Minutes of the New Harford Democratic Club Wednesday, April 3, 2019 at the Aberdeen Holiday Inn Express
President Bridgette Johnson opened the meeting at 7:05 pm. She welcomed the members, noting that there were three candidates for Havre de Grace City Council attending to speak later tonight, and introduced local elected officials: Andre Johnson, Casi Tamarchio, Donna Kahoe and Adam Hiob. She then led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Treasurer George Harrison reviewed the financial report and provided a hard copy for the record. He noted that new memberships are still coming in from our latest mail solicitation. Report approved unanimously.
Secretary Barney Michel presented the minutes from the prior meeting, noting that he will provide a hard copy for review (in addition to the e-version sent to all members) going forward. Minutes approved unanimously without comment.
Two new board candidates were presented for consideration:
o Army veteran with a law degree from UM
o family history of public service Wendy Sawyer:
o A long term NMTC member and past board member
Motion to approve both as board members was seconded and approved.
V. Candidate forum; Havre de Grace City Council election
Kirk Smith – his remarks focused on our local environment and its challenges.
Discussed the report card on the City of Havre de Grace.
Noted that the state of the Chesapeake Bay is down to 43%; this is a failing grade.
Impact of fracking in PA on our region and the Chesapeake Bay generally.
o Fracking fluid content is legally secret in PA.
o Some likely components are proven harmful to humans, esp. children, but we
cannot legally know this.
o Fracking currently not legal in Maryland.
This is NOT a campaign speech, just information we need to know about our bay. Q. What is status of Excelon contract [for operation of Conowingo]?
A. Still at state level; dam is a key component of the East Coast energy grid start-up. Q. What are they fracking for?
A. Oil in the Marcellus Shale Belt, which extends into Western Maryland, were some fracking wells still legally operate.
Q. Does “Green New Deal Resolution” address fracking? Renewable energy?
A. Resolution is a very broadly based approach. One issue is the need for storage solutions for renewable energy sources. E.G., some new solar panels (T-3) can operate 24/7/365.Presently, there are no incentives for personal wind energy and it’s not allowed in manyareas. Laws are outdated in this area. We need to allow farmers to “farm” wind and sunenergy.
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Winona H. Stanley – her remarks focused on impact of Harford Memorial Hospital. Who am I?
o A transplant from Chester, PA.
o An APG spouse.
o A medical professional at Harford Memorial Hospital.o First time candidate.
Current city officials do not communicate well (on this issue).
She is committed to community sees open communication as critical.
What happens when Harford Memorial closes?
o Lose many local jobs
o Economic hit to town/small businesses that support these workers
How do we keep our youth without good, entry level jobs with potential to grow?
Need to pursue how to interest the next generation to stay and work in Havre de Grace.
Need a plan now.
Q. What’s the difference between a “free standing medical facility” and a full servicehospital?
A. New one proposed is basically an expanded ER plus a 40 bed psychiatric ward. Current one is usually full now, as is UCMC. Will lose capacity as of now.. Will lose wellness services which will relocate to smaller centers around county. Guarantee of jobs for nursing staff only; rest TBD. New location a hardship for many who don’t have access to transportation.Councilwoman Carolyn Zinner – running for a second term.
Health care is a focus for me, as before.
I continue to pursue insurance issues on the local level
o Some facilities are failing to inform patients vis-à-vis Medicare coverage.
o Question the decision to close Harford Memorial (HM) in Havre de Grace; I see many
city level options.
o HM gets consistently better ratings than UCMC
o “Regional Care” a bad model for Harford/Havre de Grace.
I also support economic development, better schools and safer communities.
VI. Guest speaker – District A County Councilmember Andre Johnson update on Council:
First 120+ days started slow; now picking up.
Abingdon Business Park along I-95/Rt. 7 and Rt. 924 presents issues.
o Has water shed issues with Haha Branch creek.
o Expansion of enterprise zone a contentious discussion.
County Executive’s proposed exemption for non-profit swim clubs not approved.
VII. Closing Remarks: Bridgette thanked all the speakers, asking that they remain after for individual questions.
VIII. Next meeting Weds, May 1st, 7pm at Aberdeen Holiday Inn Express – BRING A FRIEND! Adjourn: 8:17pm
Respectfully submitted by Secretary Barney Michel