Read about the successful and info-packed Progressive Prince George's meeting this past Thursday and mark your calendar for events in Montgomery, Howard and Prince George's counties this week...
PROGRESSIVE PRINCE GEORGE’S MEETING: Zoning Rewrite, Evading Term Limits and Community Solar Access
Last Thursday (Sept. 8) fifty-plus progressives absorbed a packed agenda: keeping democratic access in the zoning process; fighting an attempt to sidestep term limits through a ballot measure, and seeing the new opportunities for community cooperative solar energy.
Derick Berlage, director of the Prince George’s Planning Department (MNCPP) division of countywide planning, outlined the rewrite of the county’s cumbersome and outdated zoning code and fielded questions about how citizens, especially those directly affected by new or remodeled projects, could maintain some community control as the county seeks development – and woos developers – to improve its puny tax base. Audience questions clarified such matters as how much planning and zoning could help avoid low-quality development, and what other county agencies would be involved with run-down or poorly maintained properties.
The Progressive Maryland gathering also heard about the controversy over Question D on the Prince George’s County ballot Nov. 8, which would allow term-limited members of the County Council to run for one of two newly created at-large council seats if the measure passes. The measure was slipped onto the ballot with a minimum of publicity and a maximum of speed by the County Council; it is not a citizen referendum, placed on the ballot by massive numbers of voter signatures, such as the measures that originally imposed term limits. Suchitra Balachandran, who is working with the Prince George’s Civil Federation to defeat the measure, spoke of the drawbacks, including cost to the taxpayers and the inclusion of two more countywide seats on the ballot that will be very expensive to run for and invite still more big-dollar contributors into an already polluted process. A website with more information is at http://www.noonquestiond.com/
The gathering also heard about a new program approved by the state Public Service Commission that would enable Community Solar projects. Representatives of a nonprofit in the county described how large solar arrays placed on tops of large buildings or in open areas (public or private) could provide home power for many households who rent, who have shady or poorly located roofs. Community solar projects could be cooperatively developed by groups of such households. More information is at https://www.neighborhoodsun.solar/ Hear more fully about community solar at a College Park presentation Sept. 15. https://www.facebook.com/events/617330731768602/
Agenda this week: Walmart hearing and protest in Prince George’s ; Howard Citizens Election Fund kickoff, Political Revolution in Maryland moves forward, Progressive Montgomery Chapter meeting on anti-oppression agenda.
>>Monday, September 12 -- Walmart Hearing Regarding Special Exception for Capital Plaza Store. Show your support at the Capital Plaza Walmart Appeal Hearing before the Prince George's District Council in the County Administration Building. The MD Planning Board approved Walmart's original Detailed Site Plan. This decision was appealed on the grounds that Walmart should have filed their plan as a Special Exception. The District Council will hear the appeal on September 12 and cast their vote to grant the special exception or uphold the Planning Board's decision. A show of community support for the Special Exception can have an influence on the decision. Please attend wearing a red shirt so that a large group can have an impressive impact. Walmart should not be allowed to wreck a neighborhood in pursuit of profit. 10 a.m., County Administration Building, 14742 Governor Oden Bowie Dr., Upper Marlboro
Note -- it is recommended to park at the Equestrian Center/Show Place Arena and catch a shuttle bus to the County Administration Building as parking at the CAB is metered.
>>Tuesday, Sept. 13 --Vote Yes! on the "Citizens' Election Fund" Campaign Kickoff!
Join us as we officially kick off the Yes! On Citizens Election Fund campaign to gear up for a win on Election Day!
Confirmed Special Guests: Senator Ben Cardin <> Congressman Elijah Cummings <> Congressman Chris Van Hollen <> Congressman John Sarbanes <> County Council Member Jen Terrasa <> County Council Member Jon Weinstein
September 13, 2016 at 6pm - 9pm
Kelsey's Irish Pub (note new venue) 8480 Baltimore National Pike
Ellicott City, MD 21044 Google map and directions
>> Wednesday, Sept. 14 -- Continuing the Political Revolution in Maryland: Which Way Forward?
Progressive Maryland and DC Metro DSA are jointly hosting a meeting to discuss how best to build upon the momentum of the Sanders campaign to bring about substantive change in our state. Hear elected Sanders delegates from Prince George's and Montgomery County give their report-outs from the Democratic Convention, and participate in a discussion of how we can build a progressive movement in Maryland.
Jimmy Tarlau, District 47a Delegate, Prince George's County and Sanders delegate, will address the meeting; other Sanders delegates from Prince George's and Montgomery County will give their reports-outs from the Democratic Convention. Progressive Maryland Executive Director Larry Stafford will lead a discussion on next steps to build a social justice movement locally. Other speakers and the meeting agenda will be announced soon.
September 14 6:30 - 9:30 pm UFCW Local 400
8400 Corporate Dr. Landover, MD 20785
Sponsored by Progressive Maryland and Metro DC DSA
>>Thursday, September 15 --Montgomery County Chapter Meeting
Progressive Montgomery–the Montgomery County chapter of Progressive Maryland–presents an Anti-Oppression Agenda:
- Fight for $15–End economic exploitation with economic justice policies including a living wage for all!
- Transgender Equality–Anti-trans violence is on the rise and must be stopped!
- Liberation from Police Violence–Creating a world where everyone is safe from state-sanctioned violence, bringing local focus to a national imperative.
Join us to learn more about our current campaigns, meet fellow progressives, and join new and exciting projects to make Montgomery County a more just and equitable place to live. RSVP below and be sure to invite your friends.
>>Events presented by allies:
--a showing of a movie about the pros and cons (mostly the latter) of fracking in Western Maryland. There’s a moratorium on fracking in Maryland right now but lots of industry pressure to lift it, and you can believe that Larry Hogan and Co. will be receptive. Tuesday evening, September 13 in the Old Greenbelt Theater: https://www.facebook.com/events/1255333661154895/
READING THE PM BLOGS – readers and fans of the PM BlogSpace can get a copy of the Weekly Memo delivered directly to their email inbox. It includes an update on the week ahead as well as links to the blogs that have appeared in recent weeks. Never miss a blog post. Sign up at http://www.progressivemaryland.org/blog_signup
FOR EXAMPLE: we recently published these:
September 9, 2016 THE PROGRESSIVE MARYLAND BLOGSPACE WEEKEND READER
News and views you might have missed this week: Maryland prescription drug prices; being a holdout in the clean power stakes; Hogan's slippery ways; getting public officials to divulge public information.
Progressive Prince George's Chapter meeting tonight eyes the Zoning Rewrite, with MNCPPC staff there to answer our skeptical questions, and considers with equal skepticism the Nov. 8 ballot question that proposes adding at-large members to the County Council.
Voter suppression -- voter ID laws and other measures to make it harder for the poor and minorities to vote -- are a nationwide strategy of the right, including even here in Maryland. Here's a map of how the struggle is playing out, including in our own and neighboring states.
September 5, 2016 Progressive Maryland's Weekly Memo for September 5-11
Details on meetings of Progressive Prince George's, Progressive Montgomery and the Howard County "Citizens' Election Fund" project coming up in the next two weeks. The activist calendar at your fingertips.
September 2, 2016 Progressive Maryland BlogSpace Weekend Reader
Environmental racism in energy siting, worker justice in chicken industry hell (hello, Eastern Shore!), reaction to Gov. Hogan's imperial decree about school schedules, and good news about wind power -- good reads you may have missed, for your Labor Day weekend leisure moments...
Keeping up with the blogs is easier with the index. The blogs published in the PM BlogSpace since June 2015 are all available with descriptions and links here.