Ehrlich may work on GOP race for president in 2008


December 15, 2006

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., who lost his bid last month for a second term, says he may consider working for a Republican presidential campaign for 2008.

Ehrlich, a former congressman who in 2002 became Maryland's first Republican governor in a generation, said he has been approached about possible roles in the presidential campaigns of Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is weighing a bid, and former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Ehrlich did not rule out a personal run for office in the future, but he said it was premature to say whether he would run again.

"There is a generally favorable view of our administration around the country," Ehrlich told reporters Wednesday in a luncheon he held for newspapers that endorsed him. The Associated Press, which does not make political endorsements, was not invited.

"We've been approached by the Romney campaign and the Giuliani" campaign about possible roles, Ehrlich said, though he didn't say what those roles would be.

Asked about his political future, he said, "The trend lines at present in our state are not very good for someone with my views and my values."

The governor said he has "very few regrets" about his term, though he noted his failure to get lawmakers to approve slot machine gambling as a disappointment.

Ehrlich was defeated for re-election by Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, a Democrat. Ehrlich said he has bought a home outside Annapolis but has not taken a new job.

"There are a lot of options out there, and there are a lot of people talking to us," Ehrlich said. "I know that part of my life will be taken up with helping people who want my help. More likely than not, I may do some media."

First lady Kendel Ehrlich attended the lunch, and told reporters that she is preparing to move out of Government House and has given a tour of the mansion to incoming first lady Katie Curran O'Malley.

Asked what advice she had for the new first lady, Mrs. Ehrlich said she should "do whatever is right for her family."


Montgomery Co.

Construction worker dies after falling from roof

A construction worker died yesterday after falling off the roof of a residential building and plummeting six or seven stories onto a concrete deck, authorities said.

Sergio Alfredo Moscoso, 20, of Catonsville, was one of two day laborers hired for a roofing project at a site on Tuckerman Road, Montgomery County police said. Investigators said the fall appeared to be an accident.

Moscoso, who was wearing a safety harness, was attempting to secure it to a roof anchor when he slipped on the plywood decking. A Police Department spokeswoman said the decking was wet from heavy dew and early-morning fog.

Moscoso fell about 51 feet and was seriously injured. He was pronounced dead at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. Police said they are investigating the incident but have not found any evidence of foul play.


Suburban D.C.

Metro board vows to move slowly on increasing fares

Metro board members promised yesterday not to rush into a fare increase, saying there may be ways to trim additional fat from the transit agency's operations.

Metro's management presented a draft budget to the board that includes a complex fare increase of as much as $2.10 for certain trips. The board is expected to spend much of the next half-year revising it before a final version is adopted. Metro's fiscal year begins July 1.

The proposed fare increase would vary according to the time of day, method of payment and stations used, and is aimed at helping to close a $116 million shortfall in next year's budget.

The new fare structure is also designed to encourage the use of SmarTrip electronic fare cards, which cost Metro less and are more efficient than paper fare cards, and to ease crowding by encouraging some commuters to take their trips at off-peak periods rather than during rush hour.

Jim Graham, a Metro board and District of Columbia Council member, said he would not support any increase until the board looks at every other possibility for savings.

He suggested the board consider eliminating more administration jobs on top of the 34 now-vacant ones already cut under the draft budget and forgoing pay raises for nonunion employees, who would see a 5 percent raise under the proposal.



State hiring fewer uncertified teachers without experience

In a state with chronic teacher shortages, Maryland school systems have been signing on uncertified teachers for years. But schools are hiring fewer uncertified candidates who lack teaching experience, according to an analysis of State Department of Education data.

In the 2002-2003 academic year, 2,076 uncertified teachers got jobs in Maryland, and 30 percent of them had experience, the state's 2003 Teacher Staffing Report shows.

Four years later, in 2005-2006, almost 66 percent of the 1,646 newly hired uncertified teachers had experience, the most recent report shows. Experience is defined as any salaried teaching job.

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