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Showing posts with label allan kittleman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label allan kittleman. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

ANALYSIS: Sky High Approval Ratings for HoCo Exec Allan Kittleman // Big Smiles, Sharp Elbows, And Both Eyes on 2018

By Matt Verghese

Over the weekend, the Committee to Elect Allan Kittleman announces the Republican Howard County Executive had a , with only 9% disapproving after a full year in office. Even though no other details about the poll - who was polled, what the margin of error is to start with- were released (I’m perturbed the Sun would ever publish such a result), if true it would make Allan Kittleman . But this weekend’s disclosure of sky high poll ratings, which Kittleman’s former campaign manager concedes is not normally made public, leaves one with more questions than answers.

THE COATTAILS COUNTY EXECUTIVE: Kittleman, a former County Councilmember and Senate GOP leader, defeated his Democratic opponent Courtney Watson by 2,600 votes (2.5%) in a closely contested evenly matched race that made him Howard County’s first Republican County Executive since 1998. The results closely mirrored the gubernatorial contest - where Larry Hogan turned the County red reversing O’Malley victories in both 2006 and 2010. Kittleman benefited from Hogan’s coattails but had little of his own. Democrats retained a 4-1 majority on the County Council, and all other county-wide elected positions.

BIG SMILES, SHARP ELBOWS IN FIRST YEAR: Kittleman - who has often been previously praised for his willingness to buck his own party - has attempted to govern with big smiles, while throwing sharp elbows at his opponents on a number of issues that may not receive a lot of attention from County voters. In his first year Kittleman has and held , and through a hiring freeze. He also does weekly tours of schools, dressed up like ‘The Raven’ author Edgar Allen Poe, and didn’t shave in November  to raise awareness for men’s health.

On more substantive note, one of his first actions was overturning Ulman’s executive order banning the sale of unhealthy snacks and drinks. When the Council passed legislation to reinstate the nutritional restriction, Kittleman vetoed it - only for the Council to overturn it.Kittleman also gave a number of his Democratic predecessor’s appointees their marching orders, refused to reappoint well performing persons to nonpartisan boards and commissions, and was so aghast that the County Council pushed back that his political operation circulated a targeting the Democratic members.

Late last year, Kittleman followed in Hogan’s footsteps and proposed phasing out the County’s stormwater management fee (the supposed “rain tax”), but promised to maintain the funding to maintain the County’s pollution reduction goals. Unlike Ulman who prided himself on a transparent stormwater program that was model on how to fund important projects to protect the Bay and constructively engage community stakeholders, Kittleman has yet to explain how he will replace the lost revenue or what he will cut in general fund to make up for it. No surprise, that at a filled with supporters of the policy, Kittleman’s proposal was called “shortsighted, factually inaccurate and politically driven.”

INSECURE LEADERSHIP? But Kittleman’s rush to poll his approval ratings may be due to recent controversies. First there was his much criticized response to the January blizzard, where he prioritized plowing out the Republican Lt. Governor before every other County resident. In a classic he said,she said -- to ask for the preferential special treatment, while the .

Then there’s the of Renee Foose as HCPS Superintendent despite criticism of her leadership and lack of transparency from parents, teachers and local elected officials. Even Governor Hogan weighed in, stating that “there’s a palpable loss of trust between many parents and the [Howard] county school system.” Granted Kittleman doesn’t run the Board of Education or choose the Superintendent, but this distinction is often lost among County residents who see education as their top issue.

WHAT ELSE WAS IN THAT POLL? No one polls with one question, and thanks to our sources in Howard County we have a sense of the other items the Kittleman campaign was asking about:

  • Is the County heading in the right or wrong direction?
  • If we the election was held today would you vote for Allan Kittleman or potential opponents - Councilmember Calvin Ball, Councilmember Mary Kay Sigaty or Register of Wills Byron Macfarlane.
  • Favorable or unfavorable opinion of potential opponents - Ball, Sigaty, Macfarlane and 2014 opponent Courtney Watson
  • County and state’s handling of snow removal efforts: Good, fair or poor
  • Do you think Allan Kittleman is a reasonable moderate or a dangerous extremist?
  • Grade Howard County Public Schools on an A-F scale
  • Support or oppose the following issues: rain tax, increasing the property tax, and funding for police body cameras
  • Name the top issue the County Executive and Council need to work on
  • 2018 gubernatorial matchups: Governor Larry Hogan or Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, or Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker 

Seems to me that despite being in office for 14 months, Kittleman already has an eye to 2018 and is sensitive to potential threats - both issues and candidates -  to his reelection bid.

ALWAYS DIALING FOR DOLLARS: Kittleman’s 2015 fundraising report only seems to confirm the hypothesis that he is obsessed with his next election. Kittleman had nearly $514,000 in the bank - more money than the incumbent County Executives in Anne Arundel, Cecil, Harford, Frederick Montgomery, Prince George’s and Wicomico.

While Kittleman’s campaign claims “the majority of donations came from individual donors in amounts of $200 or less” a deeper dive paints a much different picture. More than 75% of Kittleman’s total contributions came from people and entities that gave $1,000 or more. His average donation? $608. Not exactly being funded by grassroots donors.

Even as Kittleman rakes in the cash from developers, contractors and out-of-county interests - Democrats on the Council are taking the first steps to implement . If successful, Howard would join Montgomery County - who passed the first local public financing system law in 2014.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Gov. Larry Hogan Tows Trump & Carson's Party Line on Syrian Refugees // Will HoCo's Exec Allan Kittleman Break With GOP?

A SHAME IN MARYLAND: In the week following the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris, 30 Governors have said they won’t allow Syrian refugees to resettle in their states until security concerns are concerned. All but one of those governors have been a Republican.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan - who is huddling with his fellow Republican Governors at their conference in Las Vegas this week - had initially sought more time to make a ““ but a day later followed the direction of  almost all the Republican candidates for President and called on federal authorities to “”

Granted, Hogan - nor any of his fellow governors - don’t really have anything with whether refugees are allowed into the US or where they are resettled. Though they can make the lives of women and children fleeing a violent civil war . Also it doesn’t seem to matter that of the 2 million refugees welcomed in the US since 1990, .

THE ACTUAL SCREENING PROCESS FOR SYRIAN REFUGEES: The US - which has a stringent 18-24 months process to vet and approve refugees - admitted less than 200 Syrian refugees between 2011 and 2014, and only recently quickened the pace. According to the , 39 such refugees have resettled in Maryland since 2011 - 79% of them arriving in 2015. The United States had planned to accept 10,000 refugees in 2016. In contrast, French President Francois Hollande said his country would accept 30,000, and expend 50 million euros to support refugee housing.

MARYLAND DEMOCRATS RESPOND: Hogan’s decision has drawn widespread criticism from Democrats. Rep. Cummings called Hogan’s actions “heartless” and “a betrayal of America’s values” while Rep. Van Hollen decried the Governor’s “shameful” demagoguery. Former Governor O’Malley - who was the first Democratic candidate for President to call on the Obama Administration to accept more refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war -- called on Americans to “overcome fear and remain true to [our] values.”

Local Democratic leaders have also sought to separate themselves from the Governor. Baltimore Mayor Rawlings-Blake released the following (emphasis mine):
BALTIMORE MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Baltimore, Maryland and the United States have proud traditions of welcoming refugees seeking assistance from crises around the world. There are few among us who can claim that their ancestors were indigenous to the United States. Welcoming immigrants and New Americans is a critical part of my strategy to grow Baltimore, and I hope that refugees from Syria will look to our city as a potential place to call home.
This call was echoed today by the Democratic members of the Howard County Council. On Thursday, In a , the four Democratic members of the Council - Mary Kay Sigaty, Calvin Ball, Jenn Terrasa and Jon Weinstein - stated (emphasis mine):
HOCO DEMOCRATIC COUNCILMEMBERS: In Howard County, we know that our diversity is our strength. Your request to end the settlement of Syrian refugees under the guise of protecting Marylanders erodes that strength by succumbing to fear—a fear that leads to overt racial profiling, which is an affront to our values. Opening our doors to those who are fleeing violence does not endanger our safety; it shows our compassion and hope.
1 in 5 of Howard County’s residents are foreign born and come from over 90 countries. None of Maryland’s current Syrian refugees are located in the County.

WAITING FOR KITTLEMAN: A spokeswoman for Governor Hogan reiterated his stance on Friday. There has been no response from Republican County Executive Allan Kittleman. Blinding following national Trump-Carson Republican herd not only threatens Hogan and Kittleman image as as kinder, gentler Republicans - but their compelling sales pitch as non-ideological, post-partisan executives. Sure, there may be no direct political risk (and as the Huffington Post wrote - ) - but calls into question their reputation. Hogan and Kittleman still need Democrats to govern - and and mean-spirited decisions could poison the well and erode trust.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

JUICE: Del. McIntosh & Sen. Kittleman for Legal Pot, MD for Utah LGBT Marriages, Fracking, Luiz Simmons Mail & More!

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

JUICE #1: POT LEGALIZATION ENDORSED BY DEM LEADER DEL. MAGGIE MCINTOSH & GOP SEN. ALLAN KITTLEMAN // PLUS HUGE REVENUE & NO PROBLEMS IN COLOARDO - The calls for marijuana legalization in Maryland have earned important allies in the state legislature. Delegate Maggie McIntosh, a top Democratic House leader, has endorsed proposals to tax and regulate pot like alcohol and to remove jail-time as a penalty for possession. Meanwhile, GOP State Senator Allan Kittleman, who is running for Howard County Executive, has co-sponsored marijuana legalization legislation. (excerpt below):
MAGGIE MCINTOSH: Last session, my colleague Curt Anderson introduced legislation that would have legalized marijuana use for adults. I supported Delegate Anderson’s bill because I believe our current drug prohibition laws are wasteful and counterproductive, taking resources away from combating drug violence and promoting treatment options for those suffering with addiction. Our current laws also overburden our judicial and prison systems, forcing many non-violent offenders into jail. Last session, the Maryland Senate also passed a bill that would have made possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil – rather than criminal – offense. This year, I fully expect both bills to be introduced again and plan to support either should they come to the House floor. The early reports on legalization efforts in Colorado and Oregon show that this approach can work.
for rolling back the failed War on Drugs in Maryland with the following article announcing support from GOP State Senator Allan Kittleman (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Sen. Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard) said Friday that he will co-sponsor legislation that would allow regulated marijuana sales in Maryland, adding a bipartisan wrinkle to this year’s push in Annapolis. Kittleman, a Republican who is running for Howard County executive this year, said that he has agreed to work with Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Montgomery) on a bill that will be unveiled next week....

Raskin’s legislation would allow sales under a similar framework that recently was set up in Colorado, with marijuana subject to state regulation and taxation. Sales would be limited to people age 21 and over, and there would be tough penalties for selling to minors.

While he has compiled a conservative record on fiscal issues in Annapolis, Kittleman supported two other high-profile liberal social policies in recent years: the legalization of same-sex marriage and the repeal of the death penalty.

“One thing most people know about me is I’m a civil libertarian,” Kittleman said. “This isn’t something I’m doing for politics. The current way we’re dealing with marijuana and the use of it by our citizens isn’t working....”
HUGE POT SALES IN COLORADO = MAJOR REVENUE BOOST: Indeed, all eyes have been on Washington and Colorado, where voters recently approved marijuana legalization at the ballot. The early reports from Colorado, where over-the-counter pot sales began last week are overwhelmingly encouraging. , indicating that the first state on the East Coast to end prohibition will face a revenue windfall (excerpt below):
CBS: The first week of legal pot salesin Colorado is over, and now some Colorado pot shops are already running out of product. In the past week, long lines of customers swamped the Colorado dispensaries that have been granted retail marijuana licenses and bought nearly $5 million worth of pot.... Many shops are limiting the amount of pot a customer can buy, and some have raised their rates....

“We are okay right now but if things go the way they are we might be also running very short,” [marijuana ship owner Moe Atieh] said. “We expected it to be very busy. Did we expect it to be this busy? No, I don’t think anybody did....”
POLICE IN COLORADO REPORT FEW PROBLEMS IN IMPLEMENTATION OF MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION - that local law enforcement officials in Colorado report no real problems since marijuana sales begun this year (excerpt below):
HUFFINGTON POST: A week after Colorado dispensaries started selling recreational marijuana to adults, local law enforcers are not reporting any significant problems. In the state's largest city, there have been only four marijuana citations issued, according to the Denver Police Department. "Everything has gone relatively smooth," Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson told The Huffington Post. "We've written four citations for public consumption since Jan. 1, and that's relatively small considering the number of people consuming right now." A similar lack of trouble swept over other Colorado towns....

Consumer interest was so high the first week that many shop owners capped the amount of marijuana an individual could buy or raised prices to mitigate a possible legal weed shortage.... "Colorado is demonstrating to the rest of the world that regulating marijuana works," said Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project and a key backer of Amendment 64. He added, "The implementation process and smooth rollout of the system in Colorado is surely going to pique the interest of lawmakers and voters in other states who are also ready to move beyond prohibition and adopt more sensible policies...." The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the Department of Justice is drafting legal guidance for how banks can work with marijuana businesses in states like Colorado and Washington, which also legalized recreational marijuana for adults....
VOTERS IN FOUR STATES PLUS WASHINGTON, DC MAY VOTE ON MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION IN 2014: While Maryland continues to piddle around on the wholly uncontroversial issue of medical marijuana, that four other states (Alaska, Arizona, California & Oregon) plus neighboring Washington, DC may send the issue to voters on the 2014 ballot (excerpt below):
US NEWS: One week after the nation's first recreational marijuana stores opened in Colorado, Alaska activists submitted what appear to be enough signatures to put marijuana legalization before voters. The measure – which would go up for a vote Aug. 19 – is one of several 2014 efforts that could yield a good year for pot supporters, particularly in the West....

So far, voters have been at the vanguard of legalization, blowing past state legislatures. In November 2012, more than 55 percent of Colorado and Washington voters approved initiatives to legalize the drug and open state-licensed stores – and polls suggest those successes may be replicated elsewhere.

A CNN/Opinion Research poll released Monday found 55 percent of Americans believe marijuana should be legal, compared to 44 percent who do not. Support was highest in the West – where voter-driven initiatives often become law – and in the Northeast. An October poll released by Gallup put nationwide support for legalization at 58 percent....

Residents in the nation's capital also may get a chance to vote on legalization in November. D.C. Cannabis Campaign leaders plan to submit draft ballot language Friday with the city's elections board. The proposal would legalize possession of 2 ounces and six plants by adults over 21.... Although an April PPP survey put support for legalization at 63 percent in D.C., Eidinger says supporters "can't count out the opposition" and estimates a half-million dollar campaign is necessary to win..... In addition to voter-driven initiatives, legalization bills have been proposed in at least 13 state legislatures....

JUICE #2: ATTORNEY GENERAL DOUG GANSLER ISSUES OPINION ANNOUNCING MARYLAND WILL RESPECT UTAH'S SAME-SEX MARRIAGES - that Maryland will recognize same-sex marriages issued in Utah, which are currently suspended as courts review their legality (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON BLADE: Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler on Friday said his state would recognize same-sex marriages performed in Utah.... Gansler told the Washington Blade his office on Thursday received a call from a gay Maryland couple who married in Utah about whether the state would recognize their union. Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin on the same day urged him and attorneys general in the 17 other states that have extended marriage rights to gays and lesbians to recognize the marriages of the more than 1,300 same-sex couples who exchanged vows after U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby struck down the Beehive State’s gay nuptials ban. The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 6 blocked any future same-sex marriages from taking place in Utah until the case is resolved....
Attorney General Doug Gansler also issued a press release announcing the release of his opinion (excerpt below):
PRESS RELEASE
AG Gansler: Utah Same-sex Marriages are Valid in Maryland

2010 opinion on recognition of legal same-sex marriages performed in other states underpins view that Maryland would recognize Utah unions

Baltimore, MD (January 10, 2014) – In response to a request from the Human Right Campaign, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler has expressed his view that recent same-sex marriages legally performed in Utah should and would be recognized in Maryland. This week the United States Supreme Court issued a stay on performing such unions in Utah after a court ruling there struck down a same-sex marriage ban. As a result of that decision, Utah determined same-sex marriages to be legal and, for 17 days, more than 1300 such marriage licenses were issued until the stay by the Supreme Court ended the practice.

“Maryland will continue to recognize valid out-of-state same-sex marriages as we continue to strengthen the Constitution’s promise of equal protection under the law,” said Attorney General Gansler. “It is an affront to the idea of basic human rights that the battle for full marriage equality in this country remains in headlines and courtrooms.”

The Obama administration today also issued a statement saying that the federal government would recognize same-sex unions performed in Utah despite the fact that the state government of Utah is refusing to do....

To see the Attorney General’s 2010 Opinion on same-sex marriage visit:


# # #

JUICE #3: HEATHER MIZEUR SLAMS ANTHONY BROWN OVER FRACKING ISSUE - that Delegate Heather Mizeur is criticizing Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown's environmental platform, particularly calling out his position on fracking (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Seeking to highlight her green credentials in the race for governor, Del. Heather Mizeur took issue Friday with the environmental platform posted this week by the front-running ticket of Lt. Anthony Brown and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.

Mizeur's campaign issued a statement accusing Brown and Ulman of glossing over the dangers of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and making "vague statements" about how to exploit the energy deposits in western Maryland without harming the environment or people's health.
Mizeur, D-Montgomery, has pushed unsuccessfully for years for a moratorium on "fracking" until its safety has been thoroughly studied and adequate safeguards are in place.  Though the legislation has not passed, Gov. Martin O'Malley has frozen drilling for past three years while an advisory commission on which Mizeur sits reviews the issues....
Heather Mizeur issued the following press release highlighting this difference of opinion:
PRESS RELEASE

Mizeur-Coates Campaign on Brown-Ulman’s “Environmental Values”

SILVER SPRING, Maryland — Yesterday, the Brown-Ulman campaign failed to address the significant dangers of shale gas hydraulic fracturing in their “Environmental Values.”

The Mizeur-Coates campaign released the following statement:

"In the same week the Brown-Ulman campaign released their 'environmental values,' which glossed over the dangers of fracking with vague statements about finding a path forward, the Associated Press published an investigation in which four states, including two of Maryland’s neighbors, confirmed the contamination of drinking water for families as a result of hydraulic fracturing.

Heather Mizeur is a vocal advocate for a more cautious approach. Under her leadership, the state has operated under a de facto drilling moratorium while we conduct independent analysis of the environmental and public health safety threats of this controversial practice. Delegate Mizeur is teaming up with Frederick Senator Ron Young to introduce a bill this session that provides for an 18-month legislative review period guaranteeing the General Assembly a chance to act on the policy recommendations from the safety study’s commission report.

This is our last chance to keep Maryland from unregulated shale gas drilling. The current state study—which so far lacks adequate funding and appropriate risk analysis—is due out later this year. We know the moment the study concludes there will be enormous pressure on the Administration to drill. The Shale Gas Drilling Safety Review Act will give us more confidence that science and the public interest—not special interest politics—will prevail in Maryland. If clean water is truly non-negotiable, then we must act on this now.”

###

JUICE #4: ATTEND A MARYLAND GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES DEBATE IN MOCO ON THU, JAN 30 - Leisure World Democratic activist Paul Bessel sent Maryland Juice the following announcement of a gubernatorial candidates debate at MoCo's largest retirement community (details below):


JUICE #5: DISTRICT 17 SENATE RACE HEATS UP AS DEL. LUIZ SIMMONS SENDS DIRECT MAIL HIGHLIGHTING CHERYL KAGAN "MUDSLINGING" - Though many political observers believe it is very early in the election cycle to be spending resources on direct mail, Delegate Luiz Simmons has come out of the gates swinging with the following piece criticizing rival candidate Cheryl Kagan:




JUICE #6: CASEY ANDERSON DECIDES AGAINST RUNNING FOR MOCO COUNCIL DISTRICT 5  //  PLUS: MOCO PLANNING BOARD CHAIR FRANCOISE CARRIER RETIRING - Montgomery County Planning Board member Casey Anderson has indicated to Maryland Juice that he's decided not to run in the Democratic Primary for Valerie Ervin's District 5 Council seat. He will instead be seeking to Chair the Planning Board, given that the current Chair Francoise Carrier has announced she will not seek another four-year term. (excerpt below):
PATCH: Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Françoise Carrier announced Friday that she will not seek a second term as chair, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission reported in a news release.

In a Thursday evening email to Montgomery County Planning and Parks Department staff, Carrier wrote that: "It is with mixed feelings that I write to tell you I have decided not to seek a second term as Planning Board Chair. It has been wonderful working with such fine people, and I will always love this agency, but for me, one term feels right."

Carrier was appointed in 2010 by the Montgomery County Council, and her time as board chair "has been marked as one of the busiest and most productive terms during the [Planning] Board’s history, with the approval of Master Plans such as: Chevy Chase Lake, Takoma/Langley, Glenmont, Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Plan and Long Branch," the news release stated....

JUICE #7: TODAY IS THE ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF MY FRIEND AARON SWARTZ  //  TAKE A MOMENT TO UNDERSTAND HIS IMPACT - One year ago today, Aaron Swartz, my friend and colleague at Demand Progress committed suicide. He was a brilliant activist and technologist who co-founded reddit.com, Demand Progress, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC). He was also involved in development of open information technologies like RSS 1.0 and Creative Commons, and it should be noted that flunkeys in the Obama administration including DOJ Chief Eric Holder and U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz brought trumped up felony criminal charges against him, threatening him with over 35 years in prison and erasing the money the 26-year-old had amassed through his entrepreneurial endeavors. I finally broke my silence about all of these horrifying incidents in a lengthy piece I wrote last July called "Hacking Politics."

But since then, those of us who knew and worked with Aaron have not given up on advancing his vision, which included challenging corporate power, tackling mass incarceration, and ensuring the Internet remains a place for dialogue free from censorship and undue surveillance. In fact, we're doubling down on fighting the excesses and overreach of the powered and money interests dominating society today. (excerpt below):
WIRED: Internet activist Aaron Swartz took his own life one year ago today. He was 26 years old and facing federal hacking and fraud charges for downloading millions of academic articles using MIT’s network. Before his passing, he was on outspoken advocate for freedom of information and a founder of Demand Progress, the nonprofit that invigorated a successful grassroots effort to fight the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in 2012.

Swartz was, as WIRED’s Kevin Poulsen wrote a “coder with a conscience,” and in a clip premiering today on WIRED from director Brian Knappenberger’s forthcoming documentary The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, more than a few web visionaries remember him for the important work he did and the legacy he created.

I think Aaron was trying to make the world work – he was trying to fix it,” says World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee. “So he was a bit ahead of his time....

Swartz’s fight for rights online has only been brought more intensely into focus in the year since his death, largely due to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. To see him talk about government spying in this documentary at a time before the Snowden leaks is especially chilling now. But thanks to Knappenberger’s documentary – and other actions being taken to remember the internet activist – the conversation he started can continue....
Indeed, Maryland Juice will be heading to the Sundance Film Festival next week for the premiere of "The Internet's Own Boy," a documentary which promises to further embolden those of us involved in organizing for social justice and Internet Freedom. You can watch the trailer for the film, along with a special selection of interviews below:




Members of Congress have also not forgotten the unjust prosecution of Aaron Swartz (who incidentally faced more jail time than typically given to rapists and molesters). , instead of the same vague and defensive explanations they've provided for their overzealous prosecution (excerpt below):
TECHDIRT: Tomorrow is the anniversary of the unfortunate passing of Aaron Swartz. Senators John Cornyn and Al Franken, along with Rep. Darryl Issa, have now sent Attorney General Eric Holder yet another request for an explanation concerning the investigation and prosecution of Swartz. This follows on a similar request from last year, but these elected officials note both that the DOJ's response was inadequate, and that it was also contradicted by the eventual report on the prosecution that came out of MIT....
 
The MIT Report indicates that Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann considered other factors in advance of the return of the superseding indictment. He told MIT that "the straw that broke the camel's back" was an internet webpage soliciting signatures on Mr. Swartz's behalf by Demand Progress, an activist group founded by Mr. Swartz.

In other words, despite the claims from Holder that the charges against Aaron were not based on Swartz exercising his right to free speech, Stephen Heymann has since admitted that, in fact, Swartz's friends speaking out on his behalf were what made him decide to try to throw the book at Swartz....
Indeed, those of us at Demand Progress did attempt to fight the DOJ's ridiculous prosecution of Aaron Swartz, and Eric Holder's minions responded by adding more trumped up charges against my friend. This has been an unpleasant reminder that those of us fighting for the common good must prioritize justice over party politics. But in the meantime, please:
 
#OccupyLife

Monday, July 8, 2013

Democratic Senators Lisa Gladden & Bobby Zirkin Endorse Allan Kittleman, GOP Candidate for Howard County Executive

UPDATE: The commentary below appeared in this month's issue of Business Monthly, but it turns out , who has mirrored the on his own website (additional excerpt below):
MARYLAND REPORTER: It’s no secret that Sen. Allan Kittleman will need lots of Democrats to vote for a Republican for Howard County executive for him to accomplish what the GOP did 23 years ago — take over the county government.

“If Allan Kittleman can’t have a chance in Howard County, no one has a chance,” said attorney Michael Davis, who was campaign chairman for Republican Chuck Ecker when Ecker defeated Democrat Liz Bobo during her re-election bid for executive in 1990. Four years later, Republicans controlled the County Council, the courthouse offices and a majority of legislative seats.

Davis was involved in a poll taken last year that he said showed Kittleman “has good name recognition; he’s got high trust factors and likability factors.” But he’s still got “a tough fight”....

Maryland Juice previously noted that GOP State Senator Allan Kittleman was running for Howard County Executive in 2014, and that he would likely be facing off against Democratic HoCo Councilmember Courtney Watson. But we highlighted a report in Patch.com that Democratic State Senator Bobby Zirkin had crossed party lines to endorse Kittleman for Executive. There were rumors that another Democratic State Senator Lisa Gladden would be supporting the Republican candidate for HoCo Exec, but we never saw confirmation of that story until today. In fact, I only heard that Gladden was supporting Kittleman through :



Last night a Maryland Juice reader forwarded us a scanned copy of an interesting article that appeared in the , which features interviews with Senators Zirkin and Gladden highlighting their endorsements for Allan Kittleman. The article, titled "Kittleman's Uphill Fight" does not yet appear in the online edition of Business Monthly, but we provide some excerpts from the newsprint below:
BUSINESS MONTHLY: "It's the content of your character, it's not a 'D' or 'R' behind your name that makes a difference, said Zirkin.... Zirkin said he also asked Kittleman whether he could bring up same-sex marraige. Kittleman was only one of the dozen Republicans in the state Senate that supported the measure...."

Sure enough, Gladden, with a more liberal voting record than Zirkin's is a Kittleman fan. "Allan is a whole different breed of Republican," Gladden said in an interview.... Gladden recognizes there's a whole range of issues on which she and Kittleman disagree, but he supported her position on an issue she's passionate about, abolition of the death penalty....
Notably, Zirkin highlights Kittleman's support for marriage equality, while Gladden highlights his support for death penalty repeal. But one Democratic commenter in the article below highlights other issues where Kittleman conflicts with mainstream Democratic politics. In the article, Howard County Democratic Party Chair Michael McPherson called Kittleman a "flaming Tea Party zealot" who opposes gun control and works to restrict women's access to health care.

More on the HoCo Exec battle soon!

Monday, June 17, 2013

JuiceBlender: Minorities Organize for Garagiola Vacancy, 5 HoCo Delegate Vacancies, Jon Cardin Slams Lawless Sheriffs

Below Maryland Juice highlights a few items of interest to politicos around the state, starting with more organizing around pending legislative vacancies:

JUICE #1: MOCO PEOPLE OF COLOR ORGANIZING AROUND SELECTION OF SEN. ROB GARAGIOLA'S REPLACEMENT - Maryland Juice previously noted that Del. Brian Feldman was seeking the District 15 State Senate vacancy caused by the surprise resignation of Sen. Rob Garagiola. Feldman has received early support for a promotion from some of his elected colleagues and a District 15 Democratic political club, but already some Democratic Party members are agitating for a different direction.

PEOPLE OF COLOR ORGANIZING IN DISTRICT 15: Several Maryland Juice sources indicate that this past weekend, a group of Democratic activists met in Potomac to try and organize a push to ask the MCDCC to take diversity seriously in selecting a replacement for State Senator Rob Garagiola. I received the following statement and photo from a coalition of leaders representing communities of color following a meeting in Potomac:
A group of leaders representing the African American, Asian, Muslim, and Latino communities met today to challenge the efforts of elected officials and democratic party activists to shut-out qualified members of ethnic groups, People of Color, Young Democrats and others from the opportunity to fill the State Senate seat that will be vacated by State Senator Rob Garagiola from District 15. 

The group also maintains that although Montgomery County is a majority people of color County, the County has never elected a Person of Color to the Maryland State Senate.  Based on recent demographic data, we maintain that the Montgomery County Senate Delegation is not representative of the residents of the County.  The retirement of Senator Garagiola is an opportunity for the voters and leaders of Montgomery County to remedy this inequity. 

The people of color leadership group called for an open and transparent process over the next three months and were critical of efforts to anoint a successor by elected officials, party activists and others.  They also cautioned that efforts to intimidate central committee members, elected officials, and potential candidates will not be tolerated.  We believe that qualified candidates who live in District 15 should have a fair chance of interviewing for the vacancy.

Redistricting has had a significant impact on people of color in District 15 and in other communities in Montgomery County.  Many qualified candidates of color were redistricted out of their districts by design.  Communities with growing numbers of ethnic democratic voters as well as voters of color had their voting power diluted,  and the results of those decisions have been the disenfranchisement of voters of color. These and other issues were discussed today and we believe that we have no other alternative but to begin the process of interviewing candidates that we will forward to the Central Committee to be vetted for the District 15 Senate vacancy.  We will also to reach out to young voters, labor unions and other grassroots activists throughout Montgomery County.

DEMOGRAPHIC & ELECTORAL BACKSTORY: Montgomery County is now a majority-minority jurisdiction and barring a national shift in politics, District 15 is highly unlikely to be won by a Republican in the near future. That means that (within reason) almost any Democrat with the juice to win the 2014 primary for this seat ought to be able to easily defend the office in a General Election. But the D15 State Senate vacancy will be filled by the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, and the MCDCC has a less than encouraging record at filling vacant seats with women and people of color.

Maryland Juice does not think the reasons for this usually have to do with race or gender per se; rather the MCDCC (like many Party entities) favors political insiders and connected individuals, by virtue of existing social networks. Thus, yielding to the inertia of "who you already know" replicates the national glass ceiling effect in MoCo politics. The argument from folks opposed to looking at a range of candidates for the D15 seat is that in order to defeat Robin Ficker (or someone else) in 2014, we will need to anoint a strong insider to keep the D15 Senate seat blue. Hmm. But no matter your view on Del. Feldman or whether the MCDCC should diversify the Senate delegation, that is clearly a spurious argument. You would really have to believe that there are no qualified women or people of color in highly educated MoCo who could win a State Senate seat in a jurisdiction that Barack Obama carried easily in two consecutive elections!

In any case, this is a very interesting development in District 15. I guess we will soon know whether the rebel forces will be heard. Notably, Maryland Juice is hearing about similar dynamics brewing among Democrats in Howard County. More soon!


JUICE #2: DEL. GUZZONE TO RUN FOR SEN. ROBEY'S SEAT & DEL. BATES TO RUN FOR SEN. KITTLEMAN'S SEAT  // 5 OPEN HOCO DELEGATE SEATS! - (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Guy Guzzone, a Columbia Democrat, announced Thursday evening that he would run for State Sen. Jim Robey's seat in 2014. County Executive Ken Ulman and Councilmember Mary Kay Sigaty were among his supporters.
Amazingly, Howard County voters will be electing five new Delegates in 2014, as Del Guy Guzzone is just the latest in a string of Maryand House members vacating their seats next year. Several of Guzzone's Democratic HoCo colleagues previously announced retirement from the House, including Democratic Delegates Liz Bobo, Steve DeBoy and Jim Malone.

Meanwhile, in District 9A Republican Delegate Gail Bates is vacating the House to seek the State Senate vacancy caused by D9 Sen. Allan Kittleman's run for Howard County Executive. (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Del. Gail Bates, a West Friendship Republican, said Kittleman is the right choice for Howard County because of his experience on the council and in the Senate. "He sees both sides, and I think he can be very effective as county executive," she said. Bates said she will announce her candidacy for Kittleman's former Senate seat after July 4....


JUICE #3: DEL. JON CARDIN SLAMS MARYLAND SHERIFFS WHO REFUSE TO ENFORCE THE STATE'S NEW GUN CONTROL LAWS - Maryland Juice just caught an interesting . Notably, Cardin is running for Attorney General in 2014, and his commentary below suggests that gun control will have strong support among voters in the upcoming Democratic Primary. In the column below, Cardin condemns Garrett County Sheriff Robert Corley for proclaiming he would not enforce Maryland's newly passed gun regulations (excerpt below):
JON CARDIN (VIA BALTIMORE SUN): While the vast majority of sheriffs nationwide serve honorably, enforcing the laws and putting their lives on the line for our safety, a small number of sheriffs have begun to claim that, in their opinion, validly enacted state and federal laws are unconstitutional. These sheriffs have ordered their subordinate law enforcement officers to ignore the law of the land and enforce only the provisions the sheriff personally feels are constitutional. By stating he will selectively enforce the Maryland Firearms Safety Act of 2013, [Garrett County Sheriff Robert] Corley ignores the oath he took to uphold the U.S. Constitution, the Maryland Constitution and the laws of the state of Maryland — while putting us all in danger of proliferation of violent crime....

MORE ON THE 2014 ATTORNEY GENERAL'S RACE SOON!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

JUICE: MoCo Exec Ike Leggett Wants 3rd Term, Sen. Zirkin Wants GOP HoCo Exec & Is Del. Feldman Next Sen. Garagiola?

Below Maryland Juice provides a few updates to percolating stories of interest to politicos:

JUICE #1: MONTGOMERY COUNTY EXECUTIVE IKE LEGGETT TO SEEK THIRD TERM - Several insiders began telling Maryland Juice yesterday that MoCo Exec Ike Leggett was preparing to make an announcement about his future. No surprise here - he's running for re-election to seek a third term as County Executive. Check out the following and :
WTOP: Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett is expected to announce he's running for re-election, WTOP has learned. The official announcement is expected online Tuesday night....




JUICE #2: DEMOCRATIC SEN. BOBBY ZIRKIN ENDORSES GOP SEN. ALLAN KITTLEMAN FOR HOWARD COUNTY EXECUTIVE // IS SEN. LISA GLADDEN NEXT? - for Howard County Executive -- before HoCo Democrats have even had a chance to choose their nominee:
PATCH.COM: Howard County Republican State Sen. Allan Kittleman is getting an unusual endorsement at his campaign event Tuesday afternoon for a run for Howard County executive. Baltimore County Democratic State Sen. Bobby Zirkin said he is supporting Kittleman's run for his new role at an event at Lake Kittamaqundi. "Yeah, I'm supporting him," Zirkin said by phone on his way to the afternoon announcement....

for Howard County Executive. Maryland Juice has not confirmed the report below:


What's going on here? As I understand it, should Kittleman win the 2014 GOP primary, he's likely to face off against Democratic HoCo Councilmember Courtney Watson for County Executive. I know some folks will say there's nothing wrong with breaking ranks on party, but even they must admit this is a very unusual circumstance. The cynic in me thinks that someone might be a bit paranoid about losing a General Election next year. On the other hand, maybe these State Senators are all best pals or something. Then again, Maryland Juice did name State Senator Allan Kittleman our 2012 Marylander of the Year for breaking ranks with his own party to support marriage equality. I don't feel too bad about it either since he even took the spirit of the award to heart by supporting death penalty repeal the following session. Win or lose, perhaps some of Kittleman's GOP colleagues could steal a page from his playbook.... But I'm still rooting for the Dems, of course. My party is (in my opinion) still the better vehicle for attempting to advance progressive politics & civil liberties (*cough*) and challenge corporate power (*cough cough*)  -- notwithstanding the betrayal of many, many elected Democrats on these issues.


JUICE #3: DEL. BRIAN FELDMAN EARNS ENDORSEMENT OF D15 CAUCUS IN QUEST TO BE APPOINTED TO REPLACE STATE SEN. ROB GARAGIOLA - Maryland Juice previously wrote about the District 15 State Senate vacancy being caused by the resignation of Rob Garagiola. We also noted that Del. Brian Feldman wanted to be chosen by the MoCo Democratic Central Committee to replace Garagiola. I guess that makes sense since they both sponsored and voted for legislation forcing Montgomery County taxpayers to give weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin $4.5 million every decade. Oh, but I kid the good Democrats of Montgomery County; nobody remembers the great lobbyist-driven Lockheed giveaway of 2013, right?....

In any case, today we received the following announcement from the District 15 Democratic Caucus (a political club in D15), noting that they endorsed Del. Feldman to replace Garagiola. The news was sent via a copied message from the D15 caucus leaders addressed to MCDCC Chair Gabe Albornoz:
June 10, 2013

The Honorable Gabriel Albornoz
Chair, Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee
3720 Farragut Ave.
Kensington, MD 20895

Re: Unanimous Support for Appointment of Delegate Brian J. Feldman to Maryland Senate Seat Being Vacated by Hon. Rob Garagiola

Dear Chairman Albornoz and Members of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee:

Please receive this letter from the District 15 Democratic Caucus announcing our unanimous support and unconditional recommendation for Delegate Brian Feldman to be appointed by the Central Committee to succeed Sen. Rob Garagiola in the Maryland Senate. While we are saddened by Sen. Garagiola’s resignation after his many years of outstanding service to District 15, the board of directors of the District 15 Democratic Caucus unanimously voted for and recommends Brian to the Central Committee. We proudly urge the Committee to submit his name at the appropriate time to Governor O’Malley in accordance with the Maryland Constitution.

Delegate Feldman, an attorney, was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2002 and was reelected by substantial margins in 2006 and 2010. Prior to his election, Brian served as President of the District 15 Democratic Club. Before 2002, Republicans occupied three of the four legislative seats in District 15. With the assistance of a strong Democratic precinct organization, Brian worked with his District colleagues over the next decade to transform a legislative district that had leaned Republican into what is now a district represented entirely by Democrats. The nature of District 15’s demographics does not allow us to assume a Democratic victory in every election. As a result, Brian’s reputation and his broad voter support will enhance the likelihood that the Senate seat will remain Democratic. Brian has been a member of the MCDCC Democratic Forum for many years and he was an Obama Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

Brian has risen to leadership positions in the House of Delegates and received the respect of the House leadership and from his peers. After being re-elected in 2006, he was selected by the Speaker of the House to serve as Chair of the House Subcommittee on Banking, Economic Development, Science and Technology. In 2007, he was elected unanimously by his colleagues in the 24-member Montgomery County House Delegation to serve as its Chair and served in that capacity for 5 consecutive years. After the 2010 election, the Speaker appointed Brian to the leadership position of House Parliamentarian where he is responsible for making parliamentary rulings on the House Floor, often during contentious debates involving the General Assembly’s most controversial proposals, including involving special legislative sessions called by the Governor. In each position he held, Brian distinguished himself and received the admiration of his colleagues for his performance.

In the House of Delegates, Brian has been a remarkably effective legislator having sponsored and gained passage of numerous key bills that have enhanced the quality of life in Montgomery County and benefited Maryland’s economy in many ways. Brian is well known for being a pioneering legislator for the state’s emerging biotechnology sector, an industry which has become a leading economic engine in Montgomery County and which is critical to the county’s future. In 2005, the Biotechnology Industry Organization named Brian as its “State Legislator of the Year” for the entire nation. Brian has also sponsored legislation and navigated it through the General Assembly process including the landmark law which required for the first time that reliability standards be established for Maryland electric companies, including PEPCO; providing service disabled veteran owned small businesses enhanced opportunities; and supporting economic development programs which create new jobs.

Brian is part of House Speaker Mike Busch’s senior leadership team. Working collaboratively with other Democratic leaders of the General Assembly and with Governor O’Malley, he most recently helped pass an agenda that received national attention. It included the Marriage Equality Act, Death Penalty Repeal, Gun Control, and Off-Shore Wind projects. We believe Brian’s success as a senior House of Delegate’s leader, his proven ability to collaborate with colleagues from across the state, his knowledge of the nuances of the legislative process, and his dedicated work ethic would make him an outstanding Senator.

Brian’s background and extensive experience, both in the General Assembly and as an experienced attorney, are valuable assets for our County and District 15 in the State Senate. His proven electoral success in District 15 is also critically important as we seek to successfully defend the Senate seat in this legislative district that was the most recent District in the county to elect a Republican. Finally, we understand that the other three current District 15 state legislators - Delegates Kathleen Dumais and Aruna Miller and Senator Garagiola - support Brian’s appointment to the Senate. Their voices should be seriously considered as they are committed to continuing to achieve success for District 15 and Montgomery County in the General Assembly.

For all of these reasons, the District 15 Democratic Caucus unanimously recommends and respectfully requests that the Central Committee support Delegate Brian J. Feldman for the soon to be vacated Senate seat. If you have any questions, please contact Chairman Jeff Williams at jwilliams@xxxxxx.xxx or at (301) XXX-XXXX.

Very truly yours,

Jeffrey Ross Williams Tim Whitehouse
Chairman Vice Chairman 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

ROLL CALL: Maryland Senate Approves Death Penalty Repeal 27-20 // 10 Democrats Joined GOP: House of Delegates Next!

Today the . The measure now heads to the House of Delegates for approval. In the meantime, below you can see a roll call of how the individual State Senators voted.



DEATH PENALTY ROLL CALL: Two Republican Senators joined Democrats in ending legalized murder by state government employees: Allan Kittleman and Ed Reilly. They are highlighted in red below. Meanwhile, ten Democratic Senators (highlighted in blue) joined the vast majority of the Republican caucus in trying to maintain state executions. Notably the list of Democrats who joined the GOP to maintain a culture of violence includes Senate President Mike Miller, MoCo Senator Rob Garagiola, wanna-be Senate President Mac Middleton and our all-time favorite State Senator Norm Stone.

VOTED FOR REPEAL OF THE DEATH PENALTY
  1. John Astle
  2. Joanne Benson
  3. Joan Carter Conway
  4. Ulysses Currie
  5. Ed Degrange
  6. Bill Ferguson
  7. Jennie Forehand
  8. Brian Frosh
  9. Lisa Gladden
  10. Verna Jones-Rodwell
  11. Delores Kelley
  12. Nancy King
  13. Allan Kittleman (R)
  14. Rich Madaleno
  15. Roger Manno
  16. Nate McFadden
  17. Karen Montgomery
  18. Anthony Muse
  19. Douglas J.J. Peters
  20. Paul Pinsky
  21. Catherine Pugh
  22. Victor Ramirez
  23. Jamie Raskin
  24. Ed Reilly (R)
  25. Jim Rosapepe
  26. Ron Young
  27. Bobby Zirkin

VOTED AGAINST REPEAL OF THE DEATH PENALTY
  1. David Brinkley 
  2. Jim Brochin (D)
  3. Richard Colburn
  4. Roy Dyson (D)
  5. George Edwards
  6. Rob Garagiola (D)
  7. Joseph Getty
  8. Barry Glassman
  9. Nancy Jacobs
  10. J.B. Jennings
  11. Ed Kasemeyer (D)
  12. Katherine Klausmeier (D)
  13. Jim Mathias (D)
  14. Mac Middleton (D)
  15. Mike Miller (D)
  16. E.J. Pipkin
  17. Jim Robey (D)
  18. Chris Shank
  19. Bryan Simonaire
  20. Norm Stone (D)

, when he posted the following photo of former death row prisoner Kirk Bloodsworth (aka America's first DNA exoneree):

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

JuiceBlender: Valerie Ervin Builds MoCo Exec Team, Anne Arundel Exec John Leopold Suspended & Transgender Rights

The late Del. Hattie Harrison
PLUS: WHY IS DOUG DUNCAN HIDING?

Below Maryland Juice highlights a few items of interest to politicos....

But before we begin the JuiceBlender, we note the recent passing of , a Democrat representing District 45 in the Maryland House. Maryland Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis commented, "From her appointment 40 years ago until today, Delegate Harrison served the people of Maryland with grace, honor, and distinction.

Delegate Harrison's legacy will live on in the lives of the many people she inspired. As the longest serving member of the House of Delegates, she broke though barriers time and again, including becoming the first African American woman to chair a major committee."


JUICE #1:  MOCO COUNCILMEMBER VALERIE ERVIN BEGINS ASSEMBLING 2014 COUNTY EXECUTIVE CAMPAIGN TEAM  - that Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin has begun assembling a team for a County Executive run in 2014. Among the revelations in the article are rumors that Ervin is working with O'Malley-Brown pollster Fred Yang and political consultant Martha McKenna (formerly of the DSSC and EMILY's List). Morever, Ervin stated she would run regardless of incumbent Executive Ike Leggett's decision on his future (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Montgomery County Council member Valerie Ervin, long mentioned as a possible candidate for county executive in 2014 , is moving closer to running. Ervin (D-Silver Spring) said she is in "serious discussions" with two national Democratic operatives, pollster Fred Yang and media consultant Martha McKenna, about roles in the campaign. Incumbent Isiah Leggett (D) has yet to announce whether he will seek a third term. But Ervin said if she runs, it will be regardless of whether Leggett is in or out....

MARC ELRICH WEIGHING POTENTIAL COUNTY EXECUTIVE CAMPAIGN - Though Valerie Ervin is not making a run for County Executive contingent on the actions of Ike Leggett, At Large Councilmember Marc Elrich is suggesting he may be a candidate if Leggett retires. After hearing rumors yesterday that Elrich had publicly discussed his possible bid, Maryland Juice asked Elrich about the race. Here's what he had to say:
MARC ELRICH: If Ike does not run, it is likely that I will, but I expect that he will decide to run again, in which case I'll support him.

PHIL ANDREWS BEGINS CANVASSING - Notably, article also took note of where MoCo Councilmember Phil Andrews was in his County Exec campaign: "Andrews said Monday that he doesn’t expect to hire either a pollster or media consultant. 'I’m out knocking on doors right now. That’s the best kind of poll to have,' he said." Coincidentally, two days ago to report being door-knocked by Phil Andrews:



WHERE IS DOUG DUNCAN?: Perhaps driven by all of this chatter from County Executive candidates, yesterday:



Indeed, former Exec Doug Duncan has been awfully quiet lately, after previously announcing he was running for MoCo Executive in 2014. Maryland Juice asked a source close to Duncan about this, and our contact stated that he was indeed still in the race. But that's not stopping reporters from wondering about Duncan's whereabouts. noted this abensence in an amusing article headlined, "" (excerpt below):
GAZETTE: January campaign finance reports showed Duncan’s campaign paid $33,000 last May to Hickman Analytics of Chevy Chase for “cell and landline sample polling.”

When Duncan announced his race to supporters at a November breakfast, sources said he referenced a poll that showed him with favorable ratings....

Duncan, who has not responded to requests for comment since announcing his campaign, did not return calls seeking comment.

Hat tip: . Lastly, At Large Councilmember George Leventhal is also actively pursuing the County Exec office right now. Still no word from Ike Leggett!


JUICE #2:  ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY EXEC JOHN LEOPOLD FOUND GUILTY OF MISCONDUCT & SUSPENDED FROM OFFICE  - Maryland Juice previously discussed the bizarre saga surrounding Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold. The Republican politician has been under siege for months, due to accusations he misused the powers of his office in numerous ways -- including using police officers and government employees to: conduct political activities, enable affairs and sexual encounters, and even to dispose of his urine. But that Leopold was found guilty of two counts of misconduct and was suspended from office (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold has been suspended from office after being found guilty of two counts of misconduct Tuesday.

Circuit Court Judge Dennis M. Sweeney convicted the county executive for using his taxpayer-funded police protection detail to perform political duties and for requiring officers and an aide to empty the urinary catheter bag he used after back surgery.

County Attorney Jonathan A. Hodgson said Chief Administrative Officer John Hammond is now the acting county executive....


JUICE #3:  OVER TWENTY MARYLAND SENATORS CO-SPONSOR TRANSGENDER ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW // BILL POISED FOR PASSAGE  - After previously stalling in the Maryland State Senate, that legislation to prohibit discrimination against transgender residents was introduced and already has over twenty co-sponsors (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON BLADE: Maryland lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a bill that would ban anti-transgender discrimination in the workplace, housing and public accommodations.
The Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2013 that gay state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) and state Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County) introduced has more than 20 co-sponsors. These include state Sen. Allan Kittleman (R-Howard County.)....
indicating that the bill may now be on track for passage (excerpt below):
METRO WEEKLY: This new bill will first receive a hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee sometime in the next month, after which the committee is expected to approve it and send it to the floor for a vote, if Miller consents. Advocates are confident they have the requisite number of votes needed to pass it in the upper chamber. It would then go to the House, where it is expected to pass easily....

JUICE #4:  ACTIVISTS PETITION LEGISLATURE FOR EQUAL FUNDING FOR MARYLAND'S HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES  - A few activists and organizations have contacted Maryland Juice regarding a renewed effort to seek equal funding for HBCU's in the Free State. The coalition of groups involved in the effort circulated the following action alert (excerpt below):
MARYLAND BLACK CAUCUS: On February 4, 2013 more than 2,000  students and supporters of Maryland’s four Historically Black Colleges and Universities – including Morgan State University, Bowie State University, Coppin State University, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore - will converge on the Maryland State House to lobby legislators for increased funding to support these historically underfunded universities....



As part of the Caucus’ push, they are calling on Governor O’Malley to find a just end to the six-year legal battle between the Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education in Maryland, which represents the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the Maryland Higher Education Commission and the State of Maryland.

Additionally, given that both parties have indicated that they would seek an appeal should they not prevail in the lawsuit, which could result in an additional six years of litigation, the Caucus is asking that Governor O’Malley provide for a special appropriation of $14 million per year in funding over the next five years, beginning in 2014....

A diverse coalition of groups supports this call to action. The initiative is backed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), CASA de Maryland, B.E.S.T. Democratic Club, Maryland Young Democrats, and the Sierra Club.




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