A Republican Women of Baltimore County fundraiser that featured denigrating movies about transgender people was canceled by its host the day it was scheduled to happen at the Greene Turtle in Hunt Valley.
After public pressure from the North Baltimore County Democrat Club and other LGBTQ+ community advocates, the Greene Turtle in Hunt Valley Towne Centre reversed its agreement to host the Tuesday fundraiser — a “double feature” pushing far-right narratives about transgender children and adults.
On its website, the Republican club blamed the Greene Turtle’s “landlord,” which it said is a “cancel culture” culprit, for forcing the group to move its fundraiser to what appeared to be a Glen Arm home instead.
Hunt Valley shopping center property manager Greenberg Gibbons did not respond to a request for comment this week. In an email to a fundraiser protestor reviewed by The Banner, Greene Turtle’s human resources office wrote it decided Tuesday to cancel the event.
“We respect every person’s right to their own beliefs and opinions, but The Greene Turtle will not promote activities that may be viewed as divisive or discriminatory against any individual or group,” the office wrote in the Tuesday email.
Rather than people paying $10 to watch films produced by conservative media outlet The Daily Caller, the Greene Turtle Tuesday night was filled with Democrats, who have been meeting in the Greene Turtle’s private room on the fourth Tuesday of the month for years, at the same time the Republican club scheduled its fundraiser.
It’s not the first time public backlash has prompted businesses to boot the conservative club’s fundraisers. In February, Towson’s Charles Village Pub & Patio called off a separate Republican Women of Baltimore County event that sought to raise money for the families of Jan. 6 insurrectionists. The event was also kicked out of Hunt Valley’s Delta Hotels by Marriott, according to one of the group’s flyers.
New gig for Hogan
Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has a new gig as a fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
Hogan, a Republican, is one of the university’s Pritzker Fellows, which brings together experts “for deep dives into the most pressing issues of the day.”
Hogan will be leading seminars next month on “Reflections from the Red Governor of a Blue State” and “Finding Common Ground (Or At Least Sane Terrain) in Crisis.”
On social media on Thursday, Hogan said he was “very excited” to join the University of Chicago.
“We had a great kick-off event last night talking with students, and I’m looking forward to hosting seminars later this month,” Hogan wrote.
Hogan also has signed with Worldwide Speakers Group for his speaking engagements, where his rate is listed as $25,000-$40,000. His potential speech topics include crisis leadership and communications, workforce development, “Unity” and “Civility.”
Since finishing his second term as governor in January, Hogan has returned to his eponymous real estate firm in Annapolis, opted not to run for president as a Republican, but has flirted with the idea of a third-party run with the No Labels coalition.
Baltimore County Dems criticize $800K contract for affordable housing
Democratic County Council incumbents criticized the cost of a roughly $800,000 request from its housing office meant to ensure Baltimore County meets its legal obligation to build more affordable and accessible housing, and to help the office figure out how it will become sustainable after the one-time federal aid money used to create the office runs dry.
Housing and community development director Terry Hickey is requesting almost $798,000 to hire Guidehouse Inc. as a consultant tasked with reviewing and recommending changes to the county housing programs. Guidehouse would also help the county apply for a competitive federal grant to build more affordable housing units as the county continues to lag behind its obligation to build 1,000 affordable and accessible residences by 2027.
Councilman Izzy Patoka said during the Tuesday meeting that Hickey is asking for “an incredible amount of money over a six-month period.” He and council chair Julian Jones questioned why the housing office, which staffs 83 employees, isn’t able to perform the work itself.
Hickey, the county’s first housing director, said his office doesn’t have the ability to quickly apply for public funding and facilitate affordable housing deals while also figuring out how to sustain funding for the office’s future needs.
Part of the consultant’s work would be to recommend “infrastructure” changes to the office, Hickey said.
“This is what I wish we could have done back when we [first signed] the VCA,” he continued, referring to the voluntary consent agreement with federal housing regulators that Baltimore County signed in 2011 to rest a housing discrimination lawsuit. The agreement set the 2027 deadline by which the county must approve new affordable units.
”This will help us establish a framework to help us be successful,” Hickey said.
As Baltimore County spends down housing programs funded by federal coronavirus aid, and fair housing advocates push Baltimore County to secure money from a tranche of significant federal dollars to build more affordable housing: “This is going to be all-hands-on-deck for us the next six months,” Hickey said.
According to auditors’ notes, the contract with Guidehouse Inc. would continue though November 2025 if the council signs off at its Oct. 2 meeting, and would automatically renew for five additional one-year periods. Auditors wrote they couldn’t provide a cost estimate beyond the initial six months of the contract.