To The Point

June 09, 2008

Miller time, again

State Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller's decision to run for re-election in two years isn't terribly shocking. He's been acting (and fundraising) like a candidate for months. But it does raise a difficult question: When is enough enough for Maryland's longest-serving Senate president?

Mr. Miller's headlock on his chamber is undeniable. He understands the politics of his colleagues (and the politics of most issues) better than anyone in Annapolis. The substance of issues does not seem to interest him nearly as much, but in the end, he generally gets his way.

Maryland governors can serve no more than two terms. As long as a majority of senators consent, the 65-year-old Mr. Miller can be Senate president as long as his district's voters keep sending him back. That's a lot of power to be held in the hands of one man for so long.

But don't expect the Senate to take up such a constitutional question any time soon - at least as long as the man from Clinton is in charge. He would never let such a thing out of committee.

Revising the forecast

For those who thought summer might never arrive, this weekend's spike in temperatures was a surprise attack. Expect the second wave shortly: Stationary high-pressure systems usually mean an upswing in smog, more properly known as ground-level ozone.

Maryland's summer air pollution problems can be considerable, so it's comforting to hear the state is joining a coalition of states suing the Environmental Protection Agency for not doing more to reduce ozone and for ignoring the advice of its own scientific advisers.

The impact of smog is obvious. It's a danger to our health, particularly that of children, seniors and those who suffer from heart disease or a respiratory ailment. Even healthy adults are at risk, and breathing ozone can cause the development of asthma.

The EPA's decision several months ago to set the allowable ozone level at 75 parts per billion instead of the 60 to 70 that was recommended was a dereliction of duty that needs to be addressed. People can ask, "Hot enough for you?" They shouldn't have to wonder, "Is the air breathable enough for you?"

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