Tag Archives: Peter Franchot

Franchot to General Assembly: Time for Lamone to Go

By Adam Pagnucco.

Comptroller Peter Franchot, who has previously called for the resignation of state elections administrator Linda Lamone, has sent the email below to every member of the General Assembly.

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Dear Senators and Delegates:

In case you missed it, I wanted to share with you this piece by The Seventh State’s Adam Pagnucco regarding the fiasco that unfolded earlier this week in our primary elections as well as the historical context of Linda Lamone’s leadership of the State Board of Elections.

Like you, I was deeply disappointed and remain very frustrated by the manner in which the June 2 elections were administered by the State Board of Elections, specifically in Baltimore City. The City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, and our country are already facing far too many existential challenges without corroded public confidence in the integrity of our democratic process and in the legitimacy of the outcomes.

As you may know, during Wednesday’s Board of Public Works meeting, Lt. Governor Rutherford and I joined together in a bipartisan fashion to call for Administrator Lamone’s resignation. The failure to properly execute the June 2 election, along with the challenges that we are all aware of in previous elections, warrant Administrator Lamone’s resignation or removal from office.

However, as you know, thanks to a 2005 bill enacted by the General Assembly, widely referred to as the “Linda Lamone for Life” law, her termination by the State Board of Elections is made all the more challenging thanks to the passage of this legislation. The law now requires that the Administrator – even if terminated by the State Board of Elections – can remain in office until the Senate advises and consents to a replacement. No other employee of state government enjoys this level of statutory job protection.

The choice that the Senate makes on the future of Linda Lamone is one between efficient stewardship of our elections and gross administrative incompetence. It is a choice between voter empowerment and voter disenfranchisement. It is a choice between a system in which people can have confidence in the integrity of their institutions of government and one in that makes them question the legitimacy of our elections and outcomes. It is my sincere hope that the Senate will come to the same conclusion that I and the vast majority of Marylanders have made: it is time for new, competent leadership at the State Board of Elections.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Peter Franchot
Comptroller

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Franchot: Lamone Must Go

By Adam Pagnucco.

Comptroller Peter Franchot has joined Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford in calling for the resignation of State Board of Elections administrator Linda Lamone in the wake of the botched Baltimore City Council District 1 election. Franchot made the following statement on Facebook.

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Yes, we do have a problem with the Baltimore City elections. A very big problem, in fact. Namely, voter disenfranchisement through gross administrative incompetence and widespread, citywide irregularities.

Inexcusable delays in the disbursement of ballots.

Inaccurate, misleading information on those same ballots.

Firsthand accounts, of which there are far too many to reference here, of Marylanders enduring unacceptable barriers to their constitutional right to vote.

Such as ballots that were never received in the mail.

Unacceptably long lines at the limited number of polling stations that were actually open. And people being told at the polls that they had already voted when, in fact, that wasn’t the case.

Bizarre and obviously mistaken vote totals being posted to the our state’s official board of elections website that caused undue public confusion.

And this morning, more than 12 hours after the polls were supposed to have closed in Baltimore City, the residents and business owners of this city in crisis had no timely updates on the outcome of the races for mayor, council president, city comptroller and various city council seats.

All we can be sure of today is that people who had the right to vote didn’t receive a ballot. People who didn’t have the right to vote DID. And that, regardless of whatever outcomes are eventually posted by our state and city elections boards, they will be subjected to widespread skepticism if not credible legal challenges.

Our city, state and country are already facing far too many existential challenges without corroded public confidence in the integrity of our democratic process and in the legitimacy of the outcomes. Yet that’s what is happening today, yet again, in our state.

It’s time for an end to the endless excuses. It’s time for a new culture of accountability and competence. It’s time for our longtime state elections administrator, Linda Lamone, and our city’s election director, Armstead Jones, to resign from their respective positions.

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Franchot: Reopen Outdoor Seating at Restaurants

By Adam Pagnucco.

Comptroller Peter Franchot has called for the reopening of outdoor seating at restaurants. His statement on Facebook is reprinted below.

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At the start of today’s meeting of the Board of Public Works, I called for the State of Maryland to begin the process of allowing our restaurants to serve customers OUTSIDE on patios, sidewalks and even streets that are closed for vehicular traffic.

While I do not believe we are ready to allow indoor seating and service, based upon all of the available data, I feel that we have to make this allowance in order to give our restaurants – the cornerstone of a hospitality sector that employs 458,000 people in our state – a fighting chance to survive. They just cannot make it on carryout and deliveries alone.

This new outdoor seating policy would have to be done with true adherence to social distancing and other preventative best practices, and we know that it CAN be done. To state the obvious, outdoor seating is far safer than indoor seating, and my fear is that if we don’t make this common sense policy adjustment sooner rather than later, we won’t have a restaurant industry left to save.

In short, let’s do it safely, responsibly and soon. Let’s #TakeItOutside.

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MoCo’s Most Influential, Part Three

By Adam Pagnucco.

Part One of this series laid out the rules and methodology for how we determined MoCo’s most influential people. These lists were developed by adding together the nominations of 85 people who are themselves extremely knowledgeable and influential. Let’s see what they had to say!

9. Council Member Hans Riemer (At-Large) – 21 votes

Source: Executive candidate in waiting often speaks for the Council.

Source: Hans is definitely going after Marc Elrich, and has been for a long time. So he has been making bold plays and making change.

Source: ADUs, 5G, solar farms – it is what we are talking about. Also gearing up for run for CE means he is putting himself out there.

AP: So far, the leader of the resistance to County Executive Marc Elrich, especially on the issue of housing. He is taking fire from Elrich supporters and that might have given him pause in the past. But the 2020 version of Riemer has a harder edge than the guy I worked for years ago, and if he really does take on Elrich, he is going to need it.

8. State Senator Brian Feldman (D-15) – 23 votes

Source: A go-to sponsor on so many important measures.

Source: Quietly extremely effective.

Source: Strongest MoCo Senate voice we have.

AP: Smart, pragmatic, respected and has seen a lot in nearly two decades in office. We could use another couple dozen like him, but if all we get is one Brian Feldman, we’ll take him.

7. U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen – 25 votes

Source: Able to quickly translate his House expertise in politics and policy to the Senate.

Source: Best Senator ever.

AP: CVH has been arguably MoCo’s most popular politician for nearly two decades. He may be in the U.S. Senate now but he can still tap into his old Downcounty base whenever he wants support for whatever he does in the future.

6. Comptroller Peter Franchot – 28 votes

Source: Wields a lot of power from the perch of the Board of Public Works.

Source: Perhaps the most adept politician in the state outside the Governor himself. He’s smartly begun cultivating support outside of his typical base of centrist whites, but his gubernatorial bid might nevertheless be reliant on enough room in his ideological lane.

Source: Love him or hate him, he has a big impact on Maryland with his Board of Public Works vote and bromance with the Governor.

AP: What politician can serve more than 30 years in office and still run as an outsider? Peter Franchot, that’s who! Franchot has built his brand on fiscal conservatism, fighting “the machine,” and crusading for underdogs on issues ranging from school air conditioners to expanding craft beer. His crack team, led by master strategist Len Foxwell, is the best in Annapolis.

5. State Senator Will Smith (D-20) – 31 votes

Source: It’s wonderful to have the Senate Judicial Proceedings gavel in progressive hands.

Source: Most visible sign of Annapolis’s ideological and demographic shifts, though perhaps won’t be in the Senate much longer.

Source: If the Governor is telling you to resign, you’re probably doing something right.

Source: No political star has risen faster.

AP: Think about how incredible this trajectory is. Will Smith gets elected to the House in 2014. He is appointed to the Senate in 2016. He becomes Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee this year. After getting blasted by Governor Larry Hogan over crime legislation, he gets a package of crime bills passed including some of the governor’s priorities just a couple weeks later. Now he is ranked as one of the most influential elected officials in Montgomery County and folks are talking about him as a potential statewide candidate. Few elected officials anywhere rise this fast.

Coming next: our earth-shattering Final Four!

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Franchot Chief of Staff Blasts Wilkins

By Adam Pagnucco.

Comptroller Peter Franchot’s Chief of Staff, Len Foxwell, has been in state politics for decades and has seen his share of hard knocks. (Len is famous for once calling MCGEO President Gino Renne “the Greg Hardy of Montgomery County politics.”) So when someone like Foxwell characterizes a politician’s statement as “one of the most irresponsible and potentially harmful public statements I’ve seen from an elected official in my 25 years in this business,” that gets my attention.

The fracas began after Maryland Matters published an article in which Franchot suggested that consumers, tenants and utility customers ask for extensions in paying rent and fees. Franchot said, “Don’t write checks to your creditors until you talk to your creditors… It allows consumers to preserve what’s in their pockets in a normal time.” The article quoted a bankers association executive and a utility executive encouraging customers to contact creditors, claiming that some would be flexible.

Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins (D-20) wasn’t having it. She fired off a tweet that said, “For some reason, I don’t think this will go over well. ‘Excuse me landlord, may I have a 3-month rent holiday?’ This is a joke. Executive action is needed to provide relief to consumers.”

That prompted the eruption below from Foxwell, who – among other things – said, “So many of the financial institutions we’ve spoken to over the past week understand the uncharted territory our country has entered, and are able and willing to work with their borrowers to help them through this period of trauma. Instead of supporting this sound, proven advice, which could save people’s homes, cars, credit ratings, and cash reserves, Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins has gone the other way. She would, apparently, rather indulge hazy, long-forgotten old political grudges against the Comptroller for the sake of banking a few likes and social media fist bumps.”

It’s worth noting that the Comptroller has no statutory or regulatory authority to force creditors to extend terms for debtors. But the General Assembly may have authority to intervene. Delegate Wilkins may wish to draft legislation on the issue.

Finally, let’s consider the view of Denizens Brewing Company co-owner (and former Lieutenant Governor candidate) Julie Verratti, who replied to Delegate Wilkins’ tweet and essentially said, “Why not do both?”

Makes sense to me. How about you, dear readers?

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Franchot Blasts Liquor Monopoly

By Adam Pagnucco.

After reading our post on the county liquor monopoly’s takeout cocktail ban, Comptroller Peter Franchot has come out swinging against the monopoly.  The Comptroller wrote on his Facebook page:

As your Comptroller and as a Montgomery County resident, this story makes me viscerally frustrated. There is no constructive purpose served by the continued existence of our government-run alcohol monopoly. It is inefficient, costly and unresponsive to the needs of its customers.

Now, at a time when our restaurants, bars and taverns are looking at possible financial ruin as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and are fighting a daily battle simply to survive, we get this tone-deaf ruling from the Department of Liquor Control. By prohibiting the sale of liquor and mixed drinks for carryout and home delivery, the DLC is acting in violation of both Governor Hogan’s Executive Order and a basic standard of common sense.

If there ever was a time for an outdated government agency to flaunt its administrative prerogatives, this certainly isn’t it. Hoping the DLC will reverse this ruling and do everything it possibly can to support our local, community-based businesses. Or, failing that, at least get out of the way while the rest of us help them #KeepTheLightsOn.

Franchot even took out a Facebook ad for this post.  At the moment, his post has 116 reactions, 40 comments and – most critically – 27 shares.  The original blog post has been shared countless more times across Facebook.

With outrage growing against the monopoly, it must lift the ban or face a renewed push to abolish it.

What will it do?

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Franchot Tacitly Supports Hogan

While Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot says he wants to remain “neutral” in the gubernatorial race, it’s a big win for Hogan that the statewide official won’t endorse the Democratic nominee. Moreover, as reported in the Baltimore Sun, Franchot’s comments make his true feelings clear regardless of his nominal neutrality:

Franchot said he considers Hogan a friend.

Jealous and Franchot represent different ideological wings of the Democratic party, even though both claim the anti-establishment mantle and share many views on social issues. Jealous, who won the Democratic primary last week, is a strong progressive on economic issues, while the comptroller has positioned himself as a fiscal conservative.

Without directly referring to Jealous, Franchot said voters want Democrats to offer them something other than the type of expansive social programs Jealous is proposing.

“The don’t want higher taxes, they don’t want higher fees, they don’t want pie-in-the-sky programs that sound great” but are too expensive, Franchot said.

It’s fascinating that Franchot is now seen as a fiscal conservative, as he not too long ago cast himself as a leading progressive. In any case, Franchot is coasting to reelection and just did his buddy on the Board of Public Works a solid.

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Franchot Endorses Blair

By Adam Pagnucco.

Comptroller Peter Franchot has endorsed County Executive candidate David Blair.  Franchot is popular with moderate, anti-establishment and pro-business Democrats and this could help Blair consolidate those groups.  We reprint Franchot’s blast email below.

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Dear:

As a proud Montgomery Countian who has lived in Takoma Park for nearly 40 years, I’m proud of the caliber of the candidates who are running to succeed my friend, the great Ike Leggett, as our County Executive. When we head to the polls on June 26, or during the early voting period, we will have the privilege of choosing one of several talented public servants with records of true accomplishment in both local and state government.

As your Comptroller and Maryland’s Chief Fiscal Officer, I believe we must elect the candidate with the right blend of values, experience and vision to ensure our County’s long-term competitiveness and economic prosperity. For me, that candidate is David Blair.

David is a lifelong Montgomery Countian who built one of America’s most successful health care companies right here in the county – one that began in a single room and went on to sustain thousands of family-supporting jobs. There is nobody who has a clearer understanding than David of the pressures facing Montgomery County’s working, middle-class families – far too many of whom have seen the size of their paychecks stagnate while the costs of living continue to rise.

There is also nobody who knows better than David that Montgomery County simply cannot sustain necessary investments in exceptional public schools, gridlock relief, safer communities and community reinvestment if we do not act immediately to create a stronger and more competitive business climate. The priorities that we all share are essential, but none of them are free.

That is why it is so essential that we create an environment where the government is more responsive to the entrepreneurs and small business owners who are the backbone of our economy. That’s why it’s so vital to send the message that in Montgomery County, economic development and social justice are complementary values, and that one cannot occur in the absence of the other. And it’s why we must embrace policies that allow the innovation of the free market to thrive – beginning with an end to the government liquor monopoly that has done such a profound disservice to our consumers, small business owners and the Montgomery County economy. This is the change that David Blair will bring to Montgomery County.

David has the vision and the experience of a leader. As someone who has given so much back to our community through his work to end homelessness and poverty, create better early childhood learning opportunities and improve the lives of people with disabilities, he also has the values of a true public servant.  David Blair is my choice for Montgomery County Executive, and I respectfully ask that you consider his candidacy.

To learn more about David and his campaign, please visit www.blairformontgomery.com.

Thank you, as always, for your continued friendship and support.

Peter

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