Monday, September 21, 2020

Vote Against Montgomery County Ballot Measures B & D by Shayne Dizard

URGENT MESSAGE TO Montgomery County Voters  —  DEFEAT Ballot Question B.

Four Ballot Questions will be on the Montgomery County Ballot in November. The Maryland Poor People's Campaign recommends voting Against Measures B and D. Just Remember BandD are BAD!

Ballot Question B is especially dangerous for the fiscal health and well being of the County and its residents. Its purpose is to starve our County of resources and reduce services to county residents. The services we rely on for our daily quality of life and the future of our children are in danger: resources such as schools, public health and safety, recreation, parks, libraries, public transit, to name a few.

Protect our quality of life in Montgomery County. Vote against Ballot Question B.

To accomplish its goal of gutting county programs and resources, Ballot Measure B would arbitrarily cap the total property tax revenue the county can collect at the amount collected the previous year (with some exceptions) plus the current rate of inflation, no matter the increase in growth of the economy and taxable property – or the increased need for public services to meet the needs created by that growth. The result will be budget shortfalls and a decline in services to county residents.

And, Ballot Measure B actually goes a step further by all but eliminating the County Council's authority to respond to increased growth and increased needs of county residents by making adjustments that reflect real property growth or needs for public services.

Currently, the council can override limitations and adjust income and revenue with a unanimous vote of the Council. Under Ballot Measure B, that procedure is eliminated, leaving no way for the council to respond to real county fiscal needs.

Freezing County revenue would have a disastrous effect on the health of our county. It would be difficult to maintain quality public services. And, it could put in jeopardy our AAA bond rating.

Ballot B is an effort to cripple our county government when we need it most: Vote Against B.


Question D is an effort to decrease countywide representation on the County Council. Currently we have 5 Council members representing their district and 4 At-Large members. We have one vote for our district member and 4 votes for the at-large members. 

Question D would eliminate all at-large council seats. That means we would have only one vote for a council member and there would be no member who represents and is responsive to issues affecting residents county-wide. Vote Against D.


We Must Get the Word Out Montgomery County Voters ASAP. Click the following link to join us in calling the over 3,000 Maryland Poor People's Campaign supporters in MoCo to urge them to vote no on Questions BnD = Bad. 

Phone Banking-Door Hanger Sign-Up Link

Vote Against B and D - Remember BnD are BAD.   

Friday, September 18, 2020

5781: A New Year

Today is the last day of the Jewish calendar year 5780; tonight Rosh Hashana begins and the Jewish community around the world begins its new year, 5781.

And so many of us are so ready for a new year. Which is, in a way, funny - after all, no one knows if the new year will be better. It’s entirely plausible that it will be worse. 

Yet, somehow, we are looking hopefully to the new year as a time of redemption, of possible Tikkun - repair, as a chance to do better.

And the structure of the Jewish year encourages this. Rosh Hashana is celebratory, but it’s also solemn. Technically it, like Yom Kippur, is a day of judgement, the day on which nations are brought before the Ruler of All, together with each nation’s government, to be judged. We must answer, each of us, as part of that collective, for what we have participated in, for what we have allowed our nation to do, and we are held responsible, together.

But that collective responsibility is a source of not just fear, but also hope. As Rabbi Nachman said, hundreds of years ago, "believe this: if you can break, so you can also fix." 

If this past year has been a whirlwind of horrors, believe this: together, we can end them. It is in our hands to pull together as a nation and to do cheshbon hanefesh, to take a true and deep accounting of our soul, each of us as individuals who together make up a nation, and each nation that together makes up a world. 

Hayom Harat Olam: Today, the Jewish community says, the world is born. This is the season of repentance, in which IF we can stand to look critically at ourselves and at our collective identity, we can enter the new year clean and ready to fix the brokenness of our world. IF we can commit to changing our ways, commit to doing better, to caring more for others - even others that don’t look like us, that don’t speak like us; others that are carrying burdens that we have placed on their backs - we can remove those burdens and help them walk upright with us, then the year to come will be a year of grace, and we can make a start on making this world a fit place for the divine. 

It seems difficult. And ... perhaps it is. But we can map this out and get there. We have the next few weeks, during which we must unsparingly examine our hearts, and not merely promise, but start acting to do better. Start small, and repeat it every day. You can do this: I have faith in you. The Poor People's Campaign is how we come together to build a better, more just, more fair, more righteous nation. We all come together to care of one another - all of us: Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Black, White, Indigenous, every color, every gender, every faith.

May this year to come be a better year for us and for our nation. May we be blessed to repair it together.
- Rabbi Alana Suskin, Maryland PPC Tri-Chair



Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The Importance of Responding to the 2020 U.S. Census

I moved to Allegany County Maryland from Washington, D.C. approximately 3 years ago. In that short period of time - several businesses have closed. They are: Aaron’s Jewelers, Verso Paper Co. Mill, four anchor stores at the Country Club Mall (Bon Ton, Payless ShoeSource, Sears & J.C. Penney) ... and countless others in our area.

Wow, that’s a lot of folks in our community - who have lost their jobs - due to businesses permanently closing their doors. And, many of those same folks still haven’t been able to obtain employment elsewhere. The 2010 U.S. Census shows that Allegany County is one of the poorest counties in the State of Maryland - although many people who reside here don’t see it.

That statistic just might be due to many of our county residents who failed to participate in the 2010 Census process. They may not have taken it seriously and didn’t think it was important to be counted in the population. As a result of that being the case, just fast forward 10 years later and look where we are now!

However, if it is true that Allegany County is one of the poorest counties in the State of Maryland, we don’t need to be treated as such. Many corporations do rely on the U.S. Census data to help them determine if it is feasible to open a business or continue providing commerce/services in an area. So, by completing the questionnaire that was mailed to your address, you can definitely make a positive difference in our community. Because an accurate population count could possibly attract businesses to our area - who might be able to create jobs in Allegany County Maryland for our residents.

Please view the link below regarding the importance of responding to the 2020 U.S. Census:

The 2020 U.S. Census is:
  • Quick and easy. The 2020 Census Questionnaire will take about 10 minutes to complete.
  • Safe, secure, and confidential. Your information and privacy are protected.
  • A way to participate in Community Improvements. Your response helps to direct billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities for schools, roads, public services and provide data for businesses to create jobs.
  • Also, used to determine the number of seats each state has in Congress and your political representation at all levels of government.

Ways to Respond to the 2020 U.S. Census:

  • Online:
  • Phone: 1-844-330-2020 ~ 7am - 2am (EST)/7 days-a-week
  • Mail: Just complete the invitation that was sent to each household and drop it in the mail.
  • Or: A census taker will be in touch with you.
Everyone living in the United States and its five territories is required to be counted in the 2020 Census. Due to the COVID-19 Global Pandemic, the deadline to respond has been extended until September 30, 2020. So, for the sake of your community, please take time to complete the 2020 U.S. Census Questionnaire. 

Stay safe,
Antoinette Royster