Getting some action out of our General Assembly lawmakers is still on the table; find out how. Meanwhile, the raw deal they have left us to handle on our own requires solidarity and knowledge. You provide the community solidarity, we've got chapter and verse on how to vote, how to stay safe and fight back in pandemic time, where we fit in the national activism scene and more -- all in the Weekly Memo. Read on.
Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, September 28, 2020
Pressure Continues for a Special Session of the Maryland General Assembly(MGA)
In light of the multiple COVID related crises facing the state, Progressive Maryland and more than seventy labor, public interest, community and advocacy groups are calling on Senate President Ferguson and House Speaker Jones to convene the General Assembly to address a range of issues that residents across the state are facing. The Hogan Administration is not providing clear, consistent leadership around public health guidelines nor has it delivered on the protections and relief that renters, essential workers, teachers, nursing home staff and residents, and unemployed folks need. The state’s support for our public schools during this time has fallen far short of what’s required to deal with multiple challenges facing districts, teachers, students and staff. The MGA has been sidelined for the past six months, at a time when we need all hands on deck in order to forge a comprehensive, urgent, and ongoing response to this public health crisis. Unprecedented times call for an unprecedented response.
We are making some headway in this call to action to legislative leaders: we’re in touch with the offices of Sen. Bill Ferguson and Del. Adrienne Jones about our views. We know they are concerned about the situation the state is in. Their constituents have contacted them to urge a special session to respond to this emergency. It would help for them to continue to hear stories of the impact the crisis is having on folks from people around the state. If you have a personal COVID or COVID related story to share please email Christianne at Christianne@progressivemaryland.org
The death toll in the world now stands at a million and has surpassed 205,000 in the United States. It’s estimated that many thousands of the deaths and infections in our country 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 reckless actions 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.
All of us need to continue to take measures that will help us avoid being exposed to the virus: covering our noses and mouths with a mask when around others, avoiding close contact with others, washing our hands often, monitoring our health, and staying alert to possible symptoms. We need to follow local county public health guidelines and to support the public servants who are providing accurate information and upholding the recommendations of public health experts. We should urge elected officials across the board to make the paramount health and economic needs of the public the number one focus of their work. To learn more:
Plan to attend our virtual Statewide Community Forum on COVID on Wednesday evening October 7. We’ll share information about the virus in Maryland, discuss the latest on the state’s public policy and emergency measures, and review our calls to action. RSVP here:
COVID-19 Forum Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUpfuCrrTgpEteA2zxxH_ikctZN-pbJ90FD
To hear more about the COVID Statewide Forum or PM’s healthcare work email Malcolm at email@example.com or Patty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2020 Election Update: Make Your Plan to Vote
Decide on your plan today! Election Day, November 3, is five weeks away. Early Voting in Maryland is four weeks away.Here’s some information to help you make your plan:
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 Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Here in Maryland, we will cast our votes for President and for our U.S. House Member. 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 races up and down the ballot.
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 email@example.com with questions about the election and/or our efforts.
How Do I Vote?
Vote by mail: Request an Absentee Ballot
-- The deadline to apply is October 20. If you have not already received a request for an Absentee Ballot, contact your local Board of Elections. Or request a ballot application by going online. You can also text VBM to 77788 to get the application. Complete the request form as soon as you get it and mail it back immediately in the envelope provided. To track the status of your request use the state’s voter lookup tool.
--After you receive your actual ballot read the instructions for marking the ballot. Examine all the candidates and questions and cast your vote. 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 as soon as you can in order to help ensure prompt delivery.
--At a secure 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. These boxes will become available in October -- check with the State Board at this website for information about County sites for drop boxes.
Voting In Person
You can vote during early voting from October 26 through 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, between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. 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! We need a big voter turnout this year. Help us reach voters and turn out the vote:
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
“Asks” (for this week)from our national affiliate People’s Action:
>>We need your help to drive contacts to your Senators through the People’s Action Phone2Action tool, so we can secure both Democrat and Republican Senator commitments to demand that our voices be heard and our votes will be counted.
>>Let's continue to keep the pressure on Republican senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. Speaker Pelosi and Treasury Sec Mnuchin are actively negotiating a package and Trump has signaled he wants more than McConnell has been willing to cough up so far. He’s the odd white male supremacist out. Our Mitch McConnell COVID-19 relief package Phone2Action is still a way to let your voice be heard.
OUR CHAPTERS AROUND THE STATE
Prince George’s Weekly Wednesday Phonebank
Making calls is the most powerful thing we can do to make sure folks know who will be on the ballot, and why we are throwing our support behind them – and we’ll be calling Prince Georgians every Wednesday night until Election Day.
In making these calls, we are not only doing the work to elect our Progressive slate, but we’re also checking in with voters to make sure they’ve requested their ballots and have a plan to vote. This is incredibly important since the deadline to do so is quickly approaching. On Wednesday, we’ll begin with a quick training and then start dialing to win votes for our movement!
LSPC has sent out this message to its network about the need to vote quickly rather than at the last minute. https://us18.campaign-archive.com/?e=95edce160f&u=bcb616fdd9945fc2c5e497238&id=60f6f9e024
EVENTS FROM OUR ALLIES
Wednesday, Sep 30 | 8:00 PM
Stronger than Storms: Climate and Just Recovery Forum / Más Fuerte que las Tormentas: Foro por el Clima y una Recuperación Justa
Webinar with 350.org: This virtual town hall will bring together representatives of climate impacted communities to share stories and connect the dots between our struggles. Sign up here.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
September 23, 2020 Progressives line up against MoCo Question B with citizen group
Progressive Marylanders in Montgomery County have been fighting, with allies, to defeat the right-wing stealth measure Question B that would cripple public services in the county with a tax-break windfall for the rich. Adam Pagnucco in the Seventh State blog updates that fight as a new umbrella coalition is launched by a citizen group with many of those allies. Stay updated with Montgomery Neighbors Against B Coalition at mocoagainstb.org and at our Facebook and Twitter @mocoagainstb
September 21, 2020 Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, September 21, 2020
In 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.
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 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.
"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.
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.”
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 email@example.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