This is the fourth part in a series of 12 monthly essays over the next year leading up to Columbia’s 50th birthday celebration next June. Part 4 examines the role of media in creating the community, primarily newspapers, and in particular, the Columbia Flier. Contains links to all published parts of the series.
The three incumbent Democratic congressmen who represent Howard County showed up at a forum Saturday to face their opponents. Missing was one challenger, Republican Del. Pat McDonough, who had loudly complained that Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger refused to debate him.
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman told MarylandReporter.com he opposes the public campaign financing charter amendment on county ballots this year because it would force him to use taxpayer dollars to fund candidates. “There’s no question I support public financing of local campaigns,” Kittleman said, but only if it comes from voluntary contributions, not tax dollars. Under the charter amendment known as Question A, “the county executive must put in the budget what this unelected commission says,” Kittleman said. “This is clearly taxpayer funded campaigns. This is wrong.”
Howard County elected officials of both parties are mightily relieved that Democrat Sheriff Jim Fitzgerald finally succumbed to intense political pressure from all sides and all levels and has agreed to retire. The sheriff was accused by the county’s Office of Human Rights of bullying and harassing employees, using racial and ethnic slurs in the process, and creating a hostile work environment. But when Sheriff Fitzgerald dug in his heels last week and refused to step down, other elected officials were not left with many legal options under Maryland’s constitution.
This year’s apparently one-sided presidential election in Maryland may encourage some people to consider not voting. Polls consistently have Democrat Hillary Clinton ahead of Republican Donald Trump by a whopping 30 percentage points. There are plenty of other reasons to show up at the polls or cast an absentee ballot. This is especially true for Republicans who may have had enough of Trump. The worst thing they could do would be to take a pass on voting.
They are equal on the November ballot, but the three candidates for U.S. Senate sat together on the same stage for the first and possibly last time Saturday at a forum in Columbia sponsored by an African American coalition. Dr. Margaret Flowers, a physician representing the Green Party, appeared with Republican nominee Kathy Szeliga, the House of Delegates minority whip, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the Democratic nominee to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski.
We knew back in late May, when Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were wrapping up their party nominations, that the coming campaign was going to be one of the most god-awful nasty races in modern history. We also knew the debates between the two would be among the most watched since they began in 1960. Little did we know that the campaigns would be at their nastiest during these debates.
It was a good substantive debate for the most part: a little messy, but that’s what good debates are sometimes, writes Richard Vatz. Trump on points but not clear it would be sufficient to transform the election.
A state workgroup is recommending that juvenile victims of human trafficking will not be prosecuted for sex crimes in Maryland, despite objections from law enforcement. From 2012 to October of this year, 82 girls in Maryland were confirmed as victims of human trafficking. Police say youth victims of human trafficking are usually recovered in areas near airports with higher population density, and often come from low-income families with a history of neglect and substance abuse.