April 14, 2005

County Councilmember Wants Your Input

Montgomery County Councilmember Steve Silverman writes:

Dear Friend:

As a Councilmember, I have sought to strike a balance between funding important public services and a reasonable tax burden for the citizens. I want to continue to make Montgomery County a great and affordable place to live.

As the County Council reviews the proposed operating budget for the next fiscal year, we face many competing priorities as we work to balance the budget. We must make decisions regarding government services that are critical to the quality of life in the County, such as an excellent public school system, public safety, transportation, and libraries, as well as important health and human services to help those in need in our community.

I need your advice on budget and tax priorities and have put together an 'unscientific' poll listing a number of general budget priorities that the Council will debate this spring. Please let me know your top three priorities, in order, with number one as most important to you.

Just reply to silverman@stevesilverman.org and let me know which of the numbered items or other issues are your first, second, and third priorities. Please respond by April 25.

Please feel free to pass along any other comments on your budget priorities and you may forward this email to others for their views. If you would like to review any or all of the County Executive's recommended budget, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov and click on the link to the budget.

Budget priorities

1. Across-the-board property tax reductions, beyond those recommended by the County Executive. (He recommends lowering the property tax two cents, for an average household savings of approximately $80 compared to current tax rates.)

2. Targeted property tax reductions for low and moderate-income homeowners. (This would expand the current circuit breaker, which helps low and moderate-income homeowners facing significant assessment increases.)

3. Education initiatives such as reduced class sizes and expansion of full day kindergarten.

4. Other education initiatives such as improvements in special education, gifted and talented, and other initiatives to improve student achievement.

5. Additional faculty and scholarships to enable more students to attend Montgomery College.

6. Funds to reduce waiting lists for various health and human service programs helping low and moderate-income families, such as child care assistance, rental assistance, in-home services for elderly and disabled individuals, etc.

7. Funds to tackle backlogs in basic infrastructure maintenance such as street resurfacing, sidewalk repairs, park and ball field maintenance, tree maintenance, and fire apparatus.

8. Additional police officers and fire/rescue personnel.

9. Additional library materials and increased hours open to the public.

10. Additional funds for roads and transit.

11. Additional funds for community organizations serving diverse communities.

12. Additional funds for arts and cultural organizations.

13. Additional funds for parks and recreation programs.

Thanks for sharing your priorities with me. Feel free to forward this survey to a friend by clicking here.


Steve Silverman


For more information about Steve, visit his website www.stevesilverman.org

April 13, 2005

Montgomery County Progressive Alliance Newsletter


Montgomery County Progressive Alliance Weekly Newsletter
April 13, 2005 - Events, Meetings, and Ways to Stay Active


Contents This Newsletter:

1. April 14 Meeting with Chris Van Hollen's Staff

2. April 18 Healthcare, Prescription Drugs, and You

3. April 21 MCPA General Meeting

4. May 10 Conversation with Maryland State Democratic Committee Chairperson Terry Lierman

5. Action Alerts: Doug Duncan, Martin O'Malley and More

6. Keep Informed and Involved - Visit the Blog, Discussion Group and Website.

7. Manage your Membership - Please update / verify your information.

Note: Anyone with knowledge of PHP especially PHP Nuke and PHP List who is willing to help out, please contact mikehersh@mikehersh.com.


1. Meeting with Chris Van Hollen's Staff on Protecting Social Security from Privatization Schemes

Elly Shaw-Belblidia Rockville Democracy For America MeetUp Host organized a meeting with Congressman Chris Van Hollen's staff in cooperation with DFA and True Majority. Supporters across the U.S. are meeting with their Representatives on April 14 to discuss Social Security.

Here in the 8th Congressional District we have a fine Representative in Chris Van Hollen. We know he supports preserving Social Security and doesn't need convincing. Still, we want to meet with his staff with this purpose: to emphasize our support for a vigorous Democratic defense of Social Security, and to ask what we can do to help.

Elly scheduled a meeting with Joan Kleinman, Rep. Van Hollen's District Director.

When 9:15AM-10AM Thursday, April 14

Where: 51 Monroe St., Suite 507, in central Rockville. (We'll meet in the lobby first. Late arrivals should meet us upstairs but not if you're running too late.)

The office is walking distance from the Rockville Metro. There is a large parking lot in front of the Cinema.

Get Directions: http://tinyurl.com/66b8w
More information: http://tinyurl.com/5zb4p


2. April 18 Healthcare, Prescription Drugs, and You

Montgomery County Young Democrats are sponsoring a forum entitled Healthcare, Prescription Drugs, and You

When: 7:30PM Monday, April 18

Where: Silver Spring Library
8901 Colesville Road
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

Get Directions: http://tinyurl.com/5qhvg
More information: http://tinyurl.com/5kcrv


3. MC Progressive Alliance General Meeting

We'll discuss important topics and establish committees and task forces. Bring some refreshments if you can.

When: 7PM-9PM Thursday April 21

Where: Earle B Wood Middle School in cafeteria (general purpose room)
14615 Bauer Dr
Rockville, MD 20853

Get Directions (CORRECTED!):
More information: http://mcprogressivealliance.blogspot.com/


4. Conversation with Maryland State Democratic Committee Chairperson Terry Lierman

Two-way discussion of plans and concerns for grass roots activists and the Democratic Party heading toward the 2006 races for Governor, Senator, Congress and more. We'll be in Room #2 on the lowest floor. Get there early as activists from all across Maryland will be attending and there are only about 100 total places.

When: 7PM-9PM Tuesday May 10th

Where: Wheaton Library, 11701 Georgia Ave.
Wheaton, MD

Get Directions: http://tinyurl.com/5uoqs
More information: http://tinyurl.com/5ru2v


5. Action Alerts: Doug Duncan, Martin O'Malley and More

Martin O'Malley Demands Fair Pay for Maryland Workers
More Information: http://tinyurl.com/52czq

Doug Duncan on Fair Share Health Care bill
More Information: http://tinyurl.com/6sdtj

Teach the Facts - Standing up for Montgomery County Students and School Board More Information: http://www.teachthefacts.org/

PAC for a Change - Election Reform and ANWR Boycott
More Information: http://www.pacforachange.com/

Help stop the right wing court packing plan
More Information: PFAW -
Action Resources: DNC - http://www.democrats.org/action
PFAW - http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/


6. Stay Informed and Involved.

If you haven't already, join the Discussion group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MC_Progressive_Alliance/

Visit the Blog and Website to stay up to date:

Blog - http://mcprogressivealliance.blogspot.com/
Website - http://mc-progressivealliance.com/

Join our MeetUp Group: http://dfa.meetup.com/721/

Submit Action Alerts, Events, and Articles for publication at the Blog, Website and Newsletter to Art Fabel [ artfabel@comcast.net ] and Mike Hersh [ mikehersh@mikehersh.com ]


7. Manage your membership to the MCPA

You can Add / Change / Update your information to help us inform and involve you in future projects and events here:


10 Action Items You Can Do Today!

Read these articles and call Congress and the media about these critical items today. Follow links below for more details. Change the Media for the Better: Join the Media Watch Project and Contact the media: http://www.democrats.com/media/ and http://www.democrats.org/media/index.html

Join the Progressive Media - Become your own media outlet: http://www.mikehersh.com/join_the_personal_progressive_media.shtml

Call your Senators and Representatives

Calling is much better than email (which is often ignored).

Congressional Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Find your Senators: http://www.senate.gov/senators/senator_by_state.cfm/

Find your Representative: http://www.house.gov/writerep/

1. Oppose the "Brat Tax" repeal.

Right wingers wants to eliminate any tax on estates (wealth passed from rich people to their kids) even though it will cost the rest of us $1 TRILLION over the next ten years, or $100 BILLION per year. See: http://tinyurl.com/4tcsm

2. Stop the Republican attack on Your Voice

Protect your voice in the Senate at: http://www.ppaction.org/campaign/stop_nuclear

3. Oppose the Bolton nomination.

The Bolton nomination is in Committee, so NOW is the best time to fight to keep him from clearing committee. Sign the petition at http://www.care2.com/go/z/22701 Then register your opposition with your Senator. You can also call the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations: Majority Republican Sen Lugar: (202) 224-4651 and Ranking Democrat Sen. Biden (202) 224-3953

Here are the members of the Committee: http://www.care2.com/go/z/22701 Give each of them an earful of details why Bolton is not acceptable to you. See detail at bottom why Bolton is such a bad nominee.

4. Get Big Brother out of the Patriot Act! http://www.aclu.org/SafeandFree/SafeandFree.cfm?ID=17913&c=206

5. Stop War Profiteering - Bush demands another $83 billion to squander on war profiteering and waste with no accountability. The House passed this waste of taxpayer money to hand to irresponsible contractors. Stop the $83 Billion Appropriations bill. Tell the Senate: No More Taxpayer Money for War without accountability! Call Congress and demand an end to exploitation and profiteering.

6. Urgent! Call Congress to Demand an "Open Rule" for the Bankruptcy Bill! Oppose the bill itself. TODAY, April 13, at 5 p.m., the House Rules Committee will decide whether to allow any amendments to the outrageous Bankruptcy Bill that was passed by the Senate (S. 256). Progressive activists, led by Democrats.com and Progressive Democrats of America, are fighting back. This morning we hosted a press conference on Capitol Hill with Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), along with the leaders of the powerful DebtSlavery.org Coalition see: http://debtslavery.org/

Whether you are outraged by its endorsement of usurious interest rates of over 30 percent, or its abandonment of our medical cost victims, our elderly on subsistence and our over deployed military, we MUST take a strong stand to oppose the "bankruptcy reform" or "bankruptcy abuse prevention act". It passed the House and we must stop it in the Senate! Call your Congressperson 888-818-6641.

If the House passes this bankruptcy bill, Bush will sign it into law severely limiting working and middle class people's ability to file for bankruptcy even if they're filing due to health care expenses, a veteran, a senior citizen or whatever. Yet, the bill still has a huge loophole for rich people!

Democrats tried to slow the bill down by placing an amendment on it that would raise the minimum wage to $7.25 and the GOP struck that down, too! What kind of President is this? Bush has declared war on everyone who is not rich in this nation. we don't count and it is open season on us all - regardless of whether we are black, brown, white, straight, gay, fat, skinny - it don't matter - if you ain't rich ya got to go.

7. Oppose the HUD attack on the poor. Ask for your Senators or Representative at 888-818-6641. They call it "The State and Local Housing Flexibility Act of 2005" http://nlihc.org/news/040705.html

8. Oppose Budget cuts that will hurt the poor. Ask for your Senators or Representative to oppose cuts to the Community Development Block Grant project and to oppose moving it to the Commerce Dept. Read details http://tinyurl.com/5eokx and call Congress: 888-818-6641

9. Oppose Tom DeLay: Congratulate Rep. Shays

Yesterday, Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut became the first Republican member of Congress to heed the call to demand that Tom DeLay resign from Congress. Join the Public Campaign Action Fund to ramp up the public accountability campaign on three more members of Congress, Reps. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Jim Nussle of Iowa, and Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania. Their ads and grassroots campaign begins in these districts tomorrow. Here's how you can help:

Call Rep. Shays' office to thank him at 202-225-5541. Then call your own Representative through the Capitol Hill switchboard at 202-225-3121 to ask them to stand for ethics and decency by asking DeLay to resign.

Donate to the media campaign at https://secure.ga3.org/03/without_DeLay

Write a letter to the editor of your local paper praising Rep. Shays for standing up to Tom DeLay's big money corruption and urging that your congressman do the same.

Sign up to hold politicians accountable: http://ga3.org/pcactionfund/join.html?r=H7SRM0Y1UzwqE

Tell a friend about the Public Campaign Action Fund to hold politicians accountable at: http://tinyurl.com/46jke

10. Ten reasons for DeLay to resign: http://www.pcactionfund.org/withoutDeLay/facts/

The Tom DeLay abuse story is a fast-moving story. On Saturday, Newsweek reported that Jack Abramoff, the disgraced lobbyist who funded DeLay's trips would soon release emails about how much DeLay knew and when he knew it. Yesterday's bombshell came when Shays' said DeLay should resign and ultra-conservative Senator Rick Santorum called on DeLay to explain himself! Keep the pressure up.


BOLTON DETAILS: Letter sent by a citizen to his Senators. Oppose John Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. April 11, 2005

Please stop John Bolton from becoming the US Ambassador based on his horrific track record as under secretary of state for arms control. While in this position he did more to spread nuclear proliferation. This man has been totally unapologetic about his radical prescription for dealing with the proliferation threat.

Some examples of his poor performance include

1. Bolton has also dropped the ball on Pakistani weapons dealer A.Q. Khan, who is known to have provided nuclear technology to North Korea, Iran and Libya, among others. After learning he may have put two nuclear scientists in touch with Osama bin Laden, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf put Khan under house arrest, but has rebuffed international efforts to question him.

2. Since revelations about the scope of Iran's secret nuclear program first emerged in late 2003, Bolton has shown little willingness to deal realistically with the issue. President Bush has claimed the impasse can be "solved diplomatically," but in 2002, when Tehran "signaled interest in discussing its nuclear program," Bolton brushed it aside. Late last year, Bolton mocked the very notion of diplomacy with Iran, telling a European conference on the issue, "I don't do carrots."

3. Bolton is known to have pressured analysts for intelligence that fit his ideological agenda. In spring 2002, Bolton "planned to announce the existence of a secret bio-weapons program in Cuba" until he was blocked by State Department Bio-weapons Chief Christian Westermann, who said the speech did not accurately reflect intelligence assessments. Bolton "summoned Westermann to his office and berated him ... then tried to have him fired."

4. Bolton dismissed and insulted U.N. intelligence estimates that turned out to be more accurate than those he helped gather. For instance, when IAEA Director Mohamed El Baradei told the United Nations that nuclear experts had found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Bolton said the report was "impossible to believe." (Recently, Bolton has been a prime mover behind the White House's attempt to get El Baradei fired.)

Bolton has actually fantasized the physical destruction of the organization, saying, "There's no such thing as the United Nations ... If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference." Surely, Congress should consider Bolton's personal antipathy to the organization for which he has been nominated – it should also consider his first term record.

Please represent our country and not the NEOCON party. The US needs to restore our credibility in the world not trash it any more.