Fraser Smith's Commentary

WYPR's Senior News Analyst opines on recent Maryland news.

 A dramatically colder winter, made me wonder. Would we be skipping spring, 2015?  

          Oh me of little faith. We haven’t had that much climate change.

          Overnight we awoke to what an acquaintance used to call “the dancing ladies” – a quadrille of white beauties on Calvert Street.

           You can catch the very last of them joining hands above the streetscapes.

Finally, we get to know who governs Maryland: Is it the governor riding high in the saddle? Or is it the wary and defensive legislature?

He’s in. Start saving your old campaign buttons, so you can I knew him when.

Remember when cooperation between political leaders was almost routine? Can’t remember back that far? Neither can I. 

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake calls upon the black men of Baltimore to become mentors and activists in the fight against crime.

Senator Barbara Mikulski is stepping down, ending a lifetime of political involvement - but us she really?

Stewart is the Nick Markakis of Baltimore’s water leak busters – the class of the crews now braving wind and single-digits to get porous pipes repaired. Right fielder Markakis left the Orioles, but we remember what a great professional he was, rain or shine.

The gloves came off in Annapolis yesterday. In his first state of the state address, Republican Governor Larry Hogan gave a dour assessment:

“Our state is not as strong as it could or should be. Too many Marylanders are struggling just to get by,” he said. As many as half of Marylanders want to leave the state, he said.

The status quo, he said, cannot be accepted. 

On the stump candidates can launch broadsides without fear of return fire. Not so in a roomful of most Democratic politicians.

Yesterday, the well-deserved pomp. Today – well we really don’t know. Today, Governor Larry Hogan Jr. unveils his budget. It’s almost certain to be a revealing if not sobering moment.

So far, the new leader has seemed adroit and efficient. He’s quickly fielded a promising team – cabinet members and department heads – no easy task for someone with little if any experience at such organizing. He’s had no elective, let alone major, administrative experience.

He worked in the Ehrlich Administration, and he had a hand in finding talent. But he was not in charge of it.  

Now would be a really great time to re-invigorate the state's campaign finance law. Don't bet on it.