The Agitator 1.14.19

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Welcome to the Commonwealth Agitator, your regular digest of local Montgomery County and Maryland news from a left perspective.


The Maryland legislative session began last week. All our favorite new socialist delegates-elect were inaugurated into office such as District 19 Delegate Vaughn Stewart and District 39 Delegate Gabriel Acevero.

The Maryland General Assembly legislative session is a fast-paced 90-day sprint of new legislation, hearings, and negotiations. Keep your eye on Commonwealth for the latest updates and analysis of Maryland legislative news.

Washington Post: Wary of potential Redskins stadium giveaways, Virginia delegate pushes pact with D.C. and Maryland

Big-league sports arenas are a classic scam. Franchise owners sell politicians on the story that professional sports teams add life and value to cities, and therefore are a form of “public good.” But the result is millions of taxpayer dollars used to finance intangible benefits for a small minority of sports fans and massive profits for the owners.

A triumvirate of MD-DC-VA representatives, featuring Del. David Moon (D20), are again introducing coordinated legislation aimed at preventing public funds from going to a new stadium for the local NFL team with the racist branding. Washington Post reports:

The bill from Del. Michael J. Webert (R-Fauquier) would prohibit Virginia from offering the team tax incentives, state or local appropriations or loans to build a stadium in the state. The measure would not take effect unless Maryland and the District have promised to swear off similar incentives.

All three bills proposed last year by the “MD-DC-VA Triumvirate” failed, and this year the antagonism of pro-boondoggle politicians persists:

Virginia state Sen. J. Chapman “Chap” Petersen (D-Fairfax City), who has been involved in efforts to lure the team to Virginia, said Webert’s bill was based on “outdated” notions of stadium deals.

“The team’s going to have to build their own stadium,” Petersen said. “This whole concept that people are writing checks to professional sports owners to move teams to their city is a little bit of a 1980s concept.”

Unfortunately for Sen. Petersen, there is plenty of evidence to show the practice of public funds for private stadiums is flourishing. The Marquette University National Sports Law Institute maintains regular reports on the financing, construction, and economic benefits (or lack thereof) of major professional sports facilities.

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting writes that the “Windfall Myth,” sports events or stadiums providing cities an economic windfall, is a creation of the marketing departments of professional sports franchises. Montgomery County experienced a similar media frenzy after the Amazon HQ bidding war led to claims of “50,000 new jobs,” which had no source besides Amazon’s own marketing projections.


Car crashes involving pedestrians blemish the new year.

Bethesda Beat Development and Education reporter Caitlynn Peetz tweeted January 10 that in the new year Montgomery County had suffered an average one pedestrian-struck-by-car a day. There is a deep problem in the county’s urban areas where pedestrians are at risk of car crashes, lack of a footpath, or access to larger public transit systems. That needs to change if the injuries and fatalities are to end.

Residents can keep track of the hours since a car last struck a pedestrian in Montgomery County here and can make quick, easy reports of hostile pedestrian environments directly to the county here.

Newly-Elected Councilmember Andrew Friedson introduces bill to cut regulation on estate dealers, a subtle nod to his donors in the 2018 County Council District 1 race.

Out of the three newly elected at large County Council members elected in the 2018 Montgomery County election, only Andrew Friesen of District 1 introduced a bill by the end of 2018. Bill 40–18 (“Secondhand Personal Property – Dealers – License”) is a humble and subtle nod Friedson’s background and donors.

The bill contains two aspects, a legitimate reforms the county’s personal property dealership licenses process, and an amendment to exclude a subsection of Friedson’s real-estate donors.

The Legislative Memorandum for Bill 40-18 states it would, “[exclude] from the definition of ‘secondhand personal property’ personal property that is offered for sale only on residential property and is owned by a resident of that property or part of the estate of a deceased immediate past resident of that property.” [Emphasis added]

Obviously, without data on secondhand personal property licenses distributed by the county and without internal documents from the real estate lobbyist organizations, we cannot say for sure that this legislation reflects a request on behalf of the real estate industry.

However, it’s a common practice for the families of deceased relatives to hire a real estate agents to administer the estate, including selling personal property. Those agents would benefit from a cutback in property dealership regulations.

District 1 Councilmember Andrew Friedson, who did not run using the county’s new public financing system, was very eager to introduce this bill for any other new legislator and before the end 2018. It is a shame to see that the bill appears intended for a small interest group from which he received substantial campaign donations.

Commonwealth has sparked constituent outrage. Contact your state representative today and tell them “No Tax Breaks for Billion-dollar Properties!”

Commonwealth is making waves. Our reporting on David Moon et al.’s bills MC 11-19 and 27-19 has caught the attention of the local Montgomery County Democratic Socialists of America, who’s leadership is coordinating a write-in to local state representatives.

Head over to this page, read our report, and follow the instructions of the template provided by the Montgomery County Democratic Socialists!

Until Next Time…


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