No questions for health

Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, commissioner of the Baltimore City Health Department, is the latest guest blogger to present his “audacious idea” on the new blog of the same name.

Sharfstein centers his post on his frustration with the dearth of health-related questions raised at community meetings:

But that first question went to the Department of Transportation ….Then the second did too. As the minutes and then hours went by, I sat like a stone. No questions for Health.

According to Sharfstein, the few questions he has fielded are mostly concerning rat eradication. Reminds me of colleague Andy Rosen’s post about dead pigeons.

We all know the city of Baltimore faces a host of problems, all of which are pressing; but is health really at the bottom of the list?

-JACKIE SAUTER, Multimedia Editor

Help Andy Rosen with his taxes!

Many business owners know that the state personal income taxes are not always entirely personal. For example, S corporations often pay income tax on their earnings through their owners.

One of the main arguments that business groups have advanced against Gov. Martin O’Malley’s new income tax plan (to add new brackets for single taxpayers who make more than $150,000) is that business owners — not just wealthy individuals — will shoulder much of the load.

I want to hear from you for a story I will be writing over the next few days, especially if you own your own business. Are you worried about the personal income tax changes? How do you think they will affect Maryland? And will you be hurt (or helped) by the expansion of the state sales tax?

Please email ( or call me at (443) 524-8175.

-ANDY ROSEN, Business Writer

Note: a nod to The Menu Pages blog for the image.

Law blog round-up

Here are a few legal links for your Monday morning:

-CARYN TAMBER, Legal Affairs Writer

Site reveals law firms behind Wikipedia edits

Have you tried that cool WikiScanner tool yet?

The Web site lets you check out who — or at least what organization — was responsible for a given change to a Wikipedia entry. I tried it the other day, putting in the names of a few Maryland law firms to see what employees there had edited.

One interesting edit: someone at Ober Kaler modified an entry about Baltimore. Before this person got his or her hands on it, the entry said that Baltimore has not been represented by a Republican in Congress “in decades.”

On July 28 of last year, the Ober editor changed the end of the sentence to “since Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. stepped down fomr [sic] the 2nd Congressional District seat to run for Governor – a position he won by defeating Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.” (Our mystery poster corrected the spelling mistake two minutes later.)

It’s a pretty innocuous entry, but interesting because Ober is Bob Ehrlich’s old firm.

Also, someone at Venable realllly likes former state Sen. Paula Hollinger. Her entry was edited a few times by someone there in December of 2005. One of the edits was the addition of this paragraph:

Senator Hollinger is often noted for the surface disparity of her height, standing at 4’9”, and her stature as one of the most powerful women in the state. She is often heard calling people “honey,” and is ubiquitously known as just “Paula.” Her sometimes-maternal demeanor stands in contrast again to her position as a firm leader with a record of implementing first-of-its-kind legislation, especially in health care.

Note that by December of 2005, John Sarbanes, at the time chairman of Venable’s health care practice, had announced that he would run against Hollinger for the Democratic nomination in the 3rd congressional district race.

Has anyone else found anything interesting, Maryland law-wise, on here?

-CARYN TAMBER, Legal Affairs Writer