Friday, February 21, 2014

JUICE: Delaney Out for Governor, House of Cards Extortion, MoCo School Board Races, D4, D16, D45 & D46 & Much More

Below Maryland Juice provides a round of updates to news of interest to politicos:

JUICE #1: REP. JOHN DELANEY NOT RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR // PLUS: A DEEPER DIVE INTO RECENT GUBERNATORIAL POLLS - The race for Maryland Governor is finally settling in with a pair of developments in the last week. First, Congressman John Delaney, who had been rumored to be weighing a run for the office has instead filed for re-election to Congress. The Washington Post's John Wagner reported on the development this week (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) filed for reelection Tuesday, a move likely to end speculation that he could run for governor. There had been chatter for more than a month about the first-term congressman from Montgomery County making a late entry into the Democratic field, fueled in part by a telephone poll that included Delaney’s name as an option for governor.... Delaney was spotted at the State Board of Elections office in Annapolis filing to run again for his 6th District seat. He did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment about the decision.
Meanwhile, a pair of fresh polls seems to confirm the current status of the Governor's race. We previously reported on a Baltimore Sun poll claiming the following results:
  • Undecided - 40%
  • Anthony Brown & Ken Ulman - 35%
  • Doug Gansler & Jolene Ivey - 14%
  • Heather Mizeur & Delman Coates - 10%
But now The Washington Post has released results of a gubernatorial poll showing very similar findings:
  • Undecided 43%
  • Anthony Brown & Ken Ulman 34%
  • Doug Gansler & Jolene Ivey 15%
  • Heather Mizeur & Delman Coates 8%
There are a few things to note here: 1) Brown has a sizeable lead right now (not surprising), 2) Mizeur is coming dangerously close to Gansler in both polls, and 3) there are a large number of undecided voters. All that being said, it is worth taking a closer look at one aspect of the polls. In The Washington Post survey results, if you strip the poll down to voters who lean Democratic and consider themselves likely voters, Brown's lead increases a bit (see question 4 in The Washington Post crosstabs):
  • Anthony Brown & Ken Ulman 41%
  • Doug Gansler & Jolene Ivey 19%
  • Heather Mizeur & Delman Coates 10%

JUICE #2: KEVIN SPACEY WANTS $15 MILLION FROM MARYLAND TAXPAYERS // "HOUSE OF CARDS" THREATENING TO LEAVE MD WITHOUT A HANDOUT - Maryland Juice just started watching the second season of the popular Netflix series "House of Cards" last night. But this morning, I woke up to some irritating and ironic news about the Kevin Spacey series about political corruption. The Washington Post has reported that Maryland taxpayers have been subsidizing "House of Cards" to the tune of millions of dollars, and now the producers are demanding even more money or else they'll shoot in another state (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: A few weeks before Season 2 of “House of Cards” debuted online, the show’s production company sent Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley a letter with this warning: Give us millions more dollars in tax credits, or we will “break down our stage, sets and offices and set up in another state.”

A similar letter went to the speaker of the House of Delegates, Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel), whose wife, Cynthia, briefly appeared in an episode of the Netflix series about an unscrupulous politician — played by Kevin Spacey — who manipulates, threatens and kills to achieve revenge and power.

In recent years, Maryland has spent more than $40 million to reward movie and television production companies that choose to film in the state, and most of that largesse has gone to “House of Cards.”

“This just keeps getting bigger and bigger” Del. Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery), who until now has supported film tax credits, said at a hearing on the issue last Friday. “And my question is: When does it stop?...”

In his letter to O’Malley, Charlie Goldstein, a Media Rights Capital senior vice president, wrote that the filming schedule for Season 3 has been pushed back to June to ensure that a big enough increase has been approved....

JUICE #3: MULTIPLE CANDIDATES FILING TO CHALLENGE MOCO SCHOOL BOARD INCUMBENTS // PLUS: ALAN BOWSER FILES FOR MOCO CLERK OF COURT - The candidate filing deadline in Maryland is next Tuesday, but already some interesting things are happening in Montgomery County's local races. First, numerous candidates are filing to challenge incumbent Board of Education members. The school board races are non-partisan, so in the primaries, the top two vote-getters will advance to the General Election ballot. Here is the current list of candidates:

Board of Education At Large (open seat):
  • Edward Amatetti
  • Shebra Evans
  • Merry Eisner Heidorn
  • Jill Ortman-Fouse
Board of Education District 1:
  • Judy Docca (incumbent)
  • Kristin Trible
Board of Education District 3:
  • Laurie Halverson
  • Pat O'Neill (incumbent)
Board of Education District 5:
  • Mike Durso (incumbent)

MOCO CLERK OF CIRCUIT COURT RACE: Meanwhile, another unusual local race will be contested in the upcoming elections: Clerk of the Circuit Court. The current incumbent, Loretta Knight, is retiring at the end of her term this year. Two candidates are currently filed for her position in the Democratic Primary:

Clerk of the Circuit Court (open seat):
  • Alan Bowser
  • Barbara Meiklejohn

JUICE #4: TRANSGENDER NONDISCRIMINATION BILL PASSES OUT OF SENATE JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS COMMITTEE - The Maryland Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee has finally passed a transgender nondiscrimination bill, after years of failed efforts. The shift toward civil rights puts the effort on track to finally pass this year. According to Equality Maryland, eight State Senators on the committee voted for the nondiscrimination effort:
  1. Brian Frosh
  2. Lisa Gladden
  3. Jim Brochin
  4. Jennie Forehand
  5. Anthony Muse
  6. Jamie Raskin
  7. Norm Stone
  8. Bobby Zirkin

JUICE #5: ISRAEL-PALESTINE POLITICS CLASH WITH ACADEMIC FREEDOM IN ANNAPOLIS // DEL. BEN KRAMER BILL BANS ACADEMICS FROM BOYCOTTS  - The Gazette's Kate Alexander reported last week that the politics of the Middle East and academic freedom are emerging as issues in Annapolis this session (excerpt below):
GAZETTE: An academic boycott of Israel by a U.S. academic association has Maryland lawmakers questioning how the state’s colleges and universities spend public funds. The American Studies Association — a national organization devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history — voted in December to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County remained a dues-paying member of the association even after the vote to boycott, so Del. Benjamin F. Kramer has introduced a bill that would restrict the ability of universities and its faculty to spend public money on participation in organizations that engage in such boycotts....

University President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous have openly opposed the academic boycott.... Just as UMBC opposed the boycott, it vigorously opposes Kramer’s bill....

This is not the first time the legislature has questioned how Maryland universities spend public funds. In 2010, Perdue chicken farmers Alan and Kristen Hudson of Worcester County were sued by the Waterkeeper Alliance of New York over Chesapeake Bay pollution. The University of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic represented the plaintiffs....

“…[W]e believe that it constitutes a very serious threat to academic freedom and to the autonomy and integrity of the state’s publicly-supported colleges and universities,” Nathan Brown, president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America, said in a letter.... “Faculty in Maryland should not be subjected to a political litmus test concerning their involvement in academic organizations....”
Peace Action Montgomery issued the following email alert on this issue:
PEACE ACTION MONTGOMERY: ... Senate bill 647 and House bill 0998 would prohibit state financial aid for public colleges and universities that fund teachers' membership or participation in academic organizations that support boycotts against higher-eduction institutions in other countries....

Along with the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild, the ACLU, and the New York Times editorial board, we believe that this bill is an unconstitutional infringement of free speech and that it is very dangerous....

In coalition with many other groups in MD, we have joined an ad hoc coalition to oppose SB 647 and HB 0998. You can read more details about this bill, its background, and the broad-based opposition to it on the ad hoc coalition's Web site.... 

JUICE #6: IKE LEGGETT & DOUG DUNCAN CLASH OVER BIOTECH INCUBATOR IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY - As Montgomery County's race for Executive heats up, incumbent Ike Leggett and former Exec Doug Duncan are increasingly clashing over policy matters. The latest skirmish resolves around a Montgomery County biotech business incubator. The Washington Business Journal reported that Duncan threw the first punch on the issue (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL: Doug Duncan, the former Montgomery County executive who is running this year for his old job, issued a broadside Friday against the county's decision to close its largest biotech incubator.
In a guest commentary in this week's Business Journal, Duncan attacks what he refers to as a "questionable county action" to evict more than three dozen startups from the William Hanna Center for Innovation at Shady Grove to make way for a cybersecurity center.

The 60,000 square foot facility — also referred to as the Shady Grove Innovation Center — has been in operation for about 15 years. The vast majority of its occupants are biotechs, which make use of the lab space provided by the incubator. In its place will be a federally-funded "center of excellence" for non-defense cyber run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)....

Duncan's letter signals that the incubator's closure has spilled into the county executive race, where he is seeking to unseat two-term executive Isiah "Ike" Leggett. "In 2013, his seventh year in office, Leggett announced a new 'open for business' initiative. That’s certainly not the impression given to the companies that will be displaced," Duncan wrote. "Nor was it the message perceived by the biotech world, both in and beyond the county, which sees Montgomery County as a haven for fostering biotechnology and life science innovation...."
GAZETTE: In Doug Duncan’s quest to reclaim the reins of Montgomery County political power, he has attacked Isiah Leggett’s decision to relocate some biotech businesses out of a Gaithersburg incubator. The move is to make room for the county’s effort to become a cybersecurity center for Maryland.

On this, Duncan is wrong and Leggett is right.

Duncan, who will face Leggett in the Democratic primary in June, believes the county should find a way to keep the biotech companies in place and find somewhere else for the cybersecurity businesses.... A new location to house cybersecurity start-ups would cost $3 million, the county says. The cost inside the William Hanna Center for Innovation: $750,000. Where would Duncan find the difference? He doesn’t say....

We appreciate Duncan’s desire to assist growing biotechs.... However, his recent actions cast him as a politician who has forgotten the financial difficulties of the last six years. Adding millions to the county’s bottom line looks like a 20th-century thing to do.

JUICE #7: GOP DEL. MICHAEL HOUGH CHALLENGING GOP SEN. DAVID BRINKLEY, CALLING HIM O'MALLEY'S "RUBBER STAMP" - Maryland Juice reader Howard Gorrell forwarded us news of intra-party battle between GOP lawmakers Del. Michael Hough and Sen. David Brinkley. Hough announced the Republican Primary challenge on a press release on his website (excerpt below):
MICHAEL HOUGH: ... Today Maryland State Delegate Michael Hough (Frederick & Washington Counties), announced he is running for state senate in district 4 (Frederick & Carroll Counties). Hough said, “Frederick and Carroll Counties deserve a true conservative Republican, not ‘O’Malley-lite.’ To quote one of my heroes President Ronald Reagan, we need to be a party of bold colors, not pale pastels....”

Hough concluded, “Senator David Brinkley’s record shows that he is nothing more than a rubber stamp for O’Malley’s and the Democrats’ liberal agenda. Frederick & Carroll counties deserve a state senator who will fight out-of-control taxes and stand firm for our conservative values.

JUICE #8: ROCKVILLE COUNCILMEMBER TOM MOORE LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN FOR MOCO COUNCIL DISTRICT 3 - Rockville City Councilmember Tom Moore hosted a kickoff event for his campaign for the MoCo Council District 3 this week. Incumbent Phil Andrews is vacating the seat to run for County Executive, and so far Gaithersburg Mayor Sid Katz, Gaithersburg Councilmember Ryan Spiegel, and activist Guled Kassim have announced plans to run for the seat. Below you can see a photo from Tom Moore's kickoff:

JUICE #9: JULIUS HENSON VIOLATING PROBATION TERMS BY RUNNING AGAINST D45 STATE SENATOR NATE MCFADDEN - Julius Henson, who was convicted of election fraud in a case involving robocalls he created on behalf of GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Ehrlich, had previously announced a Democratic Primary challenge to D45 State Senator Nate McFadden. But The Baltimore Sun's Luke Broadwater reports that Henson may be violating the terms of his probation by running for office (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Veteran political consultant Julius Henson pledged Wednesday to continue running for a Maryland Senate seat even though the state says that may violate the terms of his probation.

“Whether I’m free or in prison, the contest will go on and I plan to win this race,” Henson, 64, said during an afternoon news conference in the living room of his East Baltimore home. He vowed to “retire” longtime Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden, whom he plans to challenge in the June 24 Democratic primary.

Henson is serving three years probation stemming from his conviction in a high-profile election-fraud case. As part of the sentence, Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Emanuel Brown ordered that Henson “shall not work in any political campaign paid/volunteer during probation....”

At issue is whether Henson is prohibited from running for office or only from working on another candidate’s campaign. Gerard Shields, a spokesman for the state prison system, said Henson’s probation agent alerted the court of the potential violation after learning that Henson was planning to run for state Senate. A hearing before Judge Brown is scheduled for Feb. 27....

JUICE #10: KYLE LIERMAN OPTS AGAINST D16 CAMPAIGN // PLUS: SISTER BROOKE LIERMAN POISED TO WIN D46 DELEGATE SEAT - Bethesda Magazine's Lou Peck today reported that former D16 Delegate candidate Kyle Lierman has opted against a 2014 run for office (excerpt below):
BETHESDA MAGAZINE: Kyle Lierman, who had been mulling a race for an open state Senate seat, has decided to forgo a run in Bethesda/Potomac-based District 16 this year, sources said late Thursday.

His decision all but assures Delegate Susan Lee’s election this year to the seat being vacated by Sen. Brian Frosh, who is running for state attorney general. With only four days until the filing deadline for the June 24 primary, no other Democrats have filed for the slot – and no one else appears to be on the horizon in the overwhelmingly Democratic district.  

Lierman came within several hundred votes of capturing the Democratic nomination for a state delegate seat in District 16 four years ago, and also had been mulling a reprise run for delegate. His move further reinforces the status of health policy advocate Hrant Jamgochian and attorney Marc Korman as the strong favorites this year to capture two open delegate seats created by Lee’s run for Senate and Delegate Bill Frick’s candidacy for the attorney general slot also sought by Frosh....
BROOKE LIERMAN SURGING: Meanwhile, Kyle's sister Brooke Lierman is a candidate for Delegate in Baltimore-based District 46. Brooke looks well-poised to win a Delegate seat given the broad support her campaign is receiving. First, the D46 Democratic incumbents (Senator Bill Ferguson & Delegates Pete Hammen and Luke Clippinger) have formed a slate with Brooke Lierman. Additionally, Congressman Elijah Cummings, Baltimore Councilmember Edward Reisinger, the League of Conservation Voters, and others have also endorsed Brooke for D46 Delegate. Dems in other parts of the state have apparently taken notice, as we received a statement of endorsement for Brooke Lierman from MoCo Del. Jeff Waldstreicher (excerpt below):
JEFF WALDSTREICHER: We need more progressive voices in Annapolis. We need Brooke Lierman. I endorse my friend Brooke without hesitation or reservation. She is the best candidate to ensure our great state reaches its full potential--a green, safe, & prosperous Maryland....

JUICE #11: ADVOCATES SEEK TO REDUCE RECIDIVISM & MASS INCARCERATION WITH THE "MARYLAND SECOND CHANCE ACT" - Last year, Maryland Juice wrote about a worthy effort by some Maryland lawmakers to bring some sanity to our criminal "justice" system by allowing residents to shield minor crimes from public view after a few years (think minor nonviolent misdemeanor offenses and simple pot possession charges, as examples). Currently, a conviction for a minor crime can stick on one's public record for years and create unnecessary obstacles to employment. This session, advocates are making another effort to pass reform legislation.

The 2014 shielding legislation is now titled the Maryland Second Chance Act of 2014.  This year's proposed legislation would allow persons to petition the courts to shield certain nonviolent misdemeanor convictions from public view.  Law enforcement, courts and certain employer would maintain access to shielded records.

Last year, the shielding legislation came very close to passing, but fell victim to the drama of the House Judiciary and the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee over an unrelated bill.  This year, however, there is a strong chance that it could pass given current local (and national) conversations around mitigating the collateral consequences of those with a criminal record - particularly those convicted of nonviolent misdemeanor offenses and persons and color.   It won't be easy, but at least folks are interested in Annapolis.  Sponsors this year are Senators Jamie Raskin and Verna Jones-Rodwell and Delegates Curt Anderson and Jeff Waldstreicher.  The fact sheet for the bill (from the Job Opportunities Task Force) is below:

JUICE #12: MOCO COUNCIL HOLDING PUBLIC HEARINGS ON CLEAN ELECTIONS PROPOSAL - The Montgomery County Council is debating a program for public financing of local elections (aka "clean elections"), and they have scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, March 4th, at 7:30 pm.

Under a public funding program, candidates for County Council or County Executive would raise low-dollar donations from individual donors in their district to qualify for public funds, and in exchange turn down large donations from wealthy donors or corporations.
  • To testify, call 240-777-7803 and ask to be added to the witness list. Make sure you speak to a live person as leaving a message on the voicemail system will not sign you up on the list.
The bill file, including the language of the bill, is available at the County Council website. You can watch a video from the press conference launching this initiative below:

JUICE #13: STATE OF BLACK MONTGOMERY EVENT SOLD OUT FOR THIS SATURDAY - Maryland Juice received an invitation to a forum titled "The State of Black Montgomery." The event this Saturday is sold out, but there may be standing room available for late registrants. Here's the event description:
The African American Democratic Club of Montgomery County (AADCMC), the Montgomery County Young Democrats (MCYD), and other organizations throughout the metropolitan area are joining forces to convene a call to action forum that will explore and address topics pertinent to the black community. The State of Black Montgomery will bring together Montgomery County’s elected officials, business leaders, community activists and the community at large to advance the successes of the black community in Montgomery County.

Panel Topics Include:
  • Empowering and Engaging Our Youth
  • Increasing Our Political Participation 
  • Addressing Our Social Justice Issues 
  • Advancing Our Economic Power

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