John Dillon Resigns From UM Shore Regional Health Board Of Directors

John Dillon, chairman of the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health Board of Directors, has announced his resignation from the Board, effective immediately.

Dillon, whose tenure on the Board was set to end on June 30, 2019, notified the Board of his resignationApril 9, citing his belief that leaving the Board at this time is in the best interest of UM Shore Regional Health to minimize the distraction caused by current discussions regarding University of Maryland Medical System Board relationships.

“With regret, the Board of Directors has accepted John Dillon’s resignation, effective immediately,” says Board Vice Chairman Richard Loeffler. “ We are grateful to John for his years of service to UM Shore Regional Health and appreciate that his decision to step down is in an effort to allow the organization’s Board and leadership to remain singularly focused on our mission to create healthier communities together.”

Richard Loeffler, UM SRH Vice Chair, of Cambridge, will serve as Acting UM SRH Board Chair until July 1, 2019 when new officers are confirmed.

 

Gillibrand: Missing a Compelling Case for Running? By J.E. Dean

This morning I watched Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on Morning Joe. I was unimpressed. Her practiced answers to even softball questions were disingenuous.  She is a fast-talker, which some dictionaries define as someone talking quickly, often to trick someone or persuade them to buy something.  I was not buying this morning. I also cannot remember any details of any policy position she referenced. There was too much chaff for me to find wheat.

Gillibrand is clearly an intelligent woman, but has yet to make a compelling, or even attractive, case as to why she should be President.   I suspect that Gillibrand believes she is a logical heir to the political empire of Hillary Clinton. Not a bad thing given that Clinton easily won the popular vote and was arguably robbed of the Presidency by the Russians, Trump or both.   Gillibrand has described Clinton as a mentor. She brands herself as something of a policy wonk, just like Clinton (although without evidence of conviction on individual issues except in the broadest of outlines). And she is a woman, standing ready to be the candidate of the millions of voters, not all of them women, who were excited about Clinton because of her gender, obvious intelligence, and, her resume.

The Clinton comparison gets complicated on what I suspect Gillibrand views as dissimilarities.   So far, she has no baggage similar to Clinton’s problems with emails, Whitewater, how she handled the Lewinsky scandal, and the Clinton Foundation.  This is an unambiguous plus. There is nothing to fuel chants of “Lock her Up” and, as someone younger than Clinton, she can credibly hope to appeal to younger voters in a way that Clinton didn’t.   Nobody doubts she has the stamina necessary for two years on the campaign trail.

Is Gillibrand Clinton without the negatives?   In 1988, Democratic Vice Presidential hopeful Lloyd Bentsen ridiculed his rival, Dan Quayle, effectively after Quayle had the audacity to compare himself to John F. Kennedy.   Bentsen responded, “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”  The quip is memorable to this day and, if Gillibrand were to compare herself openly to Hillary, a similar rebuttal would be justified and likely offered by a chorus of her competitors.

Some observers have noted that Gillibrand is an opportunist.  Her positions have changed radically as her political career has progressed.  She once had an A rating from the National Rifle Association and claims to have shot her own Thanksgiving turkey.    Then, after she was elected to the Senate, she became “a rabid supporter of gun control.” This is only one example.  Gillibrand explains the flip-flopping away by noting that she always fights for her constituents. Her constituents used to be conservative upstate New Yorkers.  Today they are the Democratic base.

Gillibrand will do whatever it takes to win.  For some, she is “too transparently opportunistic to be a viable candidate,” as Ciro Spotti said in an op-ed.  Maybe that’s why she muddies her policy positions—so most voters will give up trying to figure them out and focus on gender, youth, and enthusiasm.  It’s difficult to sort through her policu machinations. She will be well-served if she is never forced beyond aspirational truisms mixed into a slew of no-brainer positions such as support for the middle-class, better schools, and “bravery” and questionable positions like her endorsement of the Green New Deal.

With each passing day the case for Gillibrand gets weaker.  Why would anyone contribute to her long-shot campaign? She has yet to have a media appearance or TV interview (including announcing the formation of her “exploratory committee” to run on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert)  that could be described as “impressive” or “inspiring.”   I sincerely doubt that this is likely to change. Gillibrand is a struggling candidate who believes that she will emerge as the victor in the coming royal rumble called the Democratic primary season.

J.E. Dean writes on policy and politics based on more than 30 years working with nonprofits and others interested in domestic policy.  Dean is an advocate for the environment, civil public debate, and good government. He resides in Oxford.

 

Report from Annapolis – Part 6 by Laura Price

It’s “crossover” time in Annapolis.  So, what does that mean?  It means that the legislature is done with introduction of bills and now those that have had favorable committee reports in either the House or the Senate, can crossover to the other chamber.  There were some bills, that were “cross-filed” at the time of introduction, but most are just filed on one side to begin.  Overall, there were almost 2500 bills introduced and about 926 have crossed over.  The MACo policy team analyzed over 900 of the total bills that were introduced and brought about 150 before the legislative committee that have met each Wednesday.

We have had some wins and some disappointments on the bills I have written about so far.  First the wins.  The biggest is the “Next Generation 911 Implementation” bill. (HB397/SB339)   This was MACo’s biggest initiative bill.  As I wrote in week 1, our system is built on 1970s technology and because 80% of all 9-1-1 calls are now coming from cell phones, we need to be able to accurately pinpoint their location and also be able to respond via a text message.  It will cost approximately an additional 50 cents per phone line, not per plan, but it is well worth it and is vitally important in emergency situations.

The small cell bills, “Wireless Facility Siting” (HB654/SB937 – the industry bill and HB1020/SB713 – the community input bill…the one we like), puts the counties at odds with the industry.  The industry bill would allow refrigerator-sized boxes to be mounted anywhere, on any pole or building, without having to comply with any of our local zoning laws.  It would not require the industry to help our rural, underserved areas.  These bills have been referred to an interim study.  The committee could look at them during that time, but they don’t have to.  This issue may have been put to bed without the industry getting what they wanted, which the local governments consider a success.

A bill we were quite concerned about and opposed was HB264, “Homestead Property Tax Credit.”  This would have transferred the existing tax credit to any new first-time homebuyer in Maryland, which totally undermined the purpose of the existing law and would have a devastating effect on county revenues.  This bill did not move and is considered dead.

Two of the three election bills I discussed have had favorable results.  SB363 “Voting Systems for Voters with Disabilities”, would have mandated every voting machine be equipped with a special ballot device at a cost of $4000 per machine.  SB411 “Polling Places at Continuing Care Communities” would have required each local board to establish a polling place at any continuing care community of 200 or more on the premises.  Both of these would have been very costly to the counties, we opposed them and fortunately, they are dead.  The third bill HB286 “Same Day Registration and Voting at Polling Places” requires every polling place to have additional poll workers at every precinct to handle the same day registration.  The fiscal note is $2.1 million collectively for the counties.  MACo’s amendment was for the state to split this cost with counties, since it is their mandate. The amendment was rejected and the financial burden will fall completely on the counties.  The bill is still moving forward at this time and because of the voter referendum will pass.

We supported several bills on Public health, Mental health and substance abuse that are not moving.  First up is SB645/HB1082, this was another MACo initiative to “Reprioritize Public Health.”  Thanks to the recession, the counties have incurred dramatic funding reductions that jeopardize being able to provide critical services – especially with the opioid epidemic.  The State needs to restore this funding and help us provide this treatment.  We are disappointed that this bill has had no movement.

HB306/SB402 “Mental Health Inmates in Correctional Facilities.”  This would require the state to reimburse our local detention center if the inmate has been identified that they should be in a state mental health facility. This bill is not going to move, but there is likely to be an interim study, so there’s always next year.

SB506 “Mental Health Substance Use Disorder Study”, would require the Maryland Department of Health to conduct a study to determine existing capacity and estimated unmet needs for services by region.  This bill is not moving and is also considered dead.

HB102, “Transportation – Toll Roads County Consent Required” as written said “expanding to all counties in the State, a prohibition on State agencies constructing with the nine Eastern Shore counties a toll road, toll highway or toll bridge without the consent of a majority of the affected counties.”  The Eastern Shore was very concerned that it would apply to a “new” Bay Bridge crossing and that it would remove “veto” power from an Eastern Shore county that didn’t want it.  MACo didn’t take an official position but submitted a letter to leave the Shore out.  This bill is dead.  Very good news for us!

Of the previously discussed bills, the last one is HB92, “Conowingo Dam/Water Quality Certification would have required Excelon to do more to remove the trash and debris as part of getting approval from the MD Dept of the Environment for their relicensing with the Federal Energy Regulation Commission.  Maryland has identified and worked extremely hard to clean up the bay and spent millions of dollars, mostly focused on the sediment, nitrogen and phosphorous removal.  We now know that we need our upstream neighboring states to help.  The debris is also a part of the problem and even with a strong Bi-partisan sponsor line, this bill did not get out of committee.

Of the 150 bills, the legislative committee reviewed, there are only 14 left that MACo is closely following until the end of session.  One is HB109 “Property Tax – Collection of Unpaid Taxes and Tax Sales.  This is another mandate on county government that would place restrictions on when a property can be sent to tax sale.  The local effect is that our revenues would decrease, potentially significantly, as a result of the bill’s limitations on the use of tax sales to enforce liens.  Tax sale is a necessary and important tool used by counties to enforce these payments – it is worth noting that about 99% of properties sent to tax sale NEVER CHANGE HANDS.  The homeowners usually pay the overdue accounts once the property gets to this point.  Removing this tool would be a costly mistake. This passed out of the House committee, but is unlikely to pass in the Senate, MACo is strongly opposing and we have some good allies to help defeat it.

Another of the “final 14” is HB532/SB744 “Blueprint for Solar Energy” establishes a commission to evaluate proposed solar energy projects and submit a report by January 1, 2020.  Solar photovoltaic systems are land intensive (several acres per megawatt).  The demand has grown and has the potential for conflict over the appropriate use of the State’s finite amount of land.  MACo supports this creation of this commission, but is advocating for more balanced representation in our amendment.  As drafted, there is only 1 MACo representative and 4 members from the industry.

The rest are a mixture of Support, Support with Amendment and Oppose.  They are all still in the policy areas of Taxes (HB884/SB533 Residential Lodging Sales Tax), Environment (failing septic and forest tree canopy bills), school construction (HB727/SB731 – Build to Learn Act), and Public Safety (HB116/SB846 – Correctional Facilities Opioid Use Treatment) and Health Services funding (HB1082/SB645).  If you want to follow along, the MACo website, www.mdcounties.org is a great resource.  There is also a blog that is updated daily and I will be following right along until Annapolis is done for this year’s session and report back right here.

Laura Price is on the Executive Board of Directors of MACo, the legislative liaison and member of the Talbot County Council.

Letter to Editor: Tragedy Of The Soft Shell And Razor Clam

I read Tragedy of the Commons many times in my undergraduate career. We are all familiar with the premise: overuse of a common resource for personal benefit ultimately eliminates that resource, spoiling it for everyone. To ensure that our common resources do not become depleted in Maryland or the Chesapeake Bay, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) works to “preserve, protect, restore, and enhance our environment for this and future generations.” Specifically, DNR strives to create balance between our economy and our environment, which we at ShoreRivers commend and support.

Consider the eastern oyster, for example, a filter feeder that improves water quality and habitat, and is an iconic menu item for locals and tourists alike. A DNR Fishery Management Plan is needed for this species to ensure that we continue to see both ecological and economic benefits for generations to come. This is an example of a state agency regulating a natural resource so that all can benefit.

Two lesser known bivalve species in the Bay provide similar ecological value. Soft shell clams and razor clams filter the same volume of gallons in one day as the oyster. Numerous studies have found that these species once played an integral role in the Chesapeake’s food web, as a primary food source for multiple predators. Unfortunately, also similar to the eastern oyster, these clam species are on the brink of extinction in the Chesapeake Bay.

The soft shell clam fishery has been “boom and bust” since the invention of the hydraulic dredge in the 1950’s. “Boom” times with high harvest rates and high numbers of clamming licenses are followed by “bust” times with significant drops in clam populations, which result in lower harvest rates and fewer licenses.

Considering the high ecological value these species provide and their current low populations, ShoreRivers believes they are in need of conservation. Without a DNR Fishery Management Plan, there is currently no balance between the economic and ecological value of these clams. To ensure this balance is established and that there are clams in our Maryland waterways in the future, ShoreRivers fought for a Fishery Management Plan for the clam fishery during the 2019 Maryland Legislative General Assembly. This bill would have initiated relatively low-cost studies of current clam populations and habitats, impacts to the population from climate change, and economic and ecological values of clams.

Unfortunately, the Department of Natural Resources was not supportive of this bill and was unwilling to compromise. DNR’s main argument was that these species are too transient and difficult to study. However, considering that there have been studies of these species in the past (although none that inform regulation), and the fact that these species continue to be harvested, we feel that this decision clearly states that DNR is supportive of the economic value of these species, more so than the ecological value. If we are unable to study a species, consider the ecological value, or make regulation recommendations that promote sustainability, then we should not have that commercial fishery.

Yes, we are all familiar with the Tragedy of the Commons, but it seems as though our current administration is choosing to ignore the warning signs of resource depletion. To be clear, I am in support of sustainable fisheries – fisheries that provide economic value, support our local watermen, and ensure that species continue to provide ecological benefits to our ecosystems.

However, if, according to DNR, it is not possible to find balance between economy and ecology, then which side should we choose? What repercussions might we see if we lose the soft shell and razor clams? As Miles-Wye Riverkeeper, I have the privilege of giving a voice to the river; I have no doubt the river would choose the side of ecological benefits.

Elle Bassett
Miles-Wye Riverkeeper
ShoreRivers

Letter to Editor: Reds and Blues Need to Talk to Each Other

We are two residents of Talbot County, a Republican and a Democrat, in search of other reds and blues who want to talk with folks of different political opinions.

While our views differ on some issues, the two of us share a concern about the current extreme polarization in our country and have both signed on as volunteers with Better Angels. Better Angels is a national organization formed in 2016 after the Presidential election by folks who felt that the divide between red and blue Americans had become so severe that we were headed for civic breakdown. In response, they have developed a series of facilitated workshops organized by citizens in their own communities including their signature Red-Blue session which we’re bringing to Easton this spring.

Neither of us is out to change anyone’s minds. We had the opportunity to observe a recent Red-Blue Workshop in D.C. After hours of discussion, those who came as conservative, libertarian, Republican citizens left the same. Likewise with the liberal, progressive, Democratic participants. What took place instead was that people listened to one another without trying to correct, coerce or argue the virtue of their views.

To date, well over 300 such workshops have taken place around the U.S. Participant feedback shows they’re helping people on both sides decrease stereotyped thinking and develop more trust in our hope for the common good. From Fox News to CNN along with other national and local media outlets, reports on the Red-Blue workshop have been supportive, often with a common theme: there’s such a need for this.

In Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address in 1861, with the nation on the brink of civil war, he urged that Americans hold onto their common bonds and appealed to the ‘better angels of our nature.’ His words resonate now more than ever when talking about politics seems almost taboo.  Wouldn’t it be nice to discover we’re not really as different as we’ve been told we are?

If you are interested in being part of this civic experiment, visit the Better Angels website or contact us. The workshop format requires an equal number of red and blue participants. Community members can also take part as observers. We hope our April 6, 2019 event in Easton will be the first of many such conversations on the Eastern Shore.

Pat Ingram, Oxford
Nancy Andrew, Easton

Letter to Editor: No Sunshine In Talbot…Yet

As discussed in a short piece last week, on February 20th the Talbot County Council sent a letter to the legislature in Annapolis expressing the County’s position on certain bills. This was noteworthy not because of the issue and the County’s position, but because the County had taken that action in the dark, in complete disregard of procedure, with no public discussion or public vote. Citizens would have known nothing about it except that the “Talbot letter” was referred to in open meeting. But my charge remains only an accusation without proof.

Here is the update to the story.

On, February 25 when the matter first came to light, I sent a letter to Mr. Pack (copied to all other Council Members, the County Attorney and the County Manager), saying that “unless you and the County Attorney can confirm that the matter was properly handled in all material respects, we respectfully request” that the advisory letters be withdrawn. I expressed the reasons we suspected the matter had been mishandled—“please correct us if we are wrong”—and bulleted 10 question about how the letter came to be issued, followed by “If we are completely off base in our concerns about process, advise us of course.”

No reply. Nada. From anyone. Dawn’s light has not yet broken.

All we are trying to do here is get answers to a few simple questions about how the matter was handled, answers that are known at this very moment by Mr. Pack, Mr. Hollis, Mr. Kupersmith, and all the other participants.

On March 5th, I emailed the County Attorney requesting a factual reply, noting that “not being directed to the corporate entity, perhaps [the questions in my letter] were not taken seriously.” He replied, “as far as your inquiry to Mr. Pack is concerned, I obviously cannot speak for him. I will review your letter but am not promising a response.” The Public Information Act (PIA) regs were also cited—more on that below.

In frustration, I wrote Mr. Kupersmith asking that he just forget the original letter addressed to Mr. Pack, and instead “ let me simply ask you directly as the County Attorney these questions” (5) about how the letters to the legislature were authorized. I asked for no documents. Here is the meat of his answer:

“As you’re aware, the Office of Law provides legal advice to the Council, boards/commissions, and departments. In this instance, you have directed a request to one of this Office’s clients (Mr. Pack/County Council) [sic] and we may provide legal advice to the client in connection with the request. Therefore, I am not in a position, at least at the moment, to offer any comments on this beyond helping direct you to relevant County resources, such as the PIA policy I provided earlier. I realize this may not be satisfactory to you, but you must recognize that when you write a letter alleging that the Council did not act appropriately and making demands, you have put the matter in an adversarial posture that does not lend itself to casual responses.”

So, it appears the public will not—or at least I will not– be receiving any explanation. Accordingly, this morning I sent to the County a broadly drawn PIA request to obtain all of the documents related to this affair. From those we can surely deduce what unfolded, and obtain the simple answers to the simple question we started with: were the February 20th letters properly issued, or were they sent under the cover of darkness.

(I realize one of the other Council Members might be willing to provide the answer in full. But they all have known from the beginning what I am looking for. My sense is that if Mr. Pack, as the Council President, does not want to talk about it, then that is his message to others too. To lean hard on anyone else to step up and tell the story is perhaps unfair, as that might mean creating a bad relationship with Mr. Pack near the beginning of a long 4 years.)

But back to the PIA request. In the lead article of Sunday’s Edition, the Star Democrat reported on the unreasonably high cost per page for getting simple police reports in Maryland. But in cases like this, the “cost per page” for a copy of a document is almost beside the point. (To boot, we only want to inspect documents, and may want only a few copied.) Mr. Kupersmith described the issue thus:

The PIA policy also sets out the fees, which are not limited to copies. See section 1.10. They cover the time it takes staff to collect and review the records, including legal review for any applicable privilege / PIA exemption.

Indeed, Section 1.10(B)(3) of the County’s PIA Request Regulations say (emphasis added) that, apart from copying and such, “the fee to search, compile, review, prepare and otherwise respond to a request…is the cost calculated by multiplying the actual time spent by each individual employee involved in the response, including attorney review time, by his or her hourly salary, including benefits…” although there is no charge for the first two hours of work. Arguably this is all fair and reasonable. But it can also seem pretty intimidating, unlimited, and unknowable, and many citizens might not be a position to step up.

So in summary, this is how it works: since the Council President, Mr. Pack, (the addressee of a letter) does not wish to respond to questions because the letter sounds (let’s say is) adversarial, then the County Attorney also cannot provide answers—because the addressee is his client. But a citizen IS legally entitled to dig out the answers himself via a PIA request, so long as he or she agrees to pay the costs, whatever they turn out to be.

And I could be completely wrong. Maybe the County handled this properly but has refused to explain it just because someone is in a snit about the audacious allegation that they erred. If so, I am prepared (as always) to eat crow. In just measure, I find it a healthy component of the human diet.

So that is the status of things folks, here in Talbot County during Sunshine Week 2019. Update to follow.

(By the way, the letters to the legislature approved in public by the Council last night are a completely different than the matter above. It is confusing, but poor government can unfold both in the dark and right out in broad daylight.)

Dan Watson
Easton

Report from Annapolis by Laura Price

After missing a week due to the snow day last week, MACo’s legislative group had to pull double duty this week to catch up on all the bills counties needed to consider. We heard briefings on 44 different pending pieces of legislation in Annapolis. It is still fascinating to see some of the peculiar ideas for laws that cross the desk. Fortunately, most legislation is thought-provoking and addresses issues that deserve serious debate.

One problem that we have heard about and tried to mitigate for years is the pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. There are many reasons for the poor health of the Bay, but one major reason that was identified several years ago is the problem that stems from the Conowingo Dam. Phosphorous, nitrogen and sediment run off and flow down from Pennsylvania and New York through the Susquehanna River to the top of the Bay. Over the past 90 years, those nutrients have accumulated, so the reservoir is full and can’t trap them anymore. When we have storms and overflow, the pollution ends up in our Chesapeake Bay.

HB921 Conowingo Dam – Water Quality Certification would require the Department of the Environment (MDE), as part of its approval process for the relicensing of the Dam (owned by Exelon), to mandate some actions from the applicant. This would include requiring the applicant to meet specific conditions related to the removal of trash and debris from the reservoir and make this an emergency measure. Many may remember last summer, when all kinds of debris ended up in the Annapolis Harbor. That event may have spurred the legislators to act. This bill, supported by MACo, has a strong bipartisan sponsor line.

This is the type of legislation that is good to work on, when all sides can agree that a problem exists and hold those accountable in the process. We do recognize that Exelon did not create the nutrient buildup nor the debris; however, they do need to help in fixing this problem. We also need the support of the federal government, in holding those other states accountable (under the Clean Water Act) in reducing the nutrients that are being released into the river and end up here. Maryland has been working hard and spending an enormous amount of money to clean up the Bay; we need partners to help.

There’s another topic that has been the recent source of much discussion and consternation. Small cell technology is something that is coming in order to implement 5G service. So, what is 5G? Let’s start with what is 3G, which means connecting your computer to the internet. 4G means connecting your smartphone to the internet. 5G means connecting everything to the internet. Estimates project that we will grow from 2 or 3 connected devices per person to 40-100 connected devices per person.

What everyone is beginning to learn about are the “boxes” that are required for this technology and how many will be needed. These boxes, or “small cells,” can be up to 28 cubic feet in size – that’s the size of a refrigerator! Small cells could be mounted anywhere, to any pole, to any building, and there would need to be so many of them (100-150 feet apart), all within line of sight, it would be a tremendous eyesore to our communities. All of this with NO authority of the local government to control where they go. Further complicating the matter is that much of this has gone into effect already, so that many Counties and Municipalities are seeking a stay on the order by the FCC.

There are two competing bills in front of the legislature this session. They are very different in their impact on local government. HB654/SB937 Wireless Facilities – Installation and Regulation is the bill that was sponsored by the industry. They would not have to comply with ANY of our local zoning laws. And they also would not pay us more than $100 for the “antenna” when the national average is $1500. It allows them to deploy these boxes with access “by right” and completely ignore our local zoning process. The bill doesn’t require them to service underserved areas, which is where the rural counties need it most. There are many other aspects of the bill that are detrimental to the counties and municipalities, but this should give you a sense of the problem.

By contrast, HB1020/SB713 Wireless Facilities – Permitting and Siting is the bill strongly supported by MACo. It is a community coalition bill that preserves local zoning codes. It establishes requirements for the permitting, installation, regulation and design standards of wireless telecommunications facilities in the State. It would apply only to poles owned by government, not to poles owned by utilities. It also creates a “Digital Inclusion Fund” to support deployment in underserved areas, which would be very important to Talbot County and other rural areas.

So why did I just give you this long explanation of 5G Small Cell technology? It’s not just because of the impact of this legislation, but to give you a broader perspective of what we need to be aware of. Sometimes it’s not the State passing spending mandates down to the counties or trying to usurp our local autonomy that creates problems. Sometimes it is an Industry that is overstepping its bounds, sponsoring legislation that makes a mockery of our permits and our local zoning, just because they don’t want the expense and hassle.

Laura Price is on the Executive Board of Directors of MACo, the legislative liaison and member of the Talbot County Council.

Trinity Threaders Raffle Doggie Afghan

Trinity Threaders, an artisan fabric arts group, of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Easton, is holding a raffle for a doggie afghan, the majority of which was crafted by Kathy Garcia of Easton. Peggy Begor of Oxford and Jan Bohn of Easton finished the details of this twelve panel blanket, displaying ten dogs complete with their footprints and bones! This is a one-of-a-kind creation that will make a wonderful spring gift for that special dog lover in your life.

Tickets at $1.00 each or six for $5.00, are available in the Trinity Cathedral office at 314 North Street, just behind the church at 315 Goldsborough Street. The drawing will be held on Sunday, April 7, 2019. Proceeds from the raffle will be used by the Trinity Threaders for community outreach.

Letter to the Editor: Talbot County Council Ignores Rules

Last week Talbot County Council President Corey Pack sent to the legislature two letters purporting to express the County Council’s position on legislation pending in Annapolis. The problem is that this was done completely behind closed doors, with no public knowledge or notice and in disregard for County procedures. Some sort of vote on the issue was taken by the Council (it was not unanimous), but not in public as required by the Charter. But for a legislator mentioning the letter at a hearing on Friday, Talbot’s citizens still might not know anything about it.

President Pack is a third term Councilman, and surely he must have realized that the Council he leads is not supposed to just go off and do its own thing out of public sight. Whether one agrees or not with the Council’s point of view is beside the point; the Council speaks for the County as a whole and there is a proper way for the Council to evaluate an issue and take action in public, so we can know what’s going on.

Based on its disregard for procedure, the Bipartisan Coalition of Talbot County on Tuesday morning formally requested that Mr. Pack contact the legislature and withdraw the improperly authorized letters immediately, in view of the fact that the legislation being influenced is being heard in committee as early as today (Wednesday, February 27).

Perhaps in past years Council Members could assume Talbot’s voters were uninterested and disengaged. But no longer. Plenty of people are genuinely interested in what’s going on, and how the Council is operating in the interests of all.

Dan Watson, Chair
The Bipartisan Coalition of Talbot County

The legislation in question pertains to the permanent protection of the Harris Creek and Tred Avon oyster sanctuaries, which the Council purports to oppose. See the Council’s letter below. The Bipartisan Coalition’s letter requesting its withdraw because the Council letter was improperly authorized is also attached. 

 

 

 

1st District: Harris Supports Trump National Emergency Declaration

Congressman Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01) made the following statement on President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to protect border security and facilitate funding of the border wall:

“I support the president’s efforts to fully fund comprehensive border security by re-allocating unused funds from other programs, such as counter-narcotics programs directly related to the flow of illegal drugs across our southern border. Just last month, CBP had its largest fentanyl drug bust at the southern border, capturing enough fentanyl to kill 57 million people – that’s enough drugs to kill the population of Maryland nine times over. The sex trafficking industry, a horrific and demoralizing crime, is also thriving from a lack of border security. The exploitation and rape of these women and children occurs both en route to the United States and after their arrival. MS-13 gang violence is rampant in the United States, and is a serious threat to our communities in Maryland. The president has worked hard to secure our border, and I support his decision to declare

 

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