Monday, December 15, 2014

PG Taxers: 40+ increases not enough, greedy legislators will use any excuse to grab even more

PG 416-15 -- Prince George's - Authority to Impose Fees for Use of Disposable Bags

Sponsor     Senator Pinsky

Synopsis     This bill authorizes Prince George’s County to impose, by law, a fee on a store for the use of disposable bags as part of a retail sale of products

Read bill text in rich-text or PDF format.

School spending priorities--Education vs. legislator's unfunded mandates to benefit special interests

At a time when Prince George's County is running a deficit, and the head of the school system has recently announced spending freezes and cutbacks, legislators are again trying to divert scarce resources away from actual education by forcing Prince George's schools to spend money on expensive and high-maintenance artificial turf. While the pending bill is sponsored by Senators Peters and Miller, the driving force behind this failed bill last year was Del.Jay (Nanny) Walker.

Note that this is only one of several proposed bills that would increase legislative micro-managing of the Prince George's County school system.

PG 402-15 -- Prince George's Board of Education - Public High Schools - Outdoor Synthetic Turf Fields

Sponsor Senator Peters and Senator Miller

Synopsis Pending

Bill Text None Available

PG's Authoritarian Nannies: Nanny Walker proposal banning biodegradable paper bags allows non-grocery plastic bags

Del. Jay (Nanny) Walker's a poorly drafted bill aimed at inconsistently, arbitrarily and capriciously banning selected types of bags received by, and often reused by, most low and middle income consumers would ban biodegradable paper grocery bags while allowing the continued use of many kinds of non-degradable plastic bags.

Why? Do the grocery industry and consumers have less clout than the various special interests that Walker would exempt from his ban?

Note that Walker's bill would permit the use of plastic bags for yard waste despite Prince George's County's recently adopted ban and requirement that yard waste be placed in paper bags.
PG 403-15 -- Prince George's - Authority to Prohibit the Use of Disposable Bags

Sponsor Delegate Walker

Synopsis This bill authorizes Prince George’s County to enact a law that prohibits a store from using disposable bags as part of a retail sale of products. “Disposable bag” means a paper or plastic bag provided by a store to a customer at the point of sale. “Disposable bag” does not include: 1. a durable plastic bag with handles that is at least 2.25 mls thick and is designed and manufactured for multiple reuse; 2. a bag used to: package bulk items, including fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, candy, or small hardware items; contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, or fish, whether prepackaged or not; contain or wrap flowers, potted plants, or other damp items; contain unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods; and contain a newspaper or dry cleaning; 3. a bag provided by a pharmacist to contain prescription drugs; 4. plastic bags sold in packages containing multiple plastic bags intended for use as garbage, pet waste, or yard waste bags; and 5. a bag that a restaurant provides to a customer to take food or drink away from the restaurant.

Read bill text in rich-text or PDF format

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Updated Prince George's Council Information

Committees (as of noon, 3 Dec 2014):
  • Public Safety and Fiscal Management (PSFM):
    • Chair, Council Member Obie Patterson; 
    • Vice-Chair, Council Member Andrea Harrison
    • Staff:
      • Frank Porter, Committee Director, (301) 952-3695
        Colette Gresham, Legislative Officer, (301) 952-5434
        Catherine Lynch, Administrative Aide, (301) 952-4195
  • Health, Education and Human Services (HEHS): 
    • Chair, Council Member Karen Toles; 
    • Vice-Chair, Council Member Derrick L. Davis 
    • Staff
      • Sandra Eubanks, Committee Director, (301) 952-5353
      • Leroy Maddox, Legislative Officer. (301) 952-3846
      • Gloria Hall, Administrative Aide, (301) 952-4525
  • Transportation, Housing and Environment (THE): 
    • Chair, Council Member Mary Lehman; 
    • Vice-Chair, Council Member Todd Turner 
    • Staff:
      • Hawi Sanu. Committee Director, (301) 952-3698
      • ??? Todd Turner. Legislative Officer, (301) 952-4116 ???
      • Victoria Middleton, Administrative Aide, (301) 952-3694  
  • Planning, Zoning and Economic Development (PZED): 
    • Chair, Council Member Andrea Harrison; 
    • Vice-Chair, Council Member Dannielle Glaros 
    • Staff: 
      • Jackie Brown, Committee Director, (301) 952-3718
      • Karen Zavakos, Legislative Officer, (301) 952-3435
      • Barbara Stone, Administrative Aide, (301) 952-4199
  • Rules and General Assembly
    • Chair, Council Member Derrick L. Davis; 
    • Vice-Chair, Council Member Todd Turner 
    • Staff:
      • ??? Todd Turner. Legislative Officer, (301) 952-4116 ???
      • Colette Gresham, Legislative Officer, (301) 952-5434
      • Jennifer Jenkins, Committee Staff, (301) 952-3463

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Corrupt Council Conspires to Cripple Term Limits

County Council of Prince George's County

Notice of Public Hearings

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Council Hearing Room
County Administration Building
114741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlboro, Maryland

10:00 am

CB=54-2014 - An Act Concerning Amendment of Section 307A, Charter of Prince George's County for the purpose of proposing an amendment to increase the number of consecutive terms that a person may serve on the County Council or as County Executive from two terms to three terms.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

PG-Politics Endorses and Opposes: General Assembly

Comments (recommendations below):  PG-Politics opposes the reelection of every incumbent member of the General Assembly who claims to represent Prince George's County.

Members of the General Assembly have all taken an oath of office promising to uphold the U.S. and Maryland constitutions--and they have broken their solemn oaths.  While working to find implied constitution rights (like gay marriage), they have stomped on the explicit rights that are supposed to be guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

Over the past few years, they have passed, or passively approved, some 40 increases in taxes and fees. 

They allowed to go into effect a disgustingly obscene redistricting plan making Maryland the most ridiculously Gerrymandered state in the nation.

Once again, they acted anti-democratically to dilute the voting rights and voting effectiveness of Prince Georgians by providing for the addition of partisan political patronage jobs to the non-partisan Board of Education.

They passed pro-criminal laws protecting the lives of killers and providing special benefits to violators of federal immigration and drug laws.

At the same time, they passed numerous authoritarian nanny laws aimed at controlling our lives and/or banning or criminalizing what had been normal everyday behavior.

They failed to provide effective oversight of the botched rollout of Maryland's health exchange, thus allowing Lt. Gov. Brown to oversee wasting millions and millions of taxpayer dollars..

While severely criticizing a Republican drunk, our delegates hypocritically retained a Democratic drunk driver as their majority leader.

None of the incumbents deserve reelection.


General: PG-Politics recommends not voting for incumbent delegates and senators.  Withholding your vote from unopposed incumbents in the primary election, and voting for one of the few Republicans or writing in names in the general election, are about the only ways of indicating a lack of confidence in the performance of incumbents who are unopposed in the primary election..

Senate races:

District 21: Democrat: Don't voteRepublican: No candidates.

District 22:  Democrat: Don't vote.  Republican: Janice Fountaine is unopposed.

District 23Democrat: Vote for David GroganRepublican: No candidates.

District 24Democrat:  Vote for Bobby Henry.  Incumbent Joanne Benson is known to have lied to community groups on key issues.  Republican: No candidates.

District 25Democrat: Vote for Terry Goolsby rather than too-dumb-to-be-a-crook Sen. Ulysses Currie, or Del. Melony Griffith, who had a white waiter fired on racial grounds and supported taxpayer welfare  subsidies for multi-millionaire sports moguls.  Republican:  Kory Boone is unopposed.

District 26Democrat:  Vote for Brian Woolfolk rather than Sen. Anthony Muse, Del. Veronica Turner, or Jerry Mathis (convicted of campaign violations from an earlier race).  Republican:  Kelley Howells is unopposed.

District 27:  Democrat: Don't vote.  Republican:  Joe Crawford is unopposed.

District 47Democrat: Vote for Bladensburg Mayor Walter James rather than Sen. Victor Ramirez.   Republican: No candidates.

Delegate races:
District 21: Democrat: Don't vote. Republican:  There are three seats, but Katherine Butcher is the only candidate.

District 22: Democrat: Don't vote.  The primary qualifications of the lone democratic challenger (Rushern Baker IV) to the three incumbents are his name and his father (serial-campaign-promise-breaker Rushern Baker III).  Republican:  There are three seats, but Lynn White is the only candidate.

District 23BDemocrat:  Vote for Thea Wilson and Ron Watson over Del. Marvin Holmes and misogynist, interest conflicted Del. Joe Vallario.  Independent:  Shukoor Ahmed will be on the general election, but not primary, ballot.  There are no Republican candidates.  Republican:  There are two seats, but Mike Hethmon is the only candidate.   

District 24: Democrat:  Vote for Erek Barron for one slot.  The other two slots are a difficult choice.  None of the three incumbents (Howard, Swain, Vaughn) or the criminal former delegate (Alston) deserve election.  Philip Raines may be the best of the remaining crew.  Greg Hall seems likable and understands the needs of small business, but his gunslinging, drug dealing past is a problem.  Note that challenger Marva Jo Camp was a leader in past attempts to repeal or modify TRIM.  The other candidates don't seem to be campaigning for the job at all.  Republican:  There are three seats, but Cy Okoro is the only candidate.

District 25: Democrat: Don't vote.  The challengers mounting real campaigns are too closely linked to the incumbents.  Several of the other candidates have either no campaign information online or have sent out bad links.  Note that former Del. Juanita Miller was also a controversial WSSC commissioner who considered ability and performance to be of secondary importance in selecting WSSC contractors.    Republican: No candidates.

District 26Democrat:  Vote for Tamara Davis Brown, Xavier Aragona, and Keith Gray.    Republican: No candidates.

District 27A: DemocratDon't VoteRepublican: Joe Crawford is unopposed.

District 27B: Democrat: Vote for LaRhonda OwensRepublican: Phil Parenti.  (Note that the Washington Post made no Republican endorsement in this race claiming that there were no contested Republican races).

District 47ADemocrat:  Vote for Malcolm Augustine and Jimmy TarlauRepublican:  There are two seats, but Fred Price is the only candidate.

District 47BDemocrat:  Will Campos is unopposed.  Republican: No candidates.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

PG-Politics Endorses: County Offices

Note that in several races PG-Politics recommends not voting for the unopposed incumbent as the only way of expressing a vote of no confidence or opposition.

County ExecutiveDon't vote in this race.  Rushern Baker is unopposed in the primary.  He has a record of breaking his campaign promises.  Although he claims his takeover of the schools (one of his broken promises, along with broken promises about gambling, ethics, and transit) has improved education, there is no proof that it has accomplished anything beyond providing more high-paying patronage jobs for educrats.  There are no Republican candidates.  Consider one of the independents in the general election.

State's Attorney: Angela Alsobrooks has done a good job and is unopposed.  There are no Republican candidates.

Clerk of the Circuit Court: Sydney Harrison is far superior to incumbent Marilynn Bland, who has brought disrespect to the office and the county.  There are no Republican candidates.

Sheriff: Melvin High has done a good job.  One Republican candidate is unopposed in the primary.

Council District 1:  Unopposed incumbent Mary Lehman has done a fair job, despite being wrong on a number of issues.  There are no Republican candidates. 

Council District 2:  Vote for Del. Doyle Niemann.  There are no Republican candidates. 

Council District 3:  Vote for Danielle Glaros. There are no Republican candidates. 

Council District 4:  Vote for Bowie council member Todd Turner.  One Republican candidate is unopposed in the primary.

Council District 5Don't vote in this race.  Incumbent Andrea Harrison does not impress, but is unopposed.  I'd withhold my vote or write someone else in.  There are no Republican candidates. 

Council District 6: Former Del. Gerron Levi is a far better choice than appointed incumbent Derrick Davis.  One Republican candidate is unopposed in the primary.

Council District 7: Capitol Heights Mayor Kito James is a better choice than pro-sprawl scofflaw Karen (105 mph) Toles.  There are no Republican candidates. 

Council District 8Don't vote in this race.  Incumbent Obie Patterson does not impress, but is unopposed.  I'd withhold my vote or write someone else in.  There are no Republican candidates. 

Council District 9Don't vote in this race.  Incumbent Mel Franklin has disappointed by going over to the Dark Side, especially on development issues, but is unopposed.  I'd withhold my vote or write someone else in.  There are no Republican candidates. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

McCartney: Brown's chutzpah--most shameless and misleading campaign boast.

See the end of this posting for a list of the Prince George's County legislators who have endorsed Anthony Brown and presumably are complicit in the apparently successful attempt to cover up the Maryland healthcare exchange mess and put off any formal findings of blame or accountability related to Brown's incompetence and evasion until after Brown is elected to a position that is probably beyond his abilities.

I have also posted a full list of Prince George's officials whom Brown's site claims have endorsed him, but at least one person on Brown's list denies having made any endorsement..

Washington Post
Robert McCartney, Columnist
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown shows gall by claiming Md. is ‘leader’ on health-care reform

Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) has staked an early claim to the dubious honor of making our region’s most shameless and misleading 2014 campaign boast.

In a display of world-class chutzpah, Brown’s Web site asserts that he “has positioned Maryland as the national leader in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”

National leader? Absolutely — but at dysfunctional computer systems.

... apparently counting on voters to forget or ignore that the Free State just scrapped as unworkable ... the core of its $125 million health benefit exchange. ...

... Brown’s powerful allies in Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration and the General Assembly are protecting his reputation. They have ensured that no independent state inquiry into the exchange’s problems is completed until well after the primary and general elections. ...

Prince George's legislators who have endorsed Brown and have failed to ensure a timely investigation of his role in the expensive and wasteful failure of Maryland's health exchange:
  • Joanne C. Benson, State Senator (24) 
  • Ulysses Currie, State Senator (25)
    • Currie's defense on federal corruption charges argued that he was too dumb to be a crook
  • Dereck E. Davis, Delegate (25)
  • Barbara A. Frush, Delegate (21)
  • Marvin E. Holmes, Jr., Delegate (23B)
  • Carolyn J. B. Howard, Delegate (24)
  • Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Jr., State Senate President 
  • Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk, Delegate (21)
  • Douglas J. J. Peters, State Senator (23)
  • James Carew Rosapepe, State Senator (21)
  • Veronica Turner, Delegate (26) (Candidate for MD Senate)
  • Kriselda Valderrama, Delegate (26)
  • Geraldine Valentino-Smith, Delegate (23 A)
  • Michael L. Vaughn, Delegate (24)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Prince George's' Pro-Failure, Anti-Accountability Politicians

As has been widely reported, the Maryland Health Exchange has been a monumental and extremely expensive fiasco.

In the months leading up to the launch of this disaster, Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown regularly bragged about his role in managing the program, how it was one of his top priorities, and how that qualifies him to become our next governor.

But once it became clear that the program was a massive failure, even after months of warnings, Brown became evasive, tried to minimize his role, and did nothing useful to fix or manage fixing the program.

Despite an eventual insincere, pro-forma acceptance of responsibility, Brown tried to run away as fast as he could from a problem of his own creation.  And he and his supporters have been working hard to ensure that there is no thorough, independent investigation before the coming elections.

It ought to be clear by now that Brown is incompetent, or was asleep, or both, and does not have the courage or integrity or competence to standup and promptly admit and fix his mistakes.

I find it hard to believe that any thinking person would hire this man for, and trust him with, any major management job.

So, why are so many Prince George's County politicians endorsing Brown?
  • Do they want an incompetent, untrustworthy governor, or
  • Are they asleep and not paying attention, or
  • Have they been bought off with either campaign money or promises of favors?
Do we really want these supporters of failure and evasion to continue to govern us?

Legislators and county officials:
  • Angela Alsobrooks, Prince George’s State’s Attorney
  • Joanne C. Benson, State Senator (24) 
    • Benson also endorsed gunslinger Greg Hall fpr delegate
  • Ulysses Currie, State Senator (25)
    • Currie's defense on federal corruption charges argued that he was too dumb to be a crook
  • Dereck E. Davis, Delegate (25)
  • Derrick Leon Davis, Prince George’s County Council (6)
  • Donna Edwards, Representative (MD-4) 
  • Mel Franklin, Prince George’s County Council Chair (9)
  • Barbara A. Frush, Delegate (21)
  • Andrea C. Harrison, Prince George’s County Council (5)
  • Melvin C. High, Prince George’s County Sheriff
  • Marvin E. Holmes, Jr., Delegate (23B)
  • Carolyn J. B. Howard, Delegate (24)
  • Steny Hoyer, House Democratic Whip (MD-5)
  • Cereta A. Lee, Prince Georges County Register of Wills
  • Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Jr., State Senate President 
  • Eric C. Olson, Prince George’s County Council (3)
  • Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk, Delegate (21)
  • Douglas J. J. Peters, State Senator (23)
  • James Carew Rosapepe, State Senator (21)
  • Karen R. Toles, Prince George’s County Council (7)
    • Toles is known for running away from police at 105 miles per hour
  • Ingrid M. Turner, Prince George’s County Council (4)
  • Veronica Turner, Delegate (26)
  • Kriselda Valderrama, Delegate (26)
  • Geraldine Valentino-Smith, Delegate (23 A)
  • Michael L. Vaughn, Delegate (24)
Municipal officials:
  • Marcus Afzali, Councilmember of College Park
  • Vernon Archer, Mayor of Riverdale Park
  • Lois Blue, Councilmember of Colmar Manor
  • Cynthia Bowden, Councilmember of Colmar Manor
  • Trina Brown, Councilmember of Bladensburg
  • Carolyn Cook, Councilmember of Cheverly
  • Robert Croslin, Councilmember of Hyattsville
  • James Crudup, Mayor of Eagle Harbor
  • Robert Day, Councilmember of College Park
  • Monroe Dennis, Councilmember of College Park
  • Katrina R Dodro, Councilmember of New Carrollton
  • Doretha Epps, Councilmember of Colmar Manor
  • Andy Fellows, Mayor of College Park
  • Walter Ficklin, Councilmember of Bladensburg
  • Tracy Farrish Gant, Vice Mayor of Edmonston
  • Jacqueline Goodall, Mayor of Forest Heights
  • Patricia Gross, Commissioner-At-Large of Cottage City
  • Edouard Haba, Councilmember of Hyattsville
  • Michael Hale, Mayor of Colmar Manor
  • Johnie Higgs, Councilmember-At-Large of Seat Pleasant
  • Candace Hollingsworth, Councilmember of Hyattsville
  • Vivian Jackson, Councilmember of Colmar Manor
  • Kito James, Mayor of Capitol Heights
  • Walter James, Mayor of Bladensburg
  • Eugene Kennedy, Councilmember of Seat Pleasant
  • Sophia E. Layne-Bee, Councilmember of Edmonston
  • David Lingua, Councilmember of Riverdale Park
  • Denise Mitchell, Councilmember of College Park
  • Craig A. Moe, Mayor of Laurel
  • Kelly Porter, Council President of Seat Pleasant
  • Jeannette M. Ripley, Vice Mayor of Landover Hills
  • Raymond Rivas, Councilmember of Riverdale Park
  • G. Frederick Robinson, Mayor of Bowie
  • Heidi Sorensen, Councilmember of University Park
  • Alejandro Silva, Councilmember of Riverdale Park
  • Elenora Simms, Councilmember of Seat Pleasant
  • Frederick Smalls, Council President of Laurel
  • Dennis Smith, Mayor of Glenarden
  • Steve Sonnett, Mayor of Upper Marlboro
  • Gary Styles, Commissioner of Cottage City
  • John Rogard Tabori, Mayor of University Park
  • Marc Tartaro, Mayor of Hyattsville
  • Todd Turner, Councilmember of Bowie
  • Lee Walker, Mayor of Landover Hills

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Minimum wage hypocrisy: Force a bad law on businesses generally, but exempt special large corporate interests

All of our all-Democratic county elected officials seem to agree that raising the minimum wage is good, despite the harm it might cause businesses or the danger that it might lead to higher prices. The council voted unanimously for a 58% increase in the the minimum wage, and county executive Rushern Baker supported the increase.

BUT ...

Now one large employer wants special treatment. Six Flags has found an excuse to argue that they deserve special treatment. So councilman Derrick L. Davis (D-6) plans to introduce discriminatory legislation to provide corporate welfare benefits for a special interest in his district.

Never mind that there are lots or reasons not to increase the minimum wage at all. Or that lots of businesses might have business-specific arguments against it.

No, following Orwell's story that All Pigs are Equal, but Some Pigs are More Equal than Other Pigs, Derrick Davis is going to make Six Flags more equal than any other county employer. Apparently Mr. Baker agrees with this special treatment of a single big corporate employer.

And I thought that this kind of special treatment for big corporations was what local folks claim distinguishes evil Republicans from good Democrats.

Have Davis and Baker sold out? Will they now begin to listen to similar or identical arguments from other businesses?

Or do they only help out big corporations, not run-of-the-mill business owners?

CLOWNING AROUND: Dem opposes minimum wage hike at amusement park

By Andrea Noble,  The Washington Times, Monday, January 13, 2014

An effort is underway in Prince George’s County to carve out an exemption to the much-ballyhooed “regional minimum wage” increase passed by lawmakers there, in Montgomery County and in the District last year.

County Council member Derrick Leon Davis is expected to introduce a bill Tuesday that would let one of the county’s largest employers, Six Flags, continue to pay its seasonal workers at the lower rate of $7.25 per hour instead of the wage that would increase to $11.50 per hour by 2017.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Selected Prince George's County Legislative News

  • PG Nannies: Sen. Benson wants to control how people dress to ride all-terrain vehicles (SB 80)
  • PG Porkers: Sen. Benson wants all MD taxpayers to spend half million $ to benefit only City of Seat Pleasant (SB 55)
  • PG Porkers: Sen. Peters wants taxpayers to spend a quarter million dollars on a private lacrosse field dome (SB 19)
  • PG Taxers: Gazette reports plan by Del. Davis for school zone speed cameras to rip us off 24 hours not just during school day
  • More things to watch in the 2014 Maryland General Assembly session
  • Rushern Baker continues politicization of "non-partisan" Board of Education

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Rushern Baker continues politicization of "non-partisan" Board of Education

Despite his broken promise to not try to take over the schools, and despite the fact that the Prince George's County Board of Education is legally a non-partisan body, Rushern Baker today swears in an appointed Democratic Party political operative replacing a former elected non-partisan member of the board.

Baker and the anti-democracy legislators who conspired with him should be ashamed, but, as we know, OUR legislators know no shame.

Press Release

For Immediate Release:
January 8, 2014

For Information Contact:
Scott Peterson
Deputy Manager of Communications, Press Secretary

 Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III Public Schedule for Thursday, January 9, 2014

11:00 AM

County Executive Baker to attend Swearing-in of District 9 Board of Education appointee Sonya Williams

Sasscer Administration Building
14201 School Lane
Upper Marlboro, MD

Things to watch in the 2014 Maryland General Assembly session

Some other things to watch for:

Despite the 40 tax and fee increases implemented so far during the O'Malley years, the state is now predicting another huge "structural" deficit.  So watch for our delegates and senators to use any excuse, any emotional appeal they can find to justify reaching into our pockets and stealing even more money to finance thair insatiable addiction to spending other people's money.

And, despite the deficit, watch for them to introduce bills to spend even more money as handouts to non-government groups.  For example, Sen/ Peters' bill SB 19 to take a quarter of a million dollars of our money and give it to some private group to build a dome for a lacrosse field.

And also depite the deficit, watch for them to introduce bills to increase the size, complexity, and cost of the state government.  If the past is any indication, most of these bill will come with a false promise that no or minimal additional money will be required.  But if they had not lied when they passes such bills in the past, there would not be another huge deficit problem.

Additionally, watch for them to pass unfunded mandates that will force businesses to spend more money, and raise prices.  Senator Benson has already started down this road.

And they will also strive to further make a mockery of the notion that Maryland is the "Free State," by passing all sorts of authoritarian nanny laws telling uds how to live our lives.  Nanny Benson has also started this ball rolling.

Finally, at least one non-Prince George's delegate is sponsoring legislation to make it harder or illegal for us to protect ourselves from the violent thugs who have made us the second most crime-ridden jurisdiction in Maryland and the most crime-ridden DC suburb.  No PG members have signed on to this movement yet, but given their past pro-criminal records, I expect some of our legislators to become co-sponsors.

Followup to Arthur Turner's message "10 things to watch in the 2014 Maryland General Assembly session" from the Washington Post

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Upscale, schmuckscale

PGC Blog has a report on county planners' opposition to expansion of the Bowie Walmart. Many Oxon Hill residents are fighting a proposed Oxon Hill Walmart that is not particularly close to any residential neighborhoods. Council members Toles and Franklin are pushing legislation to override parts of the recently Green Line Station Plan with a mish-mash of confusing rules that will drive out or ban successful businesses that serve the community and probably result in more vacant storefronts.

Despite the fussing from planners and the hypocritical mouthings of elitist NIMBYs, it seems fairly clear that county residents want to shop at Walmart. Leaders in Bowie seem to recognize that simple fact and apparently value the job and tax revenue an expanded Walmart would bring to their community. The elites, on the other hand, have accomplished nothing positive in the way of attracting "upscale" businesses to the area and apparently would rather not have any jobs or tax revenue. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but what do I know?

Decades ago, the county had a number of relatively upscale department stores. Some went out of business (like Woodward & Lothrop and Lansburghs, others just closed, like Landover Mall, but none of the people who bitch and moan about "upscale" and "high-end" have ever managed to replace the stores that are gone with equal or better ones. And unless you believe that the successful business people who run the big chains are all incompetent and/or all racist, there is probably no real market for those stores.

The Blvd was once acclaimed as a start in attracting "upscale" things, but most of the mid-market type stores there failed and closed.

There was a time when I shopped regularly ar Landover Mall and Iverson Mall. Landover Mall is gone--nearly all vacant land adding nothing to the county's economy. I haven't been in Iverson Mall for a couple of years.  Once it had Woodward and Lothrop, a successful Montgomery Ward store, a real book store, and several well-known specialty stores. Next to Iverson Mall, Marlow Heights had a Pier 1, and an Ethan Allen furniture store. Both had Hallmark Gold Crown stores. Now the two centers have a Burlington Coat Factory, a church, one of the crummiest Macy's in the chain, no card or book stores, and a bunch of "downscale" dtores like Forman Mills.  Some folks want to find "upscale" tenants or shut Iverson Mall down, but the mall is fully leased, with no long-term vacancies, and the "downscale" stores seem to be successfully meeting the needs and wants of the community.

Leave the Marlow Heights and Iverson Mall shopping centers and drive around.  You'll see vacant buildings and land where there were recently businesses, as well as several churches (which don't contribute much to the economy) where there were once stores like the Room Store, K-Mart, Grand Union, Hechinger's, etc., that provided jobs and tax revenues.

So what do county residents really want and deserve?  Existing businesses, even "downscale" ones that provide jobs and tax revenue?  Or vacant lands and stores that provide neither jobs nor tax revenues while they wait for the "upscale" stores that are not coming?  And how many of the residents waiting for "upscale" businesses are willing to start or invest their money in such businesses?

Despite what people in the county say, their actions and buying speak far louder than any empty rhetoric and wishful thinking.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Frush, Lehman renew their bag tax ripoff campaign

These people seem to use any argument they can find, any emotional appeal they can make--to control the lives of the people while at the same time grabbing more money.

In this case, it appears that both paper and plastic bags are evil--bad for the environment.  EXCEPT when they are used to produce tax revenue the politicians can spend on their pet projects. 

Also note that, as seems to be increasingly the case, the Gazette "news" story only presents one side of the issue, with no attempt at balance or citing arguments for, or interviewing advocates of the opposing point of view.

Maryland Community News
Published: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Prince George's delegates to again consider disposable bag fee
by Jamie Anfenson-Comeau Staff writer

Paper or Plastic? Either way, Prince George's County shoppers may join their neighbors in Montgomery County and Washington D.C. in paying for their disposable bags if a bill under consideration passes.

The bill has failed to pass the past three years in a row, but supporters think the fourth time may be the charm.

"We've built on support every year," said County Councilwoman Mary Lehman (Dist. 1) of Laurel, who has been an outspoken supporter of the bill. "There's an awareness that didn't exist four or five years ago. So I'm hopeful, and we're going to keep at it."

The bill, PG402-14, would allow the Prince George's County Council to impose a fee of up to five cents on retail disposable bags, paper or plastic, as part of retail sales.

Similar fees are already in place in Montgomery County and Washington, D.C., which both charge a five cent per bag fee.

"When it comes to addressing litter, we're really being left behind, with Montgomery County and D.C. taking such strong action to clean up their communities," said Lehman, who testified Monday in support of the bill during a public hearing. "I don't believe it reflects well on our county."

The bill was one of 32 introduced Monday during a public hearing by the county delegation at the Prince George's County Sports and Learning Complex in Landover.

The bills will be taken up by the General Assembly in its next session, which begins Jan. 8.

County residents were invited to give testimony on the bills and the four that spoke on the disposable bag fee bill supported the measure.

Martha Ainsworth of Bowie, chairwoman of the Prince George's County chapter of the Sierra Club, a grassroots environmental group, cited a Prince George's County Office of Community Relations publication that said the average shopper pays $15 to $37 per year in higher retail costs to cover the business' bag purchases while the county annually spends approximately $2.5 million on cleaning up plastic bag trash.

"Under this bill, disposable bags are paid by the people who choose to use them, not by the rest of us in our shopping bills," Ainsworth said. "The purpose is to offer an incentive that will reduce litter and protect the environment, not to raise revenue."

Julie Lawson of Accokeek, director of the Trash Free Maryland Alliance, said a Department of the Environment study has shown bag fees have reduced bag consumption in the District.

"Eighty percent of D.C. residents are carrying reusable bags with them, to avoid paying the fee," said Lawson.

Lawson said plastic bags make up approximately 20 percent of the trash cleaned from the Anacostia River and 50 percent of the trash cleaned from its tributaries.

Last year, the bill had enough votes to pass, said Del. Barbara Frush (D-21) of Beltsville, the House sponsor of the bill, but other delegates looking for a way to fund a bill requiring county schools install turf fields, attached amendments to her bill directing the revenue towards the fields.

"The primary purpose of the bill was to protect the environment, and turf fields do not protect the environment," Frush said. "So I withdrew the bill."

Frush said the bag fee is not a tax on county residents who already pay for the bags.

"It's not a tax, you pay for the bags every time you make a purchase," Frush said. "It's a hidden fee."

Lehman said the "clean" bill drew support from over 30 environmental, business, labor, local government and civic groups.

"It really enjoys broad support across many different types of stakeholder organizations," Lehman said.

Lehman said that if the bill is approved, the County Council will then vote whether to approve the fee and where the revenue from the fee will go.

"I don't mind spelling out that it needs to be spent for environmental purposes and for free [reusable] bags for low-income people, for education and for outreach," Lehman said.< © 2013 Post Community Media, LLC/Gazette.Net

Monday, December 09, 2013

Undeliverable: [Caution: Message contains Suspicious URL content] Re: [PG-Politics] Fw: Prince George's Delegation Hosts Public Hearing Dec. 9 (@Sports&Learning Center)

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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Oxon Hill Road area residents suffer from broken promises about Tanger Outlet traffic

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Diane C. Russell
Date: Wed, Dec 4, 2013 at 9:18 AM
Subject: Re: IHHAAC Action Alert: Traffic on Oxon Hill Road at Tanger Outlets
To: IHHAAC Board

I'm not sure why you or IHHAAC members would have believed "assurances that local residents and other users of Oxon Hill Road not destined for the Tanger Outlets would not be inconvenienced other than heavy traffic."  Rushern Baker and his minions have not been truthful about National Harbor area development, so I find it hard to place much trust in anything they say.

Although Baker claims to support "Transit Oriented Development," there is no adequate transit service to the outlets, and none in sight. 

Matters will only get much worse, with even more worthless assurances, when Baker's casino opens--the casino sponsored by the same Rushern Baker who once falsely promised "I will never allow slots or any form of legalized gambling in Prince George's County."

Seems to me that if Baker really meant what he says about "Transit Oriented Development,", he would have insisted on a specific transit plan, financed in large part by the developers who benefit, before proceeding to ram these kinds of development down our throats.  Instead, he expects the people of the county to bear the huge costs of infrastructure improvement and major inconvenience, while the developers (and the public officials they fund) reap the financial benefits.

Let's face the facts: the people of the south county Oxon Hill Road and Indianhead Highway corridors are expendable and have been sold down the river by the politicians they foolishly elected.

D.C. Russell
(on hiatus, resuming soon for the legislative and election seasons)

On Tue, Dec 3, 2013, IHHAAC Board wrote:


The Tanger Outlets at National Harbor opened on November 22.

Ever since then the traffic on Oxon Hill Road has been a nightmare come true. Despite assurances that local residents and other users of Oxon Hill Road not destined for the Tanger Outlets would not be inconvenienced other than heavy traffic, a bad situation has been made infinitely worse by poor traffic control and mismanagement.

During peak periods, the Police Department has closed Oxon Hill Road to all southbound traffic for one block between National Blvd and Harborview Avenue, forcing all traffic to turn right (west) on National Blvd toward the Potomac River and drive through National Harbor before being allowed to turn back east on Harborview Avenue in order to return to Oxon Hill Road and turn southward to our homes, thereby needlessly adding as much as 30-minutes travel time.

Over the last weekend, the number of complaints received by IHHAAC reached a crescendo. We also personally experienced being forced to make the loop through National Harbor and thereby being thrown needlessly into the crush of Tanger traffic. On two occasions westopped and politely told the officer directing traffic that we were local
residents trying to go home, we were not going to Tanger, therefore we should be allowed to go straight on Oxon Hill Road and through the light at Harborview Avenue, but to no avail. Other residents shared identical experiences with us. Suffice it to say, local residents are furious.

IHHAAC has filed complaints with the County Executive, Councilman Obie Patterson, the Chairman of The Peterson Companies, their attorney, the Manager of Tanger Outlets at National Harbor, the Police Department, the Department of Public Works and Transportation and many others.

The only response to date has been a telephone call from the Commander of Police District IV, who asked for first-hand details of our experiences, then assured us that  

as residents we are supposed to be allowed to continue southbound on Oxon Hill Road without being forced to drive through National Harbor and get caught up in the Tanger traffic.

 If so, clearly the officers on the street have NOT been so instructed, because other residents also reported trying to 'reason' with the officers directing traffic as to why they should be allowed to continue going south to get home, also to no avail.
If this happens to you, do NOT take in lying down: yell and scream bloody murder to all of the aforementioned authorities.

Also let us know at We will keep you apprised of developments.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Prince George's County website purge : Were records disposal laws followed?

Since the county's new website went online in July I have heard and received many critical comments about it, but not a single compliment.  Apparently, many pages were removed from the site.  I sent questions to county council members and records and legal officials on October 27, 2013, and will report any answers I receive.

  • To the extent that information was purged from the county website earlier this year, and is no longer available there, did the county IT staff comply with state laws and regulations related to disposal of electronic records?
  • Has the council conducted any oversight with respect to the records management or disposal issue?
  • If records disposal laws or regulations were not followed, what enforcement or corrective actions, if any, will be taken against the violators or to recover the records?

Monday, April 29, 2013

PG Legislators' Voting Rights Hypocrisy

The 2013 session of the Maryland General Assembly passed a law entitled "Improved Access to Voting" intended to make it easier for citizens to register and vote.

Every Prince Georges County member voted for final passage, except Del. Geraldine Valentino-Smith, who was absent.

The General Assembly also passed a law entitled "Prince George's County - School System - Academic Revitalization and Management Effectiveness Initiative."

Every Prince Georges County member voted for final passage, except Sen. C. Anthony Muse and Del, Aisha Braveboy, who voted No, and Del. Tawanna Gaines and Del. Jay Walker, who were excused or absent.

The primary purpose of the latter bill was to overrule the will of the voters of the county and limit the authority of officials for whom they had voted.

So, while almost all of our Senators and Delegates voted to made it easier to vote, they also showed their distrust of, and contempt for, the voters by acting to set aside the results of the voter's choices.

Apparently they want more people to go through the motions of voting, but won't honor the voters' choices.

Disgusting hypocrisy in my opinion.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Rushern Baker's planned school coup d'etat, Part zero, list of news reports

Note: The timestamps (about x hours ago) are inaccurate, but they link to pages with the original Tweet and posting time.  This is not comprehensive.  Final daily issue, may be supplement later if law is challenged.