Friday, July 29, 2011

The Great Frack Attack

Here’s the policy brief I worked on for Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Foundation exposing the donors, activists, foundations, media, and academics behind Big Green’s campaign against hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale region of the Keystone State. My American Tradition Institute colleague Paul Chesser and I reveal just who is behind the attacks on an industry and energy source that is producing cheap energy and thousands of jobs for Pennsylvania.


Meanwhile here in Maryland, Governor O’Malley and similar elements of Big Green have left western Maryland landowners and the state economy hanging by implementing what is essentially a three-year moratorium on shale gas drilling.

More below the fold.

Not the Guy We Want Coming Off the Bench

As we broke for you Wednesday evening, we finally know why Pat McDonough’s ventriloquist doll, Sue Payne, has been—under her real name, various phone aliases, and noms de cyber—disparaging U.S. Senate candidate Daniel Bongino over the last few months.

Here’s the press release McDonough handed out to his colleagues at the House GOP caucus meeting Wednesday.


Shorter McDonough. “Everybody else put you plans on hold, because I ‘m the most relevant politician I’ve ever met.”

Forcing McDonough’s hand to release an announcement at 10:30 pm on a Wednesday evening however, turned out to be a fortunate but incidental byproduct of my investigation into McDonough and his surrogates slandering Bongino to Republican legislators considering supporting his candidacy.

A Republican legislator did confirm to me people associated with McDonough were making false statements about Bongino and distorting his policy positions.

Also, consider this comment from McDonough plant “No RINOS in Maryland” on the Baltimore Sun Maryland Politics blog, among the many other slanders from McDonough plants:

“Is it that if your job requires laying down your life to save the life of our President that you'll take a bullet for a white president but not a black one???

Read through all the comments and see the calumny McDonough’s mopes unleash on Bongino.

Sure McDonough won a couple of House of Delegates elections and has some name recognition, but when we think of the “Republican bench” McDonough isn’t the image that comes to mind.

Whether it’s the Senate, the House of Representatives, Governor, County Executive, Dog Catcher, or whatever office McDonough believes he can grace with his self-inflated magnificence, Republican primary voters should take into consideration whether they should support a man who can so casually unleash a smear campaign against a fellow Republican.

More below the fold.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Red Maryland Radio: 7-28-2011

Another great episode of Red Maryland Radio from tonight. On this week's show:

  • Former State Senate Candidate and businessman Jerry Cave will join us to talk about our state and national economic issues;

  • We'll discuss Governor O'Malley's support of gay marriage as a 2012 Legislative Priority (read my take on that from over the weekend);
  • Greg and Brian discuss Patrick McDonough's surprising entrance to the U.S. Senate race.
Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio

All that and more this week. Be sure to listen Thursday Night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes.

More below the fold.

It's On, Tonight at 8

Don't forget to join us tonight at 8 PM for Red Maryland Radio live on the Red Maryland Network! We'll be talking about all the things that we were originally going to discuss, but you better believe we're going to be talking about the Pat McDonough announcement from yesterday...

More below the fold.

Governor O’Malley Named 2010 Policymaker of the Year??

Yet No Mention of Nancy Grasmick?

Oh, yeah, he tried to fire her, and now got his wish- she's gone.

From the Guvs' Blog...

For the third year in a row now, Maryland’s Public Schools have been ranked #1 in the country. Our kids are doing the best they ever have on the MSA Reading tests, our high school students lead the nation with their Advanced Placement scores and working together, over the past couple of years, we’ve been able to cut the achievement gap between black and white students by nearly half.

But even though our schools are the best in the nation, Governor O’Malley knows that we can do more. He understands that education is the key to winning the future and will not rest until every child in Maryland receives a world class education.

Governor O’Malley also understands the importance and effectiveness of using data to guide decision making. In 2010, working with a broad coalition of state policymakers, Governor O’Malley led the effort to create the Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center—an efficient system that tracks student progress and helps identify ways to improve student performance and academic achievement while at the same time protecting privacy.

For his leadership in this area, Governor O’Malley was recently named the 2010 Policy Maker of the year by the Data Quality Counts Campaign.

NOTE: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is DQC´s founding funder; additional support has been provided by the Casey Family Programs, the Lumina Foundation for Education, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

More below the fold.

Finally, an MDGOP Leader Comes off the Bench to Challenge Ben Cardin

As Brian has reported, Pat McDonough has informed his fellow Maryland House Republicans, that he is entering the US Senate race against Ben Cardin. With all due respect to the current GOP candidates, the field to this point has been populated with relative unknowns with little or no campaign experience.

I for one, and it seems I am the only one on this blog, have been lamenting the MDGOP's inability to recruit a qualified candidate for this race. Despite the impression left by the current crop of newbie candidates, Maryland Republicans actually have a bench with several qualified, experienced candidates who could truly give Ben Cardin a run for his money. To date, though, none have been willing to show any leadership by running.

Say what you will about Pat McDonough. Many don't like his style. Some say he is too conservative. But Pat McDonough has shown he can win an election. He has shown that he can stand up to the Democrats and fight for a conservative agenda. Has has shown that he can work with fellow conservatives to accomplish great things, like the recent successful petition drive.

Delegate McDonough may not be the only member of the MDGOP bench to get in this race. Other good candidates may yet join and I hope they do. But Pat was the first and he deserves to be commended for it.

More below the fold.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

BREAKING: Pat McDonough to run for U.S. Senate

Delegate Pat McDonough announced to his colleagues at the House Republican Caucus Meeting that he would be running for U.S. Senate in 2012.

You may remember that McDonough staffer Sue Payne hilariously attempted to disguise her voice when calling in to challenge Senate Candidate Daniel Bongino on the June 2nd episode of Red Maryland Radio, and continued her attack on Bongino's record under her own name on the June 9th at least we now know why that happened.

More below the fold.

Red Maryland Radio this week

We have another great episode of Red Maryland Radio this Thursday Night at 8. On this week's show:

  • Former State Senate Candidate and businessman Jerry Cave will join us to talk about our state and national economic issues;

  • We'll discuss Governor O'Malley's support of gay marriage as a 2012 Legislative Priority (read my take on that from over the weekend);
  • And Greg and Brian will discuss pop culture (or whatever else strikes their nerve).
All that and more this week. Be sure to listen Thursday Night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes.

More below the fold.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Report from the Prince George's County Redistricting Hearing

Wanted to pass along this information contained in an email that is going around, a citizen's report of what occurred at the Prince George's County redistricting hearing that took place last night...

Redistricting Hearing: July 25, Prince George’s County

If there was a theme to last night’s Redistricting Hearing in Prince George’s County – it was this: compact and contiguous. Keep our communities together. Keep our municipalities together. Do not split the county into a dozen legislative districts or congressional districts. Create more African/American minority districts. Represent the area with representatives that reflect our views. Over and over, the audience responded loudly with applause.

From the several who spoke on behalf of Calvert County, the theme was the same: contiguous and keep the Southern MD counties together. Give us single member districts and bring the northern end back to Calvert. Make us whole again.

About 30 people spoke out at the hearing held at Prince George’s Community College. The Governor appointed Advisory Committee watched as citizens gave their views on how Prince George’s and the Southern MD counties should/could be redistricted. Chairman Jeanne Hitchcock, Senator Mike Miller, Delegate Mike Busch, former Delegate James King (Republican), and Richard Stewart listened and the two currently elected officials, appeared anxious as comments came forward that clearly indicated the citizens’ dissatisfaction with how the process happened in 2002. As one declared Democrat presenter said, “MD is the most gerrymandered State.”

Several brought up the court case from the 2002 gerrymandering try in MD even reading from the documents to remind all of the past failure of the former Committee’s redistricting process. This did not go unnoticed. Even the staunch Democrats who elected the powers that are, reminded the Advisory Committee that the process must be fair. One presenter had the guts to bring up the Court case and how Senator Miller held a cook out for the judges deciding the case causing presiding Judge Bell to leave and made it known. Sounds of disbelief and disgust rippled through the audience.

About five speakers endorsed keeping the status quo and did not elaborate other than say that MD was well represented in the Congress.

As speakers drove home the point in the areas where they live, over and over, the theme continued:

· Keep College Park in a single legislative district.

· Keep Greenbelt in the 5th Congressional District; keep the town together.

· Stop splitting PG and diluting the minority vote by bringing in districts to keep “incumbents” safe.

· Move 8th Congressional out of PG.

· Keep Hyattsville together; we want representative democracy.

· Camp Springs – 4 legislative districts and 2 congressional districts – not treated fairly in 2002. Keep us compact and contiguous.

· Calvert Cty – want to keep the County whole; single member legislatives districts; keep Calvert with rest of Southern MD.

· From the PG Central Committee: keep PG compact and contiguous. County is being used by others for their interests. Want boundaries. Don’t want to reach out to our senator who “lives down the road.”

· PG Young Democrats – maintain boundaries.

· State must reflect the change in population. Preserve two Congressional Minority Districts and increase the minority districts in PG. Maps should not be drawn to reduce the African American vote.

· Remove the 5th Congressional District from PG.

· Oppose bringing the 1st Congressional District across the Bay into PG.

· Calvert County: contiguous and compact; do not split the congressional districts; desire to remain aligned with Charles and St. Mary’s Counties; single member districts; fair chance.

· Do not dilute minorities.

· NAACP: we do not want to end up challenging the State in court.

· Governor and Committee know what needs to be done.

· PG has changed. People are aware and we need to take care of our own within our boundaries.

· Bowie – congressional lines should flow out from PG and not to fill needs of others.

· PG should not be the sacrificial lamb.

· PG best served by two congressional districts.

· Hillcrest Heights/Marlow Heights - want to be compact and contiguous.

· Keep communities together. People want change over the last decade.

For a good two hours, the citizens spoke. From representatives of several political actions committees to mayors, delegates, party activists and party leaders, to the retired citizens, people were passionate in their views. As one said, “It’s not about people in office but about the people in Prince George’s.”

Another directed this to his State Senator, “Someday, Senator Miller, someone from Prince George’s, and you used to live in Prince George’s, will be our Senator.” To which, Senator Miller gave a thumbs up response.

The next hearing in the Southern MD area will be at the College of Southern MD in La Plata on August 24. We encourage as many citizens as possible to attend and address their concerns.

More below the fold.

Saturday, July 23, 2011's Michael Takiff's Most Unkindest Cut of All -- the Anti-Semitic Attack on Rep. Eric Cantor

--Richard E. Vatz

Jewish people are justifiably proud of their (our) history and accomplishments as citizens of this great country.

They (we) are also justifiably proud of their achievements throughout American life, not because they are Jewish, but because they are hard-working, democratic and honorable citizens who play by the rules.

In America, for the most part in public discourse, the unstated assumption is that a Jewish political person's actions and positions will be discussed and/or disputed only on their merits. Gone, one thought, is the irrelevant calumny that those actions and positions should be criticized in establishment media in terms of a person's religion or race.

The latest exception to these rules of civil discourse is found in's Michael Takiff's attack ["A Debt Ceiling Shonda; My fellow Jew has been pushing his party -- and the country -- toward a disastrous default. How could this be?" July 22, 2011] on House majority leader Eric Cantor's conservative position on the budget and debt ceiling debate.

Takiff/ calls Rep. Cantor "deeply embarrassing to our country."

Takiff/ calls Rep. Cantor's positions and behavior "shonda fur die goyem," a Yiddish phrase meaning shameful as witnessed by non-Jewish people.

Takiff/ analogizes Rep. Cantor to "rich Jewish financiers screwing millions of ordinary people."

Takiff/ links Rep. Cantor to what he characterizes as bloodthirsty neocons, "so keen on sending other parents' children off to war."

I cannot imagine a more irresponsible, reprehensible piece.

To use Cantor’s Jewishness to shame him for his positions on taxes and government spending, maliciously interpreted in Takiff/'s piece as motivated only by his desire to "curry favor among a bunch of mouth-breathing fanatics" (I didn't say the attack was diluted with any sophistication) is one of the most contemptible arguments I have ever read in a mainstream publication, notwithstanding some soft “please like me because I am cute” paragraphs about his Jewish lineage.

And then there’s the rough stuff on “bullshitting” and gratuitous “above all else...Jews should not be Republicans.” Takiff/ goes through a thoroughly despicable misrepresentation of Republicans to which I cannot do justice, but that false description, too, is in service of the admonition that Rep. Cantor should "stop embarrassing your people."

Takiff's self-serving and cruel sophistry should be rejected by all serious democrats and Democrats. It reflects terribly on people who represent and on Takiff himself, not as a Jewish person, but as a public figure with public responsibilities.

Dr. Vatz is a professor at Towson University

More below the fold.

O'Malley Fails on Politics of Gay Marriage

It should surprise absolutely nobody that Governor Martin O'Malley has announced that passing a gay marriage bill will be one of his legislative priorities during the 2012 General Assembly session. While I'm one of the biggest cheerleaders on the Republican side in support of legalizing gay marriage, O'Malley's sudden embrace of the idea as a cornerstone of his legislative agenda has almost nothing to do with his support of the idea and just about everything to do with his personal ambition.

Let us take you back to the 2011 General Assembly session just a few short months ago. To the surprise of many, myself included, the gay marriage bill squeaked its way out of the Senate and went over to the House of Delegates. Furthermore, to the surprise of many the bill failed to make its way out of the House, with Democrats in the House torpedoing the effort (something that the situational ethics of the Maryland Democratic Party will refuse to allow them to publicly acknowledge). During the buildup to the vote in the House, however, Governor O'Malley did not publicly engage on the issue. He did not make a statement saying that he would support it. He did not use the bully pulpit of the Governor's office to make a policy announcement. He did not utilize his policy shop to twist arms on the issue.

To be frank, Martin O'Malley helped kill gay marriage in Maryland in 2011.

But what we must remember about O'Malley is the fact that his entire life has been predicated on doing what's politically relevant instead of what's just or right. As you may remember, New York adopted gay marriage on June 24th, and the bill was signed into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Instantly, Cuomo became a hero to the gay rights and liberal wings of the Democratic Party.

And all of this became a problem for Martin O'Malley. Because Andrew Cuomo is running for President in 2016. And so is Martin O'Malley. Now all of a sudden, Martin O'Malley is out in front trying to be a champion for gay marriage here in Maryland. Not because he believes that strongly in the issue, but because he is playing catchup to a potential rival he won't actually be running against for four or five years.

What's worse about the gay marriage issue is the potential impact that it could have on ten years worth of make-up of the Maryland General Assembly. We here at Red Maryland have long been critics of the Democrats complete abuse of power when it comes to redistricting. Well, take a wild guess as to what stick O'Malley went out of his way to claim he won't hold over the head of legislators who oppose gay marriage as he works to further his Presidential ambitions support marriage equality. From the Sun article:

This year, the governor has a powerful means of persuasion: He is leading redistricting, the process by which the state draws new districts for lawmakers. But O'Malley said he would not use that as a threat to strong-arm wavering delegates.
When it comes down to it yes I believe Martin O'Malley is willing to sacrifice Democratic legislators who are representing the people of their districts for the mere reason of voting their conscience on a very sticky legal, moral, and religious issue.

Whether or not you support the issue of gay marriage or not does not change the fact that Martin O'Malley's reason for making this a legislative priority have nothing to do with fairness or marriage equality and everything to do with a Presidential campaign that he has been planning for years. Once again, O'Malley is more than willing to sacrifice the people of Maryland in an effort to look good for the national activists and donors he thinks can propel him to the White House (one only need to look at his activities as Chairman of the National Governor's Association to see how much he is paying to national politics, and how little he is paying attention to the problems we have here at home with job creation and unemployment).

Just because I am a supporting of gay marriage doesn't mean that I appreciate Martin O'Malley's cynical reasons for supporting an important issue. I think Marylanders and Democratic activists everywhere will be able to see his true colors from this cynical ploy...

More below the fold.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Get Letters....

Apparently, somebody in the Young Democrats of Maryland apparatus has decided that I should be the recipient of a form letter. Because I've gotten the following letter at least six times:

Mr. Chairman

As a young person I am sure you noticed that just about every day on the floor of the House of Representatives almost every member says they are fighting to protect our generation from the debts that our parent’s generation ran up. However, the actions by some of your leaders in the GOP who refuse to pass the routine bill of lifting the federal debt ceiling has the potential to not only ruin our own economy, but as a result drag the entire world into a prolonged outright depression. As a Young Democrat, I am honored by the hard work of President Barack Obama, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and the rest of the Maryland Delegation who are working to pass a bill that not only lifts the debt ceiling but also cuts trillions of dollars in debt ran up by previous administrations.
The White House, the Treasury Department, most of the major credit rating agencies, and even all leaders in Congress agree that August 2nd is the deadline to reach a deal to save our economy. That is in jeopardy by news that the House of Representatives will not follow the lead of the Senate and stay in session this weekend working to reach a solution. I believe that in order to reach the tough Linkdeal we need to solve this problem, members of Congress should be in Washington. I hope you will join me and the Young Democrats of Maryland to encourage all members of the House of Representatives to stay in Washington and reach a solution that moves us all forward to a balanced solution.
I mean I assume that Christopher Coard of Annapolis, Nicole Markisohn of College, Joe Milk of Annapolis, Jennifer Greene of Capitol Heights, Ryan McAuliffe of North Beach, and Joseph Kitchen of Cheverly didn't all come up with virtually the same exact form letter and send it to me....

Regardless, I think that they're barking up the wrong tree. Everybody knows that the Democrats are not serious about debt relief and that they aren't serious about spending cuts. The folks sending these form letters should really be asking their own leaders to negotiate in good faith and put forth serious solutions to deal with our debt crisis, instead of following the lead of the President and play a dangerous game of chicken with the global economy.

More below the fold.

Red Maryland Radio: 7-21-2011

Another great episode of Red Maryland Radio this week:

  • Delegate Justin Ready and Matt Proud from the Maryland Republican Party join us to discuss redistricting and Justin's recent appointment as interim Executive Director of the Party;
  • Republican attorney Jason Rheinstein will discuss redistricting;
  • Rick Snyder from the Washington Examiner joins us to discuss the not-quite concluded NFL lockout

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio
All that and more this week. Be sure to listen every Thursday Night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes.

More below the fold.

Join Us Tonight!

Don't forget to join us tonight at 8 PM for Red Maryland Radio live on the Red Maryland NetwoLinkrk!

More below the fold.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Red Maryland Radio this week

Another great episode of Red Maryland Radio this week:

  • Delegate Justin Ready joins us to discuss his recent appointment as interim Executive Director of the Maryland Republican Party;
  • Republican attorney Jason Rheinstein will discuss redistricting;
  • Rick Snyder from the Washington Examiner joins us to discuss the hopeful conclusion of the NFL lockout

All that and more this and every Thursday at 8 PM live on the Red Maryland Network

More below the fold.

Franchot Backs Off, Kearney Still in as Partner in State Center Boondoggle

Jay Hancock has the story on Comptroller Peter Franchot’s letter to Alvin Collins, Secretary of Department of General Services, and Beverley Swaim-Staley, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, withdrawing his support of the $1.5 billion State Center boondoggle.

The Coalition to Save Downtown Baltimore, which is suing the State Center developers, released a response stating they were pleased with Franchot’s decision.

“Times have changed, and in the midst of the greatest recession since the Depression, it makes no sense to squander over $1.5 billion taxpayer dollars on this ill-advised project,” said coalition spokesman Ramsey Flynn. “It’s time to scrap the State Center project as currently proposed.”

While Franchot backed away, there is another overlooked person still involved with State Center. Steve Kearney, Martin O’Malley’s former communications director, is a partner in State Center development team. From the Daily Record:

"Resilience is a great word," Patusky said, of Moore's public- private partnership, which includes Steve Kearney, a former top aide to Gov. Martin O'Malley when he was mayor of Baltimore who is now a "public affairs" specialist in a private firm he co-owns with lobbyist Damian O'Doherty, Michael Furbish, George Tyler and Ferris W. Butler.

Kearney, along with Damian O’Doherty, a chief aide to former Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith, run Kearney-O’Doherty Public Affairs, the politically connected spin shop behind the astroturf campaign on behalf of a speed camera vendor to add more cameras in Baltimore County, and PEPCO’s public relations push for the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway a proposed power transmission line to from Southern Maryland run across the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay to the Eastern Shore.

Kearney-O’Doherty Public Affairs is the parent of the allegedly centrist news site Center Maryland.

During the 2010 gubernatorial election Kearney-O’Doherty Public Affairs held a series of high dollar fundraisers for Governor O’Malley.

The State Center project website does not list Kearney as a member in the partnership.

The State Center development team has not responded to an email requesting the details of Kearney’s involvement in the State Center partnership, including if it is a client of Kearney-O’Doherty Public Affairs.

The involvement of Kearney, a political insider, in the project further erodes the integrity of State Center proponents, like Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake who argue that the projects critics are “wealthy” and “powerful” interests. Interestingly enough, Rawlings-Blake’s chief flack is Ryan O’Doherty, the brother of Kearney’s partner Damian, otherwise known as MD4Bush.

More below the fold.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Don't Like The Book - Sue The Author

By Todd D. Lamb

Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, writing for the majority in a landmark free speech case, once famously quipped, “I can’t define pornography, but I know it when I see it.”

Sometimes defining what constitutes a frivolous lawsuit is like that. Tough to describe in the abstract, but easy to find lots of examples. The latest example, as reported by the Wall Street Journal , is an increase in class action lawsuits against publishers from unhappy readers. Self-help authors beware: will you be next if readers don’t achieve their desired outcome after reading your book?

The most infamous lawsuit against a book, a class action suit over James Frey’s memoir A Million Little Pieces, was settled for up to $2.35 million, though only 1,700 people ended up asking to be reimbursed for book purchases. Legal fees totaled $783,000.

In the world’s most litigious society – America’s personal injury attorneys see no profitable enterprise that isn’t fair game for litigation. It was only a matter of time before they set their sights on the New York Times Best Sellers list. And make no mistake, the attorneys themselves are the real winners in this effort. Freedom of speech be damned – if there is a dollar to be made, there is a lawyer on the case.

Todd D. Lamb is the Executive Director of Maryland Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

More below the fold.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Red Maryland Radio: 7-14-2011

Check out this week's episode of Red Maryland Radio. On this week's show:

Listen to internet radio with redmaryland on Blog Talk Radio

All that and more this week. Be sure to listen every Thursday Night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes.

More below the fold.

Join Us Tonight!

Don't forget to join us tonight at 8 on Red Maryland Radio, as we're joined by Gabriel Michael from the Maryland Public Policy Institute and author Stephen England will be on to discuss his newly released novel Pandora's Grave.

All that and more this week. Be sure to listen tonight at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes.

More below the fold.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

MPPI Stands by its State Center Report

The Maryland Public Policy Institute is standing by it's critical report on the $1.5 billion State Center boondoggle. After push back from transportation officials in the O'Malley administration, MPPI released a detailed rebuttal demolishing their criticism.

The Maryland Public Policy Institute today released a point-by-point response to a request from Maryland officials to withdraw its recent report by Maryland Public Policy Institute senior fellow Gabriel Michael and Maryland Tax Education Foundation chairman Jeff Hooke on Baltimore City's massive State Center office complex project.

The heavily-detailed and footnoted response addresses, seriatim, the objections raised in a letter from Michael Gaines, assistant secretary of real estate in the Maryland Department of General Services, and Christopher Patusky, State Center project director in the Maryland Department of Transportation. The letter from Gaines and Patusky, which was addressed to Maryland Public Policy Institute President Christopher Summers, but never sent directly to him, claims "serious misstatements of facts" about the State Center project, and lists several points of contention with the Maryland Public Policy Institute study.

The Gaines-Patusky letter makes eight specific objections to the Michael-Hooke report; the Maryland Public Policy Institute response divides those objections into three groups -- two General Criticisms, four Specific Criticisms, and two Other Criticisms. While most of the issues raised in the letter were addressed within the paper itself, today's response from Maryland Public Policy Institute speaks to Gaines and Patusky's specific objections, and reasserts Michael and Hooke's contention that state officials have vastly understated the true public cost of the State Center project.

"After reviewing your objections and their responses," said Maryland Public Policy Institute's Summers in a letter accompanying the Institute's reply, "I can find no reason to withdraw or amend the study in any way."

Meanwhile, questions abound about the State Center project's lack of transparency, particularly surrounding the selection of the development team and the procurement process.

"At the end of the day, our report sought to answer some very basic questions about State Center that every Maryland taxpayer has the right to ask," said Summers. "How much is this project really going to cost? Is it being managed in the most cost-effective way possible? We know from the outset the answer to that question is ‘no.' Any project, particularly one of this magnitude, that doesn't begin with a competitive bidding process is, by definition, not cost-effective. At best, it's slipshod management. At worst, it's yet another porky, taxpayer-funded boondoggle for which we're all going to wind up overpaying."

Contrary to some State Center supporters claims neither Peter Angelos or the Coalition to Save Downtown Baltimore funded the report.

Good for MPPI for standing tall in the face of the political-developer complex.

More below the fold.