Fosselman Continues as Deputy Secretary of State

In a surprising move, Governor Larry Hogan has allowed and Kensington Mayor Pete Fosselman has agreed to continue in his job as Deputy Secretary of State:

fossellman

Pete was an early and very active supporter of Anthony Brown’s campaign for governor, as well as closely linked to Governor Martin O’Malley’s administration. So this is a somewhat out of the box decision by all concerned.

Congratulations, Pete.

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Johnny Tremain is Calling. Will You Answer?

The Baltimore Sun reports that a majority of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee (CCRCC) has now grudgingly agreed to appoint additional names beyond the ever controversial Robin Frazier’s for the vacancy created by Sen. Joe Getty’s planned move to the Hogan administration once Getty resigns from the Senate.

This is becoming epic as Frazier’s most ardent Facebook supporter is calling for all “Sons and Daughters of Liberty” (politically correct even!) to flight against “the tyrant in Annapolis.”

Otto

Getty Staying Put? Robin Frazier Not Going to Annapolis

To the grave disappointment of Maryland bloggers but the relief of more sensible folk, it looks like wingnut Republican Robin Frazier will not be taking up a Senate seat any time soon. The Carroll County Republican Central Committee (CCRCC) bowed to Gov. Hogan’s will to nominate additional candidates when taking up the appointment of a vacant delegate seat in Carroll but declined to revisit the nomination of Robin Frazier:

Members of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee voted 5-4 Thursday to submit three names for their second open state legislative seat at the request of officials from Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration. They did not, however, reconsider former County Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier’s nomination for Sen. Joe Getty’s seat.
So, despite accommodating the governor on the delegate nomination, there is a standoff in Carroll County between Governor Hogan and the incumbent Sen. Joe Getty on one side and the CCRCC on the other. That being the case, Sen. Joe Getty looks to stay in the Senate for the time being:
The governor’s office said this afternoon that Getty had decided to stay in the Senate for a while longer to finish some initiatives.

Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings of Baltimore County said he still expects Getty to join the administration but knows he still has some local bills pending that he’s very interested in.

Yes, um, very interested.

Meanwhile, the bulk of the Republican activists who showed up at the meeting along with several members of the CCRCC are mad at the governor either for how the process was handled or the attempt to shove Robin Frazier aside, as George Otto and JoAnn Nichols, two Frazier supporters explained:
otto
Wow. Just two days into his administration, Larry Hogan has already been declared a tyrant. And people are seeing Democratic plots in the heart of the new Republican administration.
This is a textbook case of how to lose friends and influence over people. Carroll County Republicans have managed to keep their senator out of the heart of a new Republican administration in order to push for the nomination of walking embarrassment Robin Frazier to replace him while undoubtedly teeing off the new governor who they overwhelmingly supported and created a public spectacle.

Facebook for Frazier

Well, the honeymoon for Gov. Larry Hogan–with Republicans, not Democrats–was short. Republican activists are already accusing Gov. Hogan of usurpation of the Maryland Constitution on Facebook:

frazier1.5

Otto attacks the Left too:

frazier1.7

Uh oh, he’s on to us. Opposition to Frazier is all a part of the global plot to get the Carroll County Republican Central Committee to choose a socialist to fill Getty’s seat.

frazier1.8

How Kotmair explains Frazier’s spanking in the Republican primary in her bid for renomination to her seat on the commission is unclear. More left-wing fraud? Or is it pinko infiltration?

Finally, we also have good old-fashioned passive aggressive:

Frazier2

Good news, JoAnn. It’s definitely you.

 

Joe Getty Hasn’t Resigned

Sen. Joe Getty (R-Carroll) is slated to take up a new position in the Hogan administration. However, a quick call to the Senate President’s office revealed that while Sen. Chris Shank (R-Washington), another Hogan appointee, stepped down with Hogan’s inauguration, Getty has not.

Getty’s continuance in office is likely not because he is especially slow off the dime or wants to hold on to his senate seat as long as possible but because of the kerfuffle surrounding the Carroll County Republican Central Committee’s (CCRC) strange decision to nominate walking political disaster Robin Frazier to the vacancy.

Democrats salivate at the thought of a Frazier appointment. She is guaranteed to generate endless bad press for the GOP. Needless to say, Hogan is less than thrilled. As Len Lazarick reported, he has demanded that the CCRC send up three names to him (read: someone other than Robin Frazier) in what I imagine is the desire to avoid tying his party or sharing the media cycle with this millstone. However, the CCRC website continues to announce Robin Frazier’s nomination.

Can Hogan get the CCRC to change its mind? That hasn’t occurred so far and neither has Getty’s resignation.

However, Facebook reports that the CCRC is going to meet tonight. Should be quite a show.

Del. Al Carr’s Address to the House on MLK Day

mlkI heard that Del. Carr’s speech was very well received and thought that I would post it here. You can also listen to his speech here (starts at 3:19).

Thank you Mr. Speaker.

Good evening distinguished colleagues and guests

Before I begin, Please give a warm welcome to my family.

My wife Barrie and my sons Miles, Toby and Oliver and our friend Doris are in the gallery.

It is a dream come true for me to be able to serve in this chamber with all of you and to represent my constituents.

I want to acknowledge all of the friends, family, and supporters over the years who helped me achieve my dream.

We are going honor Dr. King tonight by listening to him in his own words and song.

This past summer while sifting through family possessions visiting my mother in Ohio, I stumbled on a cassette tape.

My late grandmother Dorothy Douglass had served as the assistant principal at Addison Junior High School in Cleveland.

I had heard that she had met Dr. King and recorded his remarks on the occasion when he visited her school and spoke to the assembled 7th, 8th and 9th grade students.

I had been told that she sent the original tape to the King Center archives in Atlanta. But I did not know that she had kept a copy.

I made a Facebook posting about my finding this 50-year old time capsule. My friend, audio engineer Brian Whitney told me “Don’t play it! Bring it to me!” And I thank him for digitizing, preserving and enhancing the sound quality of the tape.

No recording of this event is available on the internet. The only places it has been heard is at a few small gatherings of people where I have shared it.

I learned that this school assembly on October 22, 1964 was Dr. King’s very first public appearance after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Lyndon B. Johnson had been sworn in as president less than a year ago and was on the ballot in the presidential election set for twelve days later.

Dr. King and LBJ had partnered on the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 which had been signed into law just a few months earlier.

King’s role in Ohio was that of a barnstorming campaigner working to get out the vote in the largest swing state to ensure their continued partnership.

Events a few months later including those in Selma, Alabama culminated in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

King would return to Cleveland the following year to help elect Carl Stokes, the first African American Mayor of a large US City.

To better understand why my grandmother prized the recording you should know a little bit about her life.

Geraldine Dorothy Gordon was born in 1911 to George and his wife Mary. George was an African American who grew up near Hagerstown. Mary was white, a Canadian immigrant of Scottish descent.

dorothyAs an interracial family, they were part of the black community. Their marriage was legal in Ohio but not in many states including George’s home state of Maryland.

Dorothy was the first person in our family to earn a college education. At Kent State University during the Great Depression, she and the other black students were excluded from living on campus because of their race.

After earning a degree in education, she found work as an elevator operator until landing a substitute teaching gig.

Teachers in the Cleveland Public Schools were not allowed to be married, so her career was interrupted when she wed my grandfather Carl Douglass, an African American entrepreneur.

She resumed her career after my grandfather’s passing, and went on to become a distinguished educator serving as a teacher, counselor and assistant principal.

The highlight of Dorothy’s career was her work as an administrator of a Ford Foundation program and Project Manager of Transitions helping seventh grade students labeled as troubled. Her peers were amazed at the results she achieved when the students’ performance exceeded that of eighth and ninth graders.

As her grandchildren, my sisters and I benefited from Dorothy’s high expectations and her willingness to give her time, her presence and her encouragement. But her generosity extended to many other lives that she touched.

Dorothy saved the recording of Dr. King because she knew it was historic and educational, and she wanted it to be shared.

Let’s listen.

Dr. King speaks for about ten minutes and the assembly ends with a sing along led by his colleague, future Atlanta Mayor and UN Ambassador Andy Young.

And if you are so moved, please feel free to sing along.

Thank you.

Why BWI Beats IAD

pax

Source: Airport Council International

BWI Airport, Maryland’s perennial also ran, is now leaving the juggernaut of Virginia’s Dulles Airport (IAD) in the dust. In 2007, BWI had roughly 3 million fewer passengers than IAD. Reduced traffic at IAD juxtaposed  with increases at BWI resulted in BWI surpassing IAD by 700,000 passengers in 2013.

BWI has blossomed even though IAD has far more land and gates, as the Washington Post revealed:

Airports

Why is BWI killing IAD?

1. Architecture. Dulles has Eero Saarinen’s soaring design. But the need to preserve it and the impressive view prevents changes to make the airport more functional. The entry area is a disaster. The island check-in desks force many passengers to play hunt the airline and then to go around to the back.

The space between the counters and the front windows is not wide enough for all of the people to move. In contrast, the unmemorable buildings at BWI are more easily altered for functionality, including the creation of far wider (and modern) spaces in front of the check-in counters that make it easier to pass and a far less miserable experience.

2. Intra-Airport Transportation. I recall when mobile lounges were the height of cool. The AeroTrain designed to replace them cost $1.4 billion (!) but leaves passengers incredibly far from the concourses and doesn’t go to the D Concourse (mobile lounge or walk from C). While Concourses C and D expected to be torn down at some point, it stinks for the forseeable future. You can walk to all the gates at BWI.

Passengers arriving on international flights still have to take mobile lounges to immigration. No one wants to move to the back because that puts them at the end of the customs line, so everyone ends up walking over other people as it gets packed like a sausage for a voyage that takes place at a majestic pace.

3. United versus Southwest. It has taken me a very long time–I must have ridden a mobile lounge–to get converted to the virtues of budget instead of legacy carriers. United and American have convinced me otherwise. They’ve managed to combine passive aggressive service, inefficiency, and pseudo perks with all of the budget airline charges. United has a planned cluster every afternoon at IAD when the international flights are set to depart with not enough agents to handle the traffic.

Southwest loads its planes faster, partly because they don’t charge for the first bag, and most of their employees don’t seem to hate their employer or their customers. They also don’t charge honking fees to change a ticket. (I’m still waiting for the day for when an airline sends me $150 when they change my flight times.) While United accounts for around two-thirds of the traffic at IAD, Southwest has over 70% of the traffic at BWI.

4. Getting There. Like many in southwest Montgomery, I’ve been hesitant to go to BWI because of greater potential for traffic problems. Going to IAD, you know you’re golden once you hit the Dulles Access Road even if you have to spend quality time on the Beltway. However, the Intercounty Connector has created another option to BWI, where parking is substantially cheaper.

The big planned improvement for IAD is the Silver Line. But it won’t attract many from Montgomery because passengers will have to ride downtown first before heading out to Dulles. Like the AeroTrain, it will end up far away from the terminal, again due to difficulties related to the building.

Robin Frazier Meet Bus

Robin Frazier, the singing, defeated, blogger bait county commissioner who is also the Carroll County Republican Central Committee (CCRCC) choice for Carroll’s vacant senate seat, is already getting thrown under the bus in the first bipartisan act of the incoming Hogan administration.

Len Lazerick at Maryland Reporter has the story (quotes below are from him). Key updates:

1. Governor-Elect Larry Hogan is already looking for ways not to have to appoint Robin Frazier to Carroll’s vacant Senate seat:

“We think there could be more transparency,” Hogan told reporters Tuesday. “We’d like to encourage them to make the process more transparent.”

“Our hands are not tied” by the central committee actions so far, Hogan said. “They’re supposed to send three names.”

While the three names claim seems to be a work of fiction, it speaks volumes to Hogan’s sensible desire to find another candidate without having to say it aloud.

2. Senate President Mike Miller doesn’t want her. He has also given the CCRCC an out by pointing out that the vacancy does not exist yet, as no one has resigned their seat. Sounds like an even better excuse for a mulligan.

3. Outgoing Sen. Joe Getty has been tasked to solve the problem:

Two of those sources also indicated that Hogan has told Getty to “fix” the problem prior to his appointment.

Getty said given his role in the Hogan transition, “my position is whatever the governor’s position would be” and he would not comment further.

Interesting response by Getty.

Sen. Getty and Del. Justin Ready, who lost the CCRCC vote to Frazier by 5-4, do not get along. For Getty, a Frazier appointment has two virtues. It would keep out Ready and fill the seat with a very weak incumbent. If Getty should leave the Hogan administration, he would be well positioned to seek his old seat again in 2018. So I wonder if Getty is now having to work to undo something he supported–or at least did not discourage.

4. Republican Del. Krebs has publicly condemned the process:

Four-term Carroll County Republican Del. Susan Krebs, the top vote-getter in the general election for three-member District 5, said, “I did not apply for the vacancy because I knew it was going to be a sham. I want people to know that I did not apply.”
“This central committee did not support Hogan,” Krebs noted.
Yikes. And to think these people are supposed to be playing for the same team.

George Leventhal’s Double Standard

Nobody does high dudgeon quite like Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal. The Washington Post reported that his latest expression of outrage was in response to the Council having to approve another $21.2 million for the Silver Spring Transit Center:

General Services director David Dise, lead county official overseeing the project, offered no specific opening date but said repairs would be complete “by late May, certainly in the spring.”

Dise’s forecast drew a stiff response from Council President George Leventhal (D-At Large), who said some county taxpayers are so deeply frustrated with the delay that they advocate tearing down the building.

“Mr. Dise, a growing number of my constituents don’t believe anything you say anymore,” Leventhal said. “And I’m hearing from constituents that they think the promises are covering up a structurally-flawed building that ought to be torn down, that we ought to declare a loss and give up.”

County residents are rightly upset about the management of this project. The Transit Center was supposed to open four years ago and is massively more expensive than originally intended:

Silver Spring Transit Center 2

While pungent responses towards people testifying before the Council are nothing new for George Leventhal, his views on cost increases here contrast sharply with his stance regarding far greater increases on another transportation project.

Purple Line Double Standard

George is a lot more bothered by some cost increases than others. A huge fan of the Purple Line, he seems unconcerned about its rising cost and argues vociferously against anyone who opposes the project. And the costs have doubled to $2.4 billion (table below from the Washington Post), an increase that makes the spike in the Transit Center’s cost look piddling.

PL CostsIndeed, the latest cost increase of $220 million was more than the entire price of the Silver Spring Transit Center. The consistent increases in costs suggest manipulation as costs should sometimes go down if estimates are randomly off. Moreover, costs have increased even though the promised quality of the project continues to decline. The Bethesda Terminus has been downgraded and the tunnel for the Capital Crescent Trail under Wisconsin Ave. shelved.

Yet George will brook no opposition to his pet project. The contrast is especially striking as Parsons Brinckerhoff has been involved heavily in the design of both the Transit Center and the Purple Line. Despite the Transit Center fiasco, MTA remains unwilling to disclose how Parsons calculated ridership figures for the proposed light rail project.

Maryland Politics Watch

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