Intro: Welcome to A Miner Detail podcast. I am your host Ryan Miner. I’m an independent journalist. You could say I’m a bit of a disrupter. On this show, I call it as I see it. Partisan politics, forget about it. Left, right, whatever, this show is about getting to the root of every story politics be damned. I report on Maryland politics and news at aminordetail.com. This is episode 265. Today is Sunday, May, the 3rd, 2020. My guest is Len Foxwell. He’s the Comptroller of Maryland’s chief of staff and of course he’s no stranger to the detail. This episode, you don’t want to miss.
Ryan: Foxwell, we’re live brother!
Len: Yeah, so good to be back, my friend.
Ryan: Oh my gosh, man. I’ll tell you what, it’s been, it’s been a week, it’s been a month. How are you?
Len: Doing pretty good. You know, I tell people all the time they call and say you’re just checking in, they’ll say how are you doing and I’ll say listen to be honest I have my help, God, my family is healthy and I have my job and for that reason in the context of what’s happening in the world around us, I honestly feel like I won the lottery.
Ryan: Well, I think what’s the old Lou Garrett, I feel like the luckiest man in the world.
Len: Like you smell on the face of the earth and that’s how I feel. And if nothing else this whole experience in our country and around our state has reminded us of just how fragile life can be, how fragile our health can be, how fragile our financial security can be. So, no matter what happens moving forward, man, I’ve learned one thing which is never taken for granted.
Ryan: Well, look Foxwell, we’re not going to spend a whole lot of time on the trials and tribulations that you’ve been in but I gotta ask you from my, for my duty is to talk about this and look it was a, it was an interesting couple of days two weeks ago on Saturday, you got some pushback for making a post that some say called for was it genocide? And and I’ll just preface this question with if anybody has ever followed your postings, if anybody who knows you like I know you and your closest friends do, they know that it was written in satire that never in a million years would Len Fox well advocate for that. But, you know, you wrote the post. You got a lot of pushback from people all over the state, a lot of Trump supporters who were angry. And then, they subsequently demanded that you be fired from a job that you’ve held with the Comptroller for what Len? 12 years?
Len: I came in with the Comptroller, Peter took office in 2007 and I keep him with him. So, 13 years, 12 of his chief of staff. So, it’s been a good run.
Ryan: Look, you’re still gainfully employed.
Len: Look, I mean jut just to put in context because a lot of people asked about it. Of course, of course, I didn’t call for anything of the sort. If anyone reads oppose it was written in a spirit of playful fun and it was picked up by frankly some national activists and some national provocateurs and banned now because this is what, this is what the alt-right is doing these days. They’re finding perceived villains wherever they can just to kind of push the narrative of victimization. All of which is to say they have a right to do it. It came and went, it was intent. The burn was fast, the burn dissipated quickly and more than anything else it was just a needless distraction from the real work at hand. I mean, I gotta tell you, in my job, I haven’t, I have to be, I’m not sure opportunity is the right word but I get so many calls in the course of a day as to all of my colleagues from people who are just trying to find a boy just on the other end of the phone line. Whether they’re, they’re trying to log on to the state’s unemployment portal and not having, not having much luck or they’re wondering, you know, when they’re you know small business benefits are coming through and they just want to know, maybe, you know, have you processed my tax return yet and where’s my refund and maybe it was held in suspense for some reason. And you do everything you possibly can to help these people but you realize and listening to their stories there are just so many people out there that are just hanging on by a thread right now. And, that’s the story, that has to be our focus and that has to be the sole priority of all of us who serve in public life and other things like, like a Facebook skirmish egged on by a lot of people who live out of state, it just ultimately doesn’t matter and people who are struggling better, truly keep me up at night.
Ryan: Well I saw the comment threads that were non-stop on Saturday, two weeks ago. Some were really bad and it was a low point in state politics and they, from everything, from demanding that you resigned to threaten, they always threaten they’re not going to vote for Peter. I mean, that’s fine. And then, it took off, it went viral. But, the reason why I think it went viral in is because it’s struck a nerve. And I think, that people may have felt that you attacked the reopen Maryland people. However, it wasn’t just an attack but it was an honest assessment of the foolhardy irresponsible actions that they were taking by showing up to the state capital when the governor in it issued a stay at home order. Nobody, I’m not willing to risk my family, you’re not willing to risk your son and daughter or your wife and I’m not willing to risk my son and daughter and my wife or my aging grandparents, your aging parents, I’m not willing to risk the so-called Liberty argument that, you know, their freedoms are being attacked. And I think that that’s silly, I think that they have no less freedoms that they have today then they had five, six, seven weeks ago. And I think, you struck a nerve, Len. And I thought that it was pointed Creek commentary, it was satire and the reaction of course was another opportunity for the destructive Trump cabal, the right wing to say, hey here’s this guy and he’s, they called you every single name possible, liberal, progressive, whatever. Do they really even know you? Like we know you? I mean-
Len: Hey, Ryan. I can tell you man, um, I got a lot of phone calls as you can imagine over that weekend. And, I started to write down the area codes and I would go, I would just go online and try to figure out where these are coming from because these were 4-4-3, 4-1-0, 3-0-1, these were not the Maryland area codes. They weren’t even 2-0-2 or 7-0-3. So, that we’re even coming in the region. And honestly, the vast majority of phone call I was getting somehow they found my personal number.
Ryan: Oh, wow.
Len: They were coming from, honestly places like Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Washington State. They were coming from the West and these are people who have no connection to the state of Maryland, they’ve probably never been to the state of Maryland but the story was fanning out on some all right blogs and websites and this was, I was just the latest target, momentary target before they went on to Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan or the for guide, the mayor down in Jackson Mississippi, he was suspending the city’s concealed carry laws during the covid-19 crisis. Yeah, they always have to have somebody and for a very eventful 48 to 72 hour period, yeah, that was me. And it’s just part of the, part of the faucet doing business it happened and it’s over.
Ryan: Did Peter have anything to say to you? As I’m sure that you guys talked and I’m not asking you to reveal any private conversations but if I know one thing about Peter Franchot from having covered him for years is that this stuff rolls off of his back and you know Len, was there ever a time where you thought man this is it, that my job’s in jeopardy.
Len: No in fact you got to remember something about Peter. Peter first came to prominence when as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates in 1988. He was the lead sponsor of a bill that would abolish handgun ownership, private handgun ownership in the state of Maryland period. It was an avant-garde, it would be an avant-garde position if he were going in today as you can imagine in 1988, it was completely out there on the edge of the rim and you know, it’s just the first of many tough fights he’s fall over the course of his career. He told me to hang in there and he just said, just remember that most of the people in this state, I mean the vast majority are good people into just really hurting and anxious right now.
Ryan: Yeah, I mean when the NDGOP ended up calling for your resignation, what an opportune moment for them. We’re talking about the deeply fractured, just crippled, financially, morally and ethically NDGOP. And I have it, I got to tell you Dirk Hair, yeah going on TV for his 15 minutes, I mean here’s a guy who has done absolutely nothing at this at the NDGOP. They hired a dental assistant to be their executive director. And, there’s nothing wrong with dental assistants but they don’t have the requisite Authority or experienced to step in a role as, such as promoting their state party. And then, they went on television to these different media outlets and they raised their fists because they know deep down inside that Peter Franchot will be the most formidable candidate in any general election. And, I just look at that objectively and politically and they thought well if we can get rid of Foxwell, who’s been in state politics for 25 years, then that’s one knock against Franchot. Well, let me tell you what, Peter franchise been punched, you’ve been punched several times. There’s been a couple of fire Len campaigns.
Len: And you know, that was some don’t have anything to happen during that crazy 2 to 3 day period and especially there was a lot of crazy going on including the guy who started up at my house with moonpies.
Ryan: Are you serious? Wow!
Ryan: Did you accept them?
Len: I did. I’ll confess for the audience right here. As much as I have made fun of moonpies and as much as I have made that kind of the symbol of the-the improbable symbol of the alt-right movement in Maryland, I kind of like them. I have to say, there’s the news I’ve made and we’re only 11 minutes in. But I couldn’t figure out about Dirk Hair and no one has been able to come up with courage and explanation is why is he as the chairman of the party that currently has the State House? And who has as his party’s head, a wildly popular governor, who has earned national acclaim for the thoughtful skilled and responsible men on which he’s handled this crisis, why is he leaning in to the extremists all right and the members of the patriot movement at each of the descendant, are the philosophical to send in some Waco and Ruby Ridge if you remember that’s who my comments directed toward, why is he leaning into that element of our political system and not Larry Hogan who is by all intents and accounts a franchise player for the Republican Party now who is beloved by both parties?
Ryan: They don’t, they, they’re-they’re angry at Larry. They’re pissed at him because they think that he did not do enough in 2018. They won the governor’s mansion. And this is the wing of the party, the Dirk hair wing, the Kareem Frank wing of the party are the people who the Danielle Hornberger is the Cecil County race up in the executive race. This is the wing of the party that take photographs with Dan Bongino and hang them on the wall and next to the Pope and maybe, I don’t know Kennedy. These are the people who worship at the altar of Trump and they see Larry Hogan as what a rhino? For what leadership? For advocating for, to keep my family and your family and all of our families safe? And it’s just, it’s just goofy and I think that, look their party’s gonna lose, it they don’t win, it’s it’s a joke, they, the leadership, is a joke, notwithstanding Nicola Ambrose who’s I think done a pretty decent job. But nonetheless, you know, I saw that and I said they’re gonna get their kicks in and then in three days they’re gonna go back to being completely irrelevant. Because do you think Larry Hogan’s picking up the phone and saying, “hey Dirk Hair, let me ask you something. What do you think about our coronavirus response?”
Len: I’m sure Dirk Hair doesn’t even have Larry Hogan’s phone number stored in his iPhone.
Ryan: Well, if he did then I’m sure, I’m sure that he’s busy texting, you know, it’s-it’s just silliness. And-and Lynn, you know, I want to just wrap up this segment because we’ve we’ve exhausted this. What’s the learning lesson from this? Would you if you had the opportunity to do it over again would you put out the post?
Len: Knowing-knowing that would create that kind of a distraction, no of course not. Because you know, we are in a time, we are in the greatest crisis that our country has faced in our lifetime. And we haven’t even, we’re not even, we’re not even halfway through right now, right? We, it is a public health crisis that has given way to an economic crisis, the likes of which we’ve never seen before, our office has put out data about two weeks ago is showing that if this state remains on lockdown for another or a month and a half or so, we are looking at a budget deficit sweep, the eight billion billion with a B dollars in this fiscal year alone, we’re seeing sectors of the economy disintegrating before our eyes like the hospitality sector which is has lost 60% of its receipts and 90% of its withholding receipts, so that’s kind of an indication of how many people have lost of jobs. That’s where the focus has to be not on silly social media back and forth. So no, if I had to do over again I would keep the focus of the state and of our state officials and our state agencies squarely where it has to be which is on working people, taxpayers and small businesses who are hanging on by a thread and meter L.
Ryan: Do you ever felt at any time that your safety was in jeopardy?
Len: Yeah-yeah, I did.
Ryan: Did you, and did you take extra, I mean you shut down your Facebook page for a day or so and that was obviously a smart move because of the the barrage of negativity. And look Lynn, it was toxic. You know, I was on your Facebook page and I was, I made comments, too. And you know I had people put up pictures of my wife and kids. You saw them and you said you know look you’re barking up the wrong tree.
Len: I wasn’t worried-I wasn’t worried about myself honestly, because I get paid to deal with the crazy. If you are in public life and if you’re in the position I’m in, you’re gonna step on a hornet’s nest from time to time. Yeah, to your question, I felt like there were times that my family’s safety was in jeopardy and without getting into details, we took some pretty pretty strong immediate precautions to make sure that they were not in harm’s way and you may have seen I actually resigned from a board that I value very much it’s called the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
Ryan: Yeah, I was married about um about less than 500 yards away.
Len: So, you know, it’s amazing place.
Ryan: It’s a wonderful place.
Len: One of the leading repositories of maritime history and marine research in the country. And I actually resigned from the board because board members for being doxxed and the executive director was getting some awful messages, threatening messages, obscene messages from some very scary people. And I said, you know what? Again I get paid to deal with this, they don’t. Let me just separate myself from them, so at least they can go back to doing the job they were hired to do.
Ryan: Yeah and I’m sorry that you had to do that and I understand why you did it. It’s a culture that we live in which is destruction. Immediately, it was, we want his job. To hit you, think about it, they want to hit you financially, they want to hit you where it hurts because they disagree with your political opinion and they will go to every length possible to destroy your character, to destroy your family, to destroy your livelihood. It’s happened to me before. It’s, I mean, people have called my employers, people have sent anonymous emails that have been harmful and I haven’t lived the perfect life but-I-but, you know, for quite a bit of time, I’ve, you know, I’ve-I’ve made mistakes and have amended for them but even still, if you have a political opinion, you have got to be, you have to watch out because people will come after you in the most grotesque ways. And I know, it’s the business that we’re in, but I think it’s brought on by big, by Donald Trump. I think it’s brought on by the people in the party and some of the members of the party, there’s some really good Republicans. My wife is a registered Republican and there’s some really decent people who are republicans and I know a lot of people who support Trump like my parents. But, I mean, they’re they’re not huge supporters. My dad who’s a wonderful guy and they they simply believe that it’s a, it’s-it’s about economics and sometimes they ignore the stuff that I can’t ignore but I know less respect them, I understand them and I know a lot of good decent Trump supporters. But there is a, there is a cabal, there is a group of Trump supporters who will go out of their way to make their lives living hell. There’s a pattern, there’s a pattern, there’s a demographic, it’s usually a middle-aged white guy, who’s pissed off at the world. And-and, I, and look my job as journalists is to be honest and transparent and I’m just gonna put it out there. There’s a lot of angry white guys out there and it’s unfortunate.
Len: What I did during the whole crisis and again it came and it went pretty quickly. I went about my job, I showed up for work the next day which happened to be, you know, the basement of my house. That’s where I’m working these days in this era of stay at home. And, I went right back to it because as I told a reporter from my local newspaper here in Easton, The Star Democrat, which you’re familiar with. She called and said, *unclear* I said trust me. It hit some taken, ain’t nothing compared to the hits ordinary people are taking this state right now.
Ryan: Yeah and it’s-it’s bad.
Len: And I have my, and I have my job because Peter Francis said I still have my job. So, I’m doing a heck of a lot better than millions of people around the country and hundreds of thousands of people here in this state. So, don’t worry about me.
Ryan: Did you keep, did you, did you hang the Scott Baio poster?
Len: I haven’t gotten yet.
Ryan: Oh, because I saw that he-he wrote you out a note.
Len: I mean he wrote me a note, I’ve been waiting for it because you know, look, I remember happy days just like everybody else, right. I remember when I remember when Cha Chi started the grease fire at Arnold restaurant. And now I left for the night. I, you know, I remember all that. But you know I told someone the other day it’s kind of like Cha Chi’s own spin-off episode, his own spin-off series, Joanie-Joanie Loves Cha Chi, it started up with a great deal of promise but ultimately failed to deliver.
Ryan: Well, that was the most attention Scott Baio will probably ever get from the state of Maryland in his career. So god bless him, he added a little humor to it but no less Leonard…
Len: He said, he has a good spirit.
Ryan: So, let me ask you, let’s talk about Covid 19. I’m assuming that you’re hunkering down and are you, are you you’re traveling into work? Are you going over to the to to Annapolis? Where are you pretty much sequestered at?
Len: So primarily, I’m working on my basement study, right now. The shrine to Washington Nationals baseball and –
Ryan: It’s my shirt man.
Len: I love it, man. I love that actually and the color looks good on you.
Len: Days a week, if there’s a, if Peters coming in for Board of Public Works meeting you are if there are operations issues to which I need to atttend in the comptroller’s office, I’ll cross the bridge and go to Annapolis. But that’s one or two days a week, max. I mean, I am really trying to lead by example and stay home and-and ride this out and spend as much time and money honestly supporting local businesses as I possibly can.
Ryan: It’s been a tremendous-
Len: Business is like classic brewing located on Kenna Island in Queens.
Ryan: Well, let me tell you let me just give a brief incidental aside is that we did are into the Year wrap-up show of 2019 that call classic brewery. It was one of the best nights and we stood next to our dear friend Eric Galley and Clay Mitchell and his lovely wife. It was a moment to remember and I think we went for two hours Lynn that night.
Len: I think, we learned for more than two hours. I think- I think I got there on 5 o’clock and I think it was almost 8 o’clock back home we rolled out there man, it just, it was, it was long. And I, and I, and I, still check in with Jessie and Brooks from time to time and all right I gotta tell you, our craft beer sector’s hurting right now. Yeah, I know every sector of the economy is taking a hit. But this is an, this is an industry where their tap rooms are absolutely a vital indispensable element of their success and when you shut down the tap room, you can’t have those public gathering places, you’re basically cutting off their lifeblood. So, I think that, when I think there are so many lessons that have to be learned or so many lessons that have to be looked at when we, when we get through this a media public health crisis and get back there’s some semblance of normal business, we’re gonna be a fundamentally different way in which we approach the economy in just one-one element of that is completely readable reviewing top to bottom, the laws that govern how we produce transport and sell alcohol beverages in the state of Maryland. This is gonna happen, we’re gonna have to just completely review the three-tier system as it currently is set up.
Ryan: I want to talk about what the comptroller’s office is doing but first could I get your perspective on how the state has so far handled this crisis and your thoughts on governor Larry Hogan’s response personally in his leadership.
Len: I think, I don’t think I’m alone here. I mean, obviously, I think I speak for the overwhelming majority of Marylanders and saying I’m just so proud to have Larry Hogan as my governor. Well, we we know he’s a great man, we know he’s a great governor. I think what we have been reminded of over the course of this crisis is that he is also a good man.
Ryan: I-I see that and you know someone who covers him and has written about him and has interacted with him many times one-on-one and personally, he, not only is he a good man but he has assembled one of the most all-star cabinets and response teams in-in history. My wife this morning said that she, she said there’s going to be no better governor in my lifetime aside from perhaps God William Donald Schaefer.
Len: I prayed so I think he’s earned every bit of it I would put him right up there in the pantheon of great governors in Maryland his clear out there with the likes of McKellen and Richie. You know, what, one thing do I teach crisis communication on the side, you’ve been to my class named Hopkins and one of the things that we learned when taught when dealing with a public health crisis is that when it comes down to a conflict between public health and any other consideration, public health always comes first. You know, I remember the, I-I don’t know how old you are Ryan but I don’t know if you recall the 1982 cyanide crisis where where where were tylenol capsules were being laced with potassium cyanide and what word settle to die the metropolitan Chicago area and the things that Johnson’s and Johnson’s, the parent company did at that time it was a radical step. They would they recalled every single law product in the United States. Hundred million dollars worth of product in nineteen eighty-two dollars gone and then the shareholders took a hit they took a hit that the message was, public health comes everything else. And I think that by virtue of his words and actions, they’re been sending that same message that there’s no substitute for human life and public health will always remain our top concern. And, I couldn’t be any prouder of the man, I’m honored to call him a friend and I can say, he is an amazing governor.
Ryan: He’s taken some criticisms as well and people think, people are taking it personally and I can understand why. Look, there’s a lot of people out of work this will be a economic crisis, unforeseen in history perhaps, unemployment is skyrocketing now, people are desperate, they’re out of work, they’re not getting their stimulus checks, the response by the federal government has been absolutely abysmal, it is a worldwide embarrassment. Every time the President of the United States steps up to the podium to make a a statement, he embarrasses this country, he embarrasses the American people and he has no shame. And I look at-
Len: I find you going back to the last topic, I find that ironic, but I find that ironic because I got Hillary by the extreme right for-for my desire to feed, to feed these folks moonpies when Donald Trump their president actually went up to a podium emblazoned with the seal of the President of United States and talked about the restorative qualities of ingesting disinfectant.
Ryan: Disinfectant in UV light and then it’s always interesting how the-the hardcore supporters of Donald Trump and there are some who just shrug it off and say well that’s not what he meant. And I think, that it’s not what he meant, it’s what he said. And I don’t think he knows the difference and he wasn’t being sarcastic. Sarcasm is talking about moonpies but the difference is is that he was spitballing at the podium and then yet it’s funny how the Trump supporters come back and say to people that watch this objectively and think this guy is just absolutely nuts. They think that they have something on us. They know his ulterior secret, they know the motivations of this guy that he’s some sort of genius but he’s the blue-collar billionaire genius that talks about using disinfectant and then they make excuses and then they go on national television and send out their surrogates and then they lie to us via the press secretary and then they go out and continue to tell these just ridiculous lies and expect us to believe it. Meanwhile, the president during this crisis is tweeting just about everything that has no relevance it is probably the most, the worst leadership I’ve ever seen. I hope that that woman Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, I hope that she comes out of this and I think she will, she’s going to be a star. Andrew Cuomo, Gavin Newsom, governor’s like Mike DeWine in Ohio and governor’s from Delaware or Tom Wolfe up in Pennsylvania. Len, let me ask you this. Looking at the future and Peter Franchot wants to be governor in 2022 and his term would then begin in 2023. Well, what would be Peters approach? What would be his playbook? If you were leading him and you were leading those efforts as his chief of staff, how would he approach this?
Len: Well, I never like to address hypotheticals but I can tell you that Peter, as you know his relationship with Governor Hurley.
Ryan: I do.
Len: You know that they are their professional colleagues, they are personal friends. Can you see me okay?
Len: I lost you momentarily here, okay. They’re personal friends and Peter has nothing but the highest possible regard and appreciation for how Governor Hogan has handled this crisis and I think at the end of the day Peters approach would come down to the same core values that has informed our Governor Hogan has handled this thing, which is that Public Health, the preservation of lives, the preservation of Public Health, that is not the number one priority. And you know, but I’ll say something else Ryan. We’re gonna win this crisis. We are going to overcome the public health crisis in spite of Donald Trump and in spite of some of the more extreme elements of our society they’re trying to undermine these stay at home work directives. We’re gonna get through it. What happens next is going to be the next great challenge in American society, in our political process which is how do we win the recovery. Peter has been spending a lot of time talking with civic and economic leaders in communities across our state, thinking about the approach that we’re going to have to take, the fundamentally different approach that we’re gonna have to take, the public policy in order to win the recovery. One of the things that Peter has said publicly is from this point forward every single policy question that comes before us is gonna have to be subjected to three questions. It’s called the three way test. Number one, does it put more money into the pockets of consumers and small businesses or just to take money out. Number two, does it make Maryland small businesses more or less competitive with those of our neighboring states. Number three, does it make Maryland a more or less attractive destination to live when retired. Everything we go to do whether whether in education or healthcare and environment, it’s we’ve got to think about what can we do to make our small businesses more competitive and to put more money back into the consumers pocket because they account for between 70-75% of our economic output. That’s gonna have to be a real big sea change in how we approach public policy. You’re going to hear a lot more from Peter Franco as he gears up for this tutorial campaign in the months to come and as he thinks strategically about how to win the recovery.
Ryan: Well, there’s there’s certainly some some leaders who have emerged from this and the comptroller’s office has been proactive in their response with the keep the lights on campaign and supporting local restaurants and craft breweries and businesses. Peter and yourself and your entire team and by the way Len, I have to say between your team between, you know, Susan and Alan, your comms team, our dear friend Clem Clakes, there’s so many people to mention from the Comptroller’s team.
Len: I kind of just mentioned one name of somebody, she does not seek the limelight but she stepped into a bridge this past week her name is Sandy Zinc and she is the director of our general accounting division. You never had her on this showing you probably never will because that’s not how she likes to spend the time. She turned around, there were day care provider or child care providers in the state of Maryland who were providing services to the families of essential workers, first responders, police, fire, emergency rescue people, health care workers who were having to work nights weekends 24 hours around the clock to keep us safe and healthy. And, these and these child care providers were providing services to children through their children and they hadn’t gotten paid for like five weeks and they were struggling to just survive and keep the lights on and and Sandy Zinc, once MSDE started to get her these payment invoices on Monday, this past Monday, Sandy Zinc, I think this woman you’ve never heard of marshaled her team and she got them out the door the very day we got them which is an unheard of turnaround time for government. She got those checks in the mail, she got that money into into electronic deposit checking accounts the same day and she saved countless small businesses by virtue of the quality of her service. Once you remember that name because as we look back eventually had who rose to the occasion, I want you to remember that name Sandy Zinc. She’s an amazing woman, she’s a dear friend and she deserves a real pat on the back.
Ryan: When Peter in the the Comptroller’s team have obviously been working to make sure that people still are getting their tax refunds, that is the core of the respondent is the chief Fiscal Officer of the state of Maryland. But look, there was a point where Peter had made a comment about the rent and he got some blow back for that from some progressive activists who tried to use that as once again as a rallying cry to say, hey look, Peter Franchot not one of us. In fact, a state delegate made a snarky tweet which I think was one of the most reprehensible things that I’ve seen in state politics in years. It was unfortunate and this is a damn good state delegate from district 20, Peters home district, district he represented for twenty years. And they’re saying Peters comment was that if you rent and if you’re having problems meeting your daily, rather your monthly rent payments, talk to your landlord, talk to them, have a conversation. And somehow you would have thought that Peter said something egregious and I thought that the reaction was overblown, I thought that he took some unnecessary criticism. And once again, this delegate showed up and put her hat on and said today I’m gonna go out and I’m gonna be a partisan hack and I’m gonna show up for the machine because even though we’re in the middle of covid-19, this crisis, I’m gonna put on my machine hat because we still have to do our duty to make sure that Peter Franchot does not become the governor. I thought that that was pathetic.
Len: Well you know which he got from both sides he got it from the likes of delegate Wilkins who I think he described, how I think he described her motivations muscly but also he got here in topic county where I lived because it was on the front page of our local newspaper. He got a la heat from folks who said well wait a minute if these people asked paying their rent or paying their mortgage or paying their utilities, how are we the landlord’s, how are we the property management companies going to possibly make do and it was kind of a massive exercise in just cognitive dissonance because I think they thought that at a time when unemployment filings had increased, one month over to the neck, one month over the last by 5,200% and people were taking cuts and wages and salaries and people were being furloughed, that somehow they alone could survive the laws of gravity and not take a hit. And so, I think was just a very odd isolated, you know, very naive reaction. But, I’m happy to say that we’ve gotten reports that so many Marilyn, I’m talking thousands, Ryan, took Peters advice called their creditors, called their service providers like that he told and that the overwhelming majority of these businesses are happy to work with our customers. They also have families, they also have personal stress. They know what’s happening in this country and they want to do the right thing. So, I’m glad Peter said what he said. Yeah, I’m glad to see that Marilyn’s business community in by an overwhelming proportions have stepped up and have been willing to be a part of the solution.
Ryan: Yeah, I agree and I’ll have to give you credit where it’s due keep the lights on campaign has been a positive reinforcement for the businesses. I understand it firsthand. I see it every day. My wife and I we do our part to support our community wherever we can, we shop local, we go and order directly from the businesses and some of these local places and I’ll give you an example, there’s our favorite Italian restaurant is in Gaithersburg and it’s directly down this *unclear*. Our favorite Italian restaurant is of course in Little Italy in Baltimore City. But, our favorite place is a little place called Cafe Roma. And it’s located right on the corner of 28th across from Quince Orchard High School. It’s in a little shopping center and we go there and I usually get the same thing chicken romano with chicken breast, a little bit of mozzarella cheese and then they give you a side dish kim goetz shrimp scampi every time. They have discounted their their beer and wine at 40% when you come in. This is a company who went out of their way one night because Kim had an order and they just very briefly, just mistakenly messed up the order and it was no problem. So we just call back and said hey we’ll come back and pick. The owner of the company, a first-generation immigrant, said you guys are one of our most loyal customers, I’m gonna deliver this and it’s gonna be there in 15 minutes. Some of these businesses have met this moment and I will forever be patrons and I know the struggles and we try to over tip every time we go out, we try to, you know, we’re in a we’re in a financial position where we can do that. And not all not all families can. It is really hard to see friends and family who have been laid off, who are struggling, who haven’t gotten their stimulus tracks, small businesses who are struggling and I hear from small businesses, Len, who say we’ve reached out to the Department of Commerce but we’re still in this loop of waiting to get the funds, we’re still in this loop of waiting to get the the backup and the the backup hasn’t arrived. What do we do? That’s where their frustrations lie with the executive branch and then in turn they’re demanding to reopen the economy. I get it. I understand why, Len. This is one of the worst periods that we’ve experienced but it seems like they take it personally from the governor. When you ask them, what’s your plan to reopen the economy? I see the liberty activist and God bless him because they do mean well. The Liberty activists would be the first people to defend our civil liberties in the event that they were trampled on. I give them a lot of credit. But, Len, when you ask them to really unwind their unwind their plan, they don’t have the answers. I say if you’re gonna spend my time and waste it on social media complaining why can’t your group, this reopened Maryland group, who I think that they mean well, but they just have terrible public relations, Len, they have no idea how to sell it, they have no idea to how to go on television and make a coherent or cogent argument to say here’s where we disagree with the governor but here’s where we can find common ground. It’s no wonder, the leaders of this group they’re constantly using social media to attack and they’re in an echo chamber. They’re making no tangible difference in their strategy. If someone gave them a little bit of media training then maybe they would make some headway or if they came out with a plan and articulated and built a website and said here’s our steps to reopen the economy they might be slightly different from Larry Hogan but we believe that this will help businesses, this will help families and then we can do this in a way that maintains social distancing. Why can’t this group get their act together?
Len: You know, I think about reopening Maryland the same way I think of the heckler & the stand when I was playing baseball back in the day. You know, there’s always some parent who’s too loud, too aggressive, too overbearing. When you’re standing in the batter’s box, what they tell you? Block out the noise. Like, it’s just you the pitcher, the back of the ball. To me, I just really opened their heroin thing. I had my fun posting with them, they had their fun attacking me and calling me every name in the book to me that doesn’t matter. I think of people like Charlotte Brink for instance. Now, Charlotte and her husband Den, they’ve really become very dear friends over the course of this pandemic. They’re the owners of Dan’s restaurant and Tap House. *unclear* of the woods I think Boonesboro, right?
Ryan: It’s where I spent a sizable portion of my childhood. My grandparents live in Maple Ville, Maryland. Most of the minor side and my grandmother’s side comes from Boonesboro and Dan’s tap houses, I said on your Gacebook, is the local town hall, the local watering hall. For anybody who is thinking about going to dance, I think they’re open for carryout, please go there.
Len: You can go there when this is all over with, man. I cannot wait to go there and to spend the night eating good food, drinking good beer and getting to know my new friends. But Charlotte called us right now, if you recall the governor put out an executive order very early on Ryan, saying that the restaurants and brewery distilleries and wineries can deliver alcohol beverages right to people’s homes.
Ryan: That’s right.
Len: Right, and in the executive, the executive order said that you can deliver any product as long as it’s in a steel container and t and very early on the Washington liquor board was not allowing mixed drinks to be served and delivered by restaurants. Charlotte called and said, “hey, we’re being put in an undue disadvantage with our neighboring jurisdictions.” so, we actually worked constructively with the liquor board under the Paul Quarterman. The delegate called and Senator Serafini they were very helpful and smoothing it out and anyway we got that banned from the liquor board *unclear*. And it’s just it doesn’t sound like a lot in the overall scheme of things allowing a restaurant Boonesboro to they’ll be able to deliver margaritas to the doorstep but that’s what the consumers wanted and that’s what they need in this moment and that’s money going back into a restaurants pocket, it’s going to be used to pay workers, pay suppliers, pay vendors and support other local community businesses.
Ryan: But there’s hundreds of stories like that that are untold. There are hundreds of stories like Charlotte Brink who owns again Dan’s tap house. And as a Washington county native, born, raised, educated, family is still there, I love my hometown, please go to, please, please, please go down to Boonesboro and visit Dan’s tap house. Take out, I’m gonna go there, Kim and I are gonna go there and just get some takeout. We’re gonna go from Montgomery county and support this place because we love it, but Len you’re onto something here. And these stories are so important and I think it’s our job in the media to tell these stories and to get these stories out and I think we’re gonna see some truly wonderful moments come out of this, all this horrible experience. But you mentioned Paul Quarterman, you mentioned Andy Serafini, consummate gentleman, serious lawmakers and legislators, who have to work in the same district as Neil Parrot. Neil Parrot, a guy who back in 2006, wrote a letter to the editor before he became a state delegate advocating a buddy who is HIV positive should be tattooed, that would be the equivalent of getting a tattoo to say that I am positive. What other portion of American history does that remind you of, Len? And this is a guy who has used his position as a state delegate in the state of Maryland to rail against same-sex couples, to deny people benefits, to use his religiosity to drive a wedge and to basically, just fundamentally, make the lies of immigrants people of color and anybody who does not look like him and his family miserable. I just want to say he has accomplished virtually nothing and now he’s running for Congress in the sixth District, Len. And him in that coop Dan Cox, down in Frederick, and you know his buddy Warren Miller, another one of these machine goofballs, suing the governor, a Republican and then he got Andy Harris down on the shore railing against the governor and you know the governor’s look, this is the Governor Hogan with Andy Harris.
Len: I think I know Andy’s endgame.
Ryan: What is it?
Len: Listen, I don’t think there’s any secret that that the governor is at least keeping his options open for his political life beyond the governorship and one of the potential options that might be attractive to Governor Hogan is a run for the Senate. And I think, Andy Harris is setting himself up for a primary challenge to Governor Hogan hoping that he could do the same thing to Larry Hogan that he did to Vernon Bruiser in 1998 and the same thing he did to Wayne Gilcrest back *unclear* which is knockout at a generally popular incumbent, you know, moderate Republican leader in a right-of-center Republican primary that’s dominated by arts conservatives.
Ryan: Why do you think that they’re suing the guy?
Len: In the fact that Andy Harris would be using this moment to burnish his political credentials, it makes me absolutely sickened and embarrassed to have him as a congress man.
Ryan: Yeah, he’s your congressman on the shore. He’s he represents that district and I – Len: Ryan, I was thinking about this. I think that Andy Harris and I think you appreciate it when I’m about to say, I think Andy is both a cause and a symptom of the broken political system we had today. Obviously, these are cause of the dusty degraded discourse that we have in which every issue including the greatest public health crisis of our lifetime becomes hopelessly polarized along partisan in philosophical lines. But, the fact that Andy Harris can exist and he can say and do these things without any kind of retribution, it’s a result of a broken political machine system, of machine politics that allowed a group of lawmakers to go behind closed doors and create a congressional district that stretches from Taneytown Maryland minutes from the Pennsylvania border all the way down to crisps field and basically basically pushes most of them to ultra conservative Republicans in the state into one district so that people like me are completely disenfranchised because we’ll never have a competitive congressional race as long as the district looks like this.
Ryan: Has Andy Harris endangered lives?
Len: I don’t know. I don’t know.
Ryan: By his actions and his, it’s nothing more than a political opportunity and I understand that when opportunities happen, you take them. What’s the old Rahm Emanuel phrase, don’t waste the, never waste an opportunity at a crisis. But I see Andy Harris is just fundamentally irresponsible and whatever his endgame is and frankly I don’t care, Len. I think that he has every time that he has an opportunity to do the right thing he does the the opposite and now he’s attacking our governor. And look, he’s a clown. I don’t mean to name-call but that’s what other definition it can we come up with what other phrase our noun can we really come up? What about a medical doctor? A guy who has a medical degree and attended some of the nation’s best schools is now shoveling this garbage out because it gets him political points. And I just think that’s disgraceful.
Len: But you know, we also have to think about this again. I think we have to think about the system that we have in place that allows a guy like Andy Harris to be politically to created and it allows him to flourish. Because right now, Andy Harris could do whatever he wants because he is cruising with minimal opposition at best reelection. He’s gonna get really elected. And as long as the districts are gerrymandered in this way, he will never face any real consequences for his actions.
Ryan: You had a post today about Warren Miller, specifically targeting Warren Miller, who is by my latest estimate is still locked in the Annapolis cigar lounge in the back room waiting to escape with his bottle of bourbon in his medium gray low price cigar before he takes votes. Warren Miller, every opportunity he gets again loves to do the wrong thing and what’s up with this guy? Tell me about your post today.
Len: You wonder what caused it. So Warren Miller is a delegate from, he represents district 9. It’s Howard County. I think he also has a little bit of Carroll County, I think. Actually, I think, he’s just Howard. Anyway, it’s a very it’s a very conservative district and he comes across as a very conscientious, conservative a thoughtful man. He likes to play chess and he has a look of someone who’s erudite. This is a guy who brought his entire legislative career has used his position in the Maryland House Adelle it’s nurse grudges settle old political scores and to do, tend to do the business of corporate and political machines at the expense of consumers and working people. He is an absolute worst possible example of what an elected official would be. In 2018, you may recall that he actually, he actually sponsored a bill to look at whether Peter Franco should be stripped of the responsibility for regulating alcohol and tobacco, a job that he has done exceptionally well for which we earn national awards. And whether that those responsibilities should go to a new, a whole new agency of state government. And subsequent, a bill was introduced by Warren Miller was passed and right now the Lofland is at some point the future at a cost of tens of millions of dollars, we’re going to have a new agency of government created, new staff, new technology, new furniture, new new equipment just because the Annapolis machine was frustrated at Peter Franchot wanted to modernize and improve our state’s beer laws. Here is the reform on tap effort of 2018. You may recall it. And Warren Miller took extreme personal offense to it and let and just led the effort within the economic matters committee but not only, to not only kill the bill will also attack the motives of the Comptroller and of those who were supporting the effort. So, here you have a guy who is masquerading as a conservative, he is opposed to the principles of free market economics of allowing Brewers to manufacture and sell what the market will allow, he is for wasting taxpayer dollars on creating even more layers of government bureaucracy and now he’s wasting even more money on a frivolous lawsuit against Governor Hogan, at the worst possible time. You tell me, how those are the actions of a conscientious conservative?
Ryan: Well, I think that’s a question that I’d love to have Warren Miller come on and talk about. And I’ve talked to Warren Miller before and he presents himself as a otherwise decent guy. I just think that he’s been, he’s put him, he’s made some interesting votes and you shouldn’t go into elected office Len to nurse grudges. You know, that’s not, that’s not why people should run for office. They should not, they should run for office for a principle, to affect policy and to do good. I want to shift directions just briefly a couple of different topics that I want to cover before wrapping up. Joe Biden, presumptive Democratic nominee for the Democratic Party, he is on pace to win the nomination Bernie Sanders has endorsed him, pretty much every Democrat out there in national politics has endorsed him and he’s now coming under Joe Biden on Friday, did an interview with Mika Brzezinski of Morning Joe and talked to her about the allegations that are of sexual impropriety or sexual assault from Tara Reid. And the more that we unfold this story, the more that we unwind this story, the more questions I have. What is your response Len?
Len: Yeah, first of all, I support Joe Biden from the president obviously. And I’m gonna support Joe Biden for president no matter how this thing comes out because you know, on his very worst day and in his and in the very worst darkest recesses of his character, he’s a thousand times the man, in a thousand times a leader Donald Trump will ever be. I think he does, I think Ms Reid deserves to be heard, I think their claims deserved to be investigated. I don’t know if I believe her, I think her story has evolved quite a bit. Uh, it has assumed several iterations over the years. It has evolved and several people who she claims had received the complaint in fact have have disputed her version of events and said they did not in fact receive a complaint. I’m going to say the same thing here that I said about about Christine Blasey Ford. I believe that she, that her claims have to be taken seriously and I believe that her claims deserve serious investigation. We can’t just say we believe women in this situation but not in that situation but I’ll say this, at the end of the day regardless of how this turns out I’m gonna support Joe Biden for president because we had to get Donald Trump’s ass out of the White House, period.
Ryan: Len, the district 30, had a delegate selection that went through the Central Committee process and the process ended up and resulted in someone who now is a sworn in delegate to replace former state delegate, Alice Kane in district 30, the former the late speakers districts, our Alfa’s district. And the process to select the the delegate, it was has come under considerable scrutiny in criticism. The new delegate, Dana Jones, and I don’t know much about her other than what I have read got more votes than other people. I don’t think anybody inside of the actual physical district 30 from the Anne Arundel County Central Committee voted for Ms Jones. And now, she’s a state delegate. There’s been other people who have come out, democrats, to criticize this process and it seems like perhaps somebody from Stewart Pitman’s office picked up the phone and aided and abetted the process and made some demands or phone calls. What do you make of this process and Len is a Central Committees, are the central committees rather, is it time now that we look at legislation to consider, seriously consider special elections in place?
Len: -special elections. It’s not a judgment call, it’s obvious. This is becoming a more frequent pattern as you know, with each passing year, we see whether it’s because lawmakers die whether it’s because lawmakers resign for whatever reason they pursue other opportunities, things come up. Lawmakers are leaving the General Assembly with unfinished terms to complete and you know this idea that we can get this idea that a handful of people from one political party can congregate in virtual, if not literal secrecy and have this very Byzantine process to appoint somebody who is going to, who is supposed to represent or public *unclear* independence alike on the taxpayer dime is absurd. The cost of having a special election are minimal. The benefits in terms of public confidence and our small de democratic process are significant. This is something that has to happen now because right now people are just frustrated and bitter. It’s not only a disservice to the citizens of district 30, frankly it’s a disservice to the delegate Jones, who by all accounts is a as a fine person, a very capable person, who will in all likelihood serve with distinction. She’s gotten off on the wrong foot simply because she chose to go through a process that’s fundamentally flawed. Have special elections, period.
Ryan: Len tall’s looks like that it’s gonna be postponed. I talked to Bruce berry on Wednesday. He called me and gave me the insight and then Maryland matters then posted the story. Looks like we’re looking at a date in September what 16th?
Len: I heard October 14th.
Ryan: Rather, October 14th, yeah. So, October 14th, and we’re looking at a little maybe, a little less hot day.
Len: I know, it’s not gonna be great because tall’s brother is supposed to be three digits in the shade, right?
Len: 100° and then we’re supposed to be soaked through doors, to soak through two or three shirts in the course of one afternoon and head up the snappers and get under the awning there and work off our sunburn. We’ll probably have beautiful autumn before it. I don’t care. You know, the other number ones are gonna be huge that time of year, whenever we have it. I think just the important thing is that we have it, man.
Ryan: It’s a legend. I don’t miss it and the last two years you and I have started a new tradition of doing the tall’s after-party at snifters down in Cambridge, a rather-
Len: All right, talk to Laura Sydnor over snapper.
Ryan: Snappers, I’m sorry.
Len: If this is the day, October 14th, can you circle on the calendar because I’m gonna bring it everyone in again this year and Ryan and I are gonna be going our thing and she said the patio is ours.
Ryan: Yeah. I’m excited about that. So you know, it’s been it’s been an interesting weekend. Two more topics, one, your thoughts Congressman Kweisi Mfume went on to a special election and won by an overwhelming majority over 70%, I believe it was 72% against hit the Republican opponent. It looks like, well not looks like, but he is returning to Congress and soon he’ll be sworn in. What do you think about that? Len.
Len: Happy about it. He’s a good man, he’s a good man. He is a national leader and yeah, and it’s time when we’re going to be experiencing an extended period of fiscal and economic crisis and social disquiet around the country. Baltimore City and the state of Maryland are going to need every single powerful voice advocating let’s behalf for resources and attention. Kweisi Mfume is a man of real stature who will be an amazing advocate for a city in the 7th district in the entire state. That’s a real, that’s a huge get for all of us.
Ryan: Yeah. Well, I want to give a quick shout out. I live in the city of Gaithersburg and we’re very fortunate to have an exceptional City Council and mayor. In fact, Jud Ashman is my neighbor who lives right down the street from me and yeah, and we have great members of our City Council, Ryan Spiegel, a great guy and a terrific terrific council member, we we have Mike Sesma, we have Neil and then we we just have a fine council and they have done an extraordinary job of working through this crisis like many local governments. I’m gonna missing in these guys down at *unclear*, I’m gonna miss seeing these guys down in MML. I know that *unclear* looks like they’re gonna do some digital session still though, it’s not going to be the same. And look Len, I’m gonna miss Ocean City but next year. That’s okay, I would much rather stay home and halt this curve and pay very careful attention to Dr. Fauci’s esteemed medical advice and flatten this thing. So, I think that some of these summertime activities that are the pivotal events of the year, we can wait until next year. We’re still gonna have, we’re still going to be able to talk to one another and we’re still going to be do these zoom sessions. But, I’m excited about what’s to come and more overwhelmed. I want to, I want to say two more things. One is that we didn’t really get to talk about session that much and as we were wrapping up, there was some breakout stars this session and then there were people who were just pulverized politically. And a couple of the breakout stars that I’ve noticed was one was delegate Michelle Guyton who is from a Baltimore district near Towson and she put forward a couple of great bills to protect seniors, to protect vulnerable America, vulnerable Marylanders and I think that she has done a tremendous job this session and I think some of the, and I have to give credit where credit is due. I think Cheryl Kagan, my state senator had a phenomenal session. She really has buckled down and supported the 9-1-1 community with her next generation bill, she did some work on people who are intoxicated with cannabis and who decide to drive. Cheryl Kagan has stepped up her game and really not that she needed to but she has really stepped out now is the vice chairman of a new committee and has done a great job. I think Will Smith did a phenomenal job heralding his new committee, taking over the responsibilities from the former state senator who decided to retire. I think that there was a couple of breakout stars and I can’t recall them all on the top of my head. But Len, I think the person who took the most extreme beating and for good cause and I think the person who could have shown promise and who didn’t and just was a total letdown was the House Majority Leader Eric Lukey with the tax issue. I think that that will come to define him. I think that he overshot and I think that some of the committee chairmen who joined that bill overshot and obviously so the Machine doesn’t often pay attention to everyday Marylanders and that’s why they lose the governorship twice in four years. I think that his tax scheme of lowering the state sales tax of 5% and then raising fees on practically every element of the economy was a total miscalculation and it was a an embarrassing defeat for the newly appointed House Majority Leader.
Len: Well, he’s a smart guy and you know there are times I agree with Eric, there are times I disagree with Eric. And that’s fine, I mean that’s just the way we are as people, right? You know, we all have our ups and downs with one another. I think the whole issue with Kerwin is a New York, that’s what we were referring to the urban legislation and I think that that’s this is an object lesson in how we are going to have a new fundamentally different approach to public policy as we move forward. Because think about it, think about the context and think about the the Situation Room when *unclear* was being conceived and debated. Public school education look fundamentally different then than it does now. Who would have thought in January that we’d be sitting here in the middle of May and students would be learning online and we would see a digital divide between the students who have laptops and you have access to high-speed internet and those who don’t have those essential tools. Who would have thought that we would be thinking about having to see children six feet apart when we eventually go back into a classroom, right? Who were who would have thought that remote learning technology, the way that teachers can communicate with their students digitally would have to be completely revisited because of the situation. So I think, it’s an opportunity for us to be honest Ryan, to not only with K through 12 education but with higher education because they’re going to be experiencing several of the same financial and logistical challenges that we have in K through 12, to take this as an opportunity to think big and think about how to modernize and refine our approach, how we deliver these essential services and how we present the product for our families. Because, the world we live in now bears little resemblance to the world we had two months ago.
Ryan: I think that you’re right, Len. I also believe that while the challenge of administering education and online learning has caused lots of, plenty of *unclear* between parents we are no exclusion to that. Kim and I have done our level best as we’re home working and practicing safe social distancing to also educate our children and we have really had to tap into some creative resources but no less, I felt terrible for some of the teachers and I know that it’s been a challenge, a real challenge especially for low-income moms and dads who are out of work and maybe English is their second language. Len, I feel for them and as a community, I know we’re trying to help them as best as we can. But it’s a challenge and I think we’re gonna restructure the way that education will be administered. So finally, I want to say that today, it’s World Press Freedom Day. And I would be remiss if we didn’t- *unclear* -No, I was gonna say we would be remiss if we didn’t mention some of the all-star power players of the Annapolis press poll. And I mean this sincerely and sometimes we joke but people like the Baltimore Sun, Luke Broadwater and Pam Wood, Critical Players and I could name numerous reporters but people like Luke, who unfolded this story on Catherine Pugh that ultimately led to her resignation and then subsequent conviction and then soon-to-be imprisonment, Luke is an all-star. And Bryan Sears and I have mixed it up but at heart Bryan is a very good and decent guy. I don’t always agree with him and he may not understand what I’m doing or how media is changing but Bryan Sears is one of the textbook all-star reporters and I have tremendous respect for him. And one of these days, we’ll figure out how to move past this because I think he’s a gentleman. And I think that he truly cares and he does his job really well. Josh Kurtz is the Dean of Maryland Politics. There’s no one who has a better pulse on state politics than then Josh Curtis and his team that he has assembled, Bruce to put and Danielle just phenomenal people who Chronicle the State House excellent journalists who bring us news. Maryland Matters is a new and innovative news source in Maryland. And frankly, it’s where I get majority of my statewide news and they are on top of every story. Old-school guys like Lynne Lazarik from marylandreporter.com have has been around for quite a bit of time but still no less is as fresh and still sharp minded as he was the first day he walked into the Annapolis beat and Len Lazarik has been just a guy who’s given me some some good life advice. Erin Cox from the Washington Post in Oviedo Wiggins, just two all-star beat reporters who go out everyday and scoop up some of the best content and deliver news as it should be delivered. And I want to give a final shout out to our friends at Red Marilyn, Bryan Griffin’s who are going off to greener pastures him and Greg, I have decided to end Red Marilyn. And while we may not always agree with them, they have put together something from nothing, from scratch and it started out with people like Andrew Langer and Mark Nugent who is a brilliant guy and has used language and words that sometimes I don’t understand that I have to look up. And even spite our differences, with read Maryland’s content I give them tremendous credit for what they have built and put out a product and maintain that and we’re consistent. And sometimes, they did some great reporting and I want to just say congratulations to Brian and Greg, for all of their hard work for 13 years of accomplishment. I’m proud of them and they may not agree with what we’re doing but I still no less respect the work that they have done. And Red Marilyn has been a pivotal movement in this state where people rely on the the conservative take in a state that doesn’t always present the the counterbalance. So congratulations to Red Marilyn and I do truly wish Brian success and his new adventure, the duck pen.
Len: Kind of said any better of my friend. I read a great story a few months ago in governing magazine about and a team of researchers went out and they looked at communities that had a footing independent press, independent newspapers and blogs and whatnot as opposed to those who don’t have a thriving press infrastructure and it showed among other things that the financial situation in towns that have a thriving press corps is on average about in terms like the interest rates on borrowing that was like one in, you know their creditworthiness about 50 P about 50 basis point difference when they in a every town that actually has a thriving press corps because that press corps is there the whole elected officials accountable for the how the taxpayer dollars being spent. They hold appointed elected officials accountable for wasteful and inappropriate spending. That forces and creates this climate of fiscal accountability. It doesn’t exist when elected and appointed leaders are allowed to operate in a black hole. So not only for the continued function of our democracy but for the fiscal and economic stability of our communities in these most unstable times, we need a strong press for. For everything you said and I like the fact that meant most of the folks that you’ve mentioned here, I figured out or figuring out how to adapt to this changing environment and they’re going amazing work in the process.
Ryan: Even our friend, the curator of Maryland politics, Barry O’Connell, and Barry and I, we recently had a disagreement but I miss him and I hope that we can reconcile and Barry makes me laugh sometimes and sometimes I thought I don’t always agree with him but he’s still no less, he has something. He built this Maryland politics group again from scratch and I’m I’m hoping one of these days that we can shake hands and forget whatever disagreement not and frankly I don’t, I don’t even really remember because I’ve been a little bit-
Len: If I recall it had to do with the fact that you should disrespect to Michael Feldman’s bid for the second congressional district nomination, he was primary Dutch Ruppersberger. I think Barry might have been the kind of technology on figure behind Michael Feldman’s insurgent did. So, if that was indeed the the wall that came up between the two of you, I hope that that has that can somehow melt away and you guys can get back on the same page.
Ryan: I know that we will and he’s a good guy and he’s done a lot to to get certain messages out in in the state of Maryland that we may otherwise not heard of, Len. It was a pleasure to catch up with you and I know the last month has been interesting for you, for all of us really. And I appreciate the work that you do and to anybody, yeah, and by the way there’s a guy that’s on my status right now, on my personal status and his name is, let me see, I wrote it down, he is on my personal page, his name is Jack Adkins and I typically wouldn’t do this but I want to give a shout out cuz he is now, he’s threatened to dig up dirt on me and I said listen, I’ll save you the trouble I’ll just give it to you in a case file just said and I said stand by and he said tik-tok. So to Jack Adkins, I will gladly send you my personal personnel file of all the things that I have done wrong in my life and the curse words that I’ve used in the times that I’ve spent in the confessional up at my alma mater Duquesne University. S o Jack, you should expect a phone or you should expect a file coming your way about on the dossier on Ryan Miner and there’s some juicy stuff in there.
Len: Well, if you’ve lost Jack Adkins support now, you never will be admitted into the cosmos club, so my humble apologies.
Ryan: Len, cheers to you and your moonpies. It’s a pleasure and I like that classic hat and when this is, when some of these social distancing restrictions have been lifted, the first thing I’m going to do is, I’m gonna go out to eat with my family and then the second thing I’m gonna do is, I’m gonna plan an immediate trip down to Easton and we’re all going to get together and we can hang out and we will go over to snifters and have a good time.
Len: Look forward to it, Ryan. *unclear* if you would.
Ryan: I will. Thanks, Len. Thanks for coming on today.
Len: You too, goodbye.
Ryan: Alright, see you later. Hey, it’s Ryan again. Let’s make this thing official you can subscribe to a minor detail podcast through iTunes, Spotify, Google podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn radio, IHeartRadio or virtually any available podcast directory. If you want to leave a review on iTunes by all means, maybe write nice things, think about it. Sharing is caring. Could you do one more thing for me? Visit and like us on facebook.com/aminerdetail and follow us on Twitter on @aminerdetail. Remember, that’s a Miner with an “e”. Now, head over to aminordetail.com and sign up for our morning newsletter. Oh, I’m sorry. One more thing, I promise. It’ll be a pleasure to have you advertise on this podcast. You can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk. I know, that’s a lot but I have to ask. You all are great. Thank you so much for listening, bye for no.