Wednesday, May 14, 2008

One Thing On Their Mind

Yesterday there was an election in Montgomery County's District Four for the County Council position vacated by the death of Marilyn Praisner. The choice was between her widower, Don Praisner, and Mark Fennel, who has run for the Council previously. The Citizens for a Responsible Whatever sent out a rather frantic email yesterday, telling people to vote for the anti-gay candidate. They had sent a questionnaire to the candidates, which was only returned by Fennel, and you may find it interesting to see how they think: they have one thing on their mind. They sent this out twice, the first one had the wrong date on it.
STILL MAD that the Council unanimously voted to pass the Gender Identity law without any exemption for areas of shared nudity ?

The first election for a County Council seat since the Council ignored the thousands of emails and phone calls from you is today Tuesday May 13th. The election is to fill the seat vacated by Marilyn Praisner's death. ONLY District 4 residents may vote in the Special Election. District 4 is the east portion of the county extending from slightly east of Rockville to Burtonsville (District maps here).

Mark Fennel and Don Praisner are running for the District 4 seat. We sent the candidates a questionnaire. Mr. Fennel's responses are below. Mr. Praisner did not answer repeated requests for his position on the law his late wife voted to pass.

Only 1900 Republicans and 7600 Democrats voted in the primary for the Special Election out of 83,000 registered voters.

Want to make sure that there is a voice of reason for family values and hello - COMMON SENSE - on the council ? Get on the phone and call five people you know who live in District 4. Ask them to call five people. This vote will be determined by turnout. If you want to send a message, GET TO THE POLLS AND VOTE !

"The law his late wife voted to pass" is the one that prevents discrimination against transgender people. Apparently, the CRW believes that people should select their county council members based on that one thing -- they want everybody to vote for the candidate who supports discrimination.

Just for fun, I'm going to paste their whole questionnaire in here, with Mark Fennel's responses. I'll bold his responses, they're red in this email.
Candidate's Name: Mark D. Fennel

1. Bill 23-07 is scheduled to be placed on the November ballot. At that time, will you vote to repeal it? Yes

2. Do you believe that biological males who retain male genitals, but who present or perceive themselves as females, should be allowed in public locker rooms where women are changing? NO

3. Do you believe that a health club, which maintains male/female locker rooms, should face stiff legal fees or fines if it does not allow persons who retain male genitals into female locker rooms? NO

4. Do you believe that a young woman advertising for a roommate should be legally forced to share living space with a transgender or cross dresser? Assume that the young woman did not know that she was interviewing a transgender or cross dresser, but finds out only after the person moves in. NO

5. Do you believe a church should be forced to hire a cross dressing male to be the church receptionist, against the churche's wishes? Assume that the cross-dresser is otherwise qualified for the job. NO

6. Do you believe that a cross-dressing male (who comes in as Mr. Smith one day and Mrs. Smith the next) should be allowed to teach a class of kindergartners at a public school? NO

7. If you answered "NO" to question 1, but "YES" to questions 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, please explain. Bill 23-07 has no exceptions or provisions for these scenarios. N/A

Questions 8, 9 and 10 are in reference to the county's new public accommodations code, after Bill 23-07 additions. The public accommodation code document is attached. Please note that, amongst other things, it states:

"An ..agent..of any place of public accommodation in the County must not, with respect to the accommodation: ..make any distinction with respect to ..gender identity in connection with.. use of any facility .." (27-11). You may wish to go to our website,, and review the "bathrooms" section.

Full new county code on public accomodations. [This is a link but it doesn't work]

8. Per your understanding of the public accommodations code, please define "facilities."

"Facilities" is a sweeping term subject to broad interpretation. I believe facilities are defined as bathrooms, lockers or showers.

9. Do you believe Bill 23-07 covers "facilities" at public accommodations? YES

10. (a) The County Council's attorney has repeatedly stated that "operators of those facilities can continue to determine who can use them". However, Bill 23-07 includes the language above (27-11). Also, the bill allows the Human Rights Commission to levy fines against those same operators if it is determined that they have exhibited discrimination or harassment against those with gender identity issues. Do you believe that the law, as written, substantiates the county attorney's statement? NO

(b) If you answered "YES" to question number 10(a) then please point to where in County law that statement is substantiated: N/A

From questions 2 and 3, it sounds like the CRW wants a new law, saying who can go into what bathroom. As it is, a person who exposes themselves lewdly in a public shower-room or restroom would be charged with a crime, no matter which set of genitalia they display. Same for a person who goes into a place like that and looks at people changing or undressing. Exhibitionism and voyeurism are already against the law for everybody, including transgender people.

The rest of these, I just don't get. What would be wrong with a cross-dresser teaching kindergartners? Their parents dress them, right? I mean, you're talking about five year old kids, what do they think is going to happen? And -- have you ever heard of a cross-dressing kindergarten teacher? And what if churches were required not to discriminate in hiring -- what, really, is the problem there? It seems to me these guys are worked up over some situations that are pretty unlikely.

Whatever, they take this stuff seriously, and so we have to oppose them seriously. Imagine voting for a candidate purely because they favor discrimination.

I should note, the election was yesterday, this morning's Washington Post notes that Praisner won the election with 66 percent of the vote. The CRW's candidate got exactly half as many votes as the other guy.


Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

The Republican issue in the election was property taxes, not showers.

But it's nice to know that Mark Fennel, and, by extension, his chief-of-staff, Robin Ficker, have drunk the kool-aid

May 14, 2008 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the front page of today's Washington Post:

A Democrat won the race for a GOP-held congressional seat in northern Mississippi yesterday, leaving the once-dominant House Republicans reeling from their third special-election defeat of the spring.

Travis Childers, a conservative Democrat who serves as Prentiss County chancery clerk, defeated Southaven Mayor Greg Davis by 54 percent to 46 percent in the race to represent Mississippi's 1st Congressional District, which both parties considered a potential bellwether for the fall elections.

Democrats said the results prove that they are poised for another round of big gains in the November general elections, and they attacked the Republican strategy of tying Democrats to Sen. Barack Obama, the front-runner for the party's presidential nomination, saying it had failed for a second time in 10 days in the Deep South. Democrat Don Cazayoux won the special election for a GOP-held House seat in Louisiana on May 3.

"No one could have imagined the tsunami that just crashed on Republicans in Mississippi," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in an interview after the victory. "There is no district that is safe for Republican candidates."

House Democrats now hold a 236 to 199 majority, up from 203 seats they controlled two years ago.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, sounded an alarm for all GOP candidates "to take stock of their campaigns and position themselves for challenging campaigns this fall" while lashing themselves to the presidential candidacy of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

"The political environment is such that voters remain pessimistic about the direction of the country and the Republican Party in general. . . . Time is short," Cole said in a statement.

Democrats begin the march into the fall elections with an enormous cash advantage: $44 million for the DCCC to $7 million for its GOP counterpart as of March 31. And 25 other Republican incumbents have decided against running for reelection, providing Democrats with more opportunities to make gains. Seven Democratic incumbents are not seeking reelection.

The Childers victory was the latest setback suffered by Republicans, who began the string of defeats in special elections when Democrat Bill Foster claimed the seat of former House speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) in March.

President Bush won Mississippi's 1st District by 25 percentage points four years ago, and Roger Wicker (R) won reelection with 66 percent of the vote in 2006. Wicker was appointed earlier this year to the Senate seat vacated by Trent Lott, who quit just one year into his six-year term to become a corporate lobbyist...

May 14, 2008 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

andrea- not anon
Ficker was helping this guy? I begged Robin Ficker to make widely public his support of Donna Edwards(he writes on the washingtonpost blog as well as some local silver spring blogs)- I knew Donna would win but the support of Robin Ficker is the kiss of death with any intelligent(or semi-intelligent) voters.

And having used public bathrooms for more than 50 years- how are they areas of shared nudity? I've never been even partially naked in a bathroom except behind a closed stall door.

May 14, 2008 7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the news just keeps getting better. From the front page of today's Washington Post:

"House Republicans turned on themselves yesterday after a third straight loss of a GOP-held House seat in special elections this year left both parties contemplating widespread Democratic gains in November.

In huddles, closed-door meetings and hastily arranged conference calls, some Republicans demanded the head of their political chief, while others decried their leadership as out of touch with the political catastrophe they face.

GOP leaders sought yesterday to "re-brand" the party with a new slogan and renewed pledges of fiscal rectitude and limited government. But the slogan -- "The Change You Deserve" -- came under mocking fire, because it parallels Democratic presidential front-runner Barack Obama's "Change We Can Believe In" motto and it mirrors the advertising slogan for the antidepressant Effexor.

"What we've got is a deficiency in our message and a loss of confidence in the American people that we will do what we say we're going to do," conceded Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The losses of conservative House seats in Louisiana and Illinois this spring were explained away by many Republicans as setbacks in which they were hampered by bad candidates. But Tuesday's loss in northern Mississippi was devastating. The district had given President Bush 62 percent of its vote in 2004. To reverse its losing streak, the NRCC pumped $1.3 million from its depleted coffers into the race. Freedom's Watch, a conservative independent group, pitched in. Vice President Cheney appeared at a last-minute rally. Bush and Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, lent their voices to automated phone calls imploring Republicans to vote for Southaven Mayor Charles G. "Greg" Davis.

Davis lost the contest by eight percentage points, a wider margin than in either of the two previous special-election defeats..."

May 15, 2008 7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on, AnonFreak!

Be a smart ass, vote democrat!!

May 17, 2008 4:13 PM  

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