Tag Archives: Montgomery County

Montgomery County’s unwieldy racial lens

As promised, Montgomery County has followed through on enacting a so-called racial-equity bill, following the lead of Fairfax County, Va. and other jurisdictions. The main impacts are likely to be 1) reports, reports, reports and 2) an even higher volume of self-congratulation than is usual among MoCo elected officials. David Lublin at The Seventh State doesn’t expect it will do much for genuine social justice.

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Montgomery County eases building of accessory dwelling units

As population and the job base in the Washington, D.C. area continue to expand, households face a crunch in the price of housing, made worse by the reluctance of local governments to permit residential construction near most of the major employment centers. A unanimous county council in Montgomery County, Md. has now made it slightly easier for homeowners to create in-law units or backyard cottages, but along the way had to face down noisy opposition. I tell the story in a new Cato post (cross-posted from Overlawyered)

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In miniature, May 27

  • “Poll: 61 percent of D.C.-area residents favor plan to add toll lanes to Beltway, I-270” and the same number prevails in Montgomery County although you’d never know it from the county’s political leadership [Katherine Shaver and Emily Guskin, Washington Post] “Maryland has pledged – and federal law requires – that the number of toll-free lanes will not be reduced.” [Bruce DePuyt, Maryland Matters]
  • Sen. Bob Cassilly (R-Harford): “Kirwan will bankrupt the State of Maryland” [Erika Butler, Harford Aegis]
  • “Property Rights Matter: Lessons from a Failing City” [Stephen J.K. Walters, Law and Liberty; my two cents on eminent domain, Pimlico, and the Preakness Stakes]
  • Thanks WBAL host Yuripzy Morgan for mentioning me in discussing the (bad) idea of a law capping credit card interest rates [audio]
  • Thread on Baltimore’s crisis of development and corruption [Brian Gaither on Twitter]
  • In its first three months after implementation Maryland’s “red flag” law “prompted more than 300 protective orders across the state,” and an Anne Arundel man was shot dead by county officers while being served a gun confiscation order [Natalie Jones, Capital News Service/Maryland Matters]

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In miniature, August 24

  • So embarrassing for Maryland that Attorney General Brian Frosh signed onto this turkey of a lawsuit challenging Congress’s curtailment of the SALT deduction [Howard Gleckman]
  • I was a guest of Jerry Rogers on WBAL to talk about the showdown between conservative religious adoption agencies and LGBT rights groups and you can listen here (background);
  • Baltimore politicos move to save city from non-threat / non-horror of private water supply [Joe Setyon, Reason]
  • Sen. Ben Cardin, sometimes painted as cautious or even moderate, throws red meat to Left on Brett Kavanaugh nomination [Bruce DePuyt, Maryland Matters]
  • “Among the questions about Mr. Elrich is one he raised himself by pledging to invite the president of the largest county employees union into interview and hiring deliberations ‘for any and all department heads’ in the county. That is an extraordinary promise…also unwise.” [Washington Post editorial]
  • How a machine based on the schools lobby ran politics for years in Montgomery County [Adam Pagnucco, The Seventh State]

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In miniature, July 4

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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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In miniature, June 5

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In miniature, October 12

  • Maryland Redistricting Reform Commission held a lively hearing in Rockville Oct. 10 [Douglas Tallman, MCMedia] U.S. Supreme Court declines to speed up review of Maryland gerrymander — Lyle Denniston on what that could mean for wider issue [Constitution Center; more on Gill v. Whitford from Amy Howe, SCOTUSBlog]
  • We still need heroes: Lauren Weiner on statues and state songs [Law and Liberty, my earlier on Taney statue]
  • Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh — a Republican — signs up with trial lawyers to sue opioid makers. Not a good look [Capital Gazette, my other blog on law firm Motley Rice, which helped orchestrate the tobacco caper]
  • Also to Frederick County, Maryland: “Montgomery County Wage Hike Will Drive Business to Virginia” [Emily Top, Economics 21]
  • “Hundreds Of Cases Dismissed Thanks To Baltimore Police Department Misconduct” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt]
  • Why Columbia has so many peculiar street names: it couldn’t re-use any that had been used in Baltimore City/County or Anne Arundel [Christina Tkacik, Baltimore Sun]

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Judge zaps MoCo lawn pesticide ban

Overturning Montgomery County’s ban on many commonly used lawn pesticides [Washington Post], Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Terrence McGann

said that the law — the first of its kind for a major locality in the region — would conflict with federal and Maryland state regulations that allow the use of the pesticides. The case was just one example of Maryland counties’ “insatiable appetite to tamper with existing state laws,” McGann said.

Counties have also “tried to hijack a portion of the existing field of law” in areas including tobacco, guns and minimum wage, he said.

My Cato Institute piece on the county’s bald double standard — officials had sought to exempt playing fields and other county properties from the ban — is here.

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Public employee unions as Montgomery County kingmakers

Arnold Kling reviews recent rounds of political hardball in Montgomery County, including the ouster of officials who had been at odds with the teachers’ and other unions. As for the vaunted quality of public services, it’s not all it might be:

An increasing share of that budget is going to pensions and non-teaching staff who are union members. Actual classroom teachers are badly over-worked.

Because spending per student is by far the highest in the state, the WaPo constantly refers to Montgomery County as a high quality school system. However, the average outcomes in the County schools are mediocre. Students from the wealthiest parts of the County (three high schools in particular) produce good test scores, and the rest do not. Other school districts in Maryland get similar outcomes with students of similar backgrounds while spending much less money per student.

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