Reports on Larry Hogan's many ways of letting Marylanders down while basking in unearned praise in national media (pretty easy when you are compared to Trump). Plus a tough report from our national affiliate Progressive Action on how the struggle to emerge from the COVID trough (or not) is going. And reports and news from our chapters around the state and from our allies, and our most recent blog posts. All in the Weekly Memo today
Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, July 13, 2020
Want to stay current with progressive events in this fast-moving time? When new events are announced, or event details are changed, they will be added or updated on this week’s web Memo, at https://www.progressivemaryland.org/progressive_maryland_weekly_memo_for_monday_july_13_2020
Governor Hogan, after earning some praise for his leadership early on in the pandemic, is letting down thousands of Marylanders with several recent decisions and with his handling of issues related to the economic crisis like rent and housing and the unemployment system.
Unemployment Insurance: Here’s a piece from Maryland Matters that summarizes the issues: https://www.marylandmatters.org/2020/07/13/sen-katie-fry-hester-and-del-michael-jackson-you-cant-put-lipstick-on-this-pig/
Elections: The Governor is not recommending a robust mail-in voting system for the November general election system, retreating from what was in place for the Primary election. Call the Governor to express your concern: 410 974-3400. Every local Board of Elections in the state recommended using a system that mails ballots directly to voters instead of requiring voters to send in an absentee ballot request. He ignored them.
Housing and Rent Relief: Immediate action is needed from the Governor to extend the eviction moratorium so that it corresponds with the length of the emergency and its expected aftermath. $30 million is a start but it’s not enough monetary aid to folks who have been affected by COVID-19 and are struggling to pay the rent. Please sign the petition urging Governor Hogan to support housing relief now. And see the shocking projections for loss of shelter around the nation in the People’s Action report below.
Budget Cuts: As we mentioned in last week’s Memo, the Board of Public Works agreed by a 2-1 vote (with the Governor and Comptroller Franchot agreeing to the cut) to remove $413 million from the state budget at a time when our residents are relying on vital services and programs that depend on state support. Progressive Maryland and our allies had urged the BPW to wait to decide budget changes until the U.S. Senate has voted on the next relief package to states (when we would know the level of aid that’s expected) and until more analysis could be done.
-- Patty Snee [email protected]
Our national affiliate People’s Action reports: On the side of public health, we’re up to 135,205+ deaths to the virus in the US. On Friday, the US reported more than 68,000 new COVID-19 cases, breaking the country's record for the daily number of new cases for the third consecutive day; there has been a 84% increase over the last 16 days.(The Hill) Cases are increasing in 43 states and 29 states have seen hospitalizations rise; hospital systems will soon be overwhelmed. On Saturday. North Carolina, Oregon, Arkansas, Hawaii and Alaska all recorded single-day highs. And, Florida yesterday reported 15,299 cases - the highest number yet in a state...
The NY Times did a report on racial inequality and coronavirus and it’s proved to be the fullest such report yet - see graph for one of the shocking findings. (NYTimes). The Covid-19 death toll is twice as high among people of color under age 65 as for white Americans (WashPost) Stronger shutdowns, full-on mask wearing, and expanding contact tracing is really the only way to keep things under control. That’s what other countries have shown. All of these elements, sadly, are missing in the United States. And, amidst all of this, PPE access is strained yet again - health care workers are sounding the alarms that they have to reuse masks and other supplies, and are worried their grievances are going unnoticed again. Supply chain issues that impact access have not been addressed.
On the side of the economy, -- The unemployment rate still hasn’t reached the Depression-caliber level of 20 percent that many economists had feared in March, topping out so far at 14.7 percent. But layoffs that initially were described as a temporary response to a health crisis are hardening into something more permanent, leaving millions of workers scrambling to regain their footing in a changed economy. [As state and local governments lose revenue and shed jobs,] Part 2 is the fallout from the decline in consumption that resulted and will likely include the wreckage from wide-ranging business closures and a reckoning for white collar jobs. Needless to say, an additional large-scale relief bill is needed!
Overall DC State of Play:
[While policing measures are deadlocked between the US House and Senate], Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) released The BREATHE Act on Tuesday. It focuses on shifting how we spend money as a society - divesting from policing and investing in a new vision of public safety - a vision that allows all people, including Black and Brown communities to be represented, free and thriving. You can read the Bill Summary here on their website: breatheact.org. or check out a section by section summary of the BREATHE Act, and BREATHE Act social media toolkit
M4BL is organizing a 2020 Black National Convention on August 28, where they will engage Black people to uphold the right to vote and hold elected officials and institutions accountable to the visionary demands. More on their electoral plans here: https://vote.blacknovember.org/.
On the coronavirus relief side of things, the Senate is [um, enjoying] its 2-week July 4th recess. Republicans & Democrats are trillions of dollars apart in what they think is needed - Republicans at $1 trillion; Democrats at $3 trillion [so we hope they are all catching plenty of heat back in their districts]. However, there’s still a feeling that a deal will be landed. (HuffPost) Secy Mnuchin is a cheerleader for a bill and Sen. Mitch McConnell is said to be coming around to one with more direct payments.
People’s Action and state affiliates’ contribution to the national efforts can be to help: demonstrate the depth and scale of the crisis in our communities and states in order to illuminate the urgency required to move a next relief package, prevent losses, and create political space for improvements, elevate issues that other progressives are not necessarily talking loudly enough about - i.e. housing and healthcare in particular, highlight the disconnect/ inaction of particular Senators in vulnerable seats, thereby putting pressure on them to act and/ or making them more vulnerable come November.
This week is our targeted July 13th Week of Action while legislators are still on vacation in-district… so feet to the fire, folks. HOUSING: Eviction protection programs are expiring across the country. so 19 million to 23 million Americans - one in 5 of the 110 million Americans that live in rental housing - are at risk of eviction by the end of September. Read what our own UMD J-school students at Capital News Service report about what happens next https://homeless.cnsmaryland.org/ JOBS/ CLIMATE: We’re working with partners at the Green New Deal Network to craft an Economic Recovery Plan (now likely to be released in August) and also having internal conversations about a racial justice jobs program as well. For a comprehensive program proposal, see the Breathe Act above.
Be sure to check your city or county websites for a range of information and resources about COVID-19. You’ll find information about testing, rent/housing assistance and protections if they are in place in your community, and guidelines for public health. Please remember to wear a face covering if you are out in public outside or indoors, maintain 6 foot distancing and encourage others to do the same. We’re all in this together and we can slow the spread if we take these simple steps.
Remember: keep up with progressive events in Maryland by getting this Memo in your inbox every week-- sign up here.
OUR CHAPTERS AROUND THE STATE
Tuesday, July 14 6-7:30 PM-- Baltimore City Chapter This Tuesday the Baltimore chapter of Progressive Maryland will hold our July chapter meeting. This month we will talk about the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition (BTEC) and the petition drive to get a charter amendment that will establish a Regional Transit Authority (RTA) here in Baltimore City. We will have Samuel Jordan, president of BTEC, speak to us about some of the history around this campaign and why an RTA is an important aspect of racial and economic justice for the citizens of Baltimore. We will also spend time talking about how racial and economic justice relate to an equitable transit system. RSVP here.
.Wednesday, July 15 | 6:30 PM-- Anne Arundel Chapter Fair Elections TaskForce Meeting, Take Action AAC folks watch for access info coming your way.
Wednesday, July 15 6-9 PM-- Baltimore City Chapter BTEC Textbank and Training Session. We will spend the first hour (6-7 PM) training volunteers on our texting platform, with the rest of the time used to send texts for the BTEC petition drive. RSVP here and come join us on Wednesday!
Lower Shore Progressive Caucus next meets Saturday Aug. 1. Find out more here https://www.lowershoreprogressives.com/august_monthly_meeting
EVENTS FROM OUR PROGRESSIVE ALLIES
Tuesday, July 14 | 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
This online event facilitated by Dr. Richard Bell, Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland and colleagues, Dr. Christopher Bonner, Dr. Michael Ross, and Dr. Elsa Barkley Brown will explore challenges faced by African Americans from the early 19th century to early 20th century. Key areas of focus will include African American soldiers in the Civil War, the Colonization Movement and the Jim Crow era in Maryland. Instructions for accessing the Zoom meeting will be forwarded by email following registration.
Thursday, July 16 | 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
From the Institute for Policy Studies -- how the US is using COVID to militarize borders, and more. Follow link for details and access.
Monday, July 20 | 6:30 PM
Part of the Utopia Film Festival, the director of “illegal,” who fled war in El Salvador, hopes to counter the right-wing rhetoric so prevalent these past four years by depicting examples of real people seeking refuge in the US. The director of “Illegal,” who fled war in El Salvador, hopes to counter the right-wing rhetoric so prevalent these past four years by depicting examples of real people seeking refuge in the US. Follow link for access. For more about this program, contact [email protected]
Thursday, July 23 | 11:30 to 1:00 PM
Another IPS program -- Authoritarian leaders have taken advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to further concentrate power in their own hands. Follow link to register
Saturday, August 22 | 3:00 PM
Black Celebration - Juneteenth plus Baker Park Bandshell, Frederick, MD
This year’s Black Celebration (Juneteenth), aimed at supporting the black community, will feature local entertainment in the form of black-owned businesses, vendors, artists, dancers, food trucks, and more. College student Alexus Washington has worked to help shape this event to sharpen “the message of proudly embracing one’s blackness [so it] will expand to black youth, and counteract what blacks have time and time again been taught - that being black is “something less-than and something to be feared.”
Friday, August 28 The Movement for Black Lives is organizing a 2020 Black National Convention -- details will emerge.
PROGRESSIVE MARYLAND’S RECENT BLOG POSTS
Reading the Progressive Maryland BlogSpace: our recent blogs 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:
Hogan budget cuts will leave Maryland still worse off; feds need help understanding that health care bills are critical; Re-entry meeting this week and meetings of chapters in Montgomery, Baltimore City, Frederick and Lower Shore coming up this week or soon. Plus events from our allies and a reprise of our most recent blog posts. It's all in the Memo.
As a racial, social, economic and environmental justice organization, Progressive Maryland has always and will continue to center Black and Brown working families in our organizing work. As we stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests, we are ramping up our work with the Movement for Black Lives.
"In a long-expected move, Governor Larry Hogan has submitted a long list of state budget cuts to the Board of Public Works. Cuts to state employee salaries and positions are getting a lot of attention. So is a proposed $200 million trim in state aid to public schools, although that needs the consent of the General Assembly to pass. What is less discussed is Hogan’s resumption of a time-honored practice used by higher level governments to dump their problems on lower level governments: the shift and shaft."
This post from Seventh State, a blog on Maryland government, by Adam Pagnucco has withering detail about what could happen at today's (July 1) meeting of the Board of Public Works, one of the features of Maryland's strong-executive constitution that gives governors power not only to set the budget but to mess with it every time the BPW meets.
June 30, 2020 Baltimore, it's time to invest in equitable transit NOW!
A petition to get a Regional Transit Authority for Baltimore on the November ballot is gaining traction. If you are a Baltimore voter, sign the petition NOW -- the deadline is July 27 -- and help take control of local transit management and funding for Baltimoreans. Find out more in this article by Jaime Sigaran, a transit activist.
A Hogan mouthpiece said revenue shortfalls will require “painful choices” but he didn’t say whose pain was involved. Workers can guess – and state workers won’t be the only ones penalized because Hogan will soften the blow to business interests at their expense.
One legislator told Maryland Matters, below, the state workers he has spoken with are "under no delusion that something needs to be done in the face of the deficit, but that they want a seat at the table in the negotiation process."
The Covid-19 pandemic clearly shows why the U.S. needs a health care system that gives every resident access to health care at every stage of life. A system that relies primarily on employer-provided medical insurance is inadequate. Even unemployed people need affordable health care. This nation needs a system that offers health care for all, all the time.
Have your say about this Thursday evening June 25 at 5:30 in our statewide call to create a Health Care Task Force. Please join us for a timely conversation about health and racial justice. RSVP for the virtual meeting here.
Federal protection against evictions ends July 25 and Maryland judges say they will process evictions after that. The governor is being pushed to strengthen protections for low-income renters and mortgage-holders, and municipalities have the power to control rental policy, as this report in Maryland Matters details. Will renters work together to get relief? Watch our statewide call on the pandemic's impact on the long-term housing crisis in Maryland, with testimony for advocates and activists.
>REMEMBER – these blog posts are frequently 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