Now live: help fix Maryland’s gerrymandered Sixth District! This site (press release, guidelines) will let you propose and submit a map to Gov. Larry Hogan’s emergency commission using the inline Maptitude software. Aside from enabling the construction of maps using census blocks and other units, the software will ensure that the map you submit complies with legal requirements for equal numbers of persons per district and contiguous territory.
The site also accepts maps via data files or hardcopy as well as public comments of all sorts to advise the commission in its work. Note that public comment and map submission is open for two weeks, until Feb. 27. If possible, try to submit earlier rather than later.
More: Diane Rey, Maryland Reporter in January, League of Women Voters of Maryland overview. And on a lighter note, from Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford on social media:
Gov. Hogan’s Emergency Commission on Sixth District Gerrymandering is holding its next public hearing in Rockville next week. Come share what you think a fair 6th district would look like! Details:
Thurs., Jan. 31, 7 p.m.
Montgomery College, Rockville Campus
Theatre Arts Arena
51 Mannakee Street
Rockville, MD 20850
Please share with others interested in free and fair elections and an end to gerrymandering in Maryland.
Last year following the Russian Facebook scandal the Maryland legislature passed a bill regulating newspapers (!) and other online ad platforms. Gov. Larry Hogan refused to sign it, citing First Amendment concerns. Now a federal court has agreed and blocked the law’s enforcement as an unconstitutional infringement on the freedom of the press.
I write about the case at Cato. “Social media trickery is bad. Chipping away at First Amendment liberties to stop it is worse.” (reprinted from Overlawyered).
I joined host Jerry Rogers on WBAL to discuss Baltimore’s dreadful crime statistics, in particular the plunge in clearance of homicide cases discussed in this report (with more here).
For more on the grim report of rising crime on the Johns Hopkins campus, see the university’s eye-opening interim report, or this piece by William F. Zorzi for Maryland Matters.
Public health nannies, big alcohol lobbyists and intraparty rivals are all gunning for Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, so I figure he must be doing something right. Danielle Gaines reports.
To spell out what Franchot is doing right, he’s been pursuing a pro-consumer, pro-market, pro-competition agenda that would ease the way for craft beer and wine producers and other newcomers to offer buyers more choices at lower prices. Public health nannies like those at Hopkins’s Bloomberg Center don’t like that because they think drinks should be more expensive and harder to get, for your own good you understand. Big alcohol lobbyists don’t like it because their business model is premised on maintaining scarcer and more expensive choices with less competition. And intraparty rivals don’t like it because Franchot — though a Democrat of a rather liberal stripe — is happy to cooperate with Republicans like Gov. Larry Hogan to get things done.
Meanwhile, faced with intractable resistance among the majority legislative leadership in Annapolis to modernizing and easing craft beer regulations, Flying Dog Brewery has bailed out on its plans for a big expansion in east Frederick and put the land up for sale. Bad law has consequences.
Major news Friday on two fronts in Maryland redistricting:
1) The Supreme Court will take up the Maryland gerrymandering case once again — its third trip to the Court — to review the three judge panel’s November decision finding the Sixth District unconstitutional.
2) The emergency commission to draw a new Sixth District compliant with the court’s opinion, on which I serve, met for the first time in Annapolis. One action we took was to schedule the three public hearings we will hold before adopting a recommended map. The dates and places (all 7 p.m., later venues TBD) are:
Frederick — Jan. 14, Frederick Community College, Jack B. Kussmaul (JBK) Theater, 7932 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick
Montgomery County — Jan. 31
Cumberland or Frostburg — Feb. 6
Coverage: Samantha Hogan/Frederick News-Post, Jennifer Barrios/Washington Post, Rachel Baye/WYPR, David Collins/WBAL, Luke Broadwater and Pamela Wood/Baltimore Sun.
Frederick hearing coverage: Steve Bohnel, Frederick News-Post; Katie Misuraca, WDVM; Catalina Righter, Carroll County Times.
Frederick has a well-loved tradition of horse-drawn carriage rides touring in-town neighborhoods during the winter holiday season. On one late December Saturday evening, according to a letter by Paula Carter in the Dec. 28 Frederick News-Post, some animal rights advocates staged a protest action that included running alongside one carriage and screaming obscenities at the occupants, including a family who had taken their small children out for a special treat.
Here is more on the protesters, who object in principle to the practice of horse-drawn rides and do not appear to have adduced any evidence of inhumane practice by the Lambert family. Among the protesting couple’s actions has reportedly been to bring their own dogs up close to the horses, supposedly illustrating the danger that if approached by dogs there is a hazard that horses will bolt and cause injury, which seems like a remarkable way of promoting concern about that hazard.
At a City Hall hearing on updating regulations about the horses a group of protesters came out to oppose the rides. When asked which of them lived in the city, only four raised their hands. More in a FNP editorial.
Here is a Facebook post by Karen Crum Nicklas about a counter-demonstration on behalf of the rides and the family that puts them on.
Elsewhere on Facebook (no longer on public view setting), commenter J.M. writes: “I have spent many years working with animals. The idea that all that higher mammals such as horses and dogs want is the kind of shallow, mindless “fun” of food treats, wild play, and running around is not just wrong, frankly it’s demeaning to them. Much like us, what they really seek are meaningful connections with humans and other animals, and this includes meaning found in accomplishing things. As in working.”