Sen. Carozza talks a big game

Senator Carozza likes to talk a big game, yet it seems as though her mouth is writing checks she can’t cash. Of the 18 bills Senator Carozza introduced, only 4 bills passed--less than 23%--and we must demand better from our Senator.

 

The bills she did manage to pass aren’t helping to advance the Shore. SB0338 allows the sale of alcohol closer to children, churches, and public libraries. Maryland Matters points out that one of her top bills–giving the Ocean City Convention Center extra financing to fund expansion and renovation--barely passed on the last day of session. That’s the kind of bill that former state Senator James N. Mathias (D) would have passed with ease. She has failed to address the Shore’s biggest priorities; namely, the opioid crisis and young people fleeing the Shore in search of better prospects. The Senator also brags about her proposed amendment to the minimum wage bill that would ensure Shore workers were paid less than the rest of Maryland, yet exempted herself from lower pay if it had passed. What might be the worst of it all are her attempts to take credit for the successes of Paul Pinsky while pitting our farming community and local environmental advocates against each other for political gain instead of putting forth policies that help small farmers better adapt to greener practices.

 

Though the Senator likes to say she had a productive session, reality is often disappointing, and the reality is, Senator Carozza failed the Shore in 2019.


The Eastern Shore needs a Climate Summit

If there is one issue Eastern Shore Democrats and Eastern Shore Republicans should strive to come together and address, it is the threat of climate change. The effects of climate change have an impact on every aspect of our Eastern Shore way of life. Stronger storms bring worse hurricane seasons with more damages to our property; more severe weather events like droughts and flooding, which effect our two largest industries (farming and tourism); and rising sea levels and tidal flooding already damage our coastal communities.

Even if it is just this one issue for now, let’s show the people of the Eastern Shore and the entire state that our political system does work and that Democrats and Republicans can come together to find solutions to the issues we face. Let us bring leaders across the Shore, from the local and state level, and experts on this matter to sit down and discuss ways we can get all the information needed to determine what risks our communities face and begin discussing ways that we can start addressing the issue proactively. At the end of the day, we all want the same things: a better future, safety, and prosperity for the Eastern Shore. We just differ on how we get there on some issues.

My hope is that local leaders--whether you are a party member, an elected official, community activist, or whomever--will see this article and have the courage to reach out and have a conversation about starting something up. Only then can we truly begin to put politics aside and start addressing this issue.


An open letter to Bob Culver

It has come to my attention that permits are being drafted for the installation of a 3-million gallon open storage tank for chicken by-products for the company Valley Proteins, Inc.  As a resident of the Hebron area, this has raised enormous concerns for us and our neighbors for a number of reasons, and we strongly urge you to reconsider the location of this storage tank. 

My husband and I purchased our home almost four years ago at the ages of 25 and 26.   We were first-time homebuyers, found an adorable property that we loved, in an area that we were thrilled with, and we couldn’t wait to get settled and begin enjoying our small acreage that would eventually become our home.  The installation of this tank will drastically change the way of life that we have created for ourselves, as well as for the entire Hebron/Mardela Springs area.

 

 

Read more

Because you don't know until you know

Someone needs to do something. To borrow from a now-popular meme:  Me. I am someone. I’ve always thought myself to be a “good” citizen.  What does that even mean? I voted in nearly every local, state, and national election since I was 18 years old, so I’ve always felt as if I’ve done my civic duty. What else is there? As it turns out, there is more!

 



Read more

Shore groups speak out about hate

Letter to the Editor

April 11, 2019


The members of the undersigned organizations condemn the dispersal of white supremacist flyers on the Eastern Shore on March 31. In addition to being found in the Rio Vista neighborhood of St. Michaels, as reported in the Star Democrat, flyers with different text – though equally hateful and containing the same organizational name and contact information – were found on Tilghman Island.

Similar flyers have also been found over the last year in both Eastern Shore counties of Virginia; and in Maryland, in Ann Arundel, Charles, Queen Anne’s, Somerset and Worcester Counties; and the towns of Gaithersburg, Germantown, Eldersburg, Ellicott City, Glen Burnie, La Plata, Lothian, South Baltimore, Sykesville, Upper Marlboro and Waldorf.

Unanswered questions remain. Was this a coordinated action as it seems? Who dispersed this bigoted literature? Are they our neighbors? Have they succeeded in their recruitment campaign?


Read more

Lower Shore Progressive Caucus creates coalition of local officials and organizations across the Eastern Shore to urge delegates to vote for CEJA

Dear Lower Shore Delegates,

It has been brought to our attention that the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act is heading to a vote in the House of Delegates. That is why the following Eastern Shore organizations that make up large sums of your constituency are writing to you asking that you vote in favor of the bill. This bill address two major issues currently affecting the Eastern Shore: climate change and bringing good paying jobs to our region. There is no debate; science has overwhelmingly shown that climate change is real and poses a serious threat to our way of life.  We are already seeing the effects of this crisis now with stronger storms, more days with extreme heat, and our communities are already facing tidal flooding in Dorchester, Somerset, Ocean City, and other places across our region. The time to address this growing issue is now, and this is the bill that will help transform our energy systems away from fossil fuels to cleaner and more affordable forms of energy.      

 

It is also important to note that this is not just an environmental bill.  This bill will save Maryland roughly $240 million dollars in Federal tax credits in just one year.  It will also triple offshore wind investment and bring other forms of green energy projects to our region creating thousands of good paying jobs both on the Shore and across the state.  

 

Voting against this bill is signaling both the Shore and the rest of the state that our delegation isn't serious about addressing climate change or bring good paying jobs back to our region. We, as voters across the Shore, strongly urge you to vote YES to the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act.

 

Regards,

Jared Schablein

Chair, Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

Kitty Maynard

Admin leader, Kent and Queen Anne’s Indivisible

Susan Byer and Toby Perkins

Co-Chairs, Indivisible Worcester

Susan Olsen

Chair, Indivisible Dorchester

Denice Lombard

Chair, Talbot Rising

Josh Hastings

Wicomico Councilman District 4 and Citizen

Jacob Day

Mayor of Salisbury

Gains Hawkins

Chair, Wicomico Democratic Club

 


LSPC has its second "birthday"

On February 3, 2019, the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus turned two years old.  When we first began, there were some in the community who laughed and said we would be lucky to last two months.  

Since our inception, I am proud to say that today there are 6 elected progressives on the Lower Shore, both within the Democratic Party and at the county level.  We have also successfully helped get several pieces of legislation passed in the General Assembly and successfully moved some of our legislators to support certain bills like paid sick leave.   

In my twenty years of life, it has been my proudest achievement to serve as chair of this great organization.  It has helped shaped me as a person, introduced me to many great friends, and brought me closer to the community I have lived in and loved my whole life.   I know that political organizing is a long and hard road filled with ups and downs and filled with major victories and crushing defeats. But the future of the Eastern Shore of Maryland rests in our hands, and I am more confident than ever that our future is bright and that we will continue to build a movement that protects our values and way of life and works to create better opportunities for generations of Shore residents long after we are gone.  

To all our members and volunteers, I thank you for all your hard work and sacrifices to advance the progressive movement on the Shore.  If you are not a member, yet agree with a lot of what we do or want to help better our region, I personally invite you to join us and become involved.  Together we can build a better Eastern Shore for all.


Green energy means economic growth and health for the Shore

As I traveled through Southern Germany today (3.9.19) I was taken away by how many wind turbines and other forms of green energy I saw in the countryside. Not only has Germany’s investment in green energy started to address the growing crisis that is climate change, but it has also created good paying jobs and economic development in rural areas.

With this in mind I am calling on all Lower Shore delegates and senators to put politics aside and support the Clean Energy Jobs Act to help bring that same investment and growth to our region.

The Lower Eastern Shore stands to see the most immediate impact from rising sea levels caused by climate change. It is already happening in Dorchester and Somerset counties and poses a serious threat to our coastal communities and way of life. Also having the state invest in more green energy opens the Shore up to having more green energy projects come to our area, creating jobs and economic growth. Now more than ever, we need our delegation to have vision and lead on this issue. 

Call your reps to voice your support for the Clean Energy Jobs Act.

 

Read more

Reparations

There has been a lot of discussion in the political world about reparations recently.   Many opponents of the idea point out that “They didn’t own slaves” or “Slavery was a long time ago.”   The problem with these statements is that it fails to understand the major effects of enslavement and other forms of systemic oppression that have drastically affected the African American community in America for generations.  Slavery in America started in 1619 when a Dutch ship brought 20 African slaves ashore in the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia, and lasted until the passing of the 13th amendment in 1865.  These 246 years not only put the African American community through the most inhumane and brutal conditions imaginable but also created multiple generations of people who worked for free.  Not only were there physical and mental wounds left by this practice, but it also left those who did live to gain freedom at a disadvantage because no wealth was gained from their labor. Meanwhile, white plantation owners--and white families in general--were gaining wealth and passing it down from generation to generation.

Read more

Why Progressives must focus on local elections in 2019

Whether you have been on social media or watching any form of news, you have probably seen that a majority of the conversation is about the 2020 election.  While it is important to find a good candidate to take on President Donald Trump and reverse several of his destructive policies, there are important events happening in small towns and cities across the Lower Shore in 2019 that are being overlooked. The 2019 Municipal elections are where we will be electing many of our town council representatives and mayors, depending on the area you live in. From cities like Salisbury to small towns like Brookview in Dorchester County, these elections are the simplest way to have a major impact in order to build the best possible future for our region.  

 

One major reason you should be involved is it’s necessary to keep you informed about what is going on right outside your door. It doesn’t matter if you live in a city like Salisbury or a small town like Pittsville, there are many things going on in your community that you might not think about on a regular basis. By becoming involved in local politics in your town, you not only get a chance to meet your neighbors, but you acquire an understanding of the issues facing your area.  Knowing the needs of your community helps you to become an active member in finding solutions to those issues, therefore improving both the community and your personal life. The old saying is true that if you want to change the world you should start locally!

 

Another major reason you should be involved is it gives the Progressive Movement on the Shore a unique opportunity to build a bench for future races. In 2018, we were able to get some progressives elected into office. However, we still have a long way to go in order to build a government on the Shore that works for the many.  One of the biggest problems we faced in 2018 was our candidates didn’t have name recognition and that played a role in some of the close defeats we had. By having progressives start at the local level, candidates gain the experience and the name recognition needed to run for higher offices on the county or state-level in the future.  This will not only help our movement in the future but also improves our local governments now, providing an opportunity to have a greater impact in our communities sooner rather than later.



Finally, local governments have the biggest direct effect on our lives. In our political system local governments are in charge of many services like parks and recreation services, police and fire departments, housing services, emergency medical services, municipal courts, transportation services (including public transportation), and public works (streets, sewers, snow removal, signage, and more). For years people really haven’t paid attention to their local governments across the Shore and it has had a pretty serious effect on events in our community.  A perfect example is when Pittsville Town Commission President Denver Moore hired his daughter Carla Moore as town bookkeeper.   She went on to embezzle more than $170,000 from the town and was sentenced to jail time for her actions.  This isn’t the only time local governments on the Shore have done shady things behind the backs of the public.  If you have been paying attention to local news you have probably heard about the tragic death of Anton Black. Despite knowing of Thomas Webster IV past use of excessive force and protests from the president of the Central Delaware NAACP chapter warning the town of his history of violence, the town council still decided to hire Webster and put him in a position of power in the community.  This decision is a clear failure on the part of elected officials of the Greensboro town council and a tragic reminder of the need to make sure we elect local leaders who listen to the public and don’t put people with questionable pasts in positions of power within our community.

 

Even though most towns haven’t had a major negative news story like Pittsville or Greensboro, there are still other major issues with our local Governments across the Lower Shore. Other than the great work being done Mayor Jake Day in Salisbury, many towns on the Lower Shore struggle to find enough people to fully run their town governments.  This forces towns to fill their seats with folks who don’t know what they are doing. This lack of experience means that even when full, a majority of the major issues facing our local communities are often not addressed. This is one of the biggest reasons why Progressives should focus on local races in 2019. Not only can we get progressive leaders elected, but we can look to address the corruption and ineffectiveness that plagues our smaller communities. Paying attention to local elections and looking at elected leaders who will actually put forth ideas backed up by hard work to improve our towns and cities will help all citizens build a brighter future for our region--brick by brick.