Tag Archives: Brian Frosh

Republicans Claim Voter Fraud

In an eerie reflection of a past Simpsons Halloween special, Republicans are claiming that the Democrats are trying to steal the election in Maryland:

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This sort of claim fits in with the Republican meme (and form of denial) that there is no way Democrats could win elections honestly, even in deep blue Maryland.

Here is why the fraud claim doesn’t make sense to me:

(1) Brian Frosh doesn’t need to steal an election. He is going to win. Easily. And unlike Nixon, he’s not paranoid enough to do it anyway.

(2) If one was going to program the machines to commit fraud, it makes no sense to show it on the final overview ballot page.

(3) But let’s imagine this is how it occurred anyway. Even if only 1 in 5 voters noticed the fraud on the overview page, there would be numerous reports of the problem.

(4) Democrats want to replace the machines. Let’s hope we can get a bipartisan consensus to spend the money in the next General Assembly.

I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories from either party. If something went wrong with this machine or this ballot, I look forward to it being investigated. But the cries from the GOP of fraud have consistently been far louder than their commentary when such claims are debunked.

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Raskin Supports Frosh, Madaleno

Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-20) is fighting back against the misuse of quotations from him that give the sense that he has endorsed opponents of AG Candidate Brian Frosh and Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-18):

Politics can be a tough business because anybody can say anything, and before it’s all over, they probably will.  But the truth is important, and I want to be clear about something to any of my friends out there.  When all the dust settles on Tuesday, Brian Frosh better be the Democratic nominee for Attorney General and Rich Madaleno better be coming back as the Senator from District 18.  These two public servants—I do not use the term lightly–are indispensable to the people of Montgomery County and Maryland.   Indispensable.  We would not have the toughest gun safety law in America without Brian Frosh, and we would not have marriage equality without Rich Madaleno.  Go out and vote for them with pride in everything they have accomplished and confidence in both their public honor and their passionate commitment to our community.

The boldface is mine.

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Aisha Braveboy-PPMW Controversy Part III

Aisha Braveboy had such an profound change of heart on marriage equality that it affected her vote before it happened.


Part I publicized Del. Braveboy’s response
to the questions raised about Planned Parenthood of Metro Washington (PPMW) Action Fund’s 100% rating in light of their question on marriage quality and Del. Braveboy’s past staunch opposition. Similarly, Part II posted PPMW’s press release.

Today, I explain why both responses are problematic.

Memory Lane

As PPMW outlined in their response, Del. Braveboy has a long history of opposition to not just marriage equality legislation but many other earlier efforts to advance LGBT equality.

In 2008, she so strongly opposed even basic LGBT rights that she even voted against hospital visitation and decision making rights for domestic partners. Del. Braveboy also voted against exemption from the property transfer tax for domestic partners in 2008. She voted against inheritance tax exemption for domestic partners in 2009.

And of course, Del. Braveboy voted against marriage equality in 2012, capping a long established record of consistent and emphatic opposition to equality for LGBT Marylanders.

Evolved or Expedient?

Del. Braveboy describes her views as having “evolved” like those of President Obama. Except that President Obama had a history of support for other LGBT rights besides marriage. He further had a public record of advocacy for treating LGBT individuals with basic dignity–not implacable opposition to LGBT rights and an array of negative public statements.

Moreover, President Obama “evolved” in advance of the 2012 referendum on the Maryland marriage equality legislation and his own reelection. In contrast, Del. Braveboy’s public change of heart occurred only after the referendum at a politically convenient moment for her attorney general bid. Sounds more like a Damascene conversion than evolution.

Additionally, Del. Braveboy explained her opposition to marriage equality in terms of her consistently expressed belief that it should be left up to the voters. An odd position for a candidate running for attorney general with the tagline of “Justice for All Marylanders” to suggest putting rights up for a vote.

And her story doesn’t add up. Del. Braveboy says that she changed her mind in advance of the referendum and cast her vote for marriage equality. She ascribes her change of heart to her experience during her pro bono representation of “a same-sex couple in a case where a cooperative housing association attempted to force one of the partners out of their family home and refused to recognize their familial relationship.”

Except that a search of the Maryland Judicial Database reveals that the case, Village Green v. Carroll, cited by Del. Braveboy as a “defining moment” in her evolution on the issue, was filed in October 2013–well after the 2012 referendum:

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Aisha Braveboy had such an profound change of heart on marriage equality that it affected her vote before it happened.

Planned Parenthood’s Response

PPMW deserves kudos for including the marriage equality question on their questionnaire and, more importantly, their steadfast support for LGBT rights. Additionally, their statement is at pains to indicate that Del. Braveboy’s opponent, Sen. Brian Frosh, has a far superior record on this issue.

And I agree with their view that we should welcome politicians who evolve toward more favorable positions. Nonetheless, since all of the Democratic candidates for AG are legislators in the General Assembly, asking a question based on how they voted on Question 6 in the privacy of the voting booth was a mistake.

The votes cast in the legislature were of far greater moment and also verifiable. That’s why virtually all interest groups develop legislative ratings based on roll-call votes. In this case, there is also no evidence of public support before the election when it might have helped in the fight to win the vote. Interest groups should care far more about actions than private thoughts.

Two Thought Experiments

Would Del. Braveboy–who consistently opposed LGBT rights and argued that it should be up to the voters–now be presenting herself as a supporter of LGBT rights or saying that we need to respect the will of the voters if the vote on Question 6 had gone the other way?

How would PPMW rate a candidate who had always opposed abortion rights but in a questionnaire just before the election said that she had a change of heart on the issue?

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Braveboy’s Planned Parenthood Rating Puzzle

AishaAisha Braveboy

Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington (PPMW) is issuing candidate ratings based on questionnaires. PPMW has given two attorney general candidates, Aisha Braveboy and Brian Frosh, ratings of 100%. Jon Cardin is not listed.

One of PPMW’s questions involved support for marriage equality and Question 6, the 2012 referendum. But Del. Braveboy voted against marriage equality in the House and was not a supporter during the referendum.

Did PPMW ignore the marriage equality question in tallying its candidate ratings? Was Del. Braveboy forthcoming in response to this question? Or did PPMW just make a mistake?

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Equality Maryland Endorses Brian Frosh

From Equality Maryland’s press release:

“Brian Frosh has been a firm ally and leader on LGBT issues in the General Assembly. He has the maturity, experience and commitment to be an effective advocate for the LGBT communities of Maryland as our next Attorney General,” said Equality Maryland Executive Director Carrie Evans.

Evans added, “During the just-completed General Assembly session, Equality Maryland worked closely with Senator Frosh on passage of SB 212, the Fairness for All Marylanders Act. He worked with Senate leaders and advocates to shepherd the bill through the Senate. His leadership was instrumental in achieving the 8-3 vote for the bill in the Judicial Proceedings Committee which he chairs.”

“Equality Maryland members were already aware of Brian Frosh’s record of support on our issues.  During his interview with us he spoke convincingly about his commitment to fairness and how his own convictions were shaped by the example of his father, who supported civil rights for African Americans as a member of the Montgomery County Council more than 50 years ago,” said Equality Maryland PAC Chair Tim Williams.

“Senator Frosh has more than 35 years of experience as a practicing attorney and has served in the General Assembly for 27 years.  He understands the duties of the Attorney General and articulates a clear vision for how this office can continue to move Maryland forward on fairness or equality,” said Equality Maryland, Inc. Board Chair Stephanie Bernstein, adding, “We strongly urge the LGBT community and its allies to support Senator Frosh in his bid to be Maryland’s next Attorney General.”

To find out more information about Senator Frosh and his campaign, click here.

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Simmons and Frosh Makeup and Let the Dogs Out

dogbite voteVote on “Dog Bite” bill–Yea is the Responsibility Vote

Not all political feuds last forever. In a previous post, I mentioned how Del. Lou Simmons (D 17) had stated in the media that Sen. Brian Frosh had “reneged” on a deal and was “incompetent.” Frosh was also apparently feckless and disappointing.

Such a louse. But apparently, all is forgiven. In a recent Gazette article, Simmons now called Frosh “the indispensable man.” You can feel the kvelling all the way from Annapolis to Montgomery County.

No mystery why this happened. Frosh played a leading role in amending the Senate dog bite bill much closer to the much weaker version backed by Simmons. In his comments, Simmons went out of his way to say that the Senate did not cave to the House but he “doth protest too much, methinks.”

Because that’s what happened. Otherwise, why would Simmons have his Damascene conversion on Frosh? The version adopted by the Senate will enshrine the one-bite rule into law. This rule means that if a dog has not bitten before that the owner gets a pass on liability no matter the damage even if unprovoked.

I look forward to the State creating a dog bite database.

Kudos to Sen. Bobby Zirkin for fighting the good fight for a stricter interpretation that makes sense. At least his efforts now mean that owners with unleashed dogs that bite will now be held responsible. Above is the vote on the original Zirkin amendment to keep the stricter and more sensible interpretation.

Kudos also to Zirkin for at least making it so that unleashed dogs will be held responsible even without the first bite.

For the record, I don’t think dog owners who are walking a leashed dog should be held responsible if someone pets them without permission. But I don’t see why Simmons wants to allow one who lunges and maims someone to get a pass just because there is no evidence of a previous bite, whether or not one occurred.

 

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Frick Upends D16 Race

bfrickBanner122012

In a surprise just before the filing deadline, Del. Bill Frick (D 16) changed his plans and abandoned his bid for attorney general:

Today I will withdraw my candidacy for the Democratic Nomination for State Attorney General and file for re-election to the Maryland House of Delegates.

My two terms in the House have been exceptional.  I’ve been a part of a team that has enacted marriage equality for all Maryland couples, repealed the death penalty, protected consumers from abuses, and begun the task of reforming our tax code.

While I know that I could have been a valuable asset to the State as Attorney General, there is still much to be done as a member of the House representing District 16.

Bill was always a long shot for AG. His withdrawal from that race can’t help but aid Sen. Brian Frosh from the same legislative district in his bid to beat Del. Jon Cardin and Del. Aisha Braveboy for the Democratic nomination for AG.

Rumor had it that Bill might retire from politics if he didn’t win election to AG, so the switch to the delegate race is a bit of a double surprise–at least to your gentle correspondent. In this case, a politician staying in office is good news.

Bill is a terrific delegate: smart, effective, and well-liked by his colleagues. He is a shoo-in for reelection to the House of Delegates and I assume he will slate with incumbent Sen. Susan Lee and Del. Ariana Kelly.

In possibly the understatement of the year, Marc Korman, Hrant Jamgochian and Jordan Cooper have to be mighty unhappy tonight. In my recent preview of the D16 race, I gave Marc and Hrant a strong edge to win (though left Jordan in the hunt) and hinted that Susan and Ariana might slate with them.

Bill’s reentry changes that. Only one delegate seat is now open, though all three are up for reelection. Choosing between Marc and Hrant for a slate is not an easy call. We’ll see if the incumbents make a choice or just leave it up to the voters.

If I had to bet, I’d say they do the latter. In Montgomery County, incumbents don’t often slate with non-incumbents, though there are signs that this tradition is falling by the wayside. Neither Marc nor Hrant has such a clear edge that it makes it easy for the incumbents to opt for one over the other.

The D16 race for the third slot just got much more competitive and interesting.

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Simmons Backs the Wrong Dog

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In 2012, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that pit bulls are an inherently dangerous breed. In order to avoid massive emails on this topic, I will not wade into that question. (Write Judge Judy instead; she thinks they’re dangerous.)

The Court’s decision made it so that it is not necessary to show negligence by a pit bull’s owner in order to collect damages for a pit bull dog bite. Pit bull owners worry that the Court’s decision will lead landlords to bar pit bulls and that animal shelters will euthanize them —both of which are possible. In short, they demand an end to pit bull discrimination.

The issue has become a serious problem. The General Assembly wants to eliminate the single breed focus but still protect the public from dog bites. However, it has been unable to resolve this problem due to Del. Luiz Simmons’ recalcitrance.

Simmons wants a one bite rule. Essentially, unless an owner had knowledge that a dog bit people through previous experience, the owner could not be held liable for a dog’s first bite. The one bite rule would even protect owners who negligently fail to obey leash laws.

As a result of Simmons’ demands, the bill died in the last session of the General Assembly, as reported by the Baltimore Sun:

At issue is an amendment adopted by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, which [Sen. Brian] Frosh chairs, on Thursday night. Simmons said the amendment “killed” the bill. Frosh said Simmons is overreacting.

“He told me he’s going to kill the Senate bill as a result,” Frosh said. “I think he’s making a mistake. I think we’re very close to passing a good piece of legislation.” . . .

Simmons charged Friday that an amendment added to the bill . . .  — proposed by Sen. Robert A. Zirkin and adopted 7-4 — would expose hundreds of thousands of owners of other breeds of dog to substantially the same strict liability standard as the court applied to pit bulls. . . .

Frosh said he fought hard to defeat the amendment — an account confirmed by several members. While Frosh said he doesn’t like the amendment, which requires the owner to provide “clear and convincing” proof there was no reason to suspect a dog would bite, he said it’s a long way from strict liability — an almost automatic legal presumption that the owner is responsible.

Simmons preferred to kill the bill rather than let it go to a conference committee to work out the differences, stating that Sen. Brian Frosh “reneged” and is “incompetent” if he couldn’t defeat the amendment.

Frosh, now a candidate for Maryland Attorney General, and Simmons have reconciled and the bill has been reintroduced this year without the amendment that Simmons intensely dislikes. However, Sen. Zirkin has introduced a bill with the stricter language. Zirkin feels strongly but on the other side.

Zirkin’s explained his views in the Washington Post:

Zirkin told his colleagues that everyone agrees the law shouldn’t discriminate against pit bulls. He said the only remaining question is whether owners should be held liable when their dogs have no prior history of violence. And Zirkin considers it unjust to make a victim pay for medical bills if that person didn’t provoke the attack.

Tony Solesky, the father of the boy who was mauled, and their attorney, Kevin Dunne, also spoke against Frosh’s bill.

“It’s not a compromise — it is a surrender,” Dunne said. “The victims will lose.”

In other states with “strict liability” laws, insurance companies often cover the dog owners’ expenses.

Zirkin is right. Owners should be held responsible for the actions of their dog unless they can prove convincingly that the dog was provoked. The effect of an injury is the same whether it’s the first or second bite. Either way, medical bills should absolutely be covered. The number of previous bites seem more relevant to the question of punitive damages.

As the Gazette has reported, Del. Simmons’ thinks that demands for stricter liability are rooted in “histrionics:”

In its November report, titled “Dog Bites in Maryland and Other States: Data, Insurance Coverage and Liability,” the Department of Legislative Services found that since 2005, only one death in Maryland was attributed to a dog bite.

Compared to other states, Maryland has an average number of dog bite injuries, the report said, noting that very few states had data available.

Among injuries from external causes — such as from motor vehicle accidents, firearms, water, fire, machinery, falls, medications and more — dogs bites accounted for about 1 percent. Maryland logged about 465,000 externally caused injuries in 2010, of which about 4,800 were dog bites.

“The facts are an antidote to the epidemic of disinformation and factoids about dog bites and the histrionics that have accompanied it,” Simmons said in a statement provided to The Gazette.

My guess is that means around 4,800 more people per year who disagree strongly with Del. Simmons. While I imagine most injuries are relatively mild, some aren’t. The anecdotal cases derided by Simmons include some very serious ones.

Supporters of a loose standard claim that this is a boondoggle for trial lawyers. But the tighter standard provides a much stronger incentive for owners to take responsibility for their dogs. And responsibility is the key word here. Should the responsibility rest with the dog owner or the injured person?

Seems obvious to me.

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