Red Line Rush Hour Fail

MetroAfternoon Rush Hour

A train has died at Farragut North and causing paralysis up and down the Red Line this afternoon.

After taking one-half hour to go from Gallery Place to Metro Center, Metro attempted to offload its passengers on to a very full platform. But they were so fed up that they mutinied and refused to get off. At last report, Metro is single tracking on the Red Line.

As one @HokiEsq put it: “DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ATTEMPT TO RIDE THE RED LINE FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE.”

MetroCenterMetro Center (h/t @ryanstruyk)

Anne Arundel GOP Stands Up for Peroutka

Update: Love Wins.

The Anne Arundel GOP seemed at pains to attack my piece yesterday highlighting Republican Michael Peroutka’s well-known love of the Confederate flag and membership on the Board of the League of the South–a hate group.

Here is the exchange from Twitter: AAGOP4AAGOP3AAGOP1bAAGOP2

A few thoughts on the Anne Arundel GOP’s tactics and views:

1. Obfuscation: The real issue, of course, is Peroutka’s views–not whether I have spoken to Peroutka. This is a standard deflection tactic. Do Republicans speak in advance to each Democrat that they criticize on every occasion? I didn’t think so. Indeed, Gov. Larry Hogan didn’t speak to Peroutka before cutting him loose during the campaign. Like me, he didn’t need to waste his time.

2. Ignoring Reality: My post stated a number of uncontested facts. The posting of this YouTube showing Peroutka leading the singing of Dixie as the “national anthem” next to the Confederate Stainless Banner is a fact:

I also reported on Peroutka’s campaign contributions. Frankly, it isn’t a heavy lift to conclude that Peroutka’s values are heinous. Their willingness to ignore them says a lot about the people currently running the Anne Arundel GOP’s twitter account.

3. Casting the First Stone: After saying that I lack “integrity, judgement, or original thinking,” the Anne Arundel Republicans accuse me of “casting the first stone.” They then call me “hateful” as well as “judgmental and cowardly.”

Well, I’ll concede judgmental–it’d be a mighty dull opinion blog if it lacked opinions entirely. Seems mighty hypocritical though to accuse someone of “casting the first stone” when one engages in name-calling before and after. It’s like they’re characters from Berke Breathed’s wonderful Bloom County carton:

Bloom CountyI also wonder if these guys have ever met Peroutka themselves. This guy is more than happy to condemn and cast stones and support the efforts of noxious groups to do the same. As I have reported in this space previously:

Peroutka also finds the time to be active in the extremist John Birch Society. Apparently, he believes that the gay rights movement will lead to “forced homosexuality.”

During the campaign, Peroutka, proudly maintained his membership on the board of the League of the South, which states on its website:

If the South is going to survive, especially against a flood tide of massive Third World immigration and leftist attempts to destroy her very cultural and political foundations, she is going to have to seek her independence and govern herself.

So I think it’s safe to say that Peroutka and his ilk have no problem casting stones.

4. Peroutka and @AnneArundelGOP are more extreme than many other Republicans. The Governor’s spokesman, Adam Dubitsky, said about Peroutka: “Those views have never been a part of the Republican Party, and they never will be.” An Anne Arundel Republican candidate was quoted as opposing Peroutka’s “racism, classicism, cultural bigotry and hate.”

So my presentation of the facts leads to the same opinion as Governor Hogan. The Anne Arundel Republicans are free to stand by their man. It says a lot about them.

Updated Letter Against Confederate Flag License Plates

June 25, 2015

Secretary Pete Rahn
Maryland Department of Transportation
Office of the Secretary
7201 Corporate Center Drive
P.O. Box 548
Hanover, MD. 21076

Milton Chaffee
Motor Vehicle Administrator
6601 Ritchie Highway NE
Glen Burnie, MD 21062

Dear Secretary Rahn and Administrator Chaffee:

As you know, the Supreme Court held last week in Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans that states can exclude the Confederate flag from government specialty license plate programs. Consequently, we request that you use your authority to reinstate Maryland’s previous policy of not including the Confederate battle flag in specialty license plate designs.

The Supreme Court determined that these programs reflect expressions of government speech and therefore do not constitute an open forum for private speech within the meaning of the First Amendment. Our high court has thus transformed the meaning of messages contained in our specialty license plates into Maryland government speech, and these plates now inevitably carry the imprimatur and symbolic prestige of our state government and our people.

Given this understanding, we should not include the Confederate battle flag—the nation’s leading symbol of secession, armed rebellion against the U.S. government, slavery and racism–in our specialty license plate program. To be sure, every symbol has multiple connotations, and not everyone who displays the flag means the same thing by it. But there is no doubt that for millions of Marylanders, the Confederate battle flag’s meaning is reasonably and uniquely identified with the history of slavery, white supremacy, and racial violence. In the 20th century, after Brown v. Board of Education was decided, the flag was resurrected as a symbol of Jim Crow segregation and violent opposition to the Civil Rights Movement.

The policy question of whether to issue Confederate flag plates arose in Maryland in 1996. Back then the Motor Vehicles Administration decided to recall Maryland license plates that had been issued with Confederate flags on them. This action was struck down by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on free speech grounds in a decision now effectively overruled by the Supreme Court. We therefore urge you to work with the MVA to reinstate its former policy on this issue and exclude the use of the Confederate insignia on state license plates.

We hope that you will undertake a prompt review of the situation and conclude that the state of Maryland has both the legal authority and a clear reason to disassociate ourselves from a symbol that may reasonably be regarded as a “badge and incident” of slavery within the meaning of the Thirteenth Amendment.

Sincerely,

Senator Jamie Raskin
Senator Catherine Pugh
Senator James “Ed” DeGrange
Senator Brian Feldman
Senator Bill Ferguson
Senator Lisa Gladden
Senator Guy Guzzone
Senator Susan Lee
Senator Cheryl Kagan
Senator Nancy King
Senator Jim Mathias
Senator Nathaniel McFadden
Senator Rich Madaleno
Senator Roger Manno
Senator Karen Montgomery
Senator Anthony Muse
Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam
Senator Paul Pinsky
Senator Victor Ramirez
Senator Jim Rosapepe
Senator Bobby Zirkin

Delegate Barbara Robinson
Delegate David Moon
Delegate Angela Angel
Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary
Delegate Ben Barnes
Delegate Erek Barron
Delegate Pam Beidle
Delegate Al Carr
Delegate Jill Carter
Delegate Mark Chang
Delegate Luke Clippinger
Delegate Bonnie Cullison
Delegate Kathleen Dumais
Delegate Eric Ebersole
Delegate Diana Fennell
Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo
Delegate Bill Frick
Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez
Delegate Anne Healey
Delegate Shelly Hettleman
Delegate Sheila Hixson
Delegate Anne Kaiser
Delegate Ariana Kelley
Delegate Tony Knotts
Delegate Marc Korman
Delegate Ben Kramer
Delegate Clarence Lam
Delegate Karen Lewis Young
Delegate Brooke Lierman
Delegate Eric Luedtke
Delegate Aruna Miller
Delegate Marice Morales
Delegate Dan Morhaim
Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk
Delegate Shane Pendergrass
Delegate Andrew Platt
Delegate Kirill Reznik
Delegate Shane Robinson
Delegate Sandy Rosenberg
Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes
Delegate Will Smith
Delegate Dana Stein
Delegate Charles Sydnor III
Delegate Jimmy Tarlau
Delegate Frank Turner
Delegate Kris Valderamma
Delegate Geraldine Valentino-Smith
Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher
Delegate Alonzo Washington
Delegate Mary Washington
Delegate Pat Young
Delegate Craig Zucker

Maryland’s Confederate Connection: Councilman Michael Peroutka

Michael Peroutka will remain an embarrassment to Anne Arundel County and the Republicans as long as he sits on its Council. This is a man who led people in the “national anthem” of Dixie next to the Confederate “Stainless Banner.”

The “Stainless Banner” includes the Confederate battle flag in its canton. The white was meant to express the Confederate fight for the supremacy of the white race. Peroutka did his proud rendition of Dixie at the national conference of the League of the South, a secessionist hate group. In 2012.

Peroutka got money for his campaign from a variety of source. I suspect, however, that not many Marylanders, can claim that Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore gave them $1000, as did Associate Justice Tom Parker.

Moore is the jackass who was removed from the bench unanimously by his colleagues for violating the Constitution and his refusal to comply with a federal court decision. He spoke to the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), the group that inspired Dylann Roof, but claimed not to consider them a “white supremacist” group.

(Weirdly, Republican Primary voters rejected Moore in gubernatorial bids in 2006 and 2010 but Alabama returned him to the Alabama Supreme Court as its Chief Justice in 2012 on the Republican ticket. But even Moore is backing away from the CCC.)

During his campaign, Peroutka refused to leave the racist League of the South or give up his on its Board. Yep, and this guy is an elected official in suburban Maryland.

Peroutka also received $1000 from Scott Scharf of Scott’s Gunsmithing in Glen Burnie. Scott’s Gunsmithing specializes in custom firearms and gives explicit instructions on how to get around Maryland’s gun laws to build a gun called “the Urban Broom.” No doubt Dylann Roof would approve.

As the unacceptability of the Confederate flag goes national in the wake of the nine assassinations in Charleston, many in both parties have looked to see how we can make Maryland a more inclusive place. Refusing to condone the acceptability of Peroutka and his politics would aid that effort.

Bipartisan Support for Confederate Flag Removal in Maryland

CFHogan

Letter from Forty-Two State Legislators

June 23, 2015
Secretary Pete Rahn
Maryland Department of Transportation
Office of the Secretary
7201 Corporate Center Drive
P.O. Box 548
Hanover, MD. 21076

Milton Chaffee
Motor Vehicle Administrator
6601 Ritchie Highway NE
Glen Burnie, MD 21062

Dear Secretary Rahn and Administrator Chaffee:

As you know, the Supreme Court held last week in Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans that states can exclude the Confederate flag from government specialty license plate programs.  Consequently, we request that you use your authority to reinstate Maryland’s previous policy of not including the Confederate battle flag in specialty license plate designs.

The Supreme Court determined that these programs reflect expressions of government speech and therefore do not constitute an open forum for private speech within the meaning of the First Amendment. Our high court has thus transformed the meaning of messages contained in our specialty license plates into Maryland government speech, and these plates now inevitably carry the imprimatur and symbolic prestige of our state government and our people.

Given this understanding, we should not include the Confederate battle flag—the nation’s leading symbol of secession, armed rebellion against the U.S. government, slavery and racism–in our specialty license plate program.  To be sure, every symbol has multiple connotations, and not everyone who displays the flag means the same thing by it.  But there is no doubt that for millions of Marylanders, the Confederate battle flag’s meaning is reasonably and uniquely identified with the history of slavery, white supremacy, and racial violence. In the 20th century, after Brown v. Board of Education was decided, the flag was resurrected as a symbol of Jim Crow segregation and violent opposition to the Civil Rights Movement.

The policy question of whether to issue Confederate flag plates arose in Maryland in 1996.  Back then the Motor Vehicles Administration decided to recall Maryland license plates that had been issued with Confederate flags on them. This action was struck down by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on free speech grounds in a decision now effectively overruled by the Supreme Court. We therefore urge you to work with the MVA to reinstate its former policy on this issue and exclude the use of the Confederate insignia on state license plates.

We hope that you will undertake a prompt review of the situation and conclude that the state of Maryland has both the legal authority and a clear reason to disassociate ourselves from a symbol that may reasonably be regarded as a “badge and incident” of slavery within the meaning of the Thirteenth Amendment.

Sincerely,

Senator Jamie Raskin
Senator Catherine Pugh
Senator Susan Lee
Senator Cheryl Kagan
Senator Nathaniel McFadden
Senator Rich Madaleno
Senator Karen Montgomery
Senator Paul Pinsky
Senator Victor Ramirez

Delegate Barbara Robinson
Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary
Delegate Erek Barron
Delegate Pam Beidle
Delegate Al Carr
Delegate Luke Clippinger
Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo
Delegate Bill Frick
Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez
Delegate Shelly Hettleman
Delegate Sheila Hixson
Delegate Anne Kaiser
Delegate Tony Knotts
Delegate Marc Korman
Delegate Ben Kramer
Delegate Karen Lewis Young
Delegate Brooke Lierman
Delegate Eric Luedtke
Delegate David Moon
Delegate Shane Pendergrass
Delegate Andrew Platt
Delegate Kirill Reznik
Delegate Sandy Rosenberg
Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes
Delegate Will Smith
Delegate Dana Stein
Delegate Charles Sydnor III
Delegate Jimmy Tarlau
Delegate Kris Valderamma
Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher
Delegate Alonzo Washington
Delegate Mary Washington
Delegate Craig Zucker

Letter from Sen. Jamie Raskin and Del. David Moon

June 22, 2015

Brian Frosh, Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202

Dear Attorney General Frosh:

We hereby request an opinion from the Office of the Attorney General on whether the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) can, without legislation, exclude the Confederate flag from specialty license plate designs.

This week the United States Supreme Court held in Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans that Texas can exclude the Confederate flag from its government license plate programs. In 1996, the Maryland MVA similarly decided to recall Maryland license plates that had been issued with Confederate flags on them, but this action was struck down by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. This decision has now been effectively overruled by the Supreme Court.

We therefore seek your confirmation that the MVA may now take steps to recall previously issued license plates with the Confederate flag and may exclude the Confederate flag from future specialty license plate designs.

Very truly yours,

Jamie Raskin
Senator, District 20

David Moon
Delegate, District 20

Bickerman Denies Fiduciary Responsibility

BickermanJuneVice Mayor John Bickerman

Town of Chevy Chase Mayor Al Lang and Vice Mayor John Bickerman continue to face questions regarding their roles in orchestrating the stealth write-in campaign for Fred Cecere.

Disclaiming Responsibility

The Town’s Election Board and Ethics Commission were charged by the Council to make recommendations about future elections based on this past election. Indeed, Bickerman actually made that motion (see why that is important below).  As part of their research, the Board and Commission asked all councilmembers about when they learned of the stealth campaign and what role they had in it. Three councilmembers immediately responded to the request.

Lang has refused to answer and has been silent on the issue.  Bickerman has refused to answer the question publicly (he says he Cecere Junewill privately) but has been far from silent on the issue. According to Bickerman, it is none of anyone’s business and he denies that he had any duty to let his neighbors know about the orchestrated campaign even though the Town had sent out an official communication about who was running.

When pressed about whether he had a fiduciary responsibility to Town residents, Bickerman in a public statement said that he does not. Period. This would seem to counter the Maryland Constitution’s Declaration of Rights which states:

That all persons invested with the Legislative or Executive powers of Government are the Trustees of the Public, and, as such, accountable for their conduct.

One must wonder why, even if he feels he has no fiduciary responsibility, he won’t just answer the question about his involvement posed to him by the Board and the Commission. If he believes his actions in the campaign were “ethical” and “proper” rather than shameful, why not disclose fully instead of making technical (and plainly incorrect) legal arguments?

It may be that democracy, while not always pretty, involves a choice between public candidates. And, even he cannot make a case that a sub rosa campaign for a stealth candidate in which only the “right” people were let in on the secret in order to tamp down turnout by others is the right way to bring about change.

Attacking the Election Board and Ethics Commission

So instead of answering the question, Bickerman has repeatedly attacked publicly the independent Election Board and Ethics Commission for investigating the campaign. Funny, as they are doing exactly what he charged them with him when his own motion passed. Now that the questions are directed at his own conduct, he says that what they are doing is “unconstitutional.”

He is also trying to subvert the work of the joint commission by bypassing their work and passing his own set of recommendations before their report is finalized. Moreover, his recommendations–hidden from the public so far–focus serendipitously on rendering the actions he took during the campaign legal, belying his claim that were “ethical” and “legal.”

More Bickerman Disingenousness

Perhaps most incredibly, Bickerman is now defending the seemingly overnight replacement of Election Board Member Anthula Gross by Robert Charrow–done without a public call as was the past Council’s practice.  Charrow, by the way, likely gave legal advice to the stealth campaign about the role of the Election Board. Yes, this is messy.

Bickerman neglected to mention in an email to residents defending Charrow’s appointment that Gross resigned only because Lang, an interested party, conveyed that she could well be sued personally for her actions on the Board and that the Town would not defend her acts as a public official. Unfortunately, not the last effort to bully the Election Board, as Bickerman’s repeated jabs at them have shown.

Finally, Bickerman has made another call for a “joint effort to work together.” I assume he means by that that the “wrong” people should just sit back and let the “right” people, and probably the minority of residents, move their agenda forward without making a fuss. If he thinks that is going to happen, he has underestimated the outrage that his and others actions have engendered in the community.  It is going to be a long year.

Gov. Hogan Has Advanced Cancer

The Washington Post reports:

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan disclosed Monday that he has been diagnosed with “a very advanced and very aggressive” form of cancer.

Hogan (R), who was sworn into office in January, said he would soon begin aggressive chemotherapy treatments, and would rely on Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford (R) to fill in for him on state business as needed.

He described the cancer as a lymphoma, and said it had spread through his abdomen and was “pressing up against my spinal column.”

I’m sure everyone joins me in wishing the Governor and his family strength and success as they fight this illness together and a speedy a return to good health.

UPDATE: Gov. Hogan in his own words: