Monday, March 31, 2014

Conservative Refuge Radio Tonight at 8

Oh gentle listener, we have another jam-packed edition of Conservative Refuge Radio on tap for your listening pleasure.

Check Out Politics Conservative Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with redmaryland on BlogTalkRadio


On this episode:


  • Some discussion of my weekend volunteering for the Hough for Senate campaign;
  • I share some feedback to our opening show as well as some comments on my discussion of marijuana from our friends at the City That Breeds Podcast;
  • I discuss a recent letter by some GOP State Senators that pretty much explains why Republicans remain a perpetual minority;
  • It is time to open the "Nut Ball Box" for some organic farming trolls who shared this with me on Twitter:



  • And a "Get off of my lawn" segment regarding the misuses and abuses of the English language.
All this, and much more on Conservative Refuge Radio.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes and on Stitcher.



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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Red Maryland Election Focus 3-29-14

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Red Maryland's weekly show focusing on elections and those who influence them,  This week we interview Bob Long, candidate for the House of Delegates in the Sixth Legislative District.  We also reprise our interview with Delegate Tony O'Donnell talking about the opportunities for Republicans in 2014.


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Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Red Maryland News Hour: 3/28/2014

Are you catching the Red Maryland News Hour? Because you should. You will find no better summation of the happenings going on in Annapolis than this show, on every Friday at 8 PM, hosted by Red Maryland News Director Duane Keenan.

On this week's show, we hear about Blogs, Bail, the Budget, BRFA, Bathrooms, a dash of Common Core, and a possible House of Cards set siezure.

Current Politics Conservative Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with redmaryland on BlogTalkRadio



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House of Cards, Eminent Domain, and the Ghost of Bob Irsay

One of the biggest and most controversial issues that has faced the General Assembly this legislative session has been tax credits for television and film production. The major player in all of this of course is House of Cards, whose production team has been pulling out all of the stops in an effort to extend and expand the tax credit.

Delegate Bill Frick, with hs profound respect for property rights, snuck an amendment into the tax credit that actually allows the state to seize the assets of production companies that leave the state

The amendment does not actually mention “House of Cards.” It simply states that the Department of Business and Economic Development “under certain circumstances” can “exercise certain powers of eminent domain” to acquire the property of a film production company that has claimed more than $10 million in tax credits and then ceases filming in the state.
It's interesting of course that the House of Delegates railroaded this amendment to the tax credit through this particular week. Because this week in history shows where threatening the use of eminent domain can go wrong.

Thirty years ago today, residents of Baltimore found themselves heartbroken. The dastardly Bob Irsay had move their Colts out of town in the middle of the night, hoping that nobody would notice the Mayflower trucks packing up their gear and heading west for Indianapolis. And as my colleague Mark Newgent wrote about several years ago, one of the reasons that the Colts left when they did was because of the threat of....eminent domain. 

Mark quoted Stephen Walters and Louis Miserendino’s report Baltimore’s Flawed Renaissance: The Failure of Plan-Control-Subsidize Redevelopment which has this to say on the subject:
 One final, emotionally wrenching example of the consequences of Baltimore’s reflexive use of eminent domain merits mention: the March 1984 departure of the city’s beloved Colts, winners of three National Football League championships from the late 1950s through the early 1970s. By the 1980s, however, the team had fallen on hard times, posting six straight losing seasons from 1978 to 1983. Fans blamed owner Robert Irsay for being tightfisted with the team payroll and generally incompetent; both charges were doubtless true. Irsay pointed at a city-run stadium that was below league standards in revenue-generating potential, another undeniable fact. He alternately begged local public officials to build him a state-of-the-art facility with taxpayers’ money and threatened to move the franchise to other cities that would. At various times, Memphis, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Los Angeles and Phoenix all played roles as leverage-enhancing suitors.
In the dead of winter, 1984, this sordid drama reached its climax. Indianapolis had built an $80 million domed stadium without any tenant; desperate, the city offered Irsayirresistible rental terms that included a subsidized loan,  attendance guarantees, and a free practice facility. Irsay also met with Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt and Phoenix officials and pocketed a similar offer. Recognizing that this time the Colts’ owner probably was not bluffing, Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer partnered with officials from the surrounding county and Maryland’s economic development agency to put together a stadium package that met all of Irsay’s demands. They even sweetened the deal when they learned that Indianapolis and Phoenix had upped their bids.  
But Irsay did not feel triumphant. The problem was that while some Baltimore pols were offering him gifts, others were threatening to take the Colts away from him. On March 26, 1984 (the day after Mayor Schaefer pitched the city's improved offer to Irsay), two bills were introduced for study in the Maryland legislature. One called for the state to buy the team and sell it to local investors for $40 million—about $83 million in today’s dollars, or less than a tenth of the franchise’s current estimated value.  The other authorized the state to use eminent domain proceedings to condemn the team and operate it “in the public interest.” Such proposals would have made any property owner nervous, but they should not have been a surprise. Over the previous couple of decades, Baltimore’s habit of taking private property—often on the cheap—had taken firm root. Invoking a public interest in seizing a football team (which, after three consecutive last place finishes, was clearly a “blighted” property!) struck few leaders or pundits as outrageous or even an unusual exercise of government power. On March 27, Maryland’s Senate passed the second bill. It was like a gun to Irsay’s head.   
The Colts were unlike previous targets of eminent domain seizures, however. Owners of bricks-and-mortar properties could only complain and litigate when confronted with condemnation threats; the Colts could get their assets out of town. And so they did. The very next day after the Senate voted, on the evening of March 28—Irsay had worried that if the move began during business hours officials would hurriedly finalize the legislation and obtain a court order to padlock the team’s rented offices—moving vans arrived and staffers packed up contracts, medical files, uniforms and other equipment. Under cover of darkness and with snowflakes swirling among a few somber onlookers, 22 vans rumbled away from the Colts’ rented facilities; by dawn, everything associated with the team was well down the highway to Indianapolis.  
Baltimore hurriedly played its eminent domain trump card, but it was too late. On March 29, Maryland’s House of Delegates passed and Governor Harry Hughes signed the pending seizure legislation and city officials wired a $40 million purchase “offer” to Irsay. On March 30, the city filed a formal condemnation suit. A year and a half and $500,000 in legal fees later, U.S. District Court Judge Walter E. Black, Jr. ruled that the Colts had moved beyond Baltimore’s legal reach by the time the city had formally begun its seizure proceedings.  Ever since, the Irsay name has been an expletive among Baltimore football fans. A local treasure had been stolen under cover of darkness, and anger was directed almost entirely at the thief. Little thought was given—then or now— to the repulsive power of eminent domain and other threats to the security of private property rights in the city. In the view of most policy- and opinion-makers, the episode was a tragic anomaly. Because the targets of such seizures are almost always immobile, their assets can be taken without much controversy and converted to “better” uses—case closed.
Thirty yeas later and the ghost of Bob Irsay lives...

Now of course House of Cards and other film productions do not have the cache or the historical association with the state of Maryland that the Colts did. But the story of the Colts and how they picked up and left town in a hurry when faced with the threat of eminent domain should serve as a historical warning for members of the General Assembly. Bill Frick clearly does not know his history when it comes to the General Assembly attempting to abuse their powers in this area, and clearly is ignorant of the harm that can be done when the state tries to throw its weight around in places that it doesn't belong.

Clearly the folks at Media Rights Capital, the producers of House of Cards, know the stakes and they know how this game is played. They also know that they are in the business of making money and making sure that their investments and assets are protected. While it is unlikely that Frick's Amendment is going to surivive the State Senate, the fact that such an amendment can be passed by voice vote in the House should be a warning shot to Media Rights Capital and other production companies that their assets may not be safe here. What Frick may have accomplished is ensuring that film and telvision production work goes elsewhere instead of Maryland, which will of course bring about fewer jobs and fewer economic opportunities for those businesses who work with these production companies.

Hopefully Democrats will learn their lesson this time around.


More below the fold.

Audit: Serious Security Concerns for Maryland's Online Voter Registration System, Felons Not Removed From Voter Rolls

The Maryland State Board of Elections conducted the 2012 presidential elections with known security concerns regarding its online voter registration (OLVR) system, and only recently has taken steps to adequately address those problems.

According to a legislative audit, an independent security research team sent a letter, dated September 25, 2012, to the elections board identifying serious security concerns related to the OLVR system.  The State Board of Elections opened the OLVR system o August 12, 2012.

The security team noted that the integrity of Maryland’s voting process relied heavily on the OLVR process to authenticate voters and eliminate fraudulent registrations.

According to the audit:

The research team’s OLVR security concerns focused on the use of Maryland driver’s license and identification numbers for user authentication. The team noted that these numbers are derived in a straightforward manner, using a known formula, from the citizens’ names and birth dates, both of which are readily available to the public. In addition, the team noted the existence of an Internet website, which, when provided with the aforementioned information, would accurately generate the Maryland driver’s license number or Maryland identification number. Because of this, the research team advised that the OLVR system allowed an attacker to process fraudulent voter registrations or changes.

The security team provided multiple examples of attacks on the OLVR system, which could disenfranchise legitimate voters and allow fraud to affect elections.

In February 2013, legislative auditors concurred with the independent security team’s findings and determined that limited action had taken place to address the security concerns.  The auditors and security team suggested that the board require additional readily available, non-public personal information for authenticating users; recording complete transaction logs for each attempted and completed online voter registration submission; and regularly running exception reports of unusual activity.

Revisiting the issue last November, auditors determined the board had made some progress in implementing the recommendations such as requiring non-public personal information to verify voters and developing reports to identify suspicious activity.

In response to the audit, State Board of Elections Administrator Linda Lamone stated that as of June 2013, OLVR now requires users to provide the last four digits of their social security number and the number and issue date of their Maryland driver’s license or MVA issued identification card.  As of June 2013 the board created a log of all OLVR transactions and developed automated reports to identify suspicious activity.   

Lamone’s response also noted that the board hired a security consultant to make recommendations to enhance the security of the OLVR system.

The audit also disclosed that the elections board did have an adequate process to remove those serving sentences for felony convictions were removed from voter registration rolls.

State law bans anyone serving a sentence for a felony conviction (including parole or probation) from voting or registering to vote.  If an ineligible individual under this scenario votes attempts to vote they are guilty of a felony and subject to prison time.

Every month the Judiciary provides to the state elections board a report of all the convictions from the various circuit and district courts throughout the state.  The board then excludes misdemeanor convictions and sends the adjusted reports to the local election boards, which have the responsibility of removing convicted felons from the database. 

Auditors found that since 2003 the Judiciary’s monthly report did not include all the felons for the circuit court of “one large county,” and that the state board did not detect the error until July 2012.  Auditors performed a match of the state board’s file of registered voters with an updated file provided by the Judiciary, containing the more than 3,300 felons excluded over the last nine years.   They found that 15 convicted felons illegally voted in the 2010 gubernatorial election.  Auditors also found that the state board improperly excluded 25 convicted felons serving a court ordered sentence from adjusted reports sent to the local election boards.

Also, auditors found that the state board did not have procedures to remove from the voter registration database, felons who violated their parole and issued extended sentences.   Auditors found that four felons given extended sentences illegally voted. 

In the election board’s response, Lamone disagreed with this finding stating that the board did not remove these particular individuals because election law does not require the clerks of circuit courts to provide the board with information on sentencing, probation, or parole regarding these felons.  However, Lamone said if state election law were amended to require this, the state board of elections would comply.

In response to Lamone, the auditors stated

SBE is responsible, under State Election Law, for the integrity of the State’s voter registration database and, as such, we believe SBE should use available information sources to help fulfill this responsibility. As stated in the audit report, counsel to the General Assembly informed us that, although the law does not require the Judiciary (via the clerks of the courts) to provide this information to SBE, there was nothing precluding SBE from obtaining such information. Therefore, we believe an amendment to the law requiring the Judiciary to provide this information is unnecessary. [Emphasis mine].

Auditors also found that the board’s consolidated procurement process for its $21 million voting support system may have resulted in limited competition.  The board received only one proposal and could not provide documentation it adequately evaluated the proposal, and that the board did not seek contract modification from the Board of Public Works when the scope of the contract was reduced by a value of $6.5 million.

Auditors also found accounting and control deficiencies over cash receipts, accounts receivable, purchasing transactions.






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Friday, March 28, 2014

Columnist Charles Krauthammer's Pithy Line of the Year on Barack Obama's Foreign Policy Rhetoric

--Richard E. Vatz

     President Barack Obama's foreign policy fecklessness, which quality will confound future honest historians, was described in a column today in /The Washington Post/ by Charles Krauthammer.

      In a piece titled "Obama vs. Putin: The mismatch," Dr. Krauthammer lists a variety of platitudes President Obama has iterated to describe how foreign policy would be conducted in a world of gentlemen who play by the rules of civility, while apparently blithely unaware that we do not live in such a world.

     Krauthammer has for years articulated, as have others, but not as presciently, the inexorable consequences of such weakness in a world wherein some foreign principals do not play by the rules of the Marquess of Queensberry

     In the op-ed Obama's quote at the United Nations of five years ago is provided: "No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation."

     At which point Krauthammer makes his devastating, Vatzian award-winning,
interpretive observation: "That's the kind of sentiment you expect from a Miss America contestant asked to name her fondest wish, not from the leader of the free world explaining his foreign policy."

     Q.E.D.

Prof. Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University and is author of /The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion/ (Kendall Hunt, 2012, 2013).


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Life Beyond Primaries

We at Red Maryland take a keen interest in Republican Primaries. Through our endorsements, we are looking to shape the future of our party by endorsing and supporting candidates that believe in core Republican principles and can serve to support and propose policies that consistently aim to shrink the size of government and lower taxes.

But there is another set of candidates right now who don't have primaries.

While primaries are an important function of what we do and important feature in how we decide the makeup of our party, there are quite a few competitive races out there in which the Republican candidate is running unopposed. Quite a few of these are very winnable races and these candidates need your support. While we at Red Maryland endorse candidates in the primary election, we know how important it is to coalesce around our nominees once the primary election is over. Maybe these candidates don't necessarily agree with your worldview as much as you would like. Maybe there is an issue where you vehemently disagree with a candidate. Regardless of those choices, a Republican candidate is going to be infinitely better than the Democratic alternative.

Some of these races include:

  • Senate District 3, where Corey Stottlemyer is trying to win back the Senate seat the Alex Mooney let slip away due to his own admitted laziness.
  • Senate District 38, where Delegate Mike McDermott has the opportunity to take back a Senate seat that should rightfully be Republican.
  • Senate District 42, where Tim Robinson will await the winner of a bruising primary between Senator Jim Brochin and former Delegate Connie DeJuliis.
  • House District 27C where one of the good guys, Delgate Mark Fisher, is getting challenged by a popular former County Commissioner.
  • House District 29B, a seat for which Deb Rey has been running had for over a year.
  • House District 31A, where Terri DeGraw has a shot to pull a major upset in a district specifically drawn for Democrat Ned Carey.
  • State Senator Allan Kittleman is running a tough but winnable race for Howard County Executive.
There are plenty of other candidates who are running unopposed in the primary who could use your support in prepping for the general election.

A lot of us tend to get hyperfocused on primary elections. Naturally, between now and June 24th there will be extensive coverage, focus, and attention paid to these primary elections. But let us not forget all of the other candidates who are already focused on taking out the Democrats this November, and let's help make sure they get a good head start.


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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Red Maryland Radio: 3/27/2014

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It was another big episode of Red Maryland Radio this week on the Red Maryland Network as we celebrate the Red Maryland Network's Third Anniversary!

On tonight's show:
  • We take a look back at the last three years of the Network, inclding some historic clips;
  • Inefficiences in Prince George's County Schools help make a case for Delegate Warren Miller's plan for an elected State Inspector General;
  • Baseball season starts this weekend! We preview the Orioles season;
  • Our favorite podcasts;
This is why you can't afford to miss Red Maryland Radio each and every Thursday night at 8, 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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Red Maryland Radio Tonight

It was another big episode of Red Maryland Radio this week on the Red Maryland Network as we celebrate the Red Maryland Network's Third Anniversary!

On tonight's show:
  • We take a look back at the last three years of the Network, inclding some historic clips;
  • Inefficiences in Prince George's County Schools help make a case for Delegate Warren Miller's plan for an elected State Inspector General;
  • Baseball season starts this weekend! We preview the Orioles season;
  • Our favorite podcasts;
This is why you can't afford to miss Red Maryland Radio each and every Thursday night at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes and on Stitcher.


More below the fold.

House Moves on Budget, Senate Passes Capital Budget

Yesterday, the Maryland House of Delegates gave preliminary approval to Governor Martin O’Malley’s $39 billion budget for fiscal year 2015, which increases by nearly $2 billion over last year.  The House version contains the same $200 million cut to the state contribution to the state retiree pension fund as passed by the Senate

Despite his claims of $9 billion in cuts, when it’s all said and done, state spending under Governor O’Malley will have increased by over $10 billion.

Earlier this week House Republicans offered an alternative budget that would limit spending growth to just 1 percent over FY 2014.   Republicans offered their plan through the amendment process, and House Democrats, who hold an overwhelming majority, shot down every single amendment.  Those amendments included:


 Maryland Reporter noted two other amendments not available on the General Assembly website, which included returning the Baltimore City Detention Center to Baltimore City, and cutting the House of Cards film tax credit.

The House also passed its version of the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act or BRFA. The BRFA is legislation that balances the budget through accounting maneuvers and fund raids, like the diverting local highway user fees from the Transportation Trust Fund to cover general fund spending.

A final third reader vote by the House will come today or Friday, and a conference committee will be formed to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget

The Senate also unanimously passed its version of the state’s $1.1 billion capital budget.  In addition to school construction and other capital projects, the capital budget contains the individual bond bills or pork legislators use to divert money back to their districts.  This year some of those projects include:

  • $2.4 million to the Alice Ferguson Foundation to design and build the Potomac Watershed Study Center; 
  • $250,000 for the Allegany Museum to build a green roof; 
  • $1 million to Center Stage to build a children’s theater;
  • $15 million to Johns Hopkins University to build a high performance computer data center;
  • $500,000 Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts for renovations;
  • $5 million to the Maryland Zoo for infrastructure improvements; 
  • $250,000 to the National Sailing Hall of Fame for design and construction of a news facility; 
  • $1 million to City of Cambridge for replacing wharf at Sailwinds Park; 
  • $500,000 to Sports Legends Museum for renovations; 
  • $1 million to Wye River Upper School for refurbishing permanent school facility.




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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

John Leopold's Impending Candidacy

You've probably already heard that John Leopold won a partial victory today in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. While his convictions on misconduct charges were upheld by the court, the Court ruled that the Judge's sentence banning Leopold from running for public office was illegal.

And I'm willing to bet that before the end of the day John Leopold's return to campaign life will begin.

Unless you have been under a rock, you know that the filing deadline for candidates to run in the Democratic or Republican primary was on February 25th. That opportunity for Leopold has sailed, unless a Republican candidate were for some reason stricken from the ballot, either by stepping down, disqualification, or by death, in a seat in which he is eligible to run for. Since there are no Republican vacancies up and down the ballot in Anne Arundel County, that avenue is closed to him.

Which is why John Leopold will run as an independent.

The qualifcations for somebody to run as an indpendent candidate by petitioning their way onto the ballot are listed on the State Board of Elections website. It involves filing a declaration of intent, having a campaign finance organization, filing the financial disclosure form, and filing the requisite number of petition signatures with the State Board of Elections by the deadline of August 4th. That number is one-percent of the registred voters who are eligible to vote for a seat or 250 signatures, whichever is greater. SBOE data shows that there are 60,794 registered voters in District 31B, for example, so in order to run for Delegate Leopold would need to gather only 608 valid signatures; a pretty low bar to clear for somebody Leopold's name identification and financial resources.

So yes, John Leopold will be on the ballot. It isn't like Leopold has any overriding loyalty to the Republican Party; he has found the Republican Party to be a useful vehicle for his selfish political ambition over the years, but he has hardly been a champion for it or the conservative causes that it represents. For those of you who may not remember, let's take a trip back into memory lane when it relates to John Leopold:

  • In 1978 when he was the Republican nominee for Governor of Hawaii, Leopold demanded that he be endorsed by the Party in a primary, despite the fact that he was running unpopposed. Eventually, he dropped out of the race late in the election cycle only to drop back into it several days later;
  • In 1980, Leopold was a Delegate to the Republican National Convention and sat on the Rules Committee. While there, he fought the Reagan Campaign in an effort to keep the Equal Rights Amendment as part of the GOP platform.
  • Began district shopping, ending up in Pasadena when he was elected to the House of Delegates in 1982. After two terms in the House, began a bid for County Executive in 1990, and dropped a bombshell in a May 15, 1990 Sun article that says that polling shows he can't beat Republcian frontrunner Bobby Neall in a primary, but may switch to run as a Democrat.
This archived Sun articles shows some "highlights" from his pre-Maryland days, including his time as the state director for Planned Parenthood in Hawaii.

John Leopold fought very hard to get the prohibition on running for office removed from his sentencing for one very good reason; he's an egomaniac who cares about nothing but his own gratification and only for his own sense of self-importance. Of course you already knew that based on the activities which he was engaged with during his term as County Executive that led to the misconduct charges. That Leopold needs only to collect 608 valid signatures to return himself to the ballot as an independent this year is not much of a stumbling block for somebody who maintains an odd level of good will from local voters given his years of constituent work as a Delegate. 

Leopold's ability to get on the ballot as an independent (and his $72,000 cash on hand he maintains in his campaign finance accounty) really stand to upset the apple cart for the eight Republicans and three Democrats running in this race.


More below the fold.

A Note Regarding the Bathroom Bill

Got a note from the fine folks in Delegate Neil Parrott's office, which I'm passing along to you below:

SB 212 passed HGO yesterday and is on second reader in the House today.  Final passage could be any time this week or next, possibly as soon as tomorrow. 
Concerned Marylanders should contact their delegates right away.  The General Assembly toll free number is 1-800-492-7122.  People can look up their delegate's phone number at http://mdelect.net/ or send them an email at http://mdpetitions.com/ .
I hope we can work together on this.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to let me know.


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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Red Maryland Rewind: Our First Network Show

In case you missed it, this week represents the 3rd Anniverary of the Red Maryland Network, so tonight we rebroadcast our very first episode aired on March 24th, 2011. Guests included Marc Klimer, Delegate Mike Smigiel, and J. Doug Gill.

Don't forget that we are putting out fresh new content all week and every week here on RMN, and you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes and on Stitcher.

Online Politics Conservative Radio at Blog Talk Radio with redmaryland on BlogTalkRadio


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Monday, March 24, 2014

The Conservative Refuge Returns

 Red Maryland Network welcomes back the Conservative Refuge!

Check Out Politics Conservative Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with redmaryland on BlogTalkRadio




On this week's show:

  • I introduce the audience to the show and some of our recurring segments.
  • I discuss the latest in the marijuana debate in Annapolis 
  • A "pep talk" for our Republican legislators as the General Assembly session reaches its denouement
  • The first installment of "Get Off My Lawn" with a discussion of social media pet peeves
  • I share a few "surreptitious recordings" from various state campaigns.
A must listen.  The Conservative Refuge is back tonight at 8, on the Red Maryland Network.......and don't forget that you can subscribe to the Red Maryland Network on iTunes and on Stitcher.

Give us your feedback at 410-205-4875, via email at redmaryland@gmail.com, via FB at facebook.com/redmaryland or via twitter @redmaryland.


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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Setting the Record Straight

Joe Steffen has once again defamed Red Maryland, and me personally knowingly publishing demonstrably false information, stating I “impLIED” that gubernatorial candidate Del. Ron George expressed support for the House of Cards film tax credit.  He also posts a reply from George.

Let me set the record straight. 

Here’s a block quote from the Michael Dresser’s Baltimore Sun article on legislators flocking to the event headlined by House of Cards star Kevin Spacey, which I used in my piece.

Among the delegates who couldn’t resist were one candidate for governor and another for lieutenant governor.  Del. Jeannie Haddaway of Talbot County, the running mate of GOP candidate David R. Craig, said she’s a big supporter of the program. “On the Eastern Shore we’ve seen the benefit of the film industry, most recently with “Wedding Crashers” in St. Michaels,” she said.  For Del. Ron George, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, the party was only a few steps from his Annapolis jewelry store.  George, an occasional actor who said he’s probably the only Maryland lawmaker with a Screen Actors Guild card, expressed support for the film tax credit program as he headed in to meet his union brother.

Of course, Steffen left hat bit of information out of his piece. 

Steffen also selectively misquotes my piece.

In his piece, Newgent calls out Gubernatorial Candidate Ron George by saying, “However, Ron George, one of the Republicans who, actually walks the walk in Annapolis, voicing support for these subsidies is surprising.” Newgent goes onto to rub it into the faces of both Ron George and David Craig’s LG candidate, Jeannie Haddaway by further writing, “It’s rare that you’ll find a Republican legislator (Ron George) willing to call out those who are, at least ostensibly on their side. I hope Ron and Jeannie (Haddaway) reconsider their support for this clear case of corporate welfare.”

Hmm what's missing?

Here’s the entire paragraph including the middle sentence Steffen deliberately cut out in order to distort what I wrote.

However, Ron George, one of the Republicans who, actually walks the walk in Annapolis, voicing support for these subsidies is surprising.  I vividly remember a House GOP Caucus pre-session briefing, in 2010 where Ron chastised the Maryland Chamber of Commerce for “taking the wind out of his sails” by rolling over on principle for meager scraps from the O’Malley administration. It’s rare that you’ll find a Republican legislator willing to call out those who are, at least ostensibly on their side.  I hope Ron and Jeannie reconsider their support for this clear case of corporate welfare.

Steffen conveniently left those important parts out of his hit piece.  

Why? 

Because it would complicate his lie.

To quote Steffen’s favorite Seinfeld character George Costanza, “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”



But wait, there’s more.

Does Ron George support the film tax credit? No he does not.  My mistake was relying on Dressser’s reporting, and not contacting George to confirm it.  I spoke with Del. George on the phone, and what he told me was quite interesting.  

George told me he never actually read my post after Steffen contacted him.  In fact, his response was based solely on what Steffen told him about my piece.  George told me entire exchange was conducted via Facebook messenger.

Given that Steffen deliberately omitted Dresser’s piece as the source of my statement about George supporting the film tax credit, as well as a key sentence to distort what I wrote, it should be no surprise that Steffen mislead George about what I actually wrote.

Ron emailed me this statement:

Mark, I thank you for the phone call this evening and allowing me the chance to explain my position on the film tax credit.  While you apologized for assuming the Mike Dresser Sun article was correct and for not calling me, I also owe you an apology for my strong comment at the end of my earlier statement as this was the second time Red Maryland wrote something without calling me first and thus I responded a bit harsh.  I apologize since I had not yet read your full comment where you had complemented me for "having always walked the walk". I realize your comments of me were more an expression of shock that I would continue to support it.  I will say that you are someone that tries to be fair in your reporting.  I appreciate your apology for not calling me and I thank you for accepting mine for my stronger than usual statement of frustration at the end of my statement.  [emphasis mine].
 
 
The fact is, I never told Dresser I supported it. I said I supported it in the past at a smaller amount to attract the film industry but that we were holding it up in Ways and Means, studying what the returns were and had concerns for the requested larger increase.  I also do not see this as helping an entire industry, but only two productions, one in particular. That is against my litmus test for tax credits. My comment I sent out this afternoon on it is below minus my questioning your integrity. Again, thank you for your call this evening to set the record straight. 
 There is a litmus test I made for when I am voting on tax credits.
Of course my first choice is to lower all business taxes.  It drives me crazy that the liberal Dems go gaga over some actor and start saying a lower tax will stimulate growth but they won't give a break to the local businesses. 
My test is simply: 
1st:  given our states high taxes will this be a credit that will generate growth in a industry which is stagnant because of our high rates and will the industry grow on its own after that. 
2nd: is it a credit given to one business but not to others in the same industry and if so, why is that: Is it because of donations given to elected officials? (Crony capitalism) This is a big NO vote for me.  Note I have been uncovering for two years and arguing that Maximus gave big donations to O'Malley and the DGA right after getting the contract for the health care rollout because O'Malley chose them out of ten companies without a procurement process. That is wrong. 
I did support the film tax credit the first time as it was meant for the entire film industry and not just one company and was a small test to see if it would work. It has not.
This time they are back asking for much more and, as I told the press, I do not believe they have shown how this is attracting the industry and generating growth on its own.  They also have made no attempt to locate here and establish more growth,  AND I feel local businesses deserve a break 1st. It is not our job to tax locals in order to help companies located elsewhere. 
I was asked by the press to come to say a comment. I went to Red Red Wine (my jewelry store is three doors up) and spoke to the press, stuck my head in and left after one beer. I watched it as an anthropology project...It was sickening to see the gaga attitudes of liberals who won't cut a break for the local business guy.  I told the press I will listen to what they have to say as I do on all issues pro or con.  But It was too hokey a gathering so I left after a quick draft beer.
 Thanks again,
Ron George

George also posted this to Steffen’s Facebook wall.



Again, I reiterate, nowhere in his piece did Steffen mention Dresser’s Sun article, which was my source, and he selectively omitted a key paragraph where I praised George.

Ron George does not support the House of Cards subsidy, and as I said he walks the walk in Annapolis.


I can admit when I’m wrong.  Can Joe Steffen admit he distorted what I wrote and mislead Delegate George?   


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