Thursday, May 31, 2012

BAD NETIZENS: Maryland Juice Receives Legal Threats from AOL, Arianna Huffington, The Patch & DLA Piper // SHOVE IT

Where do I even begin? Maryland Juice is currently traveling on the West Coast, and I woke up to an alarming email message from the international lawfirm DLA Piper. It seems that the firm represents AOL, who in turn are the corporate owners of The Huffington Post and Patch.com. They have issued a cease and desist letter over my excerpting of a Patch.com article and photo about accessory apartments in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Race-Baiting Group Funds Anti-Marriage Equality Petitions // Baltimore Mayor Rawlings-Blake & Black Leaders Speak Out

The Baltimore Sun is reporting that anti-marriage equality advocates have announced they have gathered twice as many signatures as needed to subject civil rights to a majority vote this November. Marylanders for Marriage Equality has revealed, however, that the race-baiting organization "National Organization for Marriage" has financed most of this operation.

Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown Got Married This Weekend // CONGRATS to the Newlyweds


Yesterday, The Washington Post reported that Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown got hitched (excerpt below):

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler Secures $1 Million Voter Suppression Judgment Against GOP Gov. Bob Ehrlich Aide

BACKGROUND: In 2010, one-term Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich tried to reclaim his office from Martin O'Malley, after losing to the Democrat in 2006. As we now know, Mr. Ehrlich was trounced by Democratic Gov. O'Malley in the November 2010 rematch. Full disclosure: Maryland Juice was employed by the MD Dems Coordinated Campaign for the 2010 General Election.

One of the despicable aspects to Mr. Ehrlich's 2010 race was revealed following his pathetic come-back attempt. The Republican Governor's campaign team tried to suppress African-American votes through targeted mis-leading robocalls to black households through the Free State. Ehrlich's campaign taped a call for thousands of African-American voters, telling them that Obama and O'Malley had already succeeded -- ergo, they didn't need to turnout to vote.

The campaign aide responsible for the calls, Julius Henson, faced criminal voter suppression charges for his work on the Ehrlich campaign, but this month many were disappointed to see that a jury failed to convict him of the most serious charges. The Baltimore Sun reported earlier this month:

Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal & Former Del. Saqib Ali Seek School Closures for Muslim Holidays

Below Maryland Juice prints a letter from Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal to school superintendent Joshua Starr and Board of  Education President Shirley Brandman. In collaboration with former State House member Saqib Ali, Mr. Leventhal is urging Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to close down on two Muslim holidays. I thought the effort was worth mentioning, given the bursts of hysteria in Maryland regarding the region's Muslim American population. For example, you may recall that earlier this year, a Chevy Chase, Maryland GOP club saw fit to host an anti-Muslim speaker -- with the stated purpose of stopping Sharia law from creeping into Maryland. In any case, Mr. Leventhal's letter is copied below:

Monday, May 28, 2012

MD DEMOCRATS ON WAR: Dutch Ruppersberger on Drones, Takoma Park Civil Liberties, MoCo War Resolution & More

A True Memorial Day Message // Honor our Veterans with Good Policymaking

While most of Maryland's Democratic politicians will spend this Memorial Day purporting to honor veterans of America's foreign adventures, Maryland Juice prefers to highlight the areas where our elected officials can improve their voting records. After all, the best way to honor the members of our military is simply by not sending them on pointless, dangerous and expensive missions. Moreover, we should not ask Americans to continue giving up the lifestyle we claim to protect (ie: freedom, liberty and the "American way") in the name of amorphous and unquantifiable threats to our safety. Below, we highlight a few recent policy debates regarding war & peace, civil liberties & defense spending.

Maryland Juice would like to point out that time and again, it seems that Democratic Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger seems to love voluntary military spending, and he enjoys trampling on our civil liberties. But he does so in the name of America and our veterans, so it's all good. HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!

JUICE #1: TAKOMA PARK PASSES RESOLUTION CONDEMNING INDEFINITE DETENTION OF CITIZENS WITHOUT TRAIL - Civil liberties advocates on both the right and the left have spent many months trying to fight a new assertion from the U.S. government, that it has the right to detain Americans indefinitely and without trial -- even if they are apprehended in the United States. But one of the pillars of the rule of law in America and an obvious check on potential abuse of power is the right of habeas corpus. Simply put, the idea is that the government can't arbitrarily jail people without giving them their day in court. Wikipedia explains habeas corpus as follows:

2016 Preview: Newt Gingrich & Newsweek Comment on Gov. Martin O'Malley White House Run // PLUS: "MoM" on Gambling

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley (aka "MoM") has been under the media spotlight this weekend. Below, Maryland Juice highlights commentary about a future 2016 White House bid by Mr. O'Malley. Additionally, we print an excerpt from a unique Washington Post article that digs into MoM's thoughts about a special gambling session in Maryland. Notably, Newsweek now calls marriage equality "the new Democratic litmus test." Perhaps that is because the issue is now one of my generation's most obvious civil rights issues. Repeat after me: I told you so.

JUICE #1 - NEWSWEEK'S HOWARD KURTZ WEIGHS IN ON O'MALLEY WHITE HOUSE BID (excerpt below):
NEWSWEEK: ...[Obama] hasn’t exactly groomed a successor for 2016, either. He expresses occasional exasperation with his vice president, Joe Biden, who would be 74 upon taking office. His formerly fierce rival, Hillary Clinton, is stepping down as secretary of state and insists she won’t mount another White House campaign. The upshot is a gaping void for the post-Obama era, a space that two ambitious governors untainted by the mess in Washington are quietly moving to fill....

VIDEO: Best Public Marriage Proposal Ever // #OccupyLife

#OccupyLife

If you haven't already seen the latest viral video sensation, check out this YouTube marriage proposal. It may be the coolest "I do," that I've seen yet. I'm not one who thinks televised or sports game proposals are cool, but the guy below did it right. Another example of a format reboot from my generation. God bless hipsters (hahaha):


Sunday, May 27, 2012

It's Official: Blaine Young Announces for 2014 Governor // MD Tea Party Fanatic Pushed English-Only Law, Frederick Sprawl

Drawing of Blaine Young from his website.
It's official -- Frederick County's attention-seeking Tea Partier, Blaine Young, has launched a bid for Maryland Governor in 2014. Mr. Young is the head of Frederick's Board of Commissioners, and Maryland Juice has previously written about some of his controversial actions.

He recently ensured that Frederick passed a useless law declaring English the official language of the County, and Frederick residents previously tried to launch a movement to recall him over his war on government employees. His hard turn to the right began after he was linked to an area Madame's prostitution scandal, in an incident that locals refer to as Blaine Young's "Black Book Scandal."

You can catch a television report of the announcement at Your4State.com, but The Frederick News-Post carried a print report (excerpt below):
FREDERICK NEWS-POST: Blaine Young says he will seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2014. In an announcement sent to media outlets today from his Yellow Cab email address, the Frederick County Commissioners president stated he has filed a statement of organization with the Maryland Board of Elections to create Blaine Young for Maryland as the first step in his gubernatorial bid....

Friday, May 25, 2012

CD6: League of Conservation Voters Endorses John Delaney for Congress // Enviros Backed Sen. Rob Garagiola In Dem Primary

Maryland Juice received the following press announcement from 6th Congressional District candidate John Delaney. The MoCo Democrat has received the endorsement of the environmentalists from the League of Conservation Voters. Notably, the group backed State Senator Rob Garagiola in the Democratic Primary, but it appears that Mr. Delaney is continuing to convert some of his opponents supporters. Mr. Delaney also points voters to the environmental platform posted on his website. See his release below:

PRESS RELEASE

 League of Conservation Voters Action Fund Endorses 
John Delaney in Maryland’s 6th District

Today the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund announced their endorsement of John Delaney in Maryland’s Sixth Congressional District. The LCV Action Fund works to elect candidates who will implement sound environmental policy. In the Sixth District, Delaney faces twenty-year Republican incumbent Roscoe Bartlett.

SATURDAY: U.S. Senator Ben Cardin to Speak at Chestertown Tea Party Festival // I Know What You're Thinking....

Maryland Juice did a double-take when he received the following press release this morning (see below). U.S. Senator Ben Cardin announced an appearance at a Chestertown Tea Party event this Saturday. I was a little surprised, because earlier this year we scorched Mr. Cardin's Democratic Primary opponent State Sen. Anthony Muse for joining the Tea Party at a rally against marriage equality


Thursday, May 24, 2012

MD EVENTS: White House Hispanic Summit, Clinton Chief of Staff Podesta, Gov. O'Malley Concert & MoCo Dems on Dream Act

Below, Maryland Juice presents a round-up of noteworthy event invitations that have recently floated through our email inbox:


EVENT #1: WHITE HOUSE HISPANIC COMMUNITY ACTION SUMMIT ON JUNE 16 - Last night, I received an email invitation from The White House & MoCo Council Vice President Nancy Navarro for a "White House Hispanic Community Action Summit." The event is being held June 16th at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring. Details below:

On Saturday, June 16, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., please join us at the White House Hispanic Community Action Summit in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The summit will connect senior Obama Administration officials from diverse policy areas with community  leaders, business owners, and other stakeholders to discuss issues critical to the Hispanic community, Maryland, and the nation.
Event information 
Date: Saturday, June 16, 2012
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Address: Montgomery Blair High School
51 University Boulevard East
Silver Spring, MD 20901

The focus of the Action Summit is to accomplish three key goals:

1.  Establish a space where community leaders can meaningfully engage and interact with key decision and policy makers in the Obama Administration on matters involving diverse policy areas that affect the Hispanic community;

2.  Identify policy and programmatic areas of concern, receive and respond to constructive criticism and feedback, and identify local success stories and practices in policy areas that benefit the Hispanic community and our nation;

3.  Identify and develop opportunities for Hispanic leaders and stakeholders to collaborate with the Obama administration and other leaders from across the country in addressing the interests and concerns of the Hispanic community.


EVENT #2: TONIGHT - MOCO YOUNG DEMS & HISPANIC DEM CLUB JOINT DREAM ACT EVENT
May 24th membership meeting in the Downtown Silver Spring Civic Building’s Colesville Room from 7-8:30pm. See details here.

We have exciting announcements to share, plus a great program about the Maryland DREAM Act, co-sponsored by the Hispanic Democratic Club, with:
  • Ana Sol Gutierrez, Maryland State Delegate (D-18)
  • Hans Riemer, Montgomery County Councilmember
  • Flavia Jimenez, National Immigration Forum, Naturalization and Workforce Integration Project Director
  • Justice for Students in America
  • Shola Ajayi, CASA de Maryland, Advocacy and Elections Specialist
  • Travis Tazelaar, Educating Maryland's Kids, Campaign Coordinator
If you’re already committed to helping MCYD defend the MD Dream Act, let us know: www.mcyd.org/dreamact.

EVENT #3: TONIGHT - BILL CLINTON'S CHIEF OF STAFF JOHN PODESTA IN SILVER SPRING
Event: Conversation and Wine and Chocolate Reception with John Podesta
Date: Thursday, May 24
Time: 6:30 pm
Place: Pyramid Atlantic, 8230 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD
Cost: Regular Cost $ 20 
         
John Podesta, former White House Chief of Staff and Chairman and Founder of the Center for American Progress, leads a discussion on The American Way To Change written by Shirley Sagawa, Montgomery County resident and “a founding mother” of the modern service movement in America.

Join Mr. Podesta, Ms. Sagawa and community leaders Jenny Brody (Founder and President of the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project), Bruce Adams (Director of County Executive Ike Leggett's Office of Community Partnerships) and Jose Dominguez (Executive Director of Pyramid Atlantic) as they invite you to discuss the integral roles volunteers play in leading and contributing to groundbreaking organizations that improve our livese and offer important services to people in need.

Space in limited, so please RSVP to: jdominguez@pyramid-atlantic.org

EVENT #4: GOV. O'MALLEY'S ROCK BAND PLAYS A MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT
O'Malley's March - Performance Date: 05/28/2012, 7:00 pm

Monday, May 28 @ 7pm - $25

Artist's Website: www.omalleysmarch.com

Why They're Worth Watching: The region's favorite Celtic rockers are back for a rollicking evening of traditional and original tunes, seasonal classics, and general merriment. Martin and the boys are coming to Rams Head ready to forget about their day jobs with a show that'll be Irish down to the last drop!
Tickets Online

POLL RESULTS: 57% of Marylanders Support Marriage Equality // Surge in African American Support After Obama Endorsement

UPDATE: The release of the polling numbers today is making national waves. In an article titled "Did Obama Just Deliver Marriage Equality in Maryland?" Mother Jones magazine printed the following analysis (excerpt below):
MOTHER JONES: ...Understand that exploiting the divide between socially conservative but religiously liberal minority groups and social liberals was the linchpin of NOM's strategy in Maryland, which is a very blue state with a large black population. NOM simply can't win without winning black voters, and Obama may have made that impossible. Instead of black voters torpedoeing marriage equality in Maryland, as NOM had hoped, they now stand poised to secure it.

Marylanders for Marriage Equality has released a new poll showing a decisive majority of voters would now support same-sex marriage in November. One key shift is that African American voters have swung heavily in favor of marriage equality in the weeks following President Barack Obama's endorsement for the proposal. See the press release and full poll results below.



THIS IS WHY DEMOCRATIC LEADERS NEED TO BE GOOD ROLE MODELS   
 
PRESS RELEASE
 
New Poll: 57% of Maryland Voters Would Vote 
‘Yes’ on Marriage Referendum

African-American support for same-sex marriage has surged

BALTIMORE – A new Public Policy Poll of Maryland voters shows a decisive majority (57%) would vote in favor of same-sex marriage if it's on the ballot this fall, while 37% would vote against. This is a 12-point swing in support from two months earlier and is due to growing African-American support in Maryland since both President Obama and the NAACP endorsed same-sex marriage.

“Things are moving in Maryland,” said Josh Levin, campaign manager for Marylanders for Marriage Equality. “We’re approaching a supermajority who want to uphold the state’s new marriage law. The message of stronger families and greater fairness is resonating, and we’re confident Maryland will be the first state to win a ballot measure on marriage equality and religious freedom."

In a memo, PPP pollster Tom Jensen notes there has been a “major shift in opinion about gay marriage among black voters [in Maryland].” Fifty-five percent of African Americans now say they would vote for the law and only 36% oppose it. These numbers have essentially flipped since PPP conducted an identical poll in March.

"Those opposed to same-sex marriage have some ground to make up," added Levin.

The Maryland data are in line with recent national polls reflecting majority African-American support. Yesterday’s ABC News/Washington Post poll registered 59 percent of African-Americans who expressed support for same-sex marriage – an 18-point jump from polls taken before the President's announcement.

“The President’s backing of marriage equality has added to our momentum– and his being on the November ballot also helps us,” Levin said. “Younger voters, who are overwhelmingly supportive, are much more likely to turn out in a presidential year."

An overwhelming majority of Obama voters in Maryland and almost a third of Romney voters favor same-sex marriage.

The Civil Marriage Protection Act passed the Maryland legislature and was signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley. Committed gay and lesbian couples can get a marriage license from the courthouse beginning in January, should voters approve the law. Churches and other religious institutions do not have to marry a gay or lesbian couple if they don’t want to.

Today's PPP poll, commissioned by Marylanders for Marriage Equality, surveyed 852 likely voters, including an oversample of 398 African Americans between May 14 - 21. The overall margin of error is +/-3.4% and for African-Americans it is +/-4.9%.  The polling memo can be found here. 

Marylanders for Marriage Equality, the coalition working to defend Maryland’s new civil marriage law, is made up of 1199 SEIU, ACLU of Maryland, Equality Maryland, Human Rights Campaign, and others.



###
Maryland Marriage Equality Poll - May 2012

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Gov. Martin O'Malley Signs Nation's First Law Banning Arsenic in Our Chicken // Four Democrats Voted to ALLOW Arsenic!

UPDATE:  A reader notes that the bill banning arsenic in our chicken was sponsored in the Senate by Paul Pinsky, and co-sponsored by Senators Frosh, Madaleno, Raskin, Rosapepe, and Stone.  In the comments below, a second reader urges us to check out unfavorable amendments to the arsenic ban that were offered by Senator Mac Middleton (Charles County Democrat). He appears to have an arsenic fetish.

Below Maryland Juice highlights a noteworthy bill that was signed into law by Gov. Martin O'Malley yesterday. The bill in question bans arsenic from chicken feed, and surprisingly, this was both a first in the nation law and a bit controversial. Really???

The arsenic ban was sponsored by Del. Tom Hucker in the House (with co-sponsors Anderson, Arora, Barve, Bobo, Carr, Carter, Conaway, Cullison, Frush, Gilchrist, Holmes, Howard, A. Kelly, Lafferty, Luedtke, Oaks, Reznik, S. Robinson, Stein, Waldstreicher, and Washington). In the Senate, Paul Pinsky lead the charge. Notably, four Democrats voted to allow arsenic in our chicken. Check out the excerpt below from Mr. Hucker's press release on the matter (excerpt below):
O'Malley Signs Arsenic Ban 5/22/12 (Source)
TOM HUCKER: With the stroke of a pen today, Maryland will become the first state in the nation to ban arsenic additives widely used in the chicken industry.

The ban, HB 167, comes after three years of sustained advocacy by public safety and environmental advocates — and opposition by Pfizer and the poultry industry, which hired some of the top lobbying firms in Annapolis. Now environmental and food safety advocates are reaching out to other states, including neighboring Virginia, to introduce similar legislation.

“Today Maryland shows the nation how to stand up for food safety and the environment,” said Delegate Tom Hucker (D-Montgomery County), the main sponsor of the legislation. “There is no safe level of arsenic, and yet we’ve allowed the poultry and pharmaceutical industry to add 30,000 pounds of arsenic to Maryland’s soil, water, and food supply each year for over sixty years. McDonald’s and Perdue have been smart enough to avoid the use of arsenic additives for a long time. Yet we allow every child in our public schools and every consumer in our stores to be fed chicken that could not be served at McDonalds. I’m proud of my colleagues who stood up against the arsenic lobby to protect our environment and the public health.” Sen. Paul Pinsky (D-Prince George’s) guided the bill to passage on the Senate floor with a vote of 32-14...

DEMOCRATS WHO VOTED TO ALLOW ARSENIC IN OUR CHICKEN: You can see the roll call votes on the arsenic ban at the General Assembly's website (House Roll Call & Senate Roll Call), but below we provide the list of Democrats who voted to allow arsenic in our chicken. I didn't even bother to list the Republicans who supported arsenic in our food, because it is practically all of them (seriously). Please send any corrections or omissions to david@marylandjuice.com.

Democrats Who Voted to Allow Arsenic in Maryland's Chicken:
  • Del. Norman Conway (Wicomico & Worcester)
  • Sen. Jim DeGrange (Anne Arundel)
  • Sen. Roy Dyson (Calvert, Charles & St. Mary's)
  • Sen. James Mathias (Somerset, Wicomico & Worcester)

IRONY: Are Maryland's Republican Counties the Biggest Welfare Users? // New Map Shows Counties With Poorest Residents

UPDATE: As noted in the comments below, it should be clear that the map below is about concentration of poverty, not the absolute number of poor residents. Specifically, that means that Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore may have a higher percentage of poor residents, even though Montgomery County has a higher number of overall poor residents. For example, the Maryland Reporter article in question noted:
MARYLAND REPORTER: ...90,000 people in Montgomery County alone are eligible for food assistance but do not claim benefits — suggesting the already bloated official figures may not reflect the true state of need in Maryland, and that thousands of families could be struggling needlessly.

Maryland Reporter today published an interesting article noting that a record number of Marylanders are receiving government assistance. Though the article focuses on the funding levels for various forms of welfare, Maryland Juice was drawn to a map showing the distribution of poverty in the Free State. Note below that save for Baltimore City, the densest pockets of poverty are in Republican counties. Note: red-yellow areas reflect the most dense pockets of poverty, while blue-green areas reflect lower concentrations of poor residents:

MAP SOURCE: MARYLAND REPORTER - MAY 23, 2012

THE REPUBLICAN WAR ON RURAL MARYLAND'S RESIDENTS - The Maryland Reporter article that accompanied the map above did not stipulate where actual welfare applications are coming from, but it seems implausible based on the data above that cuts in safety net spending (aka "socialism" according to the MD GOP) wouldn't have a disproportionate (per capita) impact on the areas of Maryland represented by Republican lawmakers. Indeed, GOP residents in The Free State should be proud that their elected officials are fighting socialism by trying to cut off aid to rural areas of the state. Amusingly, Maryland Republicans have taken to accusing the Democrats of launching a war on rural Maryland. But the starving of government sought by rightwing activists and elected officials would appear to harm Republican areas, too!

Is the Maryland GOP serving their constituents' interests? Apparently, only if you care about symbolic issues like hating on gays and immigrants. But Maryland Juice would point out once again, that the parts of the State that generate the most income are the Democratic areas -- ergo, infrastructure investment in revenue-producing areas (ie: the DC suburbs) pays off in spades for Republican Counties. Too bad, the Maryland GOP is unwilling to acknowledge this reality.

Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown Prepares for 2014 Governors Race // New Website & Biographical Video

Today, Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown appears to be launching his campaign for Governor in 2014. He is out with a new website and a biographical video (see both below). The video walks viewers through Mr. Brown's military service, family background and issue advocacy:




Check out the Lt. Governor's new website - www.AnthonyBrown.com:



MORE ON THE 2014 GOVERNOR'S RACE SOON!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

CD6: Reporter Accuses GOP Rep. Roscoe Bartlett of Suspicious Fundraising Tactics // Any Theories About What's Going On?

A reporter from the National Journal wrote a very unusual article about Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett tonight. Apparently, a Republican lobbyist contacted the publication to report that the embattled Republican Congressman's fundraising team is contacting potential donors using a taped recording of Mr. Bartlett. Taped calls or robocalls are nothing new in political campaigns, but dialing for real dollars using a recording instead of the candidate himself is something I'm not sure I've heard of.


Read the National Journal's strange report (excerpt below):
NATIONAL JOURNAL: Was Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's campaign playing a taped pitch inviting potential donors to a fundraising event? That's what it sounded like to a Republican lobbyist after listening to the message left on his voicemail....

"Kirk Clinkenbeard over here with my boss Congressman Roscoe Bartlett at the congressional committee making some calls," Clinkenbeard says in the voicemail obtained by the Alley. "Here's Roscoe, he wants to leave you a very quick voicemail."

Then there's a pause, some background noise and, "Hi, Roscoe Bartlett here. I'm very sorry I missed you," he says before launching into his pitch....

So what gives? Was Clinkenbeard using a Bartlett recording in his fundraising pitch? And, if so, why?

So far, that remains a mystery. We took our questions to Clinkenbeard, who directed us to the campaign, which declined to comment....

The National Journal writer declined to speculate on why the 85-year-old Roscoe Bartlett isn't making his own fundraising calls. Maryland Juice provides a couple basic theories:
1. Roscoe Bartlett is unwilling to make fundraising calls
2. Roscoe Bartlett is unable to make fundraising calls

               and/or

3. Roscoe Bartlett's fundraiser came up with a really bad idea to cover for #1 or #2

Either way, this doesn't look good at all for Roscoe Bartlett!

SPOTLIGHT: The Issue of Race in Montgomery County // PLUS: MoCo Residents Fighting Affordable Housing Effort (Again)?

Maryland Juice caught an excellent article today from Center Maryland columnist Josh Kurtz. In his lengthy diatribe, Mr. Kurtz outlines how Montgomery County is an extremely diverse community -- both racially and socioeconomically. His thesis, however, is that the County's politicians are nearly all-white and oftentimes appear to be well-to-do. Kurtz discusses the political impact of this problem (excerpt below):
JOSH KURTZ: Hey Montgomery County leaders and voters: Tired of being the ATM for the rest of the state? Then it’s time to start electing a delegation to Annapolis that actually looks like the county....
The population, in the county, according to the 2010 Census count, is now majority-minority: 49 percent white, 17 percent African-American, 17 percent Hispanic, 14 percent Asian, and 4 percent who reported they were two or more races....

Almost one-third of all students were receiving free or reduced meals in school – and 41 percent of the student population had received free or reduced meals at some point in their academic career....

Yet the misconception persists around Maryland that Montgomery County’s streets are paved with gold – which can be mined at will by the legislature whenever the state is in a fiscal jam....

Plain and simple, it’s hard to make the case to the rest of Maryland that Montgomery County is a place with huge swaths of poverty and innumerable needs when so many members of the delegation the county sends to the State House look like they’re fresh out of an Ivy League fraternity – and counting the days till they can run for Congress.

In the past two elections, Montgomery voters have done a decent job of clearing out some of the legislative deadwood. But they haven’t done much to speed up the dismally slow process of diversifying the county delegation.

This majority-minority district currently sends just one African-American lawmaker to Annapolis among its delegation of 32, plus one Hispanic, one Chinese-American and, in an anomaly, three Indian-Americans. But you can’t say there’s a growth trend there when the lone Hispanic legislator, Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez, who is 70, could wind up retiring in 2014, and one of the Indian-Americans, Del. Sam Arora, is already being targeted for defeat for his vote against same-sex marriage.

The county’s eight-member Senate delegation is, and always has been, 100 percent white. The two legislative districts in Montgomery County with less than 50 percent white population, according to state figures – District 20, in inner Beltway Silver Spring and Takoma Park, with 57 percent minority population, and District 39, which covers Montgomery Village and much of Germantown, with 53 percent minority population – have all-white representation....

But does the onus lie just with the voters? Organizations that recruit and endorse candidates need to do more to promote and nurture minority candidates. Community groups need to encourage their own leaders to run for office. And minority candidates themselves need to step up, in every sense of the phrase....

Maryland Juice completely agrees with the main points in Josh Kurtz's article. Indeed, in the past, we've pointed out that the newest members of MoCo's legislative delegation do not look like the legislators of yore. But still, the pace of change is not fast enough -- and the Party (at every level) does not seem to care about developing the farm team. In many instances (ie: Mike Miller *cough*) they sabotage efforts to diversify and modernize the Democratic caucus.


HYSTERIA OVER MAKING HOUSING MORE 
AFFORDABLE IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Indeed, when Montgomery County used to actually be much more white and rich, a certain political culture existed that under-prioritized issues like workforce housing/housing affordability. But amazingly, even today, we persistently see a small but vocal minority of residents become extremely animated every time policymakers suggest ways of making housing more affordable in the County. The result is that our housing policies are completely B.S. and are NOT designed to solve MoCo's affordable housing crisis. They are designed to placate the residents who can already afford to live in MoCo. As we now know, this problem is keeping young professionals from moving to Montgomery County. Maryland Juice previously reported that MoCo is now more expensive than New York and San Francisco. Seriously. Think about that.

Now read the latest news report of residents getting hysterical (again) about the idea of allowing MoCo residents to rent out their basements. County planners are hoping to allow homeowners (who actually live in their home) to rent out their basements (aka "accessory apartments") without having to go through a year-long application process. MoCo currently has nearly 1 million residents, but fewer than 300 licensed basement rentals due to the current ridiculous "special exception" process. But notably, when Philadelphia implemented a policy similar to the one being proposed in MoCo, only 1 in 1,000 houses exercised their right to have a basement tenant.

Unlike past "affordable housing" initiatives, the accessory apartment proposal does not risk creating an over-concentration of cheap housing in any one place. So what's the hysteria all about? Well, did you read Josh Kurtz's article above? I think people are scared of "poor" people moving into their neighborhood -- even though "poor" might simply mean young professionals who are just getting started in the County or seniors on fixed incomes. Further proof that the hysteria against accessory apartments is unfounded lies in the fact that the proposed MoCo rules would require the home to be owner-occupied. After all, what homeowner is going to rent to a crackhead or criminal, if they have to live under the same roof? Ain't gonna happen, folks!

Check out the disturbing report from today's Wheaton Patch (excerpt below):
WHEATON PATCH: Montgomery County residents turned out in force at two public meetings on Monday to express concerns about a proposed rule change that would eliminate the special exception process for some accessory apartments, also known as “mother-in-law” apartments....

An estimated 275 to 300 accessory apartments exist in Montgomery County today, Pamela Dunn told the crowded auditorium at the Park and Planning headquarters in downtown Silver Spring. Dunn is the project manager for the comprehensive zoning code rewrite underway at M-NCPPC....

Current regulations require a special exception for every accessory apartment in Montgomery County, a process that usually takes nine to 13 months. The county's board of appeals approves special exceptions for an average of 10 apartments each year....

Instead of the board of appeals subjectively deciding which special exception applications to approve, a by-right process would establish objective criteria, Russ said....

“It doesn’t mean no oversight; it just means no public hearing,” Dunn said.

Russ repeatedly said that streamlining accessory apartments would result in more affordable housing throughout Montgomery County and more opportunities for elderly homeowners to age in place on a fixed income.

Barbara Sanders, a Silver Spring resident, remembers when her son Greg returned to the area after earning a graduate degree and getting a job in D.C.--but was unable to afford anything more than a studio apartment. Then he found a family with a basement apartment in their 1930s-era colonial home, looking for a renter. The arrangement suited both sides perfectly, as the family used the extra income to send one of their children to college. But Sanders was one of only a few people in the audience with something positive to say about streamlining the accessory apartment process....

Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich attended the afternoon public meeting and shared how he had recently accompanied some county housing inspectors on their rounds in Wheaton....

“This is about taking other single-family neighborhoods and radically altering them,” he said after the meeting....

The next step is for the Planning Board to make a recommendation to transmit the zoning text amendment to the county council. Then, if a councilmember chose to formally introduce the ZTA, it would be sent back to the planning board, which would hold another public hearing before sending back comments to the council. Next, the council would hold its own public hearing, and the Planning, Housing, and Economic Development committee would hold worksessions. Finally, the ZTA would come before the full council for a vote.

The Planning Board is scheduled to take up the ZTA in June....

I hate to be all Rollin Stanley about this, but honestly, look at the photo below of the residents who turned out to oppose homeowners renting out their basements. Does this look like a representative sample of a vibrant majority-minority County?

PHOTO SOURCE: WHEATON PATCH 5/22/2012

OTHER POLICY CONSIDERATIONS: Republicans and Libertarians should be upset about this too, albeit from a property rights perspective. Montgomery County wants to tell me who can live in my house? My neighbors want to decide who I live with? Uh, no thank you.

Moreover, one has to imagine that a basement rental income stream may be a huge benefit to homeowners facing underwater mortgages, foreclosure, or who simply need a little extra cash to survive in expensive Montgomery County -- whether or not they are young families, seniors, or youths.

EMAIL THE PLANNING BOARD & COUNTY COUNCIL TO SUPPORT AFFORDABLE HOUSING & PROPERTY RIGHTS:

Maryland Juice will be following this issue very closely in the coming months. Stay tuned!

SOURCE: Fox News Baltimore Launches Slanted "Robo Push Poll" on Gov. Martin O'Malley, Dream Act & Marriage Equality

UPDATE: Tonight, The Baltimore Sun published a response from Fox Baltimore and Gov. O'Malley's spokesperson about the strange robo push poll (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: As if robocalls didn't have a bad enough reputation in the world of Baltimore media and politics thanks to consultant Julius Henson's activity in the last gubernatorial election, along comes WBFF (Channel 45) Monday night with its own questionable computer-generated calls into hundreds of thousands on Maryland homes.

And the calls continued Tuesday. I received one at my home in Baltimore City both days. Racquel Guillory, director of communications for Gov. Martin O'Malley, also received one at home in Howard County Monday night around dinnertime....

The questions were about the Dream Act, The Civil Marriage Protection Act, Maryland income taxes being raised, O'Malley's "legislative agenda" and whether the governor backed the Civil Marriage Protection Act and the Dream Act to "further his political career"? In the call, Barnd describes the The Civil Marriage Protection Act as the "focus of his (O'Malley's) legislative agenda...."

WBFF general manager Bill Fanshawe said he and Scott Livingston, the VP of news operations for Sinclair, hired an "outside advertising company" to conduct the poll. He declined to name the firm or say where it was headquartered, but the phone number that respondents were asked to call Monday night was the 202 Washington exchange....

He said the calls were made to "hundreds of thousands" of Maryland homes, and that the station has received 60,000 responses....

Guillory, who said she was speaking from her "perspective as the communications director who received a phone call, rather than for the governor's office," has a very different take on the calls....

In Guillory's professional opinion, "The average person could have clearly been swayed by the way the questions were worded. Being in the thick of it here, I'm know what's going on, but the average person could have clearly been swayed by the questions...."

When pressed for an explanation of that, she added, "I'm not surpised because of where the call came from...."


A reliable Maryland Juice source who is a resident of Baltimore City reports that yesterday Fox News Baltimore (WBFF 45) conducted what they call a "robo push poll." If their description is accurate, this smells an awful lot like rightwing news activism against Gov. O'Malley and some of his legislative priorities. See their report below:
ANONYMOUS SOURCE: The call was a recorded message, and was read by Jeff Barnes (who is one of their evening news anchors).  The call stated that it was being offered by FOX45 News in Baltimore.
After talking about an evening news story on ticks and Lyme disease in MD, the call went on to explain that FOX45 will be covering topics of interest to MD'ers during the upcoming election season and will be doing phone surveys on those issue. Then it asked if I wished to participate (and I said yes).
In addition to q's below it asked, Will you vote in November election ? (y/n)
Explains that the MD legislature passed the DREAM Act last year, and that it HAS been petitioned to referendum and will be on the ballot in Nov.  Will you vote to keep the DREAM Act (y/n)
Explains that MD legislature has passed the Civil Marriage Protection Act, and that it MAY be petitioned to referendum -- will you vote to keep the law ? (y/n)
Do you think that Gov O'Malley promoted these two issues to further his own political career (y/n)
That's about all I can remember.

PATTERN OF RIGHTWING NEWS ACTIVISM: You may recall that last February, Maryland Juice reported that the very same FOX television station put links on their website to try and steer readers to petitions against marriage equality and a proposed gas tax. A link labeled "same-sex marriage petition" steered people directly to the petition to ban marriage equality in Maryland. Notably, both the marriage and gas tax proposals were priorities for Gov. O'Malley in this year's legislative session. After numerous complaints, FOX 45 eventually created a more "fair and balanced" landing page that had links to both a pro and con side. See the original screencap below (ie: before they fixed the problem):



QUICK NOTE OF CAUTION: Now I know some folks will say that this isn't a story because it is FOX News and we should expect bias. But let's be clear here -- the local FOX affiliates are not the same as the national FOX news (ie: the one on cable with idiots like Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, etc.). In the D.C. metro area, I would be surprised to see FOX 5 engaging in such blatant political advocacy. Notably, Baltimore's FOX 45 is owned by the rightwing Sinclair Broadcast Group - a Maryland based corporation.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Anti-Marriage Equality Lawmaker Sam Arora is Getting Married (To a Woman) // Double-Standard for Maryland Politician?

UPDATE: A number of readers are pointing out that Sam Arora's wedding would've been illegal in 1967 (especially if Maryland Senator Norm Stone would've prevailed in outlawing interracial marriage). Additionally, in the comments section below a reader points out that Sam's wedding in DC is ironically on the same day as DC's annual pride parade.

Congratulations are in order for Maryland lawmaker Sam Arora! After breaking a campaign promise to support marriage equality, Montgomery County's lone state legislator to oppose equal rights is now getting married himself. Though he won't allow others to get married, Sam Arora and his bride to be (yes, he is marrying a woman), apparently submitted their announcement to the Washington Post's Express newspaper (hat tip to an anonymous source):


Notably, Sam Arora is a member of Washington, DC's Capitol Hill Baptist Church and is therefore holding his wedding in the District of Columbia. The current state of the law in Maryland allows same-sex couples to get married in DC too, and to have those marriages recognized in Maryland. I guess Sam now has something in common with the LGBT families he has discriminated against. The main difference could be that Sam might pay his wedding license fees to Maryland (where he lives), whereas Maryland's LGBT couples will hand that revenue to DC -- unless Maryland voters approve marriage equality this November.

You can congratulate Del. Sam Arora on his forthcoming wedding at the following email addresses:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

CD6: New Transparency Law Puts John Delaney & Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in Spotlight // PLUS: Centrist Democrats Back Delaney

Last February, Maryland Juice highlighted a Washington Post report showing that 6th Congressional District Rep. Roscoe Bartlett steered $4.5 million to projects benefiting property he owns. But last April, President Barack Obama signed a bill into law that would put a spotlight on Congressional conflicts of interest. Yesterday, the Associated Press highlighted the impact this new law would have on Rep. Bartlett and his challenger, Democrat John Delaney (excerpt below):
ASSOCIATED PRESS: The battle for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District this fall will pit a millionaire corporate investor against a wealthy landowner — occupations that the new STOCK Act will allow voters to examine more deeply as they decide who will represent them.

Incumbent Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett holds more than a dozen properties, most in Maryland, while his rival, Democrat John Delaney, made his millions as owner of an investment banking company and holds his assets in an extensive stock and bond portfolio, according to their financial disclosure statements.

Under the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, Delaney, should he win the election, would be required to disclose any investment transactions within 45 days, with all information put into a searchable online database. Bartlett would be required to list the holder of any mortgages on his properties and any sales or purchases within 45 days.

The STOCK Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama April 4, was designed to stop insider trading by members of Congress and their staff who have access to non-public information they could use to trade stock or buy property for their personal financial benefit....

Bartlett said in a statement, “the STOCK Act will have very little effect upon me....”

While the 85-year-old Bartlett invests his money in property and precious metals, his challenger has built a large portfolio in stocks and bonds.

Delaney made his money as founder and chairman of CapitalSource, an investment company that also operates banks in California. He is also on the board of directors of Congressional Bank and founded other investment companies in Maryland, including Alliance Partners....

He has several trusts with money invested in companies like Bank of America and Microsoft as well as somewhere between $1 million and $5 million, according to the ranges listed on disclosure forms, in Wells Fargo....

“He’s going to sit down with the experts who do this for a living and he’s going to do what needs to be done,” said Delaney’s campaign manger Justin Schall. “He takes this reform stuff very seriously.”


MUSHY CENTRIST "NEW DEMOCRAT" COALITION BACKS JOHN DELANEY: In other CD6 news, Maryland Juice notes that the centrist "New Democrat Coalition" has endorsed John Delaney for Congress. Their website states:
NEW DEMOCRAT COALITION: The New Democrat Coalition has chosen to endorse a number of diverse individuals – each of whom shares our commitment to advancing policies that will harness the power of American ingenuity to create jobs, maintain our ability to compete and succeed in the global economy, and ensure we leave our children and grandchildren with a safer and more secure nation.

I find this a bit irritating, given that the group is basically a repackaged/rebooted centrist DLC group (ie: think Bill Clinton triangulation). Wikipedia notes:
WIKIPEDIA: New Democrats, in the politics of the United States, are an ideologically centrist faction within the Democratic Party that emerged after the victory of Republican George H. W. Bush in the 1988 presidential election. They are identified with centrist social/cultural/pluralist positions and neoliberal fiscal values. They are represented by organizations such as the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the New Democrat Network, and the Senate and House New Democrat Coalitions.
After the landslide electoral losses to Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, a group of prominent Democrats began to believe their party was out of touch and in need of a radical shift in economic policy and ideas of governance. The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) was founded in 1985 by Al From and a group of like-minded politicians and strategists. They advocated a political "Third Way" as an antidote to the electoral successes of Reaganism.
Although the label "New Democrat" was briefly used by a progressive reformist group including Gary Hart and Eugene McCarthy in 1989,[6] the term became more widely associated with the policies of the Democratic Leadership Council, who in 1990 renamed their bi-monthly magazine from The Mainstream Democrat to The New Democrat. When then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton stepped down as DLC chairman to run for president in the 1992 presidential election, he presented himself as a "New Democrat"....
In 2003 Barack Obama (at the time serving in the Illinois State Senate), asked the Democratic Leadership Council to remove his name from its New Democrat Directory.... 

Notably, the New Democrats backed Rob Garagiola in the CD6 primary. But Maryland Juice would argue that Mr. Garagiola's unwillingness to speak to the party base was one of the underlying problems plaguing his campaign. Hopefully Mr. Delaney will not get too far in with this group. We already have plenty of problems getting Democrats to "do the right thing" in Maryland.

To be fair, a number of New Democrats take bold positions and are pretty good on a lot of issues -- but it seems unclear why we need a group pushing mushy issues in the Democratic caucus. It seems like the pro-corporate Democrats have already thoroughly infected the whole of the U.S. House & Senate caucuses, along with every state Democratic organization.

Keep it real, John Delaney. Please, keep it real.

Rep. Steny Hoyer May Face Leadership Challenge from Jim Clyburn // PLUS: MD Dems Divide on Ending Afghanistan War

PLUS: THE RETURN OF THE MOCO ANTI-WAR RESOLUTION & ROLL CALL VOTES ON ENDING THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN & INDEFINITE DETENTION (SEE BELOW)

POTENTIAL PELOSI RETIREMENT BREEDS ACTION FROM AMBITIOUS DEMS: Last February, Maryland Juice was very disappointed to see that Rep. Steny Hoyer (a Marylander and the #2 Democrat in the U.S. House) was endorsing centrist/corporate Democrats over progressives in out-of-state Congressional primaries. We speculated that he was trying to build a coalition of centrist Democrats to vie for a leadership post in the U.S. House.

The evidence of leadership jockeying among ambitious Democrats grows every day. Below, we print news that Rep. Jim Clyburn, a long-serving African American Congressman from South Carolina is publicly talking about challenging Mr. Hoyer for a leadership post. Mr. Clyburn is the #3 Democrat in the U.S. House and previously tried to challenge Mr. Hoyer for the #2 spot.

The trigger for the leadership shuffle is growing speculation that U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will retire from her post after this legislative session. Additionally, observant politicos will note the issue divisions that are beginning to underlie many of these leadership dynamics.

Maryland Juice is warning folks today, that the outcome of the Democratic leadership fight may have huge ramifications on policy going forward. Speak now or forever hold your peace. See a few items below:


JUICE #1: REP. STENY HOYER TO FACE LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE? - Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina is publicly discussing challenging Maryland's Rep. Steny Hoyer in a future leadership battle. The Hill recently reported on the story (excerpt below):
THE HILL: Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.) is considering a bid to be Speaker of the House or majority leader if the Democrats win the November election.

He would almost certainly not run against Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) if she decided to stay, but he hints strongly that he is ready for a showdown with Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.).

Asked whether he will seek a higher leadership post following the 2012 election, Clyburn told The Hill, “I might — sure. I’m not closing the door on anything.”

The highest-ranking African-American in Congress then detailed what could be his argument for a promotion: He has paid his dues, both literally and figuratively....

Hoyer, for his part, is not ceding any ground.

“Mr. Hoyer is focused on taking back the House and being the majority leader,” spokeswoman Katie Grant said Wednesday in an email.

Clyburn is not expected to challenge Pelosi, who has a firm grip on her caucus.

Yet there is widespread speculation that this Congress will be Pelosi’s last....

JUICE #2: CONGRESSMAN CLYBURN & HOYER SUDDENLY EVOLVE ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY - In the lead-up to the House Democratic leadership contest, Clyburn, Hoyer and several other Democrats are beginning to re-calibrate their positions on issues of importance to the Democratic base. Last Thursday, President Barack Obama endorsed marriage equality. The next day, Maryland Juice reported that Rep. Steny Hoyer's position changed to match President Obama's support for LGBT civil rights. The following Monday, Rep. Clyburn's position "evolved" to also support marriage equality. That leaves Maryland Senate President Mike Miller as one of the only Democratic leaders in Maryland (and now nationally) who are still opposed to marriage equality. In any case, see The Washington Post's coverage of the Democratic leadership "evolution" on marriage (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: House Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Monday that he believes same-sex marriage should be legal — and the No. 3 House Democrat appeared to go further than President Obama in suggesting that a national policy, rather than a state-by-state one, is needed on the issue.

“I, like the president, have evolved to a point of marriage equality,” Clyburn said in an interview on MSNBC. “I have not always been there. I grew up in a parsonage, a fundamentalist Christian parsonage, and I grew up with that indoctrination. And I have grown to the point that I believe that we have evolved to marriage equality....”

The move makes Clyburn the latest member of Democratic leadership to come out in support of same-sex marriage in the wake of Obama’s announcement last week. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been a longtime backer of gay marriage, and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) last week announced for the first time that he, too, supports allowing same-sex couples to wed....

JUICE #3: DEMOCRATIC LEADERS DIVIDE OVER WAR IN AFGHANISTAN - Even though Democrats are now moving in lock-step to endorse marriage equality, many officials remain shockingly corrupt or naive about defense spending, foreign adventures and saber-rattling. The progressive bloggers at Down With Tyranny often highlight funky votes from Democrats, and today they too are noticing the new leadership dynamics emerging in the Party:
DOWN WITH TYRANNY: For those who keep track of this sort of detail, Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced an amendment yesterday to end the occupation of Afghanistan.... 
It failed 113-303. Most Democrats-- 101 of them-- voted YES, to end the pointless occupation. They were joined by 12 Republicans. But 79 Democrats crossed the aisle to voted with Boehner and Cantor. Any interest in knowing which side your congresscritter was on? All the names are listed on the link above. A few highlights though: generally speaking Blue Dogs were pro-war and members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus were anti-war. And the Democratic House leaders... mostly pro-war. Let's look at some names worth remembering-- first candidates for higher office:

Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) are running for Senate and they voted to end the occupation. New Dems Shelley Berkley (NV) and Martin Heinrich (NM) and Blue Dog Joe Donnelly (IN) voted for more war.

Karen Bass (D-CA), Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Bruce Braley (D-IA), Donna Edwards (D-MD), John Larson (D-CT) and Jared Polis (D-CO) are either being groomed for Democratic leadership or are already junior leaders and they all voted to end the occupation. The top House leaders though, Clyburn, Hoyer, Israel, and even Pelosi, all voted for more war, as did wannabes Ron Kind (WI), Allyson Schwartz (PA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL) "wisely" avoided voting at all.

JUICE #4: ROLL CALL // MD U.S. HOUSE MEMBERS VOTE ON WAR IN AFGHANISTAN - Below Maryland Juice lists the votes of Maryland's U.S. House members on whether or not to end the War in Afghanistan. The vote took place last Thursday, and notably, only two of Maryland's Democrats voted to end the war. What's up with that?
YES TO ENDING WAR
  1. Elijah Cummings (Democrat)
  2. Donna Edwards (Democrat)
NO TO ENDING WAR
  1. Roscoe Bartlett (Republican)
  2. Andy Harris (Republican)
  3. Steny Hoyer (Democrat)
  4. Dutch Ruppersberger (Democrat)
  5. John Sarbanes (Democrat)
  6. Chris Van Hollen (Democrat)
ANALYSIS: Maryland Juice has to imagine that these types of votes and issues may re-emerge in Maryland's future Democratic Primaries (ie: for U.S. Senate). The Free State has one of the most liberal electorates in the nation, and not a single Democratic House incumbent from Maryland is in danger of losing their primary or general election. So why the war-mongering? It is electorally unnecessary, and a potential liability in the future. The Internet (and oppo researchers) have a long memory. You've been warned!


JUICE #5: REP. DUTCH RUPPERSBERGER & ANDY HARRIS VOTE FOR INDEFINITE DETENTION WITHOUT TRIAL (IE: NDAA) - Maryland Juice has been persistently dismayed that Democrats around the nation who claimed to believe in civil liberties during the Bush-era have continued the Republican assault on civil liberties, due process and privacy. Last December, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (who voted to continue the war in Afghanistan - *cough*) explained one of the more troubling problems, involving the idea that the Government can detain people within the United States, and hold them indefinitely without trail:
CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: It is with great regret that I rise to oppose this Defense Authorization Conference Report.  This is the first Defense Authorization Conference Report I have opposed since I was first elected in 2002. 

...certain provisions leave open the possibility that innocent U.S. citizens could be wrongfully and indefinitely detained at the direction of the president without appropriate access to civilian courts....    

If Congress is going to spell out the rules of arrest and detention, it should have made clear that American citizens may not be indefinitely detained without due process of law.  

How U.S. citizens are to be treated when detained as terror suspects and the question of jurisdictional leadership during terror-related arrests are matters of such supreme national consequence that they should not have been expeditiously appended to a National Defense Authorization Conference Report.

TEA PARTY REP. ANDY HARRIS BACKSTABS VOTERS ON NDAA, DUTCH RUPPERSBERGER JOINS:  Last February, Maryland Juice applauded the return of civil liberties when Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Tea Party Rep. Andy Harris introduced legislation to eliminate the horrifying prospect of indefinite detention without due process in the United States. Last week the U.S. House voted once again to try and eliminate the power of indefinite detention in America -- but amazingly, Rep. Andy Harris voted against the amendment, and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger was one of only nineteen Democrats to join him! Not even, Roscoe Bartlett supported indefinite detention. See our summary of the fairly close Roll Call Vote (182-238):
YES TO ELIMINATING DETENTION WITHOUT TRIAL:
  1. Roscoe Bartlett (Republican)
  2. Elijah Cummings (Democrat)
  3. Donna Edwards (Democrat)
  4. Steny Hoyer (Democrat)
  5. John Sarbanes (Democrat)
  6. Chris Van Hollen (Democrat)
NO TO ELIMINATING DETENTION WITHOUT TRIAL:
  1. Andy Harris (Republican)
  2. Dutch Ruppersberger (Democrat)
The unfortunate aspect to Mr. Harris' refusal to support the elimination of the indefinite detention problem in the United States is that the effort was broadly supported by Tea Party members. In fact, this is one of the few issues where the Tea Party and Democrats could work together. The New York Times reported:
NEW YORK TIMES: The Defense Authorization Act is required each year to set Pentagon policy and spending levels, but House Republicans have turned it into a showcase for their opposition to Obama administration policies. This year, Democratic leaders had some surprise support. Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, a Tea Party-backed freshman Republican, teamed up with Representative Adam Smith, Democrat of Washington, to declare that terrorism suspects apprehended on United States soil should no longer be detained indefinitely without charge or trial.

But the left-right coalition fizzled in the face of charges that the two lawmakers were coddling terrorists. On the 238-to-182 vote against the amendment, as many Democrats — 19 — voted against it as Republicans voted for it.

“We’ve got a ways to go still, but there are a lot of Republicans who are listening now,” Mr. Amash said. “I’m confident that most of them are going to go back to their districts, and they are going to get hammered on this issue.”

JUICE #6: THE RETURN OF THE MOCO ANTI-WAR RESOLUTION - With the ridiculous voting behavior coming from Maryland's members of Congress, including those representing Montgomery County, it is no wonder that the anti-war group Montgomery County Peace Action continues to ramp up its activities. Maryland Juice attended their annual luncheon this weekend, and noted that Peace Action appears ready to make another push to persuade the MoCo County Council to pass a resolution asking our Congressional delegation to steer dollars toward services instead of military spending. The effort previously stalled after lobbying from MoCo-based Lockheed Martin. See some documents I picked up at the Peace Action event below:

MONTGOMERY COUNTY PEACE ACTION LUNCHEON - SAT 5/19/2012



Montgomery County Council Map (Peace Action Montgomery)

Friday, May 18, 2012

GOP Lawmaker Pat McDonough Warns About "Black Youth Mobs" in Baltimore // The Same Guy Made "Speak English" Signs

UPDATE: Yesterday a former Press Secretary for former GOP Congressman (and Maryland Governor) Bob Ehrlich published a blog post scorching Pat McDonough for his comments (see excerpt below):
Why Republicans Should Be Angry at Pat McDonough

There’s one thing, and not much else, you have to know to understand Delegate Pat McDonough: He craves attention.

I realized this in 1995, when he called me – then the newly-minted Press Secretary to Congressman Bob Ehrlich – and gently scolded me for not including him on my press list for his impending “newspaper,” Maryland Citizen....

McDonough has no substance as a policymaker, legislator, or opinion-leader, but like many low grade talk radio hosts, he has a need and a knack for self-promotion. He serves this need by locating the sweet spot on issues sure to appeal to the political fringe.

Among the go-nowhere causes which he has championed: support for so-called “English First” legislation, opposition to a resolution calling upon Maryland to apologize for slavery, and a bill to keep an alleged exodus of Washington, D. C. rats from entering Maryland.

While none of his efforts achieved any real results, he usually wound up with his name in the paper – his real objective all along....

Now, the supporters of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants have, in Pat McDonough, a powerful asset: A right wing, race-baiting, demagogic delegate with a vocal hatred of all people of color, including immigrants. 

MD High Court Upholds Out-Of-State Same-Sex Marriages // Sen. Mike Miller Questions Obama LGBT Marriage Endorsement

UPDATE: The Washington Post reports that the NAACP has endorsed marriage equality:
WASHINGTON POST: The NAACP’s board of directors voted Saturday to endorse same-sex marriage rights – adding the influential voice of the country’s leading black civil rights organization to a debate that has divided the African-American community....

The NAACP now presents itself as a counterbalance to the influence of the traditionally socially conservative black church. It can also help establish closer ties between blacks and gays, two of Obama’s most loyal constituencies....

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rep. Andy Harris Strips Funding From MoCo-Based NOAA // Rep. Roscoe Bartlett Voted to Cut Enviromental Agency Budget

 ANDY HARRIS & ROSCOE BARTLETT GET A PRESS RELEASE // MD LOSES $542,000

Maryland Juice was trolling through Rep. Andy Harris' website recently, and I noticed an alarming press release. It appears that the 1st Congressional District's Tea Party member is bragging that last week he succeeded in cutting over half a million dollars from the budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). There's just one problem with that: NOAA is headquartered in Montgomery County, Maryland. In fact, just last December, the Montgomery County Council spent $12 million to keep NOAA in Silver Spring.

Mr. Harris was so keen to show his contempt for federal employees and the environment that he slashed money from our local economy. The computer programmers and government contractors that would've seen an additional $542,000 in economic activity will now likely see that money go elsewhere. Strangely, embattled Rep. Roscoe Bartlett voted for his Maryland GOP colleague's bill, at the same time that he is struggling to appeal to Montgomery County voters. Andy Harris' press release even brags that this was one of the few budget cuts to actually pass this month (ie: he singled out Montgomery County!):
REP. ANDY HARRIS: This was one of only three successful amendments to the appropriations bill now before the House that reduces spending.

ROLL CALL: Maryland Senators & Delegates Vote on Income Tax Hike & More // Increase on Top 16% To Avoid Doomsday Budget

UPDATE: We added some House roll call information below.


BACKGROUND: On Monday, Maryland Juice appeared on News Channel 8 with former Sen. David Harrington to discuss this week's special legislative session in Annapolis. We noted that House and Senate leaders had secured the votes to pass a budget and revenue package, and that they had done so prior to Monday's start of the session. As a result, we expected to see legislators avoid the "Doomsday Budget" and approve a 0.25% income tax increase on the top 16% of earners (ie: individuals making over $100,000 and couples making over $150,000).

Yesterday, a majority of Maryland lawmakers made this prediction a reality. Below we print information on how legislators voted on the three pieces of legislation discussed in the special session: 1. budget (SB 1301/HB 1801), 2. tax & revenue (SB 1302/HB 1802), 3. school bonds (SB 1303/HB 1803). We start with a quick video message from Governor Martin O'Malley regarding the income tax hike. The video below is from WBAL:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

MoCo JuiceBlender: Council Passes Ambulance Fee (Again), Lockheed Welfare Rejected, Wheaton COSTCO Update & More

Below Maryland Juice provides a mish-mosh of recent policy decisions from Montgomery County elected officials. Indeed, the political scene has been feisty in MoCo lately, as a number of proposed laws have generated controversy. The County's cable news show produced a segment outlining some of the changes. Watch the news segment and see our news round-up below:





Monday, May 14, 2012

VIDEO: Maryland Juice & Sen. David Harrington Explain Budget Battle on News Channel 8 // P.G. Casinos, Pension Shift & More

BACKGROUND: This morning, Maryland Juice had the opportunity to appear on News Channel 8's News Talk show. I appeared alongside former State Senator David Harrington (Prince George's Democrat) to talk about what outcomes to expect from Maryland's special legislative session.

As you may have heard, Maryland lawmakers failed to pass a complete budget package when they adjourned last April. The Maryland House and Senate returned to work today to try and pass a plan that would reduce the State's structural deficit, preserve education funding, and impact only the top 16% of earners with a modest 0.25% tax hike. Under the new plan, a family making $170,000 a year would see their tax bill rise a little over $20/month. We posted leaked copies of the budget plan on Friday night. Most observers expect these bills to pass without significant change, and for the legislature to be done with its business by Wednesday.

Watch my News Channel 8 conversation with former Sen. David Harrington below:




The Associated Press today had a quick summary of Maryland's budget debate (excerpt below):
AP: Lawmakers headed back to Annapolis for a three-day special session to approve a budget deal hashed out by Gov. Martin O'Malley and House and Senate leaders....

The Democratic governor says the tax hikes are necessary to avoid cuts to education and other critical services.

O'Malley met with Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch to craft the tax plan and other measures after the Democratic-controlled legislature failed to approve a budget plan on the final day of the session.

Outside the special session, Americans for Prosperity, a Tea Party group, carried signs for hours, angry over the likelihood of major tax hikes.

However, the governor, House and Senate reached a deal to raise $250 million in taxes on the 17 percent of Maryland residents who make at least $100,000 a year alone or $150,000 jointly with a spouse.

They will also shift more of the burden for teacher pensions from the state and onto counties.

MORE ON MARYLAND'S SPECIAL SESSION SOON!

TONIGHT: MoCo Democratic Rally w/ O'Malley, Cardin, Hoyer, Edwards, Van Hollen, Delaney, Brown, Gansler & Franchot

PLUS: MoCo African American Dem Club with Rep. John Sarbanes this WED

Below Maryland Juice provides two announcements for worthwhile Democratic Party events in Montgomery County. Tonight, many of the State's leading Democrats are rallying in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Then on Wednesday, the MoCo African American Democratic Club is gearing up for the November Elections. They invite you to their general membership meeting, which features Congressman John Sarbanes and Maryland Dems Executive Director David Sloan. See both announcements below.

EVENT #1:  DEMOCRATIC UNITY RALLY - MON 5/14 AT 6 PM - GAITHERSBURG, MD
What:             Montgomery County Democratic Unity Rally. Open to public and press.

Who:               Governor Martin O’Malley, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Congressman John Sarbanes, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Democratic Nominee John Delaney, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Attorney General Doug Gansler, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Maryland Elected Officials

Where:           Casey Community Center, 810 S. Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg 
When:             Monday, May 14 6:00 PM 
RVSP:             https://my.barackobama.com/page/event/detail/gpb33l


EVENT #2:  MOCO AFR. AMER. DEM CLUB - WED 5/16 AT 6:30 PM - WHEATON, MD
See You at the May 16th AADCMC Membership Meeting!

Our meeting will begin at 6:30p.m. at the Wheaton Library, lower meeting room, 11701 Georgia Ave., Wheaton, MD.

Members are in for a treat as we kick off the countdown to the elections with guests David Sloan, Executive Director of the Maryland Democratic Party; John Randall, Montgomery County Director for the Obama national mobilization unit Organizing For America (OFA); Karla Walker, Voter Protection Chair, MC Democratic Central Committee; and Congressman John Sarbanes.* Come on out, bring a friend, and let's get going!

Bring your membership application or renewal form with you.  To become a member of the AADCMC, click here.
NOTE: Anyone can become a member of the AADCMC.