Tuesday, September 17, 2013

JUICE: Doug Gansler's Shortlist of Running Mates, Garagiola = Lobbyist, Mizeur Pushes Crim Justice, St. Mary's Living Wage

Below Maryland Juice provides a quick round-up of recent news regarding politics in the Free State:

JUICE #1: DOUG GANSLER'S SHORT LIST OF POSSIBLE LT. GOVERNOR CANDIDATES - The Washington Post today published a short list of potential running mates for Attorney General Doug Gansler's gubernatorial campaign. Their write up mentions not only candidates who may be under consideration, but also a few who are indicating they are not interested in the #2 spot. Below you can see a few names under consideration, but the list of folks not seeking the LG slot includes Sen. Catherine Pugh, Del. Adrienne Jones, and author Wes Moore (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Maryland Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Douglas F. Gansler has narrowed his search for a running mate to a handful of names and is likely to announce his pick next month, his advisers said Monday.

Several African American officials from Baltimore and Prince George’s County are apparently in the mix. Baltimore Comptroller Joan M. Pratt (D) confirmed in an interview that she recently talked to Gansler about the lieutenant governor position....

Several state legislators, including Del. Jolene Ivey (D-Prince George’s) and Del. Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. (D-Baltimore), have also had conversations with Gansler about the No. 2 slot, according to people with knowledge of the conversations but who were not authorized to speak on behalf of Gansler’s campaign....

Del. Melony G. Griffith (D-Prince George’s), who previously led her county House delegation, has also had discussions with Gansler about his ticket, according to several of Griffith’s colleagues. Griffith declined to comment on her future political plans in a brief interview Monday....

JUICE #2: SEN. ROB GARAGIOLA LEAVES ANNAPOLIS TO BECOME LOBBYIST - This isn't a huge surprise, but outgoing District 15 State Senator Rob Garagiola is revolving into a new role as a lobbyist for one of Maryland's top lobbying firms, Alexander & Cleaver. The Washington Post yesterday reported on Garagiola's new role, which will include lobbying Montgomery County officials until the 90-day ban on lobbying his former colleagues expires (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Robert J. Garagiola, who stepped down this month as majority leader of the Maryland Senate, has joined Alexander & Cleaver, a law firm with a major lobbying presence in Annapolis. Garagiola, a Montgomery County Democrat, will manage the firm’s new Montgomery County office, Alexander & Cleaver said in a news release Monday morning.

Garagiola said in an interview that he plans initially to focus on practicing law and might do some local government relations work, but hopes to focus on Montgomery County rather than Annapolis. “There is a lot to be done in Rockville,” he said. “I’ll re-evaluate state-level lobbying in the future.” Under Maryland law, former legislators are barred from assisting clients in Annapolis during the first 90-day legislative session after their departure....

JUICE #3: "WIRE" ACTOR SONJA SOHN HIGHLIGHT'S HEATHER MIZEUR'S COMMITMENT TO MEANINGFUL CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS - Delegate Heather Mizeur has been running an issue-centric campaign in her quest for the office of Maryland Governor. She's previously come out aggressively as an opponent of fracking and helped re-spark interest in justice for Ethan Saylor, a Frederick man with Downs Syndrome, who was killed by off-duty police while trying to stay for a second showing of a movie. But with the recent pushback on the War on Drugs and mass incarceration issues by the Obama administration, it appears Mizeur is staking out space in this increasingly hot issue area. Last week, The Baltimore Sun published an op-ed by Sonja Sohn, an actor who played Detective Kima Greggs on the popular TV series "The Wire," highlighting Mizeur's commitment to criminal justice reform (excerpt below):
SONJA SOHN VIA BALTIMORE SUN: It was encouraging for the Obama administration to recently propose finally ending federal mandatory minimum sentencing for non-violent drug offenses.... I applaud Attorney General Doug Gansler, who plans to run for governor, for addressing our alarming recidivism rates.

But we need lawmakers and leaders with a larger vision. We will only achieve meaningful reform by addressing systemic, generational problems.... Proposals like giving wireless tablets to inmates miss the larger point about where the problems begin in the first place....
[Heather Mizeur] talks about shifting millions in state resources away from more walls and bars and instead investing in affirmative opportunities for youth. She proposes reducing penalties for low-level drug offenses that incarcerate far too many non-violent offenders.... She envisions a system that no longer stacks the deck by making it impossible to find a good job or decent housing and by restricting voting rights and the ability to serve on juries. We still make it nearly impossible for former inmates to ever become full members of society again....

JUICE #4: FACULTY & STUDENTS AT ST. MARY'S COLLEGE PROPOSE LIVING WAGE FOR SCHOOL EMPLOYEES TO COMBAT TUITION SPIKES  - In the midst of a growing regional and national debate on the record high wealth gap and wage standards in America, advocates at Maryland's St. Mary's College are proposing a living wage for school employees and salary caps to help rein in rapidly escalating tuition costs. Check out the press release below:

St. Mary’s College Wage Plan First of its Kind in Nation

St. Mary’s City, Maryland, Sept. 2013: Faculty, staff and students at St. Mary’s College of Maryland are proposing a new salary structure they say will increase wages for the lowest paid while reining in college costs. The innovative plan is the first of its kind in the nation.

Titled “St. Mary’s Wages, the St. Mary’s Way,” the proposal would guarantee a living wage to all full time employees of the College and place a cap on faculty, administrative, and presidential salaries. The proposal’s authors say it reflects the mission of the State’s only public honors college.

“We are a public college that values ‘social responsibility and civic-mindedness’ along with the goal of ‘promoting and maintaining a community built on respect,’” said Dr. Laraine Glidden, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Emerita. “I can think of no better way to demonstrate that we live what is in our catalog than by advocating for a living wage for all, paid for by limits on the highest earnings.”

The proposal’s supporters argue the caps on higher salaries and initiatives to stem the growth of non-faculty administrative positions would eliminate one of the drivers of the cost of college education. They hope to limit future tuition increases and improve the College’s ability to implement its mission of inclusiveness and affordability.

“Affordability is important when it comes to maintaining the diversity of the student body, which matters to me and my classmates,” said senior computer science major Ashok Chandwaney. “This proposal can help keep St. Mary’s affordable by ending the insane and interlocked upward spiral of tuition and executive salaries that’s happening everywhere.”

The subject of wages has long been a point of interest at St. Mary’s College. In 2006, a student campaign ended with students staging a Living Wage Sit-In in the President’s office. In 2012, students launched the “Living Wage Campaign” culminating in a hundred-strong march of students, faculty and staff across campus.

“St. Mary’s Wages, the St. Mary’s Way,” is available online at www.stmaryswages.org.

Images of past events are available upon request.


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