Whaaat?! Kind of News (Demo)

This is a “whaaaat?” kind of a day.  The federal government is still shutdown as the Republicans try to spin the story to read that the President is the one who won’t negotiate.  I listened to an interview with GA Representative Broun who was insistent that Obamacare would “destroy America” and one of my favorite newscasters J.C. Hayward (WUSA/Channel 9) stands accused of aiding companies in a scheme to bilk a  DC charter school of millions of dollars.  Attorney General Gansler is saying that if he’s elected governor, he’ll push for a metro stop at National Harbor and a law school at Bowie State, Delegate Melonie Griffith (Dist 25) is running for Dist 25 Senate seat held by Ullysses Currie and Upper Marlboro resident Angela McCaskill who signed petition to bring same-sex marriage to a referendum at her church is demoted at Gallaudet University.  Prince George’s Council is set to approve more suburban sprawl even though transit oriented development is being recommended by everything, every committee, and everyone this side of the equator.

Angela McCaskillI was disappointed to hear of Angela McCaskill’s continuing battle with Gallaudet University.  McCaskill signed a petition at her church to bring same-sex marriage to a referendum vote and the county voted to legalize same sex marriage.  But a coworker found out she signed the petition and has made life hell for her ever since.  See what Courthouse News is saying about it:  Lies that she had signed an “anti-gay” petition got the chief diversity officer of a school for the deaf suspended, demoted and publicly humiliated, she claims in Federal Court.  Angela McCaskill sued Gallaudet University, her co-worker Martina Bienvenu and Bienvenu’s partner, Kendra Smith, for defamation and discrimination.A resident of Upper Marlboro, Md., McCaskill says she signed the petition last year to call a referendum on the marriage equality bill Gov. Martin O’Malley had signed into law  Question 6, as the referendum was known, did appear on the ballot, and voters affirmed gay marriage by a wide margin on Election Night. [Just to be clear, Prince George’s County approved the measure but not by a wide margin 49.4% opposed, 50.6% in favor]

About a month before voters went to the polls, however, the “openly gay” Bienvenu allegedly confronted McCaskill “in a very hostile manner” about the issue McCaskill says she admitted to signing the petition at church because she wanted “to have the same-sex marriage issue vetted through public discourse so that Maryland voters could become more understanding, informed, and enlightened about the issue once they entered the polls.  Despite McCaskill’s insistence that the petition is not “anti-gay,” Bienvenu allegedly “responded in a very animated manner with her sign-voice elevated, exclaiming: ‘I am really disgusted with you!’  McCaskill, who is both black and deaf, says Bienvenu then criticized Christian beliefs on homosexuality – particularly among black churches – and warned her to “discontinue her religious services at her church or suffer dramatic consequences,” according to the complaint.
Gansler for GovernorMaryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) said Wednesday that, if elected governor, he would push to extend Metro rail service to National Harbor and to establish a law school at Bowie State University.  Speaking Wednesday night to close to 200 people at the University Town Center Plaza in Hyattsville, Gansler cast himself as the outsider in the Democratic primary, said he got into politics to “give voice to the voiceless” and pledged to focus on job creation, education and other issues that would help the middle-class thrive.  As he has at in other stops, Gansler also peppered his address with several promises and other observations tailored to his local audience.  Besides his pledges related to a new Metro stop and law school Wednesday, he criticized the current administration for how long it has taken to make good on a 2006 campaign promise to move the headquarters of a state agency to Prince George’s. – Washington Post.  Now that’s a big promise to make.  How will Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown counter THIS?

District 25 MapDelegate Melonie Griffith is running for the Maryland Senate, District 25, a position currently held by sullied Senator Ulysses Currie.   Griffith is scheduled to make an Oct. 15 announcement of her bid to represent District 25 in the Maryland Senate.  This large congressional district includes Bowie, District Heights, Upper Marlboro, Forest Heights, Glenarden, and Cheverly.  Senator Currie is a former Senate Budget and Taxation Committee chairman who was censured last year by the Maryland Senate for failing to disclose work for Shoppers Food Warehouse that paid him about $245,000 over several years.  He was acquitted of all federal charges of bribery and extortion in 2011, but a jury conceded that his actions had been unethical.  Delegate Griffith has served in the House of Delegates since 1998.  She recently served two terms as chair of the Prince George’s House Delegation.  
J C HaywardChannel 9 has relieved J.C. Hayward of her duties until this mess between her signature and the companies that gained millions from a charter school can be sorted out in court.  From the Washington Post: D.C. officials alleged in a lawsuit Tuesday that three former managers at the Northeast Washington school diverted at least $3 million of that money to enrich themselves, engaging in a “pattern of self-dealing” that was part of an elaborate contracting scam. The civil case alleges that the managers created two for-profit companies to provide services to Options at high prices, sometimes with the help of a senior official at the D.C. Public Charter School Board.  The managers were allegedly aided by the chairwoman of the school’s board of trustees at the time — WUSA (Channel 9) vice president and news personality J.C. Hayward — and the senior charter school official, who was responsible for charter-school financial oversight across the city. Documents filed with the court papers show that the signature of Hayward, who allegedly helped incorporate one of the companies, appears to be on some of the expensive contracts. The three ex-managers, their companies, Hayward and the charter-school board official were all named as defendants in the lawsuit.
 Hayward told Channel 9 that she did nothing wrong, but she has been relieved of her duties pending further investigation, according to a news report from the station. Hayward and WUSA’s general manager did not return calls from The Washington Post to their offices seeking comment Tuesday.  Donna Montgomery, former chief executive of Options and president of the two for-profit companies, said in a statement that no public funds were misused and that all contracts and payments “were disclosed and vetted by a variety of third parties, including the Options Board, outside auditors and the D.C. Public Charter School Board.”
Plan Prince Georges 2035 FeatureThe Prince George’s County Planning Committee has all but took to a bull horn to tout the need for transit oriented development around PGCo’s 15 underutilized metro stops.  Despite the committee’s recommendations and proof from the surrounding area that transit oriented development brings revenue and businesses, more suburban housing units are coming down the pike for our county.  GreaterGreaterWashington reported, “Although there are nearly 15,000 approved suburban single-family homes in the pipeline, studies show that future homebuyers will be increasingly disinclined to buy them. Data from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and George Mason University suggests that to meet future market demand, upwards of 60% (or 31,200) of the 52,000 new homes Prince George’s will need in the next 20 years should be multi-family homes.  CB-70, the bill that would extend the approvals for unbuilt subdivisions through 2015, will be introduced to the full council during their October 8 legislative session. It’s unclear when the other bills will be introduced, as these do not (yet) appear on the agenda.
 According to the council’s standard legislative process, once a bill is introduced, a public hearing before the full council is scheduled to occur “not earlier than 14 days after introduction.” Therefore, there is still time to let the council know what you think about these bills.  You should direct any written comments to the Clerk of the Council, and copy the individual council members, whose email addresses you may find in the Maryland Manual. You may also make limited oral public comments at the hearing.  The recent housing crisis is not the main reason why many of these approved suburban single-family sprawl developments have gone unbuilt for 10 years. There’s simply less demand for the product these days. Instead of simply giving them the green light, county leaders would do well to rethink these projects and take advantage of the plentiful opportunities to build in established neighborhoods and around its 15 Metro stations.

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