PGCo, did you know… (Demo)

New mixed-use development coming to northern Riverdale looks like something close to what the county needs, Attorney General Gansler picks Prince George’s County Delegate Jolene Ivey as running mate but his announcement gets muddled in his own mess AGAIN, Latino Liaison to County Executive Baker named in an effort to stop the bleeding, At least 2 of 3 companies vying to build casinos have shady, criminal backgrounds and connections to the Maryland Gambling Commissioners.

Monument Village and Metropolitan will bring new apartments, town homes and some retail about a mile from the campus, just north of the bridge over University Boulevard, the Diamondback reported Although the developments will be close to the Maryland University, College Park campus, the units are not going to be marketed as student housing.  College Park City Councilman Catlin stated that the apartments will be sold as units, not by the bedroom, like the leases of many developments near the campus.
Metropolitan Development Group plans to start construction in spring 2014.  It is going through the county approval process and they are revising their detailed site plan. The Monument Village Development is also working to get its detailed site plan approved. That project could break ground as early as this winter, said Monument Village spokesman Alan Hew.  A single developer was originally planning both Monument Village and Metropolitan, though they are now split between two different developers. Metropolitan Development Group and Monument Realty, the Washington-based development group planning Monument Village, both significantly reduced their retail space in the latest plans.
Metropolitan DevelopmentDue to the economic downturn of 2007-2009,  “Their project will come in a little bit smaller than originally planned,” College Park City Councilman Robert Catlin said. “[Monument Village and Metropolitan] are both very attractive, and I think they’ll provide a good start at revitalizing the northern part of Route 1.”  Monument Realty decreased the original proposed retail space by about 80 percent — it will be 4,800 square feet, down from 25,000 square feet originally. They also increased the number of apartments to 235, up from 200 units, and replaced four-story town homes with a designated green space, Bader said. Metropolitan Development Group also reduced their retail space along Route 1 to about 4,000 square feet, down from more than 40,000 square feet. The remaining retail space will include a coffee shop, dry cleaners and other stores that will benefit the locals, Butler said. There will also be 55 town homes behind the apartments, Bader said.  “Now, they just don’t see the market to support that kind of retail,” Bader said. “They’ve done housing studies and do see the market for that.”

Delegate Jolene Ivey
Del. Ivey

In what is being seen as a sign of Baltimore’s “waning” political clout,  Attorney General Gansler has chosen Delegate Jolene Ivey (Prince George’s County) as his running mate.   I’m new to Maryland politics so I was fascinated by the Baltimore Sun‘s perspective on Gansler’s choice.  “Gansler’s move represents a calculated gamble that the old rules of geographical representation no longer apply, and that it was more important to add racial and gender diversity by naming an African-American woman. The fact that Gansler hopes to win with a Washington-suburban ticket illustrates a long-term drift of political power away from Baltimore. Its population decline and shrinking legislative representation have been matched by the growth of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties as the powerhouses of Democratic politics.
Gansler is leading what he hopes will be the first victorious Democratic ticket since 1978 without a candidate from the Baltimore region. That year, Eastern Shoreman Harry R. Hughes teamed with Samuel Bogley of Prince George’s to win an unlikely upset in the Democratic primary, followed by victory in the general election. Since then, the Baltimore region has been represented on the winning ticket each time — by Govs. William Donald Schaefer, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Martin O’Malley and Lt. Govs. J. Joseph Curran Jr., Melvin A. “Mickey” Steinberg and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.”  I’m still learning about Maryland politics but it’s fascinating to know that Delegate Jolene Ivey is the wife of FORMER Maryland State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey.  Most of you already knew that but I didn’t. 
Doug GanslerIn other Gansler news, reports about the memo written by a state trooper detailing Gansler’s horrible back seat driving, insistence that emergency sirens be used on a daily while transporting him for his official duties are all over the web.  It’s not a good look.  Gansler was basically reprimanded for being a butthole.  New troopers took over because the other ones were done with him.  Gansler has been more forthcoming than Lt. Gov. Brown about  his plans and initiatives for Maryland but it’s personal character and gossipy dish that the public has in the forefront when they think of who they’d like to vote for.  This is not the first time he’s made a mess.  See PGC Blog post on his comments about Lt. Governor Brown being Black.  
Latino Power MuralI suspect the outcries from the Latino community in Prince George’s County have been heard.  When the last appointments to the school board were made, Latino leaders were very vocal about their feeling left out and not represented.  In response, I think, County Executive Baker has appointed  Dinora Hernandez as the county’s first full-time Latino liaison.  She is a 27 years old lawyer of El Salvadoran decent, and a lifelong resident of Hyattsville.  In her new position, Hernandez  will speak directly with members of the Latino community, and serve as a point of contact for Latinos to discuss their concerns, which she will in turn discuss with and advise Baker.  Although Baker has promised better recruiting for a Latino member of the school board, it has been reported that Latino politicians Will Campos and State Sen. Victor Ramirez (D-Dist. 47) endorsed a Latino appointee candidate to replace the disgraced school board member Carletta Fellows.  The candidate had two masters degrees and is a graduate of Princeton University.  Maybe it’s because the candidate is an outsider, which is exactly what that board needs.  Come on Baker.  Hernandez formerly worked as a legislative aide for Baker in his Annapolis office during the most recent session of the General Assembly.  This appointment of a person of Latino decent is the second of the month.  Prince George’s schools Superintendent Kevin Maxwell  named Maritza E. Gonzalez as the system’s first diversity officer to focus on Hispanic affairs.
*BLANK STARE at Gaming Commission*
*BLANK STARE at Gaming Commission*

Get out of town!! You mean to tell me that some of these casino companies have dealing with convicted criminals and Asian mob?!! I would NEVER have thought such.
From the Washington Post: At a hearing in Baltimore to consider “the integrity, financial stability and responsibility” of the casino operators and their principals, the commissioners voted unanimously to allow the three bids to go forward, but not before concerns were expressed about two of the bidders — Greenwood Racing and MGM Resorts — and their relationships with convicted felons and, in MGM’s case, organized crime influences in Asia.  Greenwood Racing, which is hoping to develop a facility on a vacant lot in Fort Washington, came under scrutiny for chairman Robert Green’s past dealings with Robert Brennan, the former head of penny-stock brokerage First Jersey Securities.  
bsp_Gambling_Games_3631219In 2001, Brennan, with whom Green had done business, was sentenced to more than nine years in federal prison for money laundering and bankruptcy fraud.  As a condition of qualification in Maryland, the state’s gambling enforcement chief, John Mooney, recommended that Green refrain from making any contact with Brennan. “I’m agreeable to that,” Green told the commission. He said he had not done business with Brennan since the 1990s and last spoke with him “eight or nine months ago.” New Jersey and Massachusetts gambling regulators have placed restrictions on Green’s business dealings with Brennan but not personal contact. There are, he said, no restrictions on his license in Pennsylvania, where Greenwood operates Parx Casino.
 MGM, which is hoping to develop a casino resort at National Harbor, was similarly scrutinized by Maryland regulators for its partnership in Macau with Pansy Ho, whose father, Stanley Ho, has been alleged to have ties to organized crime.  MGM was also investigated for its dealings with a former director, Terry Christensen, who was convicted in 2008 on federal wiretapping charges for conspiring with Anthony Pellicano to wiretap the ex-wife of Kirk KerkorianJim Murren, chairman and chief executive of MGM, said the company “already made that determination” to cut ties with Christensen several years ago. “I’m fully supportive,” he said of the recommendation. 
State investigators also studied MGM’s high debt load, Mooney said, but determined that the company “appears to have the financial resources and borrowing capacity” to qualify for a Maryland casino license. The state’s regulatory enforcement division recommended that MGM officials file periodic status reports on their Macau operation and to refrain from any personal or business contact with Christensen.
 Prince George’s Racing Ventures, the Penn National Gaming subsidiary that wants to develop a casino at Rosecroft Raceway, sailed through the hearing.

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