Major delivery problems at the Department of Liquor control in the week before New Year’s led Director George Griffin to send out the following apology:
Next time say it with cash?
Monthly Archives: December 2015
Projected Impact of Congressional Reapportionment in 2020
Election Data Services (EDS) has produced its annual projection of seat gains and losses for the U.S. House. As usual, Maryland is not expected to gain or to lose a seat in 2020. The average district will contain just over 783,000 people in Maryland.
We are closer to gaining a ninth seat than to losing our eight seat. According to EDS, Maryland would require 293,188 more people than expected to gain a seat. On the other hand, the Census would need to show 485,502 people than projected to lose a seat.
States Expected to Gain Seats
Arizona +1 (from 9 to 10)
Colorado +1 (from 7 to 8)
Florida +2 (from 27 to 29)
North Carolina +1 (from 13 to 14)
Oregon +1 (from 5 to 6)
Texas +3 (from 36 to 39)
California and Virginia are the nearest other states to gaining a seat. A gain of just 29,302 people would give California the last seat in the U.S. House instead of Florida. Virginia missed gaining one more seat by 69,841 people.
Similarly, the lost of 15,608 people by Florida would cost the Sunshine State its second additional seat. Arizona would gain no new seats if it has 13,741 fewer people than expected.
States Expected to Lose Seats
Alabama -1 (from 7 to 6)
Illinois -1 (from 18 to 17)
Michigan -1 (from 14 to 13)
Minnesota -1 (from 8 to 7)
New York -1 (from 27 to 26)
Ohio -1 (from 16 to 15)
Pennsylvania -1 (from 18 to 17)
Rhode Island -1 (from 2 to 1)
West Virginia -1 (from 3 to 2)
These counts do not include overseas military personnel. In 2000, their inclusion shifted a district from Utah to North Carolina.
Congressional Progressive Action PAC Endorses Raskin
Sen. Jamie Raskin has just gained a valuable endorsement from the Progressive Action PAC, the political arm of the 72-member Congressional Caucus, in his bid for the Democratic nomination in the Eighth Congressional District.
Why is this good for Jamie Raskin?
Validation. Jamie Raskin has campaigned as the progressive leader in the race. This endorsement provides important validation for his message from national leaders. It’s fine to have have a message but candidates need other leaders to vouch for it.
Spotlight. Other candidates in the race are also trying to position themselves as strong progressives. This endorsement sends the message that Jamie Raskin is the progressive choice. Put more bluntly, progressives should rally around this candidate.
Money. While the Progressive Action PAC will undoubtedly provide some money directly to the campaign, the endorsement is even more useful as a signal to donors. It reinforces the endorsements from other progressive groups and leaders.
Effectiveness. The endorsement makes clear that Jamie Raskin is the candidate with whom other progressives in Congress want to work. The established relationships indicated by the endorsement suggests that he would find more doors already open.
Beyond an Identity Group. Del. Kumar Barve has won support from Asian Americans in Congress while EMILY’s List has gotten behind Kathleen Matthews’ effort. No question that support from these groups is extremely valuable in multiple way. Not having them would send a negative message. But endorsements from issue-based groups allow a candidate to build beyond an identity constituency.
From the press release put out by the Raskin campaign:
SILVER SPRING, MD – Progressive Action PAC, the political arm of the 72-Member Congressional Progressive Caucus, announced today that it has endorsed State Senator Jamie Raskin in his campaign for Congress in Maryland’s 8th District.
“Jamie is a passionate progressive, has a proven record of legislative accomplishment, and has put together an impressive grassroots campaign that engages in serious policy discussion about the critical issues of our time, including gun safety, criminal justice reform, and environmental change,” said Congressman Raul Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “I am endorsing Jamie because I know he will be an effective progressive leader for the people of Maryland when he comes to Congress.”
“I’m honored to endorse Jamie Raskin for Congress. He’s not just a progressive activist but a national thought leader and a seasoned legislative actor who gets things done,” said Congressman Keith Ellison, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
“With Jamie Raskin, Maryland Democrats have the chance to send to Congress one of the country’s most effective progressive leaders,” said Congressman Mark Pocan, First Vice-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “Whether it is voting rights, campaign finance reform, gun violence prevention, environmental progress or civil rights and liberties, Jamie has delivered time and again as a Maryland State Senator and a respected professor of constitutional law. I’m endorsing Jamie because we need him to stand up in Congress for the American people against big-money special interests and to defend the Constitution and Bill of Rights against the Tea Party.”
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus and consists of 72 Congressional members. Founded in 1991, the CPC is a diverse and powerful caucus that advocates for a strong progressive agenda. Progressive Action PAC is the political arm of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and endorses candidates for Congress across the country who champion progressive change in America.
“What an honor,” said Senator Raskin. “I want to thank the Progressive Action PAC and Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus for their support. I’m inspired and fortified by great leaders like Congressman Grijalva, Ellison and Pocan, and I will work with all the Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to go out and elect a Democratic Congress and a progressive agenda.”
Senator Raskin added: “I’m running on a decade-long record of effective progressive leadership in Annapolis. I want to go to Congress take on the NRA to pass common-sense gun reform, to combat climate change and break from the carbon barons, and to address the striking economic and political inequality in America that is eroding the middle class and thwarting opportunity for millions of people.”
Republicans Still on the Anti-Same Sex Marriage Train
Baltimore County Delegate Richard Metzgar (R-6) has pre-filed a bill that would allow discrimination against same-sex couples–or just about any sort of couple–in the name of religious freedom:
The key section of the cookie-cutter legislation is almost identical to a bill that has been filed in Virginia. While in the guise of protecting “religious freedom,” the bill is cast so broadly that it would allow broad discrimination in public accommodations. For example, hospitals operated by religious institutions could refuse to allow husbands or wives of same-sex couples to visit their spouses as a “privilege” related to marriage.
As should be well known, there is no need to pass legislation to protect religious institutions from having to perform marriages they oppose–a widely-respected right protected by the Constitution and Maryland law. Del. Metzgar is either hysterical on this issue or hopes to broaden the right to discriminate against same-sex couples.
Indeed, this extreme legislation would override the state’s law against discrimination in public accommodations, which covered gays and lesbians long before the State legislated same-sex marriage and then upheld it in a referendum. Moreover, it also would allow discrimination against interracial couples on religious grounds, so same-sex couples may be the target but not the only victims.
What Will Hogan Do?
After having opposed same-sex marriage during the referendum, Hogan claimed to have “evolved” and to desire to downplay these issues during the campaign:
“They have no part in this campaign whatsoever,” he said. “We’ve been completely focused on the issues that all Marylanders are focused on right now, and that’s economic issues.”
“We’re opposed to discrimination — all forms of discrimination,” Hogan spokesman Matt Clark said Friday regarding the governor’s position.
So now that Hogan is on board with opposition to discrimination against same-sex couples, will he take a strong stand against Metzgar’s bill as unnecessary and divisive? Or will the leading force of the Maryland Republican Party stand silent in the face of continued efforts by members of his party to fight to allow discrimination?
Awaiting the Verdict from Del. Mary Washington
Today, I received the following from Del. Mary Washington (D-43):
Like most of you, I have followed the trial of Officer William Porter with a passion for justice and a deep concern for our city’s future. Now, as we await the jury’s verdict, my thoughts are not only with the family of Freddie Gray but with the thousands of diverse and dedicated people across our city who are working hard to stem the violence that chokes so many of our communities – from the advocates fighting to stop police violence, to those police officers who are struggling to keep our streets safe, to the activists trying to reclaim streets blighted by drugs, decay, and decades of disinvestment.
There is no doubt that this case, and the ones to follow, are historic. But the work and dedication of our city’s citizens are more long-standing than the verdict in any of these cases. Because if and when the jury reaches a verdict for this case, that verdict will represent its judgment on the facts presented in the case against Officer Porter. It will not be a verdict on the character of our city or the justice of our cause or the value of our work.
Whatever the jury finds, we will continue to work to stop racial profiling and excessive force by law enforcement officers– to see to it that our police serve the communities they are sworn to protect and to hold them accountable when they behave more like an aggressive occupation force than the public servants our communities need.
Whatever the jury finds, we will continue to work to make clear that Black Lives Matter – and to stand up to judicial systems, public officials, and entrenched institutions that fail to value the lives and needs of too many of our citizens.
Whatever the jury finds, we will continue to work to change a system of mass incarceration that often warehouses the poor and homeless in terrible jails – and leaves too many city residents trapped in a downward spiral of addiction and incarceration.
Whatever the jury finds, we will work to make the kind of investments in our schools, in drug treatment, in alternatives to incarceration, in job training, in affordable housing, and in community development that can lift neighborhoods decimated by drugs, despair and violence toward a brighter future.
As your State Delegate I will work with city and state leaders during the upcoming session and beyond to make sure that we not only hold law enforcement accountable when they cross the line into violence but hold all our institutions to higher standards in working to bring hope and possibility to our most vulnerable residents.
Whatever the jury finds this week, that unfinished work will continue.
Mary L. Washington, Member
Maryland House of Delegates, 43rd Legislative District, Baltimore City
MoCo’s Stunted Restaurant Industry
The following is a guest post by Adam Pagnucco:
One of the dimensions to the current debate about Montgomery County’s Department of Liquor Control (DLC) that has not been empirically explored is its impact on the county’s restaurant industry. Restaurant owners have many complaints about DLC and some have said that entrepreneurs will not open new establishments here because of it. However, several urban districts in the county have lots of restaurants that seem to be doing just fine. So what’s going on?
One of the many programs run by the U.S. Census Bureau is the Economic Census, a very detailed look at industries by geography that is updated every five years. Among the statistics collected by the Economic Census are the number of establishments, the sales of those establishments, and the number of employees. Below are the combined totals of two industry segments – drinking places (industry code 7224) and full-service restaurants (industry code 722511) – for 22 jurisdictions in the Washington-Baltimore region in 2012. This data does not include limited service restaurants (like fast food places) that often do not sell alcohol. Data on drinking places for Fauquier and Stafford Counties and the Cities of Fairfax, Falls Church and Fredericksburg is not available because it does not meet the reporting thresholds established by Census.
MoCo is a significant player in the region’s restaurant industry. It has 11% of the region’s bars and restaurants, 10% of sales and 10% of employees. But it also has 13% of the region’s population. MoCo matters because of its sheer size. What happens when the restaurant industry’s statistics are presented on a per capita basis? Using Census population data for the five-year period of 2009-2013, here’s what that looks like.
In terms of establishments per thousand residents, MoCo (at 0.65) is not terribly different from the regional average (0.73). MoCo’s figure is also close to the two jurisdictions which most resemble it in education and income levels, Fairfax (0.66) and Howard (0.61). But on the next two measures, MoCo falls short. MoCo’s restaurant sales per resident ($789) are 20% below the regional average ($989). They are also below Fairfax ($900), Howard ($930) and Loudoun ($826). MoCo’s restaurant employment is just as bad. MoCo’s figure (14.2 restaurant employees per thousand residents) is 23% below the regional average (18.4) and lags most other places in the region, large and small.
Why could this be happening? It’s not because of low income levels – MoCo does just fine on that measure as do many jurisdictions in the region. It’s not because of comparative tax burden. The District of Columbia’s Chief Financial Officer finds that MoCo’s tax burden is not out of line with its neighbors. Do MoCo residents simply not like going out to eat? Are we a county of shut-ins?
Frank Shull, the Chief Operating Officer of RW Restaurant Group, which owns several county restaurants, explained why the industry is lagging when he appeared before the County Council last spring. According to Bethesda Magazine:
A partner in the Robert Wiedmaier Restaurant Group testified Friday that Montgomery County’s Department of Liquor Control (DLC) is “an evil empire to most people in the business.”
In testimony before the County Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Liquor Control, Frank Shull said poor selection, bad service and high prices keep Washington, D.C., restaurateurs from opening restaurants in the county.
“A majority of good operators in D.C. will not come into the county,” Shull said. “We have this discussion all the time. Restaurants don’t want to because they don’t want to deal with the DLC.”
Jackie Greenbaum, owner of Jackie’s Restaurant and the Quarry House Tavern in Silver Spring, detailed the challenges of dealing with DLC when she signed our petition to End the Monopoly:
I own 2 restaurants in Montgomery County, both well known for the breadth of their beer, wine and liquor lists. The difficulty in creating and maintaining these lists because of the county controlled system is extraordinary. It adds hours of unnecessary labor to my payroll costs, diminishes the quality of my beverage programs through the inconsistency of stock, unavailability of products and errors in delivery, and drives up the cost of the products we sell–which must either be absorbed by us (therefore diminishing our profits) or passed on to the consumer resulting in higher menu prices. This system causes all but the most intrepid restaurant owners to dumb down their offerings because it’s far far easier and ensures Montgomery County will never compete with DC in terms of the quality and creativity of its restaurants.
What would happen if MoCo’s restaurant industry were average in size relative to its population? In other words, how big would the industry be if it had 0.73 establishments per thousand residents, $989 in sales per resident and 18.4 employees per thousand residents, which are the averages for the Washington-Baltimore region? Extrapolating from the data above, the county would have 82 more restaurants, $198 million more in sales and 4,184 more employees. All of this would create more tax revenue for both the county and the state.
How do we get there? Let’s be honest and acknowledge that there could be many factors governing the size of the county’s restaurant industry and DLC is just one of them. But in the opinion of the folks who actually run restaurants, DLC is an important impediment to their doing business. The County Council has proposed reform, but in the opinion of the two largest alcohol distributors in the state, it won’t work and they won’t participate.
Restaurants are not just businesses. They are critical cultural assets. People decide where to live in part because of the abundance and quality of food options. This industry is a large part of our quality of life. By unleashing its spirit of entrepreneurship, we enrich all of society. So how do we do that?
Here’s one way. End the Monopoly.
Courtesy of the Cook Political Report and FiveThirtyEight, a great new political toy that allows you play with shifts in party preference and turnout by different demographic groups and see how it could affect the 2016 presidential election.
Department of Liquor Control Improvement Action Plan
Advocates for the existing Montgomery County’s liquor monopoly have acknowledged the needs for improvements in the Department of Liquor Control’s (DLC) operation and customer service. I thought it might be useful to the debate over the monopoly to post the DLC’s Improvement Action Plan and current status.
Click on the little arrow in the bottom right corner if it is too hard to read in your browser and it should pop up in a new tab. My thanks to Montgomery County for providing it to me. You can find more evaluation of the DLC on CountyStat.
Explaining the D14 Recommendations
Last week, Sen. Karen Montgomery and Dels. Anne Kaiser, Eric Luedtke and Craig Zucker expressed their support for the appointment of Zucker to replace Montgomery who will step down at the end of the year, and Pam Queen to fill Zucker’s seat.
Why Zucker for Senate instead of the more experienced Kaiser, or Luedtke who was elected at the same time as Zucker?
I imagine Del. Kaiser, who has served in the House since 2003, could have had the appointment easily if she wanted it. However, she has advanced too far in the House to want to start over the Senate. Besides chairing the Education Subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee, Kaiser is part of the leadership team as the House Majority Leader.
Zucker v. Luedtke would have been an interesting battle and I could well envision either having won. They’ve clearly worked it out among themselves and are comfortable with Zucker getting the seat. For what it’s worth, Zucker is six years older than Luedtke.
Why endorse Zucker and Queen simultaneously?
Democrats are very interested in racial and gender balance. When potential candidates differ little on issues, it is not surprising that people to focus on group representation. When the Senate vacancy occurred in District 15, the appointment of well-respected white Jewish Del. Brian Feldman encountered opposition due to the desire for greater non-white representation in the General Assembly.
In the end, MCDCC nonetheless appointed now Sen. Feldman and then appointed Latino David Fraser-Hidalgo to the House of Delegates. Recommending African-American Pam Queen for the House as the same time as Zucker for the Senate heads off backlash over the question of minority representation.
Why Pam Queen?
Queen brings qualifications to the job. She is a professor of Finance at Morgan State University has a Ph.D. from GWU in Business Administration–not a bad background for someone who will spend much time focused on the state budget. Queen also has a B.S. in Mathematics from Tuskegee and and an M.S. in Computer Science along with an M.S. in Management from Johns Hopkins.
She also has political experience, having been elected to the MCDCC. Support from within the delegation along with the MCDCC would make it very difficult for someone else, including any other MCDCC members eyeing the seat, to defeat Queen for the appointment.
Queen also possesses another virtue: she’s not former Del. Herman Taylor. He served two terms until he ran a lopsided losing race against Rep. Donna Edwards in 2010–Taylor won 9% of the vote. D14 has a solidly progressive delegation and my guess is they would prefer not to see the return of a pro-life moderate.
Endorsement and Announcement
First, EMILY’s List has endorsed Joseline Peña-Melnyk for the open Fourth Congressional District. EMILY’s List supports pro-choice Democratic women for elected office in federal and gubernatorial races. It has already weighed in strongly in the U.S. Senate race with a $1 million ad buy for Donna Edwards. It will be interesting to see the level of resources committed in the Fourth.
Second, Shebra Evans has announced her candidacy for School Board from the Fourth District in Montgomery County. Here is an excerpt from the press release:
Montgomery County is and will continue to be a great place for education as long as we keep our focus on classroom instruction. We should never forget that we are here to help all students achieve. Shebra wants the education community–students, parents, teachers and administrators–to excel. The education community excels with the closing of “opportunity gaps” and the expansion of “education opportunities”. Students excel when they are inspired by dynamic teachers. Parents and teachers excel by listening and working together. All excel with the hiring of and the retention of visionary administrators who view education through a lens beneficial to students, common to parents, compelling to teachers with a singular goal of making a Montgomery County education, the very best it can be.
Shebra has done and continues to do the work needed to advance the education community. She has served in a number of capacities within the educational community.
· PTA member and PTA Officer
· Board of Directors for Montgomery County Council of PTA’s
· MCCPTA Vice President – Educational Issues
· MCCPTA Vice President — Programs
· MCCPTA — Recording Secretary
· Member of the Delegate assembly
· Coordinator Wheaton Cluster
· MCPS – Operating Budget Review Workgroup
· MCPS- Wheaton High Advisory Committee
· MCPS- Math Exam workgroup
· African American Student Achievement Group — Co-leader
In addition to her work with the local schools, Shebra serves in the Children’s Ministry at her church and is actively involved with Girl Scouts of America.
Shebra earned her Bachelors of Business Administration degree in Economics and Finance.
Though there is a residency requirement, all county voters will be able to participate in this election.
Evans had the support of the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA) in her previous bid, which she lost narrowly to Jill Ortman-Fouse. As former MCEA President Bonnie Cullison tweeted her enthusiastic support, my guess is she will again.