The Chatter’s Guide to Voting. All you need to know for tomorrow’s primary.

I love election day! Tomorrow, the polls open for the primaries and I can’t wait. I have long argued with friends that they have no right to complain if they don’t exercise their right to vote. If you’re of the type that doesn’t know where you stand, let me shed some light. And vote – it’s a right and a responsibility. Remember, however, that our silly state requires that you are registered with a party to vote in the primary (unless it’s an open primary.) You may only vote in your party’s primary so if you’re registered as an independent, you’re out of luck for tomorrow.

Sadly, there are a few uncontested battles. You can visit the City’s site here and see who all is running. But here’s what you need to know for the contested battles.

Mayor
D- Josh Cohen

R- Bob O’Shea

Why? Joshy-boy hasn’t exactly been the leader with the biggest pair over the last 4 years, but he’s working on it. And the fact that he finally stood up for the City is a good sign. He’s the lesser of the two evils if you ask me. Not in love, but he’ll suffice. And I think he’s a decent leader. Bevin will be a disaster for the City. She reminds me of the bull in a china shop, and quite frankly, her husband refused to pay for a ticket to attend a festival a few years ago. He sorta walked right in like he owned the place. Really rubbed me the wrong way, and sadly, I remember those little things. I haven’t been impressed with her at all. So if you’re a registered D, vote Cohen.
For those registered Republicans, I feel for you. You’re in one of the bluest states in the country. And our City isn’t much different. But having a 29 year-old with nothing more than name recognition as our mayor, will do more damage than anything else. Does Mike really know how to manage a city? I met him once. He was arrogant and dismissed everything I had to say. I’m his peer, and he looked at me as if I knew nothing. Call me crazy, but up until then, I hadn’t seen him on Monday nights over on Duke of Gloucester. Not impressed. And therefore, a vote for O’Shea.

Ward 1
D- Tom McCarthy

As a member of Ward 1, I give Joe Budge credit. He’s responsive and he takes his duties as Alderman seriously. But he’s also arrogant, and I’ve been less than impressed with him from the days of Tri-Rock Annapolis debates. And, his wife is the head of one of the most powerful commissions our City has. I take it back, she probably has more power and control over the Historic District (the City’s crown jewel) than the Mayor. So tell me why, and how, it’s okay for her to be in that position and her husband to be Ward 1 Alderman. HUGE conflict of interest if you ask me and he openly stated that he will NOT recuse himself from votes. He’s in bed with Save Annapolis. And they’re stupid, so by default, Budge needs to budge his way out. Why I like Tom – He’s young. He speaks his mind. He cares about the City. He’s smart. He won’t play the games. He’ll be an effective Alderman for the residents of Ward 1 and will advocate for us. He’ll provide a balance for those who don’t necessarily agree with the Ward 1 Whiners. Vote Tom McCarthy for Ward 1 Alderman.

Ward 2
D- They’re both good as far as I can tell.

Read both their bio’s and I think you’ll be good with either one.

Ward 4
Anyone BUT Sheila Finlayson. We can do an underground movement to write-in on election day. Any takers? PLEASE!!

After tomorrow’s results, I’ll provide a guide to November’s election. But really, for those of you who live in Ward 1 and are registered Democrats, please think. We’re in a mess right now. Bevin was head of the Ward 1 Residents Association before Joe took it over. They’re both fighting improvements to City Dock … they both don’t think anything is wrong with downtown. Do we want them running our City? Tom is a viable candidate. He’s not collecting his pension… and therefore, has a different approach. Josh is slowly making headway. I’ll just chalk it up to the notion that it took him a few years to get his feet warm.  

Polls are open from 7 am – 8 pm. You may find your location here. Go earn your sticker!

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Disclaimer. I’m not in love with JoCo as Mayor… And yes, it took Joshy-boy 4 years to open the Market House…. but that’s a topic for another day….

Annapolis Market House … skimming the political surface

Election season is quickly approaching, which means Joshy-boy has been more active on the social media front. Something tells me it’s at the encouragement of his campaign manager. Last week, the Mayor posted a pic on Facebook along with “Trying out new, more vibrant colors on the Market House. What do you think?” He also posted a pic of construction, “Ricardo and Francisco breaking ground today to lay new pipes and electric for the new Amsterdam Falafelshop in the Market House!” We asked if this was the only vendor requiring work but he didn’t respond. We think his campaign manager needs to tell him about Instagram.

Anyhow, things seem to be moving along with the Market House, which is great news. I don’t think anyone will disagree with that. And if JoCo wants to keep his prime parking spot in the Hillman garage, he better darn well get that thing opened before we head to the polls in November. He knows that. His camp knows that. And I think collectively, the City wants (and needs) that.

But at what cost? We got this email from the guy who’s heading up the Market House contracts, and who also happens to be a part owner of the Falafel franchise group, but that’s a whole different subject. This was attached to his email. Personally, I’m not in love with the colors or design. But I also get that Sally is the resident-artist-contractor for the City of Annapolis, so she’s gonna get the work either way. And the opposition to the proposal will only really delay the process… so how does that really benefit anyone? Her argument, however, is a little off-base:

Are we supposed to expect quality vendors to risk their livelihoods while not allowing them to advertise and compete in today’s marketplace? These businesses will not survive if their potential customers can’t even tell that MH is open. Who knows how long before it sits vacant again.

Maybe Sally and Chuck didn’t do their homework, but the folks who are opening shop in the Market House have quite a few other business ventures that put food on their tables, a roof over their head, and clothes on their back. Have you seen those HB Properties sign around town? The seafood and oyster bar, the coffee, the corned beef – yes. Ten bucks says their to-go bags will say “Land and Sea.” The falafel stand – we already covered that. Not sure about the organic market, but they have a place in Severna Park that must be doing okay that they’re able to afford the space in the Market House. And the gelato people… well… they’ve obviously survived since they were last around town. So if you’re going to try and get people to support you, be honest and upfront. Please.

So next week on the 14th, they’ll have the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) Public Hearing. Attend if you’d like. Or attend to watch what could be a great show! It’ll be a genuine display of small-town politics as it’s literally the day after the new Ward 1 Alderman, Joe Budge, gets sworn in. His wife is head of the HPC. All the articles say that Mr. Budge wants the Market House open. I know that Ms. Kennedy also shares that same vision. But I’ve also seen her testify at City Council meetings regarding the integrity of the HPC. Given the amount of work Art at Large has already done in the City, I sure hope they’ve done their homework and don’t make complete donkey-hiney’s of themselves. This should be interesting…

Say hello. To me. In real life.

There’s been a lot (like, A LOTTTT!) going on around town and I’m trying to be brave enough to finalize and hit publish on a post I’ve been writing for many, many months. With some new developments, I think I’ve found the courage. Just not right now. This full-time job thing of mine has me pretty consumed right now. But I will tell you that for some reason, I no longer get the basic channels (I don’t have cable) so if I want to watch TV, it’s either PBS or the Annapolis government channel…. and that, my friends, has given me a decent amount of information to plug into this blog.

But for now, I’m going to again stray from the gossip and snarky commentary. I heard a rumor that this rather cleverly witty and entertaining blog writer in town will be “guest bartending” at Fado Irish Pub Annapolis tonight to raise money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation alongside some card carrying NRA member of the Maryland State House of Delegates and Annapolis Fire Department peops. (Darn you for it not being the popo!)  Fado will also be doing the Great Guinness Toast AND, if you don’t get their emails, you may not know that they’re doing free food promos pretty much all month long.

Almost a year ago, we posted about a similar event for the same cause. That brave and courageous little boy is no longer suffering in pain, but those who loved him are. No child should have to fight this fight. So if you believe that every little bit helps, stop by Fado tonight to support this cause. And come say hi and share what you’d like to read on this blog.

So. Here’s a deal for the readers. If at least 10 people stop by tonight that heard about it from this post, there will be a deliciously entertaining (or enlightening) post in the next ten days. That’s a promise…. and a threat!

Plus, who knows what could happen tonight… new developments, new rumors, new information, shared secrets… you want in on that action. It’s true.

Antogonists get what they wish for….

I received a rather biting message about not posting from my favorite antagonist tonight. So here you go…

Who knew that my recent post about shopping and politics would be so fortuitous (but not in the happy way.) Let’s just say I was in the middle of a verrry important meeting when the most depressing email showed up in my inbox. What did it say? An announcement that my favorite shop is closing its doors January 31st. RIP Mary & Blanche! I sure I hope I don’t make any new friends who have awesome senses of humor because I have no place to buy them gifts. I hope I’m not rent-a-date to another white elephant party because where will I go? And by golly, where the heck am I going to go when I need to just find anything, last minute of course? But most of all, I think I’ll miss visiting the most…

As a downtown resident, I often found myself at Stevens Hardware to pick up whatever it was I needed. And now no more. While I wasn’t a regular patron of Madison Boutique or Plat du Jour, I often found myself walking through their doors to see if they had what I was looking for. My placemats came from Plat du Jour and my fabulous now-Pensacola girl got one of her favorite dresses from Madison Boutique. (And she looks damn good in it, too!) And both those stores are closing their doors.

I’m actually rather depressed. It’s the start of a new year, things are supposed to be good and happy. What does this mean about our town? We have shootings within city limits almost regularly now. We have a market house that well… we all know the status. And an old “Riordan’s” building that’s still closed.

My only hope is that things will quickly turn around, considering it’s an election year and all. And an election year with many vacant seats. In all honesty, this could be a most fascinating eleven months!

Instead of wallowing, I’m going to go watch Meredith Vieira on Rock Center. She’s interviewing one of JFK’s former flings. Quite scandalous. Could you imagine if such a scandal rocked City Hall…? Now THAT would definitely warrant a future post.

Midnight Madness… shopping and politics

Despite the fact that some folks consider this here blog a “news” source, we are actually a completely opinionated Web site that occasionally delves into local politics, City of Annapolis shenanigans, Annapolis rumors, and activities of the Annapolis Police Department. And tonight, we’re venturing out to a true passion- shopping!

I remember my first Midnight Madness quite memorably… had no idea what it was about and was invited to join my very-first-friend-in-Annapolis and her mother to check it out. I discovered Tin Can Allee, or something similar to that name, on the corner of West and Cathedral, that night. (that place was great) I’m not sure if it was the awesome company of the evening or the overall joy and excitement and genuine holiday spirit that filled the streets of Annapolis, but I knew after that night just how special and to some degree, magical, Annapolis truly is.

As a lover of downtown, a very seasoned shopper, a serious bargain hunter and someone who, even in their 30′s, has to take NyQuil on Christmas Eve because of my excitement for Santa’s visit, I live for events like this. My must-stop shops, always, are Mary & Blanche! and Lilac Bijoux. If you appreciate the humor in this blog, I can guarantee you’ll very much enjoy the crap (crap as in, best place to find a stocking stuffer or hostess gift for someone with a sense of humor) that Mary & Blanche! sells. And if you love fashion and sparkles and fun jewelry (or you have to buy a prezzy for someone who does) you can (usually) always find something on the tables at Lilac Bijoux. They also have some rad clothes, but until I return to the gym, I’ll stick to their jewelry. Both shops are on Main Street and both shop’s owners are all absolutely lovely people.

Since I can remember, I’ve maintained that Annapolis, and your opinion on the historic district, is usually based on your experience. No matter how delicious that $10 gourmet sandwich on goody bread (for an extra $2) is or how refreshing your $5 bottle of water is, if you don’t have a pleasant experience, you’re much less likely to return. Have to wait 30 minutes at a wine bar for a glass of water and be told they are “out of glasses”? Not really likely to buy another bottle, no matter how fabulous it sounds. Or if a business owner is your next door neighbor and is too good to speak (or even smile) to anyone on the block, you’re not going to support them. Because Annapolis is about the experience. And for many, it’s about the relationships built from your experience.

As a new reader recently wrote, “I like your clear, not-politically-correct approach” and the blog takes pride in calling it like it is, at least in our eyes. (it’s that whole totally subjective thing) So as one might imagine, our relationships are true and genuine. We obviously aren’t wearing Best Friends necklaces with City Council members, or married to the only Republican Alderman, but apparently someone out there is. And that relationship has clouded the city’s judgement, again, regarding Midnight Madness and the use of Market House. (And he’s planning on running for Mayor next year…)

Last night, I started writing this post with the intention of it being all about shopping. And then found this article. I was SHOCKED. And then pissed. And now just downright disappointed. On so many levels. Disappointed that the City of Annapolis completely contradicts themselves and can’t even follow their own policies… the exact policies they so easily and quickly spout when asked a question. (Their law requires licenses for these events, which have to be approved by City Council.) They don’t play fair, ever. Disappointed that Mike Malinoff would make such a jackass comment. (What professional goes on the record with the media and says, “if so and so wanted it, he could have had it” like a 5 year old) Disappointed that the Market House is not being made available to any community group. Disappointed that the City of Annapolis obviously doesn’t think that maybe these craft fair type vendors would be competing with our local merchants who are part of downtown 365 days a year and pay taxes so they can operate. Disappointed that again, the City continues to display signs of an “old boys network.” And disappointed with some of the reactions shared at the end of the article. And to SafetyFirst, the individual who wrote, “This is just one of the many reasons I who am a long time resident of this city will not spend a penny on any business downtown” … it is because of people like you that one of the true landmark businesses of downtown is closing their doors.

And a simple disclaimer before people jump all over me, please know that my grandmother died of breast cancer. I work in women’s health. And I’m involved in a lot of charity work, and have been for over half my life. I get it.

So, much like the overall debacle of Market House, the City of Annapolis government again displays signs of total incompetency. I have no doubt tonight’s Midnight Madness will be an amazing evening full of energy, excitement, good will and holiday spirit. I’m excited to see this magical town decorated for the holidays, the sidewalks packed and many familiar faces on the streets. I’m not too excited about spending money, but I will. Not at the Market House, of course, but for no other reason than to show my support for my town. And I hope each of you do as well! Who knows, you just may see or hear something seriously Annapolis Chatter worthy…

Stuck in the middle with (or without) you.

Nothing says blogger like sitting at a bar, drinking loads of water and eating soup on a wet, cold night after spending a few hours at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts for a riveting Ward One Residents Association meeting.

I joined the club months ago, and once they cashed my check, I’ve been trying to get to a meeting. And tonight, I did it! (yes, please, I’ll take that gold star) And man, what a great first meeting to attend. (And to think I was just going to see if the nickname of Ward One Whiners was rightfully earned… which, I have to admit, was not really the case. Most of the old(er) ladies were quite pleasant and enjoyable.)

If you follow me on Facebook, which is most likely the case considering about 75% of my traffic comes through the book, you may have seen the status update about the future of Castlebay Irish Pub. And like many of the people I frantically texted, you were probably a little flabbergasted, much like I was.

But why? Well, because it seems the fine folks of the newest “i’m gonna bring culture to dta”-themed restaurant on Main Street apparently have plans for a(nother) new restaurant- a speak-easy, comfort food joint with “gourmet food and a refined beverage list” to be located at 193 Main Street. With such specific information, I naturally turned to my next bff, Google, to help answer some questions. You know, that pretty obvious one of “what’s at 193 Main Street?” And do you know what my bff Google told me? Castlebay Irish Pub. So that’s where the question came from. And the answer, as far as I can tell, is no. Suffice it to say though, in my quest for responsible journalism, I think I found my new favorite go-to in this part of town. (I have my Uptown favorite and my Eastport favorite already.) The staff at Castlebay is awesome, they let me get on their wi-fi, the music was great and the food was surprisingly fantastic. I am now a loyal fan.

And here I sit at Castlebay, having finished the most delicious tomato bisque with spinach and ham+cheese sandwich, trying to finish this here post before my carriage turns back into a (rotten) pumpkin. (Because of course you always go somewhere when you hear it’s closing.) Whilst here, I wondered outside to take a call only to discover that Castlebay is actually at 193A Main Street and next door is 193B… a vacant storefront. So maybe this business owner just misspoke. Among other oversights spouted, the following phrases came out, “we know the importance of community” and “we work well with other businesses downtown.” But then again, even Forbes believes that many experts misspeak every now and again. The bigger issue is however, at the end of the day, I feel like Castlebay Irish Pub is going to be, if they are not already, just stuck in the middle. Hopefully, with you.

Heck, I’m a “gossip” blogger, sooooo…. take what you read here for what you’d like. I guess only time will tell and we hope you’ll join us for the ride. Just hold on tight and wear your seat belt (we don’t need the Annapolis PoPo writing any tickets) because I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s gonna be a bumpy one…

Returning to City Council Meetings…

I returned to the halls of 160 Duke of Gloucester tonight for a few things. One, some (big and exciting) things are happening and I need to get back in to the groove, fast! Two, there was a presentation for the new and improved City Dock. Three, some shenanigans going on by my favorite Ward Four Alderman regarding the hiring of high ranking public officials on the agenda. And four, and perhaps the most important, I haven’t blogged this month so I needed something to write about.

Being the second child in my family, let’s start with reason #2: the presentation for an “improved” Annapolis City Dock. A few weeks ago, I received an email asking me to sign a petition. Its sender was CONNECTAnnapolis, a group of community-minded citizens who advocate for a  more cohesive community, through a greater pedestrian and eco-friendly environment in our city. And of course one of the driving forces behind this group is my favorite, @zignatures. The plea had four calls to action: sign the petition; speak at City Council; reserve a green balloon; and/or post on Facebook.

My two take-aways from the email: before the City Council meeting, they were meeting in Eastport. Now don’t get me wrong, I will forever be in love with Eastport. And I’m certainly appreciative that they weren’t gathering at the most phony “pro-Annapolis” establishment in town, but I do find it rather ironic. Because after all, they probably decided against meeting downtown because of the lack of parking. (Let’s just keep things real here.) My other favorite part was the call to reserve a balloon. Yes, a balloon. You can imagine my excitement when I read this! After all, nothing says eco-friendly like a balloon, right? Please tell me someone else finds the humor (and hypocrisy) in this? So when I showed up, I may have peed my pants in excitement (just a wee bit) when I saw all the balloons, full of HELIUM! Yup, that chemical element that we are in shortage of. And THEN, to put the cherry on top, they left their big over sized bags behind… didn’t even so much as throw them away or put ‘em in the recycling bins right outside chamber doors. I of course texted my truly green friend who taught me about those who “greenwash” and homegirl didn’t believe me. As I told her, I wish I was creative enough to make this stuff up. So kudos to you, CONNECTAnnapolis, for holding true to your mission. If you read anything I wrote, you’d know I was clearly supportive of the compromise garage, the one that your head-leader-in-charge pretty much single-handedly put the kabash on.

Reason #3 I attended the meeting tonight, well, it was postponed. I’m wondering if my bff Sheila is stuffing more things up her sleeves.

But I did sit through a rather interesting discussion regarding the Office of Elections, or lack thereof. Needless to say, the proposal to rent a space for this use was also postponed. I’m not exactly sure what kind of space they need, but I’m fairly certain I could find them something for less than $40k a year. Nor am I entirely sure how the City vs County thing works for elections, but that may be a fact finding mission for another day. Or not. I CAN tell you, however, that one individual has filed paperwork to run in the next election. The City Attorney didn’t specify the position, nor the individual, but I can only guess! After all, I have heard quite a lot of Chatter about different individuals who have their eye on the Ward One seat. And even the Mayor’s (corner) office…