The Baltimore Sun's Rona Kobell explains how Maryland's open space preservation program works in practice:
[David] Sutherland's push to secure state funding for the Kudner farm prompted an outcry when it became public over the summer, particularly because of the high price he demanded for a relatively small piece of the farm. But a closer look at the deal reveals problems beyond the price.
It shows how a well-connected deal-maker seized upon a fleeting state interest in building sports complexes to persuade the government to buy his property. He persuaded county commissioners that they could put such a complex on a couple of hundred acres of land that mostly cannot be developed. And when that plan fell apart, state officials went ahead and bought the parcel anyhow.
For the details, go here.
(Full disclosure: Rona's my wife. As long as I'm promoting her work, I should mention that she is now among the contributors to her paper's Bay & Environment blog, where she writes about the Chesapeake Bay. If you're interested in the region you should check out her posts.)