Cumberland Times-News

Jan Alderton - Opinion

January 8, 2009

We can track state's spending

Calling it a move toward “transparency and accountability,” Gov. Martin O’Malley last week unveiled a new Web site allowing Marylanders to search for any state agency and see how much money it spent with different vendors.

The site can be found at www.spending.dbm.maryland.gov and can be searched by vendor or ZIP code.

Check the State Highway Administration spending, for example, and you will find quite a few local vendors in 2008, including, to name a few, Carl Belt Inc., of Cumberland, $6.4 million; Bedford Road Petroleum, $114,417 and Nightengale & Sons LLC, Lonaconing, $80,557.

Unfortunately, the site does not give any other details about the spending. But it is a good start toward accountability. Let’s hope more details are added soon....

Maryland restaurant owners received a little encouragement recently when the National Restaurant Association’s 2009 Restaurant Industry Forecast was released. The group is predicting a 2.87 percent increase in restaurant sales in the state this year....

The ban on smoking in Maryland bars and restaurants will be a year old on Feb. 1. The reports we’ve been hearing are that the ban is working out fine. Some bar and restaurant owners tell us they would not revert back to allowing smoking even if the law were repealed....

A number of new laws took effect across the land on Jan. 1. One is in Illinois and allows judges to order those who violate a restraining order to wear tracking devices. This would be useful in our area, given our high incidence of domestic assault cases.

A new California law permits veterans with license plates designating a special military status, such as Purple Heart or Medal of Honor recipients, Pearl Harbor survivors or former POWs, to park in metered spaces for free....

Memorabilia related to President-elect Barack Obama and the upcoming Jan. 20 inauguration can be found seemingly everywhere. The popular TV shopping channel QVC has jumped on the bandwagon big-time (see related story on today’s business page, 1E).

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Jan Alderton - Opinion
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