2021 RALLIES

June 23, 2021 McIntosh Rally

Recap of McIntosh Rally

      Today about 20 people drove to Lewes Delaware to visit Maggie McIntosh the  Chairman of the Maryland House Appropriations Committee.   Delegate McIntosh should be ashamed – very ashamed.   She has not allowed any bill to reinstate prescription drug coverage for disabled and elderly State retirees out of her committee for the last three years.   So we drove down to Lewes to express our displeasure – peacefully.   And we did just that.

        Well the sidewalks were narrow and the road was wide.  When I arrived there were already three cars waiting at 11:00am!  Well everyone unpacked their lawn chairs and signs, staked out a portion of sidewalk and quietly protested the treatment of State Retirees by the State of Maryland.  Surprisingly, many Delaware residents stopped their cars and asked us what we were protesting.  Some stopped because they recognized McIntosh’s picture, some because of the statements on the signs, some just because.  We also had pedestrians walking by, cutting lawns, and riding bikes who were curious about these people dressed in bright yellow carrying signs with a picture inside a red circle with a line through it.  People who knew Delegate McIntosh stopped and listened amazed that the “nice lady” they knew was actively obstructing disabled and elderly retirees from receiving this benefit. Yes.  It was a good day.     

 

       Deb had electronic issues (she blames Facebook – I’m not so sure) so our Facebook live coverage was cut short, but we did get a video coverage as well that we will put together so you can see the whole event.  Remember the people who came out yesterday and drove to another State are fed up with the machinations of the General Assembly, the Governor, Delegate Adrienne Jones, President Billy Ferguson and Delegate Maggie McIntosh. They were so fed up they took this one day to do something about it.

     

  It took me about 2 hours and twenty minutes to reach our destination and I was coming for White Marsh.  We had protestors from Carroll County, Essex and the Eastern Shore, in fact, one protestor took off work specifically to protest Delegate MacIntosh’s inhumane treatment of disabled and elderly State Retirees.  They are tired of the lip service they are getting from lawmakers.  They can’t afford to pay the increased costs of medication. They want access to the benefit that they worked for and earned with their years of service. They have chosen to stand.   They will not be doormats. They have chosen to fight against this injustice until this wrong is made right.   I have just one question at this point – where were you?

June 9, 2021 Lawn Chair Rally

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Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, Adrienne Jones held a Fundraiser at Overhills Mansion in Catonsville.  Donors paid from $500 - $2500 a plate.

Recap of the June 9th Lawn Chair  Rally

 

     What a day.  I had a cardiologist appointment for a stress test right before our rally.  Of course, my appointment was made way before this Rally was scheduled, but to reschedule the doctor appointment would put me months out.  And you know I couldn’t change the Rally date, because I was sure that Adrienne Jones wouldn’t change her fundraiser date that had been set in stone for a couple of months.  So I knew that today would tax my strength, but I was determined to do this.   Then there was the heat, the cicadas and the threat of severe thunderstorms.  By the time I got out of the Doctor’s office I was not only physically tired but mentally tired as well.  

 

    Deb drove us to Overhills Mansion not knowing what to expect.  When we turned the corner into the road leading to the mansion we were  greeted with a crowd of State Retirees sitting on lawn chairs, holding  signs, and wearing WE MATTER/United We Matter T-shirts.  Wow!  There were State Retirees winding up the street, waving signs and we honked in response.  What a rush!  I mean we got there early but the amount of people that showed up before we did made us feel we were late! Overall there were between 40 and 50 State Retirees greeting Adrienne Jones fundraiser donors as they entered the roadway to the Overhills mansion.  We most definitely were the talk of that dinner and the way I felt I am sure was felt by everyone who participated in this rally today.  

 

      I cannot thank you all enough for showing up.  It most definitely made a difference in our fight…and plus we had a great time.

Ken Fitch 

MAY 13, 2021 Rally at Adrienne Jones District Office

     SURPRISE RALLY!        

          Beautiful day to catch a Delegate by surprise.  Well the Speaker Adrienne Jones Rally took off as planned.  I am so pleased that more people showed up than signed up – which is great.  I hope that trend continues.  What a good feeling.  Some made their own signs (very nice looking too) and some used the signs UWM supplied.  We all lined up on Liberty Heights waving our signs and getting honks from cars passing by. 

           Then Delegate Benjamin Brooks came out. He shares an office with Speaker Jones.  Boy is he full of BS. I went toe to toe with him about his reluctance to help state retirees with the issue, the bill that was passed to help just one person (a judge) to get coverage, and why this w First he said he didn’t know about the issue, then he remembered the issue, then he wanted to know why we were rallying against Adrienne Jones (duh, she is Speaker of the house dude), then did we ever speak to Adrienne Jones (she has refused to answer the emails and phone calls made for the last three years on this issue) and on and on.  Of course he asked  if any of us  were from this district (As though if the laws they pass in the General Assembly don’t affect everyone in the State and just not his district).  

 

           You know we are working on the side of angels for no sooner did he threw out the accusation that no one in the rally lived in his district – Alan Rivkin walked up to join the conversation.  He said I live in your district.  I retired from the State and I am a veteran and you are not representing the interests of State Retirees.    I think we have it on tape and if I can get it I will be glad to share.   Alan Rivkin was awesome and it was something to see! 

 

          Then Fox 45 showed up. TV camera was running for about 25mins with interviews and shots of UWM members.  Of course the footage  needs to be edited so I don’t know when it will be on today.  When I find out the time I will let you know. I think overall it was a great rally and I thank all the participants.

Ken Fitch 

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March 24, 2021 Rally

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              Wow! What a day!  What a crazy glorious day for the cause!  What am I talking about?  The Car Rally held today in Annapolis. Ken came up with the idea that we should have back to back rallies.  Too many lawmakers were expressing support, but the HB1335 bill was stalled in the House Rules committee.  Since the legislature is only in session for 90 days, it was imperative that we make our presence felt and that our issue was circulated.  Ken talked with lawmakers sympathetic to our cause and got some dates when lawmakers would be in office.  The first rally was impressive.  Ken wanted to have groups of cars converge onto the Governor’s mansion from various routes.  Unfortunately, the Capitol police became aware that we were having a rally on Tuesday and blocked all routes leading to the Governor’s mansion,  so the cavalcade of cars became disjointed for a time.  When we were able to join together and line up, the car rally was quite effective.

              Surprisingly we had just as many members show up for day two as for day one of our two-day event.  Since Capital Police knew we would be there, Ken decided to use the same route that was used on Tuesday.  The day started cloudy and with a faint drizzle of rain that compelled a lot of people to put signs on the inside of their cars .  We started towards Bladen street and the Capitol around 8:30am and began our succession of loops.  Our route took us up Bladen street in front of the Senate building, a left turn in front of Lawyer’s Mall onto College Avenue, a left turn behind the House building (St Johns Street) and a left turn on Calvert and a left turn back to Bladen Street.  I cannot count how many times we made this trip with our Radio Ads blaring, horns honking and Twisted Sister shouting, “We’re not going to take it anymore” to the dancing moves of what appeared to be a homeless person who had taken shelter in the bus stop on Bladen Street. Of course, the noise attracted onlookers, the song attracted singers and the radio ads attracted attention.  Well last week, we caught the Senate President, Bill Ferguson, by surprise.  This week we were surprised by a sighting of the Governor, walking up Lawyer’s Mall with two protection officers, holding a briefcase and walking with an air of self-importance that appeared contrived. (Of course, it was so apropos that Twisted Sister was blasting our theme.) However, the Governor did not turn around.  He walked, eyes forward not giving a hint of acknowledgement that Maryland Citizens who were former State employees were railing against members of the Maryland Government that included him for the sneaky way they eliminated an earned benefit.

                After about an hour of circling, we had the pleasure of seeing WDVM camera crew and reporter park behind the House building on St John Street. Startled by our protest,  a cameraman jumped out and began filming our procession.  (You can rest assured we made a lot of noise then.) Capitol police were constantly waving us to keep moving so we hoped against hope that somehow we would capture their interest to pursue the story.  We were rewarded when about 15 minutes later, that same cameraman came outside the front of the House building to film us coming up Bladen street.  Not only that, but it appears another camera crew was located at the end of Lawyer’s Mall and had set up his camera to catch our cavalcade of protest of cars.  Prior to turning onto St. Johns Street, a third cameraman was there setting up a stationary camera to catch our protest as we rounded the corner. I slowed the car (did I mention I was driving?).  At last week’s rally, Ken aggravated his sciatic nerve in his leg with the starting and stopping (moving his leg from the brake to accelerator to the brake – you get the picture)  during the rally.  He was unable to walk normally the next day and almost a week later he was still experiencing pain.  So, I rented a SUV and led the rally Tuesday and Wednesday while Ken remarked on my driving, braking and parking skills from the passenger seat. LOL.   But I digress.  Ken told the cameraman that we were making one more round before leaving so he had plenty of time to set up his camera.  Boy, were we wrong.   About 20 feet up St Johns’ street I see flashing police lights in my side mirror and moved over to the side of the road, before coming to a stop.  Yup it finally happened – the Capital Police were making their presence felt.   

 

  An officer walked up to my car and said that I was being stopped due to excessive use of an emergency device.  He was talking about my horn which I had used with unbridled glee when our eyes spied the Governor of Maryland.  I acknowledged my liberal use of the car horn as I gave him my license and registration. He walked to his vehicle (did I mention that there were at three other police cars in front or beside me?)  Well, we were surrounded!  (I guess we were supposed to be intimidated – more on that later.)  Anyway, the officer walked away with my license and then I had the pleasure of meeting the Chief of the Capital Police.  I guess there was another vehicle that he jumped out of (I can’t remember- all I can say is police cars were everywhere).  Well he comes over to the car and introduces himself and says that because of all the noise we were making that we lawmakers were being inconvenienced ( he didn’t actually say that, but you get the point.)  He acknowledged our first amendment right to free speech and assembly while telling us that voicing our frustration through the use of horn was not covered (yeah right).  He did not talk about Twisted Sister blaring, the radio ads blaring, just the horn.  (yeah right).   

He didn’t talk about anyone else’s car but mine (I guess all the noise of their horns channeled into my horn. Lol) He said we had made our point.  That the Governor heard us last week, yesterday and today.  He said the Governor and lawmakers are aware of who we are and what we are fighting for.

    (In other words, he was saying- you made your point and annoyed the hell out of the Governor and lawmakers.  Now they want peace and quiet. Lol).  Of course, while we were talking Ken was doing recognizance. How about rallying without cars?  Can you use the megaphone? He asked questions regarding use of wheelchairs and walkers in the crosswalks, speakers at the Lawyer’s Mall, and the use of hazards.  Essentially, here was the Chief of Capitol Police what would they allow?  Amazing, he was already planning his next rally while we hadn’t even finished this one!    It appears that the Capitol Police had gotten orders – make them go away.  Intimidate them so they will not come back. LOL. Fat chance.   If we don’t come back that means its okay to that diabetics die because they can’t afford their insulin.  Its okay state retirees to die without medication.  Not in this lifetime.  We will be back.   

 

                In the meantime, the officer kept coming back and forth – telling me that he was just going to issue me a warning.  Of course, by this time, I was over it. Give me my license, this warning and let us go our merry way.  Sigh.  Of course, it didn’t work like that.  It took so long, that our car rally protestors got out of their cars, began walking in the streets while wondering what the hell is going on?  Another police car then came up the street and parked diagonally in front of me and the other police car.  When the police officer came back to the car, they asked me to come with them.  This is when Ken stepped up (did I tell you that intimidation doesn’t work when you are fighting for what is right, just and true?  Well now the police met Ken Fitch.)  Wait a minute, he said.  I am her security.  She is not leaving the car unless I go with her.  The officer apologized and said that the hold up was because of the printer inside the police car did not work and I needed to be advised of the charges.  Since the charges were placed in the computer in the car, I had to be given the opportunity to read them before I could be released. I told Ken I would be fine and got out of my car and walked over to the police car.  I was directed to sit in the car, which I did and was advised of the charges on the warning ticket that couldn’t be printed. LOL.  Some things you just can’t make up.  Anyway, as I was going through this and I began talking to the officers.  I told them - you know we are fighting for you.  They began asking me questions.  I told them that if they got injured in the line and had to retire, they will not have prescription drug coverage.  Shocked is the word for the expression on their faces.  Worry - responses like – I didn’t hear about this, you know the drill.  Anyway, when I got back to my car, I gave one police officer a card and told them if they wanted more information to look up www.unitedwematter.com.

                When we got back to Grauls, I jumped out of the car and began waving flags, shouting WOOHOO!  WE DID IT!  WE HAVE GOTTEN THEIR ATTENTION!  They know our issue and now they know that we are not going away.  I would like to say that during this whole situation, the Capitol police were professional and courteous.  I would venture to say that if left to them we could have drove around the State Capitol until our wheels fell off.   So someone or various someones’ had enough power to get the Chief of the Capitol Police to stop our protesting.  That tells me we have made headway.  That Ken’s instincts were right – that persistence pays off.  We must capitalize on this as quickly as we can and up the pressure.   What are your thoughts?

As always

 

Remember – WE MATTER

 

Ken Fitch and I wish to send a very personal thank you for all those who made this possible.  You made Annapolis hear our voices!   These members were willing to stand, willing to fight for what is right and did it on behalf of thousands.  It is a real honor and privilege to fight for your prescription drug coverage alongside you.   It is through your persistence that we will prevail.  I wish more members would participate in reinstating this benefit like you do.   Thank you to the following True Blue UWM Members:

 

Carole Abel, Clyde Abel, Clara & Anthony Agro, Joan Baer, Kelley Barron, Bruce & Vicki Bozman, Patty Butner, Marie Bryer

Judy Calabrese, Bill Capp, Donna Clifford, Margaret Cook, Michelle Dill, Jean & Bud Eckstorm, Mary Frye, Debbie Gilmor

Moochie Gilmor, Gail Gunther, Paul Gunther, Howard Kilian, Barb & Jim Hall, Lorraine & Ron Hart, Susan Oberfield

Terry Piper, Diane Ramsey  Ann Squeaky Sams, Karen Verbeke Shealey, Mike Sheeley

Deb Hill

MARCH 16 & 17, 2021 CAR RALLY

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First Car Rally of 2021 -  March 9, 2021

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                 You couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.  In the early morning it was still cool, but the sun was shining brightly. I arrived around 8:00am ( we got donuts and juice at Graul’s) and welcomed all the people who came out to support the cause. Banners, balloons, flags and signs were the order for the day.  We talked, we laughed, we enjoyed the weather and each other as we prepared for the We’re Not Going To Take it calvacade of protest cars.

                Our first run we went around Church Circle, turned right at the Governor’s Mansion.  Our intention was to travel around State Circle (in front of the State House and behind the Governor’s Mansion) before driving South between the House and Senate buildings.  Well we started up Church Circle cars honking loudly and using a megaphone blasting, “We’re not Going to Take it Anymore” and radio ads that said Attention State Retirees the General Assembly and the Governor have taken away your prescription drug coverage.             

  As soon as we made the right turn to access State Circle we were alerted to the Capitol Police.  Lights flashing, they used their cars to block our entrance onto State Circle.  Yes sir, Ken said as the officer approached the car.  We are here to protest against the elimination of prescription drug coverage for State retirees.  The officer seemed sympathetic.  “Sir we have no problem with that, but the Governor does not want to be disturbed.  I’m sorry sir you cannot go this way.  You are going to have to make a three point turn and go back the way you came.”  Ken said “We are not leaving the area.  We will be protesting today.”  The officer nodded again saying he understood, but we could not protest behind the Governor’s house.   (I guess the Governor didn’t care that behind his house was the State Capital.) But I digress since the officer was doing his job.

              So each successive pass more and more police (with cars) uniformed and plain clothes showed up.  Some were nodding to the beat of our song, passersby were mouthing the words - We’re Not going to take it Anymore.    We made an impression.  We were heard.  We were seen.  We were talked about.  All in all it was a very good day for our cause.  See you at the next rally. 

 

Deb Hill.