morrison, Berlin Mayor Gee Williams, and Crisfield Mayor P.J. Purnell. They were led by Delmar Mayor Carl Anderton who is also the President of the Maryland Municipal League. I asked the mayor’s their top budget priority and they all stated the restoration of Highway User Funds. Since the state stripped away 90% of that money, all of our local governments are suffering mightily from the loss. Delegate Conway took the opportunity to kid with me about voting for his budget if those funds were restored and I told him it all depended upon where he came up with the money. The proposed budget by the governor includes a $1.8 billion dollar increase in spending and I am quite certain I could never vote for that type of increase.

Friday Morning Session:
House and Senate Bills on First Reader
Here are the bills that passed on Third Reader.
Third Reading Passed (133-0)
Third Reading Passed (133-0)
Third Reading Passed (132-0)
Third Reading Passed (129-3)
Third Reading Passed (132-0)
Third Reading Passed (131-0)
Third Reading Passed (130-1)

Saturday Morning Meeting with Wicomico County Council and Executive:
We met again with Executive Pollitt and the County Council to hear an update on their budget and for them to share their concerns. The news was bleak for the most part. Wicomico County is simply not recovering from the recession at anywhere near the pace of other jurisdictions. This is clearly being driven by the jobs market, which has been very poor. Maryland policies are not helping the Eastern Shore, and specifically Wicomico County. As our hub of business and industry, we need Wicomico to prosper and that is simply not happening. There have been some efforts at the local level to address some tax issues and concerns, but they simply pale in comparison to enormous burden from the state that we must shoulder. This does not even take into account other crush factors like Obamacare that will impact all of us by the end of this year in a significant way; nor does it take into account the blow that the new Phosphorus regulations will have on our agricultural base. My Democratic colleagues from the Eastern Shore have gone along with the O’Malley administration on their spending and their jobs plan; and all of it has been a miserable failure with the shore suffering the most. We must change the way we think, and our current leadership is not getting the job done in Annapolis.

When you find yourself at a table celebrating jobs from one company that were announced 2-years ago that have yet to happen, it’s time to take a hard look in the mirror.

JUST IN: Fire At Salisbury University

Eastern Shore Fire/EMS/Police Breaking News

Wicomico/Salisbury stations 1 and 16, Fruitland, and Allen for a tanker alerted structure fire Salisbury University in the commons building/ ESBN-23

Eastern Shore Fire/EMS/Police Breaking News Clothes on fire in a dryer, it has been extinguished-23 

See larger Photos HERE

Woman Breastfeeds Puppy

Teen Heroin Use Exploding In Suburbs

New York (CNN) -- The first time Chris shot up heroin, he was too scared to do it himself. So his friend did it for him -- when he was 16. "I would shoot up mostly in my feet," he said. "It escalated to almost five or six bags every time I shot up."

He spent hundreds of dollars a day feeding his addiction. "I was stealing money from my parents, I was doing illegal actions with my friends, I broke into houses, I've done all of the above besides selling myself."


‘Hypocrisy Much?!’: What Leaders of N.C. Rally Against Stricter Voter I.D. Laws Tell Marchers to Carry Just Might Make Your Head Explode

You have to wonder how many among the thousands who participated in Saturday’s “Moral March on Raleigh” in North Carolina, angry with GOP policies approved in 2013 — including a stricter voter I.D. law — heeded one peculiar warning from march organizers:

Bring a photo I.D. to the march.

A downloadable PDF explaining “Important Do’s and Don’t's for Marchers!!!” includes this tidbit: ”DO bring photo identification (driver’s license, passport or other valid photo id) with you and keep it on your person at all times.”


POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y.--Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik says he cut ties with Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) when he realized MAIG's ultimate goal was "to promote confiscation of guns from law-abiding citizens."

Spelling out his views in a February 5th op-ed, Tkazyik wrote:
I'm Mayor of one of the largest cities in the Hudson Valley, just 90 minutes north of New York City. I'm a life member of the National Rifle Association and a former member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, or MAIG, started by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2006.

I'm no longer a member of MAIG. Why? Just as Ronald Reagan said of the Democrat Party, it left me. And I'm not alone: Nearly 50 pro-Second Amendment mayors have left the organization. They left for the same reason I did. MAIG became a vehicle for Bloomberg to promote his personal gun-control agenda--violating the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens and taking resources away from initiatives that could actually work to protect our neighborhoods and save some precious lives


Feds Expand Same-Sex Marriage Privileges

In a watershed moment for gay rights, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. will set into motion new measures that will expand same-sex marriage privileges in all federal courtrooms. The new policies aim to eliminate legal distinctions between traditional marriages and same-sex marriages.

In prepared remarks for a speech that he will deliver on Saturday night at a gay rights dinner in New York City, Holder will announce: “In every courthouse, in every proceeding and in every place where a member of the Department of Justice stands on behalf of the United States, they will strive to ensure that same-sex marriages receive the same privileges, protections and rights as opposite-sex marriages.”


Columbia Bank Is Closing 5 Maryland Branches

Columbia Bank has told state banking officials it will close five branches in Maryland, including two in Howard County and one in Baltimore County.

Columbia Bank notified the state Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation that the branches will close April 11. The closings are among 14 locations Columbia’s parent, Fulton Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: FULT), has said it would close in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland.


Michael Jackson Estate Targeted By IRS

The Michael Jackson Estate is in the crosshairs of the IRS for allegedly cheating taxpayers out of a fortune ... and now the taxman wants the Estate to pay the piper -- to the tune of more than $700 million.

The allegations are stunning. According to legal docs -- obtained by the L.A. Times -- when Michael died the executors told the IRS his net worth was around $7 million. The IRS now says MJ's net worth was actually $1.125 BILLION!

And in a HIGHLY unusual move, the IRS claimed executors so grossly misled the agency, it doubled the tax penalty -- from 20 - 40%. So the IRS claims the Estate didn't pay $505 million worth of taxes, and when you add the 40% it comes to more than $702 Million.

As for what the agency says was under-reported:


GOP Proposal Would Require Food Stamp Recipients To Show Photo ID

Several House Republicans have introduced a proposal that would require food stamp recipients to show photo identification when making purchases -- a move they say is necessary to prevent fraud in the program that aids 1 in 7 Americans.

Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., introduced the SNAP Verify Act, which would require individuals who receive acceptance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to present a photo ID when buying products at stores that accept food stamp recipients.

"My bill simply requires the photo identification of authorized users of SNAP electronic benefit cards at the point of transaction," Salmon said in a statement. "With over $750 million in SNAP card and food trafficking fraud each year, it is time Congress take action to address the rampant waste in this program."


Thieves Break Into Police Car, Steal Weapons

On February 7, 2014 the Anne Arundel County Policeresponded to the home of an off-dutyAnne Arundel County Police Officer in the Brooklyn Park area of Anne Arundel County.

The officer parked his unmarked police vehicle in front of his home on February 6, 2014. When the officer returned to the vehicle on the morning of February 7, 2014, he discovered that someone had broken into the vehicle. The driver’s side door and the trunk were both ajar.


Monday Will Be A 24 Hour News Cycle Day

Monday will deliver a TON of news stories.

Today's Delegates Breakfast at the Civic Center - Republicans Trying to Lead from The Front, Democrats from Behind

This morning the Wicomico County Council met with our Maryland Legislature Delegates.  The purpose of the breakfast is to review pending statewide legislation that may impact us here in Wicomico County.

I couldn't help but to notice that nearly all of the Democratic legislators sat on one side of the table with the Republicans on the other.  Wicomico County Finance Director Andy Mackel - led off and gave a PowerPoint presentation showing a budget readjustment as a result of diminishing income tax revenues expected to be about 3.45 million - (Digression Analysis) - and then representatives from both parties started to chime-in.  The County Administrative Director - Wayne Strausburg indicated that our County could expect to see pressure in our leisure & hospitality industries as there might be more hotel rooms and restaurants than our area can locally support.

The County Administrator - Rick Pollitt, indicated that his administration had taken action to wean our county from the Inventory tax, and, he was encouraging our leading community college to try and re-train for a new economy. He announced the expansion of Cadista Pharmaceutical, and Chesapeake Ship Building.  

On the other hand - Delegate Mike McDermott -(sounded the bugle - author emphasis) - said that Maryland should be more proactive in encouraging more businesses by improving the regulatory environment as opposed to a celebratory celebration of (1) new business doing an expansion.  He indicated that what we need are; 

'some big things have to happen to improve local incomes - and I hope that the people will rise-up in order to enhance their own lifestyles'    

General Observation - (author's opinion)

One thing was clear from the outset - the Democratic representative side appeared to weigh-in heavily on trying to shore-up an already sagging economy - without offering anything substantive to initiate a progressive change.  Congressional Delegate Norman Conway seemed to think Senate President - Mike Miller and House Speaker - Michael Busch were going to unveil a new economic development plan that might include construction of off-shore wind farms.

Balkanization of Maryland Counties

Senator Rich Colburn - chimed in and said that there was a Democratic effort underway for local counties to impose their own prevailing minimum wage scale.  If a Statewide minimum wage wasn't instituted - then one might expect individual prevailing wages to be set by each County.  For instance - PG & Montgomery might set the minimum wage at $11:00/hour whereas an eastern shore county might set it substantially lower.  Delaware is currently proposing $8.25/hour minimum wage.  

Senator Jim Mathias - added that in Ocean City - many restaurants often hire foreign help as opposed to natives because the employers are not required to contribute to the foreign workers SS or medicare benefits.  And that we might have to modify the current plan in order to correct that action.

Detrimental Revenue Cap Legislation - SB-331/HB-295 - Minimum Wage Legislation - (click onto bill link) 

Wicomico County Finance Director gave an overview as to how Wicomico's revenue cap could be effected as a result of Maryland's institution of a new Minimum Wage that links the increases to a CPI.  According to his testimony it would exceed Wicomico's 2% revenue mandate by the year 2018.

Local Revenue Effect of Minimum Wage Bill - Wicomico
FY - 2015 - $30,591
FY- 2016 - $97,596
FY - 2017 - $180,192
FY - 2018 - $841,171
FY - 2019 - $855,395 

Other Potential Candidates for Office Were Present At the Breakfast Meeting

There were a host of other candidates in the audience that are vying for elected positions.  These include County Council candidates - Marc Kilmer, Larry Dodd, and also Maryland Delegate Candidate - Carl Anderton who will be running against longtime incumbent - Norman Conway.

Article by Beezer - SBYnews Contributor

Publishers Notes: Beezer is being way too kind in this article. Here's what you don't know. NO ONE, NONE of the local MEDIA was present at this meeting, aside from Salisbury News. 

Now, you have to ask yourself, just how IMPORTANT is this information to County Taxpayers? Yet your local Media is PURPOSELY covering this information up.

No, they don't want to be put in the position to actually TELL you what really happened at these meetings. They want to get a Press release from Liberal Representatives so they can tell you THEIR side of what THEY want YOU to hear. Then the Daily Times can say, we didn't lie. 

YOU need to know there's a rebirth of Main Stream Media these days and YOU can NO LONGER depend on what they're publishing.

This has to be some of the most IMPORTANT information struggling Wicomico County Residents needs to know, especially before an upcoming election.  

Will The Mayor & Council President Be Banking On A Hand Full Of People To Revitalize Downtown?

By the minuscule size and turn out of today's BIG MEETING in which Mayor Ireton and Council President Jake Day reached out to Rehoboth Beach newspapers and social media, I'd say this one is a bust!

How embarrassing it must be to be the leaders of a community and have next to no one show up. I'm sure if we were to scan the tags on the vehicles present we'd find mainly City Employees and social media friends, (as few as they obviously are) with nothing better to do on a Saturday. 

Now, IF Jim and Jake had a KEG of beer there you might actually get a real turn out. Maybe next time. 

Oh, be careful crossing the street there Ladies & Gentlemen. You might get run over bike a bicycle in the bike lane, NOT! 

It's Time To Expose Rental Vehicle Profiling

Today I received an e-mail from the DE State Police. It was too far north to publish but let me share a small piece of what their Press Release stated. 

"A traffic stop was conducted just south of the toll plaza and contact was made with the operator, Marquis L. Maddox. Maddox provided the trooper with his license and rental agreement on the car which stated no additional drivers and did not have Maddox as the primary driver." It went on to say the driver was simply going above the posted speed limit, (not how fast he was going).

Now let me share a story with you in which I think many will read with great interest.

My Son and seven of his close friends recently made a trip to Florida to celebrate New Years. They rented a large RV and had an incredible time. 

On their way home they were on Rt. I-95 in Virginia, about an hour away from their final destination when a VA State Trooper pulled them over. They had been on the road for almost 12 hours, most of them in shorts and tee shirts to stay comfortable. 

The Trooper came to the drivers window and informed them that their tag light was out. My Son explained how it was a rental vehicle and they had no idea. The Officer asked if they had any illegal drugs in the vehicle. They replied, no. The Officer then asked how many people were in the vehicle and he replied, eight. He then asked if he could take a look. Being innocent, they agreed. 

The next thing they knew they were ALL being asked to step out of the vehicle. My Son, (and others) asked if it was OK to put pants on and a jacket, it was very cold outside. They were told, NO. 

In a very short period of time there were NINE State Troopers on the scene, along with a K-9. The Officers went inside and tore the RV apart looking for drugs. Mind you, they had to return the RV at 9 AM the following morning. 

As time passed my Son again asked if they could please put some pants on and a jacket as they were all leaning against a guard rail and freezing half to death. He was told to shut up. My Son then asked if they could please just use the K-9 and get it over with. Again, they refused to do so. Instead, they tore the place apart. They stood outside for nearly THREE HOURS! The Police found NO DRUGS because they don't do drugs.

However, in Law Enforcement eyes, you put eight guys in their mid to late 20's in a rental vehicle, the odds of finding some kind of drugs is probably pretty high. In this case, Law Enforcement lost. Now the kids had to put everything back together overnight before they turned the vehicle back in the next morning.

Now, think about this as well. Could you imagine IF the person who had rented this vehicle BEFORE these eight young adults, HAD been transporting drugs! Perhaps some residue left behind! 

DO NOT RENT VEHICLES!!! It is the #1 target for Law Enforcement, especially on the Interstates. When and IF you get pulled over, REFUSE to allow them to search your vehicle, no matter how much they threaten you. Just because YOU are INNOCENT doesn't mean Law Enforcement will treat you with the same respect. 

I have seen way too many stories like this in the 10 years I've been doing this. My Son's Family is BIG into Law Enforcement. His Grandfather provides the majority of ammunition to law enforcement and his Uncle is one of the owners of Maryland Small Arms Range. He thought he was doing the right thing and in the end these young adults were abused. 

I'm hoping this article goes viral across the nation. I hope it gets shared with every news agency out there so Americans can see that we do NOT live in a FREE Country. We are more like Russia and the Police simply have too much power and control. The laws need to be changed. The Police need to be challenged. This rental vehicle situation needs to be addressed by legislators and the ONLY way that is going to happen is IF Americans speak out about THEIR own experiences. 

You should know, a LARGE, (if not largest) amount of vehicle drug busts do come from rental vehicles.

‘Smart Meter’ Concerns Raised In Ocean City

OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City Mayor and Council agreed to call a meeting with Delmarva Power representatives to address concerns raised over the utility’s ongoing installation of “smart meters” at residential and commercial accounts in the resort area and across the region.

Last spring, Delmarva Power began installing smart meters, or digital meters, at many of their residential and business accounts in Maryland, including Ocean City, as part of a proactive initiative to streamline the billing process and provide consumers and the utility with a better understanding of energy usage. However, concerns have been raised about the amount of radio frequency (RF) radiation the new devices emit and the potential health problems they can cause.

Former Ocean City Councilman Vince Gisriel, Jr. has been championing the cause for the elimination of smart meters, or at the very least an opt-out opportunity for those concerned with the potential health risks, privacy and security concerns and even cost increases associated with them. On Monday, Gisriel brought his concerns to the Mayor and Council, pointing out the potential problems he has uncovered with the meters through research.


Vice President Joe Biden says he can't think of a good reason he should not run for president and that he will likely make a decision in the summer of 2015.

Police: Man Stuns Woman, Rapes Her: Mayor Jim Ireton's Father

A 73-year-old man was arrested for using a stun gun to incapacitate a woman and then raping her, Prince William County police said.

The woman, 52, told police that she and the man, whom she knew, got into an argument that escalated. He then used a stun gun on her and sexually assaulted her, police said.

James Ireton (Courtesy of Prince William County Police)
She called police Monday at 12:30 to report the incident.

James P. Ireton of the 13500 block of Tallyrand Way in Gainesville was charged with abduction with intent to defile, forcible sodomy and malicious wounding. The stun gun and other evidence was seized from his home, police said.

He was held without bond and has a court date April 13.

Minimum Wage and Earned Income Credit go hand in hand

There are ads running on TV that make their point by humorously showing why a couple would rather stay at a bed and breakfast than a bed or breakfast, and why it’s better to build a swimming pool with nuts and bolts instead of nuts or bolts.

What’s not so funny is that some in our state — such as Barry Rascovar — propose we could help Marylanders climb the economic ladder by raising the minimum wage or the Earned Income Credit when it really takes raising both.

Maryland’s Earned Income Credit (EIC) and minimum wage work best in combination to reduce poverty and income inequality, bolster the middle class, and help our local economies. Increasing both would put our state on a better path to economic prosperity and opportunity for all.

A Comment Worthy Of A Post: Did Any Of You Know About This?

Anonymous said...

The University of Maryland School of Architecture, Preservation & Planning, has invested in a partnership with the City of Salisbury to create a Downtown Salisbury master plan through a community engagement and design process throughout the Spring of 2014. The first workshop will be held at the Old Fire Station in Downtown Salisbury. Please join us at 10:00am for tours and 1:00pm for the design workshop!

Saturday's Schedule is as follows:
10-10:30 - Sign in
10:30-11 - Introductions/Presentations
11-12:30 - Walking Tours (for everyone, with students)
12:30-1:30 - Lunch
1:30-2:30 - Mapping + Debriefing
2:30-3:30 - Mapping + Drawing
3:30-4:30 - Report out
4:30-5 - Hierarchization of ideas

Publishers Notes: Funny, there's nothing about this on the City's Website. What I find most interesting is WHO the Mayor seems to be depending on referencing the revitalization of Downtown and the fact that information like this hasn't been wide spread throughout OUR community. 

Are we just going to wake up one day and see rainbows all over the Downtown area and men in tights? Will Bob Culver will be forced to change the name of his restaurant to "Closet Door," MoJo's will become Jimbo's with UniSex Bathrooms and who knows what else will happen. Someone seems to be acting a LOT like King Obama lately and keeping us peasants in the closet.

Bill Seeks Study On Shift Away From Landline Phones

As Verizon and other telephone providers move away from providing landline phone service, which is regulated by the state, with wireless service, which is not regulated, Paula Carmody, who heads the Maryland Office of People's Counsel is raising some concerns about the reliability of the new service.

Carmody was among those appearing before the House Economic Matters Committee on Thursday, testifying in favor of a bill to ask the Public Service Commission to spend one year to study the impact of the shift to wireless on customer service.

Carmody notes that based on the experience in New York and New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy, there are questions of reliability of wireless service after a major storm. She notes landline phone service is less likely to experience weather related outages.

Report Favors Salisbury’s Economic Shift

SALISBURY — The first in a series of quarterly economic updates shows a lot of optimism about the future of Salisbury’s economic recovery.

Experts from Salisbury Wicomico Economic Development (SWED) are predicting a greater emphasis on small-batch innovation versus mass production as the key to an economically viable Salisbury.

“We’ve seen great changes and different shifts of clusters, different types of manufacturing,” said Dave Ryan, executive director of SWED.

SWED delivered its first economic update Monday and will do so quarterly from here out. A lot of trends have already become visible in Salisbury, according to Ryan.

County Executive Rick Pollitt Has Yet To File For Re Election

As of 4:30 PM Thursday, Rick Pollitt has yet to file for re-election. Some are wondering what the heck is going on. 

Well, when 100%, (7 out of 7) Council Members shoot you down for a pay increase, what's that tell you about how they feel about Rick Pollitt and the FUTURE of Wicomico County.

Heck, even Sheriff Lewis got 3 out of 7 votes for a pay increase. 

If you really look at it, Anthony Brown will probably win the race for Governor. I know, I hate the thought of it as well but unfortunately the Eastern Shore has very little say when it comes to that race.

My guess is that Rick Pollitt has secured a position with the Brown Team and will likely be moving to Annapolis. Rick's doing no real fundraising, his campaign website isn't active and quite frankly, well, he and Strausburg have made a mess out of the County since he was elected. 

Finally, his opponent, (so far) Bob Culver will beat the pants off Pollitt. Joe Ollinger almost beat Rick the last time and with all due respect, Joe ain't no Bob Culver. This race will be about JOBS and economic development and Rick Pollitt has failed miserably in that department. Don't expect him to file and run again. 

Who Would It Be?

Agree Or Disagree

The Virginia Beach Public Schools just announced that they will be making up the 3 snow days on Saturdays. Should our local schools think about doing the same? If not when should they make up the missed days?

O’Malley Plans To Address California Democrats As He Weighs A White House Bid

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has been booked to speak at the California Democratic Party state convention in March, an appearance that will provide additional national exposure among party activists and donors as he weighs a 2016 White House bid.

An aide said that O’Malley was invited to be part of the three-day program in Los Angeles, which features numerous California officials and a handful of out-of-state guests, including San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, who is considered a rising Democratic star nationally.

The event comes as O’Malley is making preparations for a possible presidential bid. He told The Washington Post in an interview published last weekend that he is not waiting to see if Hillary Clinton run for president to start laying groundwork for his own bid.