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.
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, a hearing on Thursday, Jan. 31 considers a “small cell ordinance” that will provide requirements on the placement of small wireless facilities without any regard for the health and safety of locating these structures near where people live, work or congregate. See a petition with explainer here. Turnout at this hearing is needed to preserve health and safety; see more below in the Take Action Anne Arundel County chapter report.
And Bladensburg and its neighbors, in Prince George’s County, faces 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. 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 in Annapolis to take our issues and agenda directly to our legislators – save that date; more details coming soon. We’ll also be building turnout for a Lobby Night 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.
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:
Tuesday, January 30, 2018 7:00 PM
Oxon Hill High School
6701 Leyte Drive
Oxon Hill, Maryland
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
Tuesday, Jan 30 Community Conversation with County Executive Alsobrooks 6 PM at Wise High School; meet your local government leaders and learn about the 2019 Legislative Agenda and budget priorities for FY2020. -- email Zahra Isaacs to RSVP for the event.
FY20 Montgomery County Operating Budget forums are scheduled as follows:
Monday, Feb. 4 – 7 p.m. – Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, 4301 East West Hwy, Bethesda.
On December 27, 2018, County Executive Steuart Pittman kept his campaign promise and ended the county's ICE agreement that had county detention officers screening detainees for their immigration status. He also stated he would use some of the federal funds the county received for housing detainees to help detainees with their immigration hearings. Unlike criminal proceedings, immigrants are not assigned public defenders for immigration hearings.
Councilman Nathan Volke introduced two resolutions in an attempt to persuade County Exec Pittman to sign a new agreement with ICE and to persuade him not to use federal funds for housing detainees to help with immigration hearings for detainees.
Anne Arundel County Council voted 4 to 3 to defeat Resolutions 1-19 and 2-19 at last Tuesday night's County Council meeting. The council voted along party lines: 3 Republicans for and 4 Democrats against.
Take Action AAC, county activists and concerned citizens rallied to testify in person and via email to their county council representatives to support County Executive Pittman's decision to end the 287G program. The hard work during 2018 election season paid off as the council delivered the majority vote to oppose these two resolutions.
Odenton resident and activist Amy Britt summed it up best when she stated this was the second time in five months that she had been at County Council to discuss pointless and divisive resolutions. "People complain about "wasteful government, " yet here we are, spending time and resources to fight about the county executive eliminating a redundant program, even though this council has no control over that decision. I have heard Councilman Volke’s claim that the people haven’t had a say in this. I would remind him that our county executive campaigned on the promise to end the 287(g) program and that he won. The people have had their say – at the ballot box." She also pointed out that former council members who introduced inappropriate resolutions lost their elections and no longer hold elected office. She encouraged the councilman to focus on county business in the future. – Claire Miller
Take Action AAC Events & Actions
Legislative Action on 5G/Wireless
5G/Wireless - Testify on Thursday, January 31st
If you live, work or visit Baltimore City, you will be impacted by this small cell ordinance which will provide requirements on the placement of small wireless facilities without any regard for the health and safety of locating these structures near where people live, work or congregate.
Baltimore City planning commission is scheduled to vote on a small cell ordinance on Thursday, January 31st. You can read the ordinance here. Notice it is positioned as aesthetics again without regard for health and safety.
Take Action AAC is working with grassroots organizations in the Earth Coalition on 4 key legislative bills, including the Chlorpyrifos ban and the Polystyrene Foam Ban.
Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide that the EPA was ready to ban until the change in administration happened. Chlorpyrifos is harmful to children and pollinators. Take action https://www.facebook.com/MarylandPesticideNetwork/
Upcoming environmental legislation hearings about banning polystyrene foam
House Bill 109 -- Ban on polystyrene foam foodservice products --- Wednesday, February 6 at 1 pm
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
Monthly Chapter Meetings
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, Collective Bargaining
PM Issues Updates - $15 minimum wage, Healthcare, Fair Elections, and Mass Incarceration
Other Anne Arundel Events
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.
Environmental advocacy organizations will educate legislators and activists on the key environmental priority bills for this session including the Clean Energy Jobs Act, the EPS Foam Ban, the Green and Healthy Environment Amendment, and the environmental budget bill.
Environmental justice advocates need to support the Green and Healthy Environment Amendment. This bill would amend our state constitution and give Marylander's the right to a clean environment. This amendment could be used in legal proceedings for those who are fighting environmental issues in their communities. Share FB Event RSVP here
Note that the Howard County Times has a roundup of local bills in the Assembly...
Tuesday, Jan. 29 “Priority Letter” public meeting. The “priority letter” from county government to the state outlines the county’s most urgent transportation needs. This year, the priority letter public meeting will be on January 29 from 7 to 9 PM in the Columbia/Ellicott Room at the George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043. For more information, send an email or call (410) 313-4312.
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.
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
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:
January 27, 2019 MD voters back statewide $15 minimum wage
In one of the top issues facing legislators in Annapolis this session, 61% of Maryland voters favor raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and almost half (47%) strongly favor the idea, according to a new poll for MarylandReporter.com by Gonzales Research & Media Services. Len Lazarick of Maryland Reporter has the story.
Residents along the proposed track of the high-speed Maglev project between Baltimore and Washington are showing increasing concerns about the effects on neighborhoods from Baltimore to Prince George's and the (likely ultra-rich) passengers who might breeze past them without serving their needs. Maryland Matters reports on the Assembly Black Caucus's skeptical response and concerns about the best use of transportation funds and what power the project has to disrupt those neighborhoods without their consent.
January 23, 2019 Hogan's proposed MoCo toll lanes get increasing pushback in Assembly
“Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s plan to widen the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 could be pushed back for a year if the General Assembly adopts a bill that would require the state to complete an environmental assessment before moving forward,” a report today in Maryland Matters details. As we see here, it's just the latest in a cascade of pushbacks against the proposed "Lexus Lanes."
January 22, 2019 Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019
The Assembly session is under way and we've set Monday, March 4 as a mass Lobby Day for Progressive Maryland members across the state. Find out more below. And we have a one-day training session coming up this weekend that will sharpen your skills at turning your activist passion into results and building power for your community. Plus all the events and actions in our chapters across Maryland -- all in the Memo.
>>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