The musings of one Andrew Langer - defender of liberty, passionate protector of individual rights, foodie. (Note: Said Musings of Andrew Langer are his own, and the views represented herein are likewise his views, and not the views of any other people, entities, foodstuffs, etc [unless otherwise specifically and explicitly noted].)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Three Pieces of News...

This summer is quickly becoming a much busier one than anticipated. That's not a bad thing, either. We did manage to hit the beach yesterday, and since it didn't get too sunny until mid-afternoon, it was a very pleasant day.

I'll start with an update. Those of you who have been closely reading the blog know that I've become involved in the movement to expand our local town council from three members to five. You've seen my various writings on the subject, and know where I stand.

Well, Thursday was our first meaningful public hearing on the subject - we expected it to either not be voted on, to have it voted down, or to have it tabled indefinitely and a committee appointed to study the matter (as per the writings of council member Norman Pinder). Surprisingly enough, a 4th option presented itself.

The meeting was incredibly well-attended. So many people attended, in fact, that I quickly ran out of my handouts (which summarized our position, reprinted my published op-ed, and offered contact information).

But council president Mary McCarthy ( announced at the outset that the council had met in closed session earlier, and had voted to allow the referendum initiative to proceed without interference from the council - and directed the town attorney and town manager to meet with the referendum initiative leaders. The reason being that the council recognizes that the issue is important enough that:

a) the public, not the council ought to decide it;
b) that if the public wants to decide on it, they ought to have the opportunity to do so;
c) that the process ought to procede.

Regardless of what ultimately happens, I consider this a victory - while we certainly want to see the council expanded, in the short term this is how things ought to move forward.

I let Jerry Schram and Tim McCluskey speak before me - they're doing the heavy-lifting on this effort - and I filled in some of the blanks in my three-minutes. The opposition presented few new arguments, essentially falling into three categories:

1) that the council works fine as it is now, and doesn't need to be expanded;
2) that having more than three council members will complicate things, and will make matters worse (the "County Commission" argument);
3) that expanding the council will be expensive, isn't a priority, and will have unforeseen consequences.

The last argument is the most interesting - it is substantive, and worth further discussion and debate. In fact, it was presented by two of the opposition's strongest voices.

There will be more discussion of these issues in the coming weeks - in the meantime we're going to meet with town officials, circulate the petitions, and embark on an effort to educate the public. I'm hoping we're going to have some more open meetings/debates - possibly moderated by the League of Women Voters.

This leads me into my next bit of news:

I am now an official candidate for elected office.

A week ago Friday, just as I was leaving my favorite haunt, Ben's Chili Bowl (there may be news about Ben's in the coming weeks - you heard it here first), I got a call from a local GOP activist, recruiting me to run for a position on the Queen Anne's County Republican Central Committee. I thought about it over the weekend, talked about it with friends and family, and decided to go ahead and do it.

The Republican Central Committee is the governing body for the GOP of our county, and I believe there is a great deal I have to offer to this board: namely, my background, my years of experience as an activist and advocate, and my professionalism. There will be more on this later on as well.

There are 19 of us running for a seat on the committee, with a number of incumbents standing for re-election.

The election itself is part of the primary on September 12 - so I've got just over two months. There will be a candidates' forum at the Centreville Public Library on the night of July 20th - I will remind you all of this.

Finally, and still in the vein of that activist experience and politics, I've been invited to testify before Congress again. On Tuesday, July 18, I will be testifying before the House Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs. The Subcommittee recently received a report from the Office of Management and Budget on paperwork burdens, noting a sharp increase in that burden, and I will be offering the small business perspective on that.

I'll be interested in seeing if Robert Shull, my counterpart at OMBWatch, will be testifying. Shull testified on the same panel with me at that congressional hearing in March ( - and in OMBWatch's recap of that hearing (, they spent some time taking potshots at NFIB for our stance on regulatory review, while taking sole credit for talking about a program called "The Business Gateway," which is a computerized tool for assisting small businesses in figuring out which regulations apply to them and how they ought to comply.

The problem is, I've long been a champion of the Business Gateway, testified about it at this hearing, and, in fact, talked about it longer - both in my oral and written testimonies - than Mr. Shull did. In fact, I've been talking about the importance of this system, and it's predecessor (the Business Compliance One-Stop) for years:

So, it'll be a nice opportunity to set that record straight.

Yes, lot's going on. Happy July!!!

- Andrew Langer


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