Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, September 21, 2020

CampaignMiscImage_1594309709.6756.pngIn the Memo this week: Action urging a special session of the Maryland General Assembly; COVID-19 keeps hitting hard in Maryland; beginning-to-end explainer on how we’ll vote in our state (hint: not all on Nov. 3); notes on the crisis outside our state -- in Congress and the White House; progressive events in MoCo, PGC and AA counties plus our other chapter news; events from our allies and our recent blog posts. Your go-to weekly source for progressive thought and action in the Free State.

 

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for MONDAY, September 21, 2020

STATEWIDE ACTION

Pressure continues for a special session of the MD legislature

Two hundred concerned Marylanders gathered in Annapolis last Wednesday evening to express their concerns about a range of issues people are facing during the COVID and economic crisis. Participants, masked and spaced ten feet apart, came together to ask State Senate President Ferguson and House Speaker Jones to convene the General Assembly in order to forge a comprehensive, urgent response to deal with the ongoing public health crisis. Advocates don’t want a special session just for the sake of a special session. The groups and activists pointed out (and had been for weeks leading up to the event) that the reason to get into full legislative mode is that we need swift and decisive action now to prevent a wave of evictions and a housing crisis. Especially in light of the inadequate support for renters coming from the Hogan Administration.  Essential workers, teachers, students, election officials, small business owners, unemployed folks (the site for filing weekly UI claims is still not working properly!)  nursing home residents, public health officials, and health care providers would all feel better if the GA were back at work full time coming up with the support and solutions we need now to get through this period. 67% of the state’s residents support the GA coming back into session. Unprecedented times call for an unprecedented response. 

We are making progress in this effort: we’re in touch with the offices of Sen. Bill Ferguson and Del. Adrienne Jones about our views. We hope to continue the dialogue started last week in the next several days.  We know they are familiar with some of the key numbers that describe the situation the state is in and constituents in their districts have contacted these leaders to urge a special session given the challenging situation.  It would also  be good for them to hear stories of the impact the crisis is having on folks from people around the state. If you have a personal or community story to share  please email Christianne at Christianne@progressivemaryland.org

COVID-19 UPDATE

The death toll in our country now surpasses 200,000 lost lives. It’s estimated that many thousands of these deaths and infections were preventable. The Trump Administration and the GOP have utterly and completely failed the American people, especially Black and Brown Americans and senior citizens and workers in elder care facilities. The actions and the inaction of Republican Governors and lawmakers around the country have put not only their own states at risk  but made all of us more vulnerable to the threat of the virus. 

Please continue to wear face coverings and to practice physical distancing in all public settings. Follow your local county public health guidelines and support the folks upholding the guidelines. Please consider supporting non-profit groups working to help those in need and local mutual aid efforts. Urge elected officials across the board to make the ongoing health and economic needs the number one priority and focus of their work.  Vote and urge others to vote. Plan to attend our statewide health care forum on Wednesday evening October 7 to get updates and discuss the latest on COVID-19 and Maryland’s response. RSVP here: 

COVID-19 Forum Link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUpfuCrrTgpEteA2zxxH_ikctZN-pbJ90FD


2020 Election Update: Make Your Plan to Vote: 

Decide on your plan today! We are six weeks away from Election Day on November 3 and five weeks from the Early Voting period.  Here’s some information to help you make your plan:

Why Vote?

The 2020 election will decide important community, health and racial justice issues including the way our government handles the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency; and the fate of the Supreme Court vacancy left by the passing of the great Associate Justice and civil and women’s rights champion, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.   Here in Maryland, we will cast our votes for President and for our U.S. House Members. We will also be voting on important offices for City Council, Mayor, School Board and the Judiciary in many places.. Please vote on all the offices and ballot measures up and down the ballot. ballot_box.jpg

Critical ballot measures around issues like campaign finance reform and tax policy are also in play. Reach out to our local organizers to learn more or contact Patty Snee at patty@progressivemaryland.org with questions about the election and/or our efforts.

How Do I Vote?

Vote by mail: Request an Absentee Ballot 

Step 1 

Absentee ballot request forms have started to be mailed so look for yours in the mail. Complete the request form upon receipt and mail it back immediately in the envelope provided. That will  help ensure that you receive your actual  ballot as soon as possible.   

If you have not received a ballot request form in the mail, you may request a ballot application directly by going online. Fill out the online form and your request will be processed and a ballot sent. Or you can text  VBM to 77788 to get your ballot application. To track the status of your request use the state’s voter lookup tool.  You must request your ballot no later than October 20. Don’t delay, request your ballot now. 

Once you receive your application for a ballot, fill it out and mail it back right away.

Step 2

After you get your actual ballot,read the instructions for marking your ballot.  Examine all the candidates and questions, complete your ballot. Be sure to sign the oath that accompanies the ballot.  Failure to do so may result in the ballot not being counted.

Options for returning your ballot:

--By mail:  ballots must be postmarked no later than 8:00 pm November 3rd in order to be counted. Please return your ballot sooner than that to ensure delivery.  

--At a drop off box: Check your local Board of Elections website for locations and dates of operation for secure drop boxes. Ballots must be dropped no later than 8:00 on November 3 but the boxes will be available sooner and election officials encourage voters to information for each county’s local Board of Elections is available on the State Board of Elections website.

Vote in Person

You can vote during early voting from October 26-November 2. Each county will have a number of designated locations and will set up safe, physically distanced voting sites.. Check your County Board of Elections website for locations and hours.

You can vote on Election Day, November 3.  Every county will provide a number of polling locations for a safe in-person voting environment on Tuesday November 3. Check your local Board of Elections website for information.

Anything Else I can Do?

Yes. Help us reach voters and turn out the vote:  

https://www.progressivemaryland.org/volunteer 

Some Election Resources:

If you aren’t registered to vote, register here. The deadline to register to vote or change registration is October 13 unless you register in person during early vote or on election day, which is also an option.

The League of Women Voters has a guide to how voting will work for this fall’s election.

https://www.lwvmd.org/covid_19_and_the_upcoming_elections 

The state Board of Elections  https://elections.maryland.gov/ and your County Board of Elections has information, too.

If you have any questions or problems with any aspect of voting call: 866 Our Vote (866) 687-8683   


ICampaignMiscImage_1594309709.6756.pngSSUES AND ACTION IN YOUR COMMUNITY

In Montgomery County: 

TOMORROW -- TUESDAY September 22 | 6:00-7:30 PM

MOCO Against B Text Bank

Join Progressive Maryland to text our community and tell them to vote against Measure B! Measure B is a Republican Tax- break scam that threatens important services in Montgomery County such as schools and public transportation by taking away the people's elected representatives ability to raise revenue for the county. 

https://secure.everyaction.com/Ewn-jfQUpUCnozB5FE4bew2 


Prince George’s County

TOMORROW Tuesday September 22 | 6:00 PM-7:00 PM

Re-entry Work Group Open Meeting

This past July, The Re-entry Work Group hosted a Virtual Town Hall with over 50 returning citizens, mentors, and advocates in attendance. In the Town Hall, we presented five demands around housing, voting, jobs, and resources, to four county leaders. Our demands were met with a willingness from county leadership to work in tandem with our group and a shared desire to utilize existing programs to ensure returning citizens can re-enter society safely.

Now, our group is taking the next step and asking our county leaders to join us in October for a more personal meeting, to do three things: to present a letter of our most up-to-date demands, to discuss the steps that have been taken to address these areas, and how we can move forward. Please join us for an open meeting this Tuesday to learn more about how you can get involved with our group: https://secure.everyaction.com/FSVGQ2-l5E2Ec_ywJLYpTg2


THURSDAY September 24 | 5:30 PM-7:00 PM

Prince George’s Election Kickoff!

This Thursday, Progressive Prince George’s will be kicking off our volunteer efforts to win votes for our endorsed candidates – from those running for school board to judicial seats. With just 43 days until Election Day, we need all hands on deck to ensure that we have progressive representation – leaders who represent us – at the local level in Prince George’s.

On Thursday, we'll start with a brief training session on how to use our phonebanking system, the script we’ll be using, and how to win votes for our endorsed candidates. All you will need is a laptop or tablet, and a cell phone.

Join us at 5:30pm on Thursday for our General Election kickoff training and phonebank: 

https://secure.everyaction.com/UnNzh-ZRCEi3C_13UhjFxw2


Anne Arundel Events:

On Wednesday September 23  we will be having our next Fair Elections Taskforce Meeting at 6:30 PM. We will go over where we are with our effort to address our corrupt campaign finance system in Anne Arundel.

Sign up here: https://secure.everyaction.com/O4Pwtag2v0mpkuRyRX5Jvw2




NATIONAL SCENE-- URGENT PRIORITIES

From our national affiliate People’s Action: “Although we knew Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (aka Notorious RBG), a liberal icon, trailblazer on the U.S. Supreme Court would ultimately lose her gracious and fearless fight against cancer, Friday’s news was a gut punch. Our director George Goehl released a statement shortly after we all received the news.”  IT IS CRITICAL TO KEEP THE PRESSURE ON MCCONNELL. “Our Mitch McConnell COVID-19 relief package Phone2Action is still a way to let your voice be heard. It will run through September 30.” 

The view from here: The more the hypocritical McConnell has to concentrate on COVID-19 relief and funding the government by Oct. 1, the less leeway he will have to ram through a new SCOTUS appointment despite his previous excuses for stiffing Pres. Obama’s nominee for nearly a year. An inside-outside strategy is mandatory. 

Again, People’s Action: ”The stakes have been heightened and there might be a call for progressive state and local-based grassroots advocates and activists to galvanize and help stop any detrimental decisions (pending votes) either related to funding provisions (i.e., CR) or to stop a GOP-forced vote on the next SCOTUS justice nominee.”



OUR CHAPTERS AROUND THE STATE

Progressive Prince George’s 

TOMORROW Tuesday September 22 | 6:00 PM-7:00 PM

Re-entry Work Group Open Meeting

This past July, The Re-entry Work Group hosted a Virtual Town Hall and gained traction with advocates and officials to utilize existing programs to ensure returning citizens can re-enter society safely. Now for a compilation of our most up-to-date demands, to discuss the steps that have been taken to address these areas, and how we can move forward. Please join us to learn how you can get involved with our group: https://secure.everyaction.com/FSVGQ2-l5E2Ec_ywJLYpTg2

THURSDAY September 24 | 5:30 PM-7:00 PM

Prince George’s Election Kickoff!

This Thursday, Progressive Prince George’s will be kicking off our volunteer efforts to win votes for our endorsed candidates – from those running for school board to judicial seats. We’ll have a training session on how to use our phonebanking system, the script we’ll be using, and how to win votes for our endorsed candidates. All you will need is a laptop or tablet, and a cell phone.

Join us at 5:30 PM on Thursday for our General Election kickoff training and phonebank: https://secure.everyaction.com/UnNzh-ZRCEi3C_13UhjFxw2

 

PMD Montgomery

TOMORROW -- TUESDAY September 22 | 6:00-7:30 PM

MOCO Against B Text Bank

Join Progressive Maryland to text our community and tell them to vote against Measure B! Measure B is a Republican Tax scam that threatens important services in Montgomery County such as schools and public transportation by taking away the people's elected representatives ability to raise revenue for the county. 

 

Frederick County Progressives

Take Action Anne Arundel County

Anne Arundel County Events:

On Wednesday September 23  we will be having our next Fair Elections Taskforce Meeting at 6:30 PM. We will go over where we are with our effort to address our corrupt campaign finance system in Anne Arundel. 

Sign up here: https://secure.everyaction.com/O4Pwtag2v0mpkuRyRX5Jvw2

Talbot Rising

Lower Shore Progressive Caucus 

PMD Baltimore



EVENTS FROM OUR ALLIES

TOMORROW Tuesday, September 22 | 9 AM-6 PMcensus_prod_labor.png

Climate Jobs and Just Transition Summit

Local sponsor is Labor Network for Sustainability -- experts discuss climate change impacts, inequality and a just transition to a just and resilient future. Register here for virtual event.

 

Friday September 25 -- 7:30 PM
Progressive Cheverly Legislative Forum with Maryland District 47 Representatives

Senator Malcolm Augustine and Delegates Diana Fennell, Julian Ivey are confirmed and Del.  Wanika Fisher (invited) -- virtual event with Q&A in chat. Get updates and access info here www.facebook.com/progressivecheverly

Sunday, Sep 26 | 5:00 PM

American Healthcare’s Dual Epidemics: Covid-19 and Racism

Webinar hosted by the Maryland Progressive Healthcare Coalition. COVID-19 has clearly shown the failure of our healthcare system, particularly in communities of color. This discussion, led by public health experts and front-line healthcare workers, will demonstrate the urgent need for Improved Medicare For All. Register at link above.

 

OUR RECENT BLOG POSTS

Reading the Progressive Maryland BlogSpace: our recent blog posts 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 woodlanham@gmail.com

September 18, 2020 Progressives vow to maintain pressure for special session despite surprise leadership cameo

Despite the surprise appearances of House and Senate leaders at a rally to show how a special Assembly session could work, their disappointing refusal to call such a session brought progressives' vow to keep the pressure on. Read about what happened Wednesday and what happens next.

September 16, 2020 Maryland transit cuts are hurting essential workers, low-income communities

Maryland's transit systems -- buses, MARC and more -- are about to take a $150 million hit. It is unsurprising but outrageous that "these cuts... would be devastating to many Marylanders that live in low-income  communities, communities of color, and people with disabilities." Sixty-four Maryland activist groups across the political, community and environmental spectrum wrote this letter demanding the cuts be reversed and the Transportation Trust Fund tapped to ease the plight of essential workers, who largely come from the most impacted communities.  

September 15, 2020 Voters want legislators to be working for them. Now.

“Our state’s government isn’t intended to be run by just one person,” observes state budget expert Ben Orr. “… Gov. Hogan is operating without oversight and with no provisions for accountability on the part of the General Assembly. Billions of dollars have come to Maryland and [been disbursed] — or not — without the input of the legislative branch.”

Get the General Assembly to do its job by assembling at a rally in Annapolis tomorrow (Wednesday, Sept. 16). We'll show them how a people's legislature can meet safely instead of hiding behind the pandemic.

September 14, 2020 Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, September 14, 2020

Be sure to join progressives in Annapolis Wednesday as we show the General Assembly members that doing their duty can be done safely  -- they can conduct a Special Session and save Marylanders from incompetence at the national and executive level. The Weekly Memo covers the latest voting information, health care struggles and progressive pushback against business as usual when ... well, when there isn't any usual. Plus our recent blogs. See it all in the PM Weekly Memo.

September 11, 2020 MD's flagship university flagging in addressing inequalities in campus life

A UM student writing in The Diamondback takes the pandemic-hobbled College Park campus administration to task for leaving a critical stakeholder out of planning participants, and exposing campus workers to hazardous conditions as students return to an uncertain semester.

 September 08, 2020 Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, September 8, 2020

In the Memo -- planning to vote, rescuing the census, take care of each other (mental health too), and getting the General Assembly to do its job. All that plus events and doings of progressives around the state.

 September 06, 2020 Unions are best when bargaining "for the public good" -- but can police unions do that?

 "Many people who support labor unions in principle, who view them as a countervailing force against the power of employers, have only recently come to view police unions as problematic – as entities that perpetuate a culture of racism and violence," says a scholar of the union movement. How can that be? "...police unions differ fundamentally from almost all trade unions in America." As issues of police brutality and criminal justice reform are sparked around the nation by protests, a Labor Day consideration published Sept. 4  by Maryland Matters.

September 04, 2020 Happy Labor Day! Maryland's protections for public employees are weak

Happy Labor Day! Maryland ranks with Kansas (Kansas!) in the strength of our labor protections for public employees, a roundup by the Economic Policy Institute shows. A little better than a right-to-work state like Virginia, but that is not a high bar.

September 02, 2020 We need a special session, and you need to make your move to vote

Message One: Where are our legislators when we really, really need them?

Message Two: Don’t let all this official incompetence get between you and your vote – make your move, and vote in time to be counted.

Read on

August 26, 2020 Hogan personnel practices have odor of grift as delegates dig deep

The knives come out, more than a little, as a House of Delegates committee explores the latest Hogan personnel scandal and the long memories of Maryland Matters founder Josh Kurtz and others are tapped. Is this the precursor of a full-bore inquiry into not just misbehavior but wrongdoing, as personnel and big money bounce around pinball-style in Hoganland? The hearing yesterday, Kurtz says, “can only be described as one of the political low points of [Hogan’s] 5-1/2-year tenure.”

August 25, 2020 O.C. spending big to lobby against wind project popular with public

Eastern Shore progressive activist Jared Schablein salutes the Maryland PSC move to approve turbine specs and placement for offshore wind development well over the horizon near Ocean City. He also laments the increasing and very expensive lobbying effort to stop the project by Ocean City’s oligarchs and their partners in government (a quarter-million bucks to Bereano over four years?). As we see in the gratuitous notes below Schablein’s opinion article in Maryland Matters, the race between Maryland and Virginia to be slowest in achieving offshore wind reality is still neck and neck.


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 woodlanham@gmail.com. 

>>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