Tuesday, February 11, 2014

JUICE: Sparks in Governor's Race, Candidate Updates in D15, D16, D19, D23B & MoCo 3, MoCo Exec Debate WED & More!

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

JUICE #1: PRINCE GEORGE'S LAWMAKERS ISSUE LETTER CONDEMNING DOUG GANSLER'S REMARKS ABOUT THEIR COUNTY - Yesterday a wide range of Prince George's County elected officials signed onto a letter condemning remarks from Attorney General Doug Gansler about their county. Gansler's remarks were covered in a Washington Post article about his new campaign office in Prince George's (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: In an attempted show of strength on his rival’s home turf, Maryland gubernatorial hopeful Douglas F. Gansler opened a campaign office Saturday in Prince George’s County and argued that his ticket is more committed to the jurisdiction’s vast economic development and educational needs than Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown....

Gansler, a former Montgomery County state’s attorney, also unveiled a list Saturday of 34 current and former municipal officials from Prince George’s who are backing his campaign — including eight officeholders whose names had previously appeared on lists of endorsements released by Brown.

By Sunday morning, The Washington Post was able to independently verify that two of the eight had switched allegiances from Brown to Gansler. One of the eight, however, said he is still backing Brown, and another name was removed from Gansler’s list after his campaign said that it had appeared by mistake....

“He’s not from Prince George’s County. . . . He’s from Long Island,” Gansler said at one point, referring to Brown’s birthplace of Huntington, N.Y....

Gansler also said that Prince George’s has not seen the kind of economic development the county deserves. “When people get up in front of you and say, ‘We have one Maryland,’ we do on a map,” Gansler said. “But we have two Marylands: There are those who have it and those who don’t....”
Prince George's officials ranging from U.S. House members Donna Edwards and Steny Hoyer to State Senate President Mike Miller released the following letter in response to Gansler's remarks:

JUICE #2: MIZEUR CALLS ON GANSLER & BROWN TO TESTIFY IN FAVOR OF MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION  //  PLUS: BROWN RESPONDS W/ LETTER - Delegate Heather Mizeur took an early stand on marijuana reform by being the only gubernatorial candidate to come out for legalization, while also co-sponsoring legislation to decriminalize pot. This week she followed up on her stance by calling on Doug Gansler and Anthony Brown to testify in support of the decriminalization bill. Both Brown and Gansler recently confirmed support for removing jail time as a penalty for pot possession, and Mizeur asked both candidates to do more in the following press release (excerpt below):

Mizeur Calls On Brown, Gansler to Testify For Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

SILVER SPRING, Maryland—This morning, Delegate Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery), candidate for governor, invited Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown and Attorney General Doug Gansler through her legislative office to join her in testifying on behalf of the Maryland Marijuana Decriminalization Act (HB0879).

The bill, if passed, would replace criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana with a civil fine of $100. For individuals under 21, criminal penalties would be replaced with drug education classes and would also include parental notification requirements for those under 18. Mizeur introduced the bipartisan bill last week with Delegate Michael Smigiel (R-Cecil County) as the lead Republican co-sponsor.

The bill has 40 co-sponsors, including Gansler’s running mate, Delegate Jolene Ivey (D-Prince George’s), House Majority Leader Kumar Barve (D-Montgomery) and two committee chairs: Delegate Sheila Hixson (D-Montgomery) and Delegate Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore).

After hesitating to endorse decriminalization earlier in the campaign, both the Brown and Gansler campaigns have since come out publicly in favor of the reform. Brown expressed his strong support for decriminalization at a Baltimore Sun “Newsmaker Forum” last month. Ivey has made her ticket’s support public over Twitter and at last week’s BEST Democratic Club lieutenant governor candidate roundtable....
Anthony Brown' campaign responded with the following letter to Mizeur:
ANTHONY BROWN: Dear Delegate Mizeur: Over the past several years, in our state and throughout our country, there has been a serious discussion about marijuana and its impact on our society. Here in Maryland, a number of dedicated public servants, like Senator Zirkin and Delegate Anderson have proposed legislation decriminalizing marijuana. Last year, legislation was sponsored, and passed, by Delegate Clippinger and Senator Raskin which reduces the sentences for those caught with small amounts of marijuana.

As they are currently constructed and enforced, our state’s marijuana laws are costly, ineffective, and racially biased. In 2010, African Americans in Maryland were almost 3 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than their white counterparts, and black Marylanders represent almost 58 percent of all marijuana possession arrests, but only 30 percent of the population. This is despite the fact that both groups have nearly identical marijuana usage rates. An arrest for possession has an incredibly negative impact on that person’s life, often creating problems finding employment or even a place to live.

Equally distressing is how ineffective and costly our marijuana laws are: just four years ago, our state spent over $55.3 million in enforcement of this law on police costs alone. These are resources that could have been better spent fighting violent crime throughout our state, or on substance abuse treatment that could help end the cycle of use and dependency. I support the decriminalization of marijuana because I believe in strong communities where safety – and not just the appearance of being tough on crime – comes first....

JUICE #3: MOCO EXEC CANDIDATES DEBATE ON TOMORROW (WED) // TEACHERS  HOSTING EDUCATION FORUM W/ LEGGETT, DUNCAN & ANDREWS - Tomorrow MCEA (the union representing MoCo teachers) is holding a schools debate with Democratic MoCo Exec candidates Ike Leggett, Doug Duncan and Republican candidate Jim Shalleck (details below):
MCEA Montgomery County Executive Forum
Wednesday February 12, 2014 from 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Richard Montgomery High School, Rockville, MD
RSVP: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CountyExecForum

JUICE #4: THE MARYLAND POLITICS WATCH BLOG IS BACK - Maryland Juice considers our blog a later iteration of the news model developed by the Maryland Politics Watch blog (aka MPW). Indeed, MPW ceased operations sometime after the 2010 election cycle, but now the site's owner David Lublin has relaunched Maryland Politics Watch:
DAVID LUBLIN (VIA MARYLAND POLITICS WATCH): After a long hiatus, I've decided to start blogging again. I'm hoping to move to a new platform and URL so watch this spot to follow Maryland Politics Watch. For now, I'm not going to publish comments because I just don't have the time or desire to moderate them. Enjoy!

JUICE #5: CANDIDATES ANNOUNCE // THEA WILSON VS. DEL. VALLARIO IN D23B, BENNETT RUSHKOFF VS. DAVID FRASER-HIDALGO IN D15, CHARLOTTE CRUTCHFIELD VS. MARICE MORALES IN D19, TOM MOORE FOR MOCO COUNCIL - Maryland Juice has received a number of alerts from candidates announcing for various positions. Below you can see a quick round-up of the events.

DISTRICT 23B: This Sunday, Thea Wilson is announcing a campaign for District 23B Delegate. Notably, D23B is a new legislative district that has been re-drawn in a way that may make incumbent Delegate Joe Vallario vulnerable in his re-election bid:

DISTRICT 15: Delegate Brian Feldman recently vacated his District 15 seat to be appointed to Rob Garagiola's State Senate seat. In turn, David Fraser-Hidalgo was appointed to Feldman's vacant D15 seat. But now progressive attorney Bennett Rushkoff has announced a campaign for District 15 Delegate, and some interesting officials attended his campaign kickoff this weekend. In the photo and press release excerpt below, Rushkoff announced that his event was attended by D15 Delegates Kathleen Dumais and Aruna Miller (current colleagues of David Fraser-Hidalgo):


Over 100 People Pack Bennett Rushkoff’s State Delegate Campaign Kickoff
District 15 Delegates Dumais and Miller Attend

North Potomac, Maryland  – Over 100 people, including District 15 Delegates Kathleen Dumais and Aruna Miller, packed into Nantucket’s Reef in North Potomac for Bennett Rushkoff’s State Delegate campaign kickoff on Saturday, February 8.

After being introduced by Ron Weich, Dean of the University of Baltimore Law School and a Yale Law School classmate of Rushkoff’s, as well as Antonio Carrillo, a public school science teacher and local community activist, Rushkoff described why he was running for office.  He spoke about his many years fighting for justice as a consumer protection attorney and how he plans to pursue justice in the General Assembly, advocating in the areas of education, health care, and the environment on behalf of all Marylanders.  Rushkoff said that his commitment to protecting the environment comes from his belief that we “borrow our planet from our children.”

Following the kickoff, Rushkoff commented on the packed house at Nantucket’s Reef: “I am inspired by all the people who came out today to hear about our campaign for justice.  It is clear that the residents of District 15 want a Delegate who will fight for our shared values.”

Rushkoff has assembled a professional campaign team, hiring the consulting firm Feldman Strategies and bringing on former Obama campaign staffer Britney Mumford....

DISTRICT 19: This week MCDCC member Charlotte Crutchfield announced a campaign for District 19 Delegate, where incumbent Sam Arora recently announced his retirement. Crutchfield will be joining Marice Morales (an aide to Sen. Roger Manno) in seeking the open seat. Check out this excerpt from Crutchfield's announcement press release below:
Longtime County Activist Charlotte Crutchfield Announces Candidacy
Bringing Communities Together Through Energy and Experience

February 9, 2014 (Silver Spring, MD)—Longtime Montgomery County activist Charlotte Crutchfield formally announced today that she has filed as a candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates in District 19. She will be running in the Democratic primary on June 24, 2014.

“After many years working in the community with and for the wonderful people of District 19, I am ready to serve as an effective advocate in the General Assembly,” Crutchfield said.

Seeking to fill the vacant seat with Delegate Arora’s retirement, Ms. Crutchfield’s election will be historic, as she will be the first African American woman from Montgomery County to be elected to the State legislature.
Ms. Crutchfield's focus is Community First. Her top three campaign issues will be education, the economy, and equality. “A community is strongest when its citizens are well-educated, economically prosperous, and are treated equally. A livable minimum wage benefits workers, unions and businesses alike, and bolsters the economy. And, when every member of the community knows that their life, lifestyle and life-choices are valued regardless of sex, race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or identity we, indeed, become a community," she said.
Charlotte Crutchfield was elected to the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) in 2010, serving as Liaison for District 19, and as a member of the Rules Committee, Voter Protection Committee, Ballot Question Review Committee and Strategic Planning Committee....

MOCO COUNCIL 3: Rockville City Councilmember Tom Moore announced a February 17th kickoff for his campaign for County Council District 3. The incumbent Phil Andrews is running for County Executive, and so far Gaithersburg Mayor Sid Katz, Gaithersburg Councilmember Ryan Spiegel, and activist Guled Kassim have announced in the race. Moore's announcement is below:
Greetings, Juice!

Please join Tom Moore, his wife Amy, his kids, and many of Tom's friends and supporters next Monday as we kick off his campaign for County Council with good cheer and good food.

Come hear why Tom is running, and how he will represent Rockville and Gaithersburg on the County Council!

We have four short months until the June 24 Democratic primary, and Tom's in a red-hot race. Let's get this campaign off to a roaring start!

When: Monday, Feb. 17, from 3-5 p.m. (Presidents' Day!)
Where: American Tap Room in Rockville Town Square   
Please feel free to bring as many people as you like. Kids are more than welcome to attend.
Click here to RSVP: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1YrGoQUTRRfZ529Z9q6owR5ePPBhYayZ2QzA-xHgGBfc/viewform
See you there!

Max van Balgooy
Campaign Chair, Friends of Tom Moore

JUICE #6: KYLE LIERMAN WEIGHING RUN FOR D16 SENATE OR DELEGATE AS FIELD THINS // PLUS: MOCO BOE MEMBER SMONDROWSKI FOR D17 SENATE? - Bethesda Magazine's Lou Peck highlighted some possible last-minute candidate filings as we head closer to the February 25th deadline for candidates to put their names on the June Primary Election ballot. The race for two open Delegate seats in District 16 may lose some candidates and gain others, while candidates are still eyeing the open Senate seat primaries in Districts 16 and 17 (excerpt below):
BETHESDA MAGAZINE: Local real estate agent Ted Duncan, who had formed a campaign committee and was ready to run as recently as mid-January, has pulled out of the contest.... Veteran political operative Kevin Walling, who announced his candidacy last summer, appears ready to drop out and instead run for a seat on the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee.... White House aide Kyle Lierman, who finished second in an 11-person race for an open seat in 2010, is said by sources to be continuing to consider another run for delegate or a run against Delegate Susan Lee for the seat being vacated by Sen. Brian Frosh.
Rebecca Smondrowski confirmed she is still mulling a run to succeed state Sen. Jennie Forehand, who is retiring after 20 years in the seat.... Smondrowski, a former General Assembly aide who was elected to the school board in 2012, acknowledged that “I’ll likely be staying where I am,” But she added of a possible Senate run: “I’m very torn. I really love what I’m doing, [but] I’m feeling like this might be once in a lifetime opportunity…My guess is that I’ll be considering it until pretty much close to the deadline....”

JUICE #7: MOCO POISED TO APPROVE PUBLIC FINANCING FOR COUNTY ELECTIONS // PLUS: CONGRESSMAN SARBANES & NANCY PELOSI INTRODUCE CLEAN ELECTIONS BILLS FOR FEDS - All members of the Montgomery County Council have signed on to legislation sponsored by Councilmember Phil Andrews to take advantage of new state law allowing municipalities to enact public financing systems for local elections. Indeed, MoCo Councilmembers seek to make the county the first in Maryland to create a "clean elections" fund and reduce the impact of special interests in elections. This effort seems likely to pass.

Meanwhile, Congressman Jon Sarbanes is sponsoring legislation to create a similar program at the federal level. Sarbanes co-signed an op-ed with U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi about their new legislation, and Governor O'Malley and former MoCo Councilmember Valerie Ervin (now with the Center for Working Families) issued a press release about the effort. You can see excerpts from both items below:
NANCY PELOSI & JOHN SARBANES (VIA WASHINGTON POST): Americans have seen it on their televisions and heard it on their radios: political ads backed by unnamed sources; the work of so-called advocacy groups backed by undisclosed donors; damaging policy agendas orchestrated by special interests; endless money muddying the waters of our debate with confusion and voter suppression.... Indeed, Citizens United shook the foundation of our democracy: the principle that, in the United States of America, it is the voices of the people, not the bank accounts of the privileged few, that determine the outcome of our elections and the policies of our government....

Those of us inside and outside the Capitol who support this kind of major change are rallying around H.R. 20, the Government by the People Act, which is to be introduced Wednesday. This sensible, straightforward legislation would:
  • Encourage the participation of everyday Americans in the funding of campaigns by providing a refundable $25 My Voice Tax Credit. This would bring the voices of the broader public into the funding side of campaigns and democratize the relationship between money and speech.
  • Establish a Freedom From Influence Matching Fund to boost the power of small-dollar contributions. To be eligible for these matching funds, a candidate would have to agree to a limit on large donations and demonstrate broad-based support from a network of small-dollar contributors. Amplified by the Freedom From Influence Matching Fund, the voices of everyday Americans would be as powerful as those of big donors.
  • Provide candidates with an opportunity to earn additional resources in the homestretch of a campaign so that the voices of the people are not completely drowned out by super political action committees and other dark-money interests. In the wake of Citizens United, this kind of support is critical to ensuring that citizen-backed candidates have staying power.
Here's the press release from the Center for Working Families about the new Pelosi-Sarbanes public financing bill:

Gov. O'Malley, Valerie Ervin Laud New Sarbanes Bill to Take on Money in Politics
Today, Gov. Martin O'Malley and Center Working Families Executive Director Valerie Ervin lauded a new bill meant to take on the role of big money in politics and raise the voices of everyday people in the political process

H.R. 20, The Government by the People Act, was introduced today by Rep. John Sarbanes, and has more than 100 original co-sponsors.

"We need more action and smarter solutions to improve our nation's campaign finance system and I commend Congressmen John Sarbanes and Chris Van Hollen for their leadership on this important issue," said Governor Martin O’Malley. "Elections are the foundation of a successful democracy and these ideas will put us one step closer toward a better, more representative system that reflects the American values we share.”

"The Citizens United decision has given wealthy interests a megaphone so big it drowns out the rest of our voices," said Valerie Ervin, Executive Director of the Center for Working Families. "I am proud to stand in support of more than 100 members of Congress today who want to put the voters back in charge. Democracy shouldn't be for sale at any price."

The Government by the People Act would change the way our elections are financed through a combination of small donors, matching funds, and a “My Voice” tax credit.  Instead of relying on Wall Street executives or lobbyists, participating candidates would rely on the ones the founding fathers intended them to represent: we the people.

How the bill works:

People would be encouraged to give small contributions through two parts of the proposal: first, contributions of $1 to $150 would be amplified on a six-to-one basis by a newly-created “Freedom from Influence Fund.” Large contributions would not qualify.
The first $25 contributed by individuals would qualify for a “My Voice” refundable tax credit.
Each candidate’s money from the new fund -- which would be financed by closing corporate tax loopholes -- would be capped, and there would be strict enforcement of campaign finance laws, including disclosure of all donations.

Learn more about the Government by the People Act at: www.ofby.us


JUICE #8: STATE SENATOR LISA GLADDEN WITHDRAWS BILL TO TACKLE DEL. JON CARDIN'S HELICOPTER STUNT - The Daily Record recently reported that State Senator Lisa Gladden withdrew a bill designed to combat misuse of police equipment. The bill was apparently aimed at a scandal involving Delegate Jon Cardin, who is locked in a battle for Attorney General against Gladden's Senate colleague Brian Frosh (excerpt below):
DAILY RECORD: A bill that would have established reimbursement requirements and perhaps set other penalties for elected officials who misuse police equipment has been pulled by the sponsor because of election year concerns. Sen. Lisa A. Gladden, D-Baltimore, introduced the bill last week but quickly pulled it at the request of her committee chairman, Sen. Brian E. Frosh, D-Montgomery.

“It will not be considered for this year because of the election,” said Gladden, who is vice chairwoman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. “It will be back next year because I like the bill and I think it’s a good idea....” The bill imposes a $15,000 fine for an elected official found guilty of misusing police resources and requires the official to reimburse the agency for the use of the equipment and officers.... When asked if the bill was specifically related to the Baltimore County Democrat, Gladden responded: “Of course we’re talking about Jon Cardin.”
The Associated Press reported on the context for the bill in 2009 (excerpt below):
ASSOCIATED PRESS (VIA HUFFINGTON POST): A Maryland lawmaker has apologized for using a police boat and helicopter to create a diversion so he could surprise his girlfriend with a marriage proposal.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld told reporters Tuesday that Delegate Jon Cardin also offered to pay expenses from the incident. The department is investigating. Officials don't know yet how much Cardin's proposal cost the department....

JUICE #9: TWO-TIME DUI CONVICT DEL. DON DWYER INTRODUCES BILLS REQUIRING JAIL & SUSPENSION FOR LAWMAKERS JAILED FOR DUI - If you haven't already heard, Delegate Don Dwyer was back in the news again. The Tea Party lawmaker has been in and out of the news in recent cycles, due to back-to-back drunk driving incidents. The first incident was a drunken boat crash that injured several children, while the second was a DUI conviction for dangerous driving. But now Dwyer has introduced two bills to create mandatory expulsion and jail-time for lawmakers involved in DUI's:
  • BILL #1 - HB733: For the purpose of requiring that certain State officials who are convicted of certain alcohol–related driving offenses be subject to a certain mandatory minimum sentence; defining a certain term; and generally relating to a mandatory minimum sentence for a State official who is convicted of certain alcohol–related driving offenses.
  • BILL #2 - HB734:  For the purpose of requiring that a member of the General Assembly who is found guilty of any crime for which the member is sentenced to serve a period of incarceration in any penal institution during the member’s term of office be suspended and, under certain circumstances, removed from office by operation of law; requiring that a member of the General Assembly who enters a certain plea relating to any crime for which the member is sentenced to serve a period of incarceration in any penal institution during the member’s term of office be removed from office by operation of law; and submitting this amendment to the qualified voters of the State for their adoption or rejection. 

JUICE #10: ANTHONY BROWN SLAMS DOUG GANSLER CORPORATE TAX CUT PROPOSAL - Attorney General Doug Gansler has voiced support for linking a corporate tax cut to a minimum wage increase in Maryland. Last week Lt. Governor Anthony Brown issued a press release calling Gansler's stance a Republican position (excerpt below):

Doug Gansler’s $1.6 billion corporate tax giveaway to be debated in Senate at 1 p.m. in Annapolis today

Will Gansler join with Republicans by testifying and explaining which programs he'll slash or schools he'll close to pay for this reckless corporate tax handout?

UPPER MARLBORO, MD – Throughout his campaign for governor, Doug Gansler has frequently and enthusiastically embraced the Republican proposal to slash Maryland’s corporate tax rate from 8.25% to 6%. Just like Annapolis Republicans, Gansler has yet to explain how he’ll pay for this corporate giveaway, which would cost Marylanders more than $1.6 billion in revenue over the next five years. The Washington Post even called Gansler’s unfunded giveaway part of a “package of panders” to Maryland voters.

Today at 1 p.m. in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, Republicans will push for passage of Doug Gansler’s $1.6 million corporate tax handout – the only question is, will Doug Gansler finally stand with them and explain how he’ll pay for it?
“Doug Gansler has been in lockstep with Republicans who want a $1.6 billion corporate tax handout that would defund our schools and put the brakes on several job-creating infrastructure projects,” said Brown-Ulman campaign manager Justin Schall. “If Gansler wants to recklessly create a $1.6 billion hole in revenues, he should come clean and explain which programs he’ll slash or which schools he’ll close to balance the budget. Marylanders deserve to hear Doug Gansler and the Republicans explain why a corporate tax giveaway is a better idea than investing in our schools.”

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