Showing posts with label gambling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gambling. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

PHOTO ALBUM: MGM Reveals Designs for National Harbor Casino in Prince George's County

After the grand spectacle of a special legislative session and referendum fight to approve gambling expansion in Maryland, MGM has now released renderings of what the National Harbor casino will look like:






PRESS RELEASE
 
MGM National Harbor Reveals Design Vision for
Proposed Prince George’s County Destination Resort


Resort architecture draws inspiration from local culture and history;
Creates iconic gateway to Maryland at National Harbor

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD, September 25, 2013 – MGM National Harbor, a subsidiary of MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM), today revealed architect’s renderings and detailed video animation of the company’s vision for the destination resort it plans to build in Prince George’s County, Maryland.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

JuiceBlender: Jamie Raskin Flashmob & Mustard, Garagiola & Hixson Seek MoCo VFW Slots, Doug Duncan: Purple Line Foe?

Below Maryland Juice highlights a few tidbits relating to MoCo politics, starting with a few items regarding Sen. Jamie Raskin's unusual fundraising event last night:

JUICE #1: SEN. JAMIE RASKIN CELEBRATES 50TH BIRTHDAY W/ A FLASH MOB, MUSTARD & SOLD OUT FUNDRAISER - Last night State Senator Jamie Raskin (D20 Democrat) hosted a 50th birthday fundraiser in downtown Silver Spring. The event reportedly sold out with 600 RSVP's on the eve of the celebration. You can see a quick photo from the fundraiser below, but more interesting than the size of the crowd is the flash mob and mustard that accompanied the event. Details after the photo:

A large crowd packs the Silver Spring Civic Center for Sen. Jamie Raskin's 50th Birthday

In conjunction with the birthday fundraiser, Raskin had announced earlier in the week that downtown Silver Spring would be the site of a Jamie Raskin "dance flashmob" on the afternoon of his fundraiser. I did a double-take when I received the following email announcement for the pre-event dance party (excerpt below):
RASKIN FLASH MOB INVITATION: We are now inviting the world to come participate in an historic Rock&Roll Flash-Mob Birthday Dance Eruption at 4:36 PM on Saturday, December 1, just a few hours before my birthday bash, in downtown Silver Spring on Ellsworth Avenue, to be led by the extraordinary Alyce Jenkins and dozens of her students at the Maryland Youth Ballet who are going to take off their Nutcracker ballet slippers, come outside and rock out in the heart of downtown Silver Spring with hundreds of fired-up 50th birthday revelers....
Maryland Juice did not actually get to attend the flashmob, but luckily an attendee posted a video of the dance on YouTube:



Note that prior to joining up with the flashmob, participants had the opportunity to learn the dance steps through an instructional YouTube video:



Perhaps equally as unusual as the Raskin flashmob dance is the party favor that was given to attendees of the birthday party: a bottle of Jamie Raskin mustard (seriously!). I'm not quite sure if there's a story behind this, but I'm told that Raskin is related to the owner of the world's only mustard museum. In any case, see a photo of the limited edition Raskin mustard below:



JUICE #2: SEN. ROB GARAGIOLA & DEL. SHEILA HIXSON SEEK SLOT MACHINES AT MONTGOMERY COUNTY VETERANS HALLS - That didn't take long. Only weeks after the passage of gambling expansion in Maryland, State Senator Rob Garagiola and Delegate Sheila Hixson are proposing a new law allowing slot machines at veterans halls in Montgomery County. The Gazette recently reported on the Democratic lawmakers' insistence on continuing to prioritize gambling expansion in Maryland (excerpt below):
GAZETTE: Veterans’ groups from Montgomery County soon may be allowed to operate gambling machines in their halls, a privilege denied to them during the August special General Assembly session.

When lawmakers voted to expand gambling in the state, they included a provision to allow some gambling machines at veterans organizations west of the Chesapeake Bay — except in Montgomery County, where delegates were reluctant to sign on without local discussion and hearings.

Sen. Robert J. Garagiola (D-Dist. 15) of Germantown and Del. Sheila E. Hixson (D-Dist. 20) of Silver Spring have prepared a bill to do away with that exemption in the upcoming legislative session.... A hearing on county bills will be held Dec. 3 in Rockville.

HOW ARE WE HELPING VETERANS BY PUSHING THEM TO GAMBLE MORE OF THEIR MONEY? - The supporters of placing slot machines at Montgomery County's neighborhood VFW & American Legion posts argue that only members of the veterans halls will be able to gamble there. Even still, this further expansion of gambling in Maryland has been a controversial issue. Opponents have argued that the definition of a "veterans hall" is very vague and could lead to backdoor slot machines in undesired locations. In a guest column on Maryland Juice, Delegate Doyle Niemann argued that the most recent round of expanded gambling at veterans halls would lead to a creep of neighborhood gambling sites (excerpt below):
DOYLE NIEMANN: ...there is no requirement as to being an established organization....  so presumably anyone can go out and incorporate a new organization and then apply. Expect that to happen....

As to who can play, some veterans organizations may limit admission to members, but there is no requirement under the bill that they do so.  The only limit is that the machines have to be at the place of business of the organization.  So a "veterans" thrift store open to the public might be able to get slot machines and have them available to the public.  Again, expect that....
But even if Doyle Niemann is wrong, I think there is something perverse about the policy logic of trying to help veterans by encouraging them to gamble more -- and to do it by placing slot machines in their neighborhood haunts. Moreover, giving special privileges to veterans nonprofits that will be denied to the numerous other struggling nonprofits in Montgomery County would be completely arbitrary. Veterans halls may be struggling for funds, but so are numerous worthy non-profits offering programs ranging from food assistance and health services, to legal representation and housing for the indigent. Following Hixson and Garagiola's logic, we could give them all a fundraising boost by allowing them to operate slot machines targeted at their members. It is unfortunate that so many Democratic lawmakers seem to love using the lazy and unproductive revenue from gambling as a substitute for actually making tough decisions. I wouldn't exactly call it intelligent policy logic to propose helping retired Armed services members by encouraging them to gamble more. In fact, I was a bit encouraged to see that Montgomery County was exempted from this sort of inept policymaking during the summer's special session. But it turns out that was just a fake-out, and we may not have been spared from the expansion of slots after all.

If Sheila Hixson and Rob Garagiola get their way, I will be sandwiched between two new toeholds of gambling in Maryland. There is an American Legion Post one mile from my house in Silver Spring and a VFW Post one-and-a-half miles from me in Takoma Park:

KEY:  (A) Silver Spring American Legion Post,  (B) Takoma Park VFW Post
If you want to see if there is a "veterans hall" slot parlor proposed for your neighborhood, you can consult the (perhaps incomplete) list I've compiled below:

Montgomery County's American Legion & VFW Posts:
  • BETHESDA: 4800 AUBURN AVE (AMERICAN LEGION)
  • DAMASCUS: 10201 LEWIS DR (AMERICAN LEGION)
  • GAITHERSBURG: 211 N. FREDERICK AVE (VFW)
  • POTOMAC: 11511 MACARTHUR BLVD (VFW)
  • ROCKVILLE: 621 SOUTHLAWN LN (AMERICAN LEGION)
  • ROCKVILLE: 2013 VEIRS MILL RD (AMERICAN LEGION)
  • SILVER SPRING: 11316 FERN ST (VFW)
  • SILVER SPRING: 905 SLIGO AVE (AMERICAN LEGION)
  • TAKOMA PARK: 6420 ORCHARD AVE (VFW)
  • WHEATON: 11225 FERN ST (AMERICAN LEGION)

TESTIFY TOMORROW OR SEND AN EMAIL TODAY // TELL HIXSON & GARAGIOLA, NO SLOTS IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY: Clearly the expansion of gambling in Maryland is never going to end, unless we speak out and tell them to quit it. Senate President Mike Miller, after all, is already talking about adding even more casinos to neighboring Prince George's County. If you want to speak out against the effort to push MoCo veterans to gamble more, there is a public hearing TOMORROW (MONDAY) at 7:00 pm in Rockville:
Monday, December 3, 2012  - House Hearing for local bills: 7:00 PM - 3rd Floor Hearing Room, Stella Werner Council Office Bldg., 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850 - Local bills refer to legislation affecting issues specific to Montgomery County. Click here to sign up to testify.
You can also email Sen. Rob Garagiola & Del. Sheila Hixson to encourage them to drop their MoCo slot expansion effort at the email addresses below:


JUICE #3: DOES DOUG DUNCAN STILL OPPOSE THE PURPLE LINE? - Now that former Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan has announced a 2014 bid for the Exec's office, some politicos are raising problems with his take on key issues. Indeed, much of the mainstream media coverage about Duncan thus far has credited him with being forward-thinking about downtown Silver Spring redevelopment, and other such projects. But yesterday a MoCo politico forwarded us a website link and news article indicating that Duncan may not be so forward-thinking on one of Montgomery County's key economic development and transportation priorities: The Purple Line.


The Purple Line is a proposed light rail line that would run East-West between Bethesda in Montgomery County and New Carrollton in Prince George's County. The line would stop through College Park, Silver Spring, Chevy Chase and other neighborhoods along the way, with the goal of taking cars off the road and discouraging further sprawl development. Full disclosure: I previously served as a campaign director for Purple Line NOW!

DOUG DUNCAN'S HISTORY OF ADVOCACY AGAINST THE PURPLE LINE - In spite of my personal support for this project, it would not be controversial to suggest that the Purple Line might be MoCo's top transportation priority. The fact that Doug Duncan has historically opposed the Purple Line suggests he might not "get" today's Montgomery County and the evolving dynamics between the area's housing market, jobs, and transit. I made this point on News Channel 8 last Friday. Indeed, Duncan's political coming-of-age occurred during a period when the political battles lines were drawn differently around land-use issues. A MoCo politico who likely agrees, shared with Maryland Juice an unusual page from the website of the Action Committee for Transit (ACT). The MoCo-based transit advocacy group highlights a candidate pledge that "Doug Duncan signed in 1994, when first running for county executive, to oppose light rail between Bethesda and Silver Spring — the core of what is now the Purple Line."


Doug Duncan's 1994 candidate pledge opposing the Purple Line

Our source also points to comments Duncan made in The Washington Post seven years later in 2001, slamming the idea of the Purple Line: "Duncan, who did not attend Glendening's announcement, said the new line would mostly serve people already using transit and do little to get people out of their cars and onto trains. It also would not extend across the Potomac River from Bethesda, something Duncan argues is needed to reduce traffic congestion." The article's headline blared, "Decision to Build Purple Line Inside Beltway Fires Up Duncan." Has Doug Duncan become less car-centric in the last decade? 

VIRGINIA IS BUILDING THE SILVER LINE - Indeed, in 2014 it would be strange for Doug Duncan to campaign on economic development in Montgomery County but continue opposing a potential major driver of job-creation. In remarks to The Washington Post about his candidacy last week, Duncan stated "that he thinks the county is 'slipping' against Northern Virginia when it comes to attracting businesses. 'I’m concerned that Montgomery County is getting a much bigger reputation that it is being anti-business'...."

Duncan, however, should be concerned that Virginia pulled off a major coup by breaking ground on the new Metro Silver Line. If you've driven on a highway to Virginia lately, you've surely seen the metro tracks under construction. The new transit line to Dulles has already sent Herndon home prices soaring, and it promises to give our Confederate neighbors the ability to turn their noses up against MoCo's continual failure to secure transit funding. Indeed, many expect the Silver Line to be a lure for businesses and residents alike. But instead of fighting for transit funding, so many business leaders in Montgomery County are obsessed with their tax rates and have made unrealistic tax cuts their primary policy priority.

WHERE IS DOUG DUNCAN TODAY ON THE PURPLE LINE? - So in a 2014 campaign for Montgomery County Executive, where will Doug Duncan be on the Purple Line? Ike Leggett always seemed fairly lukewarm and cautious on the project, and Duncan's history has shown him to be an active opponent. Meanwhile, more and more of today's Montgomery County residents want transit-friendly, mixed-use walkable neighborhoods. One need only look at local real-estate market trends to note this obvious fact. Likewise, policymakers need to think about these trends in terms of making sure Montgomery County is competitive in maintaining and creating vibrant, desirable neighborhoods. After all, the high quality of life in MoCo is what keeps us strong. That includes our schools, transit access and housing -- but increasingly, housing and transit creation are getting short shrift from politicians. But candidates do often try to re-invent themselves. We shall soon see how Duncan comes out on the issues.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

GUEST POST: Del. Eric Luedtke Dissects Montgomery County's Marriage Equality, Dream Act & Gambling Results // SEE MAPS

PLUS: MARYLAND JUICE HIGHLIGHTS QUICK NOTES ABOUT DAMASCUS AND GOP VOTERS WHO SUPPORTED MARRIAGE EQUALITY

Below Maryland Juice is pleased to publish an interesting analysis of key ballot question results in Montgomery County. Our guest pundit, Delegate Eric Luedtke (D14 Democrat), looked at the precinct-level returns for marriage equality (Question 6), the Dream Act (question 4) and gambling expansion (Question 7). He also created some insightful maps showing how MoCo's neighborhoods voted on the various measures.
ERIC LUEDTKE: Below, I've attached precinct maps showing how Montgomery County voted on questions 4, 6, and 7. First, I should note that these maps only display the election day precinct level vote, and do not include early voting totals.

The Montgomery County Board of Elections data counts the early vote as a separate canvass, like they do with absentee votes. During early voting, MoCo supported marriage equality nearly six points more than the statewide overall vote for Question 6. On the Dream Act, Montgomery County voters supported the measures by four points more than the statewide vote. Lastly, on gambling expansion, Montgomery County supported Question 7 by four tenths of a point less than the statewide average.

Note that there were some geographical variations in the early vote due to the locations of the early vote centers. For example, the early vote probably included significantly more voters from Silver Spring precincts (folks who likely voted at the Silver Spring Civic Center) than voters from the Bethesda area, where there is no early voting center. But nonetheless, the maps below give a glimpse into the geographic and demographic patterns of the vote on the various questions.

NOTE: On all of the maps below, the bluest areas show precincts that "voted for" the ballot question in large numbers. The purple areas show precincts where fewer than 50% of voters supported a "vote for" the ballot question. See the explanation of the color-coding using the key to the right.


QUESTION 4 - DREAM ACT RESULTS IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY



ERIC LUEDTKE: The question 4 map is probably the most clear. Only six far upcounty precincts voted against it, including much of Damascus (except the central precinct which is entirely suburban rather than a rural-suburban mix like the rest of Damascus), parts of Laytonsville, and northern Gaithersburg outside the city limits. The heaviest vote in favor is concentrated downcounty, particularly in Bethesda and Silver Spring, and also has concentrations in parts of the county further north that have heavier immigrants populations. This includes most of the 29 corridor, which has significant populations of Latinos and continental African immigrants, the Wheaton area and its heavy Latino population, and precincts around Gaithersburg and Rockville with large Latino and Asian-American populations. It’s interesting to note the stretch of precincts voting strongly in favor up the 270 corridor all the way to the Frederick County line, likely due to a continued expansion of more urban and suburban areas in Germantown and Clarksburg. It’s also significant that nearly all of District 15 voted in favor, including the heavily rural precincts around Poolesville and Barnesville. District 15, you may remember, was the last MoCo district to elect a Republican, but its shift towards the Democratic column seems to be continuing.

QUESTION 6 - MARRIAGE EQUALITY RESULTS IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY

ERIC LUEDTKE: The question 6 map is similar to the question 4 map. Support is concentrated in Bethesda/Chevy Chase, lower Silver Spring, and Rockville, with concentrations of lesser support in Olney, Gaithersburg, Germantown, and Potomac. Many of the majority-minority portions of the county voted in favor, including the upper 29 corridor and Wheaton/Aspen Hill, although by a significantly smaller margin than they supported question 4. I think this reflects the fact that marriage equality supporters were successful in reaching out to many minority voters, but obviously still have work to do. Four of the ten precincts that opposed are in District 14, which had the lowest vote by district in the county, but still the vote was in favor in all eight legislative districts. 

QUESTION 7 - GAMBLING EXPANSION RESULTS IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY


ERIC LUEDTKE: The question 7 map is a bit of a cipher, in that for virtually every identifiable pattern there is an exception. Significant pockets of opposition cluster along the DC line in areas from Bethesda and Chevy Chase south and in Takoma Park and east Silver Spring, but a big chunk of the western side of Silver Spring voted in favor by a wide margin. More conservative upcounty precincts in Brookeville, Laytonsville, and Barnesville voted against, while most of Damascus voted in favor. Seniors at Asbury and Riderwood voted heavily against it, while seniors in Leisure World voted in favor. The vast majority of the county voted in favor of it by relatively slim margins, and we don’t see many geographic concentrations of support like we did on the other maps, although there is a significant concentration of support in Gaithersburg and Germantown, one in the Aspen Hill area, and a smaller one in Fairland and Briggs-Chaney.

DAMASCUS VOTERS: AGAINST MARRIAGE EQUALITY & DREAM ACT, FOR BOOZE AND GAMBLING - Maryland Juice has one interesting takeaway from Luedtke's analysis. It appears that Damascus voters may be the black sheep of Montgomery County. Notably, Damascus voters appear to have unusual moral priorities as demonstrated by their voting behavior. On November 6, Damascus overwhelmingly voted to begin allowing alcohol sales in their town (Note: it is currently a "dry" town). But while many Damascus voters also voted against marriage equality and the Dream Act, they also approved gambling expansion. Bottom line: Damascus rejected civil rights and college opportunity, but embraced booze and gambling. I'm no puritan about booze and gambling, but what kind of a message does this send? Oy vey!

SIDENOTE: SOME REPUBLICANS BUCKED PARTY TO SUPPORT MARRIAGE EQUALITY - Maryland Juice has one final note for this analysis of the ballot question results. Walter Olson of the CATO Institute today published an interesting op-ed in The Huffington Post noting that in some Republican-dominated parts of Maryland, the "vote for" marriage equality was higher than Obama's vote total in the same places. He surmises that this means Republican defections on marriage equality helped Question 6 pass in Maryland (excerpt below):
WALTER OLSON: In fact county-level results reveal that across wide swaths of Republican territory in Maryland, same-sex marriage actually ran well ahead of Barack Obama and the Democratic ticket. That means there were many, many Romney voters who voted for the same-sex marriage law -- enough, in fact, that without them the measure would almost certainly have lost by a mile....

Two major bulwarks of Republican strength in Maryland, Anne Arundel and Frederick Counties, went both for Romney and for same-sex marriage. The two counties have been home to some of the state's best- known anti-gay politicians, such as Del. Don Dwyer of Anne Arundel and former Sen. Alex Mooney of Frederick. Frederick County especially, where I live, is famed as a right-wing stronghold.... Romney carried Anne Arundel by a point.

In Carroll, Question 6 ran a remarkable 11 points ahead of the president, in Queen Anne's 10 points ahead, in Harford and Cecil 5 points, and in Frederick and Anne Arundel 3 to 4 points. Collectively these counties contributed tens of thousands more votes for Question 6 than if gay marriage had been, as you might put it, only as popular as the chief executive of the United States.....

Friday, November 9, 2012

JuiceBlender: Post-Election Analyses of Maryland Results // PUNDIT CONSENSUS: Maryland Republican Party Out of Touch

UPDATE: Maryland Juice just caught some interesting post-election musings from Joe Steffen (aka "the Prince of Darkness"). Steffen was a former operative for GOP Governor Bob Ehrlich. Like rightwing Gazette columnist Blair Lee, the Prince of Darkness compares the current state of Maryland Republicans to the now extinct Whig Party. Check out Steffen's thoughts below, and note that Maryland Juice agrees that a new focus on libertarian-minded views might present the GOP their only way to navigate social issues in Maryland (and perhaps nationally):
PRINCE OF DARKNESS: It’s very simple. The GOP must – MUST – Libertarianize itself as concerns the social issues. It must find a way to wean itself from the social conservative issues as many of the current stances taken by the Party are killing the Party with their demands for absolute purity....

Among a number of other issues the GOP simply MUST deal with is the Hispanic population.... And by “deal with,” I mean in ways other than sending Sheriff Billy Bob McDoughnut after them to check out their papers. The Latinos are here. They are not going anywhere. And they are growing – and voting Democratic in huge numbers. Deal with them, Republicans – or there’s another issue sending you the way of the Whigs.

Below Maryland Juice compiles a number of interesting analyses of the Free State's 2012 election results. The day after the election, we declared that the results showed Maryland Republicans are out-of-touch and have been living in a bubble, and it appears that most politicos agree. See a few comments about the Maryland election results below:

JUICE #1: BALTIMORE SUN CALLS RESULTS A "REALITY CHECK" FOR MD GOP - Yesterday, The Baltimore Sun published an editorial pointing out the numerous delusions that Maryland Republicans adopted as reality while they campaigned against the Dream Act and marriage equality. Their opinion piece blared that the "referendum mania in 2012 showed there is no silent conservative majority" (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: When Maryland Republicans, led by freshman Del. Neil Parrott of Washington County, succeeded in putting the Dream Act on the ballot, state GOP Chairman Alex Mooney called it a "game changer" and a counterweight to Democrats who "think that they can do what they want." When Republicans got the congressional maps on the ballot, Del. Steve Schuh, an Anne Arundel County Republican, called it a "major change to our democracy in Maryland," adding, "we have an arrogant majority...."

But as it turns out, the Democratic majority in Annapolis was pretty well in tune with the voters when it came to in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, same-sex marriage and the redrawing of the state's congressional districts.... The lesson here for the GOP is that Maryland is not a conservative state, and there is not a silent majority that disapproves of things like the Dream Act....

JUICE #2: PUNDITS SAY RESULTS SHOW MARYLAND'S PROGRESSIVE STREAK & DEMOCRATIC DOMINANCE - Capital News Service had an interesting round-up of post-election comments from various politicos. Their piece highlighted contrasting views on whether Maryland's election results were a function of a progressive streak in voters or simply Democratic dominance (excerpt below):
CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE: “(Gov. Martin) O’Malley and the Democrats have complete control,” said Blair Lee, political columnist at The Gazette newspapers.... “Republicans are almost now gone the way of the Whig Party in terms of influence and presence....”

Christopher Summers, president of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, a Rockville-based think tank, agreed that Tuesday night’s results emphasized one-party dominance in the state. “In terms of Republicans and messaging, they need to have a very serious meeting and realize their messaging is not working, their leadership is not working,” he said....

“Maryland is a more progressive state than any other,” said Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland....

JUICE #3: MARYLAND RESULTS DEBUNK MYTH OF BLACK VOTER OPPOSITION TO MARRIAGE EQUALITY - The Gazette yesterday published a piece noting that African American voters in Maryland were instrumental to the marriage equality victory. Contrary to popular belief, jurisdictions with dense black voter populations did not vote against Question 6 in the numbers opponents predicted. In Baltimore, voters appear to be more closely aligned with Maryland's progressive voter base (excerpt below):
GAZETTE: In Maryland, the measure, known as Question 6, received 57 percent support in Baltimore but just 49 percent support in Prince George’s County.... More than 60 percent of the population in each area is African-American, a group widely assumed to oppose same-sex marriage, observers say. Tuesday’s returns, including a stronger-than-expected-showing in Prince George’s, debunked that notion, said Del. Mary L. Washington (D-Dist. 43) of Baltimore....

The Baltimore win was particularly significant since many black church leaders from the city had spoken against the measure, said Donald Norris, chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.... Overall the passage of Question 6 reaffirmed the image of Maryland as a deep-blue state, Norris said. “On social issues, the state is trend much more liberal than many others,” he said....

The measure’s victory in Frederick County also took some by surprise. “I am very surprised that in Frederick County people voted for it in the majority,” said Steve Gottlieb, chairman of the Frederick County Republican Central Committee....

JUICE #4: MARYLAND GOP CHAIR ALEX MOONEY TRIES TO CLAIM VICTORY AFTER PROGRESSIVE ELECTION RESULTS - Politicos are scoffing at a post-election message that Maryland GOP Chair Alex Mooney sent out declaring victory for Free State Republicans. Mooney pointed to Cecil County GOP victories as proof. Check out some of his delusions below (excerpt below):
ALEX MOONEY: Fellow Republicans, I would like to first thank you for all of your hard work during this election season. While November 6th didn't bring all of the results we sought, Maryland Republicans continued to succeed--notably in Cecil County where I am pleased to inform you that Tari Moore, a Republican, won the newly created County Executive position. Republicans Robert Hodge and Alan McCarthy also won both County Council seats in Cecil County which were up for election on Tuesday.

We now have over 1 million registered Republicans in Maryland--and that number is growing.... What's more, we were able to petition three of Martin O'Malley's signature pieces of legislation to referendum.... All of this success is a direct result of your efforts...

We had a great crop of candidates in this cycle ... their candidacies laid the groundwork for the 2014 elections and changing the conversation in Maryland, which has been one-sided for far too long....

The Maryland GOP's Executive Director also attempted to spin the results as a success for his party. Check out the remarks in The Capital Gazette:
CAPITAL GAZETTE: Despite going 0-for-3 in the Maryland GOP’s Tuesday referendum rollout, Republican Party officials say putting the Dream Act, same-sex marriage and congressional redistricting up for statewide votes was a successful strategy....

“When people say Tuesday’s election was a loss for the GOP, it absolutely was not. I didn’t expect the headline in the Annapolis Capital (Wednesday) to be ‘Maryland Republicans have overwhelming success,’ but it ought to be....”
“I don’t know how you could look through that narrow of a lens and think it was a good thing for the Republican Party,” said House Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Annapolis....

Some Republican activists in Maryland are incredulous about the claims of victory from the state party and are placing the blame at the feet of Alex Mooney. See a couple of Tweets below:






More analysis of Maryland election results soon!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

NEWS CHANNEL 8: Maryland Juice & Sen. David Harrington Dissect the Ballot Question Results on TV // WATCH ONLINE

Today Maryland Juice was a guest on News Channel 8's "News Talk" show. Host Bruce DePuyt invited me on to dissect Maryland's ballot questions, along with former State Senator David Harrington. You can hear our thoughts on gambling, marriage equality, and the Dream Act below (two videos):




Tuesday, November 6, 2012

EARLY VOTE TOTALS (For vs. Against): Marriage Equality 54% vs. 46%, Dream Act 65% vs. 35% , Gambling 49% vs. 51%

10:20 PM UPDATE: Follow the results at the Board of Elections site:
  • Q4: 58.5% "for" vs. 41.5% "against" - Dream Act
  • Q5: 64.4% "for"  vs. 35.6% "against" - Redistricting
  • Q6: 50.6% "for" vs. 49.4% "against" - Marriage Equality
  • Q7: 51.3% "for" vs. 48.7% "against" - Gambling Expansion

The Maryland Board of Elections has just released the early vote totals (along with a handful of election day precinct results), and here's the current status of the major ballot questions (leaders highlighted in red):
  • Question 4: Dream Act - 65.28% "for"  vs. 34.72% "against"
  • Question 5: Redistricting - 66.98% "for" vs. 33.02% "against"
  • Question 6: Marriage Equality - 53.5% "for" vs. 46.5% "against"
  • Question 7: Gambling Expansion -  49.12% "for" vs. 50.88% "against"
  • MoCo Question A: Disability Hiring - 82.05% "for" vs. 17.95% "against"
  • Moco Question B: Police Effects Bargaining Repeal - 53.99% "for" vs. 46.01% "against"
  • MoCo School Board At-Large: Phil Kauffman 78.32% vs. Morris Panner 21.27%
  • MoCo School Board District 2: Rebecca Smondrowski 53.64% vs. Fred Evans 46.1%
  •  

We'll update this post later in the evening!

Monday, November 5, 2012

SCANNED DOC: Gambling Expansion Opponents Alert Dream Act Supporters to National Harbor Opposition to Question 4

UPDATE:  COMPTROLLER PETER FRANCHOT HIGHLIGHTS PRO-QUESTION 7 OPPOSITION TO MARRIAGE EQUALITY - Comptroller Peter Franchot's last Facebook update highlighted late-breaking evidence that supporters of gambling expansion (Question 7) are financing opposition to marriage equality (Question 6). Not surprisingly, Franchot sees this as another reason to "vote against" Question 7. He has been crusading against Question 7 for months. See below:

Unbelievable. Folks, this is who our state's Democratic machine has chosen to join forces with this year. Hoping that all Marylanders who truly support progressive Democratic values will take a stand tomorrow against discrimination -- and deliver a powerful statement against machine politics -- by voting AGAINST Question 7.

Maryland Juice was just at a Montgomery County rally for Dream Act supporters, where numerous Democratic politicians joined Dreamers and Question 4 advocates in Silver Spring. But interestingly enough, I was handed a flyer made by opponents of gambling expansion (Question 7), alerting Dream Act supporters that National Harbor was financing opposition to Question 4. See the flyer below, which quotes Maryland Juice and a Baltimore Sun article about the new revelations:
Question 7 vs. Question 4 Flyer


Below you can also see a few photos from the rally:



Maryland Juice Explains the Controversial November Ballot Questions: I Voted "For" Questions 4 & 6 and "Against" 5 & 7

PLUS: A Comment on MoCo Questions A & B

After writing about Maryland's numerous ballot question battles for several months, last Friday night I finally got in line to vote early at Montgomery County's Silver Spring polling location. Below I explain how I voted on a few of the most controversial ballot questions. But before we begin, I sorted the ballot questions into those that are my personal top priorities, and those that are of secondary interest.

CONTEXT FOR HOW I VOTED: Many voters seem to be deciding on the ballot questions based strictly on the direct policy questions laid out before them (eg: for or against more casinos in Maryland). But for me, I looked at the ballot questions with an eye toward the future of progressive politics in Maryland and how the state Democrats should choose to define themselves against the opposition. My explanations below are rooted in the belief that political institutions and parties should be constantly evolving creatures, and that right now the demography and rules of the game are changing in favor of Maryland's progressive grassroots.

But too many Democratic politicians are still voluntarily taking the safe and cynical path forward, rather than harnessing new opportunities to advance social justice and good evidence-driven policymaking. This should be no surprise in a state where the same Democratic legislative leaders have ruled in perpetuity for the last three decades. Occasionally they throw us a progressive bone, as many have been quick to point out that Senate President Mike Miller "allowed" marriage equality to pass. Apparently the Democratic base is supposed to set low expectations for what policies should be adopted in Maryland. But hardly any incumbent Democrats in Maryland are vulnerable against  Republicans, which means these low expectations and their resulting "compromises" are purely voluntary and self-defeating.

Case in point -- when the President can endorse marriage equality without any notable impact on his swing-state chances, it means times have changed and a large chunk of Maryland Democrats are too stuck in "conventional wisdom" to see the new realities of public opinion in America. When Democrats in a liberal one-party state like Maryland sit on the sidelines (or oppose social justice) during the raging battle for Maryland's soul, it is time for a disruption. Unfortunately, that disruption is clearly not going to come from within the party. That's why it's up to us to force the Democrats to evolve -- not just on issues, but also about how they do business. In many ways, I see this as a generational battle. That's why I voted as follows:


MARYLAND JUICE'S TOP PRIORITIES: For Maryland Juice, Questions 4 and 6 boil down to whether Maryland politics will respect the personal dignity of others. You need not look further than what those opposing marriage equality and the Dream Act are saying about gay and lesbian families & immigrants to understand that you should not be siding with these folks. Just yesterday, a Frederick pastor blamed Hurricane Sandy on NYC Mayor Bloomberg's donation to Maryland's marriage equality campaign. Days before that, a Randallstown pastor stated that gay individuals and marriage equality backers were worthy of death. Meanwhile, a core of extremists organizing against the Dream Act see the battle in Maryland as their stand against the invasion of America. Enough said? If not, here's a little more explanation on each question:
  • VOTE FOR QUESTION 6: Marriage Equality - For me this is primarily a battle for civil liberties and individual rights. If you believe, as I do, that people not harming others should be let alone, then you should consider voting for Question 6. And if you believe in separation of church & state, as I do, then you'll also just dismiss offhand any religious objection about marriage equality in Maryland. But if you also believe that we are currently in the midst of discrimination against LGBT families without a legitimate, articulable policy purpose, then you should definitely vote for Question 6. Because those circumstances -- which do exist in Maryland -- would make this a civil rights issue. Otherwise, we would be saying that the term "civil rights" applied only to things that happened during the 60's.  Instead, I think the civil rights movement is alive and well, and it stands for a principle -- not just one group of people. Dr. King obviously saw civil rights as a multi-issue struggle against war, poverty, and racial discrimination -- not just as the struggles of his own people. We dishonor that powerful message by allowing the intense multi-year struggle for legal recognition by LGBT families to be withheld the designation of a "civil rights" issue. And what the battle for these words and labels is really about at their core, is a normative struggle in the public cosnciousness. Indeed, those stuck in the past seek to control even the use of words (like "marriage" and "civil rights") to prevent them from lending legal definition and legitimacy to a group they don't like. A message from my generation: Get over it. Vote for Question 6.  
  • VOTE FOR QUESTION 4: Dream Act - I am in principle against standing in the way of anyone who wants to go to school and obtain a higher education. I can think of no net positive benefit for Maryland by putting out of reach an affordable college education for someone that is already living here and paying taxes. Do you really need to hear more than that? Vote for Question 4.

TIER TWO PRIORITIES:
  • VOTE AGAINST QUESTION 7: Gambling Expansion -As mentioned in my notes about marriage equality above, I believe that individuals not harming others should be let alone. Indeed, Maryland Juice likes a good game of hold 'em poker and the occasional trip to Atlantic City with old friends from high school. But I still think Marylanders should not support the further creep of the gambling industry into our state. First, let's just be honest here. The Democratic Party around the nation is now a wholly corporate party. Like many other issues, liberals have thrown in the towel concerning special interest influence on our party. We accept that our side has to raise money to combat the other side. We look the other way when our side approves clear special interest legislation, and we do it because they do other good things that the Republicans oppose. But this situation is not ideal, and it is beginning to give me a stomach-ache. If the older generation was willing to tolerate and facilitate the corporate takeover of both major political parties, I hope my generation will spend every day fighting to burn down the House of Cash that the oldsters have built. Let's start by voting against Question 7. I know I am not the only Maryland Democrat to cringe in embarrassment when our Democratic leaders brought the legislature back for a special session, the sole purpose of which was to allow MGM to built a casino at National Harbor. We're all watching the barrage of ads about this issue, and we know they were not free. One can only conclude that Maryland residents were not subjected to this horrifying political freak-show without the aiding and abetting of numerous Democratic leaders. Not cool.  Even more, we as voters should not reward the casino industry for treating us like we're stupid. Do you remember their last few rounds of lies? First, we needed slots to save the Preakness; then we needed more slots for tots & schools stadiums; and now we need more slots and table games because of scary West Virginia. Blah, blah blah..... We get it, you want more Marylanders to spend money gambling, and you'll say whatever argument-du-jour fits your goals. But here's the reality: almost half of all casino revenues will come from repeat-Maryland customers who live within a 45 short drive of a casino. So we would be pulling money out of Maryland consumers' pockets to shore up the state budget, just because a small percentage of our dollars are going to West Virginia. Forget it: West Virginia can have our gambling money, because while they're protecting their slot barns, Maryland jobs are luring their young residents to move here!
  • VOTE AGAINST QUESTION 5: Congressional Districts - Voting against Question 5 is completely a realpolitik analysis for me. If you vote against Question 5, then Maryland's Congressional Districts will have to be re-drawn -- by Democrats. This seems like a freebie, even though I've heard concern that "anything could happen" if the lines are redrawn. Anything can't happen -- the Democratic party leaders of Maryland have already demonstrated their ability to strong-arm a map through the process. And in reality, I don't like this map very much. Not because it wasn't drawn "independently" (whatever that means) -- but because I think Democrats could've achieved their goals while taking into account a few other considerations. For example, the map didn't do anything to increase chances of diversifying Maryland's Congressional delegation, and it artificially narrowed the potential candidate field in the 6th Congressional District. Moreover, the map was drawn to suit the wishes of politicians who advance neither the progressive agenda, nor the Montgomery County agenda (eg: Rep's Steny Hoyer & Dutch Ruppersberger). The map also destabilized the bases of MoCo favorites Chris Van Hollen & Donna Edwards. For all of those reasons, I voted against Question 5. But let me be very clear, that I am opposed to Maryland adopting independent redistricting for Congressional districts. I am in favor of fair outcomes, not a process which is on its surface fair but leads to bad outcomes. Please study the issue, because independent redistricting will lead to both a de-facto Republican gerrymander and could potentially harm racial representation. Maryland's residential segregation patterns will not easily lend themselves to drawing more "square" or blind districts. Not to mention, readers should keep in mind that independent line drawing for 8 out of 435 Congressional Districts is folly. It has got to be all or nothing. Believe me that many of those complaining about "gerrymandering" are shedding crocodile tears and have said nothing about the ridiculous GOP gerrymanders that have been sweeping through the South and eliminating Democratic seats in state after state. So Maryland Juice voted against Question 5 and wants to see a map re-drawn that factors in the interests of the party base. Moreover, a new map should not disadvantage Montgomery Democrats, and at a minimum would allow the party to stick John Delaney's house into CD6.

If you live in Montgomery County:
  • VOTE FOR QUESTION A - Disability Hiring - Question A is common sense, as it would expand hiring opportunities for disabled individuals.
  • VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE ON QUESTION B - Montgomery County Police Union Effects Bargaining Repeal - I'm not sure it makes sense for me to explain how I voted on this measure, as the matter seems to be confounding many people. The only thing I will say is this: I don't like the idea that my tax dollars can go to referenda lobbying. How much should the County be allowed to spend on this? Who decides? Do we get a say? Why stop at Question B, why not spend on the other issues? Would we be cool with Blaine Young spending money against the Dream Act in Frederick? Should the state legislature then spend money defending the laws it passed? I think County Executive Ike Leggett is setting a terrible precedent in Montgomery County by spending so many staff and monetary resources on referendum advocacy. Meanwhile, his personal campaign account was flush with funds at last check. Why didn't he just pay for this with his campaign account? I think Montgomery County residents should be very concerned about the fact that the government has been spending money on referenda advertising this cycle.

Thanks for reading!
 - Juice

Saturday, November 3, 2012

National Harbor Developers Paid $271,515 to Defeat Marriage Equality & Dream Act / PAYBACK: VOTE AGAINST QUESTION 7

TIT FOR TAT: GAMBLING SUPPORTERS ARE URGING 
VOTES AGAINST MARRIAGE EQUALITY & DREAM ACT

TIME TO DECLARE WAR ON GAMBLING INDUSTRY IN MARYLAND: Maryland Juice is declaring war on gambling expansion and urging all readers to "vote against" Question 7 on Tuesday, November 6. After it is defeated at the ballot box, let's also make sure the expansion bill dies in all future legislative sessions

I had already been planning on releasing a short voter guide about the ballot questions, and I will still do so tomorrow. But right now I am completely incensed by the latest callous shenanigans from those who are "for" Question 7. As far as they are concerned, nothing is more important than rolling out more casinos in Maryland -- nothing at all. Look at the latest voter guide that pro-gambling expansion forces are mailing out, including the insensitive/nativist-style image of a family running:



PETERSON DEVELOPMENT COMPANY FINANCES OPPOSITION TO MARRIAGE EQUALITY & DREAM ACT: The developers of National Harbor, Peterson Development Company, are trying to bring a casino to Prince George's County, and yesterday they spent $271,515 to create a new group to promote gambling expansion (Question 7), and defeat marriage equality (Question 6) and the Dream Act: (Question 4). They registered a new front-group called "Republican Leaders Referendum Guide" -- one of seven groups registered to campaign on Question 7 (gambling expansion):



Peterson Development Company dropped $271,515 into this voter education effort, according to last-minute financial disclosures to the Board of Elections:


Milt Peterson - National Harbor Developer

SURPRISE: NEW PRO-GAMBLING GOP VOTER GUIDE EMERGES - Just minutes ago on Twitter, I stumbled across a new "Republican Voter Guide" that features former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele and former MD GOP Party Chair Audrey Scott endorsing a "vote for" gambling expansion and a "vote against" marriage equality and the Dream Act:


Red Maryland blogger Brian Griffiths confirmed that the piece carries an authority line from the new Peterson-backed GOP group:



Note that we previously published a letter to voters from Steele and Scott (yes, the two of them again) telling voters to "vote for" gambling expansion. But that letter was paid for by a group called "FOR Maryland Jobs and Schools."

PRO-QUESTION 7 FINANCIERS DON'T CARE ABOUT MARYLAND: The ballot question contests in Maryland may come down to razor-thin margins, and any spending by outside groups against Questions 4 and 6 is a threat.

After purchasing an unprecedented special legislative session in Maryland, supporters of gambling expansion are now willing to throw the Dream Act & marriage equality under the bus as collateral damage. This is yet another piece of evidence that those financing the casino expansion push aren't motivated by the concerns of ordinary Marylanders. Just look at the backers of question 7, and you'll see lots of people who are well-known for caring about Maryland. Take magician David Copperfield, for example; or boxer Oscar De La Hoya; and if that's not convincing enough, how about the Washington Redskins, who are owned by the Romney-backing man of the people, Dan Snyder.

Indeed, for pro-Question 7 financiers, working with Democrats is purely a transactional experience and just "part of the job." But apparently Democrats in Maryland did not put any conditions on their support for casino expansion, and so the industry feels it can freely spend money against referenda that some have been working very hard to advance. Ish don't think so.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM TIME: FIREWALL MARYLAND FROM SPECIAL INTERESTS: After the November elections, it is clearly time for campaign finance reform in Maryland. The special interest spending we are currently witnessing is an embarrassment in a one-party state, but especially where the one-party is the Democratic Party. Not to mention, we should not forget that we have a serious problem when a pair of companies can purchase an unprecedented special session in Maryland, and use it to advance an issue that was the priority of only a small number of very powerful politicians. It's time for a #CleanSlate.

Reject Special Interest Ownership of Maryland Politics:
VOTE AGAINST QUESTION 7

DIRECT MAIL: Gov. Martin O'Malley and Baltimore, PG, MoCo & Howard Democratic Executives Urge "Vote For All" Referenda

Yesterday Maryland Juice reported that a new Democratic-aligned group materialized out of nowhere and was endorsing a "vote for all" the ballot questions. The sample ballot, from a group called "Forward Maryland" urged voters to support not only marriage equality (Question 6) and the Dream Act (Question 4), but also Maryland's congressional districts (Question 5) and gambling expansion (Question 7).

It turns out the operation is not faceless. Today, Maryland Juice received a direct mail sample ballot from the group, but they are now calling it the "Official Recommendations of Governor Martin O'Malley and Maryland's Leading Democrats." The mailer below also includes the faces of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, Prince George's Executive Rushern Baker, and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman:

See the full direct mail piece below:
SAMPLE BALLOT: Gov. O'Malley & Democratic Executives Urge Vote For All Questions


IKE LEGGETT DEFENDING MOCO VALUES?: Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, for what its worth, is also appearing on straight-up "vote for" Question 7 direct mail pieces promoting Maryland gambling expansion. See an excerpt from a postcard that arrived at my house yesterday:

Friday, November 2, 2012

TV AD // Comptroller Peter Franchot: "I've Seen a Lot of Whoppers About Tax Policy, But Nothing Like Question 7"

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot is turning up the rhetoric a few notches in the Question 7 battle. The 2014 gubernatorial candidate has been a strong opponent of the push for gambling expansion this year, and as a result he has landed himself in a few television advertisements. His latest scorching of the "vote for" Question 7 side is featured prominently in a new television ad urging a "vote against" Question 7. Watch below:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

VIDEOS: MoCo Police Union Airs TV Ad Against Question B with Fallen Cop's Wife // PLUS: New Ad Against Casino Expansion

Below Maryland Juice readers can watch two new television ads regarding the heated November ballot questions. The first spot below is from Montgomery County's police union (FOP Lodge 35) and features the wife of a fallen officer urging voters to "vote against" MoCo Question B (repeal of police union "effects bargaining" rights). The second ad is the latest salvo from the "vote against" Question 7 folks (aka the side against gambling expansion):



Watch the following ad against gambling expansion (Question 7):

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

POLL RESULTS: New Goucher Survey Shows Majority Support Marriage Equality, Dream Act & Gambling // READ FINDINGS

BACKGROUND: A Maryland Juice source has forwarded us the inaugural poll results from Goucher College's inaugural "Goucher Poll." The Baltimore-based school will now be polling Marylanders on a variety of topics and periodically releasing results. Their first surveys, not surprisingly, capture opinion on several items on Maryland's Presidential Election ballot.

OBAMA-ROMNEY APPROVAL RATINGS: Goucher surveyed Marylanders on Obama-Romney approval ratings, and not surprisingly, the President remains popular in the Free State:
  • 60% of Marylanders view Obama favorably
  • 64% of Marylanders view Romney unfavorably

O'MALLEY APPROVAL RATINGS: As for Governor Martin O'Malley:
  • 45% view the Governor favorably
  • 36% view the Governor unfavorably

BALLOT QUESTION RESULTS: But the the survey results on a few key issues in Maryland are a bit interesting. First, Goucher's poll confirms a sizeable lead in support for both marriage equality (Question 6) and the Dream Act (Question 4). But surprisingly, they are showing that a majority of respondents favor gambling expansion (Question 7). Other polls had been showing a more even divide on this question. Notably, 87% of Marylanders have reported seeing the endless array of gambing ads on television. See a summary of the results below:
  • Gambling Expansion (Question 7): 50% For vs. 44% Against
  • Marriage Equality (Question 6): 55% For vs. 39% Against
  • Dream Act (Question 4): 57% For vs. 39% Against

PIT-BULL RULING: Goucher also asked respondents to weigh in on whether they agreed or disagreed with the Maryland court ruling that pit bulls are "inherently dangerous."
  • Ruling Pit Bulls "Inherently Dangerous": 42% Agree vs. 52% disagree

See the Goucher poll results below:
Goucher Ballot Question & Pit Bull Poll Results

Goucher Obama-Romney-O'Malley Approval Ratings

Friday, October 26, 2012

Actress Eva Longoria Launches Robocall Urging MD Gambling Expansion // Desperate Housewife Urges "Vote For" Question 7

Maryland Juice reader Howard Gorrell sends us word that "Desperate Housewives" actress Eva Longoria is robocalling Free State voters asking them to support gambling expansion (Question 7). He sends us the following message from an anonymous Facebook user:
ANONYMOUS FACEBOOK USER: Want another great reason to vote AGANIST question 7?? My daughter that lives in Manchester, MD received a ro-bo call from EVA LONGORIA.....advising her to vote FOR question 7. Someone please tell me why this person that has no ties to Maryland (or none that I am aware of) would be making a call in favor or a bill that will have no impact on her?? Sounds like BIG money trying to strong arm us again!!! VOTE AGAINST QUESTION 7....even if Eva tells you not to!!!!

The robocall generated a puzzled response from Karen O'Keefe at the Montgomery County Media website (mymcmedia.org). See an excerpt from her column below:
MONTGOMERY COUNTY MEDIA: Why Does Eva Longoria Want Me to Vote “Yes” on Question 7? Just when I thought I’d heard it all, read it all and scrutinized it all about Question 7 – Maryland’s Expanded Gaming Referendum – and I had just about decided to vote “No” because I can’t see expanding the state’s economic reliance on gambling…

The unexpected happened. Eva Longoria called to ask for my “Yes” vote on 7.

Eva Longoria! Eva Longoria who was nominated for a Golden Globe – Best Actress in a Comedy Series in 2006  – for Desperate Housewives.... She’s from Texas, she probably lives in L.A. – when was the last time she even came to Maryland?

They paid her, right?.... Sorry Eva, I say “no” to 7.

Eva Longoria isn't the only celebrity launching pro-gambling robocalls into Maryland. Voters have reported receiving messages from boxer Oscar De La Hoya and magician David Copperfield.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

VIDEO: Anti-Gambling Ad Features Comptroller Peter Franchot: "It Is a Lie to Say New Casino Will Bring New Education Dollars"

Below Maryland Juice provides the latest TV ad from opponents of gambling expansion. The spot below urges a "vote against" Question 7 and features Comptroller Peter Franchot's criticism of the effort:
PETER FRANCHOT: It is a lie to say that the existing slots program or the new casino that’s proposed in Question 7 will bring in new education dollars.

The key claim in the ad is that if question 7 passes, there is no guarantee that gambling revenue will be used for education spending:

Saturday, October 20, 2012

TODAY: Delegates Anne Kaiser & Heather Mizeur Debate MD Gambling // PLUS: New Poll Shows Question 7 Deadlock

ALSO: Delegate Kathleen Dumais Debates Leader of Marriage Equality Opposition

BALLOT QUESTION DEBATES: This afternoon MoCo residents can attend an interesting set of debates about two of Maryland's heated ballot question battles. The League of Women Voters of Maryland, The University of MD School of Public Policy, and The Norman and Florence Brody Public Policy Forum are hosting a faceoff between supporters and opponents of gambling expansion and marriage equality. Of note is what promises to be an interesting matchup between Delegates Anne Kaiser and Heather Mizeur on the gambling expansion debate (Question 7). The other debate features Del. Kathleen Dumais taking on the head of Maryland's anti-marriage equality campaign.  See the details below:
A Pro and Con Panel Discussion of Ballot Question 6 -- Civil Marriage Protection Act and Ballot Question 7 -- Gaming Expansion

Saturday, October 20, 2012
3:00 pm -- 5:00 pm 
Friendship Heights Village Center
4433 South Park Ave, Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Hourly parking (free on weekends) is available at the Courtyard Marriott open platform parking lot (4), accessed off of The Hills Plaza

Moderator: Douglas J. Besharov, Professor at UMD School of Public Policy

Civil Marriage Protection Act:
  • For - Delegate Kathleen Dumais, MD House of Delegates since 2003
  • Opposed - Derek McCoy, Executive Director of the Maryland    Marriage Alliance
Gaming Expansion:
  • For - Delegate Anne Kaiser, MD House of Delegates since 2003
  • Opposed - Delegate Heather Mizeur, MD House of Delegates since 2007

Sponsored by
: The League of Women Voters of Maryland, The University of MD School of Public Policy, and The Norman and Florence Brody Public Policy Forum

NEW POLL SHOWS CLOSE RACE FOR GAMBLING EXPANSION - QUESTION 7: The Washington Post released results of a recent poll on Maryland gambling expansion. Their results show an extremely close race that is currently leaning against gambling expansion:
WASHINGTON POST: Maryland voters are sharply divided over a ballot proposal that would allow a Las Vegas-style casino in Prince George’s County, according to a Washington Post poll that shows widespread doubt that the measure would boost education funding as advertised.

Among likely voters, 46 percent say they favor Question 7, while 48 percent say they oppose the measure, which would also allow table games, such as blackjack and roulette, at the state’s five previously authorized slots sites.

Friday, October 19, 2012

SCANNED DOC: Lt. Gov. Michael Steele & Former GOP Chair Audrey Scott Endorse Maryland Gambling Effort (Question 7)

Yesterday, a Maryland Juice reader in Montgomery County received the direct mail letter below. The message comes from two prominent Republicans, former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele and former Maryland GOP Chair Audrey Scott. The letter claims credit for gambling in Maryland as a Republican effort: "Ten years ago, when gaming (slots) was first introduced to the State Capital by Governor Bob Ehrlich, we were enthusiastic supporters, as were most Republicans."

The "vote for" Question 7 endorsement from the Republicans comes on the heels of support from magician David Copperfield and boxer Oscar De La Hoya. Read the full letter below:

DIRECT MAIL: Lt. Gov. Michael Steele & Audrey Scott Endorse Gambling Expansion

Thursday, October 18, 2012

ENDORSEMENTS: Montgomery County Teachers (MCEA) Release 2012 Apple Ballot Recommendations

For years, Montgomery County's teachers union (MCEA) has organized a sample ballot to be distributed at polling locations on election day. This year is no different, and below you can see what recommendations the teachers will be handing out on their "apple ballot." Note that earlier this week, Maryland Juice published a purple "school bus" ballot from MoCo's public school employees union SEIU. The apple ballot and school bus ballot differ on two matters: the District 2 Board of Education race and gambling. SEIU backs Rebecca Smondrowski in District 2 and also came out "for" Question 7 (gambling expansion). In contrast, the teachers are backing Fred Evans in District 2 and made no recommendation on gambling. Note: voters throughout Montgomery County can vote in all of the Board of Education races.
Montgomery County Teachers (MCEA) 2012 Apple Ballot

JuiceBlender: Marriage Equality Leads New Poll, Cardin's $2 Million War Chest, New Anti-Gambling Ad & Youths Get Active

Here's a random blend of political tidbits from recent news, starting with the latest poll results in Maryland's marriage equality battle (Question 6):

JUICE #1: MARRIAGE EQUALITY LEADS 52% TO 43% The Washington Post recently commissioned a poll on Question 6 (marriage equality), and they revealed their results this morning. So far, the pro-civil rights forces continue to lead the way, and Montgomery County (no surprise) is the most supportive County (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Maryland voters are leaning toward legalizing same-sex marriage next month, something that has never happened at the ballot box anywhere in the nation, a new Washington Post poll finds.

A ballot question on whether to uphold a state law allowing gay nuptials is favored 52 percent to 43 percent among likely voters, according to the poll, reflecting a long-term trend toward greater acceptance of gay unions that has included President Obama’s backing this year....

Across the state, support is highest in Montgomery County, where 65 percent of likely voters back the measure and 31 percent oppose it....

Age also plays a big factor in Marylanders’ views of same-sex marriage. Sixty-four percent of those 18 to 39 support Question 6. That drops to 51 percent of those ages 40 to 64, and 40 percent of those 65 and older.

Maryland Juice's key takeaway -- pro-marriage equality forces need high turnout in Montgomery County and among younger voters. Don't let us down young people/MoCo -- it's time for a generational & regional shift in Maryland politics!


JUICE #2: SEN. BEN CARDIN AMASSES $2 MILLION CASH ON HAND  -  U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, who was last reported to have a comfortable lead over his challengers, now reports $2 million cash on hand as we hit the homestretch. Cardin has faced an onslaught of television advertising from independent candidate Rob Sobhani, who has the ability to self-finance massive television buys. See the press release below:

PRESS RELEASE

CARDIN ENTERS FINAL WEEKS OF CAMPAIGN 2012 WITH
$2 MILLION CASH ON HAND

Baltimore, MD – With his new television ad already on the air throughout Maryland, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) announced that he is ready for the final weeks of his re-election campaign with $2,001,860 cash-on-hand as of September 30. During this third quarter of 2012, Senator Cardin raised $621,875 bringing his cycle-to-date total to $6,347,868.

Senator Cardin has received nearly 13,000 individual contributions over the course of this election cycle, with more than half of those being less than $200.

###

If you want to get a taste of the U.S. Senate battle, today WBAL uploaded videos of all three candidates on the campaign trail. Below you can watch footage of Ben Cardin, Rob Sobhani and Dan Bongino seeking votes in Maryland:







JUICE #3: MARYLAND YOUTHS GET POLITICAL WITH VAN HOLLEN, HOYER & MORE  -  Numerous youth-driven political organizations are getting active this political cycle, including a few new entities. A Maryland Juice reader tipped us off to a relatively new group called Our Time, which is currently featuring videos from two Free State U.S. House members: Rep. Chris Van Hollen & Rep. Steny Hoyer.

Our Time's mission statement highlights a unique goal: "to combine the voting and purchasing power of young Americans so that politicians and businesses represent our needs better.  Currently, they are not doing a good job."





NEXT GENERATION MARYLAND: Meanwhile, some of the key student activists who organized opposition to a Montgomery County youth curfew last year have also launched a voter engagement effort. Their group, Next Generation Maryland, has a message for other young voters:
NEXT GENERATION MARYLAND: We want you to rock the progressive youth vote Marriage equality and the Maryland DREAM Act will both be on the ballot in November. The rights of your fellow Marylanders hinge on these crucial votes. Next Generation Maryland aims to mobilize the youth vote to protect these landmark pieces of legislation.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY STUDENT COALITION: Lastly, Montgomery County high school students are now launching an effort to activate and mobilize students for policy changes in Annapolis, and the Montgomery County County Council and school board. Their effort is called the "Montgomery County Student Coalition," and it appears that one of their top priorities is pushing for full voting rights for the student member of MoCo's Board of Education (excerpt below):
MOCO STUDENT COALITION: Full voting rights for Montgomery County’s Student Member Of The Board of Education is closer than ever to becoming a reality. For 35 years, the student who occupies the eighth seat at the Board table has been left without a vote on such critical matters as the budget, collective bargaining, school openings/closings, issues of redistricting/boundaries, and negative personnel. MC 9-12, a bill that reverses this original certitude now has a renewed chance to become reality this year.

JUICE #4: NEW TELEVISION AD FROM GAMBLING EXPANSION OPPONENTS  -  The forces opposing Maryland's Question 7 (gambling expansion) are out with a new television advertisement. In the spot below, the advocates continue to try and undermine the idea that more gambling in Maryland will lead to increased education funding. Watch below:



Meanwhile, Maryland Juice has heard from one reader that boxer Oscar De La Hoya has launched a robocall promoting gambling expansion in Maryland. Hmm.