Today in Frederick there was a rally in support of Planned Parenthood–an organization that has helped one in five American women. Your local ladies have been grateful supporters for their role in our own family planning. Some amazing first-hand stories were shared today, and we would like to ensure they are given some daylight.
Women on the street were talking about the difference Planned Parenthood had made in our own lives in helping literally plan our parenthood prior to the ACA mandate that birth control be covered by health insurance. If the ACA disappears, this will become critical again. Another woman used their services because she needed to escape life-threating abuse. Access to reproductive choice is an essential part of being free from abusive partners (as is access to health insurance regardless of preexisting conditions–the last thing we need is women staying in abusive marriages so they don’t lose their health care).
The first speaker shared that in 2006 she had just started a business when she was in a committed and loving relationship and became pregnant. She was devastated when she suffered a miscarriage. Not being able to afford health insurance, she went to Planned Parenthood for her care. It was at this point she learned she had an ovarian tumor and was diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. Planned Parenthood saved her life eleven years ago.
A minister from the community also spoke in support of the organization, explaining that she went to Planned Parenthood to get a pregnancy test when she was working as a social services coordinator and did not have insurance. When she told her family she learned that she was expecting at a Planned Parenthood clinic, they asked, “Did they try to get you to abort?” This underscores that we have work to do so the reality of Planned Parenthood is understood. She now has insurance, but the healthcare for women’s health needs is so expensive that she plans to return to Planned Parenthood for some services. The icing on the cake was that the person who spoke before her in the capacity of Community Outreach Coordinator for PP is the daughter she was pregnant with at the beginning of her story.
Planned Parenthood is not the gruesome villain painted by opponents. They provide essential life-saving services. These are services that will become more critical if the ACA is repealed. Delegate Karen Lewis Young spoke about her membership on the Health and Government Operations Committee. Delegate Lewis Young also spoke eloquently about the very real difference between being pro-birth and pro-life. You go, girl! Real pro-life is pro-choice, too!
Your Lady Yokels are holding our collective breath that we can get through these final two days of 2016 without any more tragedy. If you need a distraction to get you through the next couple of days be sure to read our end of year posts. First up we have our Most Popular Posts of 2016. You can revisit your favorite Yokel posts about all that went on in this tumultuous year. Also, we have the coveted Yokel In/Out List. Check back with us on January 4 when we will restart our coverage of our favorite governmental body.
Into the ole Yokel inbox appeared two letters that Kirby posted to Facebook. They are from the office of the Attorney General and this is oh so professional to post these to Facebook, isn’t it? Well Kirby is outraged over the corruption apparent in these two documents:
How does running off to the State with their vendettas align with their local control mantra? These two frequently complain about the State’s laws and their overreach. Yet, when they have a problem with the meanie CE off they trot to the State in hopes of giving her the good what for. Curiously, the Attorney General’s office did not pick up the fight. Who knew these two were such prolific letter writers? Perhaps now they can putting those writing skills to use and propose some legislation that would fix what ails them. Because if they had done that to begin with, perhaps they wouldn’t have to write futile letters to the Attorney General.
Our faithful readers know we like to stick to the local. There’s so much going on in these here parts that we don’t usually stray beyond our borders. However, we feel the need to expand our net in order to help explain something that happened in our fine county yesterday.
We’ve heard that a group of fellas took to their truck, finely decorated with that symbol of Southern lost causes, and yelled obscenities at people of color who were walking down Market Street. We are smart enough to know that this could happen for a variety of reasons: drunkenness, stupidity, feeling they are entitled to their hateful opinions because someone running for our highest political office gives them the cover to do so.
It’s the latter we are going to focus on.
When Donald Trump first ran for office, it seemed like a gimmick. Some rich, bored, former reality show star just trying to get attention. It has evolved, over the last few months, into something decidedly less optimistic. Mr. Trump’s “politically incorrect” campaign has given license to those with awful viewpoints to sing them loud and unashamed. By saying the truly awful things that he does, Trump is taking us on a backwards train towards bigotry.
I am sure most of us have lamented the term “political correctness” at one time or another. One thing that we seem to forget are the reasons why we changed the way we talk. For one, we cleaned up our act so one group of people would not be made to feel inferior to another. Let’s not kid ourselves. Language matters. A lot. For a moment stop and think of all of the horrible words used to describe and address African Americans, Women, Asians and Latinos over the course of the 20th century. Pretty terrible aren’t they? There are good reasons as to why its not okay to speak that way anymore. Then along comes Donald Trump who tells people that its okay to express their bigotry. More than that really, he’s made people feel as though they are the ones who are oppressed when they can’t “tell it like it is.”
We get that people feel insecure when economic and educational opportunities are scarce. It’s scary that we live in a unpredictable world where people can shoot or blow you up because of their extreme religious viewpoints. And like the old plantation owners of the failed Confederate republic, Trump feeds into those insecurities and prejudices by turning attention and blame away from where it really belongs…people just like him. Trump, and other greedy fear mongers, are responsible for middle class jobs being shipped overseas. They are responsible for driving people of different backgrounds further apart. All Mr. Trump has offered us is a blame game and false solutions that will only tear this country further apart.
Now back to the local. Frederick, like anywhere else, has always had its racists. And only those people in the truck yesterday can attest to their motivations. One thing is clear though; Trump has paved the way for these kinds of people to feel comfortable in spewing their truly disgusting thoughts. There’s still time to stop this trend. Who is with us?
In this morning’sFrederick News Post we have more evidence of just how important the teaching of history is in our schools. Here’s what County Council member Tony Chmelik has to say about Maryland’s prevailing wage:
Councilman Tony Chmelik said he wants to reverse that change altogether. He said the change was a “political boondoggle” meant to please labor unions.
Deep breaths! Count to 10! Repeat! Seriously folks, if one is not able to see how the labor movement has benefited this country we really, really question that person’s ability to govern our fair county. This whole Republican attack against the labor movement and fair wages is so reminiscent of how rich plantation owners manipulated the poor whites of the South into supporting a system that was against their own economic interests. I think it’s time for a nice Upton Sinclair quote from his book, “The Jungle” about conditions in the meat packing plants in Chicago:
Here was a population, low-class and mostly foreign, hanging always on the verge of starvation, and dependent for its opportunities of life upon the whim of men every bit as brutal and unscrupulous as the old-time slave drivers; under such circumstances immorality was exactly as inevitable, and as prevalent, as it was under the system of chattel slavery. Things that were quite unspeakable went on there in the packing houses all the time, and were taken for granted by everybody; only they did not show, as in the old slavery times, because there was no difference in color between master and slave.
Sound even a little bit familiar to some issues we may be having today? So please Mr. Chmelik do go on about how giving people a living wage is a boondoggle. Please feed us more rhetoric about how labor unions are ruining this country and how rolling back the prevailing wage will solve all our school construction woes.
We like our readers to be informed so we want to talk a little about the prevailing wage here in Maryland. It was first enacted in 1945. Yes, that’s right 1945. It’s not a new thing at all. What does change is the numbers. The State now requires that if a public project costs more than $500,000 and they contribute more than 25% of the costs, the county must pay the prevailing wage. In 1999, Prince Georges County asked Mark J. Prus, Associate Professor of Economics at SUNY Cortland to do a cost analysis of the prevailing wage and school construction costs. Read the whole study here, and let us highlight some main points. First of all, why historically do states (Maryland is not the only one) enact prevailing wage laws?:
Prevailing wage laws emerged from a concern that cutthroat competition over wages in construction would lead the industry down a low-wage, low-skill development path. This was said to put the quality of construction at risk and lead to an itinerant, footloose, low-wage construction labor force. Poor construction workers would make poor neighbors and potential burdens on the community. Reasonably paid construction workers, on the other hand, held out the possibility of being solid neighbors, good citizens and productive members of the community. Government, by the operation of prevailing wage laws, was supposed to get out of the business of cutting government costs by cutting the wages of its citizens. Whatever labor standards had been established, whatever wages prevailed in a local community; that is what the law said government should pay on public works.
Hmm, so the goal is to make sure that good work is done, people are skilled and are paid enough to become economic participants in the community in which they live. The horror! So what was the conclusion of this analysis? (We know it’s an older study, but it’s still relevant):
A “here-and-there” linear regression model was developed to estimate the effect of prevailing wage regulations on total construction costs for schools, controlling for other factors. This model controlled for the type of school, the size of the project, and building characteristics. It also controlled for general differences in construction costs between states with and without prevailing wage laws and general differences between the cost of public and private construction (whether or not done under prevailing wage regulations). Controlling for these factors, this model could find no statistically significant impact on total construction costs due to prevailing wage requirements.
In comparison with states that did not have these laws, there was no statistical difference. Now, in the study, it did show that there was an increase for high schools as compared to elementary and middle, mostly because they are bigger and more complicated structures and therefore take longer to build.
We are quite aware that Frederick High’s construction costs are well over the estimate. And yes, some of that cost is due to the fact that in the original estimate this wage increase was not factored in. But that is not a reason to fight the prevailing wage law. We need to have the governorrelease our funds. And perhaps we need more help from the State in general when it comes to school construction. The answer does not lie in a cheap labor force. It never does.
We will leave you with this nice poster that we got from our Republican Rebel friends:
It’s no secret that we are having problems with our public school funding here in Frederick County. Part of that problem is that the Governor did not release all of the money that the Board of Education was expecting. This is a statewide problem with far reaching consequences. Of this money Frederick County Public Schools was down about 3.2 million dollars. Not enough to eradicate all of our financial woes, but enough to make an impact. So if you have a moment please sign this petition: