We are vertical. The Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo keeps you up on everything from the statewide to the very local, top to bottom. Plus our blog posts from the past week. Get your progressive dance card filled out right here.
FIRST, THE VERY LOCAL
Good news from Baltimore: the city has (hastily) postponed a Planning Commission hearing on very weak, industry-permissive standards for small-cell phone outlets to be scattered over the city and PM activist Randye W shouts out thanks to all those who called and emailed their outrage. See our note about this in last week’s Memo.
Meanwhile Bladensburg and its neighbors, in Prince George’s County, still face another skirmish in the long battle to keep a concrete batching plant from threatening residences and businesses in the heart of the Port Towns community. Port Towns Environmental Action urges big turnout at a Monday, Feb. 11 meeting of the District Council (the County Council convening to rule on zoning issues) to seek denial of an OK for a special exception for this noxious installation. The District Council last year OKed an appeal from PTEA after a zoning examiner had given the go-ahead to the plant. But now there are six new members on the Council who may need schooling on the idea of putting the community first. See more in the Progressive Prince George’s entry below.
The Maryland General Assembly has opened its 2019 session so see our roundup of preview articles in a recent Memo) and Progressive Maryland, in harness with many progressive allies, is working to advance a progressive agenda during the session as well as in all of 2019. Progressive Maryland has scheduled a Lobby Night for Monday, March 4, 5 PM to 8, in Annapolis to take our issues and agenda directly to our legislators – save that date. We’ll be reaching out on that soon but we want folks in individual legislative districts – you know who you are – to contact your regular progressive peers in that district and form district lobbying teams. Soon we’ll be setting up meetings with your delegates and senator for that evening.
We’ll also be building turnout for a coalition Lobby Night Feb. 18 on behalf of the Fight for $15 – a statewide $15 minimum wage law that is gaining lots of traction this session. We’ll have more on that in this space as well, as the date approaches. Be advised, though that the House Economic Matters committee hearing on that bill is coming up this Friday, perhaps to get ahead of the Lobby Night, while the Senate Finance Committee hearing is Feb. 21.
Appeals about progressive bills in the legislature are coming from our allies:
“Prescription drugs don't work if people can't afford them. That's why Marylanders need a Prescription Drug Affordability Board to set fair and affordable rates for high-cost prescription drugs. Please contact your legislators) and urge them to co-sponsor legislation to be introduced by Senator Kathy Klausmeier and Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board. This bill will help make all high-cost prescription drugs more affordable for Marylanders. We need this because the high cost of prescription drugs is making it hard for everyone to get the medications they need and driving up our premiums.” More here from the Maryland Center for Economic Policy
The Maryland Legislative Coalition is bird-dogging numerous progressive bills, most of which are in our wheelhouse if not always on our priorities list. Find out more here.
BACK TO LOCAL
But meanwhile, local governments move forward on a general path to completing their local operating budgets by June; early town hall meetings for public information and input are shown below under our individual chapter links.
Progressive Maryland is steadily focused on the local-government issues that affect many Marylanders’ everyday lives, and on the power that can be built at the local level in budget equity, education and transportation. Don’t miss news about our activism and activism around the state; sign up here to get the Memo by email every week.
OUR CHAPTERS AROUND THE STATE
Bladensburg and its neighbors, in Prince George’s County, face another skirmish in the long battle to keep a concrete batching plant from threatening residences and businesses in the heart of the Port Towns community. Port Towns Environmental Action urges big turnout at a Monday, Feb. 11 meeting of the District Council (the County Council convening to rule on zoning issues) to seek denial of an OK for a special exception for this noxious installation. The District Council last year OKed an appeal from PTEA after a zoning examiner gave the go-ahead to the plant. But now there are six new members on the Council who may need schooling on the idea of putting the community first. Learn more, including flyers and a news release from PTEA, at their website here.
There are regular Mass Liberation and Community Defense meetings; see our calendar
Prince George’s County operating budget listening sessions:
Thursday, February 8, 2018 7:00 PM
Prince George’s Community College
Rennie Forum, 301 Largo Road
Tuesday, February 13, 2018 7:00 PM
Laurel High School
Spartan Hall, 8000 Cherry Lane
FY20 Montgomery County Operating Budget forums are scheduled as follows:
TODAY Monday, Feb. 4 – 7 p.m. – Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, 4301 East West Hwy, Bethesda.
Take Action AAC Events & Actions
Monthly Chapter Meeting
Wednesday, February 13 at 7 pm at the Edgewater Community Library
Topics: State and county legislation
Chapter Issue Updates & Actions - Paid Family Leave, Environment, Education, Cell Tower/Wireless/5G, Collective Bargaining
PM Issues Updates - $15 minimum wage, Healthcare, Fair Elections, and Mass Incarceration
Take Action AAC is working with grassroots organizations in the Earth Coalition on 4 key legislative bills focused on clean energy, banning polystyrene foam, banning chlorpyrifos (pesticide), and the right to a clean environment.
Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide that the EPA was ready to ban until the change in administration happened.
Chlorpyrifos is harmful to children and pollinators. Write letters to orchards in Maryland. Take action http://tinyurl.com/MdOrchards
Wednesday, February 6 at 1 pm - House Hearing on House Bill 109 -- Ban on polystyrene foam foodservice products
Wednesday, February 6 at 4 pm - Maryland Environmental Legislative Summit
Come for an informative afternoon with the Maryland environmental community!
Hear from advocates and elected officials about Maryland's environmental legislative priorities.
Keynote speaker: Destiny Watford, a community organizer who fought and won to prevent a trash incinerator plant from being built in her community of Curtis Bay in Baltimore.
Support the Clean Energy Jobs Act to increase requirements for clean energy and stop subsidies of trash incinerators. Support the Green and Healthy Environment Amendment which will give Marylanders the right to a clean environment and be the legal basis to fight pollution in communities.
Monday, February 11 at 5-8pm -- Maryland Chlorpyrifos Ban (Pesticides) 5 - 8 pm. Click here to RSVP
Tuesday, February 12 at 1 pm -- Senate Hearing on Senate Bill 285 -- Ban on polystyrene foam foodservice products
Monday, February 18 -- Kallen Benson, a teen climate activist is hosting students from around Maryland to demonstrate youth commitment to protecting our future at Lawyer's Mall.
Please share this opportunity to support the Healthy Green Amendment and the Clean Energy Jobs Act with any students you know who may be interested. Students can contact Kallan at [email protected] for more information
Kallan is continuing her silent strike daily during the session at the State House. Please feel free to stop by Lawyers Mall to support the Healthy Green Amendment to the Maryland Bill of Rights. She'll give you a crocheted butterfly to wear to show your support.
Monday, February 18 at 5-8pm -- Maryland Climate Lobby Night. Click here to RSVP
Tuesday, February 19 at 7 pm -- Public Hearing on Foam Ban Bill at Anne Arundel County Council Chambers, 44 Calvert Street
Bill 5-19 -- Ordinance -- Licensing Polystyrene Foam Foodservice Products -- Public hearing on Tuesday, February 19 at 7 pm at Anne Arundel County Council Chambers, 44 Calvert Street
Councilwoman Lisa Rodvien is sponsoring this bill along with co-sponsors Councilwoman Lacey, Councilwoman Pickard, and Chairman Pruski
Thank you to our county council representatives who are championing a bill that will reduce pollutants in our watershed.
Social Justice Action
Monday, February 18 at 5:30-8pm -- Fight for $15 Lobby Night Share FB Event
Note that the Howard County Times has a roundup of local bills in the Assembly...
Wednesday, February 27 Howard County Executive Calvin Ball delivers “State of the County” Address to the county Chamber of Commerce. 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM at Turf Valley Resort, 2700 Turf Valley Road, Ellicott City. County Executive Ball expected to speak at approximately 12:30 p.m. For more information about the event, visit https://bit.ly/2Sfj5S7.
See the latest newsletter with a post-election letter from the co-chairs https://www.talbotrising.org/newsletters31/2018/11/12/weekly-newsletter-nov-12-2018
Check out the Lower Shore Progress Caucus’s legislative agenda, including the Trust Act, Fight for $15, Medicare for All, clean air issues and more. Plus an explainer: why ranked choice voting would be good for the Shore.
You’ll see at the link, though, that our mission and values are much broader.
And Baltimore County has resources for furloughed federal employees. We’re leaving this up because, alas, it may not be over…
EVENTS FROM OUR PROGRESSIVE ALLIES
Wednesday, February 6 at 4 pm - Maryland Environmental Legislative Summit
The CCE (Citizen Campaign for the Environment) is hosting an environmental legislative summit in Annapolis. The CCE is an informal group of environmental advocacy organizations who work together to define and support key environmental legislation during the General Assembly. Share FB Event RSVP here
Wednesday, February 13 Greenbelt Climate Action Network February Meeting:
"Living Plastic Free" with Beth Terry 7-9 PM, Greenbelt Community Center, Room 114
15 Crescent Road, Greenbelt, MD https://www.facebook.com/events/2511611655532032/
Many of us are trying to reduce our carbon footprints, but do you know your plastic footprint? In a humorous, nonjudgmental style, Beth Terry will share her journey from self-confessed plastic addict to empowered plastic-free activist, and explain why we can’t just recycle our way out of this mess. For more info, contact Lore Rosenthal, Greenbelt Climate Action Network, [email protected], 301-345-2234
Baltimore progressives, Check in on Max Obuszewski’s highly useful activist calendar and tip sheet at http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/
Reading the Progressive Maryland BlogSpace: our blogs for the previous weeks are shown below, but if you want a handy way to keep track – and never miss a blog post – you can sign up to get this Weekly Memo by email. Remember this is your blogspace and your participation is heartily invited. See something going on that you don’t like – or that you do like and hope to see more of? Send us your thoughts; submit to the moderator at [email protected]
We recently published these blog posts:
February 02, 2019 Maryland’s minimum wage should be a living wage
An opinion writer in the UM student paper The Diamondback provides excellent background to the coming Maryland General Assembly debate on the Fight for $15 -- pushing the state's minimum wage much closer to a level that could provide working individuals and families the means for living above the poverty line.
February 01, 2019 If Maryland is changing politically, it's due to activists
"We are witnessing, in real time, the transformation of the Maryland General Assembly." So says Josh Kurtz in an interesting post on Maryland Matters. But Larry Stafford Jr. agrees "We are winning! -- What Kurtz’s article doesn't mention, however, is what brought about this shift in the political landscape. This would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of progressive activists, organizers, and visionaries who were the force behind this shift in Annapolis."
Larry Hogan is trying to sneak more charter schools in as the education funding debate sharpens, draining money away from public schools. As Jeff Bryant shows in a Progressive Breakfast analysis, the LA teachers' strike was fought on the battleground of a huge charter school impact on their system -- and they won. Lessons for Maryland?
January 28, 2019 Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, January 28, 2019
Several communities have urgent issues coming before local officials, where commercial interests -- that are trampling community interests -- MUST be opposed. In Baltimore, it's small cell wireless facilities; a hearing on the dangers is Thursday, Jan. 31. And in Prince George's, the concrete batch plant permit is back to threaten Bladensburg and its neighbors, with hearing Monday, Feb. 11. See more below.
>>REMEMBER – these blog posts are expressions of political opinion from our wide-ranging membership and circle of allies. They are not expressions of opinion by Progressive Maryland. Don’t be surprised if they sometimes vary in their political content. You might even disagree with them – a good reason to contribute a blog of your own. Send it to the moderator, Woody Woodruff, at [email protected].
>>Keeping up with the blogs is easier with the index. The blogs published in the PM BlogSpace from June 2015 through December 2016 are all available with descriptions and links here. You can follow blogs for 2017-18 starting from here