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Just what VA Dems need — the Joe Morrissey comeback!

Westlake Legal Group morrissey-joe Just what VA Dems need — the Joe Morrissey comeback! Virginia Democrats Virginia The Blog sex scandal scandals ralph northam mark herring Justin Fairfax joseph morrissey

It’s bad enough that Virginia’s Democrats failed to remove its scandal-plagued statewide officeholders from office over the past year. Now its voters plan to send a scandalous blast from the past back to Richmond. Move over, Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax, and Mark Herring — here comes “Fighting Joe” Morrissey again, back five years after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor related to getting an underage staffer pregnant.

By the way, he’s no relation to me … thankfully:

A scandal-tarred pariah to Virginia’s Democratic Party only five years ago, Joe Morrissey on Tuesday took a giant step toward returning to the General Assembly despite fierce opposition from his party’s leaders.

“It’s somewhat sweet that three governors campaigned against me,” said Morrissey, 61, as he celebrated with supporters at a Mexican restaurant in Petersburg after defeating state Sen. Rosalyn R. Dance (Petersburg) in the Democratic primary.

Give Morrissey (no relation!) credit — he swore five years ago he’d be back, and yesterday he pulled off the trick. As our alum Noah Rothman wrote at the time, Morrissey took an Alford plea to a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Here’s how the Washington Post described the situation at the time, when Morrissey finally resigned his seat:

There were the nude photos and explicit text messages that prosecutors said Morrissey and the girl exchanged — and a claim from the delegate that their phones had been hacked by the girl’s spurned lesbian ex-lover. There is the girl’s pregnancy, and the prosecutor’s claim that the child is “perhaps” Morrissey’s. (The delegate isn’t saying.)

And most startling of all was the prospect that Morrissey, sentenced to six months in jail but able to leave daily on work release, could show up at the Capitol by day to pass laws — and sleep behind bars at night for breaking them.

The child did turn out to be Morrissey’s (NO RELATION), who was in his mid-50s at the time, despite earlier denials and claims that the girl had denied having sex with him as well. He later married the staffer and has had three more children with his now-wife Myrna. Morrissey put his family front and center for this comeback campaign without apology, cementing his reputation as “the Marion Berry of Virginia politics,” in the words of one analyst.

But wait — there’s more! Even after serving out his sentence on the misdemeanor conviction, Morrissey (NO RELATION DAMMIT!) has other scandals on his record. He has twice been disbarred in Virginia, most recently just last year on ethics charges, some of which related to false statements in the bar’s investigation of his relationship with Myrna. He’s also gotten into two famous fistfights, one of which cost him nearly $600,000 in a lawsuit and the other of which took place outside a courtroom in which Morrissey was prosecuting a case. That cost him five days in jail in 1991.

Less amusingly, Joe [NAME REDACTED] got indicted for bribery two years later. Although a jury later acquitted him, the state bar suspended his license:

His 1993 reelection bid collapsed when he was indicted on bribery and perjury charges. The indictment grew out of Morrissey’s handling of a rape case in which he reduced the charge to a misdemeanor in exchange for the defendant pleading guilty and the defendant’s father paying $25,000 to the victim.

Morrissey also designated charities for the defendant’s father to contribute another $25,000, an arrangement he never disclosed to the victim.

After he lost the primary election, a jury acquitted him of the charges. But a judicial panel suspended his law license for six months, ruling that his handling of the rape case was unethical.

That would put “ol’ what’s his name’s” suspensions at three, at least two of which relate to ethics violations.

One might suspect that a few Virginia Democrats would secretly root for a Republican to win this seat in this fall’s general election. Surprise! Republicans didn’t field a candidate for this seat, which means Morrissey (aaaargh) will get a default return trip to the state legislature. Unless he gets arrested for something else in the meantime.

That’s quite a collection of party leaders that Virginia Democrats have produced, eh? We have two fans of blackface, another accused by two women of rape, and now Joe Morrissey, who’s been accused of practically every other ethical and legal violation and found guilty on enough of them over the years. All that’s missing in the Old Dominion is a Mount Rushmore of Shamelessness.

The post Just what VA Dems need — the Joe Morrissey comeback! appeared first on Hot Air.

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Baltimore’s population continues to drop

Westlake Legal Group baltimores-population-continues-to-drop Baltimore’s population continues to drop The Blog scandals Population Freddie Gray crime rate Catherine Pugh bookgate baltimore

Westlake Legal Group Baltimore Baltimore’s population continues to drop The Blog scandals Population Freddie Gray crime rate Catherine Pugh bookgate baltimore

The decennial census doesn’t take place until next year, but there are annual population surveys being conducted every year around the country. The news from 2018 wasn’t particularly good for Baltimore, Maryland, however. Once again, rather than demonstrating any sort of growth, Charm City actually decreased in population and the losses were felt across virtually all demographic and economic lines. This is particularly distressing when you consider that Baltimore was once the nation’s sixth largest city. (NY Post)

New annual estimates from the US Census Bureau show that Baltimore is continuing to shed inhabitants, bringing the overall population of Maryland’s biggest city down to what it was over 100 years ago.

The latest Census data shows that Baltimore lost more than 7,300 citizens during the 12 months that ended July 1. That’s a loss of 1.2% of the city’s population. It’s the fourth straight year of population decline for Baltimore while rival counties are attracting newcomers…

Census data released Thursday suggests the city’s population is now just over 600,000 people. The population of the metropolis nicknamed “Charm City” stood at roughly 730,000 in 1920.

Raise your hand if you’re surprised by this. Nobody? Okay.

Plenty of states and cities experience temporary fluctuations in population for a variety of reasons. The only way to really gauge what’s going on is to look at the bigger picture over an extended period of time. And what we’re seeing in Baltimore is far from a statistical glitch. The last time the city’s population was this low was probably in the 19th century since they were already up to 720,000 by the 1920 census. In the 1950s the population was nearly a million.

The reasons for the slow decline from there varied from generation to generation. The closure of Bethlehem Steel and the collapse of business in the shipyards set the tone for much of the second half of the twentieth century, but since then issues of economic opportunity and racial divisiveness have become endemic. And the past few years, particularly since the Freddie Gray riots, have seen those problems becoming acute.

At the same time, Baltimore’s elected officials haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory in the 21st century. They haven’t had a mayor since Martin O’Malley who wasn’t mired in a cloud of scandal. Shelia Dixon resigned after being convicted on charges of fraud. Her successor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake threw in the towel after her mishandling of the riots. And now, Catherine Pugh is hanging on by her fingernails because of the BookGate scandal. It’s rather hard to have confidence in your city and stick around with leadership like that.

Can anything turn Baltimore around? I’m just enough of a starry-eyed optimist to say that it’s possible, but they will need to make big changes. Any sort of urban revitalization will require tearing down vast tracks of vacant buildings that provide a breeding ground for the drug trade and gang violence. The streets will have to be made safe again and something must be done about the staggering murder rate. If you can’t provide viable real estate for investors and show that it’s actually safe to live and work there, nobody is going to come to rebuild the area.

Sadly, none of that will happen if you keep electing the same old crew of corrupt or incompetent people. I’m not saying they need to start electing Republicans (which would be asking a lot in Baltimore) but you at least have to find some honest and competent Democrats. If you can’t manage that much, just abandon ship and let Baltimore sink back into the harbor.

The post Baltimore’s population continues to drop appeared first on Hot Air.

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Calls grow for Baltimore Mayor to resign

Westlake Legal Group calls-grow-for-baltimore-mayor-to-resign Calls grow for Baltimore Mayor to resign The Blog scandals resignation resign mayor corruption Catherine Pugh bookgate baltimore

Westlake Legal Group Pugh Calls grow for Baltimore Mayor to resign The Blog scandals resignation resign mayor corruption Catherine Pugh bookgate baltimore

Where is Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh? It’s been weeks since she took a temporary leave of absence following what was apparently one of the worst known cases of pneumonia in history. She’s been completely absent (despite still collecting her full salary) while all of the BookGate outrage has absorbed the attention of the city. Still, she has insisted through her spokesperson that she would be returning to her normal duties just as soon as she’s feeling better.

This weekend that prospect grew a bit more difficult as yet another high-profile organization called on the scandal-plagued mayor to resign. The Greater Baltimore Committee (composed of prominent influencers from both the public and private sector) declared unanimously that Pugh no longer has the “public trust or moral authority” to continue leading the city. (Baltimore Sun)

The group’s board voted unanimously in favor of a resolution calling on Pugh to go, concerned about revelations of hundreds of thousands of dollars in deals she struck to sell copies of her “Healthy Holly” children’s books.

“This was a difficult decision requiring a great deal of thought, but the GBC believes the mayor can no longer provide the leadership and effective government that Baltimore needs and deserves at this time,” said Donald C. Fry, the group’s president.

“The GBC Board determined that it is necessary for Mayor Pugh to resign so the city can move on, heal and leverage the many positive assets it has going for it.”

The GBC has an advisory policy role in municipal affairs, but no actual legislative, judicial or executive power inside the government. Still, this is a particularly brutal blow to Pugh’s standing. Members of the GBC include the CEOs of some of Baltimore’s largest employers, a former mayor, the owner of the Orioles and Catholic Archbishop William Lori. Pugh has already received calls for her resignation from both the City Council and the Baltimore area members of the state House of Delegates.

But what good will it do if she simply refuses to leave? As we’ve discussed here previously, there is no provision in the city charter for impeachment or any other path to removing a sitting mayor unless they are convicted of a crime. There’s a move underway to amend the charter so this won’t happen again, but that will take time and it’s unclear if they could apply it retroactively even if they do.

As things stand now, Pugh is almost entirely isolated politically with nobody taking her side. The level of grifting in those self-dealing arrangements with the University of Maryland Medical System seems obvious beyond description. But there was also no law against such activity until after the horse was already out of the barn. There was a time when this level of negative attention would have driven an elected official to resign just out of sheer embarrassment. But thus far, Catherine Pugh seems immune to such concerns.

The post Calls grow for Baltimore Mayor to resign appeared first on Hot Air.

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In Canada, Trudeau is sinking in the polls

Westlake Legal Group in-canada-trudeau-is-sinking-in-the-polls In Canada, Trudeau is sinking in the polls The Blog scandals Polling Justin Trudeau Canada

Westlake Legal Group Justin-Trudeau In Canada, Trudeau is sinking in the polls The Blog scandals Polling Justin Trudeau Canada

While we’re gearing up for an election that’s still roughly a year and a half away, our friends in the Great White North have one coming up in October. This may not be very good news for the “golden boy” of Canadian politics, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He’s got barely six months to turn things around for his administration and his political party. This week a new set of polling was released showing that Trudeau’s Liberal Party has sunk six points in the polls since the SNC-Lavalin scandal broke in the news. And his lead over the Conservative Party was already tenuous to begin with. (Reuters)

Trudeau is mired in a relentless scandal over alleged interference in a corporate corruption case that has led to the resignations of two Cabinet members, his top advisor and the head of the federal civil service.

The ruling Liberals have lost 6 percentage points since the start of the year, ceding the lead to the rival Conservatives, according to a Nanos Research poll published on Tuesday.

If an election were held now, the Conservatives would win 34.9 percent of the vote, the Liberals 32.8 percent and the left-leaning New Democratic Party 16.6 percent. The poll suggests the result would be deadlock or a fragile minority government.

As I mentioned the last time we discussed this story, the Canadians really seem to be easily put off by scandals compared to the United States. This Lavalin story has been in the news constantly, has led to the end of several people’s political careers and is discussed as if it’s approaching Watergate proportions. But the details of Trudeau’s alleged malfeasance seem like small potatoes compared to so many American politicians. He asked the Justice Minister to “reconsider” the case against SNC-Lavalin so they wouldn’t wind up losing business and laying off a bunch of workers. And the company’s “crime” was bribing Libyan officials. (Which, by the way, is the only way you can do any business in Libya and the whole world knows it.)

Still, the poll numbers seem to be repeatable and reliable, so vox populi and all that, I suppose. All of these “if the election were held today” questions have to be taken with at least a grain of salt, of course. There’s no telling how people will respond when there’s an actual alternative choice in front of them or how upset they’ll be about this story when autumn rolls around.

But the numbers have to be worrying to the Liberal Party if they hold up over the summer. Currently, the best Trudeau could hope for would be a very slender coalition keeping him in power and he would be even more reliant on his partners. The same thing happened to Theresa May in Britain after she foolishly called a snap election and was left needing the DUP to hold together a ruling coalition. (And the Irish have made her pay for that honor on many issues.)

Just as a closing bit of trivia, as pointed out in the Reuters article, if Trudeau does get the boot in October he will be the first Prime Minister to be kicked out after only a single term in living memory for most Canadians. Compared to his father’s lengthy term in office, that would have to come as a severe disappointment.

The post In Canada, Trudeau is sinking in the polls appeared first on Hot Air.

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