City / County Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

June 13, 2008

O'Malley open to changing campaign contribution rules

Gov. Martin O'Malley indicated yesterday that he would be open to raising campaign contribution limits and possibly closing a campaign-finance loophole that allows big donors to avoid the limits.

Under state law, an individual or business may give no more than $4,000 to a candidate during a four-year election cycle and no more than $10,000 total in that period. Some donors have gotten around those regulations by giving through separate but related limited-liability companies.

"We always have to take a look at those rules from time to time. The limits are something that I think we need to look at, and I think we need to take another look at the LLCs," O'Malley said in an interview on WTOP-FM. As for limits on political donations, the Democratic governor said, "They have been flat ... and so they probably need to be increased."

During the same radio interview, O'Malley said he has not decided whether to appoint to a district judgeship Thomas V. Miller III - the son of a prominent Democratic state senator and ally to the governor - whose nomination prompted resignations on the panel that forwarded his name.

Three members of the Anne Arundel County Judicial Nominating Commission resigned last month, saying O'Malley's request that they reconsider previously rejected candidates, including Miller, shook their confidence in the process. At least one complained of political meddling. Miller's father is state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller of Prince George's County.

"With regard to Mike Miller's son, I think we need to not punish spouses or siblings or the sons and daughters of political figures," O'Malley said. "We need to judge them on their own merits."

Laura Smitherman

Baltimore

South side

Rail crossing work to close streets

Portions of two streets south of Carroll Park in south Baltimore will be closed - one today, the other tomorrow - so that CSX railroad workers can renovate two train crossings, according to the city's Department of Transportation.

Starting at 9 a.m. today, the 2200 block of Washington Blvd., near the Carroll Park Municipal Golf Course, will be shut down until the track project is completed. Motorists on Washington Boulevard will be detoured east onto Patapsco Avenue to southbound Hollins Ferry Road.

Starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow, the 2300 block of Berlin St., about four blocks east of Washington Boulevard, will be closed. Transportation officials said detour signs will be posted around the project.

Also tomorrow, transportation officials said, one lane on each direction of Russell Street at Bayard Street will be closed from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. for installation of new traffic control devices. Russell Street is used by Orioles fans going to the ballpark, and city officials said their work will be completed well before the start of that evening's baseball game.

Courts

Girl in bus fight going to lockup

The Department of Juvenile Services has found a place in a juvenile jail for the former Robert Poole Middle School student who is accused of sparking a December attack on a city bus passenger in Hampden, Circuit Judge David W. Young announced during a review of the case yesterday.

Nakita McDaniels, who was 15 at the time of the assault, will report to a facility, which was not named, on June 30. She will not be freed until a judge approves her release or she turns 21.

It took more than a month and a half for the state juvenile services agency to find her a place in a secure residential facility for young offenders.

The Sun does not usually identify juveniles accused of crimes, but McDaniels' name has been public since she filed countercharges in adult court against Sarah Kreager, the assault victim.

Melissa Harris

Carroll County

Parks

$1.3 million OK'd for improvements

The Maryland State Board of Public Works has approved more than $1.3 million in funding for park improvements and land preservation purchases in Carroll County.

Money was provided for improvements to three parks: $31,500 for an open-air pavilion at Charlotte's Quest Nature Center in Manchester; $13,500 for two dugouts on an athletic field in Manchester; and $38,835 for improvements to the gatehouse and boathouse at Piney Run Park in Sykesville.

The board also approved $1.3 million for the purchase of two tracts of land for conservation easements under the Rural Legacy Program: $474,465 for 93.7 acres in the Little Pipe Creek Rural Legacy Area and $871,240 for 112.9 acres in the Upper Patapsco Rural Legacy Area.

Ellie Baublitz

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