Friday, February 27, 2009

Save the Date: Political Music and Laughs with Roy Zimmerman

Political Music and Laughs with the fun, smart Roy Zimmerman

Saturday, March 21 8 PM in ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND
Real American - The Full Show Moore Music House Concert
Call or email for directions and reservations: 301-461-3600 or

See/hear Roy online here:
Spread the word to friends and contacts in and around DC and Montgomery

Sometimes ya just gotta laugh, and a catchy melody can't hurt. Come
enjoy "Funny Songs About Ignorance, War and Greed" by Roy Zimmerman.

Don't miss Roy singing a compelling combination of socially conscious
comedy and original music in the best tradition of political musical

Thursday, February 26, 2009

DFA/PDA/MCPA Monthly Meeting Wednesday, March 4

Event Name: DFA/PDA/MCPA Monthly Meeting

Description: The Maryland session is in full swing. We're involved
with several bills and lobby efforts on the state and national level.
We'll also discuss the upcoming County Council Special Election,
coalition efforts, and much more! This is an important meeting to
discuss and plan 2009 efforts. We're discussing special events, forming
a steering committee, visits to and with legislators, etc.

Time: Wednesday, March 4 from 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Location: Saigonese Restaurant (Wheaton, MD)
11232 Grandview Avenue
Wheaton, MD 20902

Directions: Short walk from the Wheaton Metro Stop (red line) Public
Parking in the big lot across the street. Grandview Ave. is very close
to Georgia Ave. University Blvd. and Viers Mill Rd. A few miles outside
the Beltway--nearest exits Ga. Ave. and Conn. Ave.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

TONIGHT: Building the election reform movement Meetup

TONIGHT: Building the election reform movement Meetup

7 PM Monday 2/16/09

Location Saigonese Restaurant
11232 Grandview Ave
Silver Spring, MD 20902
(301) 946-8002


Decided to make it a casual snack or dinner because of the MD rsvp's.
It's very close to the Wheaton metro. please call if you need directions.

Dear DC Metro Election Reform meetup members:

Here are the long-awaited minutes below.

Please forward comments. Mike has suggested Eleanor Norton Holmes as a
potential speaker for the Meetup, and I plan to take up contact with her
and someone from Verified Voting and Vote Trust, as those were names
brought up by Carol last meeting.

Yours, jennifer

Minutes/Notes from the December 4th Building the Election Reform Meetup
Attendees: chair Jennifer Karius, Mike Hersh, Dan Barnett, George Ripley,
Guest speaker: Carol Waser

A round of introductions is made by participants to explain reasons for
interest in the meetup and potential skills they may bring to the meetup.

Some of the priorities for election reform from the Dec. 4th group:

• The importance of raising public attention to electoral reform, as one
key system relevant to a successful democracy
• Election security concerns including:
• The need to ban DRE voting machinery (with MD as an example)
• The need for election oversight/ audits standards/ systems and laws
for (also being developed by Shelly Fudge of SaveOurVotesMaryland)
• The need for DC representation: symbolic for problems nationwide (see
speaker synopsis below)
• The role of the Democratic Party in advocating election reform;
creating a platform for the issue
• Seeking broader bipartisan grounds for election reform
• Creating a broader collaboration between election reform groups toward
affecting legislation and the mainstreaming of public attention toward
the cause

Some of the skill sets possessed by the Dec. 4th group:

• Concrete successes in community organizing
• Lobbying background (local, state, federal)
• Writing, also, esp. on election reform issues
• Contacts with election reform advocates/ groups/ legislative staff

Carol Waser is a DC election integrity activist, who is very up-to-date
on the recent difficulties in the DC primaries regarding voting
machinery. Carol attended DC Board of Election meetings, and after
following the issue, is an advocate for ending the use of DRE machines.
Instead, she advocates manual procedures in conjunction with opti-scan
machinery. A special investigation committee discovered a glitch in the
central tabulator is believed to be the problem with the vote count
during the DC primaries.

The general discussion around Carol's presentation of the DC election
situation is that election officials are too little informed on the
issue, or the need for greater attention on election reform. There is
not enough unified effort toward addressing the shortcomings of
machinery. Also, election administration processes, featuring the
election officials charged with the responsibility of maintaining,
improving, and troubleshooting election administration, appear to be a
large part of the problem. Lacking continuity on the part of DC
officials in following up with problems during the primaries appears to
have obstructed the resolution of the problems.

Meetup action points:
• Meetup members will attend the Public Meeting at the U.S. Election
Assistance Commission on December 8th
• Minutes will be distributed for the next meeting in order to aid
priority setting for the Meetup

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Progressive Working Group Report

Progressive Working Group Participants and Friends,

Last month, the Progressive Working Group (PWG) held two meetings with legislators – Jan. 6th at Eastern Village Cohousing and Jan. 11th at Wheaton Library - to present and advocate for the 14 legislative priorities our coalition had agreed upon. A total of 19 state legislators from Montgomery and Prince George's Counties and over 100 participants from progressive groups attended the meetings which we felt were very successful in creating greater visibility for our legislative agenda and the PWG.

To confirm their positions on the issues, we also sent written surveys to legislators who attended the meetings and those who didn't, and we followed up with phone calls. The positions of 30 state legislators, as reflected at the meetings and in the surveys, are attached. Please feel free to use the information as your group sees fit for lobbying or membership education.

On Feb. 10th , members of the PWG steering committee met with House Speaker Michael Busch to introduce him to the coalition, advocate and discuss our legislative agenda, and get feedback. Following the meeting, the steering committee met with District 20 Delegate Sheila Hixson, Chair of the Ways and Means Committee and District 20 Senator Jamie Raskin. A summary appears below.

The next meeting of the PWG is Sunday afternoon Feb. 22nd at 1:30 at the Wheaton Library. (11701 Georgia Ave., Wheaton 20902) We will present further information on these Annapolis meetings, hear reports from progressive groups about their lobbying efforts in Annapolis, and discuss next steps in advancing our legislative priorities and building our coalition. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us.


On Feb. 11th Michael Tabor and PWG members Margaret Flowers and Bridgette Marti spoke at a meeting of Baltimore United for Peace and Justice to explain the Progressive Working Group. There was discussion of a statewide network.

Also, the PWG is co-sponsoring a fundraising house party with Progressive Neighbors 1:30 Sunday afternoon, March 15th Please join fellow progressives in what should be a fun event with Magpie, a well-known folk duo. Admission will be $15 plus, if possible, a dessert to share.

The Maryland Chapter of the Physicians for a National Health Program is asking for help in reaching out to health care providers and legislators who will be attending a State Medical Society of Maryland rally/lobby day in Annapolis on Wednesday, Feb. 18th from 8 to 11 am on Lawyers Mall in Annapolis. Contact Margaret Flowers at if you are able to help.

For the Progressive Working Group Steering Committee

Sharon Dooley, Mike Tabor, Dana Beyer, Norman Oslik, Mike Hersh, Wally Malakoff


Annapolis Meetings with: House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch (District 30)
Senator Jamie Raskin and Delegate Sheila Hixson (both District 20) February 11, 2009

A delegation representing the Progressive Working Group Steering Committee made up of Dana Beyer, Mike Tabor, Mike Hersh and Norman Oslik met with Speaker Busch, Delegate Sheila Hixson and District 20 Senator Jamie Raskin. to discuss and advocate for our ’09 Legislative Agenda. All three legislators offered suggestions to guide our legislative strategy.

Speaker Busch met with us for approximately 20 minutes, and discussed prospects for our agenda in the 2009 General Assembly Session. His view was that some issues have good prospects for passage in both the House and the Senate, but others will not pass one or both houses. The House of Delegates is reluctant to act on legislation previously passed by the House, but not by the Senate.

Here is what he expressed to us:

1. Combined Reporting – Previously passed in the House, but unlikely to be considered again, absent Senate action. Passage is unlikely this session.

2. Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act – Likely to pass in both the House and the Senate.

3. De-fund the ICC – He felt there is no chance of passage in either the House or the Senate.

4. In-State Tuition for Children of Immigrants irrespective of status – The House previously passed this, but is unlikely to consider it again, absent Senate action. Passage is unlikely.

5. Oppose Real ID – Real ID is not likely to pass in its current form.

6. Student Privacy re: ASVAB – More information needed to make any assessment.

7. Keep MD Guard at Home – Questioned Governor's legal authority to prevent deployment.

8. Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage – Unlikely to pass this session. Speaker supports a Civil Unions Act, but passage is unlikely this session.

9. Gender Identity – Unsure of prospects in House. Passage is unlikely this session.

10. Electoral Integrity – Speaker supports “Going back to paper ballot.” Needs more information to make a more substantial assessment.

11. No Spying – A bill is likely to pass this session.

12. Public Campaign Finance – Previously passed in the House, but unlikely to be considered again, absent Senate action. Passage is unlikely this session.

13. Workforce Fraud – Will probably pass. He is working closely with Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and the O'Malley Administration. Well aware this would generate revenues for the state.

14. Health Security Act – Very unlikely to pass in House or Senate. ERISA Federal legislation, he feels, impedes State action. Hope for $500 million from the Federal Government to extend healthcare.

The Speaker was very frank, generous, and forthcoming and expressed sincere interest in our work. He thanked us for our efforts, and we discussed continuing communications. Busch indicated that he listens to elected delegates so PWG and affiliated groups need to build support among delegates and have them make their position clear to Busch. That is particularly true for items #6, 10, and 14 because he said he is unfamiliar with them.

Meeting with Sen. Jamin Raskin: Sen. Raskin strongly supports the entire PWG agenda. This was an exchange of ideas covering specific legislators who are supportive or not supportive of various bills and initiatives. We also discussed concerns about a weaker substitute bill on State Police Spying. Sen. Raskin suggested other initiatives, ways to expand our capacity, and other valuable concepts. He thanked us for our involvement and interest, and invited us to work with him moving forward.

Meeting with Del. Sheila Hixson, Chairperson House Ways and Means Committee: Del. Hixson is supportive on all the PWG bills and issues with the exception of de-funding the ICC. The Chairperson was helpful identifying areas of wide agreement in the House, and indicating difficulties with certain issues. She also expressed a strong willingness to meet with our members and others, working on solutions and better approaches to several concerns including the ICC. She thanked us for our involvement and interest, invited us to work with her moving forward, and invited us to her upcoming breakfast meeting February 22, 2009.

The Impact of State Budget Cuts on Montgomery County

Please join us for the next monthly meeting of the Greater Silver Spring
Democratic Club!

Date: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 Time: 7:30 pm
Place: Takoma Park Middle School
7611 Piney Branch Road
Silver Spring, MD 20910

TOPIC: The Impact of State Budget Cuts on Montgomery County

State Senator Richard Madaleno, Chair, Montgomery County State Senate
State Delegate Brian Feldman Chair, Montgomery County House Delegation
Councilman Phil Andrews President, Montgomery County Council

State budget problems could shift teacher pensions to the county.
Hear our state and county leaders discuss where we will be going.

For more information, please contact either Mark Woodard at (301) 592-1811,
Donna Graham at (301) 585-4759, or Paul Mitchell at (301) 588-7126.

You can also e-mail us at

These are the 14 issues/bills the Progressive Working Group is currently working on

These are the 14 issues/bills the Progressive Working Group is currently
working on

1. Combined Reporting--tax issue, requiring corporations engaged in
commerce inside and outside of Maryland to fully account for commerce
and pay tax liabilities in Maryland

2. Health Security Act--state-wide privately provided, publicly financed
healthcare system
3. Global Warming Act--limit green house gas emissions, based on
compromise between stakeholders, legislators, commercial interests, etc.

4. Defund ICC--withdraw general revenues support for the ICC project

5. In-State College tuition for all Maryland residents regardless of
their parents' documentation status

6. Oppose Real ID

7. Student Privacy re: Military Testing--protect students from use/abuse
of personal information

8. Keep MD Guard at Home--recognizing the lack of legal justification
for deploying Maryland Guard to Iraq

9. Electoral Integrity--requiring auditing of elections to guarantee
accuracy and increase public confidence

10. Religious Freedom Act/Civil Marriage--enforcing equal protection
under law for all Maryland residents regardless of religion or sexual

11. Gender Identity--recognizing specific rights for Maryland residents
regardless of gender identity

12. No spying--articulating limitations on "spying" activities by
Maryland law enforcement to address abuses/surveillance of law-abiding
groups and individuals

13. Public Campaign finance--a well-designed optional system of public
financing for General Assembly campaigns

14. Anti-Workforce Fraud--addressing the widespread misidentification of
employees as independent contractors.

Mike Hersh

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

mixed prospect for success on our agenda

A delegation from the Progressive Working Group--Dana Beyer, Mike Tabor, Norm Oslik and I--met with legislators in Annapolis 2/10. There's mixed prospect for success on our agenda, but we learned a lot. Speaker Michael Busch generously took time to discuss our 14 point agenda, and explained at least three of our issues have a good chance of passing into law. After our discussion with the Speaker, we met with Sen. Jamie Raskin, Del. Sheila Hixson, and Del. Roger Manno. We also chatted with Del. Tom Hucker and said a quick "hi" to House Maj. Leader Kumar Barve, Del. Karen Montgomery, Del. Heather Mizeur, Del. Saqib Ali, Del. Craig Rice, Del. Kirill Reznik, Del. Jeff Waldstreicher, and other hard-working state legislators--all were on their way to meetings, hearings or conference calls. -- Mike Hersh

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Maryland Campaign to Keep the Guard at Home

Maryland Campaign to Keep the Guard at Home


from Steve Lane,; Rossana Baptista,;  Fran Pollner,; Scott Tsikerdanos,

Bill to Keep the Maryland Guard at Home Introduced in State Assembly
Grassroots Coalition Urges Quick Approval

Olney--A coalition of 24 organizations across the state of Maryland is urging the Maryland General Assembly to pass legislation requiring that the Maryland National Guard be used for legal purposes, and no other. The legislation, introduced by Senator Richard Madaleno (D-18) in the Senate and Delegate Jill Carter (D-41) in the House of Delegates, states that the governor shall refuse to release the Maryland National Guard into federal control without either a legal justification or a declaration of war. If the Guard is called into federal service for a legal reason, and that reason expires, then the governor shall request return of the Guard to his control.  Cosponsors in the Senate include Jamie Raskin (D-20), Paul Pinsky (D-22), David Harrington (D-47), Catherine Pugh (D-40), and Michael Lenett (D-19).

The legal basis for calling the National Guard to serve in Iraq is the 2002 Congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was limited to the purposes of defending the national security from Iraqi threats and enforcing UN Security Council Resolutions left over from the 1991 Gulf War. The purposes set forth in the AUMF have been achieved: Clearly, Iraq does not pose a threat to our national security, and no UN Resolutions remain to be enforced.  Neither the AUMF nor any other law authorizes an indefinite assignment of State Guard members to the National Guard of the United States. Thus, there is no legal basis for sending any National Guard members to Iraq.

"With the war in Iraq, the President unilaterally changed the basic mission of the National Guard, from protection at home to military adventurism abroad," commented Jean Athey, coordinator of PeaceAction Montgomery, one of the Campaign member groups. "This change came at a steep price, for National Guard members and for the state of Maryland. Guard deployments have caused financial and emotional disruption to many Maryland families. Multiple deployments have made the situation worse. Moreover, we believe that Maryland's civil defense and emergency response capabilities have been severely undermined by requisition of the National Guard. We also believe that the National Guard should not take the place of regular soldiers. The primary purpose of the Guard, in our view, is to defend the state of Maryland, not serve as a back-door draft."
The bill, SB 501, has been assigned to the Judicial Proceedings Committee and will be considered in February. The Maryland Campaign to Keep the Guard Home is organizing a Lobby Night for Feb. 23. Information on the the bill's status is available at Until the text is included on the State's Web site, it may be read here:
For more information:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

stop anti-immigrant actions by Montgomery County

From Casa of Maryland and Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez : please help us stop anti-immigrant actions by Montgomery County local government. Please call or email County Executive Ike Leggett:

Dear Friends of our Immigrant Communities,

We have an EMERGENCY here in Montgomery County. Please read the ALERT below and then pick up your phone and/or write/email your OPINION directly to County Executive Ike Leggett BEFORE he makes a final decision on Tuesday, Feb 3rd!  

Montgomery County Executive I
ke Leggett is being pressured to grant Mo. Co. police new powers to detain arrested foreign-born persons indefinitely, while authorizing calls to federal immigration enforcement (ICE) for possible deportation action. This proposal has raised serious human rights as well as a civil liberty concerns which remain unanswered.  This undefined, unwritten, and ill-conceived law enforcement policy change with zero training, zero oversight, and zero accountability has  discrimination and racial profiling written all over it. If this practice is adopted, the legal and civil rights ramifications are going to be complex and hurtful.

Please express your strong OPPOSITION to this highly flawed proposal. Your help with calls, emails, and letters is urgently needed! 



Montgomery County could take a major step  down a  slippery slope to creating a discriminatory and hostile environment for all immigrants.   County Executive Isiah Leggett has indicated that as soon  as next week he may announce changes to Montgomery County’s long  standing policy against local police enforcing federal immigration laws. For years, the County’s policies have considered this the job of the U.S.federal government.   Though no written proposals have been presented for review and consideration by the County Council, the MD Judiciary, legal and immigration law experts, public safety officials, community advocates, and the general public,  Mr. Leggett is considering granting new unrestricted powers to Mo. Co. police to notify U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when  individuals who are foreign born are arrested (not yet convicted) as suspects of committing both misdemeanors and  felonies.  

Please CALL or EMAIL Mr. Leggett to let him  know you oppose this highly flawed change in policy that targets all foreign-born residents in our County.  Montgomery County is not Prince William County and we do not want the County police to take any steps towards enforcing federal immigration laws, while further alienating the immigrant communities and destroying the public’s trust in law enforcement.   
You can call Mr. Leggett at: (240) 777-2500.  
Or e-mail his office at:  or

Please cc or bcc

Suggested Talking Points:

--I oppose changing current County law enforcement policies to authorize police detentions based on an individual’s place of birth

--I oppose Mo. CO. police collaboration with ICE in enforcing federal immigration laws.
--I support Montgomery County’s long standing tradition which values the contributions of our productive, diverse, and hard working immigrant communities.  
--I support policies that strengthen the public’s trust and protect individual civil liberties and human rights.  I do not want  Montgomery County to become the next Prince William County.

Below is a brief draft LETTER you can cut and paste or modify to communicate your personal opposition to this proposal.

Dear  County Executive Leggett:  

I am a concerned  Montgomery County resident and voter.  Although there is  no question that I believe that hardened criminals, especially those who  engage in violent behavior, should be tried and incarcerated when found guilty, I believe that using  place of birth and/or immigration status as a means to combat violent crime in Montgomery County  is wrong for a number of  reasons:  

          Experiences in this County (or in the country) DO NOT support the existence of a  connection between violent crimes and immigration status. On the contrary, a number of reputable studies show that immigrants, both documented and  undocumented, commit fewer crimes than U.S-born residents.  

          Recently in Montgomery County, the alleged need for targeting undocumented immigrants has been goaded by extremist, anti-immigrant  groups, such as Help Save Maryland. Other jurisdictions such as Frederick County and Prince William County, Va, have adopted anti-immigrant measures that have achieved little  more than vilifying members of those communities. Recently  committed murders in  Montgomery County are being used by such such groups to demand  similar measures in Montgomery County and to seek to validate their unfounded claim that “immigrants are violent criminals”.   

          Changing  Montgomery County law enforcement policies regarding detention of foreign-born suspects and notification of Immigrations and  Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials will affect public safety  and undermine the immigrant community's trust of the police.  Many  crimes, including recent murders, were solved through cooperation from the immigrant community, including undocumented  immigrants.  

          Law enforcement officials, the State’s attorney,  and the MD Judicial system have many effective legal tools at their disposal for dealing with  violent criminals to ensure they are detained and not freed to  commit other crimes.  

In short, I oppose  any change to Montgomery County’s long standing policies regarding its treatment of foreign born residents.   Montgomery County should not become the new Prince William County in Virginia.  This change in police enforcement policies is a step in the wrong direction,  and I strongly oppose it.

    (Please put your name  and city or area where you live in the County.)
Concerned  Montgomery County voter
Please send a copy to:
and to
County  Council President Phil Andrews at

Monday, February 2, 2009

THIS WEEK: Upcoming events in the MD, DC, VA area

THIS WEEK: Upcoming events in the MD, DC, VA area this week

1. MCPA, DFMC, PDA, Meetup Meeting
Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at Saigonese 7 PM
Saigonese Restaurant 11232 Grandview Ave Silver Spring (Wheaton)
Short walk from the Wheaton Metro / Red Line

2. Eco-Justice Cafe' All Ages Family Friendly Event!
Friday, February 6, 2009 6 to 10 PM
Univ. of DC Firebird Inn 4200 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC

3. Experience Dan Reed's inspirational, wonderful music live
Sunday, February 8, 2009 at Jammin' Java 8 PM
Jammin' Java 227 Maple Avenue East, Vienna, Virginia 22180


1. MCPA, DFMC, PDA, Meetup Meeting
Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at Saigonese 7 PM
Saigonese Restaurant 11232 Grandview Ave Silver Spring (Wheaton) Grandview Ave Silver Spring%2C MD 20902
Short walk from the Wheaton Metro / Red Line
Parking in the lot across the street

This is an important meeting to discuss and plan 2009 efforts. The
Elections are over, we did great, now we have to dive into 2009. We're
discussing special events, forming a steering committee, visits to and
with legislators, etc. Please bring $15 for 2009 dues.


2. Eco-Justice Cafe' All Ages Family Friendly Event!
Friday, February 6, 2009 6 to 10 PM
Univ. of DC Firebird Inn 4200 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC
Just above the Van Ness/UDC metro stop (red line)

If you are passionate about social justice and/or the environment and
want to connect with others like you - then come and join us! Featuring
food music, poetry, beer, an open mic session, tabling organizations and
more. "Slow Food" Panel Discussion from 6:30 to 7pm with Leigh Haughter,
organic farmer; Ayize Sabater, co-founder of Delights of the Garden, and
Ed Bruske, Chef and DC Urban Gardener. UDC Sustainability Society will
meet at 6pm at the Cafe. $10 students, $15 others.


3. Experience Dan Reed's inspirational, wonderful music live
Sunday, February 8, 2009 at Jammin' Java 8 PM
Jammin' Java 227 Maple Avenue East, Vienna, Virginia 22180,+Vienna,+Virginia+22180
Public Transportation: Closest Metro stop: Vienna - the end of the
Orange line

Solo acoustic all ages show. Call 703-255-1566 for more details and
Admission only $12:

Listen online to Dan's music and learn more about Dan:
Watch "The Dictator" video:

With Florida-based LIQUID MUSIC GROUP's upcoming release of the new Dan
Reed CD "Coming up for Air", Dan presents a group of songs that mirror
this life journey. "What I have learned most on this path is that music
brings people together and in a world of war, corruption, disease, and
environmental destruction... 'together' is a good direction. I am
constantly inspired and hopeful for the future of music. It is an
amazing playground to feel connected inside and out. This creative
journey has been a very wild and harrowing ride, but the view has been
worth the price of admission."