Saturday, January 18, 2020

Cabal of Opposers

The present author had the opportunity to review recent campaign finance reports. While not all of the listed contributors are anti-education equity (at least publicly), some interesting findings/relationships came to light.

District 1:

Notable contributions to Christina Delmont-Small

Mark Newgent, Hogan aide & former Red Maryland contributor           $100
Chris Oxenham, Republican political operative                                            $40
Dr. Yun Lu, Board of Education candidate (District 5)                                $40
Lisa Kim (the same Lisa Kim who criticized the voters in the 4th County Council District for not electing her to public office in 2018?)                                                      $40
Cindy Vaillancourt, former BoE member, seeking election in District 5 $40
Steven Keller, Admin, Howard County Neighbors United                         $40

District 2:

Notable contributions to Larry Pretlow

Matt Levine, Board of Education candidate                                                  $50
Dr. Yun Lu                                                                                                            $25

District 4:

Notable contributions to Matt Levine

Larry Pretlow, frequent candidate                                                                 $50

Notable contributions to Sezin Palmer                                           

Steven Keller                                                                                                      $50
Dr. Yun Lu                                                                                                          $50
Larry Pretlow                                                                                                     $50

District 5:

Notable contributions to Dr. Saif Rehman                                      

Raj Kathuria (2018 County Council candidate, District 1)                  $251

With a few days remaining until the candidate filing deadline, it remains to be seen who else might decide to run for a Board of Education seat in 2020.  That said, it looks like an anti-education equity slate, funded in part by conservative donors, is taking shape.

Now is the time for serious people, dedicated to serving the public and committed to progressive values, to reflect upon the importance of a Board of Education that shares their vision for Howard County.     

“To whom much is given, much will be required.”

In solidarity.


Thursday, January 16, 2020

Breaking HoCo BoE Candidate News - Mosley Is In

Jolene Mosley has filed for the Howard County Board of Education (Council District 3).

My sources tell me her campaign will center on a pro-student, pro-equity platform. 

In her own words, Ms. Mosley informed the present author that she is "running for BOE to support a healthy Howard County Public School System where children, teachers, and staff have the resources and support they need to reach their goals."

Sounds like she has the right priorities.

As I used to say, "stay tuned, as more will follow."

In solidarity.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Howard County Neighbors United: Hypocrisy Alert

First, if you would like to hear a lively and engaging discussion on multiple topics of interest, please check out the latest installment of Forward Maryland...ideal for post-game or Sunday listening!

Turning to the topic referenced by the title...

An Admin for this Facebook group has been busy posting reminders such as "be respectful and courteous," "no personal attacks, hate speech, or bullying," "no generalizations," and "no partisan political commentary,"

Meanwhile, a cursory glance at such group threads as the link to the Dailycaller (!) story, "Maryland Legislator Wants to Steer Low-Income Housing to Affluent Suburban Neighborhoods" or the News Break piece, "Howard County Executive Calvin Ball Agrees to Let Refugees Be Resettled in County" will reveal numerous...shall we say...posting policy transgressions.

Occasionally, one will come across a comment that seeks to rebut some of the more reprehensible posts, but the coded (and sometimes uncoded) language is easy to spot.

One the members of this group realize that some of their fellow commentators sound as though they belong to a latter-day Citizens Council?  Where is the resolve to stand up against such sentiments?  Perhaps instead of choosing civility, more people should choose courage.

In solidarity.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

HoCo Board of Education: Candidate Considerations

As we approach the filing deadline, file this post under information that should be obvious but nonetheless must be explained (to some).

- Local boards of education are inherently political offices. Decisions made by boards of education can, and have, sparked debates and led to court cases involving rulings on the rights and liberties of Americans.  See: Brown v. Board of Education,Tinker v. Des Moines, Abington School District v. Schempp, etc...etc...etc...

- Some who serve on boards of education go on to seek other elective offices and oft times, they affiliate with a political party.  Focusing on Howard County for a moment, this includes such local figures as now-Delegate Courtney Watson and former Howard County Council Chairwoman Mary Kay Sigaty.

- Knowing that their decisions might touch upon constitutional issues and further recognizing that some use BoE experience as a credential when running for another public office, voters have a right to know the worldview of Board of Education candidates, and that includes their party affiliation.

- Understanding that there are Democrats and Republicans of varying stripes (although this is less the case than it was 50 years ago), BoE candidates should be transparent about their partisan leanings.  If they decline to state their political affiliation (whether D, R, Green, Libertarian, Unaffiliated, or Other), voters have an absolute right to factor this chosen silence into their BoE candidate vote decision-making process.

- The individual members of the electorate must decide for themselves which candidate selection criteria is important to them.  Given the connection between ideology, values, policy stances, and the choice to align with a particular political party, a decision of a BoE candidate to not reveal their partisan affiliation represents a willful opacity.

These are some points that 2020 BoE candidates should bear in mind when questionnaires come their way, as they will.

In solidarity.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Jill Carter for Congress

For years, my (former?) best friend, with whom I haven't spoken since Trump's inauguration (no coincidence), used to do a bit called True Facts.  The premise was that we were guests on a political talk show and would make claims that were blatantly false and preposterous, but with absolutely certainty.  For example:

"Of course Luxembourg poses a serious threat to American national security, what with their death ray satellites orbiting Phobos.  These are true facts!"

No longer a sketch comedy concept, similar utterances from 1600 Pennsylvania are now commonplace.   

Turning from "True Facts" to Serious Opinions, in these most serious of times, I am a firm believer in the idea that districts that can elect strong progressives, should elect strong progressives.  Maryland's Seventh Congressional District, where I live, is one such constituency.  

With that framework firmly in place, I believe State Senator Jill Carter would be the ideal Democratic nominee.  An independent voice known as the People's Champion, Senator Carter is right on all of the major issues of the day, issues that have a profound impact on the day-to-day lives of Americans.  From her commitment to Medicare for All, to her belief in restoring the principle of free public higher education, to her support for a pro-job and pro-environment Green New Deal, Senator Carter's campaign represents the best opportunity for the voters of the 7th to send a staunch progressive to Washington.

Furthermore, out of the many seeking the office, the Carter campaign has been one of the most active.  Looking at some specific metrics, they have already knocked on almost 4,000 doors, with a concrete plan to contact, by phone or at the door, at least 50,000 voters by the Special Primary date, February 4, 2020.  The Jill P. Carter for Congress Facebook group has over 2,800 followers, including individuals from across the District. The State Senator Jill P. Carter Twitter page has over 7,700 followers. And they plan on engaging 500,000 voters via social media by the special primary.  The campaign is running social media ads and is exceeding their fundraising targets.

In short, if you are looking for an experienced (but not "Establishment") progressive who will fight for the working families of the 7th, Senator Carter, in my humble(-ish) opinion, is the best choice.

And that's a Real Fact!

In solidarity.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

King of Misnomers

I was un-banned recently (and most likely temporarily) from the Howard County Redistricting Opposition Group.  As a result, I was able to view some posts about the “HoCo Families for Educational Improvement (FEI),” the group which inspired the title of this article.

There was a fundraising link for the FEI which noted that they only accept donations from Maryland residents.  Why not Howard County residents only?  Why are they apparently willing to receive cash infusions from folks residing in, for example, Garrett County?  Won’t outside dollars lead to outside influence?  It is “HoCo Families,” is it not? 

Beyond that, I see more of a commitment by this group to partisan name-calling and invective-laden personal denunciations of those combatting segregation than I do anything resembling “educational improvement.”  It takes but a quick glance at the comments to see the vitriol of the Opposers in full effect.

Fig leaves wilt and crumble, every candidate seeking election to the Howard County Board of Education needs to recognize this fundamental point.  The watchers will themselves be watched.  And their words and actions subject to the highest levels of scrutiny.   

It is called accountability, ladies and gentlemen, and the deceivers shall be called out by name.

Happy New Year Dear Readers!

In solidarity.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Wait...there is a Pulse!

Projected Order of Finish:  Maryland’s 7th Congressional District – Special Primary Election
(As of 11/26/2019)
The top half:
1.     Senator Jill Carter.  22%.  Clear Left choice in a crowded field. Existing electoral base.
2.     Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings.  19%.  Party connections & strong policy background.
3.     Former U.S. Representative Kweisi Mfume.  15%. Establishment. It’s not 1996 anymore.
4.     Delegate Dr. Terri Hill. 12%. Good progressive credentials & only top-flight HoCo candidate.  How much vote can her campaign pull out of Baltimore County and the City?
5.     Delegate Talmadge Branch.  8%. Majority Whip in Annapolis but an unclear path to D.C.
6.     Delegate Dr. Jay Jalisi.  6%.  A well-deserved humiliation for a walking embarrassment.
7.     Harry Spikes.  5%.  Cummings connections but faces the daunting challenge of shifting from aide to Member of Congress.
8.     Saafir Rabb.  2%. Interesting business/community background.
9.     Dr. Mark Gosnell.  1.5%.  Been in the race for a while.  Where is his constituency?
10.  Dr. Leslie Grant.  1%.  Good health care credentials.
11.  F. Michael Higginbotham. 1%.  Solid legal/academic background.
12.  Anthony Carter Sr.  1%. Arguably, the strongest of the three candidates running this time who primaried Congressman Cummings in 2018. 
Topline thoughts: 
The top four candidates have a legitimate chance of winning the February primary.   In a likely low-turnaround election, one that is driven by the base D vote, it is difficult to see Senator Carter finishing worse than a strong second place… with an upside that could see her finish with a victory with 30%-33% of the vote.  Overall, her odds of winning: 3-2.
On paper, a candidate such as Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings could absolutely crush it with 40%-45% of the vote but with so many credible establishment candidates in the field, her odds of winning are substantially reduced, 3-1.
Former Congressman Mfume stands to benefit the most if the non-Carter front-runners collapse and Branch & Jalisi (as expected) under-perform.  That said, he is running in a district quite different from the one he represented before he resigned his office in 1996.  Odds of Mfume winning the primary: 5-1
Meanwhile Dr. Hill needs to win Howard County by a resounding margin, be highly competitive in Baltimore County, and pull a respectable double-digit figure in the City to obtain, by a narrow margin, the nomination.  Not impossible, but challenging. Dr. Hill’s odds of winning: 6-1.
And the other 12:
13.  Charles Stokes. < 1%. The second of the three 2018 D primary challengers to Rep. Cummings.  Finished only 20 votes behind Carter Sr.
14.  Paul Konka. <1%.  Finished second (albeit a distant second) in the Baltimore County Board of Education (District 3) race. Lost in the general by a wide margin.
15.  T. Dan Baker. < 1%. Public health background but a virtual unknown.
16.  Darryl Gonzales. <1%. Educator.
17.  Nathaniel Costley, Sr. <.5%. Ran in the 10th House District Democratic primary (same seat as Jalisi) in 2018.  Finished 5th of 6 candidates. 
18. Adrian Petrus. < .5%. Frequent candidate.
19.  Jay Fred Cohen. <.5%.  Why?
20.  Jermyn “Mike” Davidson. <.5%. Does.
21.  Matko Lee Chullin III. <.5%. It.
22.  Alicia Brown. <.5%. Really.
23.  Dan Hiegel.  <.5%. Matter.
24.  Charles Smith. <.5%.  Third of the aforementioned three ’18 D primary challengers.
Note:  Top 4 candidates garner 68% of the vote.  Top 7 candidates account for 87% of the vote.
In solidarity.