A Smorgasbord of Ballot Questions
Have you seen the ballot for next month’s General Election. I have never seen anything quite like it; and I doubt you have either, unless you once lived in California and voted in elections out there.
The candidates are listed for President and Vice President, U.S. Senator, Congress (either the 6th or 8th District), three judges and the Board of Education. After that is where it really gets interesting.
This time around we are faced with no fewer than seven state ballot questions. Three of them are constitutional amendments and four arise from legislation passed by the General Assembly during the last session. Three of those four are bills that were passed and signed into law by the governor, which were then petitioned to referendum by the citizens of Maryland.
It is no small feat to get a bill approved for referendum to the voters. In each case it took over 55,000 verified and valid signatures. Del. Neil Parrott (R), of neighboring Washington County, has become an expert on how to get bills referred to the voters for approval or disapproval. His efforts on the so-called “Dream Act” resulted in that legislation being on your ballot in November. He is a rising star in the Republican Party.
The ballot question we have heard the most about, because of the millions being spent on advertising by gambling interests, is Question 7. This law would permit a new casino in Prince George’s County, presumably at the National Harbor development. It would also, as a bone being thrown to the existing casino owners, permit table games in all casinos, whether new or existing.
MGM Resorts International, out of Las Vegas, reputedly is funding a big media campaign to promote approval of this measure. It is in line for the new casino at National Harbor and wants to get their foot in the Maryland door.
Penn National Gaming, out of Pennsylvania, is reported to be funding the opposition to Question 7. It is in a unique position in that they own an existing casino in Charles Town, WV, It would obviously like to limit the competition here in Maryland, but they also own Rosecroft Raceway, which would be eligible for the new casino permit in Prince George’s County. Apparently it has come down on the side of protecting what they already have out of state and writing off their investment in Rosecroft.
The prevailing wisdom in Annapolis early on was that the gambling measure will pass by a wide margin. Now The Baltimore Sun is telling us it is trailing by a wide margin. We shall see. And, don’t believe any of the polls that you read about in the newspaper. They are all tailored to achieve a result favorable to whomever is financing the poll. They are just part of the massive advertising campaign. Don’t for a minute think that a so-called “objective poll” is anything other than another effort to sway you to one side or the other.
The “Dream Act,” which establishes the lower “in-state” tuition rates at Maryland community colleges for certain “qualified” illegal residents, is also on the ballot. This law was very controversial when it was passed by the Democrat monopoly in Annapolis. Opponents question whether Maryland taxpayers should be subsidizing the education of people who are not even supposed to be here. Illegal immigration, securing the borders and enforcing immigration laws promise to be front-burner issues in future election campaigns. We will find out more about how Marylanders view these issues by the results on Question 4.
Question 5 might be the most interesting measure on the ballot. It is a challenge to the congressional redistricting map drawn with crayons and a #2 pencil by Gov. Martin O’Malley and his cohorts. They made no secret of the fact that this new redistricting map was designed with the sole purpose of eliminating one of the two Republican congressmen from Maryland. Every Republican who could be found was lumped into the 1st District, and the 6th District was given a Democrat majority, all for the purpose of unseating Congressman Roscoe Bartlett.
Even though this was done by Democrats to increase their stranglehold on the Maryland Congressional Delegation, this is an issue that should cross party lines. Anyone, who is interested in integrity, fairness, common sense and meaningful representation, should be embarrassed and insulted by the O’Malley/’Mike’ Miller/Mike Bush redistricting map. At first glance it looks like the map was concocted by a bunch of drunks. I don’t think that was the case, so I guess it was drafted by a bunch of super-partisans who could care less about principle and fairness, and those who put party above all else.
Unless overturned by the voters this map will be just one more of the ultra-liberal, disgustingly partisan chapters in the legacy Governor O’Malley will leave us after his eight years of tax and spend reign. I hope we can survive two more years.