Joanna Conti's blog

Joanna Conti's blog

Slots Won't Help County Budget

UPDATE (10/26/09):  According to section 9-1A-31 of Senate Bill 3, the monies the county may eventually receive from slots will be in the form of Local Impact Grants that "shall be used for improvements in the communities in immediate proximity to the video lottery facilities and may be used for the following purposes: (1) infrastructure improvements; (2) facilities; (3) public safety; (4) sanitation; (5) economic and community development, including housing; and (6) other public services and improvements".  A 15-member Local Development Council must be established to ad

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Making Government More Efficient

The $454 million in 2010 spending cuts Governor O’Malley just announced are going to be excruciatingly painful.  Unfortunately, over 75% of the cuts just announced are one-time savings that will do nothing to make balancing next year’s budget any easier.  While potentially necessary in the short term, furloughing employees and cutting county assistance create real hardships but no long-term benefit.

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Leopold's Shell Game

The last several years have been tough ones for Anne Arundel County.  Under County Executive John Leopold, we have been living beyond our means.  In fiscal years 2009 and 2010 combined, the county is projected to spend $150.6 million more than its revenues:

Anne Arundel County Overspending ($ Millions)
(including State Grant Funding)

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O'Malley's Maryland Goals

I love the fact that Governor O’Malley has set bold goals for the remainder of this and a hoped-for future term.  I’m a big believer that “what gets measured gets done”, and publicizing the goals puts the pressure on his administration to deliver.   

As reported by the Washington Post this morning, O’Malley has set 15 major goals:

 

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The Human Cost of Being Uninsured

A health care crisis hit my family three weeks ago.  It wasn’t my 80-year-old father or 77-year-old mother.  My 49-year-old kid brother had a stroke.

Jon has had a tough time in recent years.  He was let go from a job in his journalism field after 18 years.  He started working as a cook in a restaurant, a job he loved despite the long days, hard work, and low pay.

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Dodge the Blame

 I love this cartoon by cartoonist extraordinaire Tom Chalkley, courtesy of a neat new web site,marylandcommons.com.  Doesn't this perfectly capture how everyone thinks the Bay's pollution is someone else's fault?  What is it going to take to change this?

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Swine Flu Fears Receding

The most important mystery surrounding swine flu is the severity of the illness.  Why have almost all the cases in the U.S. been mild while there have been 176 suspected deaths so far in Mexico?

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The Chesapeake Needs YOU!

Every summer, our crabs, fish and oysters face a terrible menace to their survival – as much as 40+ percent of the Chesapeake Bay becomes a dead zone with insufficient oxygen for them to breathe. Not surprisingly, the Bay’s marine life is dying off. In the last seventeen years, the population of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay has plummeted 67%. Oysters, which used to be the Bay’s most profitable commercial fishery, have declined to 1% of the levels seen in the 1950s and 1960s. Fish kills of 100,000 or more fish at a time regularly occur each summer.

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Maryland Pays You to Plant Trees

Governor O’Malley just announced a new program called Marylanders Plant Trees. As part of the state’s goal of planting 1 million new trees by 2011, the government will give you a coupon worth $25 off each purchase of a native tree costing $50 or more. Print out the coupon at Marylanders Plant Trees website, where you are also asked to register the trees you plant. What could be cooler?

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SWAT Comes to Your Neighborhood

It is early morning. As you head into the kitchen for a cup of coffee, you stop to pull a blanket over your son who is sleeping in the living room.

Suddenly, your unlocked front door is kicked down and a dozen masked men in black swarm into the house, screaming and pointing assault rifles threateningly at you. Forced to the ground with a gun to your head, you ask through terrified tears, “who are you?”, but there’s no response. And then you hear a gun fired in the living room. Have terrorists shot your son?

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