Osdoby to Head Mayor-Council Slate

Clark Reed and Rockville’s Solar Co-op

As reported on Saturday, Sima Osdoby is expected to announce her candidacy for Mayor of Rockville later today. Incumbent Bridget Newton is completing her first term.

Incumbents Julie Palakovich Carr and Virginia Onley

A reliable source let me know that Osdoby will likely run with a full slate of candidates for the Council, including two of the four incumbents: Julie Palakovich Carr and Virginia Onley. A third incumbent, Tom Moore, is not seeking reelection. I do not know the plans of the fourth incumbent Beryl Feinberg.

On the current Council, Feinberg is seen as aligned with Newton while Palakovich Carr and Moore are often in opposition. Onley is the swing vote and her support for Osdoby has to be a disappointment to incumbent Mayor Newton.

Former Councilmember Mark Pierzchala

Former Councilmember Pierzchala lost a close race to Newton in 2013 with 47% of the vote. A well-known name, he is seeking to return to the Council on Osdoby’s slate.

Clark Reed

Like Osdoby, Reed has not yet filed for election but will and join this slate. Though a new candidate, he is not exactly as newcomer. Reed chairs Rockville’s Environment Commission and helped form and lead Rockville’s Solar Co-op (see the video).

This is a strong slate. It includes two incumbents–the top two candidates in 2013–and a third candidate who is a proven vote getter even if he narrowly lost the last mayoral election. Reed also has local leadership experience and strong community ties.

The slate should boost Osdoby who is surely less well-known among Rockville residents than Mayor Newton. If slate members run as a team, including sharing campaign literature and coordinating door-knocking, it should prove a strong force.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Google GmailDiggPinterestTumblrLinkedInShare

Sima Osdoby to Run for Mayor of Rockville

Rockville TV’s Meet Your Neighbor: Sima Osdoby

Rumor has it that Sima Osdoby will throw her hat into the ring and announce her candidacy for Mayor of Rockville on Monday.

While she has not held previous elective office, Osdoby has a history of political involvement. She chaired the first board of Emerge Maryland–an organization dedicated to training and encouraging women to run for office–so her decision to take the plunge herself shouldn’t shock.

Osdoby has extensive experience as a consultant to organizations in the U.S. and abroad, such as NDI, IFES, USAID and the OSCE, that help build democratic institutions and civil society in democratizing countries through help with strategic planning, leadership training, and developing the capacities of organizations. She is a Senior Partner with Global Concepts and Communications.

Locally, she has worked on historic preservation in Rockville and as a legislative aide to then-Del. Mary Boergers. In Massachusetts, she helped resolve extremely controversial transportation disputes in municipalities north of Boston that eventually resulted in the extension of the Red Line.

Osdoby is expected to face incumbent Bridget Newton, who is completing her first term after having won election with 53% of the vote in 2013. Recently, Newton caused controversy over her management of the question of the removal of the statue of a Confederate soldier from the Rockville courthouse grounds.

Clinton Campaign Hires Latino Decisions for Polling

This is a smart decision by the Clinton campaign. Latino Decisions is the gold standard for polling Latinos, whose support will be critical if she hopes to secure the Democratic nomination and the Presidency.

The following is by Stephen A. Nuño:

The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign has hired Latino-owned firm Latino Decisions to join the campaign’s polling team, sources told NBC News Latino Wednesday.

The hiring of Latino Decisions brings aboard significant knowledge to the campaign about Latino voters that will continue to build up the outreach efforts of the Clinton campaign into the Latino community.

The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to emails and a call about the hiring.

The Clinton campaign has gone on an unprecedented hiring spree of Latino outreach specialists, such as Amanda Renteria, their National Political Director, and Lorella Praeli, the campaign’s Latino Outreach Director.

The firm’s co-Principles, Matt Barreto and Gary Segura, bring with them a significant amount of academic heft to their polling operation. Barreto is a professor of political science and Chicano Studies at UCLA and Segura is a professor of political science at Stanford University.

Michael Jones-Correa, a professor of political science at Cornell, welcomed the news about Latino Decisions as a step forward for the Clinton team.

“LD provides essential policy relevant public opinion on Latinos in the US today, reflecting the very highest standards and best practices in the public opinion field,” said Jones-Correa.

The addition of a Latino-owned firm to the campaign comes after findings in a study by PowerPAC+ reported by NBC News which highlighted the significantly small number of minority firms hired by Democrats to work on their campaigns as paid consultants. Even though the vast majority of Latinos and African Americans vote for Democrats, about 98 percent of of the $514 million spent by the three national Democratic Party committees in 2012 went to non-minority consultants.

Much of the advocacy work by Latino Decisions has been with groups with deep ties within the Latino community, such as America’s Voice and National Council of La Raza.

Frank Sharry, founder and executive director of America’s Voice, has praised the work of Barreto and Segura.

“Latino Decisions has developed a methodologically-sound, data-driven approach to polling Latino voters. Given that the road to the White House cuts through the Latino community, the Clinton campaign is fortunate – and smart – to have them on board,” said Sharry.

Adam Replies to Gino on Liquor Control, Part III

Guest Blogger Adam Pagnucco replies to MCGEO’s Gino Renne

My reply to MCGEO President Gino Renne’s response to my post on the county’s Department of Liquor Control (DLC) concludes.

  1. The union says that if DLC were eliminated, union jobs would be replaced by non-union jobs.

MCGEO: “Mr. Pagnucco claims that privatization would not result in the loss of high paying union jobs. This is his most egregious of claims, especially for a former union employee. Where’s the evidence that ‘many private wholesalers’ are represented by IBT? Or even evidence that union membership will not suffer a net loss? Mr. Pagnucco needs to explain himself on this one.”

I’m happy to do so. As MCGEO states, I am a former union employee. I spent sixteen years working as a strategic researcher on organizing campaigns in the building trades. When President Renne writes, “It’s extremely difficult to organize a union in your workplace these days,” he’s absolutely correct. I have seen the extreme tactics that some employers use to keep their workers from unionizing. If I thought that the only alternative to DLC was a group of exclusively non-union employers, I would have misgivings about that.

Fortunately, that is not the case here. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has been organizing beverage manufacturers and distributors for more than a century and has a Brewery and Soft Drink Conference to represent their workers. The union is also active in our local area. Washington Wholesale LLC, a distributor in D.C., is organized by Teamsters Local 639. Republic National Distributing Company, the second-largest distributor in the nation, is organized in Maryland by Teamsters Local 355. Reliable Churchill LLLP, the largest distributor in Maryland, is organized by Teamsters Local 570. If DLC loses market share to the private sector, it’s likely that unionized firms like these will pick up at least part of it.

This is deeply troubling to President Renne because non-union workers and Teamsters members have one thing in common: neither group pays dues to MCGEO. And that’s the real issue here.

So here’s a question for President Renne: what would happen if private distributors were allowed to compete with DLC? Restaurants and retailers who are happy with DLC could stay with them. Those who are unhappy could buy from the private sector. If DLC has lower prices as MCGEO claims and if their customer service is improving, they should hold on to most of their market share. If not, why should they be protected by a state-mandated monopoly? What do you say, President Renne? Can your members compete with the Teamsters?

  1. The union defends the County Council’s proposed “do-nothing fee” for DLC.

MCGEO: “The ‘fee’ Mr. Pagnucco complains about is paid by the distributor to allow for its participation in the Montgomery County market. Its structure has not yet been determined, just that there will be a fee.”

A quick briefer on the do-nothing fee. DLC has many commonly consumed beverages in its regular stock, but it often has trouble filling orders for specialty items it does not usually carry. These are known as special orders. Here’s a typical complaint:

Mike Hill, general manager of Adega Wine Cellars & Café in Silver Spring, said they have problems getting specialty wines and craft beer.

“If we like a beer or wine and we want to bring that into our store, the turnaround time can be eight days if we’re lucky or two to three months to not at all in some cases,” Hill said.

The County Council has recommended that restaurants and retailers be allowed to go directly to private distributors for special orders, but there are two big caveats. First, DLC determines what is in its regular stock and what is a special order. Second, the council wants to allow DLC to collect a fee on any direct sale by a distributor to “replace DLC estimated revenue lost by allowing the sale of special order beer and wines by private wholesalers.”

DLC loves this because it will get paid without having to do any work. Distributors aren’t so crazy about it. They would have to incur the costs of direct delivery to customers (of shipments that in some cases would be very small) and pay the extra fee on top to DLC because… well, the county just wants the money. Multiple distributors predicted in a hearing before the council that the economics would prevent them from participating in such a “reform.”

But the attitude behind the do-nothing fee is itself even worse. Whoever came up with this idea must believe that our county is soooooo much better than all of our neighbors that we can get away with imposing ridiculous impediments to doing business that no one else in our area would dare to do. Well guess what, folks? Residents and businesses have options. MoCo is a great place to live, shop and work, but so are the District, Frederick, Howard, Northern Virginia and most places near here. If you put enough measures in place to punish employers and consumers, they can and will go elsewhere. That’s the problem with the do-nothing fee and, indeed, DLC itself.

Comptroller Peter Franchot, the state’s top enforcer of alcohol laws and a MoCo resident, says of DLC, “Montgomery County is the last bastion of a medieval state system where the county, if you can believe it, sells all the spirits, alcohol, and we’re not just talking retail, we’re talking wholesale… This is a system that is incredibly slanted against the consumer and the ordinary citizen.”

He’s right. Why are we putting up with this? No one else in the Washington metro area has to deal with anything like this. We are the only ones.

It’s time for a revolt. It’s time to End the Monopoly.

Prince George’s Out Negotiates Montgomery

As explained previously on 7S, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker played hard to get on ponying up additional funds for the Purple Line in an effort to set up his County to extract concessions in price and other matters. Turns out he succeeded at both:

Prince George’s County has tentatively agreed to commit an additional $20 million to finance the Purple Line in exchange for assurances from state transportation officials that construction will begin within its borders and the command center be built there, a top aide to County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said Thursday. . . .

“I agree to accomplish each of these requests,” [Transportation Secretary] Rahn replied in an Aug. 12 letter to Baker.

Montgomery agreed to pay $40 million in additional costs and received nothing.

Baker negotiated a better deal than Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett or Council President George Leventhal. His County will pay half as much in additional costs, obtain more, and still have the light-rail project he supported move forward.

Adam Replies to Gino on Liquor Control, Part II

Guest Blogger Adam Pagnucco replies to MCGEO’s Gino Renne

My reply to MCGEO President Gino Renne’s response to my post on the county’s Department of Liquor Control (DLC) continues.

  1. The union claims that state monopolies on alcohol sales enhance public safety.

MCGEO: “Dr. Roland Zullo, a research scientist at the University of Michigan, examined the impact of state ownership of retail alcohol distribution on 23 different crimes grouped in six categories. Dr. Zullo finds that state control of retail alcohol distribution is associated with statistically significant reductions in crimes that have been linked to alcohol consumption, including domestic abuse, assault, and fraud. Control states also had lower rates for vehicle theft and vandalism (using a slightly lower threshold for statistical significance, the 10% rather than the 5% level).”

Guess what? This “research” was financed in part by DLC. That’s right, the study MCGEO is citing is an unpublished, non-peer-reviewed working paper paid for by the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA), a trade group of government alcohol merchants. George Griffin, DLC’s Executive Director, is a former President of NABCA and a current member of its board. The organization’s budget is partially financed by dues payments from its members, one of whom is DLC. NABCA is fighting efforts to end government alcohol monopolies and was greatly dismayed when Washington state voters got rid of their state monopoly in 2011. So NABCA paid for the working paper cited by MCGEO and it was completed a year and a half later.

For what it’s worth, the study found no statistically significant relationship between state control of alcohol sales and crime for 20 of the 23 measures it examined. Maybe NABCA needs to pay for a better study!

  1. The union opposes blogging(!)

Maybe this is beside the point, but it is too hilarious for me to resist.

MCGEO: “This [County Council DLC] resolution came after months of hearings, testimony and input from stakeholders. If you don’t like the way the process was playing out, Mr. Pagnucco, why didn’t you participate in it? Why are you using your friend’s blog to post your opinion without allowing for public input or participating in the public forum?”

So MCGEO regards blogging as an illegitimate way to participate in public discussions. Who knew? I have a long history of writing in favor of MCGEO’s positions and they have never before uttered a peep of protest. To the contrary; they republished two of my blogs on their website and used another on a handout. Their former Executive Director once asked me to write a piece supporting legislation the union wanted that would have allowed library workers to unionize, and since I favored the bill, I did. But in the one instance when I have publicly disagreed with them, I am told to cease my annoying prattling!

Do you think that MCGEO will resume its recognition of the value of blogging once I start agreeing with them again?

I will finish up tomorrow.

Mikulski and Cardin 12th and 17th Most Liberal Senators

Sen114_Ideal_Point_PlotBThe graph shows the latest scores to be released by Voteview. Unlike conventional interest group ratings, they take into account all votes in the Senate (except those in which less than 5% of the Senate dissented from the majority).

The points show the estimates on the scale with most positive being more conservative. The lines around the points are 95% confidence intervals (i.e. the actual ideology of the senator has a 19 in 20 probability of falling on the line).

Presidential Candidates

Bernie Sanders is the most liberal member of the Senate. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are literally off the charts as the two most conservative senators. Fellow Candidate Marco Rubio is the seventh most Republican while Lindsey Graham is the fifth most liberal.

Adam’s Reply to Gino on Liquor Control, Part I

Guest Blogger Adam Pagnucco replies to MCGEO’s Gino Renne

Last week, MCGEO President Gino Renne, leader of the local union that represents most Montgomery County employees, responded to my post on the county’s Department of Liquor Control (DLC). President Renne has led MCGEO for more than twenty years and is an aggressive advocate for his members. I appreciate his taking the time to talk about DLC on Seventh State.

A few of his statements deserve examination. Let’s start with the one that is arguably most important to county consumers.

  1. The union claims DLC, an extra middle-man with an extra mark-up, actually has lower prices than our neighbors.

MCGEO: “Across all categories except special order beer, costs are 2-10 percent cheaper than neighboring jurisdictions.”

David Lublin put this argument to shame through his price comparison of DLC and Total Wine, which refuses to open a store in MoCo. Now let’s be fair: Total Wine not only blows away DLC, they beat almost everyone on price. How do they do it? The company explains:

We are committed to having the best wine selection with an emphasis on fine wines. This differentiates us from many retailers in the United States who specialize in one geographic area or price category. Our typical store carries more than 8,000 different wines from every wine-producing region in the world.

In addition to a world-class selection of fine wines, the typical Total Wine & More also carries more than 2,500 beers, from America‘s most popular beers to hard-to-find microbrews and imports, and more than 3,000 different spirits from every price range and category.

Total Wine & More is committed to having the lowest prices on wine, spirits and beer every day. Our tremendous buying power and special relationships with producers, importers, and wholesalers offers us considerable savings, which we pass on to our customers.

This business model is very difficult to implement with an extra middle-man interfering with the supply chain, especially one like DLC that is notorious for botching orders of specialty beer and wine. And so Total Wine will not open a store here even though its headquarters is in MoCo and its founders live here. MoCo customers are forced to drive long distances to access the company’s selection and low prices, and they do. Total Wine estimates that MoCo residents account for more than 20% of sales at its McLean, Virginia store and almost 25% of sales at its Laurel store.

But let’s set aside Total Wine for a moment and examine MCGEO’s assertion further. If DLC offers lower prices as they contend, that would be great news. Non-residents would be flocking into MoCo to get deals. We might even expect a proliferation of MoCo stores close to the county’s borders ready to lure non-residents in.

In fact, the opposite is true. There at least seven D.C. liquor stores within four blocks of the MoCo border. See the map below. The one DLC store near the border is in Friendship Heights and it is the only DLC store that is losing money. How is it possible for DLC to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by selling alcohol to rich people? Perhaps one reason is that the District’s Paul’s Wine and Spirits is just three blocks away.

DC liquor stores

Alcohol sales data collected by the Maryland Comptroller’s office suggests substantial flight of customers away from MoCo. Both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Gallup find positive correlations between alcohol consumption and education level, while Gallup finds an additional correlation with high incomes. Since MoCo is one of the highest-income and most-educated counties in the state, it should be a mecca for alcohol sales. But that is far from the truth. In terms of per capita sales deliveries to retail licensees inside each county, MoCo ranks 13th of 24 jurisdictions in wine, tied for 23rd in spirits and dead last (by far) in beer. Among the counties out-ranking MoCo in per capita wine sales are Calvert, Carroll, Cecil, Garrett, Harford and Kent, all mostly rural jurisdictions with far less disposable income than MoCo. Comptroller Peter Franchot, the principal enforcer of state alcohol laws and himself a MoCo resident, says of DLC, “Most people in Montgomery County go to Prince George’s, the District or Virginia to buy their alcohol because it’s such a disgrace.”

I will have more tomorrow.

 

Franchot: DLC is “a Mecca of Anti-Consumerism”

Comptroller Peter Franchot on Montgomery County’s monopoly over retail and wholesale sales of alcohol in the Country:

Montgomery County is the last bastion of a medieval state system.

This is a system that is incredibly slanted against the consumer and the ordinary citizen.

Most people in Montgomery County go to Prince George’s County, or the District or to Virginia to buy their alcohol because it’s such a disgrace.

And these are some of the nicer things he has to say.

On Julian Bond


I met Julian Bond for the first time like so many did: as the narrator of Eyes on the Prize, the wonderful televised series about the Civil Rights Movement. My African-American Politics professor required us to come in the evenings to watch the videos about events that were much more recent when he showed them in the late 1980s.

I didn’t realize at the time that one day I’d be showing an episode from the same series regularly in my class on Politics in the U.S. I would have been even more surprised if you told me that Julian Bond would be my colleague at American University where he was a Distinguished Lecturer for over two decades.

When another assistant professor and I first saw him down the hall in the late 1990s, neither of us had the nerve to go up and say hello and introduce ourselves. As my colleague put it, “that’s Julian Bond!”

His course on the Civil Rights Movement was much beloved not just because he served as a living bridge between the Movement and now who could communicate it to students. Or because he had a speaking voice and ability anyone would envy.

He took the time to respond thoughtfully and seriously to many, many students who came by his office hours. Though he was a fearless advocate with strong opinions who famously stood up to the powerful, he also somehow managed to be a consistently kind and gentle man.

Of course, I’ll always remember him for saying yes immediately to a request to speak out in favor of marriage equality during the referendum fight in Maryland. His clear and eloquent message of civil rights for all people unquestionably helped put us over the top.

His continued willingness to work for the basic dignity for all people until shortly before his death was typical. Long after he led the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and fought successfully to be seated in the Georgia legislature, he spent many years restoring the NAACP to health and to respectability after it fell into crisis.

I’ll miss being able to refer students to his course–what an amazing opportunity it was for so many to learn from him. America will sorely miss a man who fought hard for justice with style and grace–and taught others to do the same.

Maryland Politics Watch

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterCheck Our Feed