From the New Harford Democratic Club:
The New Harford Democratic Club
Minutes of Meeting
September 5, 2012
Call to Order:
The meeting was called to order by Ann Helton at 7:03 P.M. at the Holiday Inn in Aberdeen. The members recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
Welcome to Guests:
Ann Helton welcomed new visitors (excuse my spelling): Pat Fisher, Walter Smouthers, Will Brown, Shelly Brown, Rosie Fry, Kimberly Brooks, Charles Brooks. Jim Thornton and Cassandra Beverly were guests.
Approval of Minutes:
The Club approved the minutes from the Aubust, 2012 meeting. Moved by Tom and seconded by Tom Myers. The club voted to approve.
George Harrison presented the report:
Tom moved and Tom Myers seconded to approve. The club voted to approve.
– Young Democrats: President Tom Myers reported The Young Democrats of Harford County (http://www.harfordyoungdems.org/) will meet at Sean Bolan’s Irish Pub in Bel Air, MD. Meeting starts at 7pm. Join your fellow Dems for some good food, great drinks and excellent conversation.
– African-American Democratic Club: none
– Harford County Democratic Central Committee meets regularly for a monthly meeting on 7:00pm at the office of Bel Air Reporting Inc., 217 East Churchville Road, Bel Air, MD, 21014. Wendy Sawyer reported that the Democratic Headquarters will open on September eight at an office space donated by Brown, Brown and Young, 200 S Main St Bel Air, MD 21014. A calling site will still be located at 3 South Rodgers Street, Aberdeen, MD 21001 (410-272-7139). Wendy reiterated the importance the national campaign has placed on calling the swing states of Va. And PA. We will also be calling for Rep. Dutch Rupersberger and Sen. Ben Cardin. This will be a coordinated campaign which will be a first for the county.
– Main Street Democrats : (click for link) meets at The Tower Restaurant In Bel Air
– President Helton introduced two new perspective board members for the membership’s consideration; Diane Burrier and Natasha Jackson. After short introductions by the candidates the membership voted aye.
– October third:
7:00 Our featured speaker will be JAMIN B. (JAMIE) RASKIN, Democrat, District 20, Montgomery County. Professor of Constitutional Law at American University and a Maryland State Senator. He is the author of several books, including Overruling Democracy: The Supreme Court vs. The American People. He is on the forefront of removing Citizens United ruling. His article from the Huffington Post is found at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-raskin/happy-birthday-citizens-u_b_811681.html In it he stated: “(The Supreme Court) made it possible for outside groups and big businesses to spend almost $300 million for their favorite candidates in the 2010 congressional elections, driving total campaign costs up over $4 billion.”
9:00 There will be a joint session with the Young Dems, the African American Democratic Club and the Main Street Democratic Club, as well as any interested citizen, at the Holiday Inn to hear the Presidential debates. The Club meeting will commence at 7:00 and our club will offer refreshments.
Rich Norton presented the 7 Harford County Charter Questions that will appear on this November’s ballot. Question C was considered by the Club and will support its adoption.
Question A-Vacancy of the County Executive. Amends the Harford County Charter requiring the County Council to fill the position of County Executive within 30 days with someone of the same political party as the person leaving the office, with the provision that if the vacancy is filled 90 days or more prior to the next congressional election, the position of County Executive must appear on the ballot. This allows voters to approve or reject the appointment. Vote FOR or AGAINST this question.
Question B-Post Council Employment. Amends the Charter to allow County Council members to apply for employment with Harford County Government IMMEDIATELY after leaving elected office. Currently, elected council members must wait two years before applying for employment with county government. Vote FOR or AGAINST this change in the charter.
Question C-Eligibility for Redistricting Commission. Amends the charter to change eligibility for appointments to the commission redistricting County Council districts. This amendment provides for the appointment of representatives of any political party with at least 15% of the TOTAL registered voters, and directs the appointment of a representative not a member of any political party already represented. This amendment has state and local Democratic party support. Vote FOR this amendment.
Question D-Exempt Employees. Amends the Charter to modify the list of exempt employees to be consistent with the county’s pay and classification plan. Vote FOR or AGAINST this amendment. (Policy employees that work for the County Executive serve at pleasure and this rule will extend to those new employees who report to the County Council.)
Question E-Definition of a Pending Zoning Case. Amends the charter to define a pending zoning case as a current case filed and/or pending before a Zoning Hearing Examiner. County Council, Circuit Court/Court of Appeals. This clarifies the wording. Vote FOR or AGAINST the amendment. (Since the County Council is the zoning Board, and the rules specify that the Board may not discuss pending cases, this will allow Council members to hear from citizens by narrowing the definition of a zoning case.)
Question F-Posting Requirements for Public Notices. Amends the charter to require public notices to appear in ONE widely circulated newspaper and on an official site. The current requirement is TWO newspapers. Vote FOR or AGAINST this amendment. (Changes the requirement from two newspapers to one for a savings to the county.)
Question G-Filing Dates for Annual Budget. Amends the Charter by allowing an additional 15 days for the budget to be submitted by the County Executive and adopted by the County Council. Currently, the budget must be submitted April 1 and approved by June 1. Vote FOR or AGAINST this amendment. (Adds fifteen days to the process.)
President Helton and George Hairison then spoke about the Statewide Ballot Questions and Amendments to the Constitution. In addition to voting for President of the United States, Senator from Maryland (the current incumbent is Democrat Ben Cardin), and Congressperson from your District (the current Congressman from District 1 is Republican Andy Harris, and the current Congressman from District 2 is Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger), Harford County voters will be asked to decide 14 ballot questions: seven statewide questions and seven Harford County only questions. Questions 4, 5 and 6 was considered by the Club and will support its adoption. VOTE YES.
Question 1- Constitutional Amendment: Orphans Court Judges. Requires judges of the Prince Georges County Orphans Court to be members of the Maryland Bar and be admitted to practice law in Maryland. Vote is For or Against
Question 2-Constitutional Amendment: Orphans Court Judges. Requires judges of the Baltimore County Orphans Court to be members of the Maryland Bar and be admitted to the practice law in Maryland. Vote is For or Against
Both questions must be approved both statewide and in the specific counties in order to go into effect.
Question 3-Constitutional Amendment: Suspension or Removal of Elected Officials. Changes the terms under which an elected official charged with certain crimes is automatically suspended or removed from office. Currently the convicted official could remain in office until the conviction is finalized. Under the amended law, the suspension would occur immediately and the official would be removed when the conviction is finalized. Vote For or Against the changes (Changes date and not the crime.)
Question 4- Petition: Public Institutions of Higher Learning, Tuition Rates (commonly known as the Maryland Dream Act): This law would allow certain children of undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at Maryland state colleges if they meet certain strict requirements. Passed by the legislature but petitioned to referendum by Republican opponents. Vote FOR the current law. (This law is the strictest in the nation. For students who came here fifteen or younger, whose parents pay state taxes, who enroll in a community college first then trans fer to a four year state university, who will NOT take a seat from anyone and whose parents cannot have been convicted of a crime.)
Question 5- Petition: Congressional Redistricting Plan. Establishes the boundaries for the state’s eight Congressional Districts as proposed by the Governor and passed by the legislature. Opponents petitioned the plan (currently in use for this year’s elections) to referendum. Vote FOR the current plan. (This question is based upon the census. If voted nay, the process would begin anew but it would not effect the 2012 election.)
Question 6- Petition: Civil Marriage Protection Act (commonly known as the Gay Marriage act). This law establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying and protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony that would be in violation of their religious beliefs. Law was passed by the legislature but was held from going into effect until Jan 1 2013, expecting there to be a petition against it. A successful petition was achieved. Vote FOR the law as it now stands.
Question 7- Referendum: Gaming Expansion. The referendum asks “Do you favor expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland…” that would allow “table games”, an increase in the number of video lottery terminals, and an additional location in Prince George’s County. This is the law passed in the Special Session, but requires voter approval to go into effect. Vote For or AGAINST the law. (Would also allow gambling in VFW halls.)
There being no further business the meeting adjourned at 8:25 P.M.
K. Gary Ambridge, Secretary
New Harford Democratic Club Schedule 2012