Monthly Archives: June 2019

“It’s supposed to be a rainbow, not a strip of litmus paper.”

My letter to the editor (with Steve Pippin) in the June 27 Frederick News Post responds to a local resident’s letter advising that people shouldn’t attend Frederick Pride

…if you vote for the wrong sorts of candidates, if you keep your views to yourself rather than being outspoken about LGBT issues, or if you fall short of his standards of correct belief on gender politics, “classism,” and many other issues.

Here’s another point of view. Pride is for everyone of goodwill. It’s OK to come to see friends, or be entertained, or meet new neighbors, or just listen and learn. It’s OK to dress as you like, not in some obligatory uniform. It’s OK to march to the beat of a different drummer, whether or not it puts you in the majority. You should feel welcome whether or not you agree with this or that political party, movement, or candidate. You’ll see Democrats, Republicans, libertarians, Greens, and others at Frederick Pride. They’re all welcome, and so are you, if you bring goodwill.

It’s supposed to be a rainbow, not a strip of litmus paper.

Steven Pippin and Walter Olson

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

Supreme Court nixes gerrymander challenges

My take at Cato on the Supreme Court’s decision:

… If partisan gerrymandering is a substantial evil worth fighting – and I believe it is – we should now get serious about finding that remedy through other means. The Constitution’s Elections Clause provides that “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations,” and in fact Congress has in the past prescribed to the states standards for districting. These include standards on compactness, a vital principle of good districting that all by itself would disallow many of the most garish gerrymanders by which U.S. House members reach the Capitol. Countering the gerrymandering of state legislatures is a tougher challenge, but even in states without a process for ballot initiatives it is a natural issue for reformist governors and others who run in non-districted races.

Around the country, machine politicians must be thinking they’ve got a free hand to draw maps even worse than the ones last round. We shouldn’t let them.

A few clips: Doug Tallman/MC Media, Dan Schere/Bethesda Magazine, Ryan Marshall/Frederick News Post.

On Saturday I joined Jennifer Charlton and Michelle Perez Newman for “Success Happens” on WFMD along with board of education president Brad Young. (He talked about school redistricting and I talked about legislative redistricting — two completely different issues.) You can listen here. And I joined Allen Etzler and Heather Mongilio at the Frederick News-Post’s podcast series Frederick Uncut on the same topic (more).

P.S. Spot the contrast here between incoming House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne Jones, who says she’s disappointed at the Court’s refusal to remedy gerrymandering, and Senate President Mike Miller, who sounds maybe a bit jubilant [Maryland Matters]

Leave a comment

Filed under Policy

Did Maryland’s lawyer mislead the high court in the gerrymander case?

Prof. Michael McDonald says that’s what happened at oral argument when the state’s lawyer characterized McDonald, an expert for the Republican plaintiffs, as having found the Sixth District “competitive.” [Medium, McDonald on Twitter]

Leave a comment

Filed under Law

Today’s welcome vote on I-270 capacity (with a note on “induced demand”)

Maybe Frederick and upper Montgomery commuters won’t have to wait in endless traffic on I-270 for the next 20 years, with today’s favorable vote from Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot to proceed with a public-private partnership.

Virginia got a head start on these ideas and polls indicate most users take a positive view of the road improvements there, toll options and all. Existing law forbids reductions in current free lanes.

By the way, watch out for misuse of the transportation concept of induced demand. In proper context, it’s an uncontroversial concept: planners should be aware that expanding a highway can increase demand (whether by stimulating more trips from existing users or encouraging development) which means that congestion will not be relieved by as much as a static analysis of current vehicle flow per minute would suggest. That’s all it says. It does not, by itself, predict that the induced demand will be so big as to absorb all the new road capacity. If it always did that, there would be no such thing as unclogged newer thoroughfares.

1 Comment

Filed under Policy