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The North Charles Street Water Main Break, Dixon's Probation Violation, and More On Tuesday's Election
November 8, 2012
A huge water main break along North Charles Street in Baltimore is creating headaches for commuters this morning. The 60-inch main broke under North Charles at East 20th yesterday morning, causing the road to buckle and sending a river of water rushing down the street. The Department of Public Works calls it just the latest example of problems with the city's aging infrastructure (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun; and here you can see a video of the water main break taken by WYPR's Matt Purdy yesterday morning).
There wasn’t too much talk about the nation’s aging infrastructure in the recent presidential campaign, but if you went to the corner of North Charles Street and 20th Street in Baltimore yesterday you might think the issue bears watching. WYPR Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith comments in his weekly essay.
Former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon has been charged with violating her probation for falling behind on court ordered payments by more than $13-thousand. Dixon is due in court December seventh to address the violation; she could face possible prison time and loss of her $83-thousand-a-year city pension (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says she's "not satisfied" with an uptick in the city's murder rate. Baltimore has seen 189 homicides so far this year, compared to 176 murders at this time last year. The Mayor says she's discussing ways to increase inforcement and bring the murder rate down with new Police commissioner Anthony Batts. Batts will officially be sworn in today (via the Baltimore Sun).
Same-sex couples in Maryland are planning weddings after the first of the year. With the passage of Question Six on Tuesday, same-sex couples can obtain a civil marriage license from the state beginning in 2013 (via our service and the Baltimore Sun). Meanwhile, wedding businesses are looking for new customers now that the same-sex marriage law has won voter approval (via our wire service and the Baltimore Business Journal).
In Frederick County, officials are getting ready for a transition of county government. This, after voters in that jurisdiction approved a county charter on Tuesday. The County's Board of Commissioners will need to be replaced with a County Executive and seven-member County Council on December 1st of 2014. A transition team is expected to take shape over the next couple days. Officials say they'll look to Cecil County for guidance; Cecil County voters approved their own charter in 2010, and on Tuesday elected their first County Executive (via the Frederick News Post).
State officials are investigating complaints about long lines on Election Day across Maryland (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
On Election Day, Maryland voters approved an expansion of the state's casino gambling program, on the ballot as "Question 7." The vote was 52 percent to 48 percent. And while that's a majority, gambling giant Penn National Gaming claims it's not enough of one to let the expansion go forward. Penn National notes that Maryland's constitution requries a "majority of qualified voters" to approve the measure. That could mean a majority of registered voters -- a standard that appears not to have been applied in recent history. Usually, the phrase has been interpreted to mean the majority of votes on the issue... but it could also require a majority of participating voters to approve the ballot question -- that interpretation was used two years ago, when a ballot question calling for a state constitutional convention got more than 50 percent support from those who weighed in on it, but undervotes meant that less than half of the people who came to the polls supported it. Applying that standard here still appears to give "Question 7" majority support, albeit with a narrower margin. But Penn National is still vowing to continue its fight against the gambling expansion in court -- and "explore all legal venues" to prevent it from going forward. Penn National is worried in part that a new casino in Prince George's county will syphon off traffic from a casino it runs in West Virginia; the company had poured tens of millions of dollars into an ad campaign to influence voters against the expansion (more here and here from the Baltimore Sun; more here from marylandreporter.com). Meanwhile, the state's Lottery Commission is working on regulations for table games at state casinos -- approved in "Question 7." The commission says Maryland casinos could start adding table games early next year (via the Baltimore Business Journal). And, despite a decline in revenues last month, the operators of Anne Arundel County's Maryland Live! Casino say they're planning to hire some 12-hundred new employees to operate table games (via the Baltimore Sun).
IN FOCUS TODAY
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Monday, June 17, 2013 - 6:35am
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