MoCo Young Republicans Attack Madaleno Letter

“Indiana may have taken our Colts; they cannot be allowed to trample our principles.”

Indiana Letter

The Montgomery County Young Republicans have attacked Sen. Madaleno for his letter:

mocoyr

Interesting that the Young Rs view the letter as somehow an attack that needs response. I wonder how in tune they are with their members, as surveys routinely show that younger Republicans heavily favor LGBT rights.

These tweets seem particularly ill-timed since the budget just passed the Senate with bipartisan enthusiasm. If you’re unhappy about taxes and debt, Republicans now own it as much as the Democrats.

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Congressional Black Caucus Doesn’t Heart Donna Edwards

edwards cbcIt’s Not All Smiles Behind the Scenes

It’s poorly kept secret that Rep. Donna Edwards does not have particularly good relationships with much of the Maryland political establishment either in the State or in the House. But the National Journal recently also revealed the depth of her bad relationships with many other members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC):

Some current and former CBC members and aides, none of whom were willing to speak on the record, described Edwards as ambitious and aloof, saying she’s rubbed many in the caucus the wrong way. Others noted her public stances in opposition to other Maryland Democrats—an outlier in an otherwise collegial delegation.

One former staffer said that she essentially dropped out of the CBC for six months after a conflict with a colleague:

“I don’t think the CBC’s been a real priority for Donna. I don’t think she has particularly great relationships inside of the caucus,” said a former staffer for a CBC member. “I don’t think she’s going to win any popularity contests inside the CBC.”

In one particularly explosive episode, Edwards walked out of a CBC meeting last year after a dispute with Rep. Cedric Richmond. “He told her to get out, and she didn’t come back for six months,” said another former aide with CBC ties. “She didn’t come back until a month before she announced her candidacy for Senate. It struck a very disingenuous tone.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings could be the major beneficiary of Edwards’ problems with other members of the CBC:

Some CBC members were open in their desire to see Cummings enter the race. “I can only speak to the positive nature of the desire to get Elijah Cummings to run,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver. “There is a lot of interest in his candidacy from CBC members. … I would be stunned if the majority of the members aren’t supporting him.”

That preference could say as much about Edwards’ standing within the CBC as it does about Cummings’.

Even if Rep. Donna Edwards is the only African-American candidate, many CBC members might still sit this one out. Or even worse for her, they might support Rep. Chris Van Hollen:

“Donna Edwards has always been an outsider to the caucus,” said the former staffer with CBC ties. “The CBC overwhelmingly doesn’t think that Donna Edwards has managed her relationships well or even developed one. … I have heard members say that they will go and campaign for Van Hollen before they will support Donna Edwards.”

Elijah for Senate?

Elijah-Cummings-AP-Images-hearing

A US Senate race between Rep. Elijah Cummings and Rep. Chris Van Hollen would be an epic and historic race to behold, and might  reduce Donna Edwards–who has the least seniority of the three and is the weakest fundraiser by far–to the role of spoiler.

A Regional Candidate
Congressmen Cummings could be expected to carry the City of Baltimore by a bone crushingly large margin. A similar margin could be expected in suburban Howard County, where he is popular. Elijah would also likely win Baltimore County–he already represents a large swath of it.

Elijah might also challenge hometown heroine Donna Edwards in Prince George’s County. Many local leaders are not close with Rep. Edwards and might lend their support to Rep. Cummings. Regardless, if Reps. Van Hollen and Edwards split the suburban DC vote, Rep. Cummings could emerge as victor based on unified support in the 410 area code.

Overlap
No question about it, if Elijah enters the race, he causes serious problems for Donna Edwards. She would no longer be able to hope to claim a base of African American voters in Baltimore City and would face serious competition in her own home base of Prince George’s.

At the outset, a split black field would seem to help CVH. But natural areas of expansions outside of Montgomery for Chris from Ellicott City to Towson would be cut off. On the whole, I’d see Elijah’s entry into the race as a win for Chris, but I think he’s a lot more likely to lose to Elijah than Donna.

 

Leaping Forward with Public Transit

leapThe Washington Post has a fascinating article on how technology is ripe to disrupt public transport just like it did for taxis with the arrival of Uber and Lyft:

The new venture-backed private transportation service Leap began offering rides in San Francisco last week in a swanky shuttle meant to feel “more like a living room than a bus.” A ride with the service, which costs $6 one-way or $5 in bulk, comes with WiFi, USB ports, a laptop bar and locally made pressed juices (for sale on board, that is).

Public transit is ripe for disruption — that’s why investors are backing these ideas. If you were to look around any city and try to identify a problem in need of lucrative new solutions that emerging technology might provide, the dreaded commute is an obvious one. Public transit can be inefficient, unpredictable, slow, crowded, or on its worse days downright broken. Transit needs a shakeup.

The fear is that new service would be only for the wealthy. From Anacostia, current Metro peak fares to Farragut West are $2.50, and $5.00 per day, probably cheaper than Leap. On the other hand, peak fare from Shady Grove to Metro Center is already $5.90 each way during peak hours. If you need to park, the daily cost rises to $16.90. So the difference in price in our area is cloudy, especially if competition enters into the game.

Government heavily subsidizes government-provided public transit and could subsidize rides for shuttles. Except that these subsidies could be targeted directly a lower income riders rather than to everyone regardless of income. Considering the cost of the DC Streetcar, Purple Line, and Baltimore Red Line, it would a lot cheaper.

CD8 Target Demographics

Today, 7S continues to look at the demographic composition of the electorates in open congressional districts with the Eighth District. The first table shows the share registered Democrats in CD 8 broken down by (1) race and gender, (2) race and age cohort, and (3) gender and age cohort:

CD8 race age genderThe second table presents the same three demographic breakdowns but for voters who participated in two of the last four Democratic primaries. Close examination of the data reveals substantial differences between the makeup of the potential electorate of registered Democrats and likely voters, defined here as those who have voted in two of the last four primaries.

CD8 race age gender 2 of 4Race and Ethnicity

While whites compose 66.1% of registered Democrats, they form 77.4% of two-time primary voters. In contrast, African Americans are 18.3 of registered voters but only 14.3% of two-time primary voters. The drop off in Latino turnout is even higher–from 8.2% registered to 4.6% two-time participants. The share of Middle Eastern voters also falls from 2.0% to 1.0%.

Gender and Age

Women comprise 58.7% of registered Democrats but 59.6% of Democrats who voted in two of the last four primaries. Expect candidates to focus especially on messages that hold greater appeal among this key Democratic demographic.

There are vast differences in participation by age cohort. People who are 60 and older are just 32.8% of registered Democrats but 55.9% of likely voters. On the other hand, voters who are 40 and younger are 32.5% of the registered Democrats in CD 8 but only 7.9% of likely voters.

Put the two together and it becomes crystal clear that older women are a central demographic. They may form just 30.5% of registered Democrats but are 47.0% of likely voters. The age distribution of Black and Latino voters skews young, so this key group of older women will be disproportionately white.

Jewish Voters

The data I possess here do not give religious affiliation, though data bases exist that can estimate the Jewish share of the electorate based on surnames as well buying lists that indicate religious background (e.g. subscribers to Washington Jewish Week).

One 2003 survey estimated that 113,000 Jews lived in Montgomery County with 78% living in lower Montgomery County, which is almost entirely within the Eighth. The number of people living in Jewish households (i.e. including non-Jewish members) was higher at 133,000 with 77% in the lower County.

The total population of Montgomery at that time was around 915,000, so Jews formed around 12% of the population with people living in Jewish households composing close to 15% of the population. Of course, different surveys with alternative methodologies could well produce other results.

The Jewish population is heavily Democratic. Moreover, Jews skew older than other groups, and are more likely to both be registered and turn out to vote. But they will not necessarily support Jewish candidates. While Ben Cardin did very well again Kweisi Mfume in 2006, Ike Leggett carried many of the most heavily Jewish areas of the County when running against Steve Silverman that same year.

CD4 Target Demographics

Today, 7S looks at the likely demographic composition of the electorate in the Fourth Congressional District. Many thanks to my anonymous reader who has so helpfully shared these statistics with me. The first table shows the share registered Democrats in CD 4 broken down by (1) race and gender, (2) race and age cohort, and (3) gender and age cohort.

CD4 race age genderThe second table presents the same three demographic breakdowns but for voters who participated in two of the last four Democratic primaries. Close examination of the data reveals key differences between the makeup of the potential electorate of registered Democrats and likely voters, defined here as those who have voted in two of the last four primaries.

CD4 race age gender 2 of 4

Race and Ethnicity

First, African Americans will form an overwhelming share of the electorate as they comprise 77.3% of registered Democrats and 75.3% of likely voters.

Latino form 3.5% of registered Democrats but this growing demographic punches below its weight, as Latinos composed just 1.6% of likely voters. However, Latino voter turnout has been steadily increasing, so the turnout over the past four primaries may well underestimate the share of Latinos who will vote in the 2016 Democratic primary.

In contrast, Whites, listed in the table as Caucasians, vote a high rates. They form 17.4% of registered Democrats but 22.2% of likely Democratic primary voters. So far, all of the candidates who are still in the mix for the race are African American. An ability to attract white voters will aid a candidate’s campaign greatly.

Voters would do well to remember that Rep. Al Wynn won this seat originally through his biracial appeal. He came in second in both Prince George’s and Montgomery but defeated a black candidate with support centered in Prince George’s and a white candidate with support primarily in Montgomery.

Similarly, support from whites and Latinos in Montgomery played a critical role in Rep. Donna Edwards’ successful primary challenge to Rep. Al Wynn. In short, candidates who can combine significant black and white support tend to be formidable.

Gender

Women are an impressive 58.9% of registered Democrats but an astounding 64.6% of primary voters. At nearly two-thirds of likely voters, expect candidates to spend a lot of time at events that attract especially high numbers of women.

Candidates will also work hard to identify concerns that can attract a disproportionate share of their votes. No group or gender is monolithic in its voting behavior but some issues resonate with greater effect with women than men.

Race, Gender, and Age

Older voters participate at much higher rates than younger voters in Democratic primaries. Consider than 26.7% of registered Democrats but 52.6% of likely voters are over age 60. If voters wonder why they hear candidates talk a lot more about social security and health care than education, now they know.

African Americans over 60 form 37.7% of the electorate. African Americans over 50 are 56.7% of the electorate. Black women compose the bulk of these voters because (1) women register disproportionately as Democrats, and (2) the gender breakdown of population skews more female among older people.

In the overall population aged 20 to 60, there are roughly 1.03 women for every man among the civilian non-institutionalized population. Those numbers rise dramatically for older people. There are 1.22 women for each man in the over 60 population. That ratio rises to 1.26 for the over 65s and 1.35 for the over 70s.

Older people, especially older women, will play a disproportionate role among white voters too. Likely voters aged 60 and older form 62.0% of white voters. Again, expect these voters to be disproportionately female.

Key Demographics

Likely voters tend to be Black, older, and female. While every individual voter counts and matters, older Black women will be the central force in the Democratic primary for CD 4.

Whites, particularly older White women, can potentially play a pivotal role, as they form over one-fifth of likely voters. Expect all candidates to court this group. Black voters often play a similar role in Democratic primaries in white majority areas.

Equal IVF Treatment for Same-Sex Couples Passes Senate

Sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-17), SB 416 requires insurers to give equal coverage for in-vitro fertilization and artificial insemination to lesbian couples. The bill passed third reading in the Senate by 37-10.

While 36%, or 5 of 14 Republicans, voted for the bill, it won support of 97%, or 32 of 33 Democrats. The Republican split on the bill shows how far support for same-sex rights has progressed even since the 2012 referendum on marriage equality. Republicans may be beginning to realize that they win more when they focus on economic issues.

A corresponding bill, HB 838, has been sponsored in the House by Del. Terri Hill. Here is the vote on the bill in the Senate (Republicans are in italics):

Voting YEA (32D, 5R)
Miller
Astle
Benson
Brochin
Conway
Currie
Edwards
Feldman
Ferguson
Gladden
Guzzone
Hershey
Jennings
Kagan
Kasemeyer
Kelley
King
Klausmeier
Lee
Madaleno
Manno
Mathias
McFadden
Middleton
Montgomery
Muse
Nathan-Pulliam
Peters
Pinsky
Pugh
Ramirez
Raskin
Rosapepe
Serafini
Waugh
Young
Zirkin

Voting NAY (1D, 9R)
Bates
Casilly
DeGrange
Eckardt
Hough
Norman
Ready
Reilly
Sailling
Simonaire

Yes on Restricting Cosmetic Pesticide Use

The following is a guest post from Julie Taddeo of Safe Grow Montgomery

It is mid-March, and already yellow warning signs are appearing on lawns all over the county. Millions of pounds of pesticides will be used in the state of Maryland as they are every year to help achieve a “perfect” look that puts our health (and that of our environment) at risk. Common sense tells us we should be concerned with this amount of chemicals being spread around where we live, where our kids play, and where our pets tread.

The fact that these substances are harmful to human health is not disputed; studies have linked lawn pesticides to a host of serious diseases like human and animal cancers, ADHD, Parkinson’s, and endocrine disruption, among other disorders. The EPA states that pesticides (including herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides) “can cause harm to humans, animals, or the environment because they are designed to kill or otherwise adversely affect living organisms.”

The only question is what their effects are in the small quantities likely to be absorbed by humans. It is very difficult to ascertain the harm (or safety) of small quantities of chemicals over long periods of time and large populations. But the harm is no less real: even a small risk per individual means a near certainty when multiplied by the population of the county.

In situations like this, when science by itself cannot at this time give a definitive answer, the sensible thing to do is to weigh the risks against the benefits or use precaution.  Bill 52-14, proposed by Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal, does exactly this by restricting lawn pesticides used solely for ornamental, or “cosmetic” purposes.

Other, more beneficial uses of pesticides (e.g., agriculture, control of invasive species, indoor pest control, tree care) are left untouched. As Councilmember Leventhal stated on talk radio, it’s a “gentle bill,” a rational way for our county to diminish the potential health risks at a small cost.

There is precedent for this bill.  Ontario, Canada banned cosmetic lawn pesticides (with exemptions similar to those in Bill 52-14) in 2008; Ogunquit, Maine banned lawn pesticides in 2014; Connecticut and New York enacted Child Safe Playing Fields acts in 2005 and 2010 respectively; Washington, D.C. passed the Pesticide Education and Control Amendment Act in 2012, and Takoma Park followed a year later with its own Safe Grow Act.

More towns and counties in the United States are not able to restrict lawn pesticides because they have been pre-empted from doing so by their states. Maryland is now just 1 of 7 states whose right is intact to pass stricter laws at the local level regarding pesticides. It is a right constantly under threat from the pesticide industry and its lobbying groups in Annapolis.

Should we leave to individual home owners the decision to use or not use cosmetic lawn pesticides? No, because lawn pesticides do not stay where they are put. Pesticides drift and also run off into our drinking water sources, so your neighbor’s choice becomes your choice. Parents have no control over pesticide use on playing fields and schools where our children play, and our parks are routinely treated with pesticides.

For those who reside in HOAs (1/3 of county residents) or in apartments, the right to choose how your lawn and common green spaces are managed doesn’t even belong to you. Should we leave it up to the EPA to be the sole regulator of harmful substances? The EPA is under budgetary and political pressures and its review system is fundamentally flawed, hampered by the very industry from which it should be protecting us.

There is nothing unusual about placing limits on individual rights for the greater good of the public’s health and our environment; our county has rules about recycling, litter, noise, trees, and in-door smoking, for example. And we have proof these laws work: the CDC recently reported that Americans’ exposure to second-hand smoke has declined by half since smoking bans have been instituted.

Montgomery County was a leader on this issue and it should be a leader in protecting its residents from second-hand pesticide exposure, too.

CD4: Where are the Voters?

CD4

The overwhelmingly Democratic Fourth Congressional District will be open in 2016 since incumbent Rep. Donna Edwards is making a bid for the U.S. Senate rather than seeking reelection. So where do the Democrats who will vote in the primary live?

Registered Democrats by Legislative District

The Fourth CD is split between Anne Arundel and Prince George’s but 86% of registered Democrats live in Prince George’s. Former Prince George’s State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey was on the ballot repeatedly, though he has not been on the ballots since 2006.

The following table shows the number of registered Democrats as well as the number who voted in each of the four past Democratic primaries within the portion of each state legislative district included in the Fourth Congressional District.

cd4 vr1

Newly elected Del. Erek Barron (D-24) is rumored to be interested in running for the Fourth. At 21.0%, D24 has the highest share of registered voters. Though Democratic primary turnout is slightly sub par, voters in this legislative district nonetheless consistently provided over one-fifth of all voters.

District 25 does not lag far behind District 24’s voting power with 18.7% of the CD 4’s registered Democrats. This is Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s former legislative district. Talented Del. Dereck Davis (D-25), the powerful Chair of the Economic Matters Committee, is also said to be musing about running for the seat.

Del. Jay Walker (D-26) is openly exploring a bid. Sen. Anthony Muse (D-26) from the same district is also rumored to be thinking about it. D26 has the third highest share of registered Democrats but lags notably behind either D24 or D25 with 14.4% of CD 4’s Democrats. Moreover, turnout is often mediocre–it fell as low as 13.4% of the Fourth’s total though it reached 14.9% on the one occasion in which the share of voters exceeded registrants.

Former Del. Jolene Ivey represented District 47 under different boundaries before redistricting. The current version of D47 holds 13.4% of CD 4’s registered Democrats but turnout consistently lags. In the past four Democratic primaries, voters from D47 never comprised more than 11.9% of the voters in CD 4.

Nevertheless, Jolene Ivey, a successful and highly talented politician in her own right who ran for Lt. Governor last year, will undoubtedly be an asset to her husband Glenn Ivey’s campaign. When she last ran for the House in 2010, she came in first by a mile in a crowded primary with eight candidates.

Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D-21) is planning a run. Currently, she represents just 8.1% of registered Democratic in CD 4. A small base on which to build.

Registered Democrats by Legislative and County Council Districts

The second table shows the share of registered Democrats broken down by state legislative and county council district. None of the Anne Arundel Councilmembers represent more than 5% of registered Democrats in CD 4.

cd4 vr2

Prince George’s Council Vice Chair Derrick Davis (D-6)–not to be confused with the state legislator with the very similar name–represents 20.3% of registered Democrats but 64% also live in Legislative District 25. As this is declared candidate Anthony Brown’s former district and Del. Dereck Davis’s current district, competition for these voters could be fierce.

Councilwoman Karen Toles (D-7) represents 17.4% of CD 4’s registered Democrats. This district has significant overlap with Del. Erek Barron’s legislative district, as well as those of Brown/Davis and Walker/Muse. 15.5% of CD 4’s registered Dems also live in  Council District 5, held by Andrea Harrison. This district has a lot of overlap with D24 (Barron) and D47A (Jolene Ivey).

Former Council Chair Ingrid Turner has expressed interest in running for the Fourth. But she represented Council District 4. In its current incarnation, it falls almost entirely into CD 5. Just 0.8% of CD 4’s registered Dems live in District 4.

Likely Voters by State Legislative and County Council Districts

The final table breaks down the share of Democrats who voted in at least two of the past four primaries by state legislative district and county council district:

cd4 to2

This table indicates even more cleanly that Council District 6 is the heartland of CD 4’s Democratic voters. While it has less than a 3% advantage over Council District 7 in registered Dems, it has a 10.6% lead over the same district in two-time primary voters–23.8% versus 13.2%. No wonder Dereck Davis is thinking about running. (Notice also that Council District 5 leapfrogs ahead of Council District 7 in this table.)

Among state legislative districts, the biggest drop is in D47, which has 2.2% fewer two-time primary voters than registered Dems. Legislative Districts 24 and 25 have a slightly higher share of two-time primary voters than registered Democrats. But the statistics change less dramatic; the increase is 0.7% for D24 and 0.2% for D25. In contrast, the share of two-time primary voters is lower the registered Dems by 0.6% in D26.

Based on this table, the most desirable pieces of real estate to have represented before in terms of Democratic primary turnout are:

1. Maryland (Brown)
2. Prince George’s County (Ivey)
3. Prince George’s County Council District 6 (Derrick Davis)
4. State Legislative District 24 (Barron)
5. State Legislative District 25 (Dereck Davis/Brown)
6. Anne Arundel County
7. Prince George’s County Council District 5
8. State Legislative District 26 (Walker/Muse)
9. Prince George’s County Council District 7
10. Prince George’s County Council District 8
11. State Senate District 47
12. State Legislative District 33
13. State House District 47A
14. Prince George’s County Council District 1
15. State Legislative District 21 (Peña-Melnyk)

Former M-NCPCC Chair Warns about MoCo’s Future

The following is a letter that former M-NCPPC Chair sent to the County Executive, County Council, and Planning Board.

Dear Mr. County Executive, Council Members, and Planning Board Members:

I hate sounding like a broken record, but everything I warned about last year and in 2009 is inexorably unfolding. Just check out the latest cover story in the March 6 “Washington Business Journal” by two knowledgeable reporters titled “MoCo’s Marriott Problem”—Bechtel is gone and Marriott is going. And this is by no means the end of it. Also notice, just as I warned, the sidebar piece on all the many alternative locations where Marriott is most likely to land—every single one is in DC (which has one-tenth the land area Montgomery County has) and Virginia. Every. Single. One.

Montgomery County has got to grasp, finally and fully, how it is truly viewed by the business and economic worlds out there. The County must do something dramatic, and soon, to change that image decades in the making. Our very economic viability is at stake right now, today, at this very moment.

Let’s be candid enough to look at our systemic faults:

1) We have not one but two transportation tests for new development; no other jurisdiction does that. And the tests are so complex and mind-boggling that no one but the three people who invented them can understand them, meaning they pose not only a double hurdle but a dangerous one. Imagine how a company located here and looking to expand somewhere in the region eyes that peculiar, unique hurdle.

2) We effectively have two County planning/permitting agencies, two environmental agencies, two transportation agencies, all too often grappling with each other. Guess who invariably gets ensnared in the middle of all that time-consuming, highly risky bureaucratic grappling? Imagine how a business person from, say, Seattle looking to land in the DC region views this arthritic process when stepping into the shoes of a potential land use applicant.

3) We don’t have a County economic development corp. run by people who, in their bones, get economic development, in which achievement metrics are required in order to be suitably compensated, but, rather, an economic development department run by well paid, well meaning people more experienced in the ways of politics. Imagine how a corporation from overseas being wooed by DC-area jurisdictions interacts with these two competing ways of dealing and communicating.

4) We have an entrenched bureaucracy in the County and MNCPPC that is rewarded more easily for saying “no” than for saying “yes.” Imagine how a local firm used to this day-to-day culture is liberated when it decides to inquire about maybe moving to a neighboring jurisdiction.

Taken together, these systemic faults are a cumulative anchor weighing upon our mutual necks that every jurisdiction in the region knows well and quietly appreciates.

So what is the solution? Given our history and reputation (whether earned or not as to any particular point is irrelevant because the overarching perception of being a general pain in the neck is real and therefore grave), we can no longer just do the usual pointless tinkering while the ship of state remains on its unwavering course to the ultimate withering of the tax base and thus our social order.

Accordingly, we must have the vision and gumption to scrap the two transportation tests for one, and make the one understandable. To bring the functions of MNCPPC under the County government and its 10 elected representatives. To create an economic development corp. and dissolve the department of economic development. To reward employees and management for saying “yes” when a proposal meets the laws and regulations or offers another creative way of advancing community building and economic viability.

We either dither or change. There is no other option if we wish to remain what we once clearly were—creative and quick, competitive and wise, always looking out for the big picture and the long view. In short, on top and for good reasons.

Respectfully,

Gus

Gus Bauman
Silver Spring

Maryland Politics Watch

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