Del. David Moon, far right but only in this photo, talks to crowd at his fundraiser.
By Len Lazarick
Update: YES PURPLE, NO RED: Gov. Larry Hogan Thursday pulled the plug on the $2.9 billion Red Line light rail project that Baltimore officials and business leaders have called crucial to the region’s economic development, but he said he would back a slimmed-down plan to build the Purple Line in suburban Washington, D.C.
The Bump ‘n Grind is not a strip club in Baltimore, but a coffee bar in the new urbanized core of Silver Spring, a short walk to the D.C. line. Wednesday evening, it was briefly the center of progressives in the Maryland legislature, as Del. David Moon, about as left as they get in Annapolis, held a low-key fundraiser, heavy on the policy wonk from his fellow legislators.
The progressive tinge didn’t prevent warm words and a fat check from Joe Vallario — the chair for the past 22 years of the House Judiciary Committee on which Moon serves and a 78–year-old throwback to the days when conservative Democrats ruled the legislature.
Vallario survived a shuffle across East West Highway and while he wasn’t part of the official program, he insisted on having the last word.
Moon “really enjoys his work,” and would be happy if the Maryland General Assembly met year-round, said Vallario. “We’re really happy to get him” on the committee.
Ally Jamie Raskin
Senator Jamie Raskin, who represents the same Takoma Park-Silver Spring district 20 as Moon and is running for Congress, called Moon “a man of thought and a man of action.”
A prime example was the letter the two put together earlier this week asking the state to remove the Confederate battle flag from some Maryland vanity license plates. The letter has already gained the signature of 40 legislators.
Moon ran Raskin’s successful 2006 campaign, defeating five-term incumbent and Senate President Pro-Tem Ida Ruben in the Democratic primary.
Del. Curt Anderson from Baltimore came to ally himself with Moon, who has supported many of the measures to reform the criminal justice system and decriminalize drug laws that have led to mass incarceration.
“The state cannot be all that it can be without Baltimore, and Baltimore needs the rest of the state,” Anderson said.
Del. Jill Carter, another Judiciary Committee Member from Baltimore who has long sponsored policing and prison reform legislation, also finds an ally in Moon.
Perhaps this next session, “we will finally get it together when it comes to justice,” Carter said. “The fight continues and I will continue to fight.”
The shared support for Moon didn’t prevent Carter and Anderson from having an intense conversation about the new legislative work group on public safety formed after the Baltimore riots. Anderson co-chairs the committee and Carter feels she was snubbed by leaving her off a committee that will look at legislative remedies she has proposed for years.
Purple Line decision
The possibility of a decision on the Purple Line by Gov. Larry Hogan at a Thursday afternoon press conference on transportation was also on people’s minds.
The conventional speculation, epitomized by a well-researched analysis by Bob McCartney in the Washington Post 10 days ago, is that Hogan will find a way to approve the project by cutting costs and asking for additional contributions from Montgomery and Prince George’s counties for the Bethesda to New Carrollton light-rail line.
The finances can actually work, said Ben Ross, the former longtime president of the Action Committee for Transit who attended the Moon fundraiser.
Ross said with the right combination of increased contributions from the affected counties and financing by a private-public partnership that will actually build the project, the state might have to come up with little or no money during the first six years of the construction phase.
This would, of course, mean the state’s Transportation Trust Fund could be used for other pressing projects such as highways during Hogan’s tenure.
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