Sunday, October 23, 2011

If Governor O'Malley is Allowed to Choose Maryland's Economic Winners and Losers, Guess Who Loses?

from the Harford County Dagger
From the office of Senators Nancy Jacobs and Senator Barry Glassman:


PlanMaryland is an attempt by Governor O’Malley and Planning Secretary Richard Hall to seize planning authority from local governments in a sweeping political power play.

What they are calling a “smart growth” plan equates to no-growth in many parts of the State.

PlanMaryland is a far-reaching, state-wide centralized planning initiative that, if not stopped, will be implemented by the Administration as early as next month. Spearheaded by Governor O’Malley and Maryland’s Department of Planning, the Plan will direct growth only where there is existing infrastructure; according to the Plan’s growth maps, most growth will be allowed only in Baltimore and in the Washington suburbs.

The Plan lavishes state money for roads, sewer and water in the Baltimore-Washington corridor and starves the rest of the state. More specifically, it directs state agencies to spend growth-related funds only in specific areas handpicked by the Department of Planning that they decided are allowed to grow. That means many Maryland communities would not be eligible for state funds for new school construction or new roads. It also means there will be no job growth outside these handpicked areas.

Governor O’Malley is dusting off an antiquated and highly controversial piece of legislation from 1974 to use as the authority to make these radical changes to land use in Maryland without a new vote from the General Assembly. If PlanMaryland goes unchallenged, Secretary Hall will become the land czar of Maryland, controlling where we live and where we work.

A radical and overzealous policy change that adversely affects many Maryland communities should be vetted through the General Assembly, not acted on unilaterally by the Governor. It should have a hearing where citizens can weigh in and it should be scrutinized by the legislative body.

I understand the necessity for planning for future growth, but one size does not fit all and the counties should maintain their zoning prerogative. Local land use decisions should remain with the local elected officials who are accountable to the people who elected them.

What you can do:

Voice your opposition by contacting the following people:

Secretary of Planning Richard Hall – (410) 767-4510

Governor O’Malley – 410.974.3901

Delegate Maggie McIntosh

Annapolis office: (410) 841-3990
Don't Let THIS Sign Be Hung Upon Harford County by Governor O'Malley!

Perry Attacks Romney

Friday, October 21, 2011

See You in Court, Governor!

from NBC Washington
Maryland’s controversial new redistricting map has been a law for less than 24 hours but it is already facing a legal challenge. According to the Washington Post, Republicans and a grass roots group are calling on the Justice Department to investigate the maps constitutionality.

Governor Martin O’Malley signed the new district map into law yesterday. He says he had district lines redrawn to reflect 2010 census numbers that showed significant growth in Maryland’s suburbs, especially among minorities.

According to the Post, the lines divide minorities among multiple districts in an effort to avoid a new congressional district from being formed that would be dominated by minorities. The most drastic change is in District 6, the states most rural, which has been held for 10-terms by the state’s senior Republican Roscoe Bartlett. Under the new map, that district will stretch nearly 200 miles from the border with West Virginia to the Capital Beltway in Montgomery County.

Republicans and critics say the new lines amount to racial gerrymandering with the ultimate goal of adding minorities considered to be reliable Democrat voters to more districts and potential picking one of the two seats the GOP holds in the House of Representatives.

“This is only going to become a bigger and bigger issue as the country grows ever more diverse,” Justin Levitt, an elections law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and who runs the Web site All About Redistricting, which tracks legal challenges in the 50 states told the Post. “The legal claim is going to be that either the groups were drawn together didn’t deserve it, or the groups that were split up didn’t deserve that, either.”

The Post reports that the main focus for the Justice Department in the appeal will be to decide if it was unconstitutional for O’Malley to split up Montgomery into three different districts because of its new status as majority-minority.

One of the state 12 Republican senators says the plan hurts the state and minority groups.

“You’re disenfranchising minorities,” Senate Minority Whip E.J. Pipkin (R-Queen Anne’s) told the Post. “Look at the census data: It says the bulk of the state’s population increase is minorities, and this map divides that growth up. That’s a good court case.”
Changes to 2nd Congressional District
Changes to 1st Congressional District

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Green Energy Experiences it's Northern Spotted Owl Moment

from the Tribune Democrat
LILLY — Night operation of the windmills in the North Allegheny Windpower Project has been halted following discovery of a dead Indiana bat under one of the turbines, an official with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday.

The finding marks only the second location where an Indiana bat has been found dead under a wind turbine. Two Indiana bats were found under turbines in the Mid-west, said Clint Riley, supervisor for Fish and Wildlife’s Pennsylvania field office.

“While finding the dead bat is not good news for any of us, it does show the monitoring works,” Riley said from his State College office.

The find is significant because the Indiana bat is an endangered species and is protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.

The 35-windmill farm was built by Gamesa Energy USA in Portage, Washington and Cresson townships in Cambria County and extends across the line into Blair County.

It became operational in September 2009 and was purchased by Duke Energy in July 2009, spokesman Greg Efthimiou said.

“We take our commitment to wildlife and the environment very seriously,” he said.

The bat was discovered during volunteer daily monitoring of the farm on Sept. 26, and Duke immediately brought in an Indiana bat expert for confirmation, Efthimiou said.

“We have not operated at night since the confirmation of the bat,” he said of the span beginning before dusk and ending after dawn.

The daily monitoring is part of a cooperative agreement between the wind farm owner and the state game commission.

“Mere hours after discovery, we entered into collaborative discussions (with state and federal officials) how to move forward,” he said.

A part of those discussions was to stop nighttime operation of the farm.
Oooops! Payback (ROI) on your capital investment on an already overly expensive and inefficient renewable energy source will now take twice as long to recover...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Can You Spell G-E-R-R-Y-M-A-N-D-E-R, Governor O'Malley?

from the Baltimore Sun
Gov. Martin O'Malley is expected to release his plan for or new congressional boundaries this afternoon. A top aide said it will differ only slightly from the map that a panel appointed by O'Malley issued last week.

A poster board showing the new map was momentarily left near our Sun office in the state house (see photo). It has since been put under lock and key in the Speaker's offices.

The most significant changes are in Montgomery County, where the 8th district, represented by U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen gained a handful of additional precincts from neighborhoods that he's long represented but were going to be moved into other areas.

Another change is in Anne Arundel County where Cape Saint Claire had been split between the 3rd and the 4th districts, but is now completely in the 3rd district. The change gives the odd shaped 3rd district a land bridge connecting at least one part of the district to the rest of it.

A more official version of the maps should be up up on line shortly, according to O'Malley's aides.

Separately, Maryland's Legislative Black Caucus met for hours in the state house this afternoon, but did not vote on the proposed maps as expected. They are set to meet on Monday for a vote.
That's QUITE a serpentine set of districts, some NOT EVEN appearing to be CONTINGUOUS!


Update 10/17 - Senate Panel approves Governor's Map. Full Senate may vote as early as tomorrow.

Maryland's Dirty 'Renewable Energy' Secret

from Penn Energy
Source: Environmental Integrity Project

Waste-To-Energy Plant Diagram Source: ecomaineProposals for new or expanded waste-to-energy (WTE) incinerators, which burn trash to create electricity, have been popping up in Maryland. Reports from these facilities show that they pollute more per hour of energy produced than coal-fired power plants, emitting higher rates of lead, mercury, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide.

WTE facilities combust trash (i.e. municipal solid waste) to generate electricity and produce steam to heat buildings. Maryland has recently reclassified WTE incinerators as Tier 1 renewables under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) despite the fact that incinerators do not harness renewable energy. Rather, they rely on a fixed waste stream, typically consisting of thousands of tons of trash a day. This classification undermines the goal of the RPS and makes Maryland’s RPS one of the most lenient in the country with respect to WTE incinerators.

Although no incinerators were constructed in the entire country between 1996 and 2007, Maryland currently has at least three projects – the new Energy Answers plant in Baltimore City, the proposed expansion of the Harford County Resource Recovery Facility, in Harford County, and the proposed Frederick County Incinerator in Frederick County – under development or already permitted for construction. In addition, Maryland already has two WTE incinerators in Baltimore City and Dickerson.

The EIP report recommends that Maryland should remove WTE incinerators from its RPS, invest further in recycling and source reduction programs, reconfigure its Clean Energy Production Tax Credit Program to better support and promote clean and renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and geothermal energy, and increase its statewide pollution monitoring network to better understand new sources of pollution as well as trends in air quality.

Key EIP report findings include:

The WTE incinerators in Maryland examined for the report emit more pollution per hour of energy produced than each of Maryland’s four largest coal-fired power plants.

•The WTE facilities produce ash in the combustion process that can be highly toxic and must be carefully tested to determine its toxicity and appropriate management.

•Incinerators are extremely expensive to construct, often costing hundreds of millions of dollars to build and requiring substantial loans and tax credits.

•Incineration provides fewer jobs and less economic benefits than other waste management options such as recycling and source reduction.
Why does Maryland INSIST upon operating these dirty-energy plants?
"Our State has an aggressive goal of generating 20% of our energy from Tier I renewable sources by 2022 and we intend to achieve that goal through as much in-state energy generation as possible. This will require a diverse fuel mix including onshore and offshore wind, solar, biomass including poultry litter, and now waste-to-energy if we are to realize our 20% goal." - Governor Martin O'Malley
Who cares whether or not the goal makes "sense". It's our GOAL, dammit! Don't argue with us, we're Democrats. We KNOW what's BEST for Maryland!

Way to pencil whip a problem, Governor. Just like you do with our State Educational Standards... just waive the requirements and/or lower the pass threshold!

10/18 Update - Harrisburg, PA learns the costly perils of waste to energy solutions.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

GOP Offers Own Redistricting Plan

From the office of State Sen. Nancy Jacobs:
Today Senator Nancy Jacobs is introducing a bill for a “Good Government Redistricting Plan.” It has the backing of the Maryland Republican Party.

Earlier this week Senator Joe Getty and Senator E.J. Pipkin also introduced maps. All three of these maps from Republicans preserve the integrity of rural areas and minority communities. Each plan contains three majority-minority districts.

The plan from Governor O’Malley’s redistricting panel tears these communities apart. It denies people representation from like-minded elected officials who have their interests at heart. It doesn’t follow local community or county lines. Districts in O’Malley’s map looks like paint thrown on wall by a three year old.

O’Malley’s plan even disenfranchises his own democrat base. That’s because it’s not about citizens, but about grabbing more power and keeping incumbent Democrats in office. It’s totally self-serving.

My fear is none of these alternative plans will ever see the light of day. Will leadership only allow their plan to get a public hearing? Demand hearings. Call O’Malley. Tell him to listen to the people of Maryland because it’s the right thing to do.


Sponsor: Senator Nancy Jacobs

*Respects existing county and municipal boundaries to keep communities of common interest together.

*Splits counties as infrequently as possible

*Creates three Minority-Majority districts

*Creates a district solely for Baltimore City of inside the beltway communities

*Protects the interests of voters rather than incumbent politicians
It's ALL about meeting Left-Wing whacko goals:
"Our State has an aggressive goal of generating 20% of our energy from Tier I renewable sources by 2022 and we intend to achieve that goal through as much in-state energy generation as possible. This will require a diverse fuel mix including onshore and offshore wind, solar, biomass including poultry litter, and now waste-to-energy if we are to realize our 20% goal."
- Governor O'Malley

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

America, a Country Filled with Untapped Possibilities?

The Marcellus Shale Formation
from Forbes online...
In August, an announcement by the U.S. Geological Survey triggered a storm of uncertainty in the natural gas industry. The agency announcement: that it had increased its estimate of undiscovered natural gas in the Marcellus Shale (which underlies much of Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Maryland) from the 2 trillion cubic feet it figured back in 2002 to 84 tcf today. It was a huge increase, yet on first glance, this report from the USGS seemed to contradict one released just a month earlier from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The EIA’s report estimated that there were 410 tcf of recoverable gas in the Marcellus. The numbers were so different that there was little surprise when headlines started cropping up with wording like: “U.S. Slashes Marcellus Reserves 80 Percent.” [Editor’s note: the anti-shale gang at The New York Times mixed up the story entirely, seemingly on purpose.]

Yet this is all a big misunderstanding. The EIA and the USGS were looking at two entirely different things. The EIA was estimating discovered reserves of natural gas, while the USGS was looking at undiscovered reserves yet to be found. This would suggest that in time some or all of the 84 tcf USGS estimate would be additive to EIA’s 410 tcf.

Contrary to the dire reports from the press, this indicates the potential for tremendous growth in the resource base and that the Marcellus contains enough gas to satisfy U.S. demand (roughly 27 tcf per year) for 15 years. Whether the two estimates are additive is still somewhat unclear, but it is clear that the USGS estimate did not invalidate and replace EIA’s estimate—they are different things. While this mixup was easy to isolate and understand, it highlights an ongoing issue in the natural gas industry, that has become more and more important as the nation evaluates the unprecedented strategic potential of this domestic energy resource: Everyone seems to estimate and report the gas resource, and even production, a little bit differently.

There is commonality on the concept of “proved reserves.” These are reserves held in actual, developed gas fields that are certain enough based on drilling results that they’ve cleared the SEC’s hurdles for reporting. But when we look at EIA, at the Potential Gas Committee (or “PGC,” the group that estimates gas resources for the industry), at USGS, and at the many expert consultants around the industry, we find that sometimes proved reserves are included, and sometimes they are excluded—but we are rarely told which. Rarely are proved reserves broken down by type, so that the proved amount of shale gas may be readily identified (it’s 35 tcf, by the way, nationwide). EIA adds to proved reserves “inferred reserves,” that come along with the proved, “discovered but undeveloped” resources, and the USGS estimate of “undiscovered” resources. However, EIA just does that at the national level in looking at something like shale gas, so the reported numbers such as 410 tcf for Marcellus represent only “discovered but undeveloped.” The PGC, for its part, also reports “probable,” “possible,” and “speculative,” which then gets added to proved reserves for a total resource base. The PGC number for the Marcellus – 350 tcf – employs a variety of mean and median values, ranges, etc. So comparing the PGC resource estimate to the EIA resource estimate or to the many private-consultant estimates out there can be confusing, and really only makes sense at the very aggregated level.

The reporting of gas production and deliverability often suffers from similar confusion. The primary source there is the difference between dry gas and wet gas (the “wet” hydrocarbons that are removed by processing facilities). Most raw production estimates, especially by field, tend to be wet, a number that is larger than the dry volume that would relate to national demand for natural gas, or to the longevity of the resource base (which is also usually a dry-gas estimate). As a result, it is very easy to make apples-and-oranges comparisons that are misleading. For example, if one adds up the wet-gas production from all the shale-gas plays, the answer would be far in excess of the total dry-gas production nationwide. Or an industry critic might see a dry-gas report, compare it with another estimate made on a wet basis, and conclude that production is falling short of expectations. This is especially possible because many reports and charts of production do not say which they are.

Are these communication mismatches important beyond the reporting of industry financial results? Yes. There is widespread concern and conflict surrounding the impact of shale gas development. People get agitated about hydraulic fracturing, drilling itself, even truck traffic. The degree of commitment the nation should make to natural gas as a strategic resource (accepting but managing the impact of development), is very much a function of the size of the prize. It is thus critical that we evolve to a more universal understanding of how much gas there is, and how soon it can be brought to market. Conversations between the USGS and the EIA to identify differences in their analytical approaches are underway, and are a good start. What we also need is a common approach for labeling reserves. What’s more, those who report about the industry need to take a closer look at what reports and data really say before drawing erroneous conclusions.
100 Years Supply of Natural Gas

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Meet the Mentor of the Occupy Wall Street Movement - Slavoj Žižek

A brilliant Lacanian Marxist Critical Theorist, best known for his "Pervert's Guide to the Cinema".

Zizek is to OWS as JP Sartre/H. Marcuse were to Paris in '68.

from the Huffington Post
Occupy Wall Street got some Slovenian philosopher star power on Sunday, as Marxist academic Slavoj Zizek joined the movement.

"We are not destroying anything," he said. "We are only witnessing how the system is destroying itself."

Using the "Human Microphone" system, where protestors repeat back the words of the speaker so that others can hear, Zizek spoke for over an hour to the enthusiastic crowd, who whooped and cheered as he went on.

While in China, entertainment programming that depicts alternate reality and time travel has been banned, in the U.S., we have a different problem, according to Zizek.

"Here we don't think of prohibition, because the ruling system has even oppressed our capacity to dream, " he said. "Look at the movies that we see all the time -- It's easy to imagine the end of the world, an asteroid destroying a whole life, but you cannot imagine the end of capitalism. So what are we doing here?"

Zizek also advised the people to see the Tea Party as a sister movement -- "They may be stupid, but don’t look at them as the enemy," he said.

But he warned the protestors against succumbing to the excitement of the immediate events instead of keeping their eye on the prize: True social change.

Carnvials come cheap," he admonished. "What matters is the day after, when we will have to return to normal life. Will there be any changes then? I don't want you to remember these days, you know like, 'Oh, we were young, it was beautiful.' Remember that our basic message is: We are allowed to think about alternatives. The rule is broken. We do not live in the best possible way. But there is a long road ahead. There are truly difficult questions that confront us. We know what we do not want. But what do we want?"

Zizek is just the latest of the prominent figures who have come to lend their voice in Zuccotti Park, alongside activists like Michael Moore, writer Naomi Klein as well as actors including Mark Ruffalo, Susan Sarandon, and Roseanne Barr.
On Perversion

Is the State Wasting Billions on Projects of Little Benefit to All Marylanders?

Can Marylanders spare another $5 billion to help federal workers take "light-rail" trains to their jobs? That's what the MTA is banking on as they proceed to "study" the proposed Red line in Baltimore and Purple Line near DC. Both projects have now been approved to proceed to the next "phase" of realization.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

New Town Mayors/ Commissioners, Anyone?

from the Harford County Dagger
Ballots Set in Local Elections: Mayors Race Only Contest in Aberdeen; 5 Seek 3 Commissioner Seats in Bel Air

If you’ve been happy with the performance of the Aberdeen City Council over the last two years you’re in luck – the four incumbent members face no opposition in the city’s election next month and have a free ride to another four years in office. Mayor Mike Bennett, however, has a tougher path to re-election and faces former state delegate candidate Patrick McGrady.

In Bel Air, all three incumbent town commissioners are seeking re-election, but have opposition from two other candidates.

In Aberdeen…

In September, two-term mayor Bennett told The Dagger, “I’d be totally OK with just the five of us on the ballot” – referring to himself and the four incumbent city councilmember – Ruth Elliott, Bruce Garner, Sandy Landbeck, and Ruth Ann Young. Bennett very nearly got his wish when, at the close of the official candidate filing period on Friday, the only challenger to file for office was mayoral contender McGrady.

McGrady, who lost his bid for the Republican nomination in the Maryland House of Delegates District 34A race two years ago, has been a local Tea Party organizer and “proposes reducing the red-tape at City Hall and getting Aberdeen back to work and creating jobs.”

Bennett is no stranger to staunch opposition. He held off a challenge from longtime city councilman Mike Hiob in 2009.
The Aberdeen Ballott:

FOR MAYOR (pick one)
Michael E. Bennett
Patrick L. McGrady

FOR COUNCIL (pick four)
Ruth E. Elliott
Bruce E. Garner
Sandra J. Landbeck
Ruth Ann Young
The Bel Air election should hold more intrigue (five candidates running for three seats), but with three incumbents and two challengers in the race, at least one of the current town commissioners – Terry Hanley, Eddie Hopkins, or Rob Reier – is guaranteed to return to office.

The intrigue in the Bel Air race concerns the fate and future of Hanley, who filed for re-election even though he still faces charges for an alleged theft at a Cecil County used car deal where he previously worked.

The challengers in the Bel Air race are Greg Adolph and Susan Burdette. Adolph had impressive showing two years ago in the Bel Air election, when he just missed out on a town commissioner’s seat, garnering 410 votes, while Rob Preston finished with 418 votes and David Carey collected 417 votes.
The Bel Air Ballot:


Brian “Gregory” G. Adolph
Susan U. Burdette
Terence O. Hanley
Harry “Eddie” E. Hopkins III
Robert “Rob” J. Reier
Aberdeen election notes:

Aberdeen will elect its mayor and four city council members on November 8, but the term of office will be four years instead of two years, as was previously set.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, with voting from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Aberdeen Senior Center at 7 Franklin Street.
The voter registration deadline is Tuesday, October 18 to the Harford County Board of Elections.

The absentee ballot application deadline by mail is Tuesday, November 1 to the Harford County Board of Elections.
The absentee ballot return deadline is 5 p.m. to City Hall or 8 p.m. to the Aberdeen Senior Center polling place on Election Day.

The official election results will be certified by noon on Friday, November 11 and the swearing in ceremony for the mayor and city council will be Monday, November 14 at 7 p.m. in the city council chambers.

Bel Air election notes:

The Town will hold an Election on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at the Town Hall, 39 N. Hickory Avenue, Bel Air, MD. The polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Books close for voter registration at 5 p.m. on October 18, 2011 at the Harford County Board of Elections, 133 Industry Lane, Forest Hill, MD 21050 (410-638-3565). The deadline for receipt of Absentee Voting Applications is November 1, 2011 at 5 p.m. by mail and 11:50 p.m. if faxed at the Harford County Board of Elections. After the deadline, applications must be picked up in person. Ballots must be received and stamped at the Town Hall, 39 N. Hickory Avenue, Bel Air, before the close of the polls on Election Day.

The second meeting in November of each year, the Commissioners elect a member to serve as Chair and Vice Chair of the Board of Town Commissioners. The Chair has the honorary title of “Mayor

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dividing Maryland - Current Alternatives

from the Baltimore Sun
As the General Assembly prepares to draw new boundaries for Maryland's eight congressional districts, majority Democrats are considering plans aimed at squeezing out one or both of the state's Republican congressmen, according to a Democratic strategist familiar with the discussions.

One map under consideration would slice Republicans from the Western Maryland district now held by Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett but make only small changes to the boundaries of the state's six Democrats in the House of Representatives. The Eastern Shore district held by the state's other Republican, Rep. Andrew Harris, would actually become even more Republican.

A second proposal would improve Democrats' chances in both Republican-held districts. But in doing that, the map would make radical changes to all of the current congressional boundaries and would force sitting Democrats to introduce themselves to large swaths of new constituents.
Copies of both maps were obtained by The Baltimore Sun.

Todd Eberly, assistant professor of political science at St. Mary's College of Maryland who is closely following the redistricting process, criticized both proposals and called the first map "almost disgusting to look at."

"One thing's clear: There is nothing about reflecting population change. There is no attempt to respect existing boundaries or neighborhoods. It's totally about maximizing Democratic votes, nothing else," he said.

A competitive contest, whether in Western Maryland, on the Eastern Shore or both, would bring national attention and campaign cash to the state.

Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, is expected to call the General Assembly into special session the week of Oct. 17 to approve new congressional districts to be used for the next decade, including next year's elections. Lawmakers must redraw the maps once every 10 years to accommodate population shifts revealed by the census.

Over the summer, a five-member panel appointed by O'Malley held a dozen public hearings on redistricting across the state.

Raquel Guillory, a spokeswoman for O'Malley, said the governor has not received any maps from the panel and will not weigh in on the debate until the middle of next week. The governor did discuss redistricting in a series of meetings Friday afternoon with members of Congress.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, both members of the panel, declined through aides to comment Friday night.

Democratic members of the General Assembly are set to meet Monday in Annapolis for caucus meetings at which they are expected to talk about the proposals.

Either option would give Bartlett a tough fight in 2012. The 85-year-old congressman showed lackluster fundraising this year and has long been considered a possible target. Parts of his Western Maryland district have become more Democratic.

Other Maryland Republicans have not said they will challenge Bartlett in their party's primary, but a long line of potential candidates has emerged should he retire. They include state Sen. David Brinkley, state Sen. Chris Shank and state Republican Party Chairman Alex Mooney.

The map known as Option One would put about half of Montgomery County into Bartlett's district, setting the stage for a strong Democratic challenge from state Sen. Rob Garagiola, a favorite of Miller's who has told The Sun that he is considering a run, depending on the new makeup of the district. He could not be reached for comment late Friday.

But the first map would make it difficult for Democrats to challenge Harris, who is making a name for himself as one of the most conservative House Republicans. That map would be a slap to former Rep. Frank Kratovil, who lost the seat in 2010 and is close toRep.Steny H. Hoyer.

The second option would give Kratovil a chance to win by creating a district that the option's authors believe would have given President Barack Obama 53 percent of the vote in 2008.

The second map would likely generate excitement from state and national Democratic partisans hoping to win back as many seats as possible in the House of Representatives. It would create eight congressional districts in which a majority of voters cast ballots for Obama in 2008, the option's authors say.

The second option could also be appealing to some from a public policy standpoint: It unscrambles many of the boundaries in the state's current map, considered by some to be convoluted.

Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, who are in recess this week, were hesitant to discuss the proposals.

An aide to Harris, the Baltimore County Republican whose district also includes the Eastern Shore, said the first-term congressman would not weigh in until he could study the 1st Congressional District's proposed new boundaries. A spokeswoman for Bartlett said he could not discuss the maps until he had a chance to speak with O'Malley about them.