Recent Prince George's County News updates are currently posted to both PG-Politics and PG-Politics-Briefs. Older issues may be shortened and require a click to read the full text.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Recent Prince George's County News (27 Jul 2015)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Recent Prince George's County News (25 & 26 Jul 2015)

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Huge increase in Prince George's school staffing?

Every week the Washington Business Journal publishes a list of something--and the lists are compiled into an annual "Book of Lists."

The lists generally have 25, 50, or 100 businesses or other organizations ranked by size, number of employees, revenues, or other factors used to compare the organizations.

Organizations located in Prince George's County are generally underrepresented compared to those located in other area jurisdictions. The few Prince George's organizations that do get listed are almost never at or near the top of any list.

The July 3 issue has a list of "Largest Employers," ranked by non-federal public and private metro area employers. The listing is based on "Employment reported to the Washington Post on Feb. 5, 2014 and April 8, 2015."

Number one on the list is Prince George's County Public Schools, with 23,785 employees in 2015, and 18,197 employees in 2014. That is a 30% increase in staffing in just 14 months.

Fairfax County Public Schools were second, reporting 23,447 employees in 2015, and 23,513 in 2014, a reduction of about 0.3%. Montgomery County Public Schools were fourth, reporting reporting 22,932 employees in 2015, and 21,580 in 2014, an increase of about 6%.

If these numbers are accurate:
  • Why was there such a huge increase in staffing?
  • Montgomery County has roughly 20% more students than Prince George's County, so why does Prince George's need to have more school staffing than Montgomery?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Recent Prince George's County News (26 Jun 2015)

Announcements:
  • Recent Prince George's County News updates are currently posted to both PG-Politics and PG-Politics-Briefs. Older issues may be shortened and require a click to read the full text.  Copies are routinely emailed to three local mailing lists.
  • The Enquirer-Gazette (sole surviving Prince George's County edition of the defunct Gazette chain) now has a page on the Southern Maryland Newspapers website.
  • The list of local news sources used for this compilations has been partially updated and is still under construction.
  • A list of 2016 candidates for U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, Districts 4 and 5, is also online but still under construction.
  • Social media information for the lists of 2016 candidates, council members, and legislators will be added when available, but this will be a passive, not active effort.  Send updates to pgpolitics@gmail.com.
  • Notices of political events of candidates and elected officials may be posted as they becomes available, but this will be another passive, not active effort. Tweets with time, location, and link to details preferred. Emails with basic details that are only in  non-text, non-html attachments or links (like .doc and .pdf files) go to the bottom of the priority list.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Recent Prince George's County News (25 Jun 2015)

PG-related headlines from the Enquirer-Gazette, June 25, 2015

Note that most of the Prince George's specific stories do not appear to be online, or are well-hidden.  A few stories are online, but hidden.  There are no direct links to Enquirer-Gazette news content from the front pages of either Gazette.net or SoMdNews.com.
  • Bowie Pantry to Stuff a truck for school children
    • Director hopes to fill more than 200 snack bags for kids
    • By Kirsten Petersen (Email, Twitter, Twitter)
  • Bowie cancels city-sponsored July 4 fireworks.
  • County executive to approve FY 16 budget
    • Residents will experience first property tax hike since 1978
    • By Kirsten Petersen (Email, Twitter, Twitter)
  • Appointed school board member Kaufman resigns
    • Second departure this year
    • by Jamie Anfenson-Comeau (Email)
  • Ravens guard, mathematician encourages students
    • Landover Hills received visit, STEM day for science competition win
    • by Jamie Anfenson-Comeau (Email)
  • Hoyer meets with local NAACP leaders
  • Doctors Community Hospital earns 20 marketing awards
  • Gazette newspapers shut down, but Enq-Gaz. still here
    • Morningside-Skyline, by Mary McHale
  • Barbecue Battle to feature food, music, fun
    • Croom, by Priscilla F. Jones
  • Community calendar
    • Has several Charles County items and a few Prince George's items.  The Southern Maryland Newspapers searchable online calendar has more Prince George's events.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Recent Prince George's County News (23 Jun 2015)

Return of frequent news updates and candidate information (trial)

For several years ending in late 2012 PG-Politics posted frequent summaries of news about Prince George's County.  The format and title varied over time, but generally each individual news item had a title and link to the source.  The service was discontinued in late 2012, as explained in a lengthy message originally posted 26 Apr 2012, and updated 31 Aug 2012.

Among the reasons for discontinuance were declining blog readership and mailing list participation, and increasing numbers of news sources generally available online. 

The demise of the Gazette, reductions in staffing and local coverage by the Post, and the Patches, inactivity of some of the other bloggers who once wrote about politics in the county, and the consolidation of sites now controlled by the Sun, have reduced the number of generally available county-related news sources.

Although PG-Politics does not have the ability to do actual reporting of newsworthy events, the summaries have returned on a trial basis, to help fill the gaps from the reduction in real news sources, and to provide a vehicle for anyone who wants to report on community events or meetings, or fill in when necessary (during periods of travel, etc., reply to this message if interested).  For the present, items being considered for posting can be found here.

PG-Politics also provided coverage of candidates for local offices in 2006 and 2010.  Attempts to continue in 2014 failed--no candidates responded to requests for information or links to campaign events or online sources.    A separate message about plans for identifying 2016 candidates will follow later.



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Recent Prince George's County News (17 Jun 2015)

Budget war in Prince George's (overnight news reports)

Budget war in Prince George's: Council overrides Rushern Baker's vetoes
Washington Post (Arelis R. Hernández, June 16 at 10:15 PM)
The Prince George's County Council voted Tuesday to override budget vetoes handed down by County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, rejecting for the second time in three weeks a proposed double-digit increase in the property tax rate.
     The decision illustrates a stark shift by the nine-member council, which has supported most of Baker's major initiatives throughout his 4 1 /2 years in office.
     ... The council's overrides reinstate a 4-cent increase in the property tax rate. Baker had originally proposed a 15-cent increase, then floated an 11.45-cent increase on Monday.
     Although the amount is significantly smaller than what Baker sought, it would be the first property tax increase in Prince George's in nearly four decades — a blow to anti-tax activists who pushed through a tax cap in 1978 and have defended it ever since. ...
     ... Franklin called Baker's discussion of litigation "embarrassing and strange" for the county as well as "self destructive and self-defeating."

Comment by "Photon C" 
Let me know where and when to sign a petition to recall council members for voting for any property tax increase or any tax increase what so ever. Also, I am more than willing to sign any petition to stop any property tax increase.
      Funny how PG Co. property taxes haven't been increased in such a long time and are still higher than neighboring, nicer counties.
   
Prince George's Co. council overrides budget veto
W*USA 9 (Staff, 11:26 p.m. EDT June 16, 2015)
UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WUSA9) -- The Prince George's County Council has overridden County Executive Rushern Baker's veto of the county budget for the 2016 fiscal year, ,,, The council said residents and business found Baker's tax hike unaffordable and harmful to the county's economic recovery.
Tracee Wilkins @TraceeWilkins
10:38 PM - 16 Jun 2015
The prospect of the County Exec suing this Council would be self-destructive, self-defeating and irresponsible - Mel Franklin, Council Chair
Tracee Wilkins  @TraceeWilkins 
10:37 PM - 16 Jun 2015
The Prince George's County Council overrides the County Executive's budget setting up the possibility for litigation. @nbcwashington

Arelis R. Hernández  @arelisrhdz
10:19 PM - 16 Jun 2015
Is the Budget war over in Pr. George’s: after Council overrides Baker’s vetoes? We shall see wpo.st/kYvL0 pic.twitter.com/zeT5h6N8ca



Monday, April 27, 2015

Questions to Ask Your Senator and Delegates

Prince George’s County already bears the heaviest property tax burden of any suburban jurisdiction in the Washington metropolitan region, yet has the least to show for it.  County residents also pay one of the highest telecommunications taxes in the entire nation.

The Prince George's County charter prohibits raising property and most other taxes without a vote of the people.  Past attempts to raise property and telecommunications taxes have been rejected by the vast majority of voters.

Nevertheless, Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker plans significant regressive tax increases, raising the property tax rate by over 15%, and the telecommunications tax by 50%, making the latter the second highest in the nation.

Mr. Baker claims he was authorized to override the county charter and the will of the voters by a law passed by the General Assembly in 2012, commonly referred to as SB 848.  

Questions:

1.  When you voted for SB 848 did you intend for it to authorize the county executive to override the county charter, repudiate the will of the electorate, and impose tax increases without a referendum.

2.  If that was not your intent, will you now publicly reject Mr. Baker's interpretation of the effect of SB 848 and publicly oppose his attempt to raise taxes without a referendum?

3.  If you did intend for SB 848 to override the county charter, or if you will not reject Mr. Baker's interpretation of the effect of SB 848 and publicly oppose his attempt to raise taxes without a referendum, can you explain why voters should continue to support or respect you when you so obviously disrespect the will of those voters?

Current Prince George's County legislators who voted for SB 848:




Thursday, April 23, 2015

Question: What info is available comparing PG expenses/benefits to other counties?

We know from various reports that:
  • Prince George's County has the highest tax burden among DC-area suburbs.
  • Prince George's schools spend well above the average per student, but get close to the worst results.​ ​
​So, how does Prince George's County compare in other areas?  For example:
  • How much does Prince George's compare to other counties on the average expenditure average to process a building permit request?  And how does the burden on the applicant compare to the burden imposed by other counties?
  • How many miles of roads, curbs, and sidewalks are maintained by Prince George's County, and how does the per-mile cost of that maintenance compare to similar activities by other nearby counties?
  • How much does Prince George's spend per senior citizen on services directed at seniors and the aging, and how does that per capita spending compare to other counties?
  • How many hangers-on are in Rushern Baker's immediate office and entourage, and how does that compare to other counties?
  • How many levels of managers and deputies does Prince George's County have between the county executive and the average lowest level worker--road maintainer, permit issuer, inspector, data entry operator, etc., and how does that compare to other counties?
Does anyone have a source for department by department or service by service comparisons?

In their 2010 "Pledge for Prince George's County" Rushern Baker, Mel Franklin, Mary Lehman, Derrick Davis, and others, promised (among other things):
We Pledge the creation of a plan for greater coordination of the entire Prince George's County government with the school system for accelerating improvements in our schools and greater efficiency where possible;
and
We Pledge to have an independent evaluation, analysis, and audit of Prince George's County revenue and expenditures, to determine if there are more effective financial systems and practices, which can relieve the burden on property owners, while matching income with population growth and required delivery of services;
There is no evidence that those promises have been kept.  How can Baker now ask for a huge tax increase after doing little or nothing to actually coordinate county and school activities and after failing to complete the "independent evaluation, analysis, and audit" that would determine whether any increase is actually warranted?
Note that the "Pledge" website has been removed--perhaps they don't want the public to find their broken promises--but there is a copy here.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Rushern Baker's Tax Ripoff: Recent News & Discussion

  • Prince George's Doesn't Need Higher Taxes to Fund Its Schools (9 Apr 2015, Bradley Heard, Prince George's Urbanist)
  • New Comment on Rushern Baker's tax ripoff makes the Wall Street Journal (9 Apr 2015, AnneR1976, PG-Politics, Message)
  • New Comment on Baker's Broken Promises: Taxes & TRIM (9 Apr 2015, Anonymous, PG-Politics, Message)
  • Why won’t Prince George’s leaders honor their voters? (9 Apr 2015, Judy Robinson, Gazette)
  • Oppose the property tax increase (9 Apr 2015, Robert B. Hunter, Gazette)
  • Proposed tax increase in Prince George’s is worth the cost to aid schools, community (9 Apr 2015, Christina Rome, Gazette)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Baker's broken promises: Taxes & TRIM

"I would not work to repeal TRIM."
Gazette 2010 Voters Guide:
Q. What are your thoughts on TRIM? Would you work to repeal or preserve it?
I would not work to repeal TRIM.

Baker's broken promises: Transit to National Harbor

"I would also push for mass-transit across the Wilson Bridge and link it to National Harbor."
Gazette 2006 Voters Guide:
Do you support an east-west metro link and where should it go?
I support the construction of a Purple Line from New Carrollton to Silver Spring. I would also push for mass-transit across the Wilson Bridge and link it to National Harbor.


Baker's broken promises: Gambling

"I will never allow slots or any form of legalized gambling in Prince George’s County."
Source: Gazette 2006 Voters Guide:
Do you support allowing slots in Prince George’s? If so, where?
I will never allow slots or any form of legalized gambling in Prince George’s County.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rushern Baker's Tax Ripoff: News and Discussion Links

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Rushern Baker's tax ripoff makes the Wall Street Journal

Another Tax Increase Legacy From Martin O'Malley; The would-be presidential candidate created a loophole that could be used to bust local property-tax caps.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/steve-hanke-and-stephen-walters-another-tax-increase-legacy-from-martin-omalley-1426889946

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, who last week proposed hiking his constituents' property taxes by a remarkable 15.6% and boosting spending by 8.2% in the coming fiscal year. Much of the bounty will go to raise teachers' salaries from the current average of $65,000 to about $75,000.

Never mind the county's teachers already are paid 15% more than the U.S. average, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Or that shoveling money at teachers unions mainly delivers their political loyalty rather than educational benefits.

Mr. Baker is betting that county residents will be unable to resist his assurances that this is all "for the children." But we've seen this movie before. In the 1970s the locals went down a similar tax-and-spend road, saw disaster and changed course.

[More]


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Rushern Baker's Tax Ripoff Enablers in Annapolis

Current Prince George's County legislators who voted for the law that Rushern Baker says allows him to disregard the county charter he is supposed to uphold and thumb his nose at the voters of the county.  (Senate vote, House vote)​
Two current legislators honored the charter and the wishes of the people by voting NO.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Once again, Rushern Baker shows his contempt for voters and the county charter

Rushern Baker ran for office knowing full well the tax limitations in the county charter and the voters' long-term consistent support for those limitations.  

And Baker claimed--falsely it seems now--that he would not try to repeal the limitations.

Nevertheless, he is now trying an end run around the charter that he is supposed to uphold and enforce, planning to raise property taxes at least 15%, without voter approval, and in direct violation of the terms of the charter.

And he apparently doesn't have either the honesty or the guts to submit his plan to the voters as the charter requires.

This is not the first time Baker has worked to increase taxes in violation of the charter.  Over a decade ago, as a delegate, he was a prime mover in getting the General Assembly to override the charter and burden us with one of the very highest telephone taxes in the entire country.  His pro-tax, anti-charter, and-voter message has been obvious over the years.  People responsible for electing him either didn't bother to look closely at his record or didn't care.

Now the budget goes to the county council.  What will your council member do?

Gazette, 11 Aug 2010:
Gazette: What are your thoughts on TRIM? Would you work to repeal or preserve it?
Baker:  I would not work to repeal TRIM.