Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Arrogance of the Siddiquis

Turning to HoCo’s House Lannister, Dr. Janet Siddiqui has decided to enter the race for the 4th County Council District.

First of all, one should be skeptical of the argument that self-funders can be independent of special interests (“unbought and unbossed” to employ former Congresswoman Shirley Chisolm’s slogan).  Folks with the ability to loan themselves $100,000 (funneled through various committees, as outlined here: https://scotteblog.com/2018/01/17/will-janet-siddiqui-run-for-office-in-2018/) are themselves a special interest.  Of course, I expect her campaign won’t completely self-fund, but who would give the Siddiquis money to fill their coffers?  Fortunately, campaign finance reports are available to the public. Just go ahead and type in “Siddiqui” in the Committee Name box here: https://campaignfinancemd.us/Public/ViewFiledReports

Her attempted job hop in 2014, from the Board of Education to a brief run for the House of Delegates in District 13 to deciding to drop out in favor of her husband Nayab is redolent of a sense of entitlement.  This familial bait-and-switch was rejected by Team 13, while she was selected to run on the slate, Nayab was not. In her own words, she said regarding a run for the state legislature, “I’ve always looked forward to that in my plan.”  (Source: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/columbia/ph-janet-siddiqui-withdraws-district-13-story.html).  Oh really, would you care to tell Howard County voters more about your "plan?"  Or how the events of “the day of the filing” were necessary for you to rediscover your “commitment to the people and children of Howard County.”  If that commitment was so unshakeable, should it have mattered what Aquino and Meshkin did or did not do re: seeking re-election to the Board?

Let us not forget the very recent past, when Janet Siddiqui voted to retain the services of former Superintendent Renee Foose.  By voting with the other members of the “Gang of Five” to renew her contract, this gave Foose the leverage to secure a massive ($1.65 million) buy-out.  Of course, it should be noted that three members of this Gang were tossed out of office by Howard County voters in 2016, including Dr. Siddiqui.

Back to when she was on the Board of Education, her commitment seemingly didn’t extend to an awareness of certain aspects of the position.  When asked about the public release of a “special education audit,” that one parent called “critical information that the public needs,” Siddiqui’s reply was “I don’t know that it hasn’t been released” (Source: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/columbia/ph-ho-cf-special-education-forum-0414-20160412-story.html). The report cost $300,000 yet only 26 pages were released to the public ($11,538 per page).  As parents and other activists clamored for greater transparency and a full report, Siddiqui’s response, “we should work with what we have, moving forward.”  That sounds like acquiescence, not advocacy.

Then there is the curious relationship that the Siddiquis seem to enjoy with gas station owners.  Another prominent blogger has written more about this topic (Source:  
http://53beersontap.typepad.com/53beers/2014/06/siddiqui-and-omvb-leaders-to-bring-gas-station-to-om-village-center.html

If you prefer videos for information,  a YouTube channel (HCEA Howard) created four short videos featuring Janet Siddiqui in which you might be interested:

Ranging from mold to poor spending decisions and weak financial oversight, they include:

Pediatrician Janet Siddiqui falls short on health issues for students and staff:


Failed management by Board Member Janet Siddiqui proven in State Audit:


State Audit Results under Janet Siddiqui’s leadership


Janet Siddiqui spends our tax dollars in the wrong places


In the opinion of this author, her track record demonstrates questionable judgement and an excessive degree of concern over what is best for the Siddiquis, not Howard County.  As said in campaign literature in support of Grover Cleveland’s presidential candidacy, “public office is a public trust.”  Based on her performance, Dr. Siddiqui has not earned our trust, and she should not be elected to a public office such as the County Council.

Stay tuned, as more will follow…



Friday, February 9, 2018

A Promise...and a Marker


This is not a legacy piece regarding Maryland State Senator Kasemeyer (D-12).  Frankly, this blog has argued that Kasemeyer could (and perhaps should) have faced a spirited primary challenge this cycle.

The Democratic Party, certainly in state legislative districts which are capable of electing thoughtful, civic-minded progressives, should nominate such individuals to be their standard bearers.  Of course, this is a reflection of Michael Harrington’s perspective on the importance of the “left wing of the possible.”

Of course, not every matter is strictly “ideological” in the classic meaning of the word.  It has already been noted that the delegation plays an important role on such issues as the manner of election of the Howard County Board of Education.  I concur with others than the retiring Senator missed an opportunity here.

However, there are a number of issues which do reflect progressive values and sensibilities. A short list would include, but is far from limited to, the following:

-          A $15 an hour state minimum wage
-          Either single-payer health care for Maryland, or at the very least a state run-public option
-          Movement towards tuition-free college in Maryland
-          The de-concentration of economic power through a more progressive state taxation structure
-          The practical expansion of the right to vote through same-day voter registration

Policy ideas matter.  They can change people’s day-to-day lives. They have real-world consequences.  To that end, this blog will taking a very close look at the policy platforms & prescriptions offered up by those who seek public office in Howard County, especially in my home district, the 12th.   That is my guarantee to you, the reader.

Stay tuned, as more will follow.

In solidarity.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Elevate This…

The fact of the matter is that Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman wants it both ways.  He wants to latch onto the (relatively) progressive legacy of (some) of his family while still retaining the R-label, so he can secure his base…which is virulently pro-Trump.

Now, F-list minions like C.O. [whose full name is not important, at all], who would not have been entrusted to fetch the coffee of GOP backbenchers in the ‘90s, may try to spin it otherwise (and poorly, like a hack) …but the brutal reality is that if Kittleman really were truly independent-minded, he would leave the GOP and run as an independent in 2018.

Party affiliation is a window into one’s values.  I quit the GOP in the early 2000s for several reasons.  First and foremost, it had become abundantly clear that the liberal wing (here is looking at you, Governor Milliken) was clearly not aligned with the Republican Party of the Bush 43 era.  The “religious” conservatives along with the neo-cons had a lock on the party.  If you were progressive, there was only one honest choice, and that was to join the Democratic Party (or an organization even further to the left, but that is by-the-by).

So now, the GOP, the party of the “malefactors of great wealth” (a phrase employed by Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican for whatever that is worth) is now whining about certain campaign finance issues.  To that, I say let’s take a close look at who is giving $ to the Kittleman campaign.  What is it they want?  And who is getting paid?  These are all useful and pressing questions.

Let’s face it, based on the State of the Union, the Republican Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of Trump Inc.  Kittleman needs to be held to account for maintaining his allegiance to a party that decided to sell what remained of its soul to a deranged real estate "mogul" who has no business being anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania.  Which begs the question: who does Kittleman truly put first? The county or his party?

In solidarity.