Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Granolapark Lands With a Splat!

Hello, Free State Politics Readers!

I’m introducing myself. I’m a new contributor to the site. My name is Gilbert My blog is granolapark, hosted on the Takoma Voice newspaper web site. You’ll love my blog, it’s better than sex. Under some circumstances.

Granolapark reports on the city council and politics of Takoma Park, a small incorporated city, festooned with bungalows, brimming with diversity, and boasting (or embarrassed by) a reputation for liberal, progressive politics. The Montgomery County city is an inner suburb as down-county as it can get, nestled up against the District of Columbia on one side and Prince George’s County on the other. One of the few incorporated municipalities in the county, the city has some political clout, especially since many of its citizens are activists.

Long time liberal activist Jamie Raskin, for instance, is running to unseat District 20 state senator Ida Rubin. City council member Marc Elrich is running for county council. Heather Mizeur, a former city council member, is running for state delegate. State delegate Peter Franchot is running for comptroller. County councilmember Tom Perez is running for state’s attorney general. County councilmember George Leventhal is running for reelection. All of them are Takoma Parkians.

So you see, even if you don’t care about our little burg’s politics, you might want to take note, because our politicians are creeping up behind you even as you read this!!

Here’s a granolapark posting on Takoma Park citizens in the various political races and about candidates in District 20.

The most current postings are about rent control, a volatile local issue, touching on the region-wide issues of condominium conversion and affordable housing. Start with this one.

The most recent posting is about parking and development.

Enjoy and thanks to Free State Politics for inviting me.

- Gilbert

PS. No, I’m not going to tell you under which circumstances.


Blogger jsmdlawyer said...

Welcome Gilbert --

Great to see that TP is being represented here.

Couple of thoughts. I went back and looked at your April blog post on District 20, where I also live, and I have a couple of responses.

As to Jamie Raskin -- well, there are even more Raskin signs up now than there were before, and they're not just in Takoma Park, they're spreading all over the District. Second, I must quibble with your suggestion to "look at the map" and see how small Takoma Park is in comparison to all of District 20.

The point isn't to look at the map, but to look at the voters. 66% of District 20 voters live in Election District 13, which includes Takoma Park and close-in Silver Spring (no further north than Woodmoor). When Ida Ruben was first elected in 1986, that number was 54%, and she barely squeaked in by a margin of 64 votes. So Takoma Park is a lot bigger in electoral terms than it is geographically (in other words, there's a lot more population density in Takoma Park and close-in Silver Spring than in the rest of District 20).

I'm confident that Raskin is going to be the candidate who finally puts an end to the 30 year Ruben reign of terror in District 20.

My other quibble is with your concerns about Heather Mizeur. Yeah, her website's slick, but she's the real deal. Polished, personable, a real likeable and warm person, she is by far the best of the delegate candidates this year, however you want to cut it. And yes, she's very progressive. Who among the seven current candidates would you say is a better prospect than Heather? I'd be interested to hear.

6/28/2006 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger ChesapeakeBlue said...

Welcome! Come on, come on, which circumstances?

6/28/2006 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger Gilbert said...


Good point about District 20 and Raskin's spreading popularity. However, I've seen signs of backlash resentment, particularly from women, who say Raskin is too brash, say he mischaracterizes Rubin as pro-war, and pro-death-penalty, and decry the loss of a highly placed (President Pro-Tem of the Senate) died-in-the-wool, "strong-woman" Democrat. But, you are right about the voting power of Takoma Park in District 20, which gives Raskin a big advantage, since he is so popular here.

Can't agree with you on Mizeur, though. Her half-a-term on the city council does not pay the dues.


My lips are sealed!


6/28/2006 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger jsmdlawyer said...

Gilbert --

I don't think Raskin mischaracterized anything. Ida Ruben voted in 1998 to expand eligibility for the death penalty. Here's the link:

She also filled out a candidate survey in 2002 saying she supported the death penalty. Here's that link:

Only in 2006, after she was called out on this issue did she say she's against the death penalty. The old "who you gonna believe, me or your lyin' eyes?" routine. I say the record doesn't lie. If she's changed her views, she should say so. What's not appropriate is to call your challenger a liar when all he did was point out your record.

As for effectiveness and leadership, Ida Ruben has NEVER, in 20 years in the Senate and 12 in the House, been a chair of a committee. President Pro Tem is an honorary position with no power or authority whatsoever. When she was in line to chair a committee in 2002, Mike Miller booted her upstairs to the pro tem position. Read into that what you will.

Most importantly, this year's Gazette election year assessment of senators ranked Ida Ruben 41st out of 47 senators. So really, how much would we be giving up by getting rid of her?

All of this says nothing about her toxic personality, abrasiveness and inability to work with anyone who displeases her at any time about any issue.

I think the issue between Ruben and Raskin is a choice between an ineffective representative who usually votes the right way, but leads on nothing, and a dynamic, committed progressive who will take the lead on issues progressives in District 20 truly care about, reaching out to progressives in other parts of the state to make things happen that under the current regime never see the light of day.

As for "brash," that sounds to me like Ida propaganda. She has been attempting to portray Raskin as "young and inexperienced," and brash goes right along with that. Raskin is 43 (my age), and he's a constitutional law professor with a proven track record of standing up for progressive causes. If he's going to knock off a 30 year incumbent (you have to have some brash in you to even try), he's got to make the case that the incumbent is not worthy of reelection simply because she's been around since 1974. She may not like the points he's making, but they sure ring true to me.

Not that I'm objective or anything. But the facts are what the facts are, despite Ida Ruben wishing it wasn't so.

6/29/2006 12:20:00 AM  
Blogger OnBackground said...

Youch! What do you really think J?

6/29/2006 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger ChesapeakeBlue said...

Maybe Rubin WAS against the death penalty, before she was for it, before she was against it. Poll driven? Someone should compare those positions to some Maryland polls - it was once necessary to be for the death penalty to be "tough on crime," and now the cycle seems to be turning again.

6/29/2006 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger MoCoPolitics said...

I'd love it if that were true, blue. But I think the death penalty has never been popular in Takoma Park. Ask people in St. Mary's City or Chestertown or Cumberland or, for that matter, Rockville or Towson and I think you'll get very different responses about it.

7/03/2006 01:11:00 PM  

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