The Agitator 3.9.19

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

Just Cause Eviction Moves Forward

As we previously reported, the bill proposed by Del. Jhenealle Wilkins to restrict the ability of landlords in MoCo to evict tenants without warning or justification faced considerable pushback from none other than the landlords themselves. Fortunately for tenants though, the unsurprising efforts of property management lobbyists to smear the bill failed to convince the Montgomery County House delegation, who voted 17-6 in favor of approving the bill.

The bill is now scheduled for a hearing before the Environment and Transportation Committee (EnT) of the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis.

Del. Kumar Barve (D-17) chairs the EnT and Del. Fraser-Hidalgo (D-15) is also on the committee. Both are rabid anti-tenant delegates who must not be allowed to kill this bill. Commonwealth’s editors ask that you call their offices and let them know we are watching them.

The hearing date is Tuesday March 12 at 1 p.m. in Annapolis.

But even this small step is historic, according to Matt Losack of the Montgomery County Renters Alliance, who told WTOP that no legislation of this kind has made it this far in the Maryland General Assembly before. This could signal that our county’s current crop of delegates is more progressive on tenants’ rights than previous delegations. Sadly, however, they’re still mostly not big fans of taxing country clubs.

“Do Better,” Progressive Delegates

Speaking of country clubs, Commonwealth’s own Frank Dalca wrote an excellent piece on the need for bolder policy proposals from leftist politicians, using the failure of David Moon’s bill as an example of what happens when you make compromises to appease the opposition. While Moon’s original plan would have taxed all of MoCo’s country clubs equally, it was amended to simply impose a fee on the county’s four richest clubs, presumably to garner more votes. Not only did this gambit fail, it may have even backfired, with at least one delegate citing its narrow focus as a reason for voting against it.

Dalca worries that Anton’s Law, a new bill designed to address police violence, is similarly inadequate. He writes:

“Anton’s Law does not include a mandatory timeline that police departments must adhere to when resolving complaints. It also does not require that police complaints be publicly posted, nor does it require that the police complaint process be clearly posted on a police department’s website. Theoretically, a police department could hide the complaint process behind several pages of unrelated information, or could make the text linking the public to information regarding the complaint process difficult to find.”

Anton’s Law was proposed by DSA-backed Del. Gabriel Acevero, along with over thirty co-sponsors including Moon, Wilkins, and DSA’s other recent success story, Vaughn Stewart. We know that these legislators have bigger and bolder ideas, and we urge them not to water them down. If they demand real change, their left-leaning and socialist supporters can and will be rallied to the cause.

Del. Mary Ann Lisanti Still Must Resign!

Oh, by the way, remember Mary Ann Lisanti, the racist state delegate who openly and publicly used the term “[n-word] district” to refer to Prince George’s County?

Despite being censured by her colleagues in the House of Delegates and widely called upon to resign, Lisanti has returned to work after a brief vacation. Though she technically apologized, her statements on the matter since returning to the House floor have been mostly evasive, and her African-American constituents hardly seem satisfied. Let’s not allow this debacle to get swept under the rug. This unrepentant racist has no place in our legislature.

Much ADU About Nothing

Finally, we have a special treat for you! On the heels of our somewhat controversial article on the issue of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), we’ve produced our first ever attempt at an informative audio product. In this brief recorded conversation, the article’s author, Erik O. Wright, breaks down the finer points of the socialist argument for ADUs, while fellow Commonwealth contributor Trevor Drinkwater tries to keep up. (As a disclaimer, we should tell you that the views expressed by Erik and Trevor are solely their own, and they are not representatives of the Montgomery County DSA or any other organization!)

Check it out here!

Commonwealth in the News:

Adam Pagnucco, formerly of now writing for Bethesda Beat, comments on Wright’s article saying:

In a remarkably blunt policy statement on an unofficial, MoCo-based socialist blog, a DSA member…called out Elrich for opposing council member Hans Riemer’s bill that loosens restrictions on accessory dwelling units…After calling out Elrich’s position as misleading, Wright offers this:

“Urban politics researchers point out that insurgent left movements which obtain political power at the local level often have a short lifespan. One reason is because they have trouble constructing governing coalitions that can enable them to retain power.”

A reminder to our readers that this isn’t the first time we’ve urged Elrich to do the right thing, and we’ve also supported his calls for rent stabilization. And don’t forget we were staunchly critical of his opponents during the 2018 election.

Stay in touch!

If you’d like to start receiving The Agitator as an email newsletter, you can sign up here. Feel free to leave a comment below if you’re so inclined. You can also reach us via Twitter or Facebook, or you can email us at commonwealthmoco{at}gmail{dot}com. If you have any tips or suggestions, or if you’re interested in contributing to Commonwealth, please don’t hesitate to let us know!

Until next time…


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