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Showing posts with label seiu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label seiu. Show all posts

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Van Hollen Gets Important Backing From SEIU // One Union Says Edwards "Has Turned Her Back Toward Labor"

Today, at an announcement at in Baltimore, Representative Chris Van Hollen will accept the endorsement Maryland’s Service Employees International Union (SEIU) locals, including 1199, 32BJ, Local 500, Local 400, NAGE and Local 722. This is the biggest endorsement to date for Van Hollen and a body blow to Congresswoman Donna Edwards, who many originally expected to win the strong backing from organized labor.
: Van Hollen "has a record of standing with labor and workers," said Ricarra Jones, with 1199 SEIU. "We're going to go with a person who is going to best represent our interests in the Senate."
: We feel like she has turned her back toward labor,” said Ricarra Jones, political organizer for Local 1199, the largest SEIU chapter in Maryland, which has about 9,000 members. “We think that Van Hollen will do a much better job.”
PAINT THE STATE PURPLE: The Maryland SEIU locals represent nearly 45,000 members, and their endorsement ensures the Van Hollen campaign will receive significant union support, including member-volunteers who will knock on doors and make phone calls in Baltimore City and other key Democratic jurisdictions.

Relaxed campaign finance rules post Citizens United not only allows SEIU to spend more heavily on advertising but also to ramp up voter contact efforts to non-union workers. In 2012, SEIU was the top outside spending on Democratic campaigns - spending $70 million on donations, television ads and GOTV.

SEIU has increasingly played a very active role in many important elections and legislative battles through both member outreach and paid media efforts. In 2014, SEIU backed and invested heavily in Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and more than 80 other candidates in the Democratic primary. The vast majority of these endorsed candidates prevailed.

Nationally, the 2 million member SEIU - the fastest growing union in the United States - endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. Notably, SEIU has supported and increased awareness of the ‘Fight for $15’ campaign, and has successfully persuaded local leaders in New York, Los Angeles and Seattle to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

DISAPPOINTING FOR DONNA: Labor in the past has strongly supported Edwards, which likely makes today’s endorsement that much more painful. SEIU and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) strongly supported her bid to unseat Rep. Al Wynn in 2008 - spending more than $1 million on her successful campaign. Unions also circled the wagons and effectively scared Glenn Ivey into dropping a primary challenge in 2012.

Earlier this year observers thought Edwards had the inside track with labor, and would earn the financial and organizational resources to make up for Van Hollen’s fundraising edge. Instead, Van Hollen and Edwards have traded endorsements and the AFL-CIO declined to choose sides.

It is unlikely that any union that currently supports Edwards can match the resources SEIU can bring to bear. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

LAST CALL: MoCo Council Votes on Minimum Wage Today // Leggett Seeks Changes As Numerous Advocacy Groups Arm Up

LAST CALL TO CONTACT MOCO COUNCILMEMBERS: The Montgomery County Council is due to vote today on whether to increase the minimum wage in the county and establish a regional standard with Prince George's and the District of Columbia. Specifically, Councilmembers Marc Elrich, Nancy Navarro and Valerie Ervin are proposing: 1) an $11.50 an hour minimum wage in Montgomery County, 2) that would be phased in by 2016, and 3) would be "indexed" to rise with increases in the cost of living. Last Friday we published a whip count indicating where the County Councilmembers and County Executive candidates stand on this, and we noted that the effort needs one additional vote to pass without weakening amendments.
EMAIL NOW TO SUPPORT AN $11.50/HOUR MINIMUM WAGE: You can email all nine Montgomery County Councilmembers and the office of the County Executive by sending a message to
Prince George's County Councilmembers are poised to pass a parallel $11.50 an hour wage rate this week, but not until Montgomery County acts on the effort. Please bear in mind that the $11.50 figure was established by a coalition of Councilmembers from MoCo, D.C. and Prince George's, and a deviation from that arrangement will throw unpredictability into the proposed regional minimum wage and potentially derail the effort. Below Maryland Juice provides numerous updates on the current state of play, including proposed alterations being suggested by County Executive Ike Leggett and action alerts from numerous advocacy groups.

JUICE #1: MOCO EXECUTIVE IKE LEGGETT PROPOSES $10.75 TO $11.10 MINIMUM WAGE, PHASED IN BY 2018 - County Executive Ike Leggett is calling a last-minute audible and trying to lower the proposed $11.50 an hour minimum wage proposal to somewhere between $10.75 and $11.10.  Last night he released a memo outlining an alternate minimum wage plan that deviates in significant ways from the Elrich-Ervin-Navarro $11.50/hour proposal:
$10.75 OR $11.10 MINIMUM WAGE RATE: Leggett's proposal purports to establish a minimum wage of $11.50 an hour or $1 over the state minimum wage -- whichever is lower. Leggett would also establish a floor of $10.75 an hour, which is the lower rate proposed by an amendment from Councilmember Hans Riemer. Given that the state is likely to consider a $10.10 minimum wage, it seems extremely unlikely that the MoCo wage will reach $11.50. The actual likely wage rate under this slightly convoluted plan is going to be between $10.75 and $11.10.  
FIVE YEAR PHASE-IN PERIOD UNTIL 2018: The Elrich-Ervin-Navarro plan would phase-in an $11.50/hour rate by the year 2016, while the Leggett plan would phase in a maximum rate of between $10.75 and $11.10 by 2018.
EXEMPTION FOR PART-TIME EMPLOYEES 18 AND UNDER: The Leggett plan would also exclude the new minimum wage requirement for part-time employees age 18 and under. This position was also adopted by the members of the County Council's Health and Human Services Committee. Interestingly, Councilmember Riemer's Chief of Staff :
ADAM PAGNUCCO: I am extremely upset that Nancy Navarro and the rest of the HHS Committee voted to exclude all employees age 18 and under from the minimum wage.


JUICE #2: CASA DE MARYLAND ACTION ALERT ON MOCO MINIMUM WAGE - CASA de Maryland released the following action alerts and press releases on today's minimum wage vote:
CASA DE MARYLAND: We need your urgent participation. Please call now the office of Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Reimer and ask to vote YES for the minimum wage increase to $11.50 an hour.  To this moment, he has said that he would only increase it to $10.75 an hour. Please tell him that it would be unacceptable to vote for anything less than $11.50. 

His contact information is: 240-777-7964 /  councilmember.riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov PLEASE TAKE A MINUTE TO CONTACT HIM. We need his vote to pass this bill.

Also, we will be holding a rally with CASA de Maryland and allies tomorrow at 12noon at the Montgomery County Council. We will proceed to the hearing room at 1:30pm to witness the vote. PLEASE COME SUPPORT.  Flyer attached / CASA press statement below.
PRESS RELEASE

CASA de Maryland Urges Montgomery County Council to Increase the Minimum Wage to $11.50, Eliminate 90-Day Temporary Worker Restriction

"As we approach Tuesday’s vote in the Montgomery County Council to increase the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour by 2016, we remind people about the faces of low-wage workers who make our county move forward. Take the case of worker Wilfred Mokoko, he states:

For many years, I worked in a hotel making the minimum wage. At the start, the wages were fair, but as the cost of food, rent, electricity, and water increased I saw my wages were too low. Over the past few years here in Montgomery County, I have seen the Ride On Bus Fare increase from $1.20 to $1.35 to $1.70 and today it is $1.80. To many people these changes do not make a difference, but they matter to me. There are days I put $14 on my bus pass and I am shocked when it is empty before the end of the week. Some weeks, I spend more than $20 on bus transportation. Working people are suffering and we are looking to political leaders to bring relief to our community. If the cost of living rises then so must the wages that people need to survive.

"Increasing Wildfred’s hourly rate to $11.50 makes a significant difference to support his family. CASA de Maryland, the largest Latino and immigrant organization in the state, urges members of the Montgomery County Council to support the minimum wage increase to $11.50 an hour by 2016.

"At the same time, CASA strongly urges members of the County Council to eliminate the 90-Day provision that excludes temporary workers from obtaining the minimum wage increase. Day laborers and temporary/seasonal employees perform some of the most grueling work in the County and should not be paid less because of the short-term nature of their employment. All workers deserve to live in dignity and be able to afford to protect their families. No worker should be left behind."

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JUICE #2: COALITION LETTER SUPPORTING $11.50 AN HOUR  - Several groups released the following letter to the County Council calling for an $11.50/hour wage, including SEIU Local 500, CASA, Jews United for Justice, MoCo Young Democrats, Progressive Maryland, Progressive Neighbors, and UFCW Local 400:


JUICE #3: PROGRESSIVE MARYLAND ACTION ALERT TARGETS RIEMER - Progressive Maryland released the following action alert on the minimum wage vote:
PROGRESSIVE MARYLAND: Riemer still waffling on $11.50 minimum wage with indexing, email now - Despite all the  calls and emails to Councilmember Hans Riemer's office in support of a $11.50 minimum wage in Montgomery County that is indexed to inflation, Councilmember Riemer has still not assured his constituents that he will vote in favor of Bill 27-13. This is shameful. At-Large Councilmember Hans Riemer needs to hear from you right now. Tell Riemer to raise the minimum wage to $11.50 per hour and to index it with the cost of living. Anything less will put workers in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Washington, DC in jeopardy of not receiving the vital pay raise they are due.
 
. Let him know that you won't settle for anything less than $11.50 per hour with indexing. Make sure he knows that you won’t forget his vote at election time.

JUICE #4: JEWS UNITED FOR JUSTICE ACTION ALERT - Jews United for Justice released the following action alert on the minimum wage vote yesterday (excerpt below):
JEWS FOR JUSTICE: Call for a Higher Minimum Wage in Montgomery County, One more push to victory! - In the past two weeks more than sixty JUFJers have called Councilmember Hans Riemer asking him to support raising the minimum wage in the county to $11.50 by 2016. The pressure is starting to build - but we need to keep it up.

The bill passed out of committee on Thursday and will be voted on in the full Council on Tuesday, November 26th. Four Councilmembers have committed their support for the bill. We need to keep the pressure on to secure the fifth vote. The county is ready and our workers deserve a raise.

JUFJ and our allies will be keeping the phones ringing off the hooks in the County Council on Monday, November 25th to make sure this message is heard loud and clear.  

.

JUICE #5: MONTGOMERY COUNTY YOUNG DEMOCRATS PRESS RELEASE ON MINIMUM WAGE VOTE - The MoCo Young Dems released the following statement regarding the minimum wage vote:
PRESS RELEASE

Montgomery County Young Democrats Support $11.50 Minimum Wage Increase, Urge Council to Remove Youth and Temporary Worker Exemptions

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Young Democrats are urging the Montgomery County Council to vote favorably to increase the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour by 2016.

For member Gabriel Acevero, “The minimum wage is not just a story about income inequality, but rather it’s about achieving the American dream, and no one can achieve the American dream on $7.25 an hour.” Gabe is one of several members actively working on the state-wide campaign to raise the minimum wage, which the Young Democrats see as equally important to move the state forward economically and progressively as the County measure.

At the same time, MCYD is standing with organizations like CASA de Maryland in calling for the Council to eliminate the 90-Day provision that excludes temporary workers from obtaining the minimum wage increase. In addition, they are asking the County to remove the exemption for workers under 19 working less than 20 hours a week.

Board member Emily Shetty, who shared what raising the wage means personally to her at last Wednesday’s rally to raise the wage, states: “Above all, we want to see Bill 27-13 pass and change the lives of millions in the region when Prince George’s and DC pass similar bills. We do hope the Council will consider removing the temporary and youth workers exemptions. All workers in Montgomery County deserve the dignity of this higher wage.”

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JUICE #6: BETHESDA-CHEVY CHASE CHAMBER ACTION ALERT ON MINIMUM WAGE VOTE - calling for a MoCo minimum wage of no more than $10.10/hour:
BCC CHAMBER: For the past several weeks, the B-CC Chamber has been working with other chambers and business groups in Montgomery County to persuade Council members to delay consideration of Council member Elrich’s bill that would set the minimum wage in Montgomery County at $11.50 an hour that would be phased in over three years, beginning in July 2014 and indexed to increase with the consumer price index in future years.  Based on a survey of businesses in the county, this increase is too much too fast and the indexing could result in a county minimum wage that is far higher than the state’s, unless the state legislature also passes a minimum wage tied to indexing.  Yesterday, the County Council HHS Committee voted (2-0) in favor of Elrich’s bill, this despite the fact that the proponents’ own economists told them that $11.50 is too high.  They did amend the bill to exempt teens age 18 and under working fewer than 20 hours per week and set the minimum wage for tipped employees at 50% of the County minimum wage. This bill will go to the full Council for a vote this Tuesday.  IT WILL PASS – possibly unanimously — unless the business community is able to persuade some Council members to make some changes that would make it less burdensome for employers.

LAST CALL: EMAIL NOW TO SUPPORT AN $11.50/HOUR MINIMUM WAGE: You can email all nine Montgomery County Councilmembers and the office of the County Executive by sending a message to

Friday, October 4, 2013

JUICE: SEIU Endorses Saqib Ali, Craig Rice Non-Endorsement, Mizeur's Pitch, Fracking #'s, Consumer Heroes & Family Farms

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

JUICE #1: SEIU LOCAL 500 ENDORSES SAQIB ALI FOR BRIAN FELDMAN'S DELEGATE SEAT - Maryland Juice received a copy of the following letter from SEIU Local 500 endorsing former Delegate Saqib Ali for Brian Feldman's vacant D15 seat:
October 3, 2013
Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee
3720 Farragut Avenue, Suite 303
Kensington, MD 20895

Dear Committee Member:

On behalf of the 15,000 SEIU Local 500 members, I am writing to you to strongly encourage you to appoint former Delegate Saqib Ali to the District 15 House of Delegates vacancy created by the appointment of Delegate Brian Feldman to the Maryland Senate.

Our decision was not an easy one, there were many candidates who were kind enough to meet with our COPE Committee and share their views on issues of importance to working families across Montgomery County.  We were, in particular, impressed with the earnest commitment to our issues put forth by your Vice Chair Ms. Venatta Vann.  In the end, however, we were swayed by Delegate Ali’s long track record of fighting for the progressive values of the Democratic Party.  From his insistence on ensuring increased transparency in Annapolis to his full-throated endorsement of collective bargaining rights for adjunct faculty and an increase in the minimum wage, there was no candidate we found that could match his record of experience.  We are confident that he will be a great delegate who will do the citizens of District 15 proud.

We look forward to your appointment of Delegate Ali to the Maryland House of Delegates in the very near future, and we thank you for taking the time to consider the views of our members in this regard.

Respectfully,

Merle A. Cuttitta
President
cc:           Brian Feldman
               Aruna Miller
               Kathleen Dumas
               David Rodich
               Mark McLaurin

JUICE #2: MOCO COUNCILMEMBER CRAIG RICE SENDS MCDCC LETTER DENYING ENDORSEMENT OF CANDIDATE IN D15 RACE - This week, the District 15 Democratic Caucus hosted a well-attended candidates forum for contenders in the race to replace Delegate Brian Feldman. A few sources noted that one candidate, David Frasier-Hidalgo, claimed the endorsement of Montgomery County Councilmember Craig Rice. But a Maryland Juice source forwarded us a copy of an email sent by Craig Rice to the Montgomery Democratic Central Committee denying he made any endorsement in the D15 contest:
Dear Gabe,

It is my understanding that David Fraser Hidalgo, indicated during the candidates' forum last night, October 2, 2013, I have endorsed him for the vacant D15 delegate seat. This is not true.

I have elected not to endorse any candidate in this race. As you know, I have been committed to increasing diversity in our elected representation for a long time. We have an opportunity with this seat to expand diversity and have excellent representation for the district, which is precisely what I want. With a number of candidates that I feel would do just that, I remain neutral.

If you have any questions please give me a call.

Regards,

Craig Rice, Vice-President
Montgomery County Council

c: Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee

JUICE #3: HEATHER MIZEUR FUNDRAISING TO MAKE HISTORY AS WOMAN & LGBT GOVERNOR - Maryland Juice received a copy of the following fundraising solicitation being sent by Heather Mizeur's gubernatorial campaign. Her pitch leads with a bid to help her make history as a woman and LGBT Governor:



JUICE #4: ENVIRONMENT MARYLAND RELEASES REPORT HIGHLIGHTING NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF FRACKING - The advocacy group Environment Maryland yesterday distributed a press release and new report detailing the negative impacts of fracking (see both items below):

PRESS RELEASE

Fracking by the Numbers: New Environment Maryland Research and Policy Center 
Report First to Quantify Threat of Gas Drilling

Annapolis, MD — Today, a new Environment Maryland Research and Policy Center report called “Fracking by the Numbers” measures the damage being done by dirty drilling across the country. Even as a Maryland state commission is working on guidelines for fracking in the state, the report is the first study of its kind to measure the footprint of fracking damage to date— including toxic wastewater, water use, chemical use, air pollution, land damage and global warming emissions.

“The numbers don't lie— fracking has taken a dirty and destructive toll on our environment. If fracking is allowed here, this is the kind of damage we will see in Maryland,” said Talya Tavor, Field Associate from Environment Maryland. “In suggesting that some regulatory scheme could make fracking safe, the Commission has vastly underestimated the scale and scope of pollution that comes with this dirty drilling.”

Of particular concern, the report shows that in Pennsylvania 1.2 billion gallons in 2012 and more than 2.5 billion gallons have been produced since the fracking boom began. Often laced with cancer-causing and even radioactive material, toxic fracking waste has contaminated drinking water sources from Pennsylvania to New Mexico.

“We need to protect the people and future generations of Maryland from the threats of Fracking,” said 16th District Delegate, Ariana Kelly.

“The bottom line is this: the numbers on fracking add up to an environmental nightmare,” said Tavor, “For public health and our environment, we need to put a stop to fracking.”

Shane Robinson, Delegate of Maryland’s 39th District, also spoke out against fracking. “I am worried about what this could mean for my family’s health an safety, should we start fracking in Maryland. The most responsible thing we can do to protect the ones we love is to not frack at all.”

On the federal level, Rep. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania (D-Scranton) introduced the CLEANER Act (H.R. 2825)— a bill to close the loophole exempting oil and gas waste from the nation’s hazardous waste law.

“Here in Maryland, we can stop the fracking frenzy before it ever starts,” concluded Tavor. “But for places where fracking is already generating billions of gallons of toxic fracking waste and making people sick, it’s time for Washington to step in; officials can start by closing the loophole exempting toxic fracking waste from our nation’s hazardous waste law.”

###

Environment Maryland is a state-based, citizen-supported, environmental advocacy organization, working towards a cleaner, greener, healthier future.


JUICE #5: MARYLAND CONSUMER RIGHTS COALITION SCORES LAWMAKERS - Last month, the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition released a scorecard for Annapolis lawmakers, factoring in their positions on consumer issues like debt prisons and homeowners protections. See their press release and scorecard below:
PRESS RELEASE

Consumer Champions, Heroes Highlight MCRC’s 2013 Legislative Scorecard
  • Consumer Champions, Consumer Heroes: Eleven legislators named MCRC “2013 Consumer Champions” for perfect scores on consumer rights bills this year as eight “Consumer Heroes” earn perfect scores for the 2011, 2012, and 2013 sessions.
  • Key victories create high scores:  Near-unanimous votes passing new laws to limit debt prisons, give homeowners new protections, prevent identity theft, and stop mandatory insurance bundling lead to high scores for many legislators.
  • Unfinished Business: Failure to pass bills to prevent price-gouging, give consumers better information about debts under collection, and stop unfair retaliation against auto dealers leaves legislature’s work incomplete on key consumer issues.
Baltimore, MD:  Eleven lawmakers earned perfect scores for their consumer rights votes during the 2013 legislative session and eight were named “MCRC Consumer Heroes” for their 100% pro-consumer records in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 sessions on the 2013 Legislative Scorecard the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition (MCRC) released this morning.  Nine Senators and 51 members of the House of Delegates earned scores of 90% or better for the 2013 session while eight Senators and 16 House members got failing grades (under 65%).

“Those strong scores reflect the good work the legislature did to curtail debt arrests, identity theft, unfair insurance practices and to protect homeowners and renters this year,” MCRC Executive Director Marceline White argues. “We salute our Consumer Champions and Consumer Heroes for standing up time and time again to protect Maryland consumers against financial predators.”

Senators Richard Madaleno, Paul Pinsky, and Jim Rosapepe earned perfect consumer rights scores for all three sessions (2011 to 2013) while Delegates Al Carr, Bill Frick, Barbara Frush, Carolyn Howard, and James Hubbard compiled perfect records on the House side. Sen. Roy Dyson and Delegates Liz Bobo and Nina Harper joined those other eight legislators on the list of 2013 Consumer Champions.

MCRC also named 12 members of the four committees that mark-up most of the controversial consumer bills (the Senate Finance and Judicial Proceedings Committees and the House Economic Matters and Judiciary Committees) who earned 80% or better overall scores our “2013 Consumer Committee Champions.” “Members of these committees cast many more tough committee votes on consumer issues than other legislators do,” Marceline White notes. “The leadership of these committee champions makes a real difference on the panels where Maryland consumers need it most.”

Sen. Brian Frosh, Sen. Lisa Gladden, Sen. Delores Kelley, and Del. Tom Hucker are among long-time allies of Maryland consumers who made the list of MCRC’s 2013 Consumer Committee Champions.

MCRC’s fourth annual consumer scorecard grades legislators on their floor votes on seven key consumer rights bills and on their committee votes on a larger set of consumer issues. Their floor scores and committee scores are averaged to arrive at a legislator’s overall score. Legislators who serve on committees that do not handle consumer rights bills are graded solely on their floor scores.

For the first time, this year’s MCRC scorecard also included a three-year average for legislators’ scores for the 2011 to 2013 sessions. “The three-year average score gives consumers better information about which legislators really stand up for consumer rights, year in and year out,” Marceline White notes.

Nearly unanimous floor votes backing important bills that protect consumers arrested in debt cases (HB 597/SB 419), allow state officials to put a security freeze on the credits records of foster children (HB 1297/SB 897), prohibit mandatory bundling of home and auto insurance (HB 342/SB 446), and limit foreclosures based on liens in common-ownership communities (HB 286/SB 161) helped give many legislators high scores for 2013.

Most legislators lost points, however, for voting for a bill that will hurt residential gas consumers by letting gas companies add a surcharge of up to $2/month to residential energy bills (HB 89/SB 8). Most Senators also cast anti-consumer votes to help defeat a bill that would have prohibited unfair retaliation by auto manufacturers against Maryland auto dealers (SB 249).

Important bills that would have given consumers better information about the debts that collectors say they owe (HB 1157/SB 432), licensed property managers for common-ownership communities (HB 576/SB 794), and increased the compensation homeowners can get for home improvement jobs gone bad without  a formal hearing (SB 78) also died in key committees last Spring.

The legislature’s mixed record leaves MCRC and other consumer advocates with plenty of challenges to confront in 2014. “Consumers won some victories this year,” Marceline White argues. “But we’re eager to come back next year to do more to make insurance fairer and more affordable, protect families against foreclosures, and make sure consumers understand the debts they’re told they owe.”

To see all the scores and legislators MCRC recognizes this year, please download:
The full scorecard here:
MCRC’s list of 2013 Consumer Champions here:
MCRC’s list of Consumer Heroes, 2011 to 2013 here:
MCRC’s list of 2013 Committee Champions here:

You can see the full list of floor and committee votes we used to grade each legislator on the MCRC’s Legislative Scorecard homepage here: http://bit.ly/SfZNSx

Please Note: You will find copies of the scorecard, this statement, and MCRC’s lists of Consumer Champions, Consumer Heroes and Consumer Committee Champions attached to this note.
-30-


JUICE #6: FAMILY FARMS & FARMERS MARKETS SEEK HELP FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL - Local progressive advocate and farmer Mike Tabor provided Maryland Juice with the following alert regarding potential threats to the ability of family farms and farmers' markets to survive in the world of the agro-industrial complex:
MIKE TABOR: Most consumers and many farmers don't know or understand the sweeping new FDA regulations that are about to inpact farmers markets and a new industrial-style approach to the food we're allowed to consume.  Attached is what the family farm organizations are trying to put together for the consumer, to help them understand what is going on and suggested language for comments to FDA.  It is critical that the FDA get inundated with comments from concerned farmers and consumers at Farmers markets and CSA's.  Additionally, the funding for the 3,000 federal inspectors must not be funded.  The talk is that the inspectors will be contracted out, will not be well-informed and will have a financial incentive to cite as many farms as they can.  
So in addition to contacting the FDA, our elected reps need to be asked to oppose the funding of the inspectors. The regs have gotten so out of hand, the bottom line is that most family farms will not be able to comply both financially and the compliance will be extraordinarily cumbersome and prohibitive, the end result is that most family farms will go out of business, there won't be any farmers markets that will have fresh produce, or CSAs.
Below you can read a fact sheet and call for comments from the National Sustainable Agriculture Commission:



Monday, September 30, 2013

JUICE: SEIU for Brown, Sam Arora News, Delaney Letter for Saqib Ali, Susan Lee Lit, Gun Frenzy, Minimum Wage, Drones

Below Maryland Juice writers Dan Furmansky and David Moon highlight recent news of interest to politicos:

JUICE #1: SEIU ENDORSES ANTHONY BROWN FOR GOVERNOR, DOUG GANSLER RESPONDS - for Maryland Governor (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown is expected to collect the endorsement of one of the most powerful unions in Maryland Monday in his race for the 2014 Democratic nomination for governor.... The SEIU is one of the state's largest unions, representing more than 30,000 public employees, health care workers, security workers and janitors in Maryland.....
Attorney General Doug Gansler's campaign responded with the following press release:

PRESS RELEASE

Campaign Statement Re: SEIU Endorsement

Silver Spring, MD - In response to SEIU endorsement announcement, Gansler campaign manager Matthew "Mudcat" Arnold said,  "SEIU 1199, with far more members in New York than Maryland, carried the state council endorsement. That is disappointing, but the fact remains that the largest, fastest-growing, statewide local with the most Maryland members, SEIU 500, cast their vote for Doug Gansler, proving once again that hard-working families in Maryland want a candidate with ideas and who isn’t afraid to shake up the status quo to get things done. This starts for Doug with creating jobs and a fairer economy where the middle class, and thus all of us, thrives. "

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JUICE #2: IT'S OFFICIAL DISTRICT 19 INCUMBENTS RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION WITHOUT SAM ARORA - that District 19 incumbents are publicly confirming that they will be forming a slate for re-election without Sam Arora. For what it's worth, Arora has not yet announced if he will seek re-election but will apparently be deciding "soon" what he is doing next year (excerpt below):
GAZETTE: Three District 19 state lawmakers — Dels. Bonnie L. Cullison and Benjamin F. Kramer, and Sen. Roger Manno — have confirmed they will campaign as a group for the upcoming election, excluding Del. Sam Arora.... [A] photo that recently popped up on Manno’s Facebook page taken for collective campaign materials shows him, Cullison and Kramer, without Arora. All four are Democrats.

Asked about the photo, Manno repeatedly answered “Who?” at the mention of Arora’s name, as if the first-term delegate already was gone and forgotten.... Arora has not announced publicly if he will seek re-election.... On Thursday, he would say only that he will announce “soon....” At least two other Democrats have committed to the District 19 race. Meloyde A. Berry of Silver Spring has filed to run for delegate. Maricé I. Morales of Silver Spring, a special assistant in Manno’s office has, too.
Maryland Juice has also heard of another potential candidate or two, but hopefully there will be more news on those fronts very soon. In the meantime, Delegate Sam Arora is making public appearances, as we noted his recent attendance at a :



JUICE #3: FORMER DELEGATE SAQIB ALI RELEASES LETTER FROM REP. JOHN DELANEY FOR DISTRICT 15 MCDCC APPOINTMENT - The vacancy created by District 15 Delegate Brian Feldman's appointment to the State Senate is creating yet another vacancy appointment by the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee. Feldman's seat will be filled at the MCDCC meeting next Tuesday, October 8th, and the District 15 Democratic Caucus is holding a candidates forum tomorrow night. You can see the list of candidates vying for the D15 Delegate appointment below, along with a letter from Congressman John Delaney on behalf of former Delegate Saqib Ali:
The District 15 Candidates Forum
7:00 pm October 1, 2013
Up County Regional Services Center
12900 Middlebrook Road
Germantown, MD  20874

Including:
  • Anis Ahmed
  • Saqib Ali
  • Lori Askinazi
  • David Frazer-Hidalgo
  • Hamza Khan
  • Jinhee Wilde
  • Venattia Vann


JUICE #4: DELEGATE SUSAN LEE CAMPAIGNS FOR D16 STATE SENATE // HERE'S HER FIRST LIT PIECE - Maryland Juice recently bumped into Delegate Susan Lee at a death penalty repeal victory party. Lee is currently campaigning for the District 16 State Senate seat being vacated by Brian Frosh, but so far she appears to be the only candidate in the race. Delegate Lee has produced the following State Senate lit piece highlighting testimony from State Senator Jamie Raskin and MoCo State's Attorney John McCarthy:






JUICE #5: IN ADVANCE OF NEW GUN LAWS, MARYLANDERS BUYING GUNS AT RATE OF 1,000 PER DAY // MEANWHILE, LAWSUIT TO DELAY GUN LAWS COMMENCES - Like squirrels collecting nuts for the winter, gun enthusiasts are flocking to collect assault-style rifles and other fun tinker toys before Maryland’s new gun laws take effect this week, when such weapons are banned and fingerprints and a license will finally be required to buy a handgun. that more than 102,000 gun purchase applications have been submitted so far this year — twice the number for all of 2011. This month, a swarm of requests hit the Maryland State Police background check system at a pace roughly seven times that during the same time last year.

The Sun also reports that at a store in Pasadena (the district of Delegate Don Dwyer, who hosted an auction of assault weapons during a "Gun Rights and Liberty BBQ) has sold out of the AR-15 — the nation's most popular assault-style rifle (pictured below), and the same type of gun used in the December Newton shooting:



temporarily resulted in residents with criminal backgrounds being able to purchase firearms (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: The spike in sales — and resulting backlog of background checks — has put guns at least temporarily into the hands of people whose criminal records barred them from owning firearms and has complicated efforts to implement the new law.

Demand for guns overwhelmed the state's background check system months ago, leading half of the state's 314 dealers to release weapons to buyers without waiting for them to be checked out. Under state law, gun dealers must wait only seven days to release a firearm, but background checks have taken two months or more. All told, dealers have released 45 guns to 40 people prohibited from having them. State police said they have recovered them all....

While the new law bans the sale of 45 different types of assault weapons, it allows dealers to sell their existing inventory of assault-style rifles after Sept. 30 so long as there is a valid order placed before then.
In the meantime, gun advocates have launched a lawsuit seeking to delay implementation of the new Maryland gun regulations. (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON TIMES: A federal judge is scheduled to consider Tuesday whether to issue a temporary restraining order to halt new firearms restrictions set to take effect that day in Maryland.
The request for the order is part of a lawsuit filed by a collection of Maryland residents, gun store owners and Second Amendment advocates attempting to block implementation of some of the most stringent gun laws in the nation.

In court papers served on Gov. Martin O’Malley, Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and the Maryland State Police, the plaintiffs are seeking to block the laws from going into effect because they “will burden impermissibly the fundamental constitutional rights” and cause “significant economic harm” to business.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Maryland, says the Firearms Safety Act of 2013 passed this year by the General Assembly would “unconstitutionally restrict” the right to keep and bear arms. It argues the new laws violate the Second Amendment by arbitrarily outlawing certain guns and prohibiting features and accessories that promote their effective and efficient use. It also says the prohibition on magazines holding more than 10 rounds is unusual and limits a gun owner’s ability to defend themselves....

JUICE #6: SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER ON MARYLAND'S PROPOSED MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE - Proposals to increase the minimum wage are gaining traction in the state. Here’s a kick-ass argument for the long-overdue increase made by . It’s entirely worth watching her rattle off important facts and statistics we all should know and mop the floor with Rob Santoni of Maryland Food Dealers Council, who offers only weak platitudes in response ():



Edward Kimmel ()
JUICE #7: PHOTO GALLERY: DISTRICT 20 CAMPAIGN SHOES - Edward Kimmel is well-known in Montgomery County Democratic circles for taking and posting massive amounts of photos from political events in the region. Today, Kimmel posted from a forum featuring nine candidates for the District 20 House of Delegates last Sunday:
EDWARD KIMMEL: On Sunday, the Democrats of Maryland Legislative District 20 -- the most liberal district in the Bluest State of the Union, held a "debate" in which nine candidates presented themselves to the most active of the activists -- Sheila Hixson's D20 Breakfast Club. Each of the feet shown in this forum trod upon the stage. So, for those of you who wanted to know what the movers and shakers of Lefty Land put on their feet, here it is. But who's shoes are these?



JUICE #8: GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY SIGNS PACT WITH GOP GOVERNORS TO PUSH STATE UNIVERSITIES INTO DEVELOPING DRONES - Maryland Juice received a copy of the following unfortunate press release from Gov. Martin O'Malley noting that he is launching an effort to push Maryland's public colleges into development of drone technology. Much criticized for allowing the Obama administration to conduct executions without transparent due process, the use of drones is now being proposed for use by local law enforcement and for other surveillance activities. Similar to other efforts to develop weapons at academic institutions, O'Malley and GOP Presidential hopefuls NJ Gov. Chris Christie and VA Gov. Bob McDonnell are joining hands on this initiative. Indeed, along with government surveillance (ie: NSA) and arms dealing (ie: Lockheed Martin), Virginia and Maryland seek to make "drones" a jobs issue in the region:

PRESS RELEASE

Governor O'Malley, New Jersey Governor Christie, Virginia Governor McDonnell Sign Letter of Support for Universities' Collaboration on Unmaned Aircraft System Testing

MOU strengthens Mid-Atlantic region’s potential to be selected as FAA test site

Annapolis, MD (September 27, 2013) – Governor Martin O’Malley today joined New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell in submitting a letter supporting a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which the University System of Maryland, Rutgers University and Virginia Tech University agreed to collaborate and partner on a Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) test site. The letter, sent to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, highlighted the cooperative UAS research conducted by the three universities.

“With the potential to create more than 2,500 well-paying jobs in Maryland over the next 12 years, the Unmanned Aircraft Systems sector has the potential to have a significant positive economic impact on our state,” said Governor O’Malley. “This is an exciting agreement between three world-class educational institutions that takes advantage of the unparalleled capabilities in Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia for research, development and testing, and positions the Mid-Atlantic region as the ideal location for an Unmanned Aircraft Systems test site.”

In Maryland, the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River is recognized as the world’s leading center of UAS activity. At both the university level and among federal facilities, Maryland has been testing and developing UAS technology for more than two decades. Maryland’s UAS proposal, submitted to the FAA in May, includes the University System of Maryland campuses in College Park, Baltimore County and Eastern Shore, general aviation airports in Crisfield and St. Mary’s County, federal and industry partners and community organizations such as the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance, the Patuxent Partnership, and the Joint Atlantic and Chesapeake Range Collaborative.

“We are thankful to our entire Congressional delegation, especially Congressman Steny Hoyer, who worked diligently to grow this coalition, the universities for their spirit of cooperation, and to partner companies in each state whose support is testament to the potential of this initiative,” said Governor O’Malley.

“This memorandum of understanding between the University System of Maryland, Rutgers University, and Virginia Tech significantly strengthens our bid for one of six UAS test site designations chosen by the Federal Aviation Administration,” stated Congressman Hoyer. “With the presence of three outstanding higher education institutions; federal facilities, such as Pax River Naval Air Station and Webster Field; and strong industry partners, I’m optimistic that we are strongly positioned in the bidding process. I thank Governor O’Malley, Governor Christie, and Governor McDonnell, as well as our three universities, for partnering on this effort, which has the potential to spur private sector development through the commercialization of autonomous systems and boost job creation in our region.”

Under the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Congress authorized the FAA to develop a comprehensive plan to integrate UAS into the National Airspace System. In February 2013, the FAA opened the selection process for the six UAS Test Sites that will conduct research and testing of technologies to support the UAS integration.

“The partnership between the University System of Maryland and leading institutions in Virginia and New Jersey will help increase the safety, efficiency, reliability and security of our nation’s airspace,” Senator Barbara Mikulski said. “Because of Maryland’s incredible federal assets, dynamic private sector and academic institutions, Maryland is well-suited to work together with the FAA on the Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Through this Mid-Atlantic collaboration, we will enhance the safety of our nation’s airspace, while supporting Maryland’s economic security through jobs today and jobs tomorrow.”

With the University of Maryland, College Park, taking the lead, Maryland applied to be selected by the FAA as one of six test sites for Unmanned Aircraft Systems. New Jersey and Virginia submitted a joint application as the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, under Virginia Tech. The three universities subsequently determined that the region’s competitive position is significantly enhanced as a multi-state entity which leverages the competitive strengths of each state. The universities have agreed to work as a united Joint Test Team in the event either or both teams are selected by the FAA as a Test Site for UAS.

Fifty applications across 37 states were submitted to the FAA through May 6, 2013, and 25 applicants remain. A decision is due December 31, 2013.

###

Monday, August 26, 2013

Bilal Ayyub Withdraws from District 15 Senate Race // DOCS: Brian Feldman Endorsed by SEIU, Ike Leggett, Kumar Barve

UPDATE: on the reason for his exit from the D15 Senate race (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST:  The University of Maryland engineering professor recruited ... for the upcoming Maryland State Senate vacancy in Montgomery County’s District 15 has withdrawn his name, citing pressure from elected officials and “discouraging” e-mails from party activists.... “The discouraging electronic traffic on my candidacy has illuminated for all of us the fact that we have a long way to go to change the mindset of those who are apprehensive about inclusion.”

Ayyub, 55, added that he was “discouraged or urged to withdraw by various individuals including elected officials.” In an interview Monday morning Ayyub declined to specify who contacted him, except to say that at least one elected official “called me repeatedly....”

Maryland Juice has been covering the race for the District 15 State Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Rob Garagiola. D15 Delegate Brian Feldman has been seeking the seat, and recently University of Maryland Professor Bilal Ayyub entered the race to be appointed to replace Garagiola. But just weeks before the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee will select a replacement Senator for District 15, Ayyub has withdrawn from the race, in the belief that Feldman has already locked up the endorsement. Indeed, Maryland Juice was just about to post an update on the race, including new endorsements for Feldman from SEIU Local 500, County Executive Ike Leggett, and House Majority Leader Kumar Barve. Below we provide a few key exhibits, including Bilal Ayyub's letter to the MCDCC announcing his exit from the D15 race, and letters from SEIU, Leggett and Barve to the MCDCC.

JUICE #1: LETTER FROM BILAL AYYUB TO THE MCDCC ANNOUNCING HIS WITHDRAWAL FROM THE D15 SENATE RACE - (excerpt below):
BETHESDA MAGAZINE: Bilal Ayyub, who had been recruited by representatives of several minority groups to seek the soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat in District 15, withdrew his candidacy late Saturday – clearing the way for Delegate Brian Feldman to be named to fill the slot....
The committee is scheduled to meet on Sept. 10, at which time it is all but certain to recommend Feldman to fill the seat of state Sen. Robert Garagiola, whose resignation takes effect next weekend....
On his campaign website, Bilal Ayyub posted several letters of support, including endorsements from , , and a list of . But below you can read Bilal Ayyub's full letter to members of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee:


JUICE #2: DEL. KUMAR BARVE'S LETTER TO MCDCC ENDORSING DEL. BRIAN FELDMAN - District 17 Delegate Kumar Barve wrote the following letter to members of the MCDCC endorsing Brian Feldman for the D15 Senate seat and arguing against the idea of a caretaker appointment for Rob Garagiola's slot:


JUICE #3: COUNTY EXECUTIVE IKE LEGGETT'S LETTER TO MCDCC ENDORSING DEL. BRIAN FELDMAN - Below you can read a quick letter from County Executive Ike Leggett endorsing Delegate Brian Feldman for the District 15 State Senate vacancy:


JUICE #4: SEIU LOCAL 500 LETTER TO MCDCC ENDORSING DEL. BRIAN FELDMAN - Below you can read a quick letter from SEIU Local 500 endorsing Delegate Brian Feldman for the District 15 State Senate vacancy:


Now that it looks a bit more clear that Delegate Brian Feldman will likely be appointed to replace Rob Garagiola in the State Senate, we can come to one clear conclusion. Feldman's elevation to the Senate will leave a vacancy for District 15 House of Delegates that will also be appointed by the MCDCC. That means....

THE BATTLE FOR THE DISTRICT 15 DELEGATE VACANCY BEGINS NOW!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

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

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

ENDORSEMENTS: SEIU Reveals Purple "School Bus" Ballot // READ: Montgomery County Sample Ballot Recommendations

Today SEIU Local 500 revealed its Montgomery County endorsements in the upcoming election.  The union, which represents employees in MoCo's public school system, is taking sides in several ballot question contests, as well as the school board races. Maryland Juice understands that this ballot will be handed to voters at dozens of Montgomery County polling locations. See a sneak preview below:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

WATCH TV DEBATES: Maryland Juice vs. Red Maryland, Del. Heather Mizeur vs. Gov. Bob Ehrlich, SEIU vs. Help Save MD

As we get closer to the November 6th election day, numerous media outlets are beginning to cover the various candidate horse races and ballot question battles with greater scrutiny. Some local TV reporters are also beginning to host right-left dialogues to tease out the arguments (and spin) from both sides. Today, we highlight a few worthwhile TV debates, including one tomorrow night featuring Maryland Juice! You can also watch Del. Heather Mizeur debate former Gov. Bob Ehrlich below:

TOMORROW NIGHT: MARYLAND JUICE ENCOUNTERS RED MARYLAND ON TV - Maryland Juice (aka David Moon) will be appearing on I'll be appearing alongside Red Maryland blogger Mark Newgent. Catch us on MPT Friday night (Oct. 5) at 7:30 pm.

The left-right dialogue is billed as a conversation between "a Republican blogger and a Democratic blogger to discuss the latest happenings in the state government." But I suspect we'll be talking about topics like so-called voter fraud, the ballot questions, and issues in the 6th Congressional District race. Watch the show tomorrow night on MPT @ 7:30 pm. We'll also post the online version of the discussion once it is available.

WARNING: Turn your eyes away from the stretched photo of my face above!  :)


WATCH ONLINE: DEL. HEATHER MIZEUR VS. GOV. BOB EHRLICH DEBATE THE DEBATE - featuring Del. Heather Mizeur and Mitt Romney's Maryland Chair - former Gov. Bob Ehrlich. The Democrat and Republican appeared on air to discuss the impact of last night's debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney:



ALSO ON MPT FRIDAY NIGHT: SEIU VS. HELP SAVE MARYLAND ON THE DREAM ACT (QUESTION 4) - In addition to Maryland Juice & Red Maryland, tomorrow night's "State Circle" broadcast will include a debate over the Dream Act (Question 4). The segment will feature Mark McLaurin from SEIU and Brad Botwin from Help Save Maryland. SEIU is one of the leading members of the Educating Maryland Kids coalition, a group promoting a "vote for" Question 4. Help Save Maryland is a nativist group that is airing radio ads urging a "vote against" Question 4. Watch the debate on MPT Friday night (Oct. 5) at 7:30 pm.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

MOCO POLICY WAR: County Council Divided on Protections for Janitors // Chambers of Commerce & Rival Unions Weigh In

UPDATE: Montgomery County Council passes the displaced workers bill in a divided 5-4 vote. See the vote split below.
  • Voting FOR: Valerie Ervin, Marc Elrich, Nancy Navarro, Hans Riemer & Craig Rice. 
  • Voting AGAINST: Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal, Phil Andrews & Roger Berliner.

MOCO COUNCIL DEBATES WORKER PROTECTIONS FOR JANITORS - Today, the Montgomery County Council is scheduled to vote on legislation that would grant janitors and other low-wage service workers temporary protections in the event that their employer suddenly terminates their contract. Indeed, it is a common story to hear about janitors and other service workers whose lives are upended after their contracts are suddenly terminated. The proposed MoCo bill would simply provide a 90-day transitional period for the displaced janitors and service workers to stay employed while seeking new employment or transitioning to unemployment.

NOTE: Any workers (ie: bad employees) could still be fired for cause, and the provisions of the law are only temporary. This policy is the law in numerous bastions of "socialism" like D.C., New York, and Los Angeles. In fact, in 2010 the for federal contractors.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

SEIU Local 500 Endorses Rebecca Smondrowski for Montgomery County Board of Education, District 2

SEIU Local 500, the labor organization representing employees in the Montgomery County public school system, has endorsed Rebecca Smondrowski for the Board of Education District 2 seat. Smondrowski is running against former principal Fred Evans, who has the backing of the teachers union (aka MCEA). In the April school board primaries, five candidates vied for the two General Election spots. The Primary Election results are below, followed by the endorsement press release from SEIU Local 500:

DISTRICT 2 BOARD OF EDUCATION PRIMARY RESULTS (April 2012)
  1. Fred Evans - 16,495 (24.8%) - MCEA Endorsed
  2. Rebecca Smondrowski - 14,938 (22.4%) - Washington Post Endorsed
  3. Jeanne Ellinport - 14,487 (21.7%) - MCEA Endorsed
  4. Susan Byrne - 13,828 (20.8%)
  5. Saqib Ali  - 6,878 (10.3%)


PRESS RELEASE 
 
SEIU Local 500 Endorses Rebecca Smondrowski for 
Montgomery County Board of Education, District 2

History of commitment to education key to endorsement


GAITHERSBURG, MD – The executive board of the SEIU Local 500 unanimously voted to endorse Rebecca Smondrowski for the open, District 2 seat on the Montgomery County Board of Education.

SEIU Local 500 President Merle Cuttitta said:

“Local 500 members drive the buses that bring children to school, keep classrooms and hallways clean and safe and provide direct instruction to this community’s children as paraeducators and media assistants - and they are committed to giving our children a world class education. Local 500 members also have children and grandchildren who attend Montgomery County public schools. That’s why it is so important for all of us to have someone like Rebecca on the Board of Education, because she has proven her commitment to our schools, our community and our children.”

Rebecca Smondrowski expressed her appreciation of Local 500’s support:

“SEIU Local 500 members are on the front lines, working to keep Montgomery County schools among the nation’s best and I am honored to have their support.”

SEIU Local 500 members include supporting services employees at MCPS, Maryland family childcare providers, part time faculty at Montgomery College and employees at homes and centers for the developmentally disabled.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Marriage Equality Battle: Fox News Baltimore's Anti-LGBT Robocall, Del. Parrott's $74K Bill for Marriage Repeal & More

A few interesting reports surrounding Maryland marriage equality have recently emerged. Below, Maryland Juice discusses a few of the notable developments, including fundraising updates and more details on Fox News Baltimore's campaign against LGBT rights. We begin with a video from members of SEIU's 1199 pledging to defend marriage equality:

UPDATE #1: SEIU 1199 RELEASES VIDEO DEFENDING MARRIAGE EQUALITY -





UPDATE #2: DETAILS ON FOX NEWS BALTIMORE'S ANTI-LGBT ROBOCALL - Several weeks ago, Maryland Juice wrote about a push-poll that Fox News Baltimore was conducting against Governor O'Malley and marriage equality. WBFF Fox 45 attempted to disguise their hit-piece as an opinion poll, but the call was obviously intending to promote a rightwing agenda. This is consistent with Fox News Baltimore's previous controversy where they placed a petition link on their homepage encouraging readers to help repeal marriage equality.

recently managed to dig up additional details about the source of their recent robocall, and it appears to be part of a national campaign against marriage equality (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: In May, I reported on Baltimore-area homes receiving mysterious robocalls voiced by WBFF anchorman Jeff Barnd asking residents a series of questions about Lyme disease, same-sex marriage and the alleged agenda of Gov. Martin O'Malley....

I have since been able to confirm that the name of the company is ccAdvertising, of Centreville, Va. And from its website, the firm appears to be heavily engaged in right-wing politics, including push polling in at least one state against same-sex ballot initiatives like the one Maryland is expected to have in the fall.

The firm's website lists among its clients Grover Norquist's American's for Tax Reform, the Alaska Republican Party and Answers in Genesis....

UPDATE #3: MARRIAGE EQUALITY SUPPORTERS RAISE FAR MORE IN-STATE MONEY THAN ANTI-LGBT GROUP - A source within the Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign is highlighting the fact that they appear to be raising far more money from actual Marylanders than the anti-LGBT campaigners. Maryland Juice previously noted that almost all of the so-called "Maryland Marriage Alliance" money came from outside of Maryland, while 7 in 10 donors were non-Marylanders. The marriage equality proponents provide a quick update:
MARYLANDERS FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY: In just one day, we've raised more from Maryland citizens than our opponents did in the last month. We've seen a lot of energy and excitement around this, and could use help pushing this effort far and wide. MD's LGBT Caucus matched donations made this week. Join us to defend equality for all loving, committed families in Maryland.

UPDATE #4: IS MARYLAND DEL. NEIL PARROTT PROFITING FROM ANTI-CIVIL RIGHTS EFFORT? - A couple of Maryland Juice readers pointed us to another story related to the finances of the anti-LGBT rights campaigners. In particular, they note that that the so-called "Maryland Marriage Alliance" -- which is running the marriage equality repeal effort - is thousands of dollars in debt. Moreover, they owe over $74,000 to MDpetitions.com, the website run by Republican State Legislator Neil Parrott. See an excerpt from The Sun article below:
BALTIMORE SUN: ...The Maryland Marriage Alliance raised a mere $5,000 in the past month -- and owes $88,000 to various vendors. The biggest unpaid bill, $74,000, is to MDPetitions.com, the outfit run by Del. Neil Parrott. The group also owes about $5,000 in legal fees.

Dereck McCoy, the executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, said he expects to clear up the bills shortly....

This article prompted some of our readers to wonder whether Delegate Parrott was profiting from his rightwing advocacy. Indeed, we will be curious to see whether MDpetitions.com spends the funds it raises on its campaigns, or whether those involved will enrich themselves by trying to gut civil rights protections in Maryland.

Friday, March 30, 2012

CD6 RADIO & DIRECT MAIL // SEIU Launches Independent Expenditure Campaign for State Senator Rob Garagiola

Maryland Juice has received word that SEIU is launching independent expenditures into Maryland's 6th Congressional District race. Below we print their direct mail piece and provide copies of their radio ads. The labor organization is one of the larger and more politically active unions in the region, and they are backing State Senator Rob Garagiola in the CD6 race. that they have spent at least $15,799 on the following effort:


SEIU Radio Ad #1: English 60-Second Spot



Thursday, January 5, 2012

VIDEO: The Workforce Case for Marriage Equality // Labor Unions Lining Up Behind 2012 Legislative Effort

, a grassroots group supporting equal rights for LGBT families, issued a new video (see below) to kick off 2012. The web ad features a worker's perspective on marriage equality and coincides with the announcement of serious support for the effort from labor unions (see the press release that follows the video)

The backing from labor news is good news for equality advocates, because as Maryland Juice mentioned when naming Senator Allan Kittleman Marylander of the Year, rightwing groups are threatening to spend big money on this issue. . Their analysis of 2011 lobbying expenditures noted:
The Human Rights Campaign, a national group that supports same-sex marriage, spent $380,000. That put the group at No. 7 on the list -- and they are playing an even more visible role this coming session.

The group vastly outspent an opposing advocacy organization, The National Organization for Marriage, which supports traditional marriage. NOM put $165,000 toward influencing the General Assembly.



Maryland Juice this week also received the following press release announcing a press conference today, where numerous labor unions came out in support for marriage equality:

MEDIA ADVISORY

Unions Announcing Plans to Mobilize for Marriage Equality

AFL-CIO MD/DC State Council Unanimously Approves Resolution Supporting Same-Sex Marriage, Now Gearing Up to Back Bill in Maryland’s 2012 General Assembly




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