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Hogan breaks ground on development project in Bethesda

  • Published in Local

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan throws ceremonial dirt at the groundbreaking in Bethesda. PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAKMaryland Gov. Larry Hogan throws ceremonial dirt at the groundbreaking in Bethesda.  PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAK  BETHESDA — Nine months after construction began in Bethesda for a Purple Line Metro station and two towers for office and residential space, officials, including Gov. Larry Hogan (R) joined together Aug. 9 for a groundbreaking ceremony.

The huge hole at the 7200 block of Wisconsin Avenue near its intersection with Elm Street marks the future spot of a new entrance to the Red Line; a Purple Line station; and 937,000 square feet of office, retail and residential space.

The project also includes a tunnel for the nearby popular Capital Crescent Trail.

The development includes 360,000 square feet of office and retail space, two residential towers with 456 residential units and 750 parking spaces.

When asked why the groundbreaking was held after work was well under way, Olive Carr, CEO of Carr Properties, the real estate investment trust backing the project, said it took “a lot of coordinating to pull this together.” He said the timing for the groundbreaking coincided with last week’s signing of WTTG Fox 5, the office space’s first tenant.

“Amazing things are happening on this corner,” Carr said, calling the development “an incredible partnership” between the state, Montgomery County and private companies. “It does take a village."

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Hogan vows to step up efforts to halt human trafficking in Maryland

  • Published in State

Human Trafficking hands grabbing nettingHuman Trafficking hands grabbing nettingROCKVILLE – Calling Maryland a hotbed for human trafficking, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced several initiatives to combat the problem plaguing the state.

Hogan signed an executive order Thursday creating the new position of anti-human trafficking director, an appointed position to help combat the problem. In addition, Hogan announced new funding for a variety of programs to help research and develop solutions to human trafficking.

Finally, Hogan said he would support a bill, which legislators will introduce on the first day of the 2019 legislative session in January that will increase time served for some felony human traffickers.

Hogan said three regions in Maryland are hotspots for human trafficking: Baltimore, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County.

“The chilling reality is that Maryland’s central location and access to major highways and airports like I-95 and BWI make our state a hotbed for human trafficking,” Hogan said.

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Jealous lays out plan for Maryland as next governor

  • Published in State

Ben Jealous, Democrat candidate for governor.  FILE PHOTOBen Jealous, Democrat candidate for governor. FILE PHOTOThere are three key issues that Ben Jealous wants the residents of Maryland to know he stands for: education, healthcare, and building a better economy.

“Our focus is on fully funding education, making sure that we have a healthcare system that works better for everyone, and building a more robust economy,” Jealous said during a phone interview last Friday.

Jealous, who represents the Democratic candidate nomination for governor, says he is very focused on speaking to the people who support him and to the rest of the people, who are getting to know him for the first time.

“Healthcare premiums have skyrocketed on Larry Hogan’s watch,” said Jealous, “we have the worst economic growth in the region, Hogan is the first governor in decades to lose a Fortune 500 company, and our schools have fallen from first to sixth [in the country] on his watch,” said Jealous. “Also, there is a need for a governor who will actually stand up to Donald Trump!” he said.

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Taking another close look at Hogan, the governor’s race and much more

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A few weeks ago, my column “Will the real Larry Hogan please stand up?” published June 7, took a look at some key issues that will surely be debated during the Maryland gubernatorial campaign. To say it generated some controversy would be putting it mildly. Like most things in life, there is always more than one side to any issue. To say that the governor’s office, specifically his Director of Communications, Ms. Amelia Chasse, took exception to my portrayal of the governor’s record would be quite the understatement.

As an advocate of the “fairness doctrine,” the purpose of this column is to provide the governor’s office with an opportunity to share their view and provide the reader with a more balanced approach. For space considerations I will have to condense much of their input, but I will make every effort to capture the essence of their responses. I will also take the opportunity to offer my own response to their counterpoints. I’ll leave it to the reader to judge the merits of either side of the debate.

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Will the real Larry Hogan please stand up?

download 3Larry Hogan is a Republican governor in a very blue state, Maryland, and is running for a second and final term with a favorability rating that has consistently hovered around 70 percent. That favorability rating is second among all governors. Only Republican Charlie Baker of another blue state, Massachusetts, has a higher favorability score.
Does any Democrat have a snowball's chance in hell to unseat this extremely popular incumbent governor? More specifically, does the Democrat who will be selected in the primary election on June 26 from a current field of nine candidates to challenge Governor Hogan in the general election in November have a fighting chance to unseat the incumbent?
The answer is a resounding yes, but only if the campaign focuses on the right issues; issues that will crack that favorability rating wide open and expose the reality of the past four years.

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Democrats assail Governor Hogan in Sentinel debate

  • Published in Local

From left to right, Elizabeth Embry, Krishanti Vignarajah, Ben Jealous, Richard Madaleno, Alec Ross and Brandon Scott at the Sentinel Newspapers sponsored Democratic candidate debate Monday.  PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHFrom left to right, Elizabeth Embry, Krishanti Vignarajah, Ben Jealous, Richard Madaleno, Alec Ross and Brandon Scott at the Sentinel Newspapers sponsored Democratic candidate debate Monday.         PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  ROCKVILLE — According to State Senator Richard Madaleno, Governor Larry Hogan’s popularity boils down to one thing; “He’s running on my record,” Madaleno said in a Democratic candidate debate sponsored by The Sentinel Newspapers Monday night.

Former NAACP CEO Ben Jealous, Madaleno (D-18), former U.S. State Department official Alec Ross and former Policy Director for First Lady Michelle Obama Krishanti Vignarajah all participated in the debate. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and Baltimore businessman Jim Shea sent their running mates, prosecutor Elizabeth Embry and Baltimore City Council member Brandon Scott, respectively.

The debate, like most Democratic primary forums, began and ended with attempts at knocking Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) record on jobs, schools and lack of opposition to President Donald J. Trump.

“This thing you read about that ‘Maryland is open for business’ that is total and complete bullshit,” Ross said.

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We all should be "Mad as Hell" again

bs md house budget 20180322What's that you say?”
“Come again?”
“I can't hearrrrr youuuuu!”
That is, in essence, what our state legislators have said to taxpayers in the state of Maryland. Basically, their message is: I can't hear you, and even if I did, I don't really care!
As previously mentioned in this column, the recently-released federal tax plan hits the taxpayers of high-taxed states such as Maryland particularly hard. It is estimated that, as a result of the federal tax plan, Maryland taxpayers will see an increase of approximately $400 million in state taxes owed for the 2018 tax year.
What to do, what to do, what to do? Well, the state legislature has apparently decided to spend it and not return it to the taxpayers who, if nothing is done, will see an associated increase in their state tax bill come April 15, 2019.
Using the 2014 Personal Statistics of Income from the Comptroller's table for itemized deductions, the average increase in state and local returns for Marylanders with an adjusted gross income of $150,000 or less would average about $1000 in additional state tax per return.

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Fare Game

  • Published in Local

Delegate Korman suggests less of a need for fare increases if budget proposals are met

Maryland Flag Metro LogoThe Maryland General Assembly likely will fully fund Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld’s request for the operating budget, reducing the risk of untimely fare increases or service cuts, a local delegate said.

“I haven’t heard any pushback for the operating [budget],” said the delegate, Del. Marc Korman (D-16), who represents Montgomery County, on Tuesday.

Korman said Friday’s news that Gov. Larry Hogan said he supported the idea of a dedicated funding source added to his confidence. Wiedefeld in his 2017 plan requested all three jurisdictions find means to supply money on which Metro can sell debt each year. Wiedefeld left the decision of where to find the dedicated funding up to the jurisdictions.

“We spent a lot of time on it; on Friday, he [Hogan] agreed,” Korman said.

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Local politicians turn deaf ears to bipartisan pleas from Trump

  • Published in Local

In Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address President Donald J. Trump called for my bipartisanship in hopes to unify the County – a message that local leaders did not receive.

“The first year of the Trump administration has been one of most significant tests of our democracy in our lifetime,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) about Trump’s State of the Union speech. “In tonight’s State of the Union address, President Trump was eager to take credit for things he had nothing to do with and ignore the harm he has imposed on the country over the last year.”

The State of the Union, an annual speech that most modern presidents have given to a joint session of Congress, has become a platform for presidents to speak to the nation directly and talk about their policy achievements and goals. During his speech, Trump highlighted a tax cut he signed in December, decreasing unemployment and increasing economic growth as his main accomplishment. In response Democrats have criticized the Trump’s touted accomplishments saying the majority of the new growth has gone to the nation’s wealthiest citizens.

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Hogan proposes term limits for Maryland General Assembly

  • Published in State

Maryland FlagMaryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) hopes a term limits bill he proposed last week will end the Democratic Party’s “corruption” and control of the General Assembly by limiting delegates and state senators to two four-year terms.

“Our founding fathers never envisioned professional politicians who spend their entire careers in office; what they intended was citizen legislators who would represent their constituents and then return back home to their real jobs,” Hogan said during a press conference in Annapolis last week. “The rise of professional politicians has led to out-of-control partisanship, the stifling of honest debate and fresh ideas, rampant gerrymandering, one-party monopolies, and an increased potential for the type of corruption that our administration has been fighting to root out,” said the governor.

Hogan’s proposed bill, the Government Accountability Act of 2018, would limit state delegates and senators to two consecutive four-year terms. If passed, the proposal would put state legislatures in line with the governor, who is currently limited to two four-year terms.

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