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.
Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, September 8, 2020
We hope all our Maryland progressives and allies had a refreshing Labor Day weekend and are ready to launch into a fall of activism like no year we -- or you -- can remember.
The upcoming November 3 election means the chance to exit a four-year authoritarian neo-fascist interlude, dominated by corporations and their enablers, and embark on a recovery -- from economic and public health disasters deformed even more by inequality -- that will engage pro-democracy activists across the spectrum.
Here are the tasks, some immediate and some in the long game.
■Vote, and help others to vote -- safely, informed and unbullied. See how below.
■Rescue the 2020 US census from the bullies and intimidators and get an accurate count of all our people for the critical decade ahead. As of today (Tuesday, Sept. 8), Maryland had received self-reports from 69.7% of its total housing units and workers had followed up and got reports from another 21.1% to bring the state’s total response rate to 90.9%, the Census Bureau is reporting. The national total is 88.2. See the national figures at https://www.2020census.gov/content/dam/2020census/news/daily-nrfu-rates/nrfu-rates-report-09-08.pdf
States and other plaintiffs have secured a stay to the Census Bureau’s announced plan to roll back the final date for Census field work from Oct. 31 to September 30. While Bureau field staff are working hard, that betrayal by higher-ups is on hold. Many are concerned about answering questions from field workers because of the administration’s thwarted attempt to put a citizenship question on the Census questionnaire. Your neighbors need to know that the US Supreme Court turned down that plan. Flat.
■Take care of each other while we agitate for more compassionate support from public officials. “In the era of Covid-19, as we all try to protect our mental health and cope with uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that we be there for each other and take steps to prevent suicide” during National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week. More here: https://afsp.org/keepgoing
NATIONAL PROGRESSIVE NEWS AND ASKS
GND Network will launch the THRIVE Agenda on Thursday, September 10 on Capitol Hill (in-person press event) with congressional co-leads including Sen. Ed Markey. Find a summary of the agenda and resolution here. Here is a link to a tool kit for messaging on this still-developing project.
Defending USPS, if not the “New Boss” -- A new poll conducted by Data For Progress and the Justice Collective Institute released in Vox, suggests Americans still broadly support the postal service, even if they’re less than thrilled about some of the changes Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has made to sabotage and delay people’s right to vote by mail.
Voting -- For Saving our Democracy
Make Your Plan to Vote:
We recommend you make your plan this week with just eight weeks to go until Nov. 3 and seven weeks to go before Early Voting. Here’s some information to help you plan:
The 2020 election will decide our country’s future and the fate of many economic, racial, social, and environmental justice issues. Also at stake is the way our government handles the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency--literally a matter of life and death. Here in Maryland, we will have a chance to vote for President and for our U.S. House Members. In many jurisdictions we will also be voting on important offices for City Council, Mayor, School Board and the Judiciary. Critical ballot measures around issues like campaign finance reform and tax policy are also on the ballot in many places. Check our social media posts to learn about our endorsed candidates and positions on ballot measures. Reach out to our local organizers to learn more or contact Patty Snee at email@example.com with questions about the election and/or Progressive Maryland’s electoral work.
How to Vote:
The League of Women Voters has a guide to how voting will work for this fall’s election.
The state Board of Elections https://elections.maryland.gov/ and your County Board of Elections can answer requests and questions, too.
Voting by mail: Request an Absentee Ballot
Absentee ballot request forms have started to be mailed so look for them 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 directly request a ballot application 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.
NOTE: You must request your ballot by October 20. Like many states, Maryland cannot easily move that statutory date back to take the huge burden on the postal system into account. You should move that date back for yourself and urge your community to do the same.
Once you receive your application for a ballot, fill it out and mail it back right away.
After you get your actual ballot, review the vote by mail instructions for returning your ballot. There are essentially two options to turn in/cast your physical ballot:
- Mail your ballot back using the envelope provided
- Drop it off in person at a secure drop box at one of the officially designated locations in your county.
Voting In Person Options
Early Voting period takes place between October 26-November 2. Each county will have some designated sites and will set up safe, physically distanced voting places. Check your County Board of Elections website for locations and hours.
Election Day Nov. 3 Every county will provide a number of polling locations for in person voting on Tuesday November 3. Check your local Board of Elections website for information.
Registering to Vote
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).
If you have any questions or problems with any aspect of voting call: 866 Our Vote (866) 687-8683
Call for a Special Session to Address COVID-19 Related Issues:
Progressive Maryland along with dozens of organizations representing health care workers, public employees, community groups, renters, public interest advocates, and faith based social justice groups, is calling on Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne Jones to bring the General Assembly back to work. Over the past few months far too many decisions have been left in the hands of a Governor who has been struggling all summer to provide a successful, comprehensive, consistent response to the COVID-19 crisis. 76% of Marylanders support the reconvening of the legislature because they see the need for our legislature to come off the sidelines and get to work protecting Maryland’s workers and families.
Event and Call to Action: Progressive Maryland is organizing an event next Wednesday, September 16, to demonstrate that it’s possible and essential for the General Assembly to convene. https://www.facebook.com/events/s/annapolis-action-maryland-spec/299044481193478/?ti=ia
Here are just a few of the issues that need to be addressed:
- Relief and protection for tens of thousands of renters in the state. No one should be vulnerable to eviction and housing insecurity during a pandemic.
- Safeguards like PPE, safe working conditions and other significant support for all frontline workers and state employees.
- Restoration of the funding, totalling more than $500 million, to Maryland’s HBCUs, which passed overwhelmingly in the G.A. and was later vetoed by Gov. Hogan. Action is needed in the near term so that this funding is not left on the table.
- Health care funding and COVID-19 oversight; testing and contact tracing programs that are at scale; and allocations for housing support for those patients and people who need alternative housing for quarantining.
- Budget action that prevents the state losing $300 million in revenue conditioned by a corporate tax giveaway before it’s too late.
Sign the petition: https://secure.everyaction.com/CnUxSX_EeEuFDv-sPZuoWQ2
Health Care Action at the Federal level
We continue to push for support in the United States Senate, along with our partners at People’s Action, for the Healthcare Emergency Guarantee Act. The Senate is back in session this week so please take a minute to click the link and email Sen. Van Hollen to ask that he co-sponsor this critical bill. The Act would provide health care through Medicare to thousands of Marylanders who have lost their health care or who need help paying co-pays and deductibles.
■Our next Statewide Justice Task Force Meeting will take place this Thursday, September 10th at 5:30pm on Zoom. You can sign up here. We’ll be discussing the ramifications of the War on Drugs in Maryland, how it contributes to violent policing, and what we can do to end it, right now.
■Here is Our Revolution Maryland’s newsletter for September. Organizer Hal Ginsberg reports it includes news of their August 29th Statewide Meeting on the 2020 General Election (including endorsed candidates participating) plus rallies in support of the USPS and postal workers around the region, ongoing phonebanking work and chapter news and events.
OUR CHAPTERS AROUND THE STATE
EVENTS FROM OUR PROGRESSIVE ALLIES
Friday, September 11 -- Movies@hope celebrates Labor Day week with Matewan, Director John Sayles' classic tale of West Virginia coal miners struggling for economic justice. 7:30 PM
Plans are for showing outside on the lawn at Hope Lutheran Church, 4201 Guilford Drive, College Park -- taking all necessary precautions. Weather NOT permitting we’ll show it on Zoom. Updates at www.hopecp.org.
Sunday, Sep. 13 | 1:00 PM MoCo DSA September Branch Meeting
Learn about keeping yourself safe during protests, a tax scam for the rich that will be on the November ballot, and more. Email us at MontgomeryCountyDSA@gmail.com for the Zoom link or with any questions!
Wednesday, September 16 -- Progressive Cheverly Prince George’s County School Board Candidates Forum 7:30 PM
Last April, Progressive Cheverly hosted our District 4 School Board candidates for the primary election. The two nonpartisan candidates running for one seat, Shayla Adams-Stafford (www.shayla4schoolboard.com) and Bryan Swann (www.swannforpgcps.com incumbent) will attend our forum. Their names will appear on the ballot for the general election on November 3. Get updates and access info here www.facebook.com/progressivecheverly
Friday, September 25 -- Progressive Cheverly Legislative Forum with Maryland District 47 Representatives 7:30 PM
Please join us for our annual Legislative Forum, only this year our local state representatives will speak to us early in the fall instead of at the start of the January 2021 legislative session. We will hear from Senator Malcolm Augustine and Delegates Diana Fennell, Julian Ivey (all confirmed) and Wanika Fisher (invited). There will be an opportunity to ask questions via chat.
Get updates and access info here www.facebook.com/progressivecheverly
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
"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.
August 31, 2020 Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, August 31, 2020
Can voting be even more important this week than it was last week? Yep. Check out our how-to on mail-in voting, for which YOU control the timeline as long as you act in good time. Also: the General Assembly needs to get back to work because the ball is being dropped by the governor on so, so many fronts. One of those is on our schools, which are getting underway even as the Governor and state school superintendent muddle the message. Info on evictions and how to contest them. Short answer: make your court date. And still more, in the Weekly Memo.
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.
August 24, 2020 Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, August 24, 2020
As Maryland struggles with the effects of COVID-19 and state officials' responses -- some better than others -- issues of national and state relief packages and promises, flattening the infection curve, education practices as schools open, getting a good census count for the future and making sure our voters make a plan to vote and get theirs counted are on our minds. Find issue analysis and resources in the Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo, along with our events calendar and blog posts.
Activists around Maryland are planning events Saturday (Aug. 22) in support of the embattled US Postal Service and its key role in mail-in voting as the pandemic makes in-person voting risky for some. Find where they are here.
August 19, 2020 Wednesday Wrap -- Postal reversal, Bay decline, other scandals
As the week rolls on it's easy to miss some of the juiciest outrages affecting Maryland -- the USPS slowdown and its aftermath doesn't give Congress DeJoy; bye bye to a Hogan staff chief who cashed in too visibly (Larry is more careful); Hogan's "rain tax" gambit besmirches his stewardship of the Bay, and more. Should we be ashamed of always looking at the downside? Well, maybe -- but we aren't.
In a major victory for organizations demanding solutions from the Maryland General Assembly to address the looming eviction crisis on Friday August 14th, a letter from the Maryland Attorney General lays out a pathway for the General Assembly to reconvene.
In the absence of any leadership from state government, top Assembly leaders and county/city school superintendents work to plan how to safely create school environments -- in-school or remote -- and what they need to make the school systems both safe and effective. Their list of needs is long and the response from the Hogan administration and state schools officials sounds suspiciously like crickets. These two accounts describe a thoughtful encounter Thursday (Aug. 13) between two state Senate leaders and three school superintendents (and readers of the BlogSpace can stream the whole discussion) as well as an opinion piece earlier this week by Sen. Paul Pinsky, who chairs the Senate education panel and was one of the participants. Pinsky lays out the concerns raised by the health emergency and some practices that might make a difference.
Progressive Maryland joined activist groups representing workers, tenants, immigrants, parents, students and others who pledged on Wednesday to ramp up their campaign to bring the Maryland General Assembly back to Annapolis for a special session. This article from Maryland Matters outlines our campaign.
August 12, 2020 We must have a Special Session -- ramping up the campaign
These times demand that our elected representatives take decisive action to aid the people of our state.
However this is not happening. Hard-pressed Marylanders increasingly call on the General Assembly to reconvene for a special session to address our current crisis. Our executive director, Larry Stafford Jr., weighs the options here and explains why today, Progressive
Maryland is joining with 70 labor, faith, and community organizations in the demand for a special session of the Maryland General Assembly.
August 11, 2020 Progressive Maryland launches leadership development program
Progressive Maryland "has launched a program to train and educate potential candidates for office and other political advocates " as we see in this article from Maryland Matters, the insightful statewide political blog. The site's founder/editor, longtime state political observer Josh Kurtz, outlined the plan and the people in an article posted yesterday (Monday, Aug. 10).
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