DIJON TURKEY BREAST

3 onions, sliced one 5- to 6-pound turkey breast

Sauce:
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sherry
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
Place slices of one onion in bottom on a 9-by-13-inch baking pan that has been coated with nonstick vegetable spray. Place turkey over onion. Combine all sauce ingredients and pour over turkey. Top with remaining onion slices. Tent with foil and bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 3 to 31⁄2 hours, basting frequently. Remove foil and bake an additional 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing. 8-10 servings.

For the Public Good

©iStockphoto.com/alexsokolov

©iStockphoto.com/alexsokolov

For many Baltimoreans, their profession offers them a unique opportunity to give back to their community.

Pro bono work is most often associated with the legal world, but according to Barbara Anderson, the concept of donating professional services transcends multiple fields.

“We lean a lot on other pro bono services,” said Anderson, executive director at the Pro Bono Counseling Project, an organization that matches those in need with mental health professionals around the state.

In addition to working with volunteers from the legal profession, Anderson also works with dentists, optometrists and other professionals through her work in the community.

Twenty-five percent of the PBCP’s clients are victims of violence, said Anderson. Whether they were mugged or raped or car-jacked, therapy is often a necessary part of their recovery after the physical wounds have healed, but many cannot afford it on their own. For those who can find an affordable provider, Anderson said she has heard of wait lists three months long.

When the PBCP receives a call from a potential client, the individual is screened for qualification and then matched with a therapist in their area. The organization asks therapists to volunteer to see one client each year and case lengths vary based on client need.

The work, said Anderson, is very rewarding.

“We all say, when we go home at night, I know that I did wonderful things today, I helped a lot of people,” she said.

The Maryland Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped helps disabled Marylanders access dental care that their budgets would not otherwise permit.

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act last fall, medical care was at the forefront of many American minds, but the MFDH, along with the dentists who volunteer with it, has kept a steady eye on Marylanders’ dental health since 1989.

“They’re changing lives and they’re saving lives,” Lilian Marsh, executive director of the MFDH, said of the dentists who donate their time.

MFDH depends on these volunteer dentists to treat the hundreds of patients whose applications the organization receives each year. With just more than 500 dentists currently volunteering, meeting the needs of the patients — all of whom meet qualifications set by MFDH — can be difficult.

“We have 700 people on our waiting list,” said Marsh. For many on the list, the needed procedure is tied to a medical problem. Marsh estimates that at least one call she and her team take each week involves a patient in need of an organ transplant who cannot undergo the operation until they meet the necessary dental standard. Often, she added, the patients have tried to ignore oral problems for so long that, by the time MFDH gets the call, the situation is dire.

“They’d rather pay for their food and medications and leave their dental as the last thing they get taken care of” she said. “Many of them go to the emergency room, but all the emergency room does is give them medication for their pain and for if they have an infection and send them back home. Then they end up back there again.”

At Gordon-Feinblatt law firm, Cathy Bledsoe is in charge of matching attorneys to clients in need of help who cannot afford lawyers’ fees.

In recent years, said Bledsoe, those cases have largely involved foreclosures, but she anticipates a shift this year toward providing legal counsel to immigrant families fighting to stay in the United States.

“There’s so much need,” she said, adding that attorneys can be extremely expensive, and many people who need legal aid end up attempting to represent themselves instead of paying the high cost.

Pro bono work has always been a major part the profession, she emphasized, but a recent decision by the Maryland courts to begin requiring lawyers to report the number of hours they spend each year providing free aid in the community has resulted in a lot more pro bono activity.

At Gordon-Feinblatt, pro bono cases offer new lawyers the chance to cut their teeth and veteran lawyers who work primarily in-office the opportunity to brush up on their courtroom skills.

“It feels good,” said Bledsoe. “It’s like giving to charity.”

In addition to providing one-on-one legal counsel, many law offices also host seminars run by nonprofit organizations that teach lawyers the best practices for providing legal help to pro bono clients. In the near future, Bledsoe said, Gordon-Feinblatt hopes to host a lesson on representing new young Central American immigrants in immigration court.

For many of the professionals at Gordon-Feinblatt, said Bledsoe, pro bono work is part of the job. “It’s part of our civic duty.”

hnorris@jewishtimes.com

Computer Sleuth

Digital Forensic specialist Blazer Catzen retrieves data and does analysis work for attorneys, corporations, private individuals and government agencies.

Digital Forensic specialist Blazer Catzen retrieves data and does analysis work for attorneys, corporations, private individuals and government agencies.

Pikesville native Blazer Catzen is a self-proclaimed Sudoku junkie (the super, hard and genius levels) and crunches through a couple of the numerical puzzles daily. It’s just a warm-up to trickier brainteasers he’ll tackle that might be rooted in allegations of infidelity, manipulation of documents or intellectual property theft — all in a day’s work as a digital forensic specialist.

“The first step is preservation of [digital] evidence,” said Catzen, whose firm retrieves data and does analysis work for attorneys, corporations, private individuals and government agencies. “Then you look at what’s there, and more specifically, what’s not there.”

First contact for a digital forensic case is typically from an attorney, chief technology officer or chief financial officer, he said, when someone believes there is digital evidence that needs to be analyzed or preserved. The investigations range from family law or intellectual property to fraud and might include delivery of a computer, hard drive or cell phone.

Catzen’s repeated caveat to any user of any electronic communications is, “Remember, nothing is ever deleted, only overwritten.”

That credo played a large part in a recent case involving alleged deed fraud, for which Catzen was hired to digitally investigate and testify by local attorney and Baltimore native Kenneth B. Frank.

Multiple property deeds were allegedly all signed on a particular day, but Frank, who has practiced law for more than 40 years and has also developed software, said, “I knew because of my suspicious nature and all the other facts that that didn’t happen. But we had no real proof. And we always believed we’d have the proof once we got a hold of the disk drive and we could see the history of the documents.”

The first external disk drive produced to Frank and Catzen as evidence wasn’t a copy of the entire drive and didn’t even include the deed documents, so they asked for the original. Upon forensic examination, Catzen deemed the second drive produced wasn’t an original either, because it didn’t contain system files or metadata that would typically be present.

In a later deposition, a witness revealed she destroyed the original drive. Frank enlisted Catzen to help determine “what have we lost … and what are all the things that could have been on that drive … and what could they have told us?”

They examined the actual computer and discovered the deeds weren’t there. They could also see that the computer hadn’t begun to be used until <i>after</i> the documents were copied onto the external drive so that twist prompted them to look at other computers in the office, including an allegedly inoperable one.

“We were told it was broken,” said Frank. But they quickly discovered the operating system had been reinstalled around the same time all the deed files were copied to the external drive, and the computer hadn’t been used since.

“Step by step, we put together a history, and we were going backward instead of forward,” said Frank. “And there are a lot of footprints and fingerprints on that digital media, and that’s what [Catzen] discovered and resurrected.”

“Never deleted, only overwritten,” Catzen repeated. “So a lot of those files were still there.”

Catzen, though, uses much more than the naked eye to decode the truth behind very long strings of hexadecimal code teased out of a computer. Like any good sleuth, he employs all the available tools, and with expert discretion.

“I think part of my success as an analyst is I go outside the box,” said Catzen. “First, I use multiple tools on everything I do. Most analysts pick a [single] tool and stick with it.”

The typical thinking, he explained, is that when two deciphering tools are used it could raise doubt on efficacy if the results aren’t identical. But different software tools have different strengths, he said, so he uses two or three and sometimes other single-purpose tools that zero in on one specific artifact and parse it out.

He may need to decrypt information or follow a trail of date stamps to determine when something was created, deleted or overwritten or when a thumb drive was inserted or what files were opened and which websites were visited and how often, and he can even isolate a single word on an entire drive and see it in context. The tools are powerful, but understanding how to deftly use them and interpret results can only come with experience.

His current companies, Catzen Computer Consulting and Catzen Forensic, founded in 2008, are built upon decades spent solving complex problems and learning computers from the inside out, as he put it. He dipped his toes in computer waters back when it was just a kiddie pool.

“I remember one of the deans at [the] University of Virginia was talking about how computers were the new thing,” said Catzen. “Everybody was going to have a computer on their desk, [and] we’re all sitting there looking at each other, going, yeah, OK, it’s the ’70s — what’s he been smoking? But he was spot on.”

At Virginia, Catzen learned computer-programming basics and the Fortran programming language, and he chose to study engineering because, as a dyslexic, he saw the topic as “a great field leveler.”

When he plowed through the necessary tomes of engineering books, he said, “every other paragraph was an equation.” Catzen could simply look at an equation, and it would immediately click for him visually, but his classmates typically struggled longer to understand it.

“That education did two things,” said Catzen. “It gave me a framework around which to solve problems — a methodology and approach — and it gave me the confidence to be able to learn anything.

“If you can pick up a thermodynamics book and learn thermodynamics,” he added, “you can pretty much go anywhere with that.”

After college, Catzen worked as a construction geotechnology engineer and became more adept and fascinated with computers and the potential power of those early machines.

He applied for a job at the construction management and development firm Dalsemer, Catzen and Associates, the initial interview unbeknownst to owner and father Bob Catzen. He laughed at the memory and added, “Needless to say, I got the job.”

DCA was his first deep dive into computing in the mid-’80s, when the company used computers for financial modeling and AutoCAD space design. Then, in 1986, Catzen purchased his first IBM 286 personal computer.

“I had written my own memory management program by 1988, and I was into various operating systems … and by 1989 I was getting very good at it,” he said.

In 1991, Catzen became vice president at CAPE Development Corporation, a company started by his father and longtime family friend Richard Pearlstone, where he designed applications that allowed companies to manage large amounts of data. Catzen was wearing a lot of different hats, “but I loved the computer stuff,” he said, seriously pushing the edges of what IBM and Lotus programs could perform. His inquiries often stumped the help desks.

“I don’t like getting beat by technology,” he said. “I really don’t. I take it personally.”

Lotus enlisted him to test software, and IBM shipped him its enormous set of internal training manuals, and Catzen was happy to receive free licenses and support. But his friend and partner Pearlstone gave him a reality check and the push he needed.

“You’re solving these guys’ problems and not getting paid,” Catzen remembered Pearlstone telling him. “You’re a shmuck.”

In 2004, CAPE received its first request for digital forensic assistance, and though the case settled out of court, Catzen was smitten with the challenge of more complex digital puzzles. His engineer-honed problem-solving approach coupled with his love for cracking a conundrum
resulted in his feet-first jump into forensics.

Since then Catzen has unearthed many digital “smoking guns” in cases that can take from five to hundreds of hours to solve. Currently, he’s seeing a lot of spousal infidelity cases that, he said, are often exhibited through instant messages, texting — one case registered 7,000 messages between parties in a month — and even photographs.

“I could identify [some of the] individuals without ever seeing them above the shoulders,” he said.

He’s consulted the military, presented at the Techno Security Conference and lectured internationally on the specialty of file system tunneling (complex date manipulation of documents). The deed fraud case with Frank was the first time he’d witnessed it “in the wild.”

“His testimony was very powerful because it demonstrated that the deeds … could not have been created when the other side said they were,” said Frank. “Blazer played a big role in presenting that evidence, because technology was the only way to do it.”

Story and photo by Melissa Gerr
mgerr@jewishtimes.com

 

 

BLUM

On November 14, 2014, SIDNEY, beloved husband of Irene Blum (nee Flesher); devoted father of Bobbi and Paul Sobel and LTG (ret.) H. Steven and Susie Blum; cherished grandfather of Dr. Scott David Sobel, Randi Sobel, Maj. Marc James Blum and Debbie Blum Freedman and her husband Michael Freedman; adored great-grandfather of Mackenzie Blum, Megan Freedman, Lindsey Freedman, Madison Freedman and Nate Sobel; loving brother of the late Bernard Blum and Stuart Blum. Interment at Oheb Shalom Memorial Park, Berrymans Lane. Please omit flowers.

LEAVEY

On November 16, 2014, MIRIAM (nee Lerner), beloved wife of the late Louis Phillip Leavey; loving mother of Marilyn (Robert) Meyerson; adored sister of Beverly Berman and Phyllis Olfky; cherished grandmother of Dr. Jason (Kimberly) Meyerson and Stefanie Meyerson (Clayton) Beard; devoted great-grandmother of Jacob and Kaitlyn Meyerson. Services at SOL LEVINSON & BROS., INC., 8900 Reisterstown Road, at Mount Wilson Lane, on Wednesday, November 19 at 2 p.m. Interment at Moses Montefiore Woodmoor Hebrew Cemetery, Washington Boulevard. Please omit flowers. Contributions in her memory may be sent to Foundation for Fighting Blindness, 7168 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 100, Columbia, MD 21046. In mourning at 1726 Reisterstown Road (Pikesville DoubleTree by Hilton), Baltimore, MD 21208, Wednesday and Thursday evening, and the family will be at Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah for morning services on Thursday and Friday.

Jews By Choice

For one Baltimore woman, the high cost of Washington, D.C., rent spared her a conversion experience with now-infamous Rabbi Barry Freundel, who was arrested last month on charges of voyeurism.

“He made it clear he was the best person to convert with, and really the only option in the entire Maryland- D.C.-Virginia area,” said Adina, who did not give her full name. “I thought about it, but he wanted us to move to D.C. for an indefinite amount of time, specifically to Georgetown.”

Freundel warned her that if she chose the wrong people to work with through the process, her conversion could be called into question at a later date and her future children could be faced with a conversion of their own. Knowledgeable of her own fertility problems and the cost of maintaining two apartments in one of D.C.’s most wealthy neighborhoods — one for Adina and another for her fiance — she decided to take her chances, something she’s thankful for today, as the conversions Freundel himself preformed have come under scrutiny.

“You can always convert them later. Hopefully, you don’t have to do that, because it’s a very painful process, especially if you have a son, but there’s that option,” she said. “But if you don’t have them, you can’t really retroactively go back and get them.”

Instead, Adina, who was seeking an Orthodox conversion ahead of her wedding to her Jewish husband, found a rabbinical court known as a beit din in Israel that helped her prepare for her transformation to a Jewish life.

A Jewish conversion — notoriously challenging — requires potential candidates to take classes and study books on Jewish history, thought and tradition. While Orthodox conversions require the candidate to move to an Orthodox community in order to live an Orthodox Jewish lifestyle, all conversions require women to submerge themselves in the mikvah and men to be circumcised, or else undergo the drawing of blood from the site of the circumcision.

Last month’s arrest of Freundel, a prominent D.C. rabbi, put the hundreds of people he converted to Judaism in the spotlight, in addition to the process of conversion itself, but many Baltimore converts, including Adina, feel as comfortable as ever.

Marianne Fishman, a member of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, a Reform synagogue, grew up Catholic in a largely Jewish town in Long
Island, N.Y. Though she had always harbored some doubts about her own religion, it wasn’t until a return from a near-fatal illness that she decided to explore becoming Jewish.

“It was not easy,” she said of the classes, lessons and other preparations leading up to her formal conversion. Giving up the holidays and some of the traditions she’s celebrated since birth was a huge commitment but something she said she thought was necessary to ensure that those converting were doing so for the right reason.

“I don’t think if my heart wasn’t in it, it would have been a good experience,” she said.

Trish Caruana spent two-and-a-half years studying for her conversion to Judaism from Roman Catholicism. The process was difficult, and there was no formal end date, but Caruana said she didn’t mind.

“I thought it would be about a year. I didn’t think it would end up being so transformative, and I certainly had no interest in trying to rush something as major as conversion,” she said.

Now, four years removed from her dip in Beth El Conregation’s mikvah, she said she has had nothing but good experiences as a convert at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, where she belongs, but choosing to reveal her non-Jewish past is something she tends to be a little wary of, even though the question is something she gets relatively often.

“I’m a Jew, and I shouldn’t have to keep answering that,” she insisted.

Adina, who generally does not reveal to people that she is a convert, resents the scrutiny that the converts faced in the immediate aftermath of Freundel’s arrest.

“Nobody is saying that Freundel really isn’t a rabbi,” she said. “But the converts get questioned.

“There is a huge willingness to rip away conversions,” she added. “But the people in charge are not the ones who are vulnerable.”

hnorris@jewishtimes.com

Down to the Wire

For Larry Hogan, it’s all about the economy (Provided)

For Larry Hogan, it’s all about the economy (Provided)

In less than one week, Marylanders will pick a new top executive for the first time in almost a decade. Both Democratic candidate Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Republican candidate Larry Hogan have spent the past month making their final push to for the Nov. 4 election.

Although Maryland is historically a blue state, predictions say this race will be a close one — within 10 points.

“It’s not the most exciting campaign,” said John Bullock, an assistant professor of political science at Towson University. “There’s a lot of lukewarm approval of Brown among some Democrats. It’s not this awe-inspiring movement some hoped it would be.” He added that Hogan, a real estate executive positioning himself as a moderate, hasn’t excited the more conservative Republican base either.

Much of the campaigning has highlighted the candidates’ approaches to revamping the economy, with discussions about taxes, public-private partnerships, the regulatory environment and small businesses; education, with a focus on the achievement gap and pre-kindergarten; and crime, with Brown drawing attention to Hogan’s gun-friendly past, among other issues.Even the campaigning itself has become a bit of a campaign issue, with notably negative attack ads coming from the Brown campaign and its affiliated groups focusing on Hogan’s past in regard to gun control and women’s reproductive rights.

“I think it has probably turned off some voters,” Bullock said of the negative campaigning. “One of the things interesting about negative ads is that it can drive the other person’s numbers down, but it can also drive your numbers down too.”

For Anthony Brown, the state’s infrastructure is a top priority. (Provided)

For Anthony Brown, the state’s infrastructure is a top priority. (Provided)

He suspects some who may have supported Brown moved to Hogan’s side because of those ads but added that Brown probably saw success in tying Hogan to national platforms that are not popular in Maryland. Hogan’s recent endorsement by the National Rifle Association, Bullock said, may have upped support from some voters, but hurt his numbers elsewhere. Although Hogan said he doesn’t plan to roll back gun control measures, Brown has used the NRA endorsement, as well as Hogan’s previous opposition to gun control reform, as ammunition.

Max Hilaire, chair of Morgan State University’s political science department, thinks the race could be swung by turnout. Heavily Democratic Montgomery County saw an extremely low turnout in June’s primary election, he said, and in a state where the central counties — Montgomery, Baltimore and Prince George’s — largely determine elections, that could be dangerous for the Democrats.

“Brown has not proven to be a very charismatic candidate,” said Hilaire. He pointed to the recent push Brown has made to reach black voters, a base some may have predicted months ago would have been securely in Brown’s camp. Should Brown be elected, he’d become the state’s first black governor and only the third African-American to be elected to the top executive office of a U.S. state.

Neither Brown nor Hogan, continued Hilaire, has proven to be a candidate many Marylanders are excited to support.

Economy

Hogan has bet his campaign on Maryland’s economy. Citing numerous tax increases under the O’Malley administration, he has repeatedly promised that he will cut government spending and reduce the tax burden on both Maryland residents and businesses.

A vocal critic of Maryland’s recovery from the 2008 recession, Hogan said his plan to reduce the rate of unemployment in the state — Maryland ranks 29th in unemployment in the U.S. — is to focus his attention on making the state more attractive to businesses.

“Job creation is the No. 1 issue,” Hogan said in an interview. “In our economy, 80 percent of the jobs come from small businesses, and we’ve killed 8,688 of them, which is why we’ve lost 200,000 jobs and people are suffering.”

By reducing the financial strain on businesses in the state, he continued, a Hogan administration would bring more businesses to Maryland and, consequently, more jobs. While some of the programs that tax revenues fund are vital to state residents, he said, he plans to find places where funds could be better used and taxes can be reduced on corporations and individuals.

“We believe that targeted tax relief will help put more money into the economy and help bring more revenue in,” said Hogan. “Immediately, we’re going to call for independent, outside audits of every single state agency and department. If we can find where tax dollars are being wasted, we can actually put some more money into the programs where people need it the most.”

Brown hopes to spur the economy through infrastructure investments, general business and industry-specific tax incentives, improving the regulatory environment and public-private partnerships.

Brown announced a $1.5 billion savings plan that includes collective purchasing agreements among state, county and local governments, public-private partnerships, more efficiency in Medicaid and other savings measures.

“My focus would be on things like infrastructure that would include roads and rail, like the purple line and red line, but it would also include infrastructure like schools and data networks,” Brown said in an interview.

Democrat Anthony Brown addressed a campaign rally in Prince George’s County on Oct. 19. (The Brown Campaign/Jay L Baker)

Democrat Anthony Brown addressed a campaign rally in Prince George’s County on Oct. 19. (The Brown Campaign/Jay L Baker)

He added that the business climate could be strengthened through improving the regulatory and licensing environment, which some industries feel is cumbersome.

“We’ve got to work with the private sector to make sure that while we are protecting the environment, and while we are protecting consumers and while we are protecting the workforce, we’re doing it in a way that businesses — in a very cost-effective … efficient way — can comply with whatever regulations need to be in place,” he said.

Regardless of who is elected Maryland’s next governor, there is a finite amount of change the governor’s office can effect on state taxes, said Morgan State’s Hilaire.

“We’ve heard tax promises in the past,” Hilaire said of both candidate’s promises to not raise taxes. The director of public works and the comptroller both have a say in taxes and fees state residents face, he explained, so there is little chance either Brown or Hogan has the silver bullet to fix the problems caused by the recession.

Bullock said Hogan has been right to attack Brown on his promise not to raise taxes — a promise Hogan has also made — when taxes have gone up under Gov. Martin O’Malley’s watch.

“I always cringe whenever I hear a candidate say they’re not going to raise taxes because you just don’t know what the economy is going to be,”Bullock said. “It would be a great promise to make, but probably the best thing a candidate can say is that they’re going to trim inefficiencies and not saying where, because that puts them in a box.”

Education

Legislators in the General Assembly’s 2014 session passed a law expanding access to free pre-kindergarten to more underprivileged children in the state. The move was billed as a step toward closing the vast achievement gap between affluent students and school districts and underprivileged students in low-income areas; an ensuing debate surrounded the goal of eventually affording all Maryland children a free pre-K education.

Republican Larry Hogan visited  Goldberg’s Bagels during a campaign swing through Pikesville on Oct. 26. (Marc Shapiro)

Republican Larry Hogan visited
Goldberg’s Bagels during a campaign swing through Pikesville on Oct. 26.
(Marc Shapiro)

“Pre-K is significant and considered one of the best practices by educators from kindergarten teachers to college presidents,” Brown, who testified on behalf of the most recent legislation, said during the interview. “We know that with a solid early childhood education, kids start kindergarten much more ready to learn.”

His plan includes rolling out a voluntary half-day of pre-K by 2018, which he said can be done with existing resources as well as revenue from expanded gaming in the state, something he expects to increase when MGM National Harbor opens in 2016.

Bullock had reservations about gambling revenue since the new Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore was bringing in less than expected, but either way, universal pre-K will be costly and most likely have to be implemented in phases, he said.

“It can be a challenge when you hang your hat on potential revenue,” he said. “I believe it will pay off in the long run, but how to implement it, that’s a part of the question.”

For his part, Hogan has said that he supports the idea of universal pre-K but doesn’t believe that it is a realistic promise to make. The achievement gap problem, he said, is deep-rooted in the state.

“It’s not just a money problem,” said Hogan. “We doubled spending [on schools] during the [former Gov. Robert] Ehrlich administration, we’ve doubled spending during the O’Malley administration.”

To even the playing field, Hogan said, Marylanders need to embrace things like charter schools. Many people don’t like the concept of quasi-public institutions, he said, but they help.

Another major talking point in the Hogan campaign has been the Common Core educational standards adopted by states across the country, including Maryland. Hogan has repeatedly promised that he would “hit the pause button” on the implementation of the countrywide academic standards that have been a subject of contention since their introduction years ago.

“We can’t be experimenting that rapidly with our children’s education,” he said, calling the launch of Common Core in Maryland — which began last fall — an “unmitigated disaster.”

Though he said he was unsure about what his immediate plan would be after ending Common Core, he pointed out that SAT scores in the state last year were the lowest in years, marking the first time the state fell below the national average in scoring.

The most effective role the governor’s office can take in closing the achievement gap in Maryland’s schools, said Hilaire, is addressing the issues many  struggling children face at home. By focusing on reducing poverty and making resources available to low-income children, the next governor can increase the odds of children making the most of their education, but much of the details are up to the local school districts, said Hilaire, even with the Common Core standards adopted in Maryland.

“Education is a local, jurisdictional matter,” he said. “It’s based strictly of property taxes and it’s up to the county executive and the mayor to appoint someone who is an effective leader to change the focus.”.

Also, read “Cardin, Franchot Endorse Jalisi.

Crime

Linking much of the state’s crime problem to a larger drug problem in Maryland, Hogan declared that he would, upon election, immediately declare a statewide state of emergency in order to address the heroin situation.

Another portion of Hogan’s plan to address crime in Maryland is to reorganize Maryland’s gun laws. When pushed on his stance on gun control earlier this month, he said that he believed Maryland’s laws passed in 2013 didn’t address the problem from the right angle. While the Firearms Safety Act of 2013 mandates fingerprinting, licensing and a background check before anyone can walk out of a Maryland store with a gun, Hogan wants instant point of sale background checks and for the state to connect with a national database that tracks those with a history of mental health problems.

The 2013 bill sounded good, said Hogan, but it didn’t go far enough in addressing criminal history and mental health history.

Brown said there are two areas the governor can focus on to address crime. One of those pieces is implementing law enforcement strategies that have local municipalities partnering with state police in information sharing, but also having uniformed state troopers helping local police forces.

He would also like to take steps to further reduce recidivism in Maryland, which was reduced from 50 percent to 40 percent in the last four years, but still lags behind the 20 percent rate other states have achieved.

Brown plans to introduce new initiatives to reduce recidivism “that includes things like greater skills training for our inmate population, greater drug and alcohol addiction counseling and treatment, both in the institution and in the community, and some transitional services like housing, like employment,” he said.

mshapiro@jewishtimes.com
hnorris@jewishtimes.com

Let’s Bring ‘Common Sense’ Back to Maryland

103114_cover_oped_Pritzer-JeffreyAs a candidate for Maryland attorney general, I believe the voters should have an opportunity to know more about me as well as to understand why I am running for this office, and to gain a perspective in what can and will be accomplished during my term.

I was raised in Baltimore City and attended public schools. I graduated from Milford Mill High School, Franklin and Marshall College and the University of Maryland Law School, where I was a staff member of The Maryland Law Review. I have been recommended for a judgeship by the Judicial Nominating Commission for Baltimore County.

I am the former president of the Save-A-Heart Foundation, which raised millions of dollars for Baltimore and Maryland hospitals and volunteer fire companies, and I am the past president of the Valley Heights Improvement Association in the Greenspring Valley area. I have been an active member of Beth El Congregation in Pikesville and am a past member of its board of trustees and executive board.

I have practiced law for 40 years, and I am a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. My practice, of which I am managing partner, represents numerous business entities, particularly in the automotive and construction industries, as well as numerous small businesses, professionals and individuals.

My decision to run was prompted by the failure of the Maryland attorney general to investigate the failed affordable health care website rollout and the failure to attempt to recoup the waste of approximately $250 million of Maryland taxpayer money. I was shocked that our current attorney general took no steps to that end, despite my attempts to prompt him to do so. This was a primary motivating factor, but the reality is that I saw too many of my friends and clients leaving our beautiful state.

Maryland is a great place to live with attributes few states can match. A state such as Maryland should be attracting and retaining businesses and should be flourishing economically. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.

A primary reason for the Maryland malaise is the effect of one-party rule. This has led not only to high taxes, but regulations that are so excessive and burdensome that businesses don’t want to locate here. From a business standpoint, Maryland is losing out. From an individual standpoint, Maryland also is losing many residents, including numerous retirees who had made significant contributions to our tax base.

While I cannot change the tax structure, as attorney general I intend to appoint a task force to begin examining onerous and overly burdensome rules and regulations promulgated by various agencies and to “prune away” those regulations that make little sense. I will meet with business leaders to review the regulatory situation and work with business to improve same, without jeopardizing consumer rights. Maryland must once again be known as a business-friendly state.

I will also expand greatly the arbitration and mediation services of the Office of Attorney General, giving residents another venue to arbitrate differences with businesses thus saving the time, trouble and expense of the court system.

Finally, I will attempt to bring common sense back to Maryland. The Office of Attorney General provides legal advice to every Maryland agency, and common sense will be the byword of any new rules and regulations to assure that the benefits outweigh the costs.

I want our state to be great again. None of us, who live here and love this state, desire to see the continued exodus of friends, clients and businesses who are leaving for greener pastures.

My opponent has been part of the Annapolis power structure for 28 years. The last several years have been troublesome at best and terrible at worst. It’s time to have an independent attorney general who has not been part of that power structure, which has actually caused Maryland to have a higher unemployment rate than the national average.

Let’s help bring independence to the Office of Attorney General and balance to state government.

Jeffrey N. Pritzker is the Republican candidate for attorney general. He has been a practicing attorney in Maryland for almost 40 years. He previously ran for attorney general in 2002.

Scalloped Tomatoes

4 cups fresh bread crumbs
1⁄4 cup melted margarine or extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh-chopped chives
2 tablespoons fresh-chopped parsley
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper
6 to 8 ripe large plum tomatoes, thickly sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine bread crumbs, margarine or oil, chives, parsley, thyme leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Press half the bread-crumb mixture into a large baking dish to form a “crust.” Bake until lightly brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and arrange a layer of tomatoes over crust and sprinkle with more crumbs. Repeat process until all tomato slices are used, ending with a layer of bread crumbs. Bake until crumbs are golden and tomatoes are warm, about 10 to 12 minutes. 6-8 servings.

Rolled Stuffed Eggplant

2 medium-size eggplants
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium-size onion, diced
1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
2 cups cooked rice, basmati preferred
1⁄3 cup grated baked firm spiced tofu*
1⁄3 cup crumbled Italian Tofurky sausage**
1 cup grated Cabot Muenster or Seriously Sharp Cheddar cheese
1 can (15 ounces) petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 grated carrot

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tops off the eggplants and thinly slice them lengthwise. You should be able to get about 8 pieces from each eggplant. Salt the slices and set aside. Sauté the chopped onions until translucent. Add the garlic and saute another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cooked rice, tofu, carrot, grated cheese and mix well. Adjust and add more seasonings if desired. Set aside. Pat the eggplant slices with paper towels to get rid of any excess moisture. Either sauté the slices in a little oil until browned on both sides to soft and pliable or bake on a lightly oiled baking sheet for about 5 minutes on each side at 400 degrees. Lower the oven to 350 degrees. Take each slice of soft eggplant and place about 2 tablespoons of the cheese filling on each eggplant slice and roll up, seam side down, in a lightly greased 13-by-9-inch casserole dish in one layer. Some of the filling may fall out and you can try to push it into the sides of the rolls. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the casserole and you can sprinkle some extra grated cheese on each roll and bake an additional 5 minutes to melt the cheese. 8-10 servings.

*You can use plain baked tofu by adding 1 teaspoon salt, 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper, 1⁄2 teaspoon dry oregano and 2 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped fine to the cheese mixture. Grate the firm tofu on the large holes of a grater.

**In place of Tofurky, use 2⁄3 cup of the tofu.