Here's an Opinion on EVERY County-Level Ballot Question
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In addition to the Statewide Ballot Questions that every voter will be able to vote on in Maryland this year, there are 12 counties with a total of 64 ballot questions before voters at the county level. You can review the full language here, but here’s a brief recommendation on each and every one of them. Some even have additional commentary.
Anne Arundel County:
Question A: To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to require the Anne Arundel County Veterans Affairs Commission. NO
Question B: To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to provide that no person elected or appointed to the office of County Councilmember may serve more than three full consecutive four-year terms. NO RECOMMENDATION
Question C: To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to require that the compensation paid to each member of the County Council be paid after consideration of recommendations of the Salary Standard Commission that are approved by ordinance of the County Council. YES.
Question D: To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to remove the requirement that copies of bills and notices of public hearings be posted on a bulletin board and to require that electronic copies of bills and notice of any public hearing be published to the County Council website and that printed copies of bills be made available to the public and press and that bills receive required publication. YES.
Question E: To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to clarify the differences between the two types of emergency ordinances allowed under the Charter and the legislative procedure that applies to each. NO RECOMMENDATION
Question F: To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to allow the County Council to assign additional functions, duties, and personnel to the County Auditor that are related to the finances and financial affairs of the County. YES.
Question G: To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to change the name of the Charter Revision Commission to the Redistricting and Charter Revision Commission and to amend the date by which a decennial Redistricting and Charter Revision Commission must be appointed by the County Council. NO RECOMMENDATION
Question H: To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to be gender neutral consistent with changes recommended based on a review by the County Attorney. NO.
Commentary: With all of the things that Anne Arundel County is dealing with right now, why is it so necessary to make the language “gender neutral”? Especially considering that the language has always been interpreted to apply equally. This is a cosmetic change for the sake of a cosmetic change.
Question A: Bond Issue, Affordable Housing Loan: NO
Commentary: As a rule, vote against bond issues. Especially for the things almost every bond issue on the ballot are about this year. These are things that can often be paid for from the general fund, but counties tend to borrow the money instead so they can spend more later.
Question B: Bond Issue, School Loan: NO
Question C: Bond Issue, Community and Economic Development Loan: NO
Question D: Bond Issue, Public Infrastructure: NO
Question E: Charter Amendment, Underground Conduit System – Sale, Transfer, and Franchise Prohibited: NO
Question F: Charter Amendment, Supplementary Criminal Apprehension and Conviction Fund: NO
Question G: Charter Amendment, Dante Barksdale Career Technology Apprenticeship Fund: NO
Question H: establishing a Baltimore City Police Department, the head of which is the Police Commissioner. : NO
Question I: Inspector General – Advisory Board: NO
Question K: Establishment of A Two-Term Limit For Baltimore City Elected Officials. YES.
Commentary: There is no place that could be better served by term limits than Baltimore City.
Question A: County Charter – County Council - Qualifications, Councilmembers be 21 years or older: NO
Question B: County Charter – Department Of Public Works And Transportation – Director Qualifications: NO
Question C: Agricultural and Rural Land Preservation Borrowing: NO
Question D: Community College Borrowing: NO
Question E: Community Improvement Project Borrowing: NO
Question F: Operational Buildings Borrowing: NO
Question G: Parks, Preservation And Greenways Borrowing: NO
Question H: Public Works Borrowing: NO
Question I: Refuse Disposal Borrowing: NO
Question J: School Borrowing: NO
Question K: Waterway Improvement Program Borrowing: NO
Question A: To amend the Cecil County Charter to require the County Council to fill a Council vacancy within thirty days after receiving the list of nominees from the county central committee of the political party affiliated with the person vacating the Council office. YES
Question B: To amend the Cecil County Charter to require that the Redistricting Commission established by the County Council every ten years pursuant to Section 214 be appointed within thirty days after receiving the official census population data from the State of Maryland; and to establish that local central committee members are not eligible for appointment to the Redistricting Commission. YES
Question C: To amend the Cecil County Charter to require the County Council to fill a vacancy in the office of County Executive within thirty days after receiving the list of nominees from the county central committee of the political party affiliated with the person vacating the office. YES.
Question D: To amend the Cecil County Charter to establish an Ethics Commission with five voting members who serve four-year staggered terms; composed of three members, including the Chair, appointed by the County Executive and two members appointed by the Council; and assisted in their Ethics Commission duties by the County Attorney. YES
Question E: To amend the Cecil County Charter to require certain information (description, price, vendor, source of funding, number of bids) about all county purchases and service contracts greater than $100,000, and all real estate purchases, sales and leases be presented to the County Council in public session after a contract is awarded. YES
Question A: This Charter Amendment would amend the Frederick County Charter to clarify language to make it clear that the County Council maintains sole authority to approve and disapprove the use of taxpayer funding in the County budget concerning binding arbitration awards. YES
Question B: This Charter Amendment would amend the Frederick County Charter to permit County Council Members to receive allowances and fringe benefits in addition to a salary. NO.
Question A: To Amend the Harford County Charter to permit the County Council to directly communicate with County employees in the Executive Branch to obtain information. NO.
Commentary: Harford Question A is the kind of amendment you pass if you want to cut the county executive off at the knees and want to see the legislative branch micromanage the executive branch. That’s a terrible idea.
Question B: To Amend the Harford County Charter to establish the grounds and the process to remove a Council Member. YES.
Question A: Local Referendum by Petition: The law prohibits using County resources for the following actions unless federal or state law requires it: (1) enforcing federal immigration and nationality laws or assisting immigration enforcement; (2) helping enforcement by collecting or sharing a person’s information; (3) asking a person about their citizenship, nationality, or immigration status or the status of another person; and (4) sharing a person’s status with another person. NO.
Question A: Amend Section 213 of the County Charter to require the consent of both the County Executive and the County Council in order to remove the County Attorney. YES.
Question B: Authorizes the Board of License Commissioners for Montgomery County to issue a Class B beer, wine, and liquor license in Damascus (12th election district). YES.
Commentary: It’s ridiculous that this is on the ballot, but Montgomery County’s alcohol sale regime is even worse than the regular Maryland regime, and that’s saying something.
Prince George’s County
Question A: Bond Issue, Community College Facilities Bonds: NO
Question B: Bond Issue, County Buildings Bond: NO
Question C: Bond Issue, Library Facilities Bond: NO
Question D: Bond Issue, Public Works and Transportation Facilities Bonds: NO
Question E: Bond Issue, Public Safety Facilities Bonds: NO
Question F: Bond Issue, Compensation of County Executive and County Council Member: YES
Question G: Gender Neutral Language In Charter: NO
Question H: Support Local And Minority Businesses NO
Commentary: The additional question language here is “To include County law for the encouragement and support of local and minority businesses consistent with requirements of Federal, State, and County law.” Governments should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. The definition of “minority” becomes problematic in this context considering Prince George’s has an African-American majority. So who does Prince George’s County consider a minority in this context? It creates additional confusion in addition to the fact that it’s designed to pick winners and losers.
Question I: County Competitive Bidding. YES
Question J: County Council Member Residency Requirement. YES.
Question A: County Council Compensation. NO
Question B: County Council Compensation. NO.
Commentary: These are two different amendments that are separate. Question A would set the salary at $23,000 a year (up from $14,000). Question B would devolve the power to the County Council. I highly doubt that Talbot County has enough business in the twice a-month that they meet to justify a higher salary.
Question A: Charter Amendment, County Council Vacancies: NO
Question B: To amend the County Charter to provide that Council vacancies shall not be filled by a Special Election. NO.
Commentary: Filling vacancies by Special Election is just a better way to do business.
Question C: To amend the County Charter to provide (A) Council Members must be physically present or electronically present with the approval of the Council president due to extenuating circumstances to constitute a quorum; and (B) a Council person may be censured by an affirmative vote of at least five (5) members of the County Council for actions which are repeated, substantial violations of this Charter. YES.
Question D: Referendum on Bond Issues and Other Local Laws and Limitations on Bond Issues. NO RECOMMENDATION.
Question E: To amend the County Charter to provide the County Executive may be censured by an affirmative vote of at least five (5) members of the County Council for actions which are repeated, substantial violations of this Charter. YES.
Question F: To amend the County Charter to provide for the creation of the Department of Aviation. NO.
Question G: To amend the County Charter to provide that the County Attorney shall serve at the pleasure of the County Executive. NO.
Question H: To amend the County Charter to provide (A) upon recommendation of the County Executive, the County Council shall modify the personnel system by Resolution after public hearing; and (B) the County Executive shall devote the entire time during office working hours to performance of office duties. YES.
Question I: Capital Program and Budget. NO
Question J: Lapsed Appropriations; and Appropriation Control of Capital Funds. YES.
Question A: Bond Issuance for Design and Construction Costs of a Worcester County Sports Complex. NO.