Monthly Archives: November 2022

In miniature, November 22

  • The week in blame-shifting: Baltimore files lawsuit against tobacco companies seeking to recoup the cost of dealing with cigarette butt litter [CBS News]
  • A lot of people warned at the time that Maryland’s first-in-the-nation digital ad tax was unconstitutionally drawn, and now Judge Alison Asti has struck it down [Callan Tansill-Suddath, DCist; an earlier instance in which courts struck down a media law after the General Assembly ignored warnings of likely unconstitutionality]
  • Montgomery County will make a costly mistake if it goes forward with plans to ban most gas hookups in new buildings [Adam Pagnucco, Montgomery Perspective, more]
  • To my list of favorite Maryland place names I can now add Tippity Wichity Island in St. Mary’s County [Baltimore Banner, more, it’s for sale]
  • Frederick Magazine profiles Landmarks Foundation of Frederick County, which just had its biggest attendance ever for Oktoberfest at Schifferstadt [Kate Poindexter]
  • Baltimore needs to change, part 783: Bridgeport, Newark, Detroit, and Baltimore in that order are the cities that place the highest tax burdens on households, and that’s true both at $75K and $150K/year household income levels. Among the lowest: Las Vegas, Houston, Jacksonville, Fla. and Manchester, N.H. [Chris Edwards, Cato]

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Baltimore intends to remain Squeegee City

In Baltimore, aggressive squeegee kids have been a presence in downtown traffic for years. Now, as, Capital News Service reports, the city unveils a plan to 1) ask them to stay out of certain densely driven corridors, 2) pay some of them to change the way they spend their time, and 3) issue fines to drivers who tip them. Newly elected Baltimore City State’s Attorney Ivan Bates took part in the team that drew up the plan but has also offered a more straightforward analysis of the situation: what the kids do is already an unlawful interference with traffic.

Gov. Larry Hogan has long criticized the city’s non-enforcement policies, saying in July, “It certainly has had a major impact on people being afraid to come to the city because they’ve been harassed for years and years.” But much of the city’s active political class disagrees with him, dismissing as anecdotal or subjective the accounts of drivers, female and elderly especially, who say they have felt intimidated or coerced to give money during the exchanges.

Sometimes it appears being “made to feel unsafe” isn’t such a big deal after all.

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The election morning after

Post-election thoughts.

Nationally, Republicans came in far short of their hopes and what would be expected for the out-party in a midterm, especially one with high public discontent over issues like inflation. It’s still unclear whether they’ll take even the House, let alone the Senate. While Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and New York Republicans had a good night, figures promoted by MAGA-world crashed in flames in one competitive race after another, from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin to Arizona.

Statewide, as expected, the Democratic ticket in Maryland cruised to an easy win against the likes of Dan Cox and Michael Peroutka. Two Republican candidates I did like, Barry Glassman (Comptroller) and Allan Kittleman (Howard County Executive), ran well ahead of those two but still lost by wide margins.

Here in Frederick County, Republicans have jumped off to a strong lead based on combined Election Day and early voting tallies. But most mail ballots will not be counted until Thursday and later, and those votes are likely to enable Democrats to catch up and overtake them in a number of races. The number of mail ballots left to count stood at 16,164 as of Wednesday afternoon but could go even higher, and most will break for Democrats. Among the strongest R countywide candidates, Michael Hough (CE) is currently ahead by 8,798 votes, Sandy Dalton (Clerk of the Court) by 12,594, and Chuck Jenkins (Sheriff) by 11,255. [NUMBERS CORRECTED AND UPDATED WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON] If Democrats catch up by 6,257, they could take both council at-large seats, while a shift of 8,706 would potentially let them shut out conservative challengers from taking at least one school board seat.

* * *

A few observations:

I think the country is better off if the Biden administration is held in check by losing control of at least one House, even if narrowly. I also think voters should reject candidates who wouldn’t have certified the 2020 election, who spread conspiracy theories, or who are extremist nutballs generally. While many votes remain to be counted, voters might manage to thread the needle to achieve both these goals. Rep. Lauren Boebert is even behind in her race in Colorado!

Election reform appears to have had a good night, with Final Five/RCV reform ahead in Nevada, ranked-choice voting winning everywhere I’ve seen so far, and Alaska’s RCV working smoothly (expect a return to Washington for Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Democratic Rep. Mary Pertola.)

As for the Republican Party, I put it this way last night:

If you want a functional conservative party in this country, fire the MAGA crowd, freeze out the Entertainment Wing, and recruit competent candidates of good character.

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