Saturday, July 31, 2010

Madaleno Writes Public Service Commission on Pepco

In his capacity as Chair of the Montgomery County Senate Delegation, Senator Rich Madaleno (D-18) has written the Public Service Commission asking if Pepco's performance on restoring power after outages meets industry standards. Madaleno says the outage last Sunday, which left thousands of customers in the dark for days, "is just the latest in a series of events that have pushed the community’s patience to the breaking point." Madaleno also announces his intent to hold a joint hearing of the county's Senate and House delegations on Pepco's performance.

Following is his letter to the Public Service Commission.

July 29, 2010

Chairman Douglas R. N. Nazarian
Commissioner Harold D. Williams
Commissioner Susanne Brogan
Commissioner Lawrence Brenner
Commissioner Therese M. Goldsmith
Maryland Public Service Commission
William Donald Schaefer Tower
6 St. Paul St.
Baltimore, MD 21202

Dear Commissioners:

I write to you today in relation to your authority to hear matters about the quality of utility service, specifically electrical utility service, and more specifically Pepco service, in region. As you certainly know, our region was hard hit by a sudden, intense storm on the afternoon of Sunday, July 25th. Hundreds of thousands of residents in Montgomery County (and elsewhere) lost power that afternoon, and, as I write this letter (four days later), many thousands of Montgomery County residents are still without power and without reliable information as to when they may expect the restoration of that power.

While everyone understands that natural events do occur and that it may take some time for Pepco to get their service up and running again, this outage is just the latest in a series of events that have pushed the community’s patience to the breaking point. People have long memories when it comes to losing their electricity, and they still remember Pepco’s poor performance after the ice storm in 1999 and following Tropical Storm Isabel in 2003. Additionally, communities around my district and around the county have stories about frequent outages whenever winds gust over 15 mph or a heavy rainfall occurs.

In a press release issued by Pepco in 2004 the vice president for emergency preparedness spoke about how the company was “continuously improving by developing our ability to communicate with our customers and providing more information to help our customers plan their lives…” While I respect the work that Pepco has done to restore service after this most recent storm, their inability to provide accurate and timely information to their customers – again – has infuriated many.

I would like to know from the Public Service Commission (PSC) what, if any, industry standards are in place for assessing the quality of restoration work done by an electric utility following widespread outages, expected or unexpected. Are there methods in place for assessing the company’s ability to communicate with customers? Where does Pepco stand in relation to such standards? If they do not meet some minimum standard, what consequences do they face?

Considering this is the second large scale failure of their distribution network this year, one may conclude that this network is no longer adequate for the weather challenges of the mid-Atlantic region. I would also like to ask if the PSC has reviewed Pepco’s equipment maintenance and replacement schedule to see if it meets industry standards. As we deal with the aftermath of this storm, constituents have been contacting my office and those of my colleagues to report repeated outages during summer months from thunderstorms. There appears to be growing discontent with Pepco’s quality of service in general. Therefore, is there an objective measurement of performance for a distribution company and how does Pepco rate on any scale used by the PSC?

As the chair of the Montgomery Senate Delegation, I intend to convene a joint hearing with our county House colleagues to review these issues later this fall. We will provide Pepco with an opportunity to present an analysis of their performance during the two major system failures, as well as the general performance when dealing with outages. I hope that the PSC will also participate in the hearing and address some of these concerns.

We have lived through too many years of too many unmet promises and we need to do better for our residents and our business community.

Sincerely,

Richard S. Madaleno, Jr.

cc: Senator Jamie Raskin, Vice Chair, Montgomery County Senate Delegation
Delegate Brian Feldman, Chair, Montgomery County House Delegation
Delegate Susan Lee, Vice Chair, Montgomery County House Delegation
Montgomery County Council
Ms. Therese Yewell, State Relations Director, Pepco Holdings Inc.



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Friday, July 30, 2010

Forehand vs. Kagan on the Death Penalty

From the District 17 Senate forum on July 19. Kagan went after Forehand for missing a vote on the issue and she is correct.

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Arora All In for Leisure World

Here's another ad in Leisure World News from District 19 House candidate Sam Arora. So where are the other D19 house contestants, not to mention the at-large council contenders?


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Former Senator P.J. Hogan on Adventist's Clarksburg Hospital

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Fire Fighters, Police Announce General Assembly Endorsements

International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1664 and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35 have announced their endorsements in the state legislative races. The two unions have cooperated in making these endorsements jointly. They will be endorsing for County Council later. Following is their release.

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Peace Action Montgomery Responds to Kramer

Peace Action Montgomery has sent the following response to Delegate Ben Kramer's (D-19) criticism of its questionnaire referencing Israel.

July 26, 2010

Delegate Ben Kramer
17511 Applewood Lane
Rockville, MD 20855

Dear Delegate Kramer:
We are responding to your July 20 letter that criticized a candidate questionnaire created and distributed by Peace Action Montgomery, as well as the motives and values of our organization.

Before we respond to your specific complaints, we would like to present our beliefs and goals, as stated on our Web site:

Our Beliefs
Military intervention is not a suitable response to conflict.
Ordinary people can change the world.

Our Goals
Peace in the Middle East
• An end to current U.S.‐led and U.S.‐funded military occupations (Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine)
• Prevention of future wars (such as in Pakistan or Iran)
• Reparations and developmental aid for victims

A Peace Economy at Home
• Reduced military spending and an end to war profiteering
• Restrictions on military recruitment in schools, replaced by real economic opportunities for youth
• Generous benefits for veterans

Peace through Human Rights and International Cooperation
• Robust international diplomacy
• Protection of civil and human rights, including an end to torture
• Full, independent investigations of violations to the rule of law

Our questionnaire to candidates for state office, sent out July 16 and 17, is in keeping with our stated goals (see enclosed questionnaire). The five questions focus on issues that are within the purview of state‐level officials. For all questions, candidates were asked to respond “yes” or “no” and offered the opportunity to explain or qualify their responses.

The one question to which you took great exception cited International Court of Justice rulings that Israel’s separation wall and settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal and asked candidates if they would support a bill to order the state’s pension system to divest from holdings in companies that knowingly participate in these illegal activities.

Instead of answering any of the questions, you wrote us a letter in which you stated that you not only rejected our “less than subtle anti‐zionist, anti‐semitic ‘questionnaire,’ ” but that you would also encourage your fellow candidates in Montgomery County and across the state to reject it as well.

Passions run high on this issue, but that is no excuse for calling a group like Peace Action Montgomery anti‐Semitic. We vehemently oppose anti‐Semitism and bigotry and are offended at being defamed for our support for human rights. Just as opposing the war in Afghanistan does not make us anti‐American, opposing Israeli government policies does not make us anti‐Semitic.

Would you call anti‐Semitic the 60 percent of the Israeli general public who in a poll conducted in early March 2010 supported “dismantling most of the settlements in the territories as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians”? (Poll conducted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace.)

Peace in the Middle East is one of Peace Action Montgomery’s major goals. We assume that you, too, desire peace in the Middle East. We therefore invite you to join us in a public debate on the issue of how best to advance a just resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. We plan to propose the same idea to the Washington Jewish Week, which also received your letter to us, and invite them to co‐moderate the event, along with a representative of another organization.

We sincerely hope that you will accept this proposal for a much‐needed forum for dialogue on this significant issue. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Jean Athey, coordinator
Peace Action Montgomery
Enclosure

cc: Washington Jewish Week



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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Forehand vs. Kagan on Mental Health

From the District 17 Senate forum on July 19.

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Leggett, Council Go After Pepco

County Executive Ike Leggett and the Montgomery County Council have sent letters complaining about the length of time Pepco has spent repairing power lines in the wake of the recent storm. Your author is behind the County Executive and the County Council one hundred percent. When I lived in D.C. for nine years, I did not lose power once. Upon moving to MoCo, your author has lost power on average every three to four months. We await Pepco's response.

Following are the two letters.

From the County Executive.




From the County Council.




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The Gang's All Here for Kirill

Delegate Kirill Reznik (D-39) has announced endorsements from Governor Martin O'Malley, Attorney General Doug Gansler, Comptroller Peter Franchot and County Executive Ike Leggett. Reznik is also one of a handful of candidates in the county who has landed every single major endorsement so far. Despite the fact that he was appointed in 2007 to replace Delegate Nancy King (who became a Senator), it is becoming increasingly obvious that Reznik is cruising to election in his own right. This shows just how important the Central Committee's appointment power is as David Lublin noted a long time ago.

Following is Reznik's press release.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2010

O’Malley, Gansler, Franchot, and Leggett endorse Del. Kirill Reznik

Germantown, Maryland – In recognition of his commitment and service to the people of Montgomery County, Delegate Kirill Reznik (D-39) has been endorsed by Governor Martin O’Malley, Attorney General Doug Gansler, Comptroller Peter Franchot, and Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett.

"I am proud to endorse Delegate Kirill Reznik for reelection in District 39. Since he joined the legislature, Kirill and I have worked together to freeze college tuition and expand Medicaid to 55,000 of our state’s neediest citizens,” said Governor O’Malley. “Kirill is a rising leader in the legislature who truly cares about his constituents and I ask for your support in reelecting him."

In his statement of support, Comptroller Franchot stated “Kirill Reznik has been an effective advocate for District 39 and for Montgomery County in the Maryland House of Delegates. I endorse his re-election effort and look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead.”

In citing Reznik’s commitment to statewide issues, Attorney General Gansler stated “Since entering the General Assembly, Kirill and I have fought together on many important issues including strengthening protections for victims of sexual abuse and improving our environment by cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. We have also worked closely on legislation to ensure that Marylanders with autism spectrum disorders, and their families, receive the healthcare coverage they need for appropriate treatment.“

“I am proud of these, and the many other endorsements I have received during my campaign to return to Annapolis and continue to fight on behalf of my constituents,” said Reznik. “We face unprecedented challenges today in getting our economy back on track and maintaining our world-class education system. It will be an honor to work to find the solutions to these and many other challenges.”

Reznik has served in the House of Delegates since 2007 on the Health and Government Operations Committee representing District 39, encompassing parts of North Potomac, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Montgomery Village, Derwood, and the town of Washington Grove.

To date, Reznik has also received endorsements from the Montgomery County Education Association, the Maryland State Education Association, Progressive Maryland, the League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, Equality Maryland, SEIU, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, Metropolitan Washington Council of the AFL-CIO, and the Montgomery County Public School Retirees Association.

###

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Doug Gansler Endorses District 18 Democratic Team

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler has released the following statement in support of District 18 Senator Rich Madaleno and Delegates Ana Sol Gutierrez, Jeff Waldstreicher and Al Carr.



As Attorney General and a longtime resident of District 18, I’ve had the privilege of working closely with the District 18 Democratic Team. This election year, it is essential that Democrats remain united to fight for progressive priorities. I’ve seen first-hand as Senator Madaleno and Delegates Carr, Gutiérrez and Waldstreicher joined forces to fight for safer streets, a cleaner environment, and marriage equality. I unequivocally endorse the District 18 Democratic Team because I need them in Annapolis to continue fighting for our progressive values.

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Mike Lenett: Actions Speak Louder than Words

Here is the latest in District 19 Senator Mike Lenett's series of early and physically imposing mailers. (This one is 27x12 open and 9x12 folded!) There is a wide variety of content here provided that people will take the time to read it. But we really want to know when Lenett will bring back that baseball bat!


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MCGEO Digs Up Dirt on Raiding Rival

MCGEO has unearthed the following unfair labor practice charges filed by a member of its rival union in Indiana.

The member claims:

The above named union, (UPSEU) has been engaging in various acts which would include but are not limited to:

A.) Restricting my ability to participate in local union elections by refusing access to current membership data and by prohibiting other members from obtaining accurate information about all eligible candidates.

B.) Consistently failing to uphold specific terms of the labor agreement between Professional Transportation Inc. and the UPSEU. Example: Management has been allowed to unfairly discipline union employees without any union representation or without being subjected to an established grievance process. Employees who have been disciplined or wrongfully terminated for alleged misconduct have not been allowed to defend themselves against the employers unsubstantiated claims or charges. The union will not acknowledge these violations even after being notified.

C.) Union has refused to provide any information about the name(s) or local office(s) of a legitimate union representative. This has prevented members from seeking assistance with matters that are relevant to employment or to their contract.

D.) Union has refused to provide any information about collected dues money or any other financial matters which are directly related to the membership of the UPSEU.

Now these are merely charges, not proof of actual misconduct. They would have had to be heard by a National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge and perhaps have been sent up to the board itself. We do not know the outcome of these accusations.

But they are juicy, no?

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Notes and Observations in District 16

By Marc Korman.

The race for District 16 is heating up with 13 candidates and 100 degree temperatures. Here are a few random notes and observations from the front, combined with some free advice to the candidates.

For those not living and breathing the race, the 13 candidates are: Incumbents Bill Frick; and Susan Lee; Attorney and former District 19 Democratic Club Officer John Adams; Attorney and repeat candidate Charlie Chester; Attorney Peter Dennis, also the son of Civic Federation President Peggy Dennis; Town of Somerset Councilman Bill Farley; Real estate management business owner and Montgomery County Young Democrats President Scott Goldberg; Attorney Craig Herskowitz; Attorney and health policy strategist Hrant Jamgochian; Former NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland Executive Director and MomsRising’s Director for Environmental and Workplace issues Ariana Kelly; Former Obama campaign staffer Kyle Lierman, also the son of local political bigwig Terry Lierman; Common Cause Board Member Michael Sriqui; And attorney and former Housing Opportunities Commission Chair Mark Winston. Whoa, that’s a lot of candidates.

The District 16 Democratic Club hosted a forum for all of the Delegate candidates at the Bethesda Library last week. Twelve of the candidates, including the two incumbents, attended. Craig Herskowitz was out of town for work but had a statement read.

The consensus among the individuals I spoke to were that the big winners were the two incumbents, Bill Frick and Susan Lee, and challenger Scott Goldberg. Other candidates had high points, but these three were consistently great. Frick and Lee were essentially endorsed by all of the other challengers during a question about what legislator you would like to emulate, cementing the impression that the 11 challengers are fighting for one open seat. Goldberg’s one two punch of strong and humorous delivery plus real policy proposals stood out even to those in the capacity crowd supporting other challengers. The funniest moment of the debate belonged to the moderator, who gave the field a grand total of 15 seconds to explain how they would solve the budget deficit.

The Bethesda-Chevy Chase Breakfast Club is also working its way through the challengers. The first installment featured Bill Farley, Craig Herskowitz, Ariana Kelly, and Kyle Lierman. Also in attendance was District 18 Challenger Dana Beyer. The moderator was kind enough to grant the candidates a grand total of 30 seconds to explain their approach to the budget.

Herskowitz has staked his campaign on speed cameras and constituent service, pretty much declining to comment on other issues and referring individuals to his website. Although no one loves the speed cameras, my own view is that he cannot mount a successful campaign in a crowded field on these narrow issues alone and should talk about some of his other ideas along with these passions.

Kelly and Lierman seem to view the race as between them, at least when they appear together. That thinking is understandable given that MPW and others have consistently cited them as the frontrunners. They both have a strong ground game and the resources to win. But I would just remind them that a race with two perceived frontrunners often creates opportunities for Trojan horse candidates (Just ask Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt about Iowa in 2004). With so many candidates in the field, there are plenty of places for voters to turn besides Lierman or Kelly.

Bill Farley is a Town of Somerset Councilmember, making him the only challenger with elected office experience and giving him a stronghold in one of the top performing precincts in the primary. I have no idea if he is working the doors or has money for mail, but he has a good candidate profile. However I am not sure what his message is and his approach to the Purple Line should also be explained. He supports starting over with some type of trench or cut and cover approach. That is an unrealistic option at this stage and in practical terms means Farley opposes the Purple Line.

If you care about the lawn sign primary, which does not win elections but is fun for bloggers, Lierman, Jamgochian, and the incumbent team have a strong start in Bethesda with a sprinkling of other candidates as well. I have not been to the northern or western portions of the district lately to see the signs there. So far the only mass mail I have received is from Mark Winston and Michael Sriqui.

Based on my conversations and impressions in the district, candidates are distinguishing themselves in many ways. Hrant Jamgochian is impressing people with his smarts, nice guy approach, and health care background. Winston is picking up what I view as strong endorsements including Ike Leggett’s and the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce. Many long time District 16 residents I speak with think highly of Charlie Chester and his experience.

My advice to the candidates? Keep knocking on doors and stay hydrated.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Forehand vs. Kagan on Nuclear Energy

From the District 17 Senate forum on July 19.

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New Saqib Mailer to Washington Grove

This is District 39 Senate candidate Saqib Ali's fifth(!) mailer, this one targeted for Washington Grove. It features endorsements from two Washington Grove Council Members, one of whom calls incumbent Nancy King a "Blue Dog."

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Herman Taylor Trying to Raise Money

Delegate Herman Taylor (D-14) is trying to raise money in his long-shot race against Congresswoman Donna Edwards. Check out the event announcement below.


Taylor's money situation is murky. Marc Korman found that he had raised just $4,000 in his last FEC report. David Lublin discovered that his website was shut down due to lack of payment. But somebody had to pay for Taylor's campaign rally, business cards and email blasts.

This is not only one of the worst-run campaigns for Congress of all time, but it should also be a romp for the auditors.

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Arora Campaign Responds to MPW Post on Poll

The campaign of District 19 Delegate candidate Sam Arora has responded to our post on its poll, in which one of our spies claimed fellow candidate Bonnie Cullison was described as a "union boss" and a message of being willing to "stand up against labor unions who have bankrupted Montgomery County," was tested. Following is a message from Arora campaign manager Russ Rampersad.

MPW,

Thanks for your continued great coverage of MoCo politics. We wanted to shed some more light on your recent post about our campaign. Indeed, we’ve been in the field with a survey. But we never tested the phrase “union boss,” or anything even close to “stand up against labor unions who have bankrupted Montgomery County,” or any negative attack — either specifically, or implied — about any of our fellow candidates. We don’t think your spy was lying, but it’s unfortunate you assumed we were. So we’re releasing a question that seems to have caused some confusion.

We tested a series of candidate descriptions & messages. Respondents were asked how they felt about each description, on a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 means “very warm” and 0 means “very cool.” One of the descriptions was:

“A retired teacher and former President of the Montgomery County Education Association”

We tested other questions, of course, but this was the only one seemingly descriptive of Ms. Cullison, whom Sam holds in high regard, as we do all of the excellent candidates in District 19.

We appreciate this opportunity to set the record straight.

Russ Rampersad
Campaign Manager
Arora for Delegate

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Becky Wagner Gets Tough with County Council Incumbents

County Council At-Large candidate Becky Wagner has delivered the toughest criticism to date by any challenger of the incumbents' budget policies. Following is an email she sent to her list.

Borrowing from our future...

With the primary election looming in September, the incumbent County Council members finally took steps in May to bring order to Montgomery County’s fiscal house - after two years of deferring pension funding, setting aside the mandatory Maintenance of Effort for the school system and failing to fulfill negotiated contracts. I am running for County Council because I believe they should have been paying attention three years ago, not just six weeks ago.

What will our core services be? What will a re-structured government look like? We all know that unpopular decisions will have to be made. I have the leadership and experience to build consensus on what needs to change and make the tough decisions on how to do that. I have managed a large nonprofit with a 5% overhead that is able to provide good paying jobs with good benefits to over 100 employees. We keep to a strict budget and make payroll every two weeks. THAT is why I am ready to lead on Day One and ready to get Montgomery County moving again. THAT is the kind of common sense, pragmatic experience we need on the Council right now.

But I cannot do it without your help. Please consider giving me resources I need to win - please contribute $50, $100 or more to the Friends of Becky Wagner! Make your contribution payable to Friends of Becky Wagner and mail to 119 Forest Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850 or make a secure online contribution through my website by clicking Here.

We must practice fiscal discipline in order to protect the values we believe in as Democrats and ensure that all residents of Montgomery County — now and in the future — can continue to enjoy the overall high quality of life we are fortunate to have.

Thank you for your support and I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail.


All the best –

Becky Wagner

Candidate for Montgomery County Council, At Large
becky@beckywagner.org
www.beckywagner.org

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Ben Kramer, Mike Lenett Rip Peace Action Montgomery

Delegate Ben Kramer (D-19) and Senator Mike Lenett (D-19) have responded harshly to a question by Peace Action Montgomery on its recent questionnaire to MoCo candidates. OK, "harshly" doesn't do it justice!

David Lublin posted Peace Action's questionnaire a couple weeks ago and identified this question as likely posing controversy:

5. In the past, the Maryland state legislature has exercised its power to order the state’s pension system to divest its holdings in companies that are complicit in illegal activities in other countries. The World Court has ruled that Israel’s separation wall and settlements in the West Bank are illegal. Would you support a similar divestment bill targeting companies that knowingly participate in these illegal activities in Israel?
Delegate Ben Kramer, who is running for re-election, sent this response:

July 20, 2010

Peace Action Montgomery
P.O. Box 1653
Olney, Maryland 20830

To Whom it May Concern:

I read your questionnaire with interest and was prepared to offer responses until I read the fifth and final question.

It is with great offense and disgust that I read the fifth question (statement), equating the State of Israel's efforts to defend itself from terrorism with nations that promote the very terrorism which has plagued the people of Israel.

The Maryland State Legislature has exercised its power to order the state's pension system to divest its holdings in companies that do business with nations that sponsor and support terrorism and genocide. Your twisted and convoluted efforts to draw a comparison between Israel's need to protect its residents, (Jews and non-Jews alike) from the daily savagery of terrorist bombers and murderers, to the atrocities of terrorist nations, reveals your ignorance and prejudice.

You are apparently under the mistaken belief that the role of the Jew is to be complicit in his/her own death and contentedly succumb as a willing victim to the overwhelming numbers of hostile neighbors, who surround the only bastion of democracy in the Middle East.

Therefore, in response to your anti-zionist, anti-semitic "questionnaire," I offer you the following:

As a member of the Maryland State Legislature, I will make every possible effort to ensure that Maryland maintains the strongest cultural and economic ties with the State of Israel. I will do my very best to influence any and all colleagues in the Maryland General Assembly to do the same.

Furthermore, I will encourage all of my fellow candidates, here in Montgomery County and across the State, to reject your less than subtle anti-zionist, anti-semitic "questionnaire" and appropriately dispose of it.

Please convey to your 2,700 "dues-paying" members my response and let them know that if they embrace your position on this issue, that I have no interest in their support or vote.

Ben Kramer

Senator Mike Lenett sent this response:

July 27, 2010

Peace Action Montgomery
P.O. Box 1653
Olney, Maryland 20830

Dear Peace Action Montgomery:

I wholeheartedly share the views so well expressed by Delegate Ben Kramer in his letter to you dated July 20, 2010. I take extreme offense at Question 5 of your survey, which equates Israel’s defensive actions to protect its very existence with the actions of nations that sponsor terrorism. Delegate Kramer said it all and I could not improve upon his words. Like him, I will dispose of your questionnaire and I do not care what you convey to your members.

Sincerely,

Mike Lenett
Several other politicians tell us that they did not bother to send back the questionnaire because of the anti-Israel question. As a result, this will go down as one of the least effective questionnaires of the cycle.

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The Politics of Union Bashing

Council Member Duchy Trachtenberg is introducing a new bill that would mandate a two-tier disability program for non-school employees other than fire fighters (who bargained one years ago), which is anathema to MCGEO and the Fraternal Order of Police. This is no mere bill, but rather the start of a new round of union bashing by Trachtenberg and the Washington Post going into the last six weeks of the election campaign.

The timing of the bill’s introduction is interesting. It was submitted on the very last day of council work (July 27) prior to the August recess. The next day of council work will be on September 20, six days after the primary. So there will be no public hearing, no opportunity for opponents to challenge it and no analysis of the bill by staff until after the election. The only public comment on the bill will come from Trachtenberg herself, her two co-sponsors (Phil Andrews and Roger Berliner) and the Washington Post’s editorial board.

That’s right, Post editorial writer Lee Hockstader (who openly brags about his power to determine elections) was briefed about the bill over a week before the unions who represent the affected employees were told. Hockstader will now have an opportunity to praise Trachtenberg, blast the unions and blast the Council Members who voted against mandatory imposition of a two-tier system a year ago. One of the Council Members who opposed mandating a two-tier system was none other than George Leventhal, whom Hockstader is determined to bring down. Leventhal and Valerie Ervin, Mike Knapp and Nancy Floreen preferred to leave the issue to collective bargaining, as Sec. 33-107 of the Montgomery County Code specifies.

It’s worth recalling the history of the issue. Problems in the county’s disability retirement program were first identified by Inspector General Tom Dagley in 2008. His report did not discuss the need for a two-tier system at all, but instead concentrated on changing management procedures. Dagley wrote:

The findings relate to the need for the Office of Human Resources (OHR) to improve internal controls and management oversight to ensure SCDR [service-connected disability retirement] benefits are protected against abuse, and for the Department of Police to ensure compliance with medical examination program requirements and related standards regarding the health status and functional capabilities of police officers.
A ream of data ignored by the Post shows the true size of the county’s disabled police workforce. The number of officers claiming disability benefits since 1985 has averaged eleven per year. That’s right: only eleven. And disabled retirements have accounted for just 1.2% of sworn officers over the last twenty-five years. Furthermore, the two poster children for abuse – officers who collected disability but went on to other jobs – were Assistant Police Chiefs John King and William C. O’Toole. Both of them were senior management who were not represented by the union.

Lost in all of this is that the Fraternal Order of Police actually put forth a proposal for a three-tier disability system last year. Here it is:


For whatever reason, this proposal did not make it through bargaining with the Police Department. If management had accepted it, a multi-tier system would be in operation today.

The bottom line is that the Inspector General diagnosed management failures as responsible for program problems. Management could fix them tomorrow by cracking down. But that would mean that senior managers like King and O’Toole could not avail themselves of benefits so easily. And so, at the hands of opportunistic politicians like Trachtenberg and union-bashing opinion writers like Hockstader, a management issue has been morphed into a “union problem.” Just how far they are willing to go is demonstrated by the fact that Trachtenberg accuses the Inspector General of ethics violations but still uses his work to score political points.

And so this last-minute bill is not about policy. If it was, it would have been introduced months ago and subject to public hearings and free and fair debate. Instead, it is all about giving Duchy Trachtenberg something to run on and giving Post editorial writer Lee Hockstader a reason to beat up unions over a management issue and slam any politicians willing to talk to them.

This sort of thing is why many people hate politics.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cheryl Kagan's Opening Remarks

From the District 17 Senate forum on July 19.

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Berliner Goes After Pepco

Check out this email that District 1 County Council Member Roger Berliner sent out to his constituents. If you are a Pepco executive, well... maybe you should take some aspirin and look at it tomorrow.

Dear District 1 Residents and Friends,

Many of you have contacted me during this power outage crisis. I completely understand your frustration - my wife and I are also without power and we lose power all too regularly.

Today, my colleagues and I were briefed by PEPCO on their response to the storm. They continue to say that this is a 'multi-day event' and that they will have the "vast majority" of residents back on by Thursday. This brief storm was far more damaging than the blizzards - 200,000 customers in our county were without power after Sunday's storm.

During the briefing, I made it clear to PEPCO's President that their system simply isn't reliable enough. Power outages occur all too frequently for too long. I informed PEPCO that I would be asking the Maryland Public Service Commission, which has total and complete regulatory authority over PEPCO, to open an investigation into PEPCO's reliability, or lack thereof.

You should know that problems in the system were evident prior to the storm. I wrote to the President of Pepco on July 12th about the repeated and lengthy power outages that were occurring in fair weather and for no apparent reason. Many constituents had written to me about those outages. This current situation only adds a greater sense of urgency to get to the bottom of this. Pepco is only in the service provider business and does not generate power itself. We should have the very best system that we can and today we do not.

While it may be understandable why there cannot be a human response when thousands of people are calling, it is not acceptable for there to be a recorded message with inaccurate information. There should be a real person answering your questions as to why your power went out, when a crew will be dispatched, and how long it will take. Losing power is a serious matter, and getting a recorded message that lacks timely, accurate information is simply not acceptable. PEPCO has told us that citizens can now call 877-737-2662 to receive real time information on when power will be restored.

Here is the latest information made available to the County Council:

Storm Event
At 3:20 pm Sunday, a line of severe thunderstorms rolled through MontgomeryCounty, causing widespread damage, road closures, and downed trees. More than 200,000 PEPCO customers and nearly one third of all traffic signals in the county were reported without power.

Road Closures

A total of 254 roads have been reported as closed due to downed trees and other tree related obstructions; the number of current road closures now stands between 50 and 60.
DOT has cleared all known road closures except those involving Pepco lines. All road closures are pending until Pepco clears the power lines from the obstruction.
Pepco has been notified of all road closure locations involving power lines
County crews and contractors continue to clear debris countywide
Equipment operators will remain overnight to open roads as Pepco clears power lines.

Transit

Continues to operate on a regular schedule with some delays associated with traffic conditions

TransportationManagementCenter (TMC)

Monitoring traffic conditions and signal outages. The number of dark signals fluctuates as power goes on and off and trips fuses. 19 temporary stop signs are in use at selected intersections to assist with traffic control.
Between 80 and 90 signals are out at this time.

If you are concerned about food safety please consult the guidance provided by the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/keeping_food_Safe_during_an_emergency/index.asp.

For more information on cleaning up after this storm, please visit http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/swstmpl.asp?url=/content/dep/solidwaste/stormcleanup.asp for a thorough explanation on what to do with any large debris that may have been generated in your yard.

Again, know that I share your frustration and I will continue to push PEPCO and the Maryland Public Service Commission to take all reasonable steps to increase the reliability of the system and improve the customer response by PEPCO to outages.

Sincerely,

Roger Berliner
District 1

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Press Releases You Don't Need to Read

We have nothing against District 19 Delegate candidate Hoan Dang, but he has sent out one of the most inane press releases of the entire election cycle. Because it was emailed, at least no trees were sacrificed for the purpose of such banality. Enjoy!

For Immediate Release: Sunday, July 25, 2010
Contact: Vel Hernandez, info@hoandang.com

MEDIA ADVISORY

State Delegate Candidate Hoan Dang Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Boy Scouts

Dang to Participate in Historic Boy Scouts Parade in Washington, D.C.

SILVER SPRING, Md. (July 25, 2010) – Maryland state delegate candidate (District 19) and Eagle Scout Hoan Dang is very pleased to announce he will join nearly 10,000 members of Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in a historic parade in the nation’s capital to celebrate the Boy Scouts’ 100th anniversary. Dang will march in the Eagle Scout division, which will serve as “the exclamation point of the parade, showcasing the epitome of the Boy Scouts of America,” according to the organizers.

The BSA Grand Centennial Parade will take place from 7th to 17th Streets on Constitution Avenue starting at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 25, 2010.

Dang, an Eagle Scout of Montgomery County, credits his scouting experience with helping him shape a lifelong commitment to citizenship, service and leadership. Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the boy scouts program.

“I am thrilled to take part in this momentous event with thousands of scouts from across the country in honor of the Boy Scouts’ centennial anniversary,” Dang said. “For 100 years, the boy scouts program has helped change countless of young lives, turning them into responsible and healthy leaders of tomorrow. I am delighted to reunite with fellow Eagle Scouts in this historic parade to celebrate and express our longstanding support for the program and its mission. As the saying goes, once an Eagle, always an Eagle.”

Dang immigrated as a child with his parents and sisters to the United States from Vietnam in 1975. While rebuilding a new life, Dang joined the Boy Scouts and accomplished service and leadership projects in his community to attain the highest ranking of Eagle Scout. Dang also helped establish and served as the first Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 1794, a brand new troop that has spawned eight additional units in Maryland.

Dang, a compliance officer with a Fortune 500 firm and former engineer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), holds a lifelong passion to help and serve others – a commitment he has actively demonstrated for over the past two decades as a resident of Montgomery County. He has led dozens of community-based initiatives and charity projects that focus on improving the region’s multicultural community.

For more information on Hoan Dang’s candidacy to represent District 19 in the Maryland House of Delegates, please visit www.HoanDang.com.

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Door Knocking Can be Hazardous to Your Health


This is Delegate Anne Kaiser's car. Or, more accurately, this was Delegate Anne Kaiser's car. Kaiser was out door knocking on Sunday when the storm hit. She took refuge in her car to wait it out, but unfortunately, a giant tree branch had the same idea. Kaiser's lap was full of broken glass but at least the branch did not make it all the way in.

Next time a storm blows through, could someone tell nearby trees that Kaiser has been endorsed by both the Sierra Club and the Maryland League of Conservation Voters?

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Sam Arora Tests Anti-Union Message in Poll

One of our spies reported receiving a poll call on behalf of District 19 Delegate candidate Sam Arora last night, and boy, was this one a doozy!

The caller identified the polling firm as Eastern Research from Florida. The caller began with demographic questions and asked the spy which Senate and House candidates he was supporting. The caller then proceeded to ask whether the spy was inclined to support certain candidates who were not named, but merely described. One candidate was described as “a teacher who was a union boss in Montgomery County.” That is obviously Bonnie Cullison, and the term “union boss” was not intended as flattery. Another candidate was described as having graduated at the top of his class in Columbia University, and still another was described as a staffer for Hillary Clinton. Both of these candidates are actually the same person – Sam Arora – who is apparently testing which of his biographical elements go over best with voters.

The caller asked the spy whether he was more or less likely to support a candidate who supported a liquor tax increase, making companies pay their fair share of taxes, rolling back the sales tax hike, lowering ICC tolls, shrinking class sizes, fighting global warming, supporting green jobs, giving tax breaks to people who support private schools and was willing to “stand up against labor unions who have bankrupted Montgomery County.”

Then the caller elaborated on Arora’s position on each of the above issues, asking the spy if those positions made him more or less likely to vote for Arora. According to the caller, one of Arora’s positions was that he was willing to “stand up against labor unions who have bankrupted Montgomery County.”

Finally, the caller asked, given that the spy now knew Arora’s positions, which three Delegate candidates the spy now supported.

We contacted the Arora campaign for comment. Arora’s campaign manager, Russ Rampersad, said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. We would never use a phrase like ‘union boss’ or any of that. Sam has always supported workers and their right to unionize.” Rampersad pointed out that he had served as a consultant to many labor organizations like LIUNA, SEIU 1199 Washington State, SEIU 775, UFCW 21, UFCW International, AFSCME Council 5 MN, Ohio Education Association, Washington State Labor Council, Minnesota DFL, Los Angeles Labor Council - AFL-CIO, Minnesota Regional Labor Federation, National Education Association, California Teachers Association and others. But here’s the thing: our spy is not only extremely intelligent, but he is utterly non-aligned. Simply put, he has no reason to lie. We are willing to bet his recollection is fairly close to the truth.

This is not exactly a push poll since it is collecting data that may prove of use to Arora. But it’s interesting that he is testing an anti-union message, both broadly speaking and in specific reference to Bonnie Cullison, since Arora has been endorsed by Progressive Maryland.

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NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC Announces More Endorsements

NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC has announced a new round of endorsements. (Click here for their first round.) The new round includes more state legislative picks plus the Montgomery County Council. It's noteworthy that despite - or perhaps because of - their public thrashing by House Majority Leader Kumar Barve, they still have not endorsed either of his district teammates, Delegates Jim Gilchrist and Luiz Simmons. (We hear that Gilchrist still has not submitted his questionnaire.)

Following is their press release.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 27, 2010

NARAL PRO-CHOICE MARYLAND PAC ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL ENDORSEMENTS

SILVER SPRING, MD--Today the Political Action Committee of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland announced additional endorsements of candidates in several races including Governor, Maryland Senate, Maryland House of Delegates, Baltimore County Executive, and Montgomery County Council.

“NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC has endorsed candidates that will both protect a woman’s right to choose and fight to improve access to reproductive health care across Maryland,” said NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC Chair Tracy Terrell.

NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC endorsed Governor Martin O’Malley and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown in their campaign for re-election. NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC also supported O’Malley in 2006.

“Having a governor that supports reproductive choice is critical to maintaining the right to choose in Maryland. We are very happy to support Governor O’Malley,” said Terrell.

NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC will announce additional endorsements before the September primaries.

Endorsed Candidates as of July 27, 2010. Recently endorsed candidates are in bold.

Endorsed incumbents:

Governor Martin O’Malley and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown

Senator Katherine Klausmeier - District 8
Senator James Robey – District 13
Senator Rona Kramer – District 14
Senator Rob Garagiola – District 15

Senator Brian Frosh - District 16
Senator Rich Madaleno – District 18
Senator Jamie Raskin – District 20
Senator Nathaniel Exum – District 24
Senator John Astle – District 30
Senator Nancy King - District 39
Senator Jim Brochin - District 42
Senator George Della – District 46

Delegate Galen Clagett – District 3A
Delegate Michael Weir, Jr. – District 6
Delegate Adrienne Jones – District 10
Delegate Shirley Nathan-Pulliam – District 10
Delegate Dan Morhaim – District 11
Delegate Dana Stein – District 11
Delegate Jon Cardin – District 11

Delegate Elizabeth Bobo - District 12B
Delegate Shane Pendergrass – District 13
Delegate Frank Turner – District 13
Delegate Guy Guzzone – District 13

Delegate Anne Kaiser - District 14
Delegate Kathleen Dumais – District 15
Delegate Brian Feldman - District 15
Delegate Susan Lee - District 16
Delegate Bill Frick - District 16
Delegate Kumar Barve - District 17
Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez – District 18
Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher – District 18
Delegate Al Carr – District 18
Delegate Ben Kramer – District 19
Delegate Sheila Hixson – District 20
Delegate Tom Hucker – District 20
Delegate Heather Mizeur – District 20
Delegate Barbara Frush – District 21
Delegate Ben Barnes – District 21
Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk – District 21
Delegate Tawanna Gaines – District 22
Delegate Justin Ross – District 22

Delegate James Hubbard - District 23A
Delegate Kris Valderrama – District 26
Delegate Sue Kullen - District 27B
Speaker Michael Busch - District 30
Delegate Virginia Clagett – District 30
Delegate Mary-Dulany James – District 34A
Delegate Rudolph Cane – District 37A

Delegate Charles Barkley – District 39
Delegate Kirill Reznik – Delegate 39
Delegate Shawn Tarrant – District 40
Delegate Samuel “Sandy” Rosenberg – District 41

Delegate Stephen Lafferty - District 42
Delegate Maggie McIntosh – District 43
Delegate Ruth Kirk – District 44
Delegate Cheryl Glenn – District 45

Delegate Peter Hammen - District 46
Delegate Brian McHale – District 46
Delegate Doyle Niemann – District 47
Delegate Jolene Ivey – District 47


Endorsed challengers:

Candy Greenway – Delegate Candidate District House 3A
Jordan Hadfield – Senate Candidate District 6
Calvin Bowman – Delegate Candidate District 8
Hon. Cheryl Kagan – Senate Candidate District 17
Hon. Roger Manno – Senate Candidate District 19
Arthur Helton, Jr. – Senate Candidate District 34
Hon. Victor Ramirez – Senate Candidate District 47


Eric Luedtke – Delegate Candidate District 14
Jodi Finkelstein – Delegate Candidate District 14
Aruna Miller – Delegate Candidate District 15

Ariana Kelly – Delegate Candidate District 16
Dan Campos – Delegate Candidate District 17
Bonnie Cullison – Delegate Candidate District 19
Jay Hutchins – Delegate Candidate District 19
Nicole Williams – Delegate Candidate District 23A
Judd Legum – Delegate Candidate District 30
John Janowich – Delegate Candidate District 35B
Arthur Hock – Delegate Candidate District 36

Shane Robinson – Delegate Candidate District 39
Lori Albin – Delegate Candidate District 42
Mary Washington – Delegate Candidate District 43
Keiffer Mitchell, Jr. – Delegate Candidate District 44

Luke Clippinger – Delegate Candidate District 46

Baltimore County Executive

Hon. Kevin Kamenetz

Montgomery County Council

Councilmember Roger Berliner – District 1
Councilmember Nancy Navarro – District 4
Councilmember Valerie Ervin – District 5
Councilmember Marc Elrich – At Large
Councilmember Nancy Floreen – At Large
Councilmember George Leventhal – At Large
Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg – At Large


Since 1982, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC has worked to elect pro-choice candidates to all levels of office and is the most influential pro-choice PAC in Maryland.

Contact: 301-565-4154

By authority, Emily Luedtke, Treasurer

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MCGEO Rival Email Bombardment Continues

NCEU/UPSEU, the rival union seeking to take over two MCGEO bargaining units, is continuing its prohibited campaign of bombarding county government email addresses with anti-MCGEO propaganda. Here is the latest one sent out last week, which is at least the fourth(!) This one is down and dirty, ranting about MCGEO’s “non-existent political clout,” President Gino Renne’s legal issues and even comparisons of union leader salaries. MEEOOWWWRR!

Dear Montgomery County Employee,

MCGEO's Amy Millar recently sent an e-mail (Click here to read) to a select few Montgomery County employees (mostly shop stewards) asking them to ask questions of UPSEU and included comments about UPSEU.

Empty rhetoric? Irresponsible promises? Questionable track record?

Well MCGEO, here are the answers one by one!!

We have promised ten full-time representatives to be assigned to the OPT/SLT unit to deliver regular workplace visitation and significantly improved contract enforcement; we have promised that you will elect your unit officers, stewards and negotiating team representatives. We have promised to put you first. (That's the NCEU, UPSEU representation program).

On 238 occasions NCEU, UPSEU has lifted workers out of do nothing unions like MCGEO. Democracy, leadership, and skilled representatives; that's the NCEU, UPSEU record.

MCGEO QUESTION:

Explain to us how you, in this economic environment, will present the County Executive from taking advantage of you as an out of town negotiator without any political clout?

NCEU, UPSEU ANSWER:

No one can take advantage of NCEU, UPSEU. MCGEO was outmaneuvered when it gave up the 4.5% raises for no extension of the contract forcing employees to get nothing in 2010 and 2011, plus incurring a reduction in pay due to furloughs. Political clout; is that what you call it MCGEO? Your "clout" is doing nothing for the representation interests of the employees of Montgomery County. NCEU, UPSEU comes in without dirty political hands. We come in owing nothing and being owed nothing. MCGEO's political clout is non-existent. We don't have a leader currently facing twenty-five years in jail, who has no credibility in the county, and who no politician will be associated with.

MCGEO QUESTION:

Explain to us what allies you have in the local community, the political arena,, and organized labor that you can call upon to help fight for our interests?

NCEU, UPSEU ANSWER:

With strong ties to the United Steel Workers Union, IAM, RWDSU and TCU, NCEU, UPSEU has significant labor ties. What have MCGEO's so called union ties done for Montgomery County employees? The fact is no one has seen a MCGEO representative, let alone a UFCW representative, or any other unions representatives in the workplace.

MCGEO QUESTION:

Many of us have been to your websites. How do you explain not posting your contracts for public use? What are you hiding? MCGEO posts contracts online.

NCEU, UPSEU ANSWER:

Every single NCEU, UPSEU member has a copy of their contract. Our members participate in NCEU, UPSEU. Ninety seven (97%) percent are NCEU, UPSEU members with only three (3%) percent who are agency fee payers. MCGEO has fifty (50%) percent of its Maryland unit members as agency fee payers. That's an embarrassment. The county knows MCGEO/UFCW has no support when only fifty (50%) percent of the membership wants nothing to do with them. NCEU, UPSEU has 355 public sector contracts. Our settlements outpace every other union in the states where we serve our members. Our Maryland contracts will outpace those of other unions as well.

MCGEO QUESTION:

You have told people that you will inherit MCGEO's contract and start from there? What makes you think that you can waltz in here, without a local base, contracts or relationships, and tell these members with a straight face that the Employer, with pressure from the Post to reduce wages and benefits, won't roll right over you?

NCEU, UPSEU ANSWER:

Simple! Because it is the law. Allow me to educate you MCGEO. Montgomery law states:

County Collective Bargaining Law 33-106(5)

"If a different employee organization is certified as a result of an election carried out under subsection (b)8, that organization must be treated in all regards as a successor in interest and party to any collective bargaining agreement that the previous employee organization was party to."

Simply put, NCEU, UPSEU is just substituted with not a single change except of course MCGEO will be stricken from the contract. I suggest you get to know the law of your own county.

Nobody rolls over NCEU, UPSEU. In fact our members employers would beg to differ. Again our record, contract for contract, in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, we are leaders in each area.

With Gino out of the picture, who will be heading up the negotiations for MCGEO members? Maybe some out-of -towner from UFCW?

MCGEO QUESTION:

How familiar are you with the County government, County Council candidates, with Maryland politics? Who would you support and who would you oppose among the current crop of Council candidates? And why?

NCEU, UPSEU ANSWER:

We will access the candidates when we win the election. Yes, we are familiar with Montgomery County government. As the 120 or so UFCW staff, deli clerks, pharmacists, cashiers and those who work for the county learned when they attended one of NCEU, UPSEU's meetings, the 120 of them took a whooping from UPSEU President Kevin Boyle when it came to understanding labor law, the rights of members, Maryland County law and the like.

MCGEO QUESTION:

Can you possibly explain how you intend to work? Are you talking about creating a new local here in Montgomery County that you would run from New York? If so, would we be like all those other UPSEU-IUJAT (if that's the name you're planning to use)-with no control over our finances. We just send you the money and you pay the bills and you just keep the rest up north in New York or Massachusetts?

NCEU, UPSEU ANSWER:

We have explained our representation model. Though you can't match it, let me again explain. Montgomery County employees will be part of NCEU, UPSEU. We will employee ten full time staff professionals, five support staff including a staff attorney and legislative coordinator. A regional director will be assigned, as with every region of our organization. The region will be overseen by the Presidents of NCEU and UPSEU.

Ninety percent of the dues money secured from NCEU, UPSEU Montgomery County members will stay right in Montgomery County. Only sixty two percent of MCGEO's revenue remains in Montgomery County, with remainder going to UFCW in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and every other state in the country. One million dollars a year from MCGEO goes to UFCW to fund slaughter house campaigns, organizing of supermarket workers, and funding UFCW's bureaucracy.

MCGEO QUESTION:

How can you justify paying local union officers $350,000.00 or more in salary? What do they do to earn that much money?

NCEU, UPSEU ANSWER:

UPSEU's president makes $226,000.00 serving its 23,000 member UPSEU. This is on par with most UFCW locals including UFCW Local 400 right here in Maryland. Gino makes $186,000.00 plus he gets $25,000.00 from the UFCW for a 7,200 member union, half of which are not even members. ($211,000.00 per year).

While UPSEU does not supply vehicles to any officer or staff representative, every one of MCGEO's representatives gets a union vehicle.

UPSEU's president works eighty five plus hours per week, while you would be hard pressed to say Gino has ever put a solid forty hours in during any week. That's how it's justified. In fact MCGEO, how do you justify $211,000.00 for Gino's salary?

Recently MCGEO has stated: NCEU,UPSEU doesn't represent law enforcement.

Wrong again, MCGEO! UPSEU represents, amongst its membership, thirty units of police officers, sheriffs and correctional officers, and NCEU represents numerous corrections and sheriffs units.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY EMPLOYEES SEE RIGHT THROUGH YOUR RHETORIC MCGEO, AND THE DAYS OF MCGEO WIL SOON BE OVER IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY!

THE TRAIN IS COMING MCGEO! BETTER GET OUT OF THE WAY OR YOU'LL BE RUN OVER! YOUR CHOICE!

By signing an NCEU,UPSEU blue authorization card you will take the first step in joining NCEU,UPSEU today!

Kevin E. Boyle, Jr., President UPSEU
Mike Nessinger, President NCEU

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Chevy Chase Post-Storm Photos

Here are some photos from Blackthorn and Chatham St. in the Town of Chevy Chase of the incredible power of the storm that swept through Montgomery on Sunday afternoon. The Town has started to remove the trees though we'll have to wait for PEPCO to deal with power lines near some before we can remove them.

Blackthorn St.









Downed power lines so we can't move this tree until PEPCO deals with the wires


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Something’s Going On

The Montgomery County chapter of the National Organization for Women (MCNOW) has perhaps the most relaxed endorsement procedure in the county. All you have to do is fill out the online questionnaire, click submit, and if you answer correctly, you have a good chance of getting the endorsement. Multiple candidates have told your author that they did not even have to attend an interview. MCNOW also frequently endorses more candidates than seats. For example, they have endorsed both candidates in all four marquee Senate primaries, four Delegate candidates in Districts 14 and 15, five Delegate candidates in District 18 and eight (!!) in District 16. In the at-large County Council race, they have endorsed six candidates for four seats:

Jane de Winter
Marc Elrich
Nancy Floreen
George Leventhal
Hans Riemer
Becky Wagner

Not Duchy Trachtenberg.

You read that correctly: Not Duchy Trachtenberg.

Trachtenberg appears to be better qualified than any other candidate in the county for MCNOW’s support. She is a former President of MCNOW and a former President and Treasurer of Maryland NOW. Her former Chief of Staff, Terry O’Neill, was once President of Maryland NOW and is the current National President of NOW. Her former aide, Dana Beyer, was an Executive Vice-President of Maryland NOW while Trachtenberg was Treasurer. Trachtenberg introduced a successful bill on pregnancy centers that was supported by O’Neill. And O’Neill even appeared at Trachtenberg’s campaign kickoff, as did a National Vice-President of NOW, despite the fact that she had not yet been endorsed by any NOW organization.

So why has MCNOW endorsed no fewer than six at-large candidates before supporting Trachtenberg? Consider that Trachtenberg has threatened to sue various NOW officials to prevent them from publicly discussing a grievance alleging that she had “mishandled money” while she was Maryland NOW Treasurer. Consider also that Trachtenberg not only resigned as Maryland NOW Treasurer, but she also resigned as a NOW member in November 2008.

And why does this question appear at the end of MCNOW’s online questionnaire?

12. Is there anything in your background that might disqualify you from an endorsement by MCNOW?
What kind of a question is that? Eli El might have a problem answering it, but would any other candidate in MoCo? Your author has never seen a question like that asked by any other endorsing organization in the county.

Something’s going on, folks, something’s going on…

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Jennie Forehand's Opening Remarks

From the District 17 Senate forum on July 19.

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Martin O'Malley Endorses Jennie Forehand

Governor Martin O'Malley has endorsed District 17 Senator Jennie Forehand in her contest with former Delegate Cheryl Kagan. Following is Forehand's press release.

Contact: Charlotte Davis, (240) 426-8741

GOVERNOR MARTIN O’MALLEY ENDORSES SENATOR JENNIE FOREHAND

Citing her support of the high tech and biotechnology industries and her common sense approach to addressing the State’s fiscal issues, Governor Martin O’Malley enthusiastically announced today his endorsement of Senator Jennie Forehand in the District 17 Senate race.

“Given the current economic downturn, Jennie understands that we must combine fiscal responsibility with common sense while making every effort to maintain our excellent education system,” said Governor O’Malley. “Her legislation to develop the high tech and biotech industries has brought high paying jobs to Maryland and ensured that they stay here.”

“The Governor and I both share the priority to cut costs,” said Senator Forehand. “We worked together to push through my bill streamlining the state’s traffic courts.” This new law will dramatically reduce overtime costs for local police departments and put more officers back on the street. For Montgomery County police alone, this change will save $1 million in overtime costs.

Senator Forehand has served four terms in the State Senate representing Rockville, Gaithersburg, and Garrett Park. She has been endorsed by the Montgomery County Teachers’ Association (the Apple Ballot), the Montgomery County National Organization for Women, and the Maryland Democratic Women’s PAC. She was recently named Senate Chair of Maryland’s Task Force on Nanobiotechnology. Year in and year out, Senator Forehand has initiated and sponsored significant legislation which has heightened the efficiency of State and local government, as well as improved the lives of Maryland citizens. She was the leader in creating a “smoke-free” Maryland and repealing the tax on computer services.

“I am happy to have the backing of the O’Malley administration and for their support of my public safety initiatives increasing penalties for human trafficking and my bills to protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and identity theft,” stated Senator Forehand.

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Maryland LCV Releases Second Round of Endorsements

The Maryland League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has released its second round of endorsements. (Click here for the first round from June.) In MoCo, its recommended candidates now include:

District 14 Senate: Karen Montgomery
District 14 House: Anne Kaiser, Eric Luedtke, Craig Zucker
District 15 Senate: Rob Garagiola
District 15 House: Kathleen Dumais, Brian Feldman, Aruna Miller
District 16 Senate: Brian Frosh
District 16 House: Bill Frick, Susan Lee
District 17 Senate: Cheryl Kagan
District 17 House: Kumar Barve, Jim Gilchrist, Luiz Simmons
District 18 Senate: Rich Madaleno
District 18 House: Al Carr, Ana Sol Gutierrez, Jeff Waldstreicher
District 19 Senate: Mike Lenett
District 19 House: Ben Kramer, Bonnie Cullison
District 20 Senate: Jamie Raskin
District 20 House: Sheila Hixson, Tom Hucker, Heather Mizeur
District 39 Senate: Saqib Ali
District 39 House: Charles Barkley, Kirill Reznik, Shane Robinson

Of the above candidates, most are incumbents. The challengers are Karen Montgomery, Cheryl Kagan and Saqib Ali, all running for Senate. The open seat endorsees are Eric Luedtke and Craig Zucker (D-14), Aruna Miller (D-15), Bonnie Cullison (D-19) and Shane Robinson (D-39). All five of these open seat candidates have a number of other endorsements and a good chance to win.

For the full statewide list, click here.

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Brian Feldman, Susan Lee Endorse Manno for Senate

Montgomery County House Delegation Chair Brian Feldman (D-15) and Vice-Chair Susan Lee (D-16) have endorsed Delegate Roger Manno for the District 19 Senate seat. This is interesting considering that nearly the entire Senate leadership endorsed incumbent Senator Mike Lenett. Following is Manno's press release.

Manno Endorsed by Chair and Vice-Chair of Montgomery House Delegation


Silver Spring, MD - This morning, Delegates Brian Feldman (D-15) and Susan Lee (D-16), Chair and Vice-Chair of the Montgomery County House Delegation, formally endorsed Delegate Roger Manno's candidacy for the Maryland State Senate.

Chairman Feldman stated: "Delegate Manno's principled leadership and work ethic were essential on several of the most important progressive issues debated in the General Assembly over the past 4 years. His work as Vice-Chair of our Delegation's County Affairs Committee helped the County address some extremely challenging issues, including those relating to joblessness, social justice, and small business."

Delegate Susan Lee, House Delegation Vice-Chair, also remarked: "Delegate Manno is a rare champion for those who's voice is not heard. From workforce and economic development issues, to health care, to transit funding, to senior protection issues, Delegate Manno has stood on principle to the ultimate benefit of our great County. His broad, inclusive, coalition-building focus and ability to effectively collaborate with other legislators should be a model for bringing people together in politics - and I wholeheartedly support him as our next State Senator."

As a freshman lawmaker, Delegate Manno's 2008 appointment as Vice-Chairman of the County Affairs Committee is extremely unique. The Committee deals with a myriad of local issues before the General Assembly that are of specific concern to Montgomery County. No other freshman legislator has been tapped to serve in such a leadership position in Montgomery County's House Delegation.

"Delegates Lee and Feldman have led our County through some of the most difficult economic times in history, and it has been an honor to work closely with them to protect and strengthen the County's position in the state," stated Manno. "Our work together continues next year as the State House and State Senate address the difficult challenges facing Montgomery residents, including health care measures, job and workforce development challenges, and educational measures for all of our residents."

Manno's collaborative work within the Delegation helped Montgomery County secure record funding for school construction and greater per-pupil funding from the state, including more than $44 million in State capital funds for Montgomery County projects in 2010, and an increase of $53 million for K-12 education to address our growing enrollment and needs. Manno also coordinated hearings for the Montgomery and Prince George's delegations in 2010 to examine WMATA transit challenges, identifying funding efficiencies and sustainable solutions for METRO ridership.

Manno's collaborative work with 19th District Delegates Hank Heller and Benjamin Kramer yielded creative transportation and land use solutions, including efforts with County Executive Isiah Leggett to save the 140-year old Willson Family Farm, Intercounty Connector (ICC) mitigation measures, and ongoing efforts to secure specific federal dollars for road and infrastructure improvements within the 19th District.

Manno's 2010 endorsements for State Senate include:

· State Delegate Henry “Hank” Heller
Leisure World’s 24-year incumbent State Delegate and Dean of the District 19 Delegation in Annapolis

· State Senator Leonard Teitelbaum (ret.)
Leisure World’s 20-year State Senator and State Delegate

· State Delegate Carol Petzold (ret.)
District 19’s 20-year State Delegate

· State Delegate Adrienne Mandel (ret.)
District 19’s 12-year State Delegate and current Commissioner at WSSC

· State Delegate Sue Hecht
Chair of the Maryland Green Caucus

· Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin
Chair of the Education Committee

Progressive Maryland - NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland - Coalition of Asian Pacific American Democrats (CAPAD-MD) - Montgomery County Youth Slate - DC Building and Construction Trades Council (AFL-CIO) - Baltimore Building and Construction Trades Council (AFL-CIO) - Communications Workers of America (District 2, including 76 locals, AFL-CIO) - United Food and Commercial Workers Local 27 (CTW) - Asbestos Workers Local 24 (AFL-CIO) - Boilermakers Local 193 (AFL-CIO) - Bricklayers Local 1 of MD, VA & DC (AFL-CIO) - Plasterers’ & Cement Masons Local 43 (AFL-CIO) - Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 486 (AFL-CIO) - Road Sprinkler Fitters Local 669 (AFL-CIO) - Sheet Metal Workers Local 100 (AFL-CIO) - Sprinkler Fitters Local 536 (AFL-CIO) - Teamsters Local 311 (AFL-CIO) - Electrical Workers Local 24 (AFL-CIO) - Elevator Constructors Local 7 (AFL-CIO) - Iron Workers Local 16 (AFL-CIO) - Operating Engineers Local 37 (AFL-CIO) - IBEW Electrical Workers Local 26 (AFL-CIO) - Elevator Constructors Local 10 (AFL-CIO) - Iron Workers Local 5 (AFL-CIO) - Operating Engineers Local 77 (AFL-CIO) - Operative Plasterers & Cement Masons Local 891 (AFL-CIO) - Painters District Council Local 51 (AFL-CIO) - Plumbers Local 5 (AFL-CIO) - Reinforced Rodmen Local 201 (AFL-CIO), Roofers & Waterproofers Local 30 (AFL-CIO) - Sheet Metal Workers Local 100 (AFL-CIO) - Sprinkler Fitters Local 669 (AFL-CIO) - Steamfitters Local 602 (AFL-CIO).

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New District 18 Democratic Team Lit Piece



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MCGEO Fights Back

MCGEO has released the following response to negative claims made by its rival union in a battle over two county government bargaining units.

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George "Ol' Blue Eyes" Leventhal

The award for funniest answer on a questionnaire goes to at-large Council Member George Leventhal, who threw a zinger at MCGEO. The union asked him this question about the budget:

What, if any, regrets do you have?
Leventhal responded:

"Regrets, I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption." - My Way, Frank Sinatra.
Here's what George should tell the Post.

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Battleground: Leisure World

District 19 Senator Mike Lenett and challenger Roger Manno are waging an intense struggle in Leisure World, the largest single location of votes in the district. In 2006, 14% of all Democratic primary votes for Senate were cast in Leisure World. In the Delegate race, Leisure World accounted for 15% of all primary votes. Our spies in the highly coveted enclave report that both candidates are working so hard for support that they are virtually living there. Following are their latest ads from the July 20 edition of Leisure World News.

This is Mike Lenett's colossal two-page ad, in which he repeats his "Coffee Clutch Crew Creed" and promises not to "trespass" by stuffing flyers under residents' doors. He also includes a grab-bag of endorsement quotes.





And here is Roger Manno's full-page ad, in which he repeats his support from Delegate Hank Heller, former Senator Len Teitelbaum and former Delegates Adrienne Mandel and Carol Petzold.



Anyone want to buy any stock in Leisure World News? They sure are making a lot of money these days!

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