The gradual takeover

It’s been awhile since I talked about the concept of Smart Growth, but some relatively recent developments caught my eye and I figured it was time to talk about them. One of these items has been sitting on my top bookmarks for a few weeks now.

Last spring, against my advice, the voters of Salisbury elected Jake Day to their City Council. Since that time, Day has joined with nine other local elected officials around the state as part of an advisory board for Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council. This is a collaboration between the rabidly anti-growth 1,000 Friends of Maryland and Smart Growth America.

Now allow me to say that downtown development is just fine with me. My problem with so-called Smart Growth legislation – such as the Septic Bill which mandated counties provide tier maps for approval by the state, usurping local control – is that it eliminates options local landowners may choose to use. If there is a market for people who wish to live in a rural area, it should be served; moreover, many parts of the region are already off-limits to development because the land doesn’t drain properly. At least that restriction makes sense.

Developing Salisbury’s downtown is important for the city, but not squeezing rural development is important for Wicomico County.

Another recent development in the city is the adoption of designated bicycle pathways, which in Salisbury are marked by “sharrows.” Since I frequently drive in Delaware, I’m familiar with their custom of designating bicycle lanes on the shoulder of the highway, as that state seems to take the concept farther than their Maryland neighbors. But sharrows have a different purpose, simply denoting the best place to ride in a shared lane. In theory, however, a group of bikes moving along the shared lane could slow traffic down to their speed. It may seem extreme, but this has happened in larger cities.

Granted, the designated bicycle ways in Salisbury are somewhat off the beaten path of Salisbury Boulevard, which also serves as Business Route 13 in Salisbury. But the anti-parking idea expressed in the American Spectator article is a dream of Salisbury bicyclists, who want to eliminate one lane of on-street parking when downtown is revitalized. With the lower speed limits common along downtown streets, the bigger danger for bicyclists comes from a driver of a parked car unwittingly opening a car door in the path of a bicyclist rather than the large speed difference common on a highway with a bike lane.

Read more here.

Annapolis Council To Consider Stripping Republican Mayor-Elect’s Power Because Republicans Are Not Allowed To Win and the Vote Does Not Actually Matter

Days after a Republican was elected mayor of Annapolis, City Council members say they will revisit legislation that would strip the mayor’s office of much of its power.

Democratic Alderman Ross Arnett of Ward 8 tells The Capital he will introduce a charter amendment to move Annapolis to a council-manager style of government. The city manager would report directly to the City Council, not the mayor.

Under Arnett’s legislation, the mayor’s post would be largely ceremonial. The mayor would retain a single vote on the council. Arnett says the change would stabilize the city’s management.

If the measure is approved, it would mean the Democratic-dominated council would be removing the powers of the first Republican mayor elected since 1997.

Read more here.

What a State Atty. General (and Candidate for Governor) Looks Like in the Middle of an Underage Alcohol Party

(he’s in the middle wearing the long-sleeved white-collared shirt holding a cell phone)

Disgusting Liberal Barbara Mikulski Calls Out “Tea Baggers” on Senate Floor

Maryland Parent Arrested from Common Core Meeting for Speaking Out of Turn

Maryland schools prepare for Anti-American and Destructive Common Core

Maryland public schools plan to move ahead with a new curriculum next school year, undeterred by opposition to the Common Core curriculum standards in other states.

Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have adopted the standards, but some states are reconsidering or slowing implementation due to opposition. Much of that opposition comes from conservative and Tea Party groups concerned about the federal government taking over the education system.

Yet it was the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers — not the federal Department of Education — that coordinated the creation of the new state standards.

In Maryland, the new curriculum is moving forward with little controversy. It was adopted in 2010 by the state and is being rolled out over a three-year period.

Curriculum called different, but not drastically so

William Reinhard, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Education, said the new curriculum is different than the current one, but not drastically so. The difference is bigger in math than reading, he said.

Reinhard said the sense from the nation’s governors and education leaders was that they needed a national standard that was internationally benchmarked.

The development was welcomed by the U.S. Department of Education, but the federal government did not have input on the standards themselves, he said.

“We’re happy to put Maryland students up against any in the country and any in the world,” Reinhard said. “We welcome this opportunity.”

‘Tsunami’ of reform

From the teachers’ perspective, it’s jokingly being called the “tsunami” of education reform because the new curriculum is being introduced at the same time the state is changing the way teachers are evaluated, according to Cheryl Bost, vice president of the Maryland State Education Association.

Bost, who was a fifth grade teacher until she took the position with the state teachers’ union last year, said some teachers are concerned about getting enough training on the new curriculum. But many teachers are looking forward to the new content itself.

Read more here.

Maryland makes big mistakes

With a vote in the House of Delegates, the state of Maryland removed the ultimate punishment and allowed criminals to live out the rest of their lives in prison, at taxpayer expense. Two House Republicans split from the pack in the 82-56 vote, joining one GOP Senator in listening to the siren song of those who would mistakenly believe our society becomes more civil with the punishment’s repeal, forgetting that knowingly committing a heinous, premeditated crime is supposed to come with the realization one would forfeit their right to life in doing so. Nothing like giving a hardened criminal animal free reign to kill a corrections officer – after all, what now does he have to lose?

Perhaps the one saving grace in all this was that the false flag amendment which would have made this an appropriations bill and not subject to referendum was stripped out, so it appears to me that this bill could be placed on the 2014 ballot with many of the same people who foolishly voted for it.

Meanwhile, in this age of austerity when hard-working families have to watch their pennies and learn to do with less, the House also passed Governor O’Malley’s bloated budget by a 101-36 vote. By those tallies, it’s obvious that at least three Republicans have turned their back on fiscal conservatism and must believe the state will continually be a spigot for goodies, courtesy of the taxpayer. I wouldn’t expect the O’Malley budget to fail as the bulk of Maryland continues to vote against its best interests and sends more big-spending liberal Democrats to Annapolis, but I would hope for at least a united front of Republicans – there should have been at most 98 votes for the bill, and I’ll be interested to hear the excuses when those Republicans are called out on the carpet. A vote for an O’Malley budget pretty much exhausts my 20 percent of slack I’m willing to grant.

Read more here.

The $19 Million Dollar Question in Maryland

Over the past few days mayoral candidate Joe Albero has taken to his Salisbury News website – you know, the one with no authority line – and thrice bashed incumbent Jim Ireton for scheming to raise city taxes and fees by $19 million. But is Albero correct in blaming Ireton?

Yes and no. One could extend blame to the party Ireton is a member of and the politician he supported twice for President for signing an Executive Order compelling the federal government and states to increase their tempo in restoring Chesapeake Bay. It allowed the EPA great latitude in determining a course of action (like these marching orders show – orders which include the stick of possibly “withholding, conditioning, or reallocating federal grant funds”) and established a “pollution diet” which had little to do with maintaining the economic viability of the region but more to do with pie-in-the-sky goals for the state of the Bay twelve years hence. This supposedly would “ensure that all pollution control measures needed to fully restore the Bay and its tidal rivers are in place by 2025.” (Yet, as I’ll discuss in a bit, that won’t be the end of the road. Far from it.)

Thus, the state of Maryland became a greater participant in the effort – not that Governor Martin O’Malley, who Ireton also supported for election twice, was exactly going to be dragged kicking and screaming into the prospect of further power over and control of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay watershed population.

But it can be argued Ireton has his hands tied, and if Joe Albero wins? He still has to deal with it. As it turns out, this $76 million effort is just a portion of Salisbury’s share of costs to enact the Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan, lovingly presented to the EPA by the state of Maryland last year. This led to the mandate from the Maryland Department of the Environment for local officials to prepare a plan for Wicomico County:

As requested by MDE, each of the twenty‐three counties and Baltimore City were instructed to prepare a Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan that details / demonstrates how each jurisdiction will do their part in improving the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries across Maryland.

Read more here.

Major Gun Company Threatens to Leave Maryland Over New Gun Control Proposals

Beretta USA is threatening to leave Maryland over new gun control proposals, the Washington Post reports, and they would take hundreds of jobs along with them.

“Why expand in a place where the people who built the gun couldn’t buy it?” Jeffrey Reh, general counsel for Beretta, asked.

The Washington Post explains:

Beretta, the nearly 500-year-old family-owned company that made one of James Bond’s firearms, has already invested more than $1 million in the [civilian version of a machine gun designed for special operations forces] and has planned to expand its plant further in Prince George’s County to ramp up production.

But under an assault-weapons ban that advanced late last week in the Maryland General Assembly, experts say the gun would be illegal in the state where it is produced.

Now Beretta is weighing whether the rifle line, and perhaps the company itself, should stay in a place increasingly hostile toward its products. Its iconic 9mm pistol — carried by every U.S. soldier and scores of police departments — would also be banned with its high capacity, 13-bullet magazine.

Read more here.

Daily Times Continues To Publish Liberal Garbage

I never envisioned the day when a congressman would violate his oath of office by approving of people wanting to overthrow our government.

On Saturday, Feb. 16, at 1st District Rep. Andy Harris’s town hall meeting on guns in Ocean City, that’s exactly what I heard and saw.

Read more stupidity here.