All posts by David Lublin

House of Delegates Ratings, Part V: The Most Vulnerable Democrat

Continuing our view of the lay of political land in advance of the 2018 state legislative election, 7S turns to vulnerable Democrats in the House of Delegates. We start today with the one sitting Democrat rated as a toss-up.

Delegate Ned Carey is in the unenviable position of holding the most endangered Democratic seat in the House. Located in the Brooklyn Park and Glen Burnie sections of northern Anne Arundel County, District 31A is a single delegate subdistrict that contains the more Democratic territory in very Republican District 31, which should just be renamed Simonaireland. The father holds the Senate seat and his daughter is a delegate from 31B.

Carey represents the only Democratic House district carried by both Larry Hogan and Donald Trump. District 31A went for Hogan by a 30 points in 2014. While Hillary Clinton fared far better, she still fell 4 percent short of defeating Trump.

A former school board member and BWI executive endorsed by the Baltimore Sun, Carey had the advantage of facing an inexperienced Republican challenger, Terry DeGraw in 2014. A poor fundraiser, DeGraw spent little on her campaign. Her three general election campaign finance reports show she spent a total of $13,952.74.

In contrast, Carey spent an impressive $84,613.07 to win the seat by 5.3% over DeGraw. Besides loaning his campaign $10,000, Carey received $47,000 in donations from the House Democratic Slate, as well as another $2000 from Sen. Ben Cardin’s PAC and $2500 from former Gov. Martin O’Malley’s O Say Can You See PAC.

The Republican lean of the district combined with his small victory despite outclassing his opponent in fundraising and experience paint a big target on Carey’s back for 2018. The Republicans will have a real shot if they can find a good candidate and fund them well.

The best evidence that Carey will nevertheless not lose easily is that he won in 2014, despite it being a truly hellacious year for Democrats. In an election when long-term Democratic legislators in similar territory went down, Carey managed to win the seat. No doubt he is hoping for a more favorable climate in 2018.

Montgomery County Land Use 101

Today, I am pleased to present a guest post by Del. Marc Korman about former Planning Board Chair Royce Hanson’s new book on the history of planning in Montgomery County.

Rumors abound that there could be more than 50 candidates running for the Montgomery County Council in the next election cycle (after attending the recent Montgomery County Democratic Party Spring ball, I think that could be an under-estimate).  I would recommend that each of them dive into Suburb: Planning Politics and the Public Interest, by Royce Hanson.

Royce Hanson is a legendary figure in Montgomery County.  He chaired the Planning Board from 1972 to 1980 and was brought back in as something of an elder statesman from 2006 to 2010 to clean-up improprieties fond related to development in Clarksburg.  His most lauded accomplishment is the establishment of the Agricultural Reserve which covers about one-third of Montgomery County although he oversaw numerous sector and master plans during his two tenures.  Mr. Hanson has had less success as a political candidate in the County.

Suburb is closely related to a series of speeches Mr. Hanson gave at the Planning Board Department in 2014 and 2015, which can be watched online and may be more accessible for some than the book.  Hanson’s book—like the lectures—tells the story of planning in Montgomery County essentially from the establishment of the bicounty agencies Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission and Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (the Planning Board) in the 1910s virtually up until the present.  Hanson sees County land use through three lenses.

First, land use decisions are usually the outcome of the back and forth between what he calls the “Miniature Republic”—homeowners, taxpayers–and the “Commercial Republic”—major land owners and developers.  At different times and in different locations, the power rests more heavily with one than the other.

Second, he traces land use decisions through several political regimes in the County’s history, which will be of particular interest to many local readers: The [Blair] Lee regime dominated by an insider political machine; the builders and the bar regime in which land use attorneys controlled the planning process; the progressive regime that emerged from the new Executive form of government in the 1970s, which he views himself as a product of; and the current “pure political” regime which Hanson views as lacking a cohesive vision for County land use.

Third, Hanson sees ultimate planning decisions as the place where the logic of consequentiality—the more technical and planning-based logic of bureaucrats–meets the logic of appropriateness—the politician’s changes to satisfy certain parties and make planning decisions more palatable.

The book marches through a number of “case studies” beginning with the 1964 General Plan, known as Wedges and Corridors; reimagining Bethesda and Friendship Heights for Metro; the resurgence of Silver Spring; updating White Flint for the 21st century; development of corridor cities such as Gaithersburg, Rockville, Montgomery Village, and Germantown; the huge and scandalous errors with Clarksburg development; the creation of the Agricultural Reserve; and the growth policy regularly updated by the Planning Board and County Council and now called the Subdivision Staging Policy.  Each of these chapters is rich with detail, but at times it feels as though you are just reading a series of facts and events as opposed to any type of analysis.  There are insights about what political and planning compromises worked (and sometimes didn’t work) in specific locations in Montgomery County at particular times, but broader conclusions about planning and process are hard to discern.

Indeed, Hanson even recognizes this late in the book when he concedes that it “is hazardous to overgeneralize from the experience of Montgomery County”, although he goes on to say that examples, analogies, insights, and more can be drawn and applied elsewhere, which is true in the broad sense that another place could redevelop a suburban strip mall near transit, come up with transferable development rights, or target specific neighborhoods through sector plans.  As someone more interested in the Montgomery County story, this approach helped focused on facts and events suited me fine but may be seen as a shortcoming to others.  Indeed, while as I said I think this book is important to read for County Council candidates, I’m not sure who else besides them, other local elected officials, and committed local activists would really appreciate this book.  I certainly did, but I’m in one of those relatively narrow buckets.

Hanson may have been torn between writing a history of Montgomery County planning politics and case studies that could potentially be used to teach planners anywhere and sometimes he did not find the balance he was looking for.  Those interested in the history will want to know who the unnamed councilmembers were who voted against appointing Norman Christellar Planning Board Chair and planning students will probably want to know why the failed plan to build another Mall of America in Silver Spring is relevant to their studies.  I, of course, understand why a pure Montgomery County history book was not written, as it would clearly have a small audience.  It has also been pointed out to me that the history of the County’s actions over race are almost entirely omitted.  I am sure others who lived through some of these planning efforts will note their own omissions.

Still, for you local history buffs there are plenty of interesting facts.  For example, County Executives used to control some appointments to the Planning Board and, for a time under County Executive Kramer, they could revise plans before they went to the Council.  Neil Potter devolved these powers back to the Council after defeating Kramer.  Hanson is also open with his criticism of some local County players and even relies on Adam Pagnucco research in making his attacks.  Former Councilwoman Idamae Garrott comes off as particularly responsive to the current mood of the best organized voters.

If you sit in lots of meetings about sector plans, dream about being on the County Council, or read blogs like this one, then this book is for you.  It covers interesting history and can be a good reference regarding particular parts of the County.   But for those not fitting that description, this book and its detailed history of Montgomery County land use may be more of a slog.  For the right audience, this book can provide a useful baseline of how Montgomery County developed over the last century and why.

Hamza Khan Running for Delegate

Hamza is perhaps best known locally as a founder of the Muslim Democratic Club but he has also be active in many different ways. Here is the press release:

Hamza Khan Announces Campaign for Maryland State Delegate in District 39

GERMANTOWN, MD: Long-time community activist Hamza Khan will run for state delegate in Maryland’s District 39. Hamza will be seeking the vacancy created by long-time public servant Delegate Charlie Barkley, who has decided to run for the Montgomery County Council. “I have decided to run for public office because the challenges we are facing today as a state and country require us to build bridges and seek to bring together our entire community to achieve a progressive future for our children and generations to come”, said Hamza.

Hamza has already been endorsed by a number of progressive elected officials across Montgomery County and the great state of Maryland. Key endorsements include Senator Will Smith (D-20), Delegates Bilal Ali (D-41), Pam Queen (D-14), Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D-20) and Angela Angel (D-25).

In a nod to the breathtaking diversity of District 39, Hamza’s honorary campaign co-chairs collectively speak over a dozen languages in addition to English, including: Arabic, Armenian, Bahasa Indonesia, Cantonese, French, Hebrew, Hindi/Urdu, Mandarin, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Vietnamese and Wolof. All are spoken in District 39, which is one of the state’s most diverse legislative districts to live by population. “Hamza is a warm person with a warm heart. He has an obvious devotion to strengthening and maintaining good relations between all faiths and ethnicities in our diverse community,” said Montgomery Village community interfaith activist Keleigh Arian (D39).

Hamza’s platform includes: funding and protecting Maryland’s commitment to K-12 public education; fighting for what’s best for our public school teachers, support staff, and students; working to close the achievement gap; fighting for free tuition at all Maryland community colleges; special needs and disability advocacy; investing in public transit options for Maryland commuters, such as Bus Rapid Transit and expanding access to MARC trains; protecting our environment and continuing to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries; protecting a woman’s right to choose; fighting for an end to gender-pay discrimination; fighting for an increased minimum wage; fighting for the rights and protections of Maryland workers; advocating for, listening to, and including organized labor in the battle for social justice in our state; working to improve access to affordable childcare for Maryland families; and investing in Maryland’s small and family-owned businesses.

“Hamza is committed to fighting for progressive values and empowering underrepresented communities. He would be a great leader in the Maryland General Assembly,” said Amy Frieder, an UpCounty Democratic Party activist.

Hamza’s campaign website will launch by early summer. In the meantime, you can follow him on Twitter @HamzaSKhan or like his Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/hamzapolitics) to get updates about his campaign!

More Recent Muni Election Results from Around the State

La Plata

La Plata holds a nonpartisan primary for its single seat elections if more than two candidates run. The top two candidates continue on to the general election In 2017, there was a primary just in Ward II, which was held in March. The general elections were held on May 2. You can find a map of La Plata’s four wards online.

Voters turfed out incumbents in three council seats, and elected a newcomer to the vacant fourth seat in Ward III. All of the winning candidates were part of the New Day for La Plata slate sponsored by the La Plata Business Association.

Council Ward II Primary
Clyde Keith Black (incumbent), 119
Brent Finagin, 110
Jon W. Norris, 52

Mayor
Lynn D. Gilroy (former Ward III councilmember), 440
Jeannine Elizabeth James, 563

Council Ward I
Matthew Timothy Simpson, 621
Ralph Wayne Winkler (incumbent), 369

Council Ward II
Clyde Keith Back (incumbent), 415
Brent Finagin, 567

Council Ward III
Timothy Giles, 353
Emily Mudd Hendricks, 622

Council Ward IV
Paddy Mudd, 548
Joseph W. Norris (incumbent), 448

Port Deposit

There were three seats up for election but only two candidates filed. As a result, the Council will have to fill the vacancy, assuming that they can find someone willing to do the job. Turnout was just 3.3% in this uncontested election.

Council
Tom Knight (incumbent), 9
Bob Kuhs (incumbent), 10

Perryville

Reich and Linkey were the only candidates on the ballot for the two open seats. Turnout was 3%.

Commission
Everett “Pete” Reich, 54
Michelle Linkey (incumbent), 41
Write-Ins, 4

Havre de Grace

Mayor
Bill Martin (incumbent), 1523
Wayne Dougherty (former mayor), 874

Council
Monica Worrell (incumbent), 1860
Jason Robertson, 1692
David Martin (incumbent), 1459
Fred Cullum (former councilmember), 1001

New Market

More contests with no opposition. Turnout was 8.9%.

Mayor
Winslow F. Burhans (incumbent), 73.

Council
Shane Rossman, 68
Mike Davies, 68
Jake Romanell, 59
Scott Robertson, 57
Dennis Kimble, 51.

Mount Airy

Mount Airy held municipal election on May 1. Both incumbents who sought reelection won.

Mayor
Patrick Rockinberg (incumbent), 1226
Benjamin Greenstein, 646
Joseph Muise, 40

Council
Larry Hushour, 1203
Scott Strong (incumbent), 1096

Leslie Dickinson, 838
Karl Munder, 229

Pocomoke City

An election occurred only in for the District 3 Council seat. At least they didn’t have to rerun the election like in 2016 after there were problems with the voting equipment and balloting.

Council District 3
R. Dale Trotter, 86
Monna VanEss, 67

Snow Hill

Since candidates faced no opposition, Snow Hill didn’t even hold an election.

Mayor
John C. Dorm (incumbent)

Council Eastern District
Alison Cook (incumbent)

Lonaconing

Online reports only give the names of the winners.

Mayor
John W. “Jack” Coburn (incumbent)

Council
Warren “Whiz” Foote (incumbent)
Charles F. “Fred” Sloan, III (incumbent)
Julie Hoffman
Robert Eakin

 

 

Incumbents Reelected in Close Race in Village of Martin’s Additions

Three people competed for two seats yesterday on the Village of Martin’s Additions Council. Here are the results:

Richard Krajeck (incumbent), 148
Katja Hill (incumbent), 147
Katie Filipczyk Howard, 122
Write-Ins, 17

Former Town Manager Jean Sperling received four of the write-in votes. The Election Committee reported a creepy twist during the nominations process:

In a bizarre nominations twist this year, the Election Committee received seven anonymous envelopes in the mail, all with the same block printing on the front. Inside were typed lists, nominating a total of 41 people as candidates for the VMA Council. There was no signature from the unknown sender, and it looked like the names were drawn at random from the VMA directory, but the Election Committee dutifully contacted all 41 people. The startled “nominees” thanked the Committee for checking with them, said no, they did not wish to run for election, and said they had not given anyone permission to submit their names. No one on the list told us that he or she intended to be a candidate this year.

Mixing It Up in Kensington. All Quiet in Washington Grove.

Kensington

Three candidates are vying for the two Council seats up for election this year: Darin Bartram, Connor Crimmins, and Tom Rodriguez. (The Mayor and other two councilmembers are elected in even-numbered years.)

Bartram and Rodriguez are incumbents with Bartram seeking his third term and Rodriguez his second. Reports indicate that challenger Crimmins is running a strong campaign, complete with website. Crimmins is the Chief Operating Officer at Spider Stratagies, a technology an consulting company.

Like in most Maryland towns, elections in Kensington are nonpartisan. However, while Crimmins is an unaffiliated voter (UPDATE: Crimmins is a Democrat), Bartram and Rodriguez are Republicans who are active in national Republican politics through their jobs.

Bartram is a partner at Baker Hostetler who works in environmental and constitutional law. Specifically, he has provided counsel to a utility company that failed to comply with federal environmental regulations and also was part of the team that challenged unsuccessfully the constitutionality of the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act.

Rodriguez works as a communications advisor at Luntz Global, the firm run by Republican Pollster Frank Luntz. He has worked as a fundraiser for Republican Members of Congress and also served as a consultant on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Former long-time Kensington Mayor Pete Fosselman, now a Democratic Candidate in Council District 1, has endorsed Bartram. Fosselman and Del. David Moon (D-20) jousted over Fosselman’s support for Bartram on Facebook:

Moon and Bartram had tangled on Facebook. Moon, a former campaign consultant, expressed his lack of surprise at Bartram’s criticism of General Assembly Democrats in light of Bartram’s past defense of Trump and Scalia’s critique of the Voting Right Act along with Bartram’s Facebook post proclaiming “I think Sarah Palin is awesome.” Drawing the County Council into the debate, Bartram accused Councilmember Hans Riemer of feeding Moon shots from Bartram’s Facebook page. (UPDATE: Riemer had not seen the page and literally had no idea what Bartram was talking about.)

Washington Grove

Washington Grove, an adorable small town with its own MARC stop, will hold elections on May 13th from 4 to 7pm. The Town elects its mayor annually and two of the six members of the Town Council every year. In contrast to Kensington, all is very quiet in Washington Grove this year. All of the positions are uncontested:

Mayor
Joli McCathran (incumbent)

Council
Audrey Maskery (incumbent)
John Compton

Planning Board Candidate Dan Reed Doesn’t Like Bethesdans Much

Dan Reed has applied for the Montgomery County Planning Board. Besides being a trained architect (B.S. from UMD), planner (Masters in City Planning from Penn), and former employee of Councilmember George Leventhal, he is also a prolific writer and very active in development and transportation issues.  All of this is great. What is not great are his views towards a large bloc of people whom he’d like to govern.

Specifically, he sure doesn’t think much of people who live or hang out in Bethesda. Even though Dan stated “I don’t go to Bethesda Row often,” that did not prevent him from expressing very strong opinions about people who live in the area. Here is his pitch to B-CC students that Silver Spring is a better place for them to hang out than Bethesda:

You and I both know [your parents have] been taught to fear everything east of Rock Creek Park, so you’ll earn major street cred by hanging out in a place where the kids don’t all wear private or Catholic school hoodies with Timbs. (This is also an effective way to avoid your date’s ex from the Landon School who lurks outside the Barnes and Noble in Bethesda Row.)…

Once you get a little older, you’ll discover that there aren’t many bars here, and those we do have cater to an older demographic than what you’ll want on a Friday night out. Of course, by then you’ll probably be going to a prestigious liberal arts college in some leafy New England town that those of us who came from lesser public high schools could only dream of…

So, while you’re still in Bethesda, why not take a walk on the wild side and make some pubescent memories this weekend in Silver Spring. You can tell your incredulous friends on Monday how you went slummin’…

This screed was not a one-off for Dan and his contemptuous view of those who live in Bethesda.  In a response on his blog to a piece published by Bethesda Magazine, he wrote:

How many fine [Bethesda] individuals think of Silver Spring primarily as an exporter of black kids? How many Bethesda youth are unaware of the glorious Friday nights to be had in Silver Spring?…

Alas, Bethesda Magazine must feel some kind of inferiority complex about their town’s parking garages, where each weekend so many midlife-crisis Mercedes coupés and tricked-out swagger wagons are trapped that the streets ring with the screams of Montgomery County’s frustrated suburban élite…

Sometimes, I wonder why their staff of Bethesda Magazine doesn’t just pour all of their money and effort into something constructive, like battling illiteracy in DC, rather than giving a two-hundred-page-long pat on the back to people with the money and taste to live west of Rock Creek Park…

And, on yet another occasion, Dan wrote:

… I claim all of Bethesda as ours, so long as they stay on their own side of Rock Creek Park so we can remember “normal people” still live in Montgomery County.

Apparently, in Dan’s eyes, Bethesdans are elitist racists who think that Silver Spring is, to paraphrase Neville Chamberlain, a far-off land of which we know nothing.  As someone whose parents moved to Silver Spring before he was born and has since spent many a day and night there (I guess we are brave enough to sometimes leave the land of “shitty Irish bars and middle-aged-trendy clothing stores”), I think the tone and underlying animosity toward the people who live in Bethesda as expressed in Dan’s blog posts are disturbing.

Yes, there are major differences between Silver Spring and Bethesda, just as there are between many other areas of the County.  But, as a planning board member, Dan will make major decisions that will have an influence on the future of all of Montgomery County.  The County’s future should not be entrusted to someone with such blatant animosity towards a major portion of the community he will supposedly serve.