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January 16, 2012

The Sixth, Education and Grandbabies

Michael Kurtianyk

More than any other, the most discussed topic in my circles recently has been about the candidates for the Sixth Congressional District seat. There were quite a few surprises, but before looking at some specific candidates, here is the list:


Democrats (5): Charles Bailey, John Delaney, Rob Garagiola, Ron Little, Milad Pooran


Republicans (8): Kathy Afzali, Roscoe Bartlett, David Brinkley, Robert Coblentz, Robin Ficker, Peter James, Joseph Krysztoforski, Brandon Rippeon


Some would say that the redistricting that occurred last October was specifically drawn so that a certain Democratic candidate would win the contest in November’s election. Be that as it may, this race is by no means a done deal for any of the Democrats to defeat incumbent Roscoe Bartlett. All of the Democrat candidates have to go door-to-door and be articulate on the issues.


As for the Republicans, I didn’t see Bud Otis’ name on the list. He was Congressman Bartlett’s chief of staff before resigning. Maybe he’ll be someone else’s chief of staff.


We also don’t see former senator and current head of the state GOP Alex Mooney’s name on the list. There was much speculation as to whether he would run or not. By his own admission, he set up an exploratory group, but nothing ever materialized. Maybe Mr. Mooney and Mr. Otis will work together in the future – maybe for one of the other candidates who did file.


District 4-A Del. Kathy Afzali’s entry into the race surprised many. Her reason for running? This is what she was quoted as saying in The Frederick News-Post: "I believe that I have a purpose, and that is that I can make a difference.” This is all well and good, but I overheard some people mention that she was using the delegate victory 14 months ago as a stepping stone for this seat, redistricting notwithstanding.


However, she is not a resident of the Sixth Congressional District, and this is the biggest criticism of Delegate Afzali’s decision to run. The laws allow a non-resident to run in a district, but it’s a tough sell to those who live in the Sixth.


Another candidate who filed, and doesn’t live in the district, is District 4 Sen. David Brinkley. Like Delegate Afzali, it is possible that a non-resident candidate can win in the Sixth? It’s not likely, but what could happen is that Senator Brinkley and Delegate Afzali will split the vote, making Congressman Bartlett a primary winner (again!).


* * * * * * * *


Education Week ranked Maryland public schools first for the fourth straight year in their annual report card on American Education. The states were graded on the following:


·        Chance for Success Index (B+)

·        K-12 Achievement (B)

·        School Finance (B+)

·        Standards, Assessments, and Accountability (B+)

·        Teaching Profession (B)

·        Transitions and Alignment (A)


I say good job to Maryland’s public educational system! I’m sure there will be naysayers in our community who will scoff at these results. However, much credit should be given to the great teachers in our schools, who do more than just teach from a textbook.


* * * * * * * * *


I went in to get my haircut the other day and the lady running the shop told me that she is now a new grandmother.


“First time,” I asked.


“Yep. A baby girl.”


“What’s her name?”


“Wendy,” she said. “I think he named her after his favorite restaurant.”


“Well,” I said, “it’s a good thing that his favorite restaurant isn’t Hooters!”


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