09.09.10 Biennial Voter Guide

Quick Guide

  • Governor write in Mickey Mouse
  • US Senator write in Mickey Mouse
  • US Congress-District 4 Donna Edwards
  • US Congress-District 8 Chris Van Hollen write in Mickey Mouse
  • Maryland Senate-District 20 Jamie Raskin
  • Maryland Delegates-District 20 Sheila Hixson, Tom Hucker, Heather Mizeur (select up to 3)
  • Maryland Delegate-District 18 Dana Beyer
  • County Executive write in Mickey Mouse
  • County Council – At Large Marc Elrich & Duchy Trachtenberg only (select up to 4)
  • County Council – District 1 Roger Berliner
  • County Council – District 2 Sharon Dooley
  • County Council – District 3 Phil Andrews
  • County Council – District 4 no recommendation
  • County Council – District 5 Write in Mickey Mouse
  • Other Races: see Progressive Neighbors


How can any progressive vote for a guy who loves slots and the ICC and wants to provide tax cuts to the wealthy in support of religious schools (the infamous BOAST bill)?  I guess we’ll have to vote for Martin O’Malley in November, but we don’t have to in September.

Recommendation: Write in Mickey Mouse

(There are two unknowns running against O’Malley, but I never recommend voting for an unknown, because one has no idea what he/she stands for!)

US Senator

Barbara Mikulski is the classic go-along-to-get-along machine Democrat. She’s also famous for horrendous treatment of her staff.  Send the same message to her as to O’Malley.

Recommendation: Write in Mickey Mouse

US Congress – Maryland District 4

You have such a progressive gem in Donna Edwards. Vote for her with utter joy in your heart!

US Congress – Maryland District 8

Some in the progressive community blast the incumbent for not being as pure as the driven snow.  I say that Chris Van Hollen is the closest thing to a true progressive in the national Democratic leadership.  We may not agree with every vote he casts, but it is essential to have someone like him in the central power circles.  Vote for him!

With the news that Chris Van Hollen is considering a deal with the GOP to extend Bush tax cuts for the rich, I am withdrawing my endorsement and urging a write in to express opposition.  I am also I urging all Van Hollen constituents to contact the congressman and express outrage over his comments.

Recommendation: Write in Mickey Mouse

Maryland Senate and Delegates – District 20

(Select one senator and up to three delegates.)

In Senator Jamie Raskin and Delegates Sheila Hixson, Tom Hucker and Heather Mizeur, the most progressive district in the state has the most progressive – and effective – legislative team.  Let’s count our blessings every day for their leadership and let’s give them another four years.

I have heard some progressives criticize Hixson for not being as left as we are.  I previously held this view myself and still disagree with the delegate’s support for slots and the ICC.  But I have also come to appreciate how much behind-the-scenes work she has done to stop the cesspool in Annapolis from being worse than it is and to increase Raskin/Hucker/Mizeur’s effectiveness.  Sure, Sheila Hixson is a bit to the right of her district, but we need her right where she is as chair of Ways and Means.

Other Maryland Senate and Delegate Races in Montgomery County

I recommend following the endorsements of Progressive Neighbors.

One candidate deserves special mention, though:  Dr. Dana Beyer, a challenger for delegate in District 18.  Beyer is the clear pick here in a field that includes two incumbents (Carr and Waldstreicher) who oppose the Purple Line.  More important, Beyer is about as committed, passionate, and articulate a fighter for progressive causes you’ll ever find.  Send her to Annapolis and she’s guaranteed to shake things up.

County Executive – Montgomery County

Ike Leggett, who is running unopposed, is a great disappointment.  He opposes progressive taxation, has behaved with utter malfeasance in the Live Nation debacle, and endorses nonprogressive candidates like Craig Rice.  Send him a message:

Recommendation: Write in Mickey Mouse

Montgomery County Council – At-Large

(Select up to four candidates.)

Marc Elrich is the most innovative and consistently progressive member of the county council.  His knowledge of (seemingly) everything, coupled with his willingness to talk with everybody, results in sound public policy.  We couldn’t ask for a better representative in government.


Duchy Trachtenberg aligns with the good guys on the council in terns of good land-use policies and separation from the development industry.  She can be a schemer along with the worst of politicians, but she is also a champion on health issues and gender equality.


As I have written previously, I am ambivalent about George Leventhal.  His temperament seems to be improving (he had been described as the most disruptive force on dysfunctional council), and he is a leader on issues like homelessness and health care.  But he is too tied to the development industry and too much in the Duncan/Silverman mold to merit a vote of support.  His cardinal sin?  Helping lead last Decembers “coup” that knocked off next-in-line Roger Berliner for council president in favor of Development Queen Nancy Floreen.


Hans Riemer wants to be an elected official more than he wants to do anything with that privilege.  He has run a campaign of bromides and exaggerated tales of accomplishments that aren’t relevant to the county, anyway.  It’s impossible to tell what he would do — and whom he would follow — if elected and that might be reason enough to oppose him.  See my longer post on the Riemer campaign.


The other viable at-large candidates, Nancy Floreen (incumbent) and Becky Wagner are classic End-Gridlock, chamber-of-commerce, big-business-at-the-expense-of-everything-else politicians.  Please don’t help put them on the council!


Recommendation:  Bullet vote Marc Elrich and Duchy Trachtenberg. Bullet voting is when you select fewer than the number of candidates you are allowed to.  In this case, your votes for Elrich and Trachtenberg – and no one else – will assure that our two best county public servants are not knocked off by any of the others.  Remember, you don’t have to vote for four candidates in this race and I urge you not to.

Montgomery County Council – District 1

Roger Berliner is a common-sense progressive who supports the Purple Line and has been a close ally of good-guy Marc Elrich.  His opponent, Ilaya Hopkins, wasn’t even a Democrat until two years ago and opposes the Purple Line.

Montgomery County Council – District 2

This cliff-hanger of a race pits three known Montgomery County names against each other: community activist Sharon Dooley (who got 36% of the vote when she tried for the seat four years ago); Craig Rice, current state delegate for D-15; and Royce Hanson, former Park & Planning chair Royce Hanson.

Dooley is an environmentalist and health care advocate who will align with the other council progressives.

Though I’m told Rice is a nice guy and “not as bad as” outgoing councilman Mike Knapp, the company Rice keeps shows which side he would be on: the entire big-business bloc of the county council has endorsed him.

Roy Hanson is heartily disliked by several current council members, having fought many battles against them. He would be an ideal guardian of the Ag Reserve, which he founded years ago, but the price for him seems to be to accept sprawl everywhere else.

District 3

Phil Andrews is a model of integrity and advocate of good government. He’s unopposed, but deserves your showing up at the polls as thanks for he service.

District 4

Nancy Navarro is running unopposed.

District 5

Valerie Ervin is a purposely deceptive politician with contempt for the down-county progressive community. In a world of self-interested politicians, Ervin is a leader.  She’s running unopposed but is badly in need of a message that she is not universally loved.

Recommendation: write in Mickey Mouse

School Board

I recommend following the endorsements of Progressive Neighbors.

Other Races

It’s my practice not to pretend to know what I don’t know.  And I don’t know anything about the other races.  I must leave you here, dear Voter — henceforth, you are on your own.

©2010 Keith Berner

Explore posts in the same categories: Maryland, Montgomery County

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

9 Comments on “09.09.10 Biennial Voter Guide”

  1. marc Says:

    I just wanted to be clear, since Keith and I are friends and people have somehow associated me with his picks, that I actually disagree with the “mickey mouse” selections. I’ve endorsed O’Malley, Mikulski, Leggett, Navarro and Ervin. While I may have differences of opinion on some issues, I have to look at the overall stances that people take.

    O’Malley may have done slots and the ICC, but he’s also managed a difficult budget crisis not of his making. has protected as much good funding as he could and absolutely deserves to be re-elected.

    Mikulski is a good liberal Democrat. She should get your vote.

    Ike and I probably agree 99% of the time. He managed an awful budget situation and made rapid changes to the government to bring the expenditures in line with revenues without collapsing social services as has been done in so many other jurisdictions. He’s protected public services and the school budget, he’s supported giving a serious evaluation to my BRT proposal, he’s been supportive of some of the more progressive social and health legislation that the Council has been criticized for, and he greatly increased spending on affordable housing. He’s made two absolutely stellar appointments in David Dice who overseas projects and contracting and Bob Hoyt who runs Environmental Protection. Do I wish he’d handled some issues differently? Sure. Does he wish I’d handled some issues differently? No doubt. Was there even a hypothetical candidate that I’d support over him? Absolutely not. He should be re-elected.

    Navarro has been great to work with and she and I endorsed each other back in January. Her interest in social issues and children is what you want in a council member, and her efforts to broaden the citizen base engaged in our discussions is a good thing.

    Valerie has done very similar work to Nancy (she was doing it before Nancy came on the Council) on community engagement, youth, social issues and education. I’ve worked with Valerie to raise questions about MCPS and their handling of school discipline, but more importantly on the achievement gap. We’ve both worked to figure out what programs work, and don’t work, so we can focus scarce dollars on things that make sense. I’m supporting her and said as much in January.

    The County government has had some hard discussions about Master Plans and growth policy. Some of us have come at it from different sides, but we actually managed to find enough of common ground solutions that our votes were unanimous. I feel that a lot of what I thought was important got incorporated into the plans and I think that others feel that enough of the density was permitted that the door is open to manageable economic growth. In addition, Ike is bringing forward a new growth policy that abandons the “black box” approach to analyzing transportation needs and represents the first clear, understandable, and useable transportation measures that the County has had in the over two decades that I’ve been involved in development issues. In short, we’ve evolved into a far better place than we were in four years ago. It may not always have been pretty, but it has changed.

    The lines that characterized the Primary four years ago are not the lines in policy decisions today. On governance and fiscal issues, which are the primary concerns of the day, the Council has jelled around a shared view of what we need to do. I’ve said this publicly, and I’m repeating it here, “It doesn’t matter what your ideology is, if you don’t have money, you don’t have money.” Expanding a progressive social agenda is extraordinarily difficult in times of reduced resources where you’re trying just to keep the safety net from fraying. The real struggle is to preserve the gains we’ve made with less resources which has turned our focus to finding ways to better manage the County. On these issues, you’d be hard put to find much of a difference between any of us right now.

    My broader concern is the fate of the Party in November. It’s easy to find fault with people, but we have to be careful in proclaiming our differences that we don’t lose sight of our commonalities. Republicans are coming after the Federal, State and Local governments in yet another push to return the country to the 19th century, if not earlier. Many Democrats are in doubt over where we are heading and the sensibilities of our leadership at times. I could easily make a list of my frustrations. But at the end of the day, there’s not a single Democrat in this list that isn’t head and shoulders above the Republicans.

    If our words contribute to deepen Democratic disillusionment and if that results in staying home on election day in November, then it won’t be Mickey Mouse who’s elected, it could be Republicans. Do any serious Progressives really want that to transpire? I think we have to be especially conscious about how this plays in November. If there are people in the progressive community who feel that leadership is not sufficiently responsive, then those people need to sit down and have a dialogue with that leadership. But if you tell people to vote for Mickey over them in the Primary, what is the likelihood of them wanting to sit and chat with you afterwards? It’s hard to tell people to vote for Mickey in September, and then in the general election say to vote for the Democrat which is what I’m sure Keith would say in every single one of the races above. So I urge people to chose the Democrat, not the mouse, now and in November.


  2. Mickey Mouse Says:

    Dear Keith,

    While I thank you for so ardently supporting a write-in campaign for me in four different races, I feel obligated to inform you that you cannot cast write-in votes during a primary election. I suggest you get down from your high horse, take a look at the progressive accomplishments of some of the people you are poo-pooing, and cool your head–maybe with a trip to Disney World.

    Mickey Mouse


    • Keith Berner Says:

      In general, I don’t like the idea of allowing anonymous comments on blog — I think “Mickey” should have the courage of his convictions and reveal his identity. Just the same, I’m allowing this comment through, because I think it’s important that those who disagree with me have a fair chance to say so.

      I’ll have more to say about my voter guide and Mickey Mouse recommendations later today.


  3. […] buried on this site (formatting that I can’t control), let me encourage you, dear Reader to find County Councilman Marc Elrich’s comment on my voter guide earlier today.  It’s worth reading, whether you endorse his view or […]


  4. Gilbert Says:


    We have to disagree with you on Hans Reimer. You liken him to Valerie Ervin, who you say in the 2006 election encouraged progressive support while courting the chamber of commerce.

    Reimer ran in 06 for the District 5 seat against Ervin. As we pointed out at the time, Ervin’s campaign rhetoric was empty, whereas Reimer’s was more progressive and substantial.

    In our eyes it was especially egregious that at a 2006 candidate’s forum Ervin had never heard of Takoma Park’s Residents Committee Tax and Service Duplication Issues (TASDI) Report – which concerned the city’s number one issue with the county.

    For those reasons we endorsed Reimer. You endorsed Ervin in that race, as we respectfully (snort!) reminded you when you realized in 2007 you’d been had.

    You say Reimer is short on specifics, but when we look at the local (Takoma Park) tax duplication issue, Reimer gives the hands-down best answer of all the at-large council candidates (in responses to a Takoma Voice questionnaire).

    “That money does not belong to the County. It belongs to the residents of Takoma Park, and I don’t think the County can arbitrarily decide how much of the money it will refund to those residents. . . The County has been dragging its feet on finalizing a fair agreement with municipalities to refund the money that the county owes to them and that should not continue . . . ”

    He may be politically ambitious and self-aggrandizing (we noticed that too in 2006), but unlike Valerie Ervin in 2006 he knows the local issues and has strong opinions about them.

    Your pal,



    • Keith Berner Says:

      Is Gilbert always right? Well, there’s no doubt he was right about Valerie Ervin in ’06. Supporting her — WORKING FOR HER — was the biggest political mistake of my life. As for Hans, well there is no doubt in my mind that my description of him as shallow and self-aggrandizing is on the mark. What we can’t know is what he’ll do if elected and that’s my whole point. Yeah, he’s articulate about TkPk’s right to its own money, but that and $4 will get you a cup of coffee. If he were filling out a questionnaire put to him by some unincorporated part of the county, he would have told them our money is their money. I just don’t believe, when push comes to shove, that anything he has ever said will matter more to him at any particular moment than what he calculates at that moment his political interest to be. And that’s identical with Ms. Ervin.


  5. […] my biennial voter guide, I urged writing in “Mickey Mouse” rather than voting for several unopposed incumbents. I was […]


  6. billywimsatt Says:

    Hey Left Hand,

    Can you please do a voter guide for the general election and cross-post it on http://www.TheBallot.org?? We are aggregating hundreds of progressive and non-partisan voter guides and driving traffic to them. So it will boost your traffic.

    To anyone who disagrees with Left Hand, you are invited to make your own local voter guide at http://www.theballot.org too!


  7. […] put to school board candidates. Takoma Park blogger Keith Berner regularly publishes an election guide. As a service to city residents, we selectively quote the Voice’s at-large candidate […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: