Tag Archives: Montgomery County

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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In miniature, March 12

  • Members of elite Baltimore police task force falsified search warrants, robbed at least 10 victims “including some who had not committed crimes, officials said.” And oh, the overtime: “one hour can be eight hours.” [Washington Post]
  • Advisory state panel swallows dubious health claims, urges schools to cut off wi-fi [ACSH]
  • “GOP legislators offer pension reforms” [Dan Menefee, Maryland Reporter]
  • Desire for retribution aside, hanging homicide rap on dealers after overdoses unlikely to solve opiate problem [Mark Sine and Kaitlyn Boecker, Baltimore Sun]
  • May I caress your shoulder now? “Maryland ponders dangerous ‘affirmative consent’ proposal” for Montgomery County schools [Ashe Schow, Watchdog on MC 14-17, Kelly-Morales bill]
  • Recalling Tom Perez’s unusual 2013 Maryland Chamber endorsement [Tim Carney, Sean Higgins] Critical 2011 view of CASA de Maryland [James Simpson, AIM]

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In miniature, January 4

  • May 2015 work slowdown by Baltimore police may have led to long-term higher crime rate [Daniel Bier/FEE, Alex Tabarrok/Marginal Revolution] “11 Incredible Findings from the Report on Baltimore PD” [Bier, FEE]
  • Claim: lawmakers can “give” private employees paid parental leave and “there’s no added cost to employers” [Kate Ryan, WTOP citing views of Montgomery County, Maryland council member Tom Hucker]
  • Irony alert: Get-money-out-of-politics measure passes 53-47 in Howard County after backers outspend foes 10-1 [Len Lazarick, Maryland Reporter]
  • “FBI fingerprinting for Uber and Lyft in Maryland would do more harm than good” [Washington Post letter to editor from Arthur Rizer, R Street Institute]
  • “Economist: Baltimore Minimum Wage Bill Punishes Small Business Growth” [Connor Wolf]
  • Major overhaul of state contracting proposed, along with hundreds of changes to regulations [Maryland Reporter]

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In miniature, August 8

  • MoCo Executive Leggett stifles a plan to make county dealings with labor unions more transparent [Bill Turque, Washington Post]
  • “Shank: Criminal justice overhaul will lead to better outcomes in Maryland” [Herald-Mail]
  • “Why in the world would the P.G. police dept. choose this particular cop to host a ride-along with a reporter?” [Radley Balko]
  • Baltimore’s regulatory blockade: lawsuit challenges grip of historic preservation laws [Nick Zaiac, Market Urbanism]
  • Been there. “Replacing Maryland E-ZPass transponder is not so easy” [Len Lazarick]
  • It’s something [that] shouldn’t be done by either party in any state.” Larry Hogan talks gerrymandering [Danielle Gaines, Frederick News-Post]

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In miniature, July 29

  • “It ought to be possible to terminate cops short of criminal convictions for incidents like that involving Gray’s” [Ed Krayewski; more from Reason on police unions here, here, and here]
  • Will national Dems throw away redistricting issue by installing Martin O’Malley, author of nation’s worst gerrymander, as DNC chair? [Baltimore Fishbowl, Jonathan Shurberg/Maryland Scramble] Despite discomfort in Annapolis, it’s “in Democrats’ best interests to fight gerrymandering on all fronts” [Eli Briody-Pavlik, Maryland Reporter] Gerrymandering’s effect within a party can be as powerful as its effect in contests between parties [J. Miles Coleman on District 8 Dem primary]
  • 5-part series on StingRay [cell phone tracking] use in Maryland law enforcement [Courtney Mabeus, Maryland Reporter]
  • Should create an opening for the local GOP, right? Montgomery County plans a massive 8.7 percent property tax hike with spending binge to match [Adam Pagnucco, The Seventh State]
  • Homeowners in Cumberland, Md., resist city’s eminent domain plans [Save Rolling Mill via Institute for Justice]
  • I criticized “Grace’s Law,” the Maryland statute criminalizing some online actions causing distress to minors, at the time; now a Eugene Volokh amicus challenges it on First Amendment grounds [Volokh Conspiracy]

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In miniature, January 24

  • Montgomery County officials helped plant letters praising speed cameras in local press [The Newspaper]
  • After state panel recommends 22 steps to improve police-community relations, Fraternal Order of Police rejects “any and all” reforms [Anthony Fisher, Reason] Earlier: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake recommends 11 changes to LEOBR police “bill of rights” law [Baltimore Sun, text of letter, previously October and more]
  • “Why Beretta is moving its gun factory to Tennessee” [CNN]
  • “10 Things I Learn Reading Jury Verdicts and Settlements” [Ronald Miller]
  • “It’s time to stop prioritizing political interests over voting rights. We need independent redistricting reform.” [Rep. Donna Edwards on Twitter]
  • From six years ago, but still relevant: Len Lazarick, “Curing Maryland’s Structural Deficits: A Call for Mandate Reform” [Free State Foundation, PDF]

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In miniature, December 21

  • “We’re going to overturn every rock in their lives to find out about their lifestyles” — Montgomery County liquor monopoly union chief Gino Renne, on his adversaries in the legislature [Bethesda Magazine “Bethesda Beat”]
  • Relatedly, no wonder Chinese is MoCo’s strong suit dining-wise: county booze system strangles higher-end eateries [Dave McIntyre, Washington Post]
  • Virginia plans to cut corporate tax rate, putting yet more pressure on Maryland to reduce its business tax burden [Baltimore Sun]
  • BaltimoreLink bus plan from Hogan administration “far sounder” than costly Red Line rail-based model [Nick Zaiac, Maryland Public Policy Institute, summary and paper]
  • Kelly Schulz, Chris Shank, Boyd Rutherford among those who participated in conference on Maryland prisoner re-entry put on by my old colleagues at the Manhattan Institute;
  • Guns and homeland defense: revisiting the story of the Maryland Minute Men of 1942 [Dave Kopel]

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Montgomery County liquor monopoly

According to David Lublin and Adam Pagnucco at Seventh State, Montgomery County’s government liquor monopoly, under attack by Comptroller Peter Franchot and others, makes a broad and inviting target: it’s deeply unpopular with the public, not really needed for revenue, and its reform offers an opening for political newcomers, what with most of the incumbent council choosing to side against consumer interests and with MCGEO, which represents county store workers and “acts like a union out of Republican central casting, attempting to bully its opponents into submission.”

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“Montgomery County is the last bastion of a medieval state system”

“We’re probably the worst, most regulated county in the entire country” on alcohol sales: Comptroller Peter Franchot has a thing or two to say about the need for Montgomery County to ditch its county-run liquor system (via). The Seventh State has run an illuminating exchange on the subject lately, and Bethesda Magazine has details of a partial privatization plan.

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In miniature, June 18

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