The new Salisbury ‘Dream Team’ – Day and Ireton

It probably wasn’t a big surprise based on the primary results and the perception that this election was a tag team match between Jake Day and Jim Ireton vs. Debbie Campbell and Joe Albero. But the preliminary results are in, and it’s all but official that the Day/Ireton side won handily: Day picked up just under 72% of the vote in routing two-term incumbent Debbie Campbell while Jim Ireton managed just 68% of the vote in defeating Joe Albero and winning a second term.

Campbell was the only one of the three incumbents to lose, as District 1 Council member Shanie Shields won a third term with just 48% of the vote – a quirk in the City Charter allowed both challengers to advance through the primary. Cynthia Polk received 3 more votes than April Jackson did this time.

So where will Salisbury go now? Later this month it appears we will find that the 3-2 majorities which always seemed to stymie Ireton’s key initiatives will now become 3-2 votes in favor, with Day joining incumbents Shields and Laura Mitchell to provide a pro-Ireton majority. And I’d love to get a hold of Debbie Campbell’s green-highlighted copy of the Day plan just to see how many of these items indeed cost city taxpayers.

But another question may be the fate of River’s Edge, which was touted by Campbell as one of her achievements. While the money from the state is probably still going to be there, will the plans have to change to accommodate the retail aspect Day wants to bring to the city? (It’s still pretty sad that taxpayers all around the state are going to be paying a subsidy for a artisan community, but that’s a subject for another time.)

Still, given the primary results none of these results were completely unexpected. Both Day and Shields actually improved their percentages from the primary – which was not surprising to me because people like to back a winner. Day gained 723 votes from the primary while Campbell picked up only 292. Over 71 percent of the new votes went to Day, reflective of the final margin and perhaps a result of the (somewhat undeserved) negative reputation Campbell acquired over the years.

Of course, it’s too early to tell what the future will hold for the losers. While April Jackson was a first-time candidate in District 1, Cynthia Polk has now lost twice. And while Debbie Campbell can look back at eight years where she went from the reformer darling against the “Dream Team” in 2005 to being portrayed as the Wicked Witch of the West on one local blog, Joe Albero literally relocated himself to an apartment inside one of the properties he owns a year ago to establish city residency after living outside Delmar, Delaware for several years. Is he through with Salisbury?

Read more here.

Lack of Depth in Salisbury Maryland Mayoral Race

The first press shots across the bow by Salisbury mayoral challenger Joe Albero came in a slickly produced press release decrying incumbent Jim Ireton for…not showing up at a boxing event.

When I saw the headline “Albero Supports Youth Sports Program” my first thought was, okay, where is he going to get the money to pay for it? Instead, the thin gruel I was subjected to went like this:

Salisbury mayoral candidate Joe Albero attended Saturday’s “Warriors of the Ring” event at the Main Street Gym. The event was in support of Main Street Gym’s youth boxing program. Albero and his wife Jennifer, along with other local businesspersons such as John Robinson and Danny Burt, were sponsors of Saturday’s event.

Albero stated, “The work that Hal Chernoff has done with our local youth is phenomenal! Boxing is a great sport which instills the values of hard work and discipline. These are the same traits which will help these young people succeed as adults.”

Albero lamented the absence of his opponent, incumbent mayor Jim Ireton. “I’m sorry that Jim wasn’t able to be here tonight. We were both asked to participate in tonight’s event. Regrettably, Jim felt that campaigning was more important than showing support for this great program and our area youth.”

Both candidates had been invited to participate in Saturday’s event. Ireton declined, stating that he was too busy campaigning for re-election.

So Jim Ireton decided not to show up at a boxing match in favor of “campaigning,” yet his opponent makes a campaign issue out of it. I think I’d be more worried if Ireton didn’t show up at a mayoral forum.

Read more here.

On the gun grabbers

Facebook comments so good I couldn’t let them go to waste there. They were in response to this post by Martin O’Malley:

Progress is a choice. So long as gun violence continues to take the lives of our fellow Marylanders, there are choices we must make together to protect our children, our families and law enforcement personnel who put themselves in harm’s way every day. Today, we’re putting forward a comprehensive set of public safety initiatives that will improve the safety at our schools, make meaningful mental health reforms, and enact common-sense gun safety measures like banning military-style assault weapons and limiting high-capacity magazines. We’re also proposing the largest investment in Maryland’s police forces in 20 years and calling for a renewal of our DNA law that has taken 510 murders, rapists, & other violent criminals off MD’s streets.

Naturally I had to reply:

“Progress is a choice.” Yes, we can progress towards liberty or regress back to tyranny. Our governor rarely makes the right choice in that regard.

As for the comment above about 50 to 60 rounds: frankly it’s none of your damn concern how many rounds a magazine has. No one has ever complained they had too much ammunition to do the job and if my home were ever invaded by a multiple-person group I sure don’t want to be limited to 10 rounds at a time.

Safety in schools isn’t something which can be provided by the waving of a magic wand or more laws rendered meaningless by the fact criminals, by definition, ignore them. It requires a sea change in attitude and a respect towards life missing from a society which promotes abortion as a matter of convenience and a culture which doesn’t teach the lesson that violence depicted on film isn’t the same as in the real world, where actions have consequences.

Read more here.

What happened to the conservative blogosphere?

That’s the title of a recent post by Eric Odom of Liberty News, who’s pondering the question after studying the decline of conservative blogs since he last did a survey in 2009.

Well, in one respect Eric is correct when he notes:

Truthfully, blogging takes a lot of work. Time is required and a lot of it if you want readers. Especially now that an active social media presence is needed to drive growth and personal influence.

He’s exactly right on that one, as I would estimate I spend between 15 and 20 hours a week working on this site. That’s not necessarily just doing the writing, but promotion, attending events I cover, and reading other news sites to pick up ideas and trends. I’ve been blessed with a mind which rarely encounters writer’s block, but as a tradeoff readers may notice I veer onto non-political avenues once in awhile. (The best case in point is my Delmarva Shorebirds coverage, mostly during the summer. Local music also finds its way here.)

Yet if I were to survey the many thousands of bloggers who have left the field since 2009, my wager is that a significant number of them have simply traded in their blogs for other communication venues, particularly Twitter. WordPress is pretty easy for me to work with, but it’s no match for Tweeting to those who used to simply link to another post and perhaps add a line or two of commentary. 140 characters is about the length of a good-sized sentence like the example you’re reading, and for many it’s enough to express a thought. If they need a little more space, there’s always a Facebook page. It’s far easier to be the master of a Facebook page or a Twitter account than the servant of a blog site where new content is demanded regularly.

There’s also the idea of having to build and keep an audience, which is difficult because it requires that same consistent approach. I once read that the key to blogging success is to write 2500 words a day, which is generally more than I put in. My output is usually about half that, although my Ten Question Tuesday segments so far have exceeded that 2500-word figure. Of course, I didn’t have to be creative for those aside from coming up with the questions and tenor of the conversation. To be able to write creatively at such a pace it would also be to have my sole source of income and thus far that’s not been a doable option.

It occurred to me that I had my own (partial) list of blogs from back around that time, as the also now-defunct BlogNetNews used to “rank” conservative websites in Maryland. This was the list I had from 2008 as I compiled my own ranking of these sites – out of those twenty I believe this site, Red Maryland, and The Hedgehog Report are the only ones still posting on a regular basis.

Read more here.

Blogger pleads guilty in traffic case

A local blogger pleaded guilty in Wicomico County District Court on Thursday to a charge of failure to control speed to avoid a collision.

Joe Albero, a 49-year-old Delmar resident, received probation before judgment for causing a Jan. 31 two-vehicle crash that sent a 57-year-old man to the hospital. The victim was transported to Peninsula Regional Medical Center and treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Albero was issued a traffic citation and requested a trial in late February. On Thursday, he was ordered to pay a $97 fine and $33 in court costs.

Blurring the Line Between Bloggers and Journalists

A decision by a federal judge in Oregon rippled through the blogosphere after the court ruled bloggers are not media and a Montana blogger must pay $2.5 million in damages.

An Oregon attorney, Kevin Padrick, and the company he co-founded, Obsidian Finance Group LLC, filed a defamation lawsuit against a blogger, Crystal L. Cox of Eureka, Mont., after she called him a thief and a thug on her blog and criticized how he handled a bankruptcy case.

In a written opinion, the judge, Marco Hernandez, ruled the protections that cover reporters working for mainstream media organizations did not apply to her because she is not a journalist.

“The court in that case pointed out that in Oregon, no journalist is protected in a defamation case,” said Nathan Siegel, an attorney who specializes in First Amendment law and an adjunct professor at The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. “The reality in that particular case is a journalist would not have been protected whether they were a blogger or not.”

Hernandez noted in his written opinion that the plaintiffs were not public figures and the bankruptcy proceedings she blogged about were not a matter of public concern.

Most courts find that the First Amendment protects all individuals from defamation suits whether they are a blogger or not, according to Siegel.

“The court in that case said that bloggers are not afforded any of those protections,” he said. “That’s a very unusual decision.”

The question of whether bloggers should be considered journalists has become imperative as the number of cases similar to the one in Oregon is increasing due to a jump in individuals creating blogs and the use of blogs by mainstream media organizations, according to Siegel.

In court, the question of whether journalists’ protections and privileges will be afforded to bloggers could boil down to employment, according to Siegel. Maryland’s shield law, which protects reporters from having to disclose information concerning confidential sources, applies to student journalists and reporters employed by news organizations.

Salisbury resident Jonathan Taylor, a blogger who created the Lower Eastern Shore News website, said bloggers should not be treated the same as journalists because journalists are held to higher standards. He said he views bloggers as being more of a supplement to journalists.

“While I do not believe bloggers are journalists, I think we should be afforded some protections,” he said.

Taylor said he often consults with his attorney before posting information on his website.

While the standards for journalists and bloggers may not be equal, Taylor said he believes there should be a code of ethics or conduct for bloggers.

“Blogs are a newer form of modern media, but there are no guidelines for what we do,” he said. “It’s like the wild West. Everybody can do what they want.”

Is Free Speech Under Attack, or Just Unethical Bloggers?

A federal judge in Oregon has ruled that a Montana woman sued for defamation was not a journalist when she posted online that an Oregon lawyer acted criminally during a bankruptcy case, a decision with implications for bloggers around the country.

Crystal L. Cox, a blogger from Eureka, Mont., was sued for defamation by attorney Kevin Padrick when she posted online that he was a thug and a thief during the handling of bankruptcy proceedings by him and Obsidian Finance Group LLC.

U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez found last week that as a blogger, Cox was not a journalist and cannot claim the protections afforded to mainstream reporters and news outlets.

Although media experts said Wednesday that the ruling would have little effect on the definition of journalism, it casts a shadow on those who work in nontraditional media since it highlights the lack of case law that could protect them and the fact that current state shield laws for journalists are not covering recent developments in online media.

“My advice to bloggers operating in the state of Oregon is lobby to get your shield law improved so bloggers are covered,” said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “But do not expect the shield law to provide you a defense in a libel case where you want to rely on an anonymous source for that information.”

The judge ruled that Cox was not protected by Oregon’s shield law from having to produce sources, saying even though Cox defines herself as media, she was not affiliated with any mainstream outlet. He added that the shield law does not apply to civil actions for defamation.

Hernandez said Cox was not a journalist because she offered no professional qualifications as a journalist or legitimate news outlet. She had no journalism education, credentials or affiliation with a recognized news outlet, proof of adhering to journalistic standards such as editing or checking her facts, evidence she produced an independent product or evidence she ever tried to get both sides of the story.

Cox said she considered herself a journalist, producing more than 400 blogs over the past five years, with a proprietary technique to get her postings on the top of search engines where they get the most notice.

“What could be more mainstream than the Internet and the top of the search engine?” she said.

Read more here.

Demonstrators: Jobs, not cuts, are priority, Really?

Chants echoed though the downtown plaza late Tuesday morning as a group of more than 20 people protested in front of Rep. Andy Harris’ Salisbury office, demanding he focus on “jobs, not cuts.”

The protest was organized by MoveOn.org and local progressive blogger Ron Pagano, who said he wants the congressman to focus on working to pass the American Jobs Act proposed by President Barack Obama.

Pagano said he believes the legislation will help create jobs in places like the Eastern Shore. He added the idea that cutting taxes for corporations to create jobs, a possible avenue to economic growth promoted by Harris, has been disproved.

Pagano and others who gathered in front of The Gallery Building urged Harris to focus on creating jobs by investing in 21st century energy and public education, ending wars and taxing Wall Street speculation.

“(Harris) says what we need to do is lower taxes for corporations and the wealthy,” Pagano said. “We know that hasn’t worked. Corporations are bringing in more money now than ever.”

Pagano said if Harris and the Republican Party are unhappy with the jobs bill proposed by Obama, they should pen their own.

Read more here.

Blogger Joe Albero Continues to Personally Attack other Private Citizens

Regardless of what anyone else says, Jonathan Taylor was targeted by local powers and the Dr. Seuss attorneys went after him to cease and desist immediately.

In typical style, Taylor refuses to tell the truth about these demands and instead is sending in a ton of comments on Salisbury News recommending people go to another Website, (as if we’d allow such comments to go through).

It has been reported that another group of concerned citizens are threatening a lawsuit against Taylor and the state disability group because it has been proven Taylor is more than capable of earning a living and could be taking income without reporting it to that department.

Taylor has a good chance of losing his disability income as well as his subsidized housing.

I happen to know first hand who’s behind this and quite frankly Taylor pissed off the wrong people in the right places. There could even be the possibility of criminal charges and fraud.

One thing is for sure, Taylor’s Site is in fact shut down for good and I can guarantee you he will not re open it again. Things are about to get real interesting in the blogosphere.

Now you know the truth.

———————–

In truth, the Grinch has opened up a new blogger site. Will Joe Albero ever admit to his hate?

A Miracle in Maryland?

Conservatives in Maryland rarely have something to cheer about. But things may slowly be changing, as efforts to recognize same-sex marriage and instill a ban on septic systems in large developments both died this spring once legislators realized they didn’t have the votes and the effort wouldn’t be worth the outcry from newly energized conservative stalwarts. The septic system ban was a particularly bitter pill for Governor Martin O’Malley to swallow as he made it the key new legislative initiative of his 2011 State of the State address.

Yet one controversial bill made it through by slim margins in both houses, with bipartisan opposition. Sponsored by a group of Maryland’s most liberal legislators, Senate Bill 167 allows illegal immigrants who graduated from the state’s schools to enjoy in-state tuition rates at the state’s community colleges. It is estimated the bill could cost state taxpayers upward of $3 million per year by 2016, although those who drew up the bill’s fiscal note conceded they couldn’t accurately gauge the impact.

While it’s not often tried and rarely succeeds, Maryland’s state constitution allows voters to petition bills to referendum at the next general election. Originally it was expected the same-sex marriage bill would be brought before Free State voters; instead that bill’s failure allowed conservative advocates to concentrate on battling the in-state tuition bill. Maryland is already thought of as a magnet state for illegal immigrants, and opponents of the measure were concerned that even more “undocumented workers” may find their way to the state, further burdening an already strained state budget.

Still, those who wished to bring to bill to referendum faced a tough challenge. Maryland’s referendum law has two hurdles: a number of valid signatures of registered voters equal to 3% of the vote total of the last gubernatorial race needs to be collected by June 30, with at least 1/3 of those submitted by May 31. For this electoral cycle, the number of signatures required is just over 55,000.

Despite the fact the Maryland General Assembly passes egregiously bad laws each year, the petition for referendum is rarely attempted. In 2009, after a bill allowing speed cameras in work and school zones was passed, organizers of a petition drive to send that bill to voters in 2010 fell just short at the 1/3 threshold. The last time a petition succeeded in making the ballot was 1991, while one has to go back nearly forty years to find the last time a ballot initiative succeeded in overturning legislation. So petition organizers knew history was against them.

But the modest crop of Maryland Republicans being elected these days owes a great deal to the Tea Party movement, and a freshman legislator who got his start with the Hagerstown Tea Party has taken the reins of the petition drive. And while Delegate Neil Parrott is the point man, he’s got an important ally in the fight as the Maryland Republican Party is actively engaged as well. State party Chair Alex Mooney also hinted the party may use this tactic more in the future, with tax increases on the horizon in this fall’s special session of the General Assembly. Speaking at the state party’s recent convention, he noted “we need to use that petition to referendum more often.”

Read more here.

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