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Winners and Losers

A few recent winners and losers in Maryland politics:


"Alcopops" opponents: Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) was all set this week to sign a bill strongly supported by the liquor industry that classifies fruity malt liquor drinks as beer, allowing their continued sale in convenience stores at a tax rate lower than that of hard liquor. But at the last minute, he was persuaded by public health advocates, groups fighting drunken driving, and Attorney General Doug Gansler (D) to postpone his decision on the drinks known by some as "alcopops" until he can study the consequences. Here is Lisa Rein's story.


Montgomery County developers: Last week, the Montgomery county council further cemented its activist reputation by passing a package of "green" bills that included a requirement that new single-family homes and townhouses meet Energy Star standards created by the Environmental Protection Agency to encourage the use of energy-efficient windows, tightly sealed structures and effective insulation. Depending on the size of the home, analysts and developers estimate that construction costs would increase $2,000 to $20,000. Builders say this will hurt them just as their market is in a slump. And it follows the decision of the council last year to double taxes on home builders. Ann Marimow covered the story.

District Heights Mayor James L. Walls, Jr.: He's considered a rising star in Prince George's County civic circles -- the youngest person elected mayor of District Heights, associate minister at the Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church, and town administrator for Fairmount Heights. He was also arrested last week in the District after allegedly offering an undercover male police officer $40 for sex in a known prostitution area, authorities said. Whatever the outcome of the criminal case, it is unlikely to help him politically.

By Anne Bartlett  |  May 2, 2008; 8:41 AM ET
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Next: Coming Up in Maryland Politics


LOSER: Don Praisner: 76 years old, fell and badly cut his head this past week, wearing a large bandage on his forehead in a televised News Channel 8 interview that had been postponed because of his injury. He had previously spent several days in the hospital during the campaign. Having told JustUpthePike blog that he would just as soon be in Hawaii playing golf with his daughter as being on the Montgomery County Council, Praisner showed further contempt for the voters by refusing a debate on Cable TV 21 with his opponent for the May 13 special election.

Posted by: People of Council District 4 | May 2, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Once again, instead of publishing (anywhere) a legislative agenda or plan, the Fennel for Council crowd shows themselves to be LOSERS by attacking the front runner with misrepresentation, smears, and slurs. Very unstatesmanlike.

For the rational grownups out there who care, the facts must be set straight once again.

The media does not create schedule obligations for candidates or anyone else, especially without sufficient advance notice. "Contempt for the voters" is shown by dropping previous commitments in favor of a pop-up TV event. Apparently Mr. Fennel does not have important constituent-related "stuff" on his calendar so he can show up on a moment's notice.

Specifically, you refer to an interview conducted by News Channel 8 after the primary. As has been pointed out again and again, this interview was origially scheduled for a time when Mr. Praisner was on a planned trip to his beach property for an HOA meeting. The interview request was phoned in to him by NC8 while he was already enroute to Delaware for this meeting. NC8 gladly rescheduled, and there was never a cancellation.

Mr. Praisner suffered a minor cut on his face while working on his beach home. Many people get minor cuts while doing work on their homes. The proper treatment for a minor cut is a bandage. Treating a cut shows that a person is taking care of himself, as is having medical tests when needed at any age. You point out that Mr. Praisner had some medical testing done at a hospital during the campaign. You may have noticed that both prior to and since those tests, he has remained vital and in fine health. Another mischaracterization by the Fennel crowd.

To assure proper context, the FULL comment you try to misuse to look like Mr. Praisner is not fully invested in this campaign from his JustUpthePike interview was: "Nonetheless, Don says he would put all bitterness aside if he lost the primary. "I'm a good Democrat," he states. If the voters reject his bid for office, he would like to play golf with his daughter, currently stationed with the government in Hawaii. "Of course, I'd also hope to be taking office for County Council," he says, smiling."

As has been done over 20 times on this and other forums, I challenge the Fennel campaign to put forward a legislative agenda and action plan and to stop the posting of age slurs, misrepresentations, and out-of-context comments (along with blatant lies) about their opponent. As before, I bet all that will be posted is more Praisner is an old man comments. Mark my words.

Posted by: More of the same smears and lies from the Fennel people | May 3, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Half of life is showing up and half of a councilman's job is showing up.

76 year old Don Praisner is ducking the Channel 21 debate thus insulting the voters.

Praisner who is so unsteady on his feet that he recently fell and seriously cut his head, has missed the Ashton Town Meeting, the Wheaton Sector Plan Meeting, the ICC Protest Demonstration, the North Four Corner Citizens Association meeting, etc, etc.

Someone will perform in office as they run their campaign. Praisner has said that he would just as soon be playing golf in Hawaii with his daughter as serving on the council. He will be a half-time stand-in lame duck. He is simply not interest in serving and he has serious health problems, not counting his recent hospitalization.

Posted by: Half of life is showing up | May 3, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

This was a serious fall. The cut was at least 3 1/2 inches long. Look at his forehead yourself. Look at the recent Channel 8 interview which showed Praisner walking unsteadily.

Posted by: 3 1/2 inch cut is not a minor cut | May 3, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Why is Praisner ducking the debate with his opponent on Monday night at Peoples Community Church and Channel 21. He is afraid to present himself to the voters. 2/3 of Montgomery County Voters graduated from college and 1/3 have graduate degrees. They resent a candidate like Praisner who thunbs his nose at the voters and refuses to debate of discuss the issues.

Posted by: Why is Praisner ducking debate? | May 3, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

It was revealed this past week on the front page of the Examiner that Montgomery Public Schools administrative personnel include 1097 people who are paid over $100,000 a year and 226 who are paid over $125,000 a year. The school year is only about 8 1/2 months. Why do we have to pay these high salary school people who do not teach for anymore than 10 months work? A few oversee summer school. But the rest take an on-the-job vacation for 3 1/2 months.

Posted by: Why are they paid for 12 months? | May 4, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

There is a comment above from somebody who may be connected with the Praisner campaign. Why won't Praisner speak for himself in a public debate? Like the one Channel 21 wanted on Monday, May 5? Who does this guy think he is? Why would anybody want to vote for him?

Posted by: Why won't Praisner debate? | May 4, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Wow, everybody is coming out of the woodwork to say things they know nothing about re. Mr. Praisner, but there is still no legislative agenda or action plan from Mr. Fennel.

Once again, what is the Fennel agenda and action plan?

Posted by: Still more smears from Fennel but no agenda or plan | May 4, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I would never vote for a Montgomery County candidate for public office who refused to debate his opponent. Period.

Posted by: Refusal to debatge is not in Montgomery's tradition | May 4, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Folks, attention must again be called to a misstatement made apparently by the Fennel folks. They say Mr. Praisner will not debate Mr. Fennel. That is blatantly false as Mr. Praisner debated Mr. Fennel on Channel 16 air last week.

Again, the media does not dictate priorities or scheduling. Channel 21 offered a debate with minimal lead time and Mr. Praisner already had a commitment scheduled at that time. Rather than dishonor his commitment to attend his meeting, he declined the Channel 21 time slot, for which no alternative has been offered.

Once again, the Fennel crowd produces no agenda or action plan, preferring instead to smear their opponent with untrue and misleading statements.

I would never vote for a candidate who did that. People tend to conduct themselves in office as they do during their campaigns.

Posted by: Setting the record straight AGAIN | May 5, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

A monkey running as a Democrat in MoCo will defeat a qualified Republican every time. Old man Praisner is about to prove it again.

Posted by: Steve | May 5, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

What was Praisner's commitment? Why did he feel it was important to miss a debate on the county's biggest cable TV channel? He has a very new surgical scar on his forehead. What was the surgery for?

Posted by: Come clean | May 5, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

The Fennel people continue to put forth the same old they fancy themselves as medical experts and zoologists too?

Mr. Praisner has no surgical scar on his face. He cut himself while doing some work on a piece of property he owns. To refer to Mr. Praisner's injury as a surgical scar is just another flagrant misstatement and a smear. Great campaign tactic! It worked for the Clintons! What's next, poisoning his cat?

We are now seeing more desperate and angry comments from the Fennel folks, more negativity and lies, more age slurs, and even comparing their opponent to a monkey. If this is coming from Fennel's supporters, it doesn't speak well for their intellect or maturity. If it is coming from Fennel's campaign, and he is allowing himself or his staff to call Mr. Praisner a monkey, then Mr. Fennel has a serious character flaw.

Still more smears and lies from Fennel's people, yet STILL NO FENNEL AGENDA OR ACTION PLAN!! All the Fennel people have said about an agenda will still fit on a single yard sign. THE ELECTION IS A WEEK AWAY, PEOPLE! SAY SONETHING SUBSTANTIVE !!

Posted by: Fennel - STILL more slurs and STILL no agenda or action plan | May 5, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Praisner is ducking the debate that Channel 21, the largest cable TV station focusing on local politics in the county, tonight because Praisner had a "prior committment." What was the committment?

Why did he miss the April 9 Northwood-Four Corners candidate forum?

Why did Praisner miss the April 16 Ashton Town Meeting?

Why did Praisner miss the April 26 ICC protest meeting?

Why did Praisner miss the April 28 Crime and Gang Forum at the Wheaton Library hosted by Councilman Andrews and Policed Chief Manger?

Why did Praisner miss the April 30 Wheaton Redevelopment Program meeting on Wheator Sector Plan revisions at the Gilcherst Center.

How did Praisner get 3 inch cut on his forehead? When is the last time you got such a cut working on your house?

We don't need a half time lameduck seat warmer on the council.

Posted by: Where was praisner? | May 5, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

It is only logical that if a candidate ducks a debate with his opponent and misses important meetings even before he is elected, that he will avoid his constituents after being in office too.

Posted by: Can't vote for Praisner | May 5, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Praisner maintains a full schedule of meetings with key community and government leaders in preparation to serve as Councilmember. These meetings are part of Mr. Praisner's action plan to hit the ground running on accomplishing his legislative agenda, which has been published for several weeks now. Many are arranged weeks in advance and may supercede potential appearances on TV.

Apparently, Mr. Fennel can take all the leave he wants from his job in order to attend myriad events and potentially serve on the Council. Makes one wonder how important and influencial he must really be at his job. Maybe he spends commute times speculating about District-critical issues like how his opponent cut his forehead?

Where are Mr. Fennel's agenda and action plan? They are the best kept secret in American politics.

Posted by: Fennel - More attacks, still no agenda or action plan. So very predictable. | May 5, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Why did Don Praisner duck the Channel 21 debate that was to be tonight? What was the previously-scheduled event? Why is he insulting the intelligence of the voters like this?

Posted by: What was the event? | May 5, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Praisner is ducking nothing. His appointment schedule is noone's business but his own.

Mr. Fennel is ducking publishing his legislative agenda and action plan.

Failing to put forth a legislative agenda and action plan is a huge insult to the voters' intelligence. Posting age slurs about one's opponent on public forums is another huge insult. Combined, they add up to zero substance or credibility for Mr. Fennel.

Mr. Fennel, is this your approved campaign strategy? Do you endorse having your opponent called a monkey?

Posted by: Fennel - Where's the beef? | May 5, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Praisner, when you duck a debate with your opponent the week before the election on District 4's largest cable TV political station the public deserves to know your reason. We can't vote for someone for elected office who avoids his public responsibility. It is evident that Mr. Fennel is willing to discuss any an all matters and issues in public debate. Praisner is seeking to be not a "public" official, but a private one. For shame, we all know what Harry Truman would have told him: "If you can't stand the heat Praisner, get out of the kitchen."

Posted by: Ducking debate is the public's business | May 5, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Obama, Clinton, and McCain seem to enjoy debate. Why is Praisner afraid of debate, Washington Post editors?

Posted by: What do the Washington Post editors think about Praisner's decision to duck debate? | May 5, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I don't watch debates at the presidential level, and certainly not at lower levels. They're about entertainment and trying to look good or making your opponent look bad.

Campaigning should be more serious than that and voters should be more assertive about acquiring information about candidates (in the Washington area it's not to come by!) instead of expecting to be "entertained".

Posted by: Gary | May 5, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Praisner has already debated Mr. Fennel. Debates on cable TV stations are not a public responsibility. Having a fully formed legislative agenda and action plan are public responsibilities. Mr. Praisner is working his agenda and action plan already.

Ducking the publishing of a legislative agenda or action plan, especially now, a week before the election, shows a lack of preparation and concern. That's like an NFL coach showing up to a critical game with a blank playbook.

Where is the Fennel legislative agenda and action plan? Still none! No website, no literature, no notes tacked to bus shelters, just yard signs. That's no reason to vote for somebody.

As Mark Levin would tell Mr. Fennel, YOU, SIR, APPARENTLY HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER!

Posted by: Fennel - Showing up to the game with a blank playbook | May 5, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I just came across this little discussion about why Mr. Praisner won't debate his agenda and Mr. Fennel's agenda. Let me give Mr. Praisner some incentive.

I'll be willing to donate the money to buy four pints of blood to the hospital of Mr. Praisner's choosing if Mr. Praisner agrees to debate Mr. Fennel during the next week in order to please all the voters who would like to see such a debate. Here's a chance to help the hospital of your choice, Mr. Praisner.

Posted by: Robin Ficker Broker Robin Realty | May 5, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Let just get this clear once and for all. MCT, which operates Channel 21 and Access Montgomery which helps to produce 21 the show, approached Mr. Praisner about doing the debate and Mr. Praisner said that he would be happy to participate but was not available that Monday. It was the only day that was made available due to Mr. Akins or the Studios schedule I am not clear on which and nobody called to offer another date. If the idiots behind the Fennel/Ficker campaign would do their homework then they would know that all this conversation is for not. Praisner knows how to do his homework. All one had to do was call channel 21 to get the facts. Additionally, there was a debate on Channel 16 (There was only one forum televised for the primary) in which Mr. Praisner showed up Mr. Fennel once again. Which I must admit that it is not hard to do since Fennel is a guy that has no agenda of his own but just blew the dust off of Robin Ficker's agenda. No community organization has come forward to set-up a forum for the general election.

I really wish these two clowns would go away nobody wants to really hear what they have to say because they only know two words (no taxes). If Mr. Fennel wants get rid of waste and abuse, he should look no further than the non-profit organization that he works for, which only spent $.62 on each $1 it raises on its program activity. That means that $.38 on a dollar went to overhead. The industry standard is $.25 on the dollar and that is high. I do not think that Mr. Fennel should be throwing stones. Especially, since his chief supporter can't behave appropriately to be allowed to attended a Wizards basketball game and has been suspended from practicing law for incompetence.

Posted by: Fennel or is it Ficker | May 5, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

If Robin Ficker was actually trying to elect Don Praisner, he couldn't do any better than the series of insulting, nutty and downright lunatic posts on this thread, culminating in his offering to donate blood.

Are you kidding me, Sybil? Get the rest of your personalities to have an intervention, Robin, because the one that's running amok on this thread is really not doing your candidate any favors.

Posted by: lefty | May 5, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

As an avid Democrat, I'll throw in free groceries for a week to a needy Montgomery County family if Praisner will debate. We have seen no reason why he couldn't debate tonight on Channel 21. If there is one, tell us. Enough name calling. Tell us what event Mr. Praisner thought was more important than debating his opponent on a TV station we all get right before the election.

Posted by: Free groceries for a week | May 5, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

The writer above doesn't mention that the state Democrats just gave us the biggest state tax increase in history, which hits Montgomery
County particularly hard. And Mr. Leggett wants to give us the biggest property tax increase in 20 years.

We in the securities business know that bears or bulls can make money, but that pigs get slaughtered. I'm voting for Fennel on May 13.

Posted by: 2 biggest tax increases in twenty years! | May 5, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

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