Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Quota Lobby

This morning's Baltimore Sun printed an op-ed from some outfit named Network 2000 demanding gender quotas in the cabinet of then next gubernatorial administration:

We, as an organization, raised our voice to challenge each of the candidates for governor to commit to having 50 percent of their gubernatorial appointments to commissions, committees, task forces, advisory boards and intrastate agencies be women.
Unsurprisingly, neither candidate was going to play this game and make such an ironclad commitment:
While both candidates courteously responded to our challenge, neither stated an actual commitment to our request for gender parity when making their cabinet and executive office appointments should they become the next governor of the state of Maryland.
This of course makes all of the sense in the world. Because neither candidate should be involved in the game of setting quotas for the makeup of their cabinet.

Both candidates, should they win, owe it to the citizens, residents, and taxpayers of the State of Maryland to appoint the best qualified people who share that Governor's philosophy to serve in their Cabinet. They should have skills that enable them to effectively do the job that they are qualified to do. Not be beholden to divide up the posts equally.

According to the Network 2000 website, the mission of this organization is "Championing Women Leaders." But is it really championing anybody when you are demanding set asides and quotas for cabinet membership? Is it really reflective (or even fair) to demand that gubernatorial candidates declare that half of their candidate will be of one gender and half of another? Is that really the best way to ensure that top talent is available to serve as Cabinet secretaries or leaders under a Brown or Hogan Administration? And wouldn't the implementation of such quotas create questions in the mind of Legislators and Citizens that people were appointed on the basis of their gender and not the basis of their talents.

Both candidates would be foolish to do anything but appoint the best people possible to serve in their Cabinets. Larry Hogan is fortunate in that there will be any number of qualified Republican women to serve in these posts, and I'm sure that if they are the best people to serve in his cabinet, they will. But Nework 2000 undermines their own position by insisting upon quotas. The type of quotas that Network 2000 is promoting suggests that women are not qualified for Cabinet posts without some type of pre-arranged quota to ensure women's representation. Not only is that unfair to the people of Maryland, who deserve the most qualified Cabinet Secretaries, but it is also insulting to the same professional women that Network 2000 is purporting to help.

The Quota Lobby is always out in full force trying to promote their agendas. Fortunately at this juncture, such quotas are being rejected for the insulting nonsense that they are.

More below the fold.

The June Smith Show 10-1-14

Mrs. Reason, June Smith, talks all things politics and sports.

You'll never not know what's on her mind!

A truncated show tonight, but June sounds off on

  • Eric Holder's resignation;
  • The EPA King;
  • Alrming nreew sex ed standards in a Las Vegas school district;
  • Ebola in the United States
  • Crime at Baltimore's shiny new Horseshoe Casino
  • More news from the Be Afraid, Very Afraid Department
  • GO O's!

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Red Maryland October Poll

The Red Maryland October Poll is now open through Wednesday, October 8 at 9 PM.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Conservative Refuge Radio 9-30-14

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The Red Maryland Network presents a special Tuesday edition of Conservative Refuge Radio.

On this show:

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Obamaphone Use Increases 100-Fold in Maryand

The Washington Examiner is reporting that use of consumer subsidized “Obamaphones” in Maryland grew 100-fold in three years, to 645,000, twice the number eligible for the program.

Officially called Lifeline, the federally run program, administered by the Federal Communications Commission, provides free cell phone service to qualified low-income customers.  Cell phone companies that sign up low-income customers are reimbursed 9.25 per customer through universal service charge fees on other cell phone customers’ monthly bills.

In testimony before the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology of the Committee on Energy and Commerce last year a telecom consultant testified that:

The greatest increase in Lifeline subscribership has occurred in Maryland. In the third quarter of 2009, there were only 6,504 Lifeline subscribers in Maryland, representing only 2 percent of the eligible low-income households in that state.  By the third quarter of 2012, the number of Lifeline subscribers in Maryland had risen almost 100 fold to 645,000.  Moreover, the current number of Lifeline subscribers in Maryland is almost double the number of low-income households in the state, as shown by the graph. The dashed red line is the number of eligible low-income households. The blue line is the number of Lifeline subscribers by quarter.

One of the main suppliers of Lifeline service is TracFone, owned by Obama fundraiser Carlos Slim.  According to the Examiner, TracFone refused to answer state regulator questions about the company’s actual cost to provide the service. 

More below the fold.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Red Star All Over

I was surprised to discover this morning that the Maryland Democratic Party official Instagram Account was following me. I was less surprised that when they did, the Democrats decided to comment on a three month old photo from the Larry Hogan primary victory celebration.

I was much more surprised, when I was perusing the list of accounts that they were following, to see this:

You'll notice that the very first account listed that the Maryland Democratic Party official Instagram Account is following is an account called "communism_redstar",  And you'll note that the accompanying images all glorify Communism and the murderous types who implemented it.

I have absolutely not idea why the Democrats would follow such an account from their "official" Instagram site, but I'd sure be curious to hear their reasoning....

UPDATE: Less than one hour after this post was published, the Maryland Democratic Party account unfollowed "communism_redstar."

The Maryland Democratic Party hasn't given a heck of a lot of indiciation as to why they were following an account glorifying communism in the first place.

More below the fold.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Red Maryland Exclusive: Martin O'Malley Interviewed on the Red Maryland News Hour

An interview Governor Martin O'Malley was featured on Friday's episdoe of The Red Maryland News Hour with Duane Keenan.

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This is why you can't afford to miss The Red Maryland News Hour each and every Friday, only on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes and on Stitcher.

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Brown's Baltimore Boondoggle

The botched roll out of the Maryland’s Obamacare website isn’t the only colossal mistake made on Lt. Governor Anthony Brown’s watch, with a similar pattern of financial mismanagement, lax oversight, and failed outcomes. I direct your attention to the vast swaths of vacant land in East Baltimore surrounding The Johns Hopkins Medical Campus.

Anthony Brown sits on the Board of Directors of the East Baltimore Development Inc, a spot to which he was appointed to the Board by Martin O'Malley in 2007. In the press release announcing the appointmentO’Malley said Brown would “a key leader as we work with all partners to develop and expand this key region of our state."

East Baltimore Development Inc. is "a 501 [c] [3] established by community, government, institutional and philanthropic partners to revitalize, re-energize and rebuild the East Baltimore." 

Four-years later, the "New" East Baltimore was in shambles.

A 5-month investigation in 2011 by The Daily Record found the project was derailed by inconsistent leadership, lax oversight and accountability, and detached politicians.” The project wasted $212 million in public funds, displaced 700 families, and the biotech-park was scrapped and replaced with plan to redevelop the area around a school. While the individual articles from The Daily Record are behind a paywall, a third-party reprint of the story has the full damning story about the muddled money trail and the fact that nobody was being responsible with the taxpayers money.

A Daily Record editorial blasted the project and it's oversight:

The New East Baltimore, a projected $1.8 billion effort to transform 88 blighted acres north of Johns Hopkins Hospital, is a mammoth undertaking with more than $200 million worth of public investment after a decade and precious little public oversight.  
That lack of accountability is a fundamental flaw that must be rectified now....
...This is no way to run a railroad, much less the nation’s largest urban redevelopment project.The stakes for the city and state are far too high to keep operating in this manner. If this project is to succeed — and we hope it does — it needs nothing less than the full attention of the public, private and nonprofit sectors to assure the coordination of resources and planning and a fully transparent process to accurately calculate the impact of these decisions in human and financial costs. 
As Douglas W. Nelson, chairman of the EBDI board and former CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which has pumped millions of dollars into the project, said, “If in time we can’t make that community resemble the vision we had for families and kids and workers there, the city is in trouble.”
That doesn't mean that Anthony Brown hasn't tried to capitalize politically on the EBDI project. In 2007 at EBDI’s 5th Anniversary, Brown gave a speech touting jobs and constructions that never happened.   
“Look at what we’ve accomplished. $1.8 BILLION – with a ‘B’ – of redevelopment across 88 acres; Job training and workforce development programs that will create 8,000 new job opportunities in the City; 2,200 residential homes; A state-of-the-art Life Science and Technology Park; Nearly 150,000 square feet of new commercial office and retail space; And, just yesterday, EBDI was recognized by U.S. Green Building Council for it’s LEED-standards in green construction and design. “ 

Between 2012-2014 the state of Maryland has sunk $9.1 million in EBDI.
After the mistakes that were made, the O'Malley-Brown Administration worked to try to put the pieces back together. Governor O’Malley christened a new state public health lab at EBDI that was put into place after these failures.  But what the Sun left out of the story is why the lab is there and how something unusual is happening with the funding. The lab itself is non-profit, however it is in fact paying to be part of this EBDI project, as reported by The Daily Record in 2011:
Extra precautions With that in mind, EBDI and the city are taking extra precautions they hope will keep Baltimore's TIF debt repayment record intact. At the behest of city financial advisors, two recent additions to The New East Baltimore development plan - a $60 million graduate student housing tower owned by the Johns Hopkins University and a $175 million state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene lab - will be required to make unusual payments in lieu of taxes to make sure each tax-exempt building contributes to the TIF repayments. "We need to hold fast" to the responsibility to bond investors, said Christopher Shea, EBDI's CEO. "In order to welcome a tax-exempt building to the project," he said, TIF repayments still must be made. Hopkins will be responsible for a $400,000 annual payment in lieu of taxes, said Cynthia Swisher, EBDI's chief financial officer. The annual amount of the state lab's payment in lieu of taxes has yet to be determined.
Emphasis mine.

The economic record isn't the only issue with EBDI. In 2012 the Sun reported on concerns by the Legislative Delegation from the area that the EBDI project wasn't helping the displaced residents of the area find new homes or with job and other economic opportunities. 
Elected officials from East Baltimore want to block the $1.8 billion urban renewal project in Middle East until more neighborhood residents and minority contractors are hired and displaced residents can benefit from the revitalization. 
Members of the Eastside Leadership Team criticized the 88-acre project for what they said was slow progress and a poor record of minority hiring during a news conference Wednesday outside the offices of East Baltimore Development Inc, the nonprofit leading the large-scale redevelopment just north of Johns Hopkins Hospital. 

The group of state senators, delegates, City Council members and former officials said they intend to halt agreements and block legislation, permits and zoning changes needed to advance the plans. They also intend to sign on as plaintiffs in an existing lawsuit against state agencies to stop a $99 million state health laboratory that's under construction on the site.
"We're giving EBDI a vote of no confidence," and calling for a stop to new construction, contracts or hiring, "until our goals are met," state Sen. Nathaniel McFadden said. 
The project displaced 800 families from what was a blighted neighborhood. Some moved to newly rehabbed rowhouses nearby. 
Hundreds of houses were razed to make way for 1,500 to 2,000 new and renovated residential units and up to 1.7 million square feet of commercial space. One office building and several apartment buildings have been completed.... 
....But over 10 years the work, for which EBDI has partnered with Johns Hopkins and master developer Forest City East Baltimore Partnership, has yet to deliver promised new housing and jobs, critics said.

Online journal Next City, in noting the divide between the State-backed corporation and the displaced local residents, said:
Nearly all of Middle East’s residents had been removed and more than half a billiondollars in public and private money had been poured into the project. However, 700 abandoned homes still stood and plans for the 1.1 million-square-foot biotech park, which EBDI promised would produce nearly 7,000 permanent jobs and resuscitate the neighborhood, appeared stuck. A 30-acre rectangle consisting of a lone biotech building, a couple of hundred rental units for seniors, a handful of condos, an unfinished graduate student housing facility and an incomplete parking garage were all EBDI had to show.
So to recap, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown has been put in charge by Governor O'Malley of both the rollout for the Maryland Health Care Exchange website as well as East Baltimore Development, Inc. In both cases, these massive state projects have suffered from wasteful spending, a lack of transparency, a lack of fiscal accountability and the inability to complete the task at hand on time and within budget. All at the expense of local, minority residents who have been displaced from their jobs and shut out from the economic development taking place in their own backyard.

Maryland is already facing tough fiscal times, including a structural deficit created by the O'Malley-Brown Administration's wasteful spending, and a projected $400 million revenue shortfall due to decreases in economic activity thanks to the O'Malley-Brown Administration's immoral and confiscatory tax increases. When you combine those two factors with the fact that Anthony Brown seems unwilling or incapable of providing the appropriate management and oversight to the few projects he was tasked as Lt. Governor and this is a recipe for disaster for the State of Maryland and its taxpayers. 

The bottom line: Anthony Brown is an incompetent manner and cannot be trusted with taxpayer dollars. And it's why the Brown Campaign wants to talk about anything but these issues that are important to Maryland's voters.

More below the fold.