Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Attorney General Doug Gansler Accuses Lt. Governor Anthony Brown of "Trading" Domestic Violence Bill for Insider Favors

Maryland Juice just received the following press release from the gubernatorial campaign of Attorney General Doug Gansler accusing rival candidate Anthony Brown of sinking domestic violence legislation to curry favor with Annapolis insiders:



SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND -- As a member of the House of Delegates, Anthony Brown withdrew a bill he wrote to help combat domestic violence after being appointed Vice Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.  He said at the time in 2003, “I just don't think in my first year as a vice chairman I should introduce a bill that's going to pit me against my Chairman,” Del Vallario who opposed his bill. (Daily Record, January 4, 2003)

Delegate and Lt. Gov. Candidate Jolene Ivey, a strong advocate for combating domestic violence, pointed out that “Lieutenant Governor Brown says in this campaign that he will combat domestic violence, but in the House of Delegates he chose to cave to insider pressures instead of protecting women and families.  This is a pattern with the Lieutenant Governor – he plays to the powerful and special interests at the expense of the people of Maryland.”

Brown’s failure on domestic violence is particularly glaring because it came after a series of high profile cases that made clear the need for reform and change. 

In 2000, after a highly publicized case in which a judge reduced the sentence of a cop killer, then Delegate Anthony Brown introduced legislation limiting a judge’s authority to reconsider a sentence to one year after sentencing except in extraordinary circumstances. (Washington Post, February 4, 2001). In 2001, Brown reintroduced this legislation, offering testimony from a rape victim who was not notified when her attacker went back to court and had his seven-year prison term wiped off the books, as well as testimony from a battered wife whose ex-husband pleaded guilty to second-degree assault after beating their son, was ordered to stay away from his family and surrendered 13 guns to federal authorities, and 14 months later the judge erased his conviction.  (Baltimore Sun, March 14, 2001)

But in 2003, after being placed on the committee that had jurisdiction to actually move his legislation, he chose to not take on the Chairman of the committee and dropped his legislation initiative.

That May, just a month after the close of the legislative session, a former convict was arrested in the stabbing death of his girlfriend, nearly 20 months after he was paroled from a reduced prison sentence for fatally shooting his wife. (Washington Post, May 23, 2003)

“He traded buddying up to the chairman over protecting the victims of domestic violence.  The women and families of Maryland will not let him get away with standing here today to pontificate about domestic violence when his past shows he abused our trust on this issue,” said Ivey.

Brown’s failure on this issue stands in stark contrast with . 

"I can count on one hand the number of times the Lieutenant Governor showed up in seven years for the Governor’s Family Violence Council meetings, despite being on the committee. I should know I chair the committee,” said Gansler.


JUICE: AFL-CIO Endorses Frosh for Attorney General, B'more AG Debate, Delaney Funds Minimum Wage Hike & Day of Dead

Below Maryland Juice provides a round-up of news items that may be of interest to politicos:

JUICE #1: AFL-CIO ENDORSES SEN. BRIAN FROSH FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL // DEL. BILL FRICK BLAMES SENATE PRESIDENT MIKE MIILLER - . Dresser's article also includes commentary from the rival campaign of Delegate Bill Frick accusing Senate President Mike Miller of orchestrating the labor union endorsement (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: The Maryland and District of Columbia AFL-CIO has thrown its support behind Sen. Brian E. Frosh for the Democratic nomination attorney general, giving the Montgomery County lawmaker a potentially important boost in his primary contest....

"This is really Mike Miller's endorsement," [a spokesman for Delegate Bill Frick Andrew] Feldman said of the Calvert County Democrat, who has served as head of the Senate for 26 years.... "Some unions chose not to risk what would have happened to them politically if they made the right choice," Feldman said.

Frick's spokesman said the AFL-CIO made the endorsement over the objections of its Building Trades member unions -- a statement confirmed by Chuck Graham, business agent of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 26 in the Washington area....

A spokesman for Miller could not be reached to comment, but [AFL-CIO President Fred] Mason said the Senate president did not exert pressure on labor to back Frosh....

JUICE #2: ATTORNEY GENERAL CANDIDATES DEBATE IN BALTIMORE THU 11/7 - The University of Maryland's School of Law is hosting a candidates forum for the four Democratic candidates for Attorney General: Del. Aisha Braveboy, Del. Jon Cardin, Del. Bill Frick & Sen. Brian Frosh. The event will be next Thursday, November 7th at 5:00 pm - 500 W Baltimore St, Baltimore, MD 21201 (details and RSVP link below):
November 7, 2013 | 5:00 p.m.

Join us for the first open forum among all four confirmed 
Democratic candidates for Maryland Attorney General.

Free and open to the public.
Doors open at 4:30 p.m. - Forum starts promptly at 5:00 p.m.
Reception (6:15 p.m. - 7 p.m.) with available candidates immediately following.

This student-initiated forum will feature a 45 minute moderated discussion, featuring pre-approved questions submitted by the public, followed by a 15 minute question and answer session, with students from UM Carey Law addressing the candidates.

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
Find complete information and register online at:


Maryland State Delegate | District 25, Prince George's County

Maryland State Delegate | District 11, Baltimore County

Maryland State Delegate | District 16, Montgomery County

Maryland State Senator | District 16, Montgomery County

Submit a Question:
Do you have a question for the candidates? Tweet us!
Send us your question on twitter using #CareyLawAGF -- it is as easy as that! Don't have a twitter account? Or need more than 140 characters? You can also send an e-mail to MarylandLaw.AG. or post to

Organized and Sponsored By:
-  University Student Government Association
-  The Class of 2015
- The University of Maryland Association of Legislative Law
- The Republican Legal Society
- The University of Maryland Law Democrats

JUICE #3: REP. JOHN DELANEY TO BANKROLL ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS CAMPAIGN FOR MARYLAND MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE - Maryland Juice received the following press release from Raise Maryland (the coalition advocating for a state minimum wage increase), indicating that Congressman John Delaney will be funding an online outreach campaign for the organization:


Backing from U.S. Rep. John Delaney for Raise Maryland campaign 
will build constituent communications capacity

COLLEGE PARK -- Support to increase Maryland’s minimum wage continues to grow as Raise Maryland, the coalition working to raise the state’s rate, has received funding from U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-MD6) and his wife April to build on the coalition’s digital constituent communications capacity.

Rep. Delaney’s support will be used to engage low-wage workers and their supporters via email, social media and texting, along with an enhanced campaign website, to ensure that their voices are heard by their elected representatives and the general public. Raise Maryland will also create a rapid response system to mobilize Marylanders to show their support for raising the wage before and during the 2014 Maryland General Assembly. The effort is projected to actively involve more than 60,000 state residents in actions ranging from writing letters, lobbying in districts and Annapolis and speaking out about raising the minimum wage in the media.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that Congress will not act on many issues of critical importance to working Americans, including raising the minimum wage,” said U.S. Rep. John Delaney. “My constituents need and deserve higher pay for their work and Maryland can use the economic boost that comes with raising the wage. Importantly, based on my two decades of experience as a job creator in the private sector, I believe that raising the minimum wage is also good for Maryland businesses, which will benefit from increased demand and greater productivity. Action has to come at the state level and that is why I am supporting the Raise Maryland campaign and their work to bring our state to a higher standard for our workers.”

The proposed legislation would raise Maryland’s minimum wage in three steps to $10.10 per hour by 2016 and index it to the cost of living thereafter so that it doesn’t lose value over time. The legislation also incorporates an increase for tipped workers (from 50 percent to 70 percent of the prevailing minimum wage).

“Raise Maryland is grateful and energized by this support and leadership from Rep. Delaney and his wife April,” said Ricarra Jones, chair of the Raise Maryland coalition. “We know that Marylanders are overwhelmingly in favor of raising the minimum wage. This funding gives everyone a voice and a platform to communicate and express their needs and goals to our elected officials.”

Momentum is building for Maryland to increase the state’s minimum wage. The Baltimore City Council, Montgomery County Council and the Charles County Board of Commissioners have all passed resolutions calling for a minimum wage of at least $10 an hour and indexing and each of the Democratic 2014 gubernatorial candidates have announced their support for a raise.

Research has found that approximately 472,000 Marylanders would benefit from the increase, putting $466 million more in their pockets in the next two years. At the same time, businesses would benefit from nearly half a billion dollars in new consumer spending and would create more than 4,000 new full-time jobs as they expand to meet increased demand.

Raise Maryland is a diverse coalition of business, civil rights, community, faith, immigrant and labor, organizations united to pass a statewide minimum wage increase indexed to inflation.


JUICE #4: ACTIVISTS ORGANIZE "DAY OF THE DEAD" PROTEST TO URGE MD U.S. HOUSE MEMBERS TO END TORTURE TRAINING FOR LATIN AMERICAN SOLDIERS - Activists from the organization School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) are gearing up once again to try and shut down the U.S. government's torture and military training facility for Latin American soldiers (aka the School of the Americas). This Friday, several Maryland members of Congress will be visited by advocates urging them to support a bill () to suspend operations at the School of the Americas, and so far Rep. Donna Edwards is the only Maryland U.S. House member signed on as a sponsor. As a result, SOAW will be presenting Edwards with the following :
Dear Representative Donna Edwards,

We the undersigned 4th District voters want to sincerely thank you for becoming an original co-sponsor of the Latin America Military Training Review Act for the 113th Congress. It means a lot to me, your other constituents, and people throughout this hemisphere to be able to count on leaders like yourself who are truly committed to democratic values, transparency, human rights, and respect towards our Latin American neighbors.

As the ongoing human rights violations by SOA/WHINSEC graduates in Honduras and the recent suicide of Chilean Gen. Odlanier Mena (trained at the SOA in 1970 and convicted for ordering the deaths of three civilians in 1973) demonstrate, we need to stop spending our tax dollars on the School of the Americas SOA/WHINSEC, an institution that does great harm to the people of Latin America - as well as the reputation of the United States.

Thank you for your conscientiousness and leadership in our movement for peace and human rights.
while highlighting recent efforts to close the school that have come close to succeeding in Congress (excerpt below):
WIKIPEDIA: The US Army School of the Americas was founded in 1946. From 1961 (during the Kennedy administration), the School was assigned the specific Cold War goal of teaching "anti-communist" counterinsurgency training to military personnel of Latin American countries. At the time and in those places, "communists" was, in the words of anthropologist Lesley Gill, "... an enormously elastic category that could accommodate almost any critic of the status quo...."

As the Cold War drew to a close around 1990, United States foreign policy shifted focus from "anti-communism" to the War on Drugs, with narcoguerillas replacing "communists". This term was later replaced by "the more ominous sounding 'terrorist'".

In 2005 a bill to abolish the institute, with 134 cosponsors, was introduced to the House Armed Services Committee. In June 2007, the McGovern/Lewis Amendment to shut off funding for the Institute failed by six votes. This effort to close the Institute was endorsed by the nonpartisan Council on Hemispheric Affairs, which described the Institute as a "black eye" for America....
SOAW is organizing visits to the Congressional offices of Elijah Cummings, John Delaney, and John Sarbanes to drum up support for HR 2989, and they'll be organizing a protest this Friday, November 1st (aka the Day of the Dead). (excerpt below):
SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS WATCH: School of the Americas has been historically dubbed the “School of Assassins”.... Since 1946, the SOA has trained over 64,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. These graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and forced into refugee by those trained at the School of Assassins....
Below you can see the flyer for the protest march that will occur after the activists have visited with members of Congress from Maryland and Virginia:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Doug Gansler Says "Whether You Have a Boy or Girl" Makes a Difference for Teen Drinking // Del. Mizeur Condemns Remark

regarding his Beach Week teen drinking controversy. In her article, Cox flags some inadvisable remarks from Attorney General Gansler stating that whether you have a "boy or a girl" makes a difference for teen drinking (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN:  At a Silver Spring diner last week, as Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler sat with reporters and considered a photo of himself standing amid a teenage party, one of the diner’s owners approached the table....
He took the opportunity to draw the woman into the discussion, asking whether she had children, and whether she would have intervened.... “You know, I might actually make that phone call.” Gansler shrugged, and before he resumed arguing that he had no moral responsibility for other people’s children, remarked: “It also has to do with whether you have a boy or a girl.”
HEATHER MIZEUR WEIGHS IN & GANSLER CAMPAIGN RESPONDS: , as well as a response from the Gansler campaign (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: In newly reported comments Monday, Maryland gubernatorial candidate Douglas F. Gansler said parents might view underage drinking differently depending on the gender of their child, a sentiment that drew a sharp rebuke from one of his rivals....

Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery), who is also seeking the Democratic nomination in June, said she was “deeply troubled” by Gansler’s comments..... Gansler campaign spokesman Bob Wheelock later said “some people are trying to twist Doug’s words. Doug believes that as parents, we need to commit ourselves to preventing underage drinking for all of our children, boys and girls,” Wheelock said. “Period....”
Below you can read the full press release from Heather Mizeur slamming Doug Gansler's latest Beach Week commentary and asking him to clarify his remarks:

Mizeur on Gansler’s ‘Boy or a Girl’ Comment

SILVER SPRING, Maryland — Today, a Baltimore Sun article reported disturbing new comments from Attorney General Doug Gansler regarding a party that included underage drinking. The Sun reported that, after discussing the issue with another parent who said she might have called police to shut the party down if her daughter had been involved, ‘Gansler shrugged, and before he resumed arguing that he had no moral responsibility for other people's children, remarked: 'It also has to do with whether you have a boy or a girl.’"

Delegate Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery) released the following statement:

"The safety of each and every child is paramount. I am deeply troubled that Attorney General Gansler appears to be saying that the safety of some children is more important than that of others, or that young girls need guidance and protection from their parents and other trusted adults that boys do not. Adults have a responsibility to look out for kids regardless of gender. The dangers of underage and binge drinking have been well-documented, and for the Attorney General to suggest that it's only a problem for young women, as he appears to be doing, is tragically wrong and indicates that he doesn't understand the larger issues at stake here. I hope Doug will clarify his remarks with respect to this issue, as this is not the example any responsible adult ought to be setting for young people."


Saturday, October 26, 2013

VIDEO FOOTAGE: Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler's Appearance at Beach Week Party With Underage Drinking

Thanks to this morning, Maryland Juice was able to locate a video of Attorney General Doug Gansler's appearance at a controversial "beach week" party with underage drinking:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Another Doug Gansler Beach Week Photo Emerges as Underage Drinking Debate Goes National // Twerking, Tweets & Analysis

UPDATE:  Will this ever end??  In a blistering TV segment today, . They are claiming that: beer and hard alcohol were being visibly consumed, the house reeked of beer, Gansler was taking photos, and he was there for more than a minute:

ORIGINAL POST: Yesterday Maryland Juice discussed the crazy new story from The Baltimore Sun breaking news that gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler was photographed at a wild party with rampant underage drinking and allegations of up to $50,000 of property damage. Below we provide multiple updates and analyses of the controversy, including a new photo from the beach week party, a response from Gansler, several national media stories, and some more serious pro/con analysis toward the end of the post. It should be noted that this story has gone viral, and in the course of a single 24-hour-period, it is now on Maryland Juice's list of our all-time top five read posts. Annoyingly, the Gansler story bumped our report on Delegate Sam Arora's marriage equality flip-flop out of our "top five" list.

JUICE #1: ABC NEWS RELEASES ANOTHER DOUG GANSLER BEACH WEEK PHOTO // ATTORNEY GENERAL WATCHING A TWERKING SHOW? - Yesterday, . But towards the end of their , they published yet another photo of the Attorney General at the underage beach week party. I don't know about you, but in this second party pic, it looks like Gansler is watching the table-top twerking show (I guess it would be hard not to be distracted by the sight of this going on):

Maryland Juice is going to admit how lame he sometimes is on pop-culture, as I had not heard of the term "twerking" until Miley Cyrus pushed the word into the national consciousness with her own dance performance last summer ():

Now here's the instant replay if you missed it the first time (Note: we added the yellow circles to the ABC news screencap):

JUICE #2: GANSLER ADDRESSES BEACH WEEK DRINKING CONTROVERSY AT PRESS CONFERENCE // MEDIA DISSECTS HIS RESPONSES - Shortly after the release of on Gansler's beach week cameo, his campaign announced a press conference to address the controversy.

The Washington Post carried of the well-attended event, as well as some post-press conference commentary. In the video segment below, one reporter pretty aggressively confronted Gansler with a copy of the original beach week photo.

But in his comments, Gansler suggested he maybe should've acted differently, maintained he didn't know what was in the red Solo cups ("Kool Aid" perhaps?), denied knowing how to take photos with his phone at the time, and more:

Maryland Juice watched yesterday as the story went viral, and media figures from around the nation started weighing in. But some of the more interesting commentary has come from journalists within the Beltway region. The Washington Post's team of reporters have had much to say about this story, and today :
CLINTON YATES (VIA WASHINGTON POST): I don't have a huge problem with Doug Gansler, but what he did yesterday was intellectually bogus. Yesterday, after a photo was published that showed him at a Delaware house party, he held a presser. He pointed out that it's not really his job to police what goes on at Beach Week, because it's in Delaware. Personally, I don't take a major stance against his decision. Professionally, however, it was not a smart move to enter that place.
"one of the more jaw-dropping and torturous political press conferences in recent memory." He then pulled a few Tweets from journalists covering Gansler's responses to the controversy. I screencapped a few of Blake's selections below:

And below you can see :

Indeed, Chris Cillizza followed-up on Amy Gardner's suggestion by re-posting his list of "The Fix’s best/worst political scandal press conferences" and suggested Gansler's inclusion on a list that includes Elliott Spitzer, Bill Clinton, Jim McGreevey, Anthony Weiner, and Mark Sanford. Oy vey!

JUICE #3: ONLINE MEDIA FIGURES DEFEND DOUG GANSLER'S PARENTING DECISIONS - While the raucous nature of Doug Gansler's beach week photos captured the attention of the national news media, a few voices have defended the Attorney General's parenting decisions. while a more serious piece on (excerpt below):
SLATE.COM: If his explanation is accurate, the plain fact is that Gansler and the other parents who helped organize their kids’ trip to the Eastern Shore were being entirely sensible. A group of parents rented a house for their sons the week after high school graduation—Beach Week, in Maryland schools parlance—and laid out an extremely well-thought-out set of rules for the boys....

There is of course a 100 percent chance that teenagers at Beach Week are going to drink and be idiots. As a parent, there are three ways to handle this situation: You can, understandably, forbid your children from attending at all. On the other side of the scale, you can just send your children off to Ocean City and hope their common sense will keep them out of trouble. Or you can make the tactical decision to oversee the festivities and keep things from getting out of hand: keep kids off the road, keep them out of each other’s pants, and keep them from doing shots. Would that all parents of teens were so “permissive”!....

Now of course there are things that are sort of damaging about the story. There’s the bum optics of Gansler and his fellow parents’ being rich enough to pony up for a very nice beach house for their fancy private-school kids.... And then there’s the photo itself, which is of course mortifying....

But it’s a nontroversy. Penalize Gansler because you don’t like his policies, or because he rubs you the wrong way, or because he apparently loves telling state troopers driving him around to run red lights. Don’t penalize him for being a sensible parent.
(excerpt below):
KRISTINE HENRY (VIA BALTIMORE SUN): I still can't decide if I'm outraged or nonplussed.... I don’t really want to say that I’m not sure what I would have done in that situation because that basically means admitting that if my kids were at a party where I had reason to suspect there was underage drinking, I might look the other way. And that would make me a horrible mom, right?...

Do you become That Parent, the one who’s super strict and known as a killjoy and who embarrasses his 19-year-old by pulling him out of a party because some people are drinking beer?.... So, now that I’ve admitted I’m not sure if I’m a drag or an enabler, tell me: What do you think Gansler should have done? And is it what you would have done, too, or does he need to be better than us?
If you're curious about the parenting decisions made by Gansler, established by the group of parents who rented the house for their kids (Note: hard liquor was prohibited, but no rules about beer & wine):

For what it's worth, many news outlets have been juxtaposing Gansler's beach week defense with a public service announcement (PSA) he taped a few weeks before the party, cautioning parents on teenage drinking. But one upshot to the controversy is that ! UPDATE: The PSA has now been made private and is not viewable on YouTube.

JUICE #4: BEACH HOUSE OWNER ALLEGES $50,000 OF DAMAGE BUT GANSLER SAYS IT WAS BURGLARS // MARYLAND JUICE DISSECTS THE POLICE REPORT - One under-discussed aspect to the story is that the Beach Week party in question may not have been just fun and games. that nobody has taken responsibility for (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Two days after the party, however, the house was in bad shape. Julie Barnes, who has for years cleaned the home after renters, said she arrived on June 15 to find the wooden floors rippled from moisture damage, dents that appeared to be made from high heels on the bar and pool table, and floors sticky from what smelled like beer. According to minutes of a South Bethany Town Council meeting where the vandalism was discussed, the house sustained about $50,000 worth of damage.

Police who investigated did not place blame on the Landon group and classified the damage as likely the result of a burglary that occurred sometime between Friday evening and Saturday when Barnes arrived to clean. The Landon group turned in their keys Friday afternoon, parents said....

Gansler said the parents assume that someone broke in and trashed the house after the boys checked out. "Apparently, the night before, the parents who were chaperoning it kicked kids out" because it was getting too crowded, Gansler said. "The thought was [the damage] was so malicious that they were trying to get revenge or back at the parents who were chaperoning for kicking them out...."
ANALYSIS OF THE POLICE REPORT: Based on a copy of , Maryland Juice thinks the idea that there was a burglary does not pass the straight face test. First, the police report indicates there was no forced entry into the beach house and theorizes that whoever caused the damage entered the house with a keypad code or because the house was left unlocked. Second, the only stolen item listed on the police report is a $50 "duck decoy." That is not exactly the type of item selected by burglars who are looking to fence stolen merchandise. They usually go for things you can easily sell on eBay or Craiglist (eg: bikes, computers, flat screen TV's, and iPods). A cheap duck decoy sounds like the kind of thing a wasted teenager would take, rather than a professional thief. Lastly, the police report indicates the house sustained damaged glass shower doors. Did the "burglars" decide to have a rock and roll moment before fleeing the scene of the crime? I flagged these unusual notations on the police report below:

Who should be responsible for the damage under this set of facts: the homeowner or the parents that rented a beach house to a bunch of teens, while witnessing a week of raging parties?

JUICE #5: THE JOKES BEGIN // TWO AMUSING TAKES ON THE DOUG GANSLER CONTROVERSY - I have to admit that I've begun feeling a little bad for Gansler. To be clear, much of what he's being accused of is not exactly a capital crime. But even still, I can't help but crack a grin at some of the media hilarity emanating from this story. , and yesterday placing Gansler in several famous but fictional wild parties. Here's their meme with Gansler in a scene from the film Superbad:

The Atlantic also got in on the joking with an article today headlined, "" (excerpt below):
ATLANTIC: Here, from a fresh college grad to parents out there, are the obvious signs of a party Gansler missed that could have saved him from criticism.
  • Red solo cups: As Toby Keith so delicately sang, the red solo cup is a staple of cheap American beer at houseparties. "There could be Kool-Aid in the red cups," Gansler posited to reporters, "but there's probably beer in the red cups." Probably is probably an understatement.
  • Grinding/twerking: Butt-on-lap grinding doesn't necessarily have to include alcohol; for kids these days, it could be at a pre-teen bar-mitzvah. But when that twerking is on top of a table? That's a good sign people have left sobriety behind. 
  • Beer pong table: Speaking of that table, it's in a perfect spot and the perfect length for a game of beer pong. Any centrally located tables should set off some drinking alarms. 
  • Male shirtlessness: As soon as the first drink goes down, bros love to take their shirts off. There are four shirtless guys in this photo — that's more than enough to start asking questions. 
  • American flag shorts: Even advertisers hoping to increase sign-ups for Obamacare knew that American flag shorts were a staple of young drinking bros. 
  • Hands in the air: Raised arms, the staple of awkward, drunk teens trying to dance, are in full glory in both photos.

JUICE #6: GANSLER SEEKS TO MOVE PAST BEACH WEEK STORY IN AN EMAIL BLAST TODAY - For what it's worth, Gansler is attempting to move past this latest controversy with a sort of mea culpa in an email blast today:

I am not known to mince words. For better or worse, I am not a smooth talking politician who scripts every word.

But when I make a mistake I own up to it.

The fact is that as a parent of a 19-year old, I face the same issues as many of you. How do we get it right? How do we draw the balance between helping our college teenagers make good choices and when to pull them back? You try to always make the best decisions. In this case, maybe I should have done something differently.

It has been heartening to hear from so many of you who have had similar personal experiences with these issues.

Despite the distractions Jolene and I have been focused on getting things done for the people of Maryland.

You may have missed it among the other stories this week but The Baltimore Sun also reported that a developer is backing off a plan that would have destroyed part of the University of Maryland golf course.

On Tuesday, we gathered with concerned community leaders and elected officials asking the University to save this valuable green space and focus on rebuilding and improving Route 1 leading into College Park.  Our voices were heard. Now we will work together to make Route 1 an attractive and efficient gateway to the University of Maryland.

Like we did in Prince George's County, Jolene and I will deliver for the people of Maryland.

Thanks for your support,



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Senate President Mike Miller Shuffles Committee & Leadership Posts for Brinkley, Feldman, Getty, Hershey, Pugh & Robey

Maryland Juice just received the following press release from the office of Senate President Mike Miller announcing new committee assignments an leadership posts to account for the new members appointed to the body. The shifts impact State Senators David Brinkley, Brian Feldman, Joseph Getty, Stephen Hershey, Catherine Pugh and James Robey. Robey and Pugh are taking the leadership posts previously held by Sen. Rob Garagiola (eg: Majority Leader & Senate Finance Health Subcommittee Chair, respectively). The remaining committee assignments are highlighted below:


Senate President Miller Announces new Committee & Leadership Positions

Announcement comes after Feldman, Hershey Appointments

Annapolis, MD – Today, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., announced new committee assignments and Democratic leadership appointments resulting from the resignation of Senators Garagiola and Pipkin as well as the appointments of Senators Feldman and Hershey.

“I am pleased to announce these appointments and know that these Senators will be very successful in these roles. We have incredible talent and knowledge in the Maryland Senate and I am certain all of these appointments will serve our State well," said Senate President Miller.

In appointing Senator James Robey as Senate Majority Leader, Senate President Miller remarked that "We have a true and demonstrated leader in the Senate with a career of public service that we all admire and for this reason I am pleased to appoint Senator James Robey as the Senate Majority Leader. While we are all saddened by his decision not to seek re-election next year, we are excited to have him serve in this role in his final year in public service.”

Senate President Miller also announced the appointment of Senator Catherine Pugh as the Senate Finance committee Health Subcommittee chair following the departure of Senator Garagiola, stating, "I can think of no one better than Senator Pugh to help our state move forward in this new and complex era of health care delivery."

Senate President Miller also announced the following committee assignments:

Committee Assignments:
  • Senator Brian J. Feldman – Finance Committee
  • Senator David R. Brinkley – Finance Committee
  • Senator Joseph M. Getty – Budget & Taxation Committee
  • Senator Stephen S. Hershey, Jr. – Judicial Proceedings Committee

OH BOY: Sun Posts Photo of Doug Gansler at Beach Week Underage Drinking Party // Another Wild News Cycle Brewing?

that threatens to create another mayhem-filled news cycle for Maryland's Attorney General. The mainstream media previously went wild with news that Gansler may have ordered his detail of state troopers to break traffic rules. But the story was beginning to die down, and he was alleged to have ignored.

Now last June, where underage drinking was apparently rampant (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: When Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler arrived at a house party of teenagers in June, he pushed through the crowd, past youngsters dancing on a table and a smattering of red plastic cups. One of the revelers snapped a photo. As the night wore on, teens at the South Bethany rental home posted tweets, photos and videos of a bash labeled the "eviction party" for its intensity — a celebration where underage participants later confirmed many were drinking alcohol....

"Assume for purposes of discussion that there was widespread drinking at this party," Gansler said. "How is that relevant to me? … The question is, do I have any moral authority over other people's children at beach week in another state? I say no...."

During his brief stay at the teens' party, he was captured in both a video and a photo posted online. He did not dispute the authenticity of those images....  Gansler was part of a group of parents who paid for a weeklong stay at a six-bedroom beach house after their sons' graduation from the private Landon School in Bethesda....

"I don't remember much, but it was one of the best parties I've been to, hands down," said one attendee....

ANALYSIS: Put aside for a second whether you think Gansler's apathy about the beach week drinking is a big deal or not. Either way, you must admit that the optics of this are just horrible coming off of the wave of negative press regarding the State Trooper story. Unfortunately for Gansler, there is video footage and photos of him in the presence of the drunken revelers, though (see image below and note that I circled Gansler in yellow).  A few Maryland Juice sources suggested that the barrage of negative stories in the press must have been leaked by one of Gansler's rivals (or his rivals' allies). But they provided various explanations and conclusions for the timing of these stories. One source wondered whether all of these hits were coming too early in the 2014 election cycle and would be better released closer to the election. But another source suggested that a rival campaign might be trying to define Gansler (who may be unknown to much of the electorate) early in the cycle or encourage him out of the race. And yet a third source suggested that there could just be an endless folder of opposition research being trickled out throughout the course of the campaign. Either way, Maryland Juice's previous prediction that we were headed into a negative gubernatorial race may be quickly proving true. :

More on the heated Maryland Governor's race soon!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

VIDEO: Candidates for Attorney General Support Marijuana Decriminalization // PLUS: Majority for Legalizing in Gallup Poll

ALL FOUR DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL SUPPORT MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION - Last night Maryland Juice attended a packed Democratic candidates forum for the state's heated Attorney General race. Though Sen. Brian Frosh could not make the event, Delegates Aisha Braveboy, Jon Cardin & Bill Frick showed up at the Wheaton Library to talk about law enforcement, consumer, civil rights and environmental issues.

Bill Frick, Jon Cardin & Aisha Braveboy (left to right)

Given that efforts to remove jail penalties for non-violent marijuana possession have stalled in the State House, I decided to ask the Democratic candidates whether they supported Sen. Bobby Zirkin's legislation to remove jail-time as a penalty for pot possession. As luck would have it, it appears that every single Democratic candidate for Maryland's top law enforcement office supports marijuana decriminalization (see the video below):

Though Sen. Brian Frosh was not available to answer this question at last night's forum, it is worth noting that . That means that every single Democrat running for Attorney General supports marijuana decriminalization, and at least one gubernatorial candidate (Heather Mizeur) has also gone on record supporting this common-sense reform.

NEW GALLUP POLL SHOWS SUPER-MAJORITY OF DEMOCRATS SUPPORT POT LEGALIZATION  //  MARIJUANA REFORM GOES MAINSTREAM - It is worth noting that the marijuana reform proposal advancing in Maryland is a "decriminalization" bill that would replace jail penalties for possession with civil fines (like a traffic ticket). This is a step below marijuana "legalization" policies (eg: to tax and regulate pot similarly to alcohol) that have been passed in Washington and Colorado. But once again, it appears that the public is more forward-thinking than lawmakers on issues.

, and the trend line on these numbers is very clear. Additionally, among Democrats support for marijuana legalization is at a whopping super-majority of 65%. Gallup's write-up of the poll results notes that the surge in marijuana support is following the same trajectory we witnessed with marriage equality, and (not surprisingly) most of the opponents are again Republicans (excerpt below):
GALLUP:  For marijuana advocates, the last 12 months have been a period of unprecedented success as Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. And now for the first time, a clear majority of Americans (58%) say the drug should be legalized. This is in sharp contrast to the time Gallup first asked the question in 1969, when only 12% favored legalization....

A sizable percentage of Americans (38%) this year admitted to having tried the drug, which may be a contributing factor to greater acceptance....

The movement to legalize marijuana mirrors the relatively recent success of the movement to legalize gay marriage, which voters have also approved now in 14 states. Public support for gay marriage, which Americans also overwhelmingly opposed in the past, has increased dramatically, reaching majority support in the last two years....

Independents' growing support for legalization has mostly driven the jump in Americans' overall support.... Yet there is a marked divide between Republicans, who still oppose legalizing marijuana, and Democrats and independents.

So what's the hold-up, folks? Will Maryland drag its feet on this social justice issue and wait for other states to lead (again)?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

SURVEYS: Anthony Brown, Doug Gansler & Heather Mizeur Differ on Education // PLUS: MSEA Endorses Brown for Gov

This weekend, the Maryland State Education Association interviewed candidates for Maryland Governor and endorsed Lt. Governor Anthony Brown for the 2014 race. Below we provide a quick excerpt from Maryland Reporter's coverage of the endorsement process, along with a video of Anthony Brown's speech and candidate surveys from Brown and his competitors Doug Gansler and Heather Mizeur:

JUICE #1: MARYLAND REPORTER'S COVERAGE OF THE MSEA GUBERNATORIAL ENDORSEMENT - for the endorsement of the state's teachers (excerpt below):
MARYLAND REPORTER: The pandering cameras were on at the Maryland State Education Association in Ocean City Friday as four candidates for governor came seeking the endorsement of the largest union in the state with promises in hand.

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown walked away with the prize less from what he promised in a brief 10 minute speech — spending $500 million a year on public school construction, for one —  than for what he and Gov. Martin O’Malley delivered to public schools over the last six years — the most massive increase in funding in Maryland history, $1.5 billion more in school aid, 35% higher over six years.

Brown even overcame understandable grumbling over the O’Malley-Brown administration moves on teachers pension that produced the largest State House rally in recent memory, or even the partial shift of teacher pension costs to the counties. Brown’s running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, had opposed that move....

Brown wound up with 71% of the tally from the 600-member representative assembly — probably one of the most democratic and open of the union endorsements.... To broadcast their endorsement, MSEA is scheduled to begin three days of advertising on online news sites this week, paid for by their political action committee.

JUICE #2: BROWN, GANSLER & MIZEUR'S SURVEY RESPONSES TO MSEA QUESTIONNAIRE - Below you can read the full survey responses to MSEA's questionnaire from Anthony Brown, Doug Gansler & Heather Mizeur. The survey asked the candidates about a range of issues including school funding formulas, Maintenance of Effort (MOE) policies, voucher funding, and more. Though most of the candidates answered the questions in the same manner, I noticed a few differences in the surveys (details below):
DIFFERENCE #1: GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR PRIVATE AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS - On the question of how much funding the state should provide for private and religious schools (Question #9), Mizeur stated she supported eliminating this funding, while Brown supported maintaining the funding levels established a decade ago. Gansler didn't check any of the options on this question but stated he would "evaluate the funding currently diverted to nonpublic schools."

DIFFERENCE #2: PENSION FUNDING FOR NEW SCHOOL SYSTEM EMPLOYEES - On the question of whether to treat new and existing school employees differently with respect to pension funding (Question #10), Mizeur & Gansler both proposed treating all employees the same, while Brown proposed maintaining the current split treatment.

DIFFERENCE #3: COUNTY EXECUTIVE OR COUNCIL CONTROL OF SCHOOL BUDGETS & SUPERINTENDENT SELECTION - On the question of whether to allow County Executives or Councils to take control of the hiring of Superintendents or school budgets (Question #22), Mizeur & Brown were both opposed, while Gansler didn't check any of the options and instead stated, "As a general rule, I support local school boards charged with authority to select the local school  superintendent, establish curriculum, and develop policy.... That said, I think it is possible that at certain times and under certain circumstances, a county may determine that its education needs will be better met by diminishing local influence, and once that decision has been made, it is the obligation of a Governor to bring stakeholders together and help facilitate the success of that arrangement not second guess the community’s decision."

JUICE #3: VIDEO OF ANTHONY BROWN'S MSEA SPEECH - Below you can see the speech that Anthony Brown made to attendees at this weekend's MSEA convention:

JUICE # 4: MSEA'S PRESS RELEASE ANNOUNCING THE ENDORSEMENT OF ANTHONY BROWN FOR GOVERNOR - Below you can see the press release issued by MSEA announcing the endorsement of Anthony Brown for Governor:


Maryland State Education Association Endorses Anthony Brown
for Maryland’s Next Governor

“The champion our students need,” says MSEA President Betty Weller

October 19, 2013, Ocean City: The Maryland State Education Association’s Representative Assembly (RA) voted today to endorse Anthony Brown in the race for Maryland’s next governor. Delegates from every county in the state voted on the endorsement during the association’s largest and most diverse meeting of the year. The vote followed a comprehensive process that included candidate questionnaires and interviews on a wide range of issues affecting Maryland’s public schools and students, as well as remarks before the RA on October 18.

“Anthony Brown is the champion our students need to continue to move Maryland’s schools forward,” said MSEA President Betty Weller. “MSEA and our 70,000 members look forward to working with Anthony Brown on the campaign trail and on a host of critical issues, including equitable school funding, implementing Common Core and teacher evaluations well, and ensuring that every student has the opportunities and programs that they need to succeed. Under Anthony Brown’s leadership, Maryland will continue to be an excellent place to raise a family, start a business, or send a child to a great public school.”

“I am honored to receive the MSEA endorsement,” said Anthony Brown.  “As lieutenant governor, I have worked with the leaders and members of MSEA to address big issues and make Maryland schools #1 in the nation.  Our work is not done.  I will rely heavily on the advice and support of MSEA to both win this election and to make the critical governing decisions to invest in our educators and schools, close the achievement gap, and continue to move Maryland’s schools forward.”

MSEA is the 70,000-member Maryland affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA), which represents over 3 million education employees across the country. MSEA is the state’s largest professional employee organization. Members include elementary and secondary teachers, education support professionals, certificated specialists, school administrators, retired educators, higher education faculty, and students preparing to become teachers. MSEA supports 39 local affiliated associations throughout Maryland.


ELECTION INFO: New Early Voting Locations Added in Montgomery & Prince George's Counties for the 2014 Cycle

Heads up, folks: The & Boards of Election have recommended additional early voting locations for the 2014 election cycle. MoCo previously had five early vote locations and will now have nine, while Prince George's is increasing from five to eight locations. Early voting in 2014 will be open June 12 to June 19 for the Primary Election and October 23 to October 30 for the General Election.  Note: The locations below are still subject to approval by the Maryland State Board of Elections.

2014 Montgomery County Early Voting Centers
Activity Center at Bohrer Park, Social Hall
506 S. Frederick Avenue
Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Damascus Community Recreation Center, Social Hall
25520 Oak Drive
Damascus, MD 20872

Executive Office Building, Auditorium
101 Monroe Street
Rockville, MD 20850

Germantown Community Recreation Center, Social Hall
18905 Kingsview Road
Germantown, MD 20874

Jane E. Lawton Community Recreatin Center, Social Hall
4301 Willow Lane
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center, Social Hall
149906 Old Columbia Pike
Burtonsville, MD 20866

Mid-County Community Recreation Center, Social Hall
2004 Queensguard Road
Silver Spring, MD 20906

Silver Spring Civic Building, Ellsworth and Spring Rooms
One Veterans Place
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Wheaton Community Recreation Center, Gymnasium
11711 Georgia Avennue
Wheaton, MD 20906

2014 Prince George's County Early Voting Centers
Baden Community Center
13601 Baden-Westwood Road
Brandywine, MD  20613

Bowie Community Center
3209 Stonybrook Drive
Bowie, MD 20715

College Park Community Center
5051 Pierce Avenue
College Park, MD  20740

Laurel - Beltsville Senior Activity Center
7120 Contee Road
Laurel, MD  20707

Southern Regional Technology and Recreation Complex
7007 Bock Road
Fort Washington, MD 20744

Suitland Community Park School Center
5600 Regency Lane
Forestville, MD  20747

Upper Marlboro Community Center
5400 Marlboro Race Track Road
Upper Marlboro, MD  20772

Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Center
8001 Sheriff Road
Landover, MD  20785

Monday, October 21, 2013

EVENTS TUESDAY: Braveboy, Cardin, Frosh & Frick Attorney General Debate and NAACP Town Hall on Minimum Wage +

Tomorrow Montgomery County is playing host to two worthwhile political events (details below):

EVENT #1: ATTORNEY GENERAL CANDIDATES FORUM FOR 2014 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY -  Tomorrow, TUE 10/22 from 6:30 to 9:00 pm at Wheaton Library (), a number of Democratic clubs is hosting a candidates forum for Attorney General with the four Democratic candidates: Senator Brian Frosh and Delegates Aisha Braveboy, Jon Cardin, and Bill Frick.

EVENT #2: NAACP HOSTS ISSUE TOWN HALL WITH REP. JOHN DELANEY, COUNTY EXECUTIVE IKE LEGGETT & MOCO COUNCIL PRESIDENT NANCY NAVARRO -  Also tomorrow night, the NAACP of Montgomery County is hosting a town hall meeting on a range of topics, including the minimum wage, voting rights, Obamacare and more:

21st Century Town Hall Meeting - NAACP Game Changers

WHEN:  Tuesday, October 22, 2013


WHERE: Carver Educational Services Center, Board Room, 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, Maryland 20850

WHAT: For more than a century the NAACP has worked to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all    persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. Inspired by the force and commitment of The Call of 1909, which denounced the growing oppression of people of color and mobilized thousands to work to bring this discrimination to an end, the NAACP seeks to establish a strategic direction as it embarks on developing the New    Call for the 21st Century for local communities with clear messages.

TOPICS:    What’s on your mind and what do you want to know…! Affordable Care Act (ACA) * Economic Sustainability * Public Safety and Criminal Justice * Education * Voting Rights and Political Representation

Confirmed Speakers
  • Congressman John Delaney, District 6
  • County Executive, Isiah Leggett
  • County Council President, Nancy Navarro
  • Assistant Chief of MCPD Police, Darryl McSwain
  • MSC NAACP, Economic Development Chair, Edsel Brown
  • NAACP Health Programs and ACA, Jennifer White and Niiobli Armah

Friday, October 18, 2013

SURVEY: Doug Gansler & Heather Mizeur Reveal Views on Fracking, Marijuana, Minimum Wage, War Jobs & Much More

Maryland Juice has eagerly awaited the opportunity to watch the three Democratic gubernatorial candidates weigh in on some of the more nuanced policy debates in the Free State. Today, the Montgomery County-based group Progressive Neighbors released fascinating responses from Doug Gansler and Heather Mizeur to a range of hot-button issues in Democratic politics (note: Anthony Brown did not return a survey).

Below, Maryland Juice provides a quick summary of Gansler & Mizeur's responses to survey questions relating to fracking, marijuana decriminalization, special elections, public financing of campaigns, affordable housing, the minimum wage, and much more. You can read the full (and fairly lengthy) responses from the two candidates below our summary. There are some interesting differences in the responses from Mizeur and Gansler that you can explore below:

Maryland Juice Summary of Gansler/Mizeur Responses

Eliminate Jail Time as Penalty for Marijuana Possession:
  • Mizeur: Yes
  • Gansler: Will work with the legislature to find ways to focus law enforcement community on violent offenders

Minimum Wage Increase:
  • Mizeur: Support increase of at least $10/hour
  • Gansler: Support increase to $10/hour

  • Mizeur: Support moratorium
  • Gansler: Decision on fracking must be guided by science and environmental safeguards must be upheld if the State is to allow any hydraulic fracturing

Vacancies: Replace Central Committee vacancy appointments with special elections
  • Mizeur: Support special elections
  • Gansler: Support study

  • Mizeur: Prioritize funding for transit; Support MAGLEV line from DC Metro to Baltimore
  • Gansler: Support Purple Line & CCT; Residents raised concerns about Baltimore Red Line and unsure if federal government will support the project; Interested in MAGLEV from Metro to Baltimore

Corporate Influence & Public Financing of Campaigns:
  • Mizeur: Support public financing in MD
  • Gansler: Explore public financing in MD

Corporate & Upper Income Taxes: Close Combined Reporting Loophole & Create Luxury Taxes
  • Mizeur: Support combined reporting and restoration of millionaires tax
  • Gansler: Support combined reporting and would look at luxury taxes

Paid Sick Leave for Large Employers:
  • Mizeur: Yes
  • Gansler: Find a way to address paid sick leave, which may include legislation

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) Labeling:
  • Mizeur: Yes
  • Gansler: If GMOs are shown to pose health risks, will support labeling

Ban Cosmetic Pesticides on Lawns/Landscapes:
  • Mizeur: Yes
  • Gansler: Will encourage local governments to reduce use and will foster greater public education on natural resources

Plastic Bag Tax:
  • Mizeur: Yes
  • Gansler: Would study impact of bag fees in MoCo & DC

Support Study to Create a State Bank:
  • Mizeur: Yes
  • Gansler: Support study on feasibility

Transparency: Allow constituents to sign up online to testify at hearings; post budget/subcommittee/and amendment roll call votes online; lobbyist disclosure for personal/professional relationships with lawmakers
  • Mizeur: Support
  • Gansler: Support

Affordable Housing: Rent stabilization & just cause requirement for non-renewal of lease
  • Mizeur: Support rent stabilization and just cause eviction law
  • Gansler: Support right of local governments to enact rent stabilization

Alternatives to Incarceration:
  • Mizeur: Criminal justice reform will be central to platform; focus on improving schools; end race bias in criminal system; drug law reform; better re-entry programs; etc.
  • Gansler: Focus on strong education budget and mental illness, substance abuse as public health problems; Health coverage for eligible residents upon release; Establish agency position on re-entry, intake centers and re-entry courts; Prevent access to criminal records for those who stay out of trouble; Provide transitional housing; etc

Same-Day Voter Registration on Election Day
  • Mizeur: Support election day voter registration
  • Gansler: Previous AG opinion says voter registration must be complete before election day

Educational Achievement Gap:
  • Mizeur: Invest in early childhood education/afterschool and school infrastructure
  • Gansler: Comprehensive services for kids falling behind; after school and extended summer programs; expanded pre-K

Free Public College Paid by 3% of Students' Future Income:
  • Mizeur: Explore Oregon's model and examine state low-interest loan system
  • Gansler: No response

Convert Defense Industries to Nonmilitary Products:
  • Mizeur: Open to this; End tax subsidies for big business & defense contractors
  • Gansler: Support innovative research that begins in military sector; support tech transfers

Transgender Nondiscrimination:
  • Mizeur: Will make it a legislative priority
  • Gansler: Will actively lobby on this

Move MD to Single Payer Health Care:
  • Mizeur: Will explore Vermont's single-payer approach
  • Gansler: Will find ways to close other gaps in healthcare, including publicly financed options

Collective Bargaining:
  • Mizeur: Support
  • Gansler: Support, including for public education employees; Refused to cross MCDCC picket line

Job Creation:
  • Mizeur: Build new schools; Re-align curriculum; Small business tax breaks; Loosen up business licensing
  • Gansler: Give procurement preference to Maryland businesses; preserve industrial zoning; extend R&D tax credit for products made in Maryland; Green energy tax credits; Grants to assist small/medium sized businesses in exporting goods; Summer workforce training for students; Market a "buy local" campaign

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Gansler Fights Back // Lt. Gov. Running Mate Del. Jolene Ivey Criticizes Anthony Brown for MD Obamacare Enrollment Errors

Maryland Juice has been watching the development of the last few news cycles relating to the 2014 gubernatorial primary, and I had begun thinking that Doug Gansler's campaign was getting beat up pretty badly in the media lately.

Today, however, we saw the first signs that Gansler may begin to fight back, and that he may do so through his Lt. Governor running mate Delegate Jolene Ivey. We received the following press release from Ivey today criticizing Lt. Governor Anthony Brown for being unaware of the massive issues Maryland residents have had enrolling in the state's Obamacare system:


Statement from Delegate Jolene Ivey in Response to Lt. Governor 
Brown's Remark that he was Unaware of Enrollment Problems with Health Exchange

"Almost three weeks after Maryland’s Health Exchange opened, only 16,000 of Maryland’s 800,000 uninsured have been able to complete online applications. Our Lt. Governor, the man the Governor put in charge of the rollout, says that he had no idea there would be problems with the online enrollment program. He had time to send out a press release attacking my record fighting for the families of Maryland, but he doesn’t have time to watch out for so many uninsured Marylanders – time for politics, but not for people. In 2008, one of the reasons Doug Gansler and I supported then Senator Obama was his commitment to healthcare reform. Getting it done was an historic achievement. We owed it to our President and to the people of Maryland to get this right."

Baltimore Sun Article,

And with that, I would say hold on to your hats folks.  The epic 2014 gubernatorial battle may be headed in as rapid a negative direction as we've seen, since the 2012 primary battle between John Delaney & Rob Garagiola!

JUICE: Poll Shows Brown Lead for Governor & Cardin for AG, Gilchrest for Mizeur, Anti-Tax Gansler, Sen. Forehand Retiring?

Below Maryland Juice highlights several tidbits of news that may be of interest to Free State politicos:

JUICE #1: NEW POLL SHOWS LARGE ANTHONY BROWN LEAD FOR GOVERNOR, SMALLER LEAD FOR CARDIN IN ATTORNEY GENERAL RACE - This morning surveying voters on their views of the 2014 Governor and Attorney General contests, as well as issues ranging from death penalty repeal, gun control, the gas tax, and more (excerpt below):
MARYLAND REPORTER: Among Democratic voters, O’Malley’s political partner, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown has a wide lead in the race to succeed O’Malley as governor over Attorney General Doug Gansler and Del. Heather Mizeur, but a third of Democrats are still undecided. The results were 41% for Brown, 21% for Gansler and 5% for Mizeur. This is similar to the results of an internal Brown poll released earlier this month.

In the Democratic race for attorney general, Del. Jon Cardin had a clear lead with 25% support, versus 13% for Sen. Brian Frosh, 8% for Del. Aisha Braveboy, and 5% for Del. Bill Frick, but almost half are undecided....
You can read the full results of the Gonzalez poll below, and note that in deep Blue Maryland, Democratic voters overwhelmingly support death penalty repeal, gun control, and more, while most of the opposition to these measures came from Republican voters:

BALTIMORE SUN:  Democrat Heather R. Mizeur picked off the endorsement of a maverick former Republican congressman to go with the support of five other Eastern Shore leaders as she continued to show her appeal outside her home county of Montgomery....

Also endorsing Mizeur were Chestertown Mayor Margo Bailey, Salisbury City Councilwoman Laura Mitchell, Chesapeake City Councilman Harry Sampson, Easton Town Councilwoman Megan Cook, and former Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Carol Fordonski....

JUICE #3: ATTORNEY GENERAL DOUG GANSLER CRITICIZES TAX INCREASES IN FUNDRAISING LETTER - Maryland Juice received a copy of the following fundraising solicitation that Attorney General Doug Gansler is mailing to raise money for his gubernatorial campaign. The letter below highlights the alleged flight of businesses and revenue from Maryland, and makes an anti-tax argument:
DOUG GANSLER: Maryland has seen annual billion dollar deficits, a departure of businesses and wealth to neighboring states, 40 consecutive tax increases, and the worst traffic congestion in the nation. Economic opportunity and growth and shared progress are becoming things of the past. Hardworking people feel nickeled and dimed, and entrepreneurs are not building here in Maryland. We need to win back jobs and businesses, and we need to do it by growing our tax base, not our taxes

JUICE #4: MYSTERY POLL FOR DISTRICT 17 STATE SENATE // SEN. JENNIE FOREHAND UNDECIDED ON RE-ELECTION AS CANDIDATES PREPARE FOR BATTLE - District 17 (a Democratic stronghold in Montgomery County) is getting hot, with a round of political activity emerging in recent weeks. Below we provide information on a poll that an unknown group is conducting in the D17 State Senate race, along with a news report from Bethesda Magazine's Lou Peck indicating that D17 Senator Jennie Forehand is undecided on whether to run for re-election.

A Maryland Juice reader forwarded us a screencap of the following report on a D17 Senate poll from Gaithersburg City Councilmember Cathy Drzyzgula:

This poll could be prompted by news that next year (excerpt below):
BETHESDA MAGAZINE: District 17 Sen. Jennie Forehand, who has served in the state General Assembly for more than one-third of a century, is uncertain about whether she will seek another term.... If she does run, there is a widespread expectation among party activists that Forehand will face a primary challenge next June from veteran Delegate Luiz Simmons. Simmons Tuesday said only that he is “inching toward a decision” about a Senate bid, and will decide by the end of October....

The prospect that Simmons will vacate his delegate seat already has attracted three candidates to the latter contest. Former congressional aide Andrew Platt and Laurie-Anne Sayles, vice president of the Montgomery County Young Democrats, have announced for delegate, and former Rockville Mayor Susan Hoffmann expects to do so this month. 
For what it's worth, Delegate Luiz Simmons seems pretty serious about running for the D17 Senate seat. Last month a Maryland Juice source forwarded us a rough transcript of robocall that they received from Delegate Simmons' wife (excerpt below):
CLAIRE SIMMONS: Hi this is Claire Simmons and I'm calling you on behalf of my husband Delegate Lou Simmons and Lou's campaign to close Maryland's gun control loophole. Maryland's gun control loophole is a disaster waiting to occur....  If a gun owner commits a violent crimes like domestic violence, the law requires the gun owner to surrender the gun, but the law can't be enforced because we have computers in Maryland that won't communicate with each other. It's incredible but true. Lou is proposing legislation to close the gun control loophole and he really needs your help....

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

POP QUIZ: Juice Interviews MoCo Teachers' New Political Head // MCEA's Barbara Hueter Raps About Post, Bell Times & More

MCEA Political Director Barbara Hueter (fourth from left)
In Montgomery County, MCEA (the union representing public school teachers) has long commanded one of the more influential endorsements in Democratic politics. But last August we reported that the long-time head of MCEA's political process Jon Gerson had stepped down to make room for a successor: Barbara Hueter.

Maryland Juice blogger David Moon decided to take the opportunity to give Ms. Hueter a pop quiz about what the change in personalities means for MCEA and to weigh in on a handful of the hot-button issues that have been debated in local education policy in recent years. In our exclusive interview below, you can read Barbara Hueter's response to a range of education and political issues, including her thoughts on the long-standing endorsement rivalry between The Washington Post & MCEA, life after Jon Gerson, the movement to start school later, and much more!  NOTE: I sent Hueter these questions on 8/31/2013, and she sent back responses on 10/11/2013.  :)


MARYLAND JUICE: Your predecessor in running MCEA's political operation, Jon Gerson, spent many years managing one of Montgomery County's most high profile endorsement processes. What do you think the key differences (if any) will be between how he operated and how you might organize things? Will there be any notable changes that teachers, candidates and politicos might notice in the coming months?

BARBARA HUETER ON LIFE AFTER JON GERSON: It is a challenge to build on the record of success that we have accomplished with our political program. One of my priorities moving forward is to increase the engagement of MCEA members in the political process. We are known for putting hundreds of teachers at the polls handing out Apple Ballots. We will be working to increase that, to increase the number of our members participating in our PAC fund, and to increase the number of our members meeting regularly with elected officials. I’m focused on increasing teacher engagement in the political process.

MARYLAND JUICE: What do you think are the greatest political challenges facing MCEA in the coming electoral cycle?

BARBARA HUETER ON MCEA'S POLITICAL CHALLENGES: Our goal is to help elect the most pro-education candidates to office. During elections, virtually every candidate says they support public education: the challenge is who really has the core values so that when difficult choices need to be made, they will put the interests of our schools and our students first. We want elected officials who recognize that a strong school system is essential to the future prosperity of the entire county and the state.

MARYLAND JUICE: In the last few years, there seems to have been a bit of competition between the Washington Post and MCEA for prominence in endorsement power in Montgomery County politics. Do you have any reflections on this dynamic going forward? Does it even matter?

BARBARA HUETER ON THE WASHINGTON POST: I think that when it comes to what’s best for our schools, voters are a lot more interested in the opinions of their teachers than they are in the opinions of a handful of people sitting in an office building in downtown DC. 

MARYLAND JUICE: What are the top 3 issues that motivate you in politics (at the state/county level or nationally)?

BARBARA HUETER'S POLITICAL PRIORITIES: I am concerned with what is best for our schools and our students. Locally and nationally, our challenge is how to close the achievement gap and ensure that every child has access to a high quality education. Part of that is attracting and retaining the best and brightest teachers - which means valuing and not demeaning the profession. Part of it is investing in lower class sizes and other supports in our highest need schools. And part of it is providing the social services (health care, nutrition, etc.) that low-income families need so their students can be successful. Schools alone cannot erase the terrible disadvantages caused by poverty.

MARYLAND JUICE: Though MCEA obviously deals with school budget and labor issues, I've noticed a number of persistent grassroots education topics that continue to get attention from activists in the school arena. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on some of these:

MARYLAND JUICE: The achievement gap and standardized test disparities impacting students of color, lower income families, and immigrant/ESL students have been popping in and out of the news lately. Lots of politicians have been weighing in on this, but what do you think are some of the quickest and most direct ways of addressing this, given that parents with children in the schools now don't want to wait years to implement policy solutions? Can this problem really be dealt with without reducing class size?

BARBARA HUETER ON THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP: Lower class sizes in high needs schools are part of the solution. MCPS has proven it. We significantly lowered class sizes in early childhood grades in our high needs schools, and now more than 90% of our kindergarteners are consistently meeting or exceeding reading targets – closing the achievement gap. Universal pre-k would be a huge step. The Linkages to Learning program that provides wrap-around health care services is incredibly valuable and would make a big difference if it were expanded to more schools.

We can’t close the achievement gap on the cheap. It will take an increased investment in our highest need schools, and if politicians say otherwise, they are badly out of touch.

MARYLAND JUICE: At a few events, I've noticed parents and students mention a perceived disparity on how disciplinary actions are used against students from different demographic groups. Is this perception a reality? If so, what can be done to address this?

BARBARA HUETER ON DISPARITIES IN DISCIPLINE: Nobody should tolerate disparate disciplinary actions. We need better systems in place to support students who need additional attention. Teachers need time for more training and collaborative planning on how to teach in diverse classrooms. MCEA is proud of a new graduate certificate program we have designed (with McDaniel College) on Excellence and Education in Teaching, which addresses teaching strategies and cultural competency that are needed to succeed in racially and ethnically diverse classrooms. Smaller class sizes make it easier for teachers to reach all their students so they are engaged – and not alienated – from school.

MARYLAND JUICE: Over the years (including dating back to when I was a student in MCPS), there has been period discussion of starting high school later than the current super-early start to the school day. There is a great deal of research showing that adequate sleep is critical to students being "ready to learn," but it seems like this issue is continuously punted into the future so that it can never actually be reformed. Do you have any thoughts on whether this should be dealt with? If so, what is the best and quickest way forward, and if not, why not?

BARBARA HUETER ON STARTING SCHOOL LATER: The recommendation from the Superintendent deserves serious consideration.  We look forward to having MCEA members involved in the process of considering the pros and cons of the proposal. We’re especially concerned about the impact on low-income families whose students work after-school jobs, or who provide after school care of siblings. 

MARYLAND JUICE: When I was in MCPS, the vast majority of students did not have an opportunity to learn a foreign language until middle school or high school. Again, research persistently shows that it is much easier and efficient for young people to learn second languages earlier in life. What would it take to make this common-sense shift in our schools?

BARBARA HUETER ON OFFERING FOREIGN LANGUAGE EDUCATION EARLIER : No Child Left Behind has driven an obsession with standardized test scores in reading in math. The result has been a narrowing of the curriculum in lots of areas. It would cost money to provide world language instruction in all elementary schools – but as I understand it, Utah is doing that now. It would also require a recognition that a good education means more than reading and math scores on standardized tests.

MARYLAND JUICE: "Tracking" students (eg: separating pupils by academic ability into segregated groups) has been a much debated topic, with research showing both positive and negative effects. But as I can recall from my own days in MCPS, this process begins very early in grade school and impacts which students are put on AP and more rigorous academic tracks. Do you think this policy is working? If not, what reforms would you make?

BARBARA HUETER ON TRACKING: For a number of years, MCEA has supported elimination of the Global Screening process in second grade. MCPS has been piloting that in two schools and we believe it has been successful. Grouping practices need to be flexible over time. No one is well served by rigid tracking: neither on-level students nor above grade level students. Over the years, there has been powerful testimony in front of the Board of Education by students from the Blair magnet program about how they benefitted from flexible grouping practices. But again, the larger class sizes are, the more difficult it is to teach heterogeneous groups of students.

MARYLAND JUICE: Do you think MCPS is providing students with adequately nutritious meals?

BARBARA HUETER ON SCHOOL MEALS: Should the system strive to do better? Absolutely. But most kids aren’t going to eat brussels sprouts and kale. It’s a challenge to figure out how to provide healthier meals that students will eat. But I don’t doubt that the folks in food services are waking up every day trying to do that. Nutrition is their business.

CONCLUSION: There you have it, folks!  This conversation is obviously just the tip of the iceberg on some of the intriguing challenges facing Montgomery County Public Schools heading into the future, and a potential sign of some of the policy debates we may see in the near future. But in the meantime, it appears that MCEA is getting an early start on organizing for the 2014 election cycle. They've placed the following ad in The Gazette this week:

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