The other gathering was a celebration of the first International Day of the Girl at the Women's Heritage Center in Baltimore.
I was so proud of the girls from Harper's Choice Middle School right here in the district I represent in Annapolis (above). They prepared the wording used in the drafting of the Governor's proclamation for this very special day. It was particularly appropriate that this day occurred shortly after the young girl in Pakistan was shot at close range for expressing her desire to get a good education. Our girls from Maryland honored Malala even as she fought valiantly in the hospital to hold on to her life after brain surgery.
Since my last message in September, Lloyd and I have traveled to the Baltic countries of Finland, Estonia, and Latvia. As usual we travelled by ourselves on an itinerary Lloyd planned. I find travelling with him all these years akin to having my own live atlas with me on my journey.
We found the people of Finland inspirational in how they approach division of the wealth in their nation. Those in professional positions are not only willing to receive a smaller portion of the pie than in virtually all other world democracies, they are openly happy and proud to do so in order that the laborers may receive a larger portion. It may serve us well to keep this in mind during our fiscal deliberation on our nation, state and county. Estonia, and even more so, Latvia, are making great strides in restoring beautiful historic buildings that were seriously damaged in the war. The European Union is contributing substantial funds to this restoration. We had the opportunity to spend time with local "electeds" in Riga, Latvia.
The impetus for these travels was a visit to St. Petersburg, Russia by a group from Maryland. Our state has a "sister state" relationship with the Leningrad Oblast (state) which surrounds St. Petersburg. I am the representative of the Maryland House of Delegates on this committee. We visited the U.S. Consulate shortly after the attack on our Consulate in Libya. The Consul General and his staff were clearly shaken although they are located on a well protected cul-de-sac. We were reminded of the debt of gratitude that we owe to these public servants abroad.
Maryland Budget Forecast
Analysts take grim view of 'fiscal cliff'; Estimate of job losses greater than O'Malley administration's
(The Department of Legislative Service's recent fiscal briefing shows that the 2013 legislative session in Annapolis will require careful, responsible, and diligent balancing of our state's budget. We are fortunate to have Senator Ed Kasemeyer's calm and steady approach in heading up this legislative effort.)
EARLY VOTING BEGINS ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27
I continue to receive many requests for my positions on three of the ballot questions in the upcoming election:
Question 4- Instate Immigrant Tuition (The Dream Act) STRONGLY SUPPORT
Question 6 - Marriage Equality STRONGLY SUPPORT
Question 7 - Gambling STRONGLY OPPOSE
Question 4 Immigrant Tuition (I was a sponsor of this bill)
In addition to being a major social justice issue, this question, if approved, will be a positive vote for Maryland's economy because it will improve our workforce.
Dan Rodricks has written about the tuition question two times in his regular column in the Baltimore Sun. I find his points particularly clear and important.
For backers of education and veterans, Dream Act is a two-fer; Ballot question would extend benefits to military as well as illegal immigrants
Thousands of undocumented workers pay state taxes; Filing income tax returns a requirement of Maryland Dream Act
Question 6 Marriage Equality (I was a sponsor of this bill)
Since 1978, I have been advocating and voting for legislation to end discrimination against gays and lesbians. Howard County was one of the first counties in the U.S. (there are more than two thousand) to add them to our Human Rights Law. That was one of the first votes I took as a member of the Howard County Council. I believe that everyone in Maryland will benefit when this ballot question passes and marriage equality becomes law in our state.
Poll finds support for same-sex marriage, but not gambling; Maryland referendum questions fill November's ballot
Question 7 Gambling
This article in the Baltimore Sun gives us a clear idea of just how enormous the potential profits are for the gambling industry. The following column, another by Dan Rodricks in the Sun, exposes the gambling industry's less than straightforward tactics in pushing for the vastly increased profits that approval of this question would bestow upon them.
The attached mailer opposing Question 7 does an excellent job of explaining that the expanded gambling bill does not guarantee increased funding for education. It is notable that the Maryland Education Association (teachers) supported the referendum several years ago when there were also promises of increased funding for education. This year they are not supporting Question 7.
For casino companies, referendum's stakes are huge; Ad campaigns stress other themes, but mostly they're about money
Watch dealer's sleight of hand in Question 7 ad; Despite suggestion, Baltimore casino goes ahead even if voters reject law
Maryland gambling issue has netted $56 million from companies for ad blitz
Maryland is one of only four states that have a contributory negligence standard for tort cases. The other 46 states have a comparative negligence standard. The contributory negligence standard makes it much more difficult for a plaintiff to obtain any damages even if they were severely damaged by a faulty product, e.g. It will be interesting if a Columbia case finally leads to Maryland's joining the other 46 states.
Soccer field accident could remake Maryland personal injury law
Court of Appeals considers allowing injured people to win damages even if partly at fault
Frank Gehry pays a visit to old stomping grounds — Columbia Town Center developer wants architect to design more buildings there
(In July of 2008 the Baltimore Sun published an op ed that I composed about the then current plans for additional development in Downtown Columbia. I expressed one of my deep concerns as "Where are the grand designs that excite the spirit and capture the soul, becoming material for textbooks to train future architects and planners?" Now, four years later, Howard Hughes Corporation has invited Frank Gehry back to Columbia to work with them and the county on design. Based on the following article from the Baltimore Sun we may yet see some truly creative architecture again like the Rouse Company headquarters built 40 years earlier.)
Midday with Dan Rodricks WYPR
Following is a connection to an interview concerning Downtown Columbia development that County Executive Ulman and I did on the Dan Rodricks show on October 3rd.
I saved this beautiful article for last.
See It: A film on where the butterflies go in winter
This recent Post article describes an enchanting site in the mountains of Michoacán, Mexico, where Lloyd and I visited about five years ago. The words "interwoven threads - insect and human" brings to mind the image of Lloyd, having walked up the mountain, covered from head to toe with monarch butterflies - at least one hundred of them!
We plan to see this I-Max film and recommend that you do the same. Though it is important for us to remember that although scientists "solved the mystery" of the monarchs, the Mexicans from this region have been mingling with them for years and years.
What exquisite beauty we have on our planet!
Gratitude, as Zach would tweet.
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