Between The Lines

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Although it’s not official, it’s looking more and more like Beau Oglesby will hold on and become the county’s new state’s attorney. The outcome will not become verified until Nov. 22, but Oglesby holds a comfortable lead with about 170 ballots left to be counted.

With each passing count of absentee and other ballots, State’s Attorney Joel Todd is narrowing Oglesby’s lead, but the incumbent does not appear to be picking up enough votes to overcome the deficit. Todd needs to score more than three quarters of the remaining ballots to be counted to overcome Oglesby, and history confirms that’s all but impossible.

While we wait for the official call, an interesting situation regarding the chain of succession could develop if all holds as expected with Oglesby prevailing. Over in Wicomico County, State’s Attorney Davis Ruark, who lost in the primary back in September, recently appointed his successor, Matt Maciarello, to a post of deputy state’s attorney to ease the transition between the two gentlemen. The change was made to allow the new prosecutor to be able to become familiar with ongoing cases, those cases set to start after he is sworn into office and any other criminal investigations underway by the office.

Should the outcome hold, and independent minds believe it will, Todd will have to make a similar decision before leaving behind an office he has been a part of for 25 years. Surely, this is going to be a personally and professionally challenging couple months for Todd, but he has a chance here to demonstrate his view that justice is above all.

Although there has been plenty of bad blood between he and Oglesby over the last few elections, it only makes sense that Todd would swear him as a deputy for a period to help ease the transition period. With four homicide trials approaching in the coming months, Todd would be wise to follow Ruark’s lead here, show his professionalism and bring in Oglesby before the end of the year to facilitate the change. It’s critical that the shift be smooth for all involved.

It will undoubtedly be awkward, but it’s the best way to ensure justice in future cases heading for county courts. The political part is almost over, thankfully, and it’s now time to be rational and think what’s best for the future of the county and the prosecutor’s office.

A lot of headlines were made this week when the federal government endorsed a Maryland initiative to put a 277-square-mile wind farm off Ocean City’s coast. However, the reality of the situation is it’s no closer to happening today than it was weeks ago. This is just a bureaucratic hurdle that needed to be overcome, and there was little doubt it would not happen eventually.

Nonetheless, it’s good news the federal government supports the state’s plan, which calls for a one gigawatt offshore wind farm project 10 miles off the coast that could lead to 4,000 jobs in manufacturing and construction and eventually mean 800 permanent jobs once the wind turbines are in action. The fed’s endorsement of the plan is a good step toward achieving the O’Malley administration’s laudable goal of securing 20 percent of the state’s electricity needs from renewable sources by 2022.

With the government’s backing, the critical part now begins, as private contractors must come forward with their conceptual plans to make that vision a reality. Competing bids will be evaluated extensively on a number of factors, including environmental impacts, by the government and that could take a few years.

It will be interesting to see how many companies express an interest in building wind turbines off the coast. A couple years ago when the state sought expressions of interest in building them off the coast, six wind developers and three transmission companies said they were interested.

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