For almost four years I had my own slightly successful blog: O’MalleyWatch.com. The purpose of that blog was to point out the failures of Governor Martin O’Malley, to follow through on his campaign promises during his first term in office, and to expose controversies within his Administration.
The blog made its biggest headlines because of purchases of land by the Board of Public Works (led by Governor Martin O’Malley) for more money than they were worth, and then the prompt firing of the Department of General Services person who pointed out the State was paying too much for the land. Of course, it was revealed that the land owner and lobbyist were donors to the O’Malley campaign. In another story, we exposed that a Maryland State Police Commander was re-assigned after he told a newspaper that a State Senator was pressuring the agency to stop enforcing laws against of a friend’s towing business. Perhaps the best story, though, was how we revealed some of the negotiations during the initial special session that included a gas tax increase, which sparked the public outrage and got the gas tax pulled initially.
But the site also served to remind Governor O’Malley of his own promises during a campaign, that he promptly broke. Most of those revolved around his failure to institute a professional Public Service Commission to properly regulate the energy industry and stop the rate hikes he had campaigned so hard against. He had promised an opt-in provision for loans on the rate hike deferment, and many other things that sounded good for campaign commercials, but when he actually went to enforce it, it wasn’t as easy.
That gets down to the root cause of my interest in government and politics and why I blogged. Our system of government, a representative republic, is based on the accountability of an elected official for their actions and the follow through on their promises. When a politician speaks, we can choose to listen, but when an elected official acts, it is our duty to remember.
I stopped the O’Malley Watch blog because the election season was beginning; the job of keeping track of those promises being broken belonged to the professionals. I was just a blogger who ordered green flowers for the Governor on his birthday, or exposed his personal e-mail address so that the voters of Maryland could let him know they didn’t like his tax increases. But despite not following through on a majority of his campaign promises for his first term, the voters of Maryland re-elected him overwhelmingly. Now he is about to enter the twilight of his political career, either as a footnote of an also-ran for President, or as a U.S. Senator for the rest of his life.
The wonderful people of The Dagger are giving me this opportunity to talk about the future of Maryland Politics and what is going to effect all of us as we enter the next phase. This is the best forum for that because there is an actual dialogue that occurs here, a back and forth on the ideals being expressed. I don’t want to write to an audience that is going to agree with me 100 oercent, I want to write for The Dagger because this is an audience that is opinionated and critical, and willing to state its point of view. I can only hope to spur half the discussion that a Sheriff’s race in Harford County does on here.
– Martin Watcher
Larry Hogan’s Missed Opportunity to Change Maryland
I’m not making many friends these days. Larry Hogan is making a lot of them with his campaign to Change Maryland. He took the show on the road recently to the taxpayer-funded vacation for County elected officials known as the Maryland Association of Counties Summer Conference. For those who remember my past work as an advocate for good government, MACo and their Summer Conference has always drawn my ire as the biggest waste of taxpayer money.
The way it works is that every summer, during the height of vacation season when hotel rates are astronomical in Ocean City, elected officials from county governments across the state (and state elected officials including Delegates and Senators) use your tax dollars to travel to the beach resort town to
party attend workshops. Attendance isn’t taken at the workshops, and if you go onto the convention floor, elected officials are treated with tons of give-aways from developers, government agencies both county and state, Comcast/Verizon, and anybody else with an interest before the various County Councils and Commissions. The Conference caps off with a huge all-you-can-eat Crab Feast. Did I mention enough times that the whole thing is pretty much funded by your tax dollars? Bel Air, Aberdeen and Havre de Grace taxpayers get hit twice as their local governments also attend the Maryland Municipal League Summer Conference, also in Ocean City.
Two of the major contenders in the Republican primary for Governor, Harford County Executive David Craig and Frederick County Commission President Blaine Young attended; in fact Young used the taxpayer funded trip to host two fundraisers while he was out there. It is disappointing that Craig and Young would so freely waste your tax dollars by being a part of this organization and attending the junket. More disappointing though was Larry Hogan’s presence at the event. Instead of taking a stand against the boondoggle that is MACo, Hogan attended. Instead of trying to “Change Maryland”, Hogan went along with the rest of the State and schmoozed it up. He even bragged about on his Facebook page that instead of “Changing Maryland” elected officials from around the State were coming up to his table at the Crab Feast and “paying their respects” (maybe everyone else saw this as the funeral for his attempts to Change Maryland as well).
If Larry Hogan is serious about changing Maryland he needs to stop going along with the type of tax payer funded junkets people are tired of and take a stand from the political establishment of the State.