Tag Archives: Baltimore City

SEIU Targets Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam for Defeat

By Adam Pagnucco.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of Maryland’s most powerful labor unions, has targeted District 44 Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam for defeat by running one of their own against her.  Aletheia McCaskill, a rank-and-file leader in SEIU Local 500, is announcing her challenge to the incumbent on Saturday.  Nathan-Pulliam has antagonized SEIU and several other progressive organizations by dragging her heels on last session’s sick leave bill, which she ultimately voted for.

Several things make this race interesting.

1.  SEIU has a record of defeating Senate incumbents, including Nat Exum and David Harrington (Prince George’s County), Rona Kramer (Montgomery County) and George Della (Baltimore City). Their negative mail against Exum was particularly devastating.

One of at least seven anti-Exum mailers from SEIU.

2.  Nathan-Pulliam has not had a truly competitive election in her entire career. She walked into her current Senate seat after the incumbent retired and had five straight cakewalk House races before that.  She is also not a great fundraiser, raising $77,695 in the 2006 cycle, $72,363 in the 2010 cycle and $124,732 in the 2014 cycle.  She reported $33,533 in the bank in January.  Those are easy numbers for a big organization like SEIU to overcome.

3.  Many labor organizations have supported Nathan-Pulliam over the years, including AFT Maryland, MSEA, the Fire Fighters, the Police, UFCW Local 400, several building trades local unions, the AFL-CIO and SEIU. Those unions have given her more than $30,000 over the last four cycles.  How many of them will follow SEIU’s lead and dump the incumbent?

SEIU endorses Nathan-Pulliam in 2014.

4.  Nathan-Pulliam has not represented many of her current constituents all that long. True, she has been in office since 1994.  But her district has changed substantially since then.  District 44 now includes a portion of the western part of Baltimore City along with Lochearn, Woodlawn, Catonsville and the areas around US-40 and I-70 in Baltimore County.  Prior to that, Nathan-Pulliam represented District 10.  During the 2000s, District 10 did not include any part of the City and during the 1990s, the City portions it did include are not part of today’s District 44.  This somewhat erodes the advantage a decades-long incumbent would normally have.

5.  At age 78, Nathan-Pulliam could decide not to fight SEIU and simply retire.

We reprint McCaskill’s kickoff announcement below.

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Event: Working Families Democrat and SEIU Union Leader Aletheia McCaskill announces a Democratic primary challenge in Maryland’s 44th State Senatorial District

Date:  September 9, 2017, 2:00-4:00

Where: Karate Family Center 1101 N. Rolling Road, Catonsville, MD 21228

Aletheia McCaskill is a wife, mother, activist and advocate who has owned her own small business providing early learning child care services to the residents of West Baltimore and Western Baltimore County for over 20 years.  She got involved on issues of economic justice such as the fight for fair wages and earned sick leave legislation because of the reality she saw in the lives of the families whose children she provided care for.  She has been the Statewide Political Member Leader for the largest Maryland local in the Service Employees International Union and has been a leader in the fight in Baltimore and Annapolis to pass the Women’s Economic Security Agenda- a package of bills aimed at  providing some measure of economic stability for the working families of the 44th.  Aletheia believes that the 44th District deserved a choice, she wants to be our voice in Annapolis fighting for stronger schools and for finally giving our Seniors the services and facilities WITHIN the 44th, that they deserve.

https://www.mccaskill44.com/

For Press or scheduling, please contact:

Mark Jason McLaurin, Political Director

SEIU Local 500

901 Russell Avenue, Suite 300

Gaithersburg, MD 20879

(301) 740-7100 – Voice

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Cory McCray to Announce for Senate

By Adam Pagnucco.

Next Saturday, freshman Delegate Cory McCray (D-45) is holding a campaign event in which he is expected to announce a challenge to long-time Baltimore City Senator Nathaniel McFadden.  It’s a gutsy move that will be one of the marquee races in the city.  The Baltimore Sun and Maryland Matters have both covered the impending race.  We reprint McCray’s announcement below.

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Special Announcement about the 2018 Elections

What: Friends, family, and neighbors across Baltimore’s 45th Legislative District will gather for a special announcement from Delegate Cory McCray

When: Saturday, September 16, 2017 @ 10:00 A.M.

Where: Clifton Park – 2555 Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 21218 (Across From Fairmount Harford High School)

Who: Lifelong Baltimore resident and member of the House of Delegates, Delegate Cory McCray

Why: Baltimore is a strong community filled with potential, and we deserve political leadership who will help turn that potential into a reality.

Growing up in Baltimore, Cory could have easily become a statistic. He changed his life when he found an opportunity to do better. He wants to provide those same opportunities to the residents in the 45th district. Though the challenges Baltimore faces are significant, Cory is prepared to deal with those challenges head on. Baltimore is a town that has passion and determination to push through these difficult times. September 16th, Cory will make an announcement regarding his plans to fight for the community that raised him. The 45th district deserves a leader who will listen and provide services to improve the quality of life, where the community are partners in progress.

Cory McCray, is a husband, father of four, union electrician and, he’s willing to make the hard choices necessary to begin the healing in Baltimore.

Cory V. McCray

corymccray@gmail.com

www.corymccray.com

Facebook – http://on.fb.me/gAIEJ0

Twitter – @corymccray

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Ex-Felons Demand Removal of Baltimore City Board of Elections Chair for Voter Suppression

From the Communities United Press Release:

“We have the right to due process!”

Ex-Felons and Members of the Community Demand the Immediate Removal of Sr. Director, Armistead Jones.

Baltimore, Md. – Communities United chapter of Ex-Felons are holding a press conference and rally to call for the immediate dismissal of Sr. Director, Armistead Jones. Under the leadership of Mr. Armistead Jones, the Baltimore City Board of Elections has made a mockery of the voting process, which can be viewed as voter suppression. Numerous errors have occurred under the leadership of Mr. Jones;  enough for him to be called before a special hearing in the Maryland Senate to explain the debacle of the most recent Primary Election. Even at that time, Sr. Director Jones has repeatedly failed the members of his staff, while never taking any personal accountability or ownership of the failings in his role as Sr. Director of the Baltimore Office of the Board of Elections. Mr. Jones’ position of leadership requires that personal accountability for the proper execution of all tasks be solely his. Perry Hopkins, a Field Organizer for Communities United and Ex-Felon states, “Voting is the bedrock of our democracy and as such, we must have absolute faith in the process and be able to rely on those entrusted to handle our votes, accurately count our votes and accurately report the results in an orderly and timely manner.” As a direct result of mismanagement by the current leadership of Sr. Director, Armistead Jones, this was clearly not the case across Baltimore City in the last and most recent Primary Election cycle.

Sr. Director Jones has repeatedly faulted the members of his staff, while never taking any personal accountability or ownership of the failings in his role as the head administrator and Sr. Director of the Baltimore Office of the Board of Elections. Mr. Jones’ position of leadership requires that personal accountability for the proper execution of all tasks be solely his.  Kimberly Haven, an Ex-Felon and advocate stated, “It is our contention, that the actions of Mr. Jones (and his office) not only violated the basic tenet of trust in the execution of our voting process, but in our Democracy as well.”

“I think it’s a personal matter of how he feels. He doesn’t want to look at the Ex-Felons who want to vote, because he’s not concerned about our rights,” says Reginald Smith.

All of the problems listed below, happened on Sr. Director, Armistead Jones’ watch:

1. Several polls did not open or close on time, thereby suppressing the vote, as voters were turned away.

2. Unlawful letters were sent to numerous newly enfranchised Ex-Felon Voters, discouraging them to register to vote, which is an act of voter suppression.

3. There were not sufficient numbers of functionally trained judges to service voters at polling sites.

4. Of his own volition, the Sr. Director certified election results before all votes were accurately counted.

5. Votes and voting ballots were improperly handled and miscounted. Provisional ballots were scanned, over 1000 more votes were erroneously cast than were checked in, and boxes of ballots were missing only to be found at a later date.

6. His current actions have now breached the public trust in the proper and accurate execution of the voting process and his continued tenure also serves as an act of voter suppression.

7. Reasons supporting the termination of Mr. Jones’ tenure clearly outweigh reasons to retain him, as indicated by his recent performance in the service of Baltimore City Voters.

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Franchot’s Staff Troll Ferguson on Facebook

Hogan and Franchot Get Ready for the Cameras

Governor Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot have been grandstanding in fine fashion lately. They are both outraged that Baltimore County and City are not installing air conditioning fast enough throughout the school system.

Hogan has more control over the budget than any other governor in the nation. He could have easily included the money for A/C in the budget without an iota of opposition but chose not to do so. Instead, he has set up a grandstanding moment with Franchot to deny the City and County monies needed for other school projects until they agree to install A/C in one year.

They kindly dumped the decision of what other projects the City and County should forego for the A/C on the Maryland School Construction Committee (IAC). Normally, this Committee reviews local projects to make sure they are ready to go and comply with other complex state requirements. Local governments determine which projects are needed in line with the Republican principle of local control – something that has gone out the window here.

Former Sen. and IAC Member Barbara Hoffman is shrewd and nobody’s patsy. She said correctly that this wasn’t the Committee’s job and moved to pass the job back to Hogan and Franchot on the Board of Public Works, who are eager to take credit for A/C but don’t want to explain why they are nixing taking care of problems like unsafe drinking water, fire safety and collapsing roofs. Even Hogan’s representatives on the Board voted for Hoffman’s motion.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has gone one better and agreed to speed up the A/C but on the condition that the State reimburse the County for its share. Will Hogan and Franchot put their money with their mouths and agree to Kamenetz’s plan? Or will they demand that the County install A/C but not fix other very serious problems important to student safety?

Franchot’s Facebooking Staff

Meanwhile, Franchot’s staff seems to have little else to do but harry Sen. Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) on Facebook for standing up for his jurisdiction’s priorities. Montgomery’s state legislative delegation doesn’t try to reorder our County’s priorities either.

Here is Len Foxwell, Franchot’s Chief of Staff, interrogating Sen. Ferguson during normal business hours:

Ferguson-Foxwell1

Apparently, Deputy Chief of Staff Emmanuel Welsh also has time to attack Ferguson on his Facebook page:

Ferguson-Walsh1Ferguson-Welsh2

I suppose Communications Director Peter Hamm is arguably doing his job by spending time on Facebook taking potshots at Sen. Ferguson:

Ferguson-Hamm1

And here is more of Chief of Staff Foxwell:

Ferguson-Foxwell2

Communications Director Peter Hamm condescendingly calls Sen. Ferguson “pal” on Facebook. Proof, once again, that you may grow up but adolescence is forever.

Ferguson-Hamm2

Press Secretary Alan Brody is also getting in on the fun:

Ferguson-Brody1

I never understand why politicians, let alone their staff, go after other politicians on Facebook pages besides their own. It rarely looks good.

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Top Eight Young Guns of Baltimore City

1. Cory McCray – As far as I’m concerned, there is not a single person in Baltimore (or Maryland) who doesn’t think Cory McCray will win a seat in the legislature on June 24th. One incumbent actually dropped out to avoid facing him in the primary–and I don’t think anyone blames her. Cory has been a recognized leader in the IBEW for years. He’s also infectiously charming. Future Mayor?

Anonymous: Cory is a graduate of a five-year apprenticeship program with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 24. For the past four years before becoming a candidate in Baltimore’s  District 45 you could not say union organizing in Baltimore without mentioning Cory’s name. Corey also is the co creator of the B.E.S.T. Democratic Club.

2. Dy Reed – The eternally savvy in-house lobbyist for the Maryland Department of Human Resources. Currently in law school at the University of Baltimore, she attended Columbia University for undergrad. Incredible potential.

Anonymous: When Dy isn’t lobbying in Annapolis in her official capacity as government relations rep for the Maryland HR, she is one of the most active members of the Baltimore City Young Dems. Dy was also recently recognized for her work in Baltimore by the B.E.S.T. Democratic Club.

3. Brian Hammock – I’m reasonably certain that Brian was the youngest statewide field director in the country in 2006 when he oversaw the ground game for O’Malley’s first statewide run. After a stint in the Governor’s office, he’s practicing law with Mid-Atlantic powerhouse Venable LLP. He’ll be an insider from city hall to the statehouse until the day he dies.

4. Matt Stegman – The nicest, funniest dude in Maryland politics. With a resume that includes lots of real races both in Maryland (O’Malley and Kratovil) and in more competitive states (Ohio and Pennsylvania). he currently works for House Environmental Matters Committee Chair (and contender for the Speaker’s Chair) Maggie McIntosh. At night, he goes to the University of Baltimore Law School (a.k.a. finishing school for lobbyists).

Anonymous: Like his boss – smart, progressive, & has the best sense of humor in Annapolis.

5. Liz Richards – Liz is a former DSCC independent expenditures staffer who is currently managing Brooke Lierman’s surefire delegate campaign in District 46. I fail to see how they lose that race, and Liz should be well positioned to capitalize on the victory.

6. Benjamin Smith – The Student Government President at UMD Law School is already a published author (the book was about community agriculture). He has 2018 written all over him. Kentucky native but looking to move up in Charm City.

Anonymous: Ben recently moved to Maryland to attend law school, and he has quickly asserted himself in the political community. Ben makes no secret that he holds deep political ambitions in the state of Maryland, and in Baltimore, in particular. Look for him to make a run for elected office shortly after he graduates law school and passes the bar.

7. Anthony Jones – This Baltimore City native and Martha McKenna protege previously worked for US Senator Ben Cardin and Comptroller Peter Franchot. Someone to have on your side in the upcoming 2016 municipal elections.

8. Tashea Brodgins – Currently, she works at the Department of State and was previously with the Executive Office of The President. Tashea was the President of the Baltimore City Young Democrats for five or six years–A remarkable run for an organization known for high turn over–and remains tied in locally as a member of the City Central Committee.

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Putting a Face on the Victims of Gun Violence

Two teenagers, Najee Thomas and Michael Mayfield, were shot this past week in Baltimore. Najee was 14 and Michael was 17. According to reports, “Michael was passionate about the Junior ROTC, band and the Inner Harbor Project. He played for the Edmondson High School baseball team.” Najee worked at a smoothie stand in Camden Yards and dreamed of being a lawyer.

I’m sure all reading this join me in expressing deepest condolences to their families.

Michael MayfieldMichael Mayfield

Mayfield was a student at Edmondson High school. He was a member of JROTC, a standout baseball player and a youth leader with the Inner Harbor Project.

Read More at: http://foxbaltimore.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/17yearold-high-school-standout-killed-27235.shtml?wap=0&app_data=%7B%22pi%22%3A%2243793_1397834796_1577214203%22%2C%22pt%22%3A%22twitter%22%7D#.U1co1ce1bZg

Mayfield was a student at Edmondson High school. He was a member of JROTC, a standout baseball player and a youth leader with the Inner Harbor Project.

Read More at: http://foxbaltimore.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/17yearold-high-school-standout-killed-27235.shtml?wap=0&app_data=%7B%22pi%22%3A%2243793_1397834796_1577214203%22%2C%22pt%22%3A%22twitter%22%7D#.U1co1ce1bZg

Mayfield was a student at Edmondson High school. He was a member of JROTC, a standout baseball player and a youth leader with the Inner Harbor Project.

Read More at: http://foxbaltimore.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/17yearold-high-school-standout-killed-27235.shtml?wap=0&app_data=%7B%22pi%22%3A%2243793_1397834796_1577214203%22%2C%22pt%22%3A%22twitter%22%7D#.U1co1ce1bZg

Mayfield was a student at Edmondson High school. He was a member of JROTC, a standout baseball player and a youth leader with the Inner Harbor Project.

Read More at: http://foxbaltimore.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/17yearold-high-school-standout-killed-27235.shtml?wap=0&app_data=%7B%22pi%22%3A%2243793_1397834796_1577214203%22%2C%22pt%22%3A%22twitter%22%7D#.U1co1ce1bZg

Mayfield was a student at Edmondson High school. He was a member of JROTC, a standout baseball player and a youth leader with the Inner Harbor Project.

Read More at: http://foxbaltimore.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/17yearold-high-school-standout-killed-27235.shtml?wap=0&app_data=%7B%22pi%22%3A%2243793_1397834796_1577214203%22%2C%22pt%22%3A%22twitter%22%7D#.U1co1ce1bZg

Najee Thomas

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Baltimore City State’s Attorney Race Rating

greggbernsteinBaltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein

Gregg Bernstein pulled off the impossible in 2010. Bernstein, a wealthy white Jewish lawyer toppled an African-American State’s Attorney in a heavily African-American city–though less so than in the recent past–known for its racially charged politics.

His odds are much better this time around. He faces Marilyn Mosby, wife of rising star City Councilman Nick Mosby, in the primary and independent Russell Neaverdon in the general election. Mosby and Neaverdon are both African American.

The demographics of Baltimore City mean that Bernstein will have to run hard. With $350,000 in his account as of January 1st, he will have the resources to do so. He will also be aided by a team of sharp advisers, including Ann Beegle and SKDKnickerbocker.

Mosby will be competitive with $100,000 in her account,. Still, given his substantial cash advantage and formidable organization, Bernstein is favored in the primary. In heavily Democratic Baltimore it will be exceedingly difficult for Neaverdon to break through.

Primary Rating: Likely Bernstein
General Election Rating: Safe Bernstein

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Three Delegates, One Seat

D44NewDistricts 44A and 44B

A previous post examined the Senate race in drastically reconfigured District 44–the only one in which the challenger is favored over the incumbent–so I thought I’d look at the competitive delegate race in District 44A.

District 44 drew the short end of the stick in Baltimore City’s redistricting game of musical chairs with most of the district moved out of the City into the County. As a result, three incumbents are now competing for the sole delegate seat in District 44A, the portion left in the City.

District 44A has three incumbents vying for one seat: Dels. Keith Haynes, Kieffer Mitchell, and Melvin Stukes.

Del. Keiffer Mitchell, heir to the Mitchell political dynasty, is a nice guy who came very close to first-place finisher Haynes in his first delegate campaign in 2010. Del. Keith Haynes is running for his fourth term, where he sits on the Appropriations Committee, but has not been a stand out.

Del. Melvin Stukes came in third but well behind Mitchell and Haynes. The City Paper criticized Stukes for his fecklessness as long ago as 1999 when he served on the City Council:

In two terms on the council Stukes has made his mark as an anti- environmentalist, an unflinching rubber stamp for the mayor’s pet projects, and an incurable windbag, but he’s utterly failed to distinguish himself as a representative of the people.

Stukes also attracted deserved negative attention during the fierce debate over marriage equality. After sponsoring the bill for several years, he claimed he thought it allowed civil unions rather than marriage even though the word “marriage” appears in the title. Much was also made of the heat Stukes took from his barber:

In West Baltimore, Lenny Clay, the politically powerful owner of the West Baltimore barbershop Lenny’s House of Naturals, gave Del. Melvin Stukes an earful for sponsoring the same-sex marriage bill in the House.

He recalled telling Stukes: “You should burn your Bible, because you are no longer following your book.”

Instead Stukes took his name off the bill and will not support it.

When the going gets tough, Stukes goes away.

I’m sure Mitchell faced similar criticism from some friends but he seemed very much at peace with his decision and happy to take a leadership role in pushing for the bill in the House. In Stukes’ case, we can either believe he is that stupid or unreliable. Based on his public comments, he wants us to go with stupid.

Regardless, it seems likely that Stukes will be out of the House after the primary. He fared poorly four years ago compared to Haynes and Mitchell. Moreover, he had just $10K cash in his campaign kitty compared to $32K for Haynes and $24K for Mitchell. None can raise more money until the session ends.

It should be a tough race between Haynes and Mitchell. Haynes has four terms under his belt so he has name recognition in the district as well as the cash advantage. Mitchell already showed he is a fierce campaigner in his first outing four years ago.

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