Procrastination and Sancti-mania

What does Martin O’Malley and Peter Franchot have in common? Well, we know it’s not slots. Both have a pious attitude for starters. As WBAL Radio host Ron Smith pointed out in his recent commentary with O’Malley, it is the “White Knight” appearance that seems to come out on certain topics. This can be expanded to Franchot (the only problem is that he doesn’t have O’Malley’s looks.)

For O’Malley, the piety comes when he talks of making things fair for working people (when in reality he is not.) Franchot’s sanctimonious attitude comes when he is speaking out against slots is the right thing to do (even though his job is the chief accountant of Maryland.)

I read and saw Franchot’s road show in Baltimore City and Montgomery County. Franchot’s venues (the Inner Harbor and Downtown Silver Spring) did not make sense. Considering that Montgomery County residents have said no to slots and Robert Ehrlich in the past as well as O’Malley said that there would be no slots in Montgomery County, Pimlico and the Inner Harbor. Franchot pointing the revitalization out as a success without slots is a moot point. At their separate low points, adding slots was not an option to begin with.

Franchot fails to realize that slots are A PIECE of the solution in solving the budget deficit. O’Malley never said that slots was the silver bullet to solving this budget problem (which is where higher taxes are trying to come in.) Franchot also fails to come up with his own plan, other than expressing discontent with his fellow rich people, to solve the deficit let alone offer a plan to develop Maryland’s economy. In case you were wondering , I think this life sciences expo thingamabob that he is planning for in November is more show than substance.

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The other thing they have in common is procrastination. Franchot wants to put even more time off when it comes to addressing O’Malley’s budget proposal. The comptroller wants to do his job, err, analyze the proposal to get proper number to go by. We have seen this before, this waiting to address the budget crisis. O’Malley didn’t want to address the budget deficit until well after the 2007 session. We didn’t start hearing any ideas until Late August and it came at a cost of $200 million, thus making the current deficit $1.7 billion dollars. O’Malley was better off leaving the “trimmings” he proposed before the Board of Public Works intact.

I believe if O’Malley had not held Maryland back when it comes to properly addressing the problem, we wouldn’t have lost that $200 million. If Franchot was doing his job, there would be more information to go by and lawmakers on both sides would not be so reluctant to go to Annapolis before the holiday…ok, maybe the later is a stretch. We know how much they (don’t) like making tough decisions (or any decisions for that matter.)

The moral of this story kids is that false pieties blocks progress and procrastination costs.

P. Kenneth Burns is the editor/writer of Maryland Politics Today and a contributor to Red Maryland. He lives in Laurel, Prince George’s County. He can be reached at

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