Friday, January 27, 2012

No Posion Pill

Annapolis – One of the signatures pieces of Governor Martin O’Malley’s 2012 session is his renewed effort to get a same sex marriage bill through the legislature. He came very close last year and was buoyed when the state of New York agreed to grant the unions. In effort to placate some of the traditional opposition he’s tweaked the legislation to allow for opting out on religious grounds. Several churches were concerned they would be force to perform ceremonies. Another sticking point was potential civil suits from businesses (i.e. caters, florist, wedding planner etc…)who might refuse to work with same sex couples.

With a back drop of supporters the governor announced this year’s effort.

Governor O’Malley will have a tough time trying to convince members of the Catholic Archdiocese which have been vociferous in their opposition to the measure. The other constituency he’ll have to convince is a number of African-American delegates from Prince Georges County, who have been told in so many words by several mega churches, not to support the measure. To allay the fears of these delegate it’s been suggested the measure be given to the citizens of Maryland via referendum. The forces against this issue will mobilize next week. Monday, January 30, 2012, a statewide coalition of faith and community leaders will speak out in support of the state's definition of marriage-one man and one woman. Sen.C. Anthony Muse, Del. Cheryl Glenn, and Del. Jay Walker are expected to speak.

I talked with Raquel Guillory, one the governors press aides, about a referendum. she assured me if the measure passed with a referendum component the governor would sign it.

Strange Seat Fellows

You would think in election year members of the GOP have made any semblance to liking anyone from the Democratic Party taboo. Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich who appeared in an ad with the former Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi is now disavowing the ad as a crucial mistake. Not so last night at the SOTU, Maryland’s Western Congressman , Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, sat next to the former Speaker of the House and joined in several standing ovations. The congresswoman and the very conservative Representative have sat together before. According to sources from the “Pit Press Corp” the pair enjoy each others company. Wondering if the picture will end up in a Superpac ad?

Praying Against a Tide

For the last two weeks my email has been bombard about the upcoming Ocean City Mayor’s Annual Prayer Breakfast and the featured Speaker U.S. Army Lieutenant General William Jerry Boykin. Boykin, the ex-genral, bills himself as an expert on Islam. Some suggest he is bigoted with controversial ideas about the Muslims (they are out their).

I've received a number of emails from Josh Glasstetter of People For the American Way. They have gone after Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan to reject/dis-invite Boykin’s to Thursday’s prayer breakfast. Opponent and proponents are prepared to come out in force. I'm reminded this is a Prayer Breakfast.

Trying to Survive Politically

Annapolis outside of the legislature has it’s own storyline. This year much was made of the conviction of Councilman Daryl Jones who was convicted of federal tax evasion. In a story that will tug at your heart is that of Annapolis Alderman Kenneth A. Kirby. He was recently caught up in a raid for known drug activity. He was found in a Public Housing apartment watching television. He wasn’t charged. Unknown from many is he is homeless. Several papers have followed up on this and I was move by an article in the Baltimore Sun. The article chronicles the alderman's challenges.

Items of Note

The legislature learned the state of Maryland's overall Unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the nation.

I was surprise to see there are differences between some Eastern shore representatives on "Rock Fish" quotas. Last year the Department of Natural Resources discovered a number of illegal nets. The DNR has decided to reduce the 2012 Commercial Striped Bass Quota by 5%.

The salvo from Del. McDermott at Sen.James Mathias, who agreed with DNR, lays down a unique marker. According to Del. Mike McDermott, Sen. Mathias, "believes that the Department of Natural Resources can act in any way they want, without accountability, questioning, or critique, especially without regard for the fisherman of the Eastern Shore. I was elected to represent the needs of the 38th District and stand as a guardian for those whose voices are being drowned out...Nowhere would an employee of a company be docked 5% of their pay on the presumption that they will steal that same 5% from their employer. It is an absurd premise.”

Can you say electoral challenge.

New York has been the traditional stop for the NAVY when it comes to a term called "Fleet Week." The suggestion that the rank and file are treated as conquering hero's (figurative and literally)is alive when they come to town. Mothers hide your daughters these young men are coming to Baltimore to help commemorate the War of 1812/"Navy Week." Here's there press release, Baltimore's Navy Week, June 11-19, 2012.

Next week the Governor delivers his State of the State address. Will he mention the dreaded tax for gasoline issue or will he do a California Governor Jerry Brown ultimatum. "Okay you don't want to raise taxes, well here are Draconian cuts."


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What Do You Mean I Can't Speak

(Annapolis) – Things seem to going along swimmingly at the Maryland Democrats annual luncheon, predating the start of the Maryland Legislative Session. The party’s leaders made jokes at the expense of the Maryland and National GOP. The partisan crowd took it all in with a lot of back-patting. Following the Governor’s closing. I noticed State Senator Anthony Muse had moved from his position near the back to the front. Senator Muse of Prince Georges County has indicated he will challenge second term U.S. Senator Ben Cardin from Maryland (FYI, he hadn’t filed the paper work at the time of this filing).

Without prompting Muse is on the microphone and appears to be making a speech to counter what he has heard from some of the speakers who have tacitly endorsed Sen. Cardin for re-election. The state senator of Prince Georges County is not amused (sorry for the pun). Initially the organizers leave the microphone open as people are left to wonder what to make of the speech. Someone starts to shut off the mike but then brings it back up. Later music is used to drown out the audio.

I make my way with a group of reporters to get Muse’s reaction.

What a way to start 90 day session that his likely to have some riveting moments. For a number of Senators and Delegates a lot is riding on governors redistricting map of individual districts for Delegates and Senators. Already members of the legislative Black caucus have questioned the protection of some white delegates in Montgomery County.

An issue which is likely to continue to get a lot of attention is gay marriage. Last year’s debate pulled at heart strings and tore through the Prince Georges County delegation which is home to a number of Black Mega churches which have opposed the concept. There are efforts underway to make the issue go to a statewide voter referendum.

State Senator Ulysses Currie who survived a federal probe into influence peddling for failing to report his work with the grocer Shoppers Food Warehouse look relax but he is likely to face ethics violations.

I also spotted Delegate Tiffany T. Alston of Prince Georges County who is alleged to have used campaign funds to finance her wedding. She is charged with one count of felony theft, one count of misdemeanor theft, one count of fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary and two election law violations.

Can I get a reference to Beyonce

This blog is about politics so when I hear references to Beyonce’ I cringe. FYI, B and Jay Z just had a baby (Blue Ivey Carter)
. The first reference comes from Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger who references the Destiny Child song, “I’m a Survivor” in trying to explain how he has dealt with the Republicans in congress (who knew).

Congressman Ellijah Cummings not be out done says he was thinking of a different Beyonce’ song called “I was Here.” The audience must have thought they were at an American Idol contest. At least no one had to sit through a sing off.

Governor’s Bet on the Outcome of Raven Game

In that time honored tradition of Governors’ putting a wager on the NFL Playoffs – Governor Martin O’Malley says he’s been trying to reach the governor of Texas, Rick Perry. Perry as you know is running in the GOP Presidential Primaries and has been a little difficult to reach. So Governor O’Malley, in partisan mode, says I’ll bet the Texas governor the Ravens will get more points than the Texas Governor will in the New Hampshire primary today (Hmmm Perry is polling in the single digits New Hampshire).

The Mike’s have it…

Delegate Mike Busch the Speaker of the House has joined his counterpart in the Senate as being the longest serving Speaker in Maryland. The Annapolis Capital Newspaper did a nice job profiling the Speaker calling him “Coach” because that’s what he does when he’s not herding his fellow Democrats.

Speaking of Sports

Delegate Jay Walker has parlayed his football career from Howard University to do color on ESPN. He’s actually pretty good. He called the New Orleans Bowl so I just had to get him to talk about Alabama and LSU Championship game.

The Bachelor

Last year, when it was clear Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown was on the market as a single man I suggested he was ripe pickings for the show The Bachelor. It didn’t take long before he was once again off the market. I found him and his new fiancĂ© Karmen Bailey Walker arm in today. So I asked her, “Would she have been one of the many young ladies who would have tried for his affection? Ms. Walker, “Heck naw!” I know she was just kidding.

GOP Movings and Shakings

Alex Mooney, the head of the state GOP party, says he’s pulling his name out of the Sixth Congressional race and will endorse the incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. Congressman Barlett has been targeted by Democrats who have redrawn his district to cover parts of Montgomery and Howard Counties. The other GOP challenger is Sen. David Brinkley.

A pair of legislators are challenging sitting Democratic congressman. State Senator Nancy Jacobs will challenge Ruppersberger and Minority Leader; Delegate Anthony O’Donnell will challenge Congressman Steny Hoyer.

Most observers see this as long shot opportunities. Here's the rub, both can challenge and maintain their seats.

My Things Have Changed

This is the 40th Anniversary of the creation of the Maryland Woman's caucus. It was brought to my attention by Senator Jennie M. Forehand. While Senator Forehand is one of the seasoned veterans on woman's rights she was not first. That honor goes to State Treasurer Nancy Kopp. The Montgomery County Senator reminded me in 1972 there were no bathrooms for woman legislators. Women were forced to use the public restrooms for the general public and jockey for stalls. "You've come a long way baby."

Hey the 90 day session hasn't started. Just wait till we get to the the juicy parts of the session begun.