Category Archives: Policy

Protesters disrupt Frederick horse carriage rides

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.”

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“Frederick’s Forum” on the Sixth District remap

I joined hosts Darren Wigfield and Dave Schmidt on WFMD’s “Frederick’s Forum” on Saturday for a two-hour (!) show on gerrymandering and the Sixth District, with a little bit of unrelated talk about law and the Supreme Court toward the end. You can listen here: first, second portion.

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Emergency Commission on Sixth Congressional District Gerrymandering

On Monday Gov. Larry Hogan announced an executive order creating an emergency commission to redraw Maryland’s Sixth District to comply with a federal court order. (Coverage: WBALMaryland ReporterWashington PostBaltimore Sun and Capital GazetteAP/ABCFrederick News PostHerald Mail (Hagerstown), WMARMaryland Matters, and many others. ) I’m honored to serve together with Judge Alex Williams as a co-chair of this commission, which will also include Ashley Oleson (no relation) and six more members.

This nine-member commission will be drawn equally from among registered Maryland Democrats, Republicans, and voters affiliated with neither of those parties. Qualified persons of all party affiliations are encouraged to apply. Applications close December 10.  Some restrictions apply as explained at the link; for example, employees of the legislature and governor and officials of political parties are ineligible to serve. This is a unique opportunity for civic-minded persons to make a difference for the better in our state.

Shortly before being asked to be part of this effort, I discussed the Sixth District ruling in a podcast with the Frederick News Post’s Emma Kerr and Colin McGuire, as well as an interview with host Sheilah Kast at WYPR’s “On the Record”. I also joined West Coast-based libertarian radio host Bob Zadek for an hour-long show on the national aspects of redistricting reform.

 

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Scott Beyer’s Market Urbanism Report looks at Baltimore up close

Scott Beyer’s Market Urbanism Report has an active presence on Facebook and has just used it to devote a month’s worth of attention to the problems, challenges, and quirks of Baltimore, from policing good and bad to Formstone to the money-sink Hilton project to eminent domain to housing abandonment to the upkeep of public spaces. Check out the whole group as well as its associated website for a treasure trove of analysis and information about city and development issues, informed by market reasoning.

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On the Elevate Maryland podcast

Thanks Tom Coale, Candace Dodson Reed, and Ilana Bittner for having me as a guest on the Elevate Maryland podcast, which focuses on civic and political life from a Howard County vantage point. I join at the 20 minute mark and after a lengthy and detailed discussion of gerrymandering and the Maryland Redistricting Reform Commission’s recommendations, we move on to topics like the comparative restaurant scene (E.C. vs. Rockville vs. Volt and Family Meal — must we choose?), accordions, and TV. [Player.fm, iTunes]

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Local man quoted on prospects for redistricting reform in second Hogan term

Here, by Josh Kurtz at Maryland Matters. Related: one reason Republicans on the national scene may rue their indulgence in gerrymandering is that systematically placing many seats beyond opponents’ reach in an evenly balanced electorate requires crowding a lot of them into the zone just past that (say, where the party advantage is between +4 and +8). But that leaves the gerrymandering party vulnerable to a mid-sized wave that might tip a lot of seats at once [Bernard Grofman and Thomas Brunell 2005 via John Gastil, Washington Post, “Monkey Cage” 2016]

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Maryland public employees’ Janus rights

If you’re a public employee, the Supreme Court has ruled that you have a First Amendment right to decide for yourself whether to pay agency fees to a union. You might decide, for example, that the union’s bargaining objectives do not reflect your own wishes and priorities, or that the union’s presence is simply not worth the cost to you in fees. The My Pay My Say website helps you exercise your Janus rights and assist other employees in exercising theirs.

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“Why Does Maryland Hate Airbnb?”

“A bill given serious consideration in Annapolis this spring would require platforms like Airbnb to collect detailed information about hosts and guests, retain it for up to four years, and turn it over to the state government if requested. Failure to comply with any of the rules would result in $500 fines for individual hosts, with each further violation adding another $500 to the tab. Critics say the privacy concerns and escalating fines are clearly meant to deter would-be hosts from renting out their spaces. The bill’s sponsor, Del. William Frick (D–Montgomery County), hails from the district that not-so-coincidentally contains Marriott’s new, state-subsidized corporate headquarters.” [Eric Boehm, Reason]

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“Equity policy” scheme aims at injecting racial politics into every Montgomery County decision

A project of Councilmember Nancy Navarro, it goes too far even for three Democrats representing the saner end of their party’s spectrum in the County Executive race, Rose Krasnow, David Blair, and Bill Frick. It is backed by three other council members currently running for that higher post, Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich and George Leventhal. [Seventh State]

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Seen and heard on redistricting reform

Last month the Supreme Court heard oral argument (transcript) in Benisek v. Lamone, the challenge to Maryland’s gerrymandered Sixth District. I was there with some critics of the gerrymander in front of the Court steps and spoke to a number of reporters afterward [Danielle Gaines, Frederick News-Post; Bruce DePuyt, Maryland Matters] See also Eric Boehm, Reason. Earlier here. Background links on Maryland case: Cynthia Prairie, Maryland Reporter in January.

I was interviewed by reporter Tom Fitzgerald for WTTG Fox 5 in front of the Court, and joined anchor/host Jason Newton and Goucher pollster Mileah Kromer on WBAL’s “TV Hill.” You can also listen through Facebook to my appearance on WFMD with Dave Schmidt and Darren Wigfield on redistricting

New audio contributions include a Cato Daily Podcast in which I’m interviewed by Caleb Brown, and a narrator’s reading for Cato’s “Cato Out Loud” feature of my recent piece on why libertarians and others should oppose gerrymandering:

Finally, I’m also in the question period a bit more than two-thirds through this Federalist Society program featuring former Rep. Chris Shays (R-Ct.) and Weekly Standard senior writer Jay Cost.

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