Reporter’s Notebook: George Washington lobbies for transportation funding? -- Gazette.Net







Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
E-mail this article
Leave a Comment
Print this Article

If George Washington were here today, he’d be worried about congestion.

He was going somewhere with this, but in his Washington Day speech in the old House of Delegates chamber in the State House, Gov. Martin O’Malley led with the idea that getting from Mount Vernon to Annapolis is “brutal,” even on a federal holiday. Plug for transportation funding? We think yes.

That train of thought led swiftly, of course, to Washington’s assumed concern with political congestion, and such lofty turns of phrase as “superman of the American Revolution” and “the tabernacle of democracy.”

So obviously, our job here is to present the facts, and O’Malley’s claims that our first president would be concerned about the traffic on the Beltway cry out for further study.

Following current roadways — sorry, we don’t really have the time and resources to specify a pre-Beltway route in Google maps — the trip from Mount Vernon to the State House is 46.8 miles. A horse trots at about 8 mph, according to the Internet. So it would have taken Washington nearly six hours to reach Annapolis, and that’s without rests and/or stops to chat with his myriad admirers along the way.

Our conclusion: Washington would probably be cool with a congested, two-hour drive to Annapolis. Because trotting for six hours? Not the most comfortable thing ever.

— Holly Nunn

The word of the week ...

... in Annapolis quickly proved to be “Neanderthal,” which Mike Miller so delicately used to describe the House Republicans who criticized his transportation funding proposal.

But Miller was quick to make clear that he wouldn’t use that term to describe everyone who didn’t quite see eye to eye with him.

Asked about Martin O’Malley’s response to the bill, Miller said the governor “was kind of in the same position the House Republicans are right now.” When one intrepid member of the State House press corps asked him if he was calling O’Malley a Neanderthal, too, Miller laughed and quickly backpedaled.

“What I’m saying is that the governor would like to find a way to let somebody else make this thing happen,” said Miller, who has been prodding O’Malley to take the lead on transportation funding for weeks.

— Daniel Leaderman

Good news for TV watchers

Fans of “House of Cards,” rejoice! The Maryland Senate is poised to support the production of Season 2!

Netflix’s delightfully sinister, quasi-Shakespearean tale of revenge and murderous political ambition, set in D.C. but filmed largely in Baltimore, was a beneficiary of a $7.5 million film production tax credit, which also supported the production of HBO’s “Veep” and a number of independent film productions.

This week, the Budget & Taxation Committee unanimously approved legislation increasing the tax credit to $25 million, which will help retain “House of Cards” for the production of its second season, said Ed Kasemeyer. Filming that season is expected to have an economic impact of $121 million and create 2,100 local jobs, he said.

No word on whether the additional credit will get us the new episodes any sooner.

— Daniel Leaderman

Issue hits close to home

Yes, the Casey Anderson showing up as a spokesman for Marylanders Against Gun Violence is the same Casey Anderson who is a member of the Montgomery County Planning Board.

Anderson, who also is a bicycling activist, said it’s not his first foray into the gun-control debate.

Anderson, an attorney and former reporter whose law practice includes consulting on jury selection, said he had not been affected directly by gun violence when he got involved with the new group.

But late last month, a friend with whom he grew up in Greeley, Colo., was shot and killed in an incident that made national news.

Phoenix lawyer Mark Hummels had been mediating a dispute in hopes of ending a lawsuit when a man involved in the case shot Hummels and two others.

“I was very angry and saddened by his murder,” Anderson said, adding that he understands that it’s “politically inconvenient” for many politicians to vote for gun control, “but people continue to get shot.”

Anderson does not expect his latest role to conflict with his work on the Planning Board.

“But I suppose if someone wanted to build a firing range, I suppose I’d have to recuse myself,” he said.

— Margie Hyslop

Where are the puppies?

More than 100 animal advocates descended Thursday on Annapolis in support of various measures to promote animal welfare, like the establishment of a statewide spay/neuter program and a measure to ban the sale of shark fins.

Here’s the problem: None of the people had animals with them. We figure, if you’re going to speak for the animals, you should at least make sure some are present. Plus, the photos would be great.

If you’re lobbying for a bill to help out puppies, don’t you want to inundate lawmakers’ offices with the cute canines? Because who can say no to puppies?

Or at least roll a large tank with a live shark up to Lawyers Mall, because that’s dedication.

The advocates also bestowed honors on legislators who have worked for animal-friendly legislation. Awards were given to Del. Nic Kipke, Sen. Catherine Pugh and Sen. John Astle, who happens to be a lifelong hunter and is fond of animals both live and stuffed.

— Holly Nunn

Everything’s in a name

Allan Kittleman introduced a visitor to his fellow senators Wednesday morning, asking them to welcome Janeane Garofalo to Annapolis.

But when the young woman stood and waved, it became clear that she was not, in fact, the actress, stand-up comedian, liberal political activist and former talk-radio host, which would have been an unusual introduction for the Republican and former minority leader to make, anyway.

No, this Garofalo was a visitor from the University of Maryland School of Nursing. And Kittleman had gotten her name wrong; it was Justine, not Janeane. However, she smiled and shrugged off the mix-up, saying it happens quite often.

Although if her name were Janeane, Ms. Garofalo would hardly be out of place in Annapolis, which already boasts an impressive array of celebrity name-alikes, including Sen. David Brinkley, Dels. Melony Griffith and Charles Barkley and Director of General Services Sam Cook.

— Daniel Leaderman