Madaleno Flip Flops on State Center
Barely one week into his quixotic campaign for Governor and State Senator Rich Madaleno is already taking both sides on key issues.
Madaleno, famous for lying repeatedly about Governor Hogan’s record and for attacking the First Lady, spoke on today at a rally in support of the State Center project:
Dozens of community leaders, lawmakers and city residents — frustrated by the stalled State Center redevelopment — rallied Monday outside City Hall, calling on Gov. Larry Hogan to move forward with the West Baltimore project.
State leaders in December voided contracts with a developer that underpinned a $1.5 billion plan to turn State Center, a 28-acre complex of state offices near North Eutaw Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard, into a mix of residences, stores, offices and, possibly, a grocery store.
Hogan has said he is committed to seeing the site redeveloped and called on the Maryland Stadium Authority to conduct a study to evaluate other options for the site, including the possibility of locating an arena there.
The study has been approved by the stadium authority but has not yet started, said Michael Frenz, the authority’s executive director. And the project is tied up in court after the state sued to affirm its right to void the contracts and developer State Center LLC filed a countersuit….
….In addition to Costello, state senators Barbara Robinson and Richard Madaleno and state delegates, Antonio Hayes, Cheryl Glenn, Bilal Ali and Nick Mosby, addressed the crowd.
Madaleno’s attendance in support of State Senator, of course, is interesting, because Rich Madaleno was one of the leading voices in the State Senate against this project. Madaleno himself said the State Center leases are capital leases–the very determination that would cause the state to breach the debt ceiling as we talked about earlier. Of course, Madaleno did say the thought it was a “potentially important” project. He hedged a bit, but remember that Madaleno was a former analyst for the Department of Legislative Services and a self-proclaimed budget wonk. Madaleno knows how fiscally damaging the current State Center project is, but yet there he was today in Baltimore as a declared candidate for Governor pandering to Baltimore City. Pandering to city Democrats even though Madaleno knows how bad the current project is and how the project as structured violates state law. Compare Madaleno’s pandering to Governor Larry Hogan’s efforts to work on a new plan for State Center with Mayor Pugh. The Governor is working to come up with a plan one that is fiscally responsible and makes sense for the surrounding communities. The only people standing in the way are the greedy politically connected crony capitalist developers; the crony capitalists whose ring Madaleno is attempting to kiss by showing up at rallies such as this one.
But please, don’t take my word for it; listen to and read Senator Madaleno’s own words from a State Center Briefing to the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on December 9, 2014:
“Right. So I just don’t see how this isn’t – I don’t see how this isn’t a capital lease. And I don’t see how – I mean if you go this direction, haven’t you amazingly invented a way for us to dramatically reduce our capital expenditures, by simply calling the duck a chicken, and us, and us saying to the rating agencies, ‘tada, we really don’t have any debt.’”
“Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. I think it’s incumbent upon us to make a recommendation to the Board of Public Works about whether or not we consider this capital or operating. I’m very concerned about us delegating that responsibility to—SB an auditing firm to come through and decide, to provide some sort of analysis and say it is. I think we have to be conservative about the way we approach debt, as we traditionally have, and let us make that determination—this is a capital lease, and this will be seen as a capital lease. The policy of whether or not they want to move forward with moving forward with the development, I’m happy to let the Board of Public Works make that decision. Senator Peters raises a really good point about it, if it’s a good project in December it will be a good project in February. But I think whoever makes that decision—if they make it next week or they make it in two months—this is a capital lease and we should book it that way, so that we don’t find ourselves in a problem later on. We made those policy decisions before about other projects and I think when its when we get too cute of trying figure out ways around set rules and we’ve charged a group of state employees to find a way around the rules that we’ve set. I don’t think that’s good public policy. I don’t think that sets us up well, even though this is potentially an important and viable project for the city and those communities that should not be derailed. But we should be honest with ourselves that this is capital and should be considered capital—a capital lease.”
How many other ways will Rich Madaleno comprise his ideals and what’s left of his integrity during this campaign?