Tag Archives: Prince George’s County government

Pr. George’s County Politician Busted For drunken driving – requests jury trial


Prince George’s County Council member Mel Franklin is known to have an alcohol problem due to his high level connections with the Attorney General Offices of Maryland.  

Prince George’s County Council member Mel Franklin has requested a jury trial on drunken driving and other related traffic charges connected to a November 2016 crash that wrecked a government car and left two injured. Even though the trial is yet to be set, he is expected to walk scoot free because of the state of corruption in Prince George’s County. “It will be a surprise if an example is set out of him because of the people he knows and interacts with on daily basis” said one concerned parent.

Franklin (D-Upper Marlboro) was scheduled to appear in Prince George’s County District Court on Monday, but his request moves the case to the county’s circuit court, where he will receive a trial date.

His lawyer appeared at Monday’s hearing briefly to inform the judge of the request for a jury trial. She declined to comment after the hearing.

Franklin was charged with driving under the influence on Nov. 21, 2016 after he rear-ended a car stopped at a traffic light around Pennsylvania Avenue and Dower House Road at high speed while drunk. A police report obtained by The Washington Post showed Franklin’s blood alcohol concentration measured 0.10 after a breath test, above the minimum concentration of 0.08 required to support a DUI charge in Maryland.

Franklin is accused of crashing into a Mercedes stopped at a traffic light at Route 4 and Dower House Road near Forestville last week Nov. 21. According to Maryland State Police, Franklin was found outside the vehicle some distance from the crash site.

 Dwyer said her group’s concerns come not only as a result of the November crash, but also reports that Franklin had been involved in other crashes involving county cars.

The Washington Post reported last year that Franklin was involved in two previous crashes while driving county-issued vehicles: one in October of 2012 that resulted in $1,500 in damage and a second in December of the same year in which the county vehicle was totaled.

In that crash which was not reported to the public, Franklin reportedly slammed into a Yukon GMC. The Post reported that crash was the result of distracted driving and that Franklin was changing the radio station in the vehicle at the time of the crash. Franklin was not cited in the incident.

Franklin has been stripped of his access to county vehicles.

 It’s not the first time a county council member has had that perk taken away. In 2011, then-Prince George’s County council member Leslie Johnson was forced to surrender her county car after she pleaded guilty to conspiracy and evidence tampering in a federal case tied to the corruption case surrounding her husband, former County Executive Jack Johnson.

In 2012, Council member Karen Toles, facing a charge of reckless driving, offered to surrender her access to county vehicles until she completed a “driver improvement course.” Instead, the council acted to bar her access to county vehicles according to a council statement “for her safety and the safety of others.”


An SUV allegedly driven by Prince George’s Council member Mel Franklin in a Nov. 21 collision in which he has been charged with DUI. (Image via Jaklitsch Law Group)


The car allegedly hit from the rear at a traffic light by Prince George’s Council member Mel Franklin in a Nov. 21, 2016 collision. (Image via Jaklitsch Law Group)



Happy Valentine’s

Red_Bow_with_Heart_Decor_PNG_Clipart_Picture.pngSaint Valentine’s Day (Italian: San Valentino, Latin: Valentinus), commonly known as Valentine’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it remains a working day in most of them.

The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”). Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.

Here are beautiful happy hug day images for Valentine’s day. Enjoy the day!happy-valentines-day-3

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Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County wishes everyone a Happy Valentine’s day.


Prince George’s New Planning Director Is Not Actually a Planner


Ms. M. Andree Green – Prince George’s New Planning Director Is Not Actually a Planner. She began her tenure as Planning Director on January 18. She replaces Dr. Fern V. Piret, who retired after serving 26 years in that position.

Via @PGUrbanist

In a curious move, somewhat reminiscent of President Trump’s recent cabinet appointments, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) has selected someone with no formal training or professional experience in planning to serve as the director of the Prince George’s County Planning Department. No other jurisdiction in the Washington region has made such a choice, and for good reason: such a decision defies common sense, and it likely contravenes Maryland law.

Attorney M. Andree Green (Checkley), of Upper Marlboro, began her tenure as Planning Director on January 18. She replaces Dr. Fern V. Piret, who retired after serving 26 years in that position. For the past six years, Green worked as the County Attorney for Prince George’s. Before that, she worked for approximately eleven years in the legal department of M-NCPPC, the quasi-independent state agency responsible for planning, zoning, parks, and recreation in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

Without question, Green is an experienced government lawyer, with nearly two decades of experience working in Prince George’s County. But Green is not a planner. She has never worked as a planner as has no educational background in planning. So how and why is she now being paid $192,000 a year to be the county’s Planning Director?

Green is Unqualified for the Planning Director Position

The Prince George’s County Planning Director is supposed to be an experienced planning professional. The position description for the job, which we obtained from M-NCPPC, states that the minimum qualifications are “at least 12 years of progressively responsible and broad-ranged planning experience that includes four years of planning experience at the managerial level, preferably five years at the department manager level.”

Green has zero years of professional planning experience, either at the managerial or non-managerial level. The American Planning Association’s American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) is the national body that verifies and certifies the professional qualifications of planners. According to AICP standards, Green lacks even the minimum level of professional planning experience to be eligible to take the certification exam.

Thus, Green did not meet the minimum qualifications for the job when she was hired. Indeed, Green does not even meet the minimum qualifications for the currently-posted position for Deputy Planning Director, which requires 10 years of professional planning experience and preferably two years at the managerial level.

By contrast, nearly all of the other planning directors in the Washington metropolitan area had more than 15 years of prior management-level experience in planning before assuming their respective positions, and most are AICP-certified. [UPDATE: For a comparison of the qualifications of the region’s planning directors, see this chart.]

M-NCPPC Likely Violated State Law By Hiring Green

The state law creating M-NCPPC specifically provides that the Planning Director and Deputy Planning Director in Prince George’s County “shall have education or professional experience in a field relevant to the responsibilities of that department.” As judged by the agency’s own criteria, as set out in the job descriptions, Green does not possess the requisite education or professional experience for either position. Therefore, M-NCPPC’s hiring of Green was arguably arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to Maryland law.

M-NCPPC spokeswoman Andrea Davey stated that the Planning Director position was posted on a variety of websites for approximately three months, from August 2–October 31, 2016, and that a total of four candidates were selected for interview. The agency would not disclose the identity of the other three candidates, citing confidentiality laws. However, Davey did indicate that the agency “did not deem it necessary to employ an executive search firm” in connection with this position.

Dorothy Bailey, Vice-Chair of M-NCPPC’s Prince George’s County Planning Board and a member of the selection committee, stated that Green was “second-to-none in her commitment to Prince George’s County, and in her know-how of the critical nuts and bolts involved in the planning process.” Board chairwoman Elizabeth M. Hewlett also cited favorably to Green’s “proven managerial experience and keen legal acumen.”

Green may well be a committed public servant, and she certainly has relevant legal knowledge and managerial experience. But she lacks any prior professional experience or training in planning—and that makes her selection as Planning Director untenable, and possibly unlawful.

How Can M-NCPPC Fix This?

Green’s employment contract is for two years, and it contains a “sweetheart” severance provision requiring the agency to pay her 12 full months of salary ($192,000) if it breaks the contract without cause. However, M-NCPPC could likely still void the contract without penalty, since Green did not have the requisite experience for the job to begin with. Additionally, the severance provision could itself be unlawful, since state law requires that the Planning Director and Deputy Planning Director shall “serve at the pleasure of the Prince George’s County Planning Board.”

Ideally, M-NCPPC should consider reopening the Planning Director position and conducting a national search for a truly qualified and experienced professional planner with a proven track record in leading a large urban planning department. If possible, Green could be offered another position within the agency that meets with her actual qualifications and experience (e.g., a position in the legal department or in intergovernmental affairs).

Perhaps more than any other jurisdiction in the Washington region, Prince George’s County needs an experienced and innovative professional planner to lead its planning department—someone who can advocate effectively against the county’s overdependence on outer-Beltway sprawl development, help develop a workable plan for transit-oriented development and revitalization around the neighborhood gateway Metro stations near DC’s border, and oversee the implementation of a new 21st century zoning ordinance, among other priorities. Let’s hope M-NCPPC will make that happen.



PGCPS Elementary School Students Witness Shooting at School Bus Stop

img_8311A man shot a women in front of 15 elementary school students waiting to catch a school bus at a bus stop in Maryland Tuesday morning.

A woman in her 30s was waiting with her three children about 7 a.m. at Winthrop and Chester streets in Oxon Hill when a man jumped of the bushes and tried to grab one of her girls, witnesses said. An argument escalated into a fight and then shots were fired.

The woman fell to the ground, and the shooter ran.

“It’s really sad kids have to deal with that,” said Keith Grant, whose daughter witnessed it. “Kids were running everywhere.”

Forest Heights Elementary School got police protection and counselors to console the students Tuesday.

“A number of them were shaken up by the incident, which is understandable, but they’re all doing pretty well,” said Raven Hill of Prince George’s County Public Schools. “Psychologists and counselors have been with them all day.”

Police are looking for 42-year-old Roland Eugene Simms. They consider him armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees him should not approach him but call 911.

The victim is recovering in a hospital.

Source: Elementary School Students Witness Shooting at School Bus Stop | NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Elementary-School-Students-Witness-Shooting-at-School-Bus-Stop-411709815.html#ixzz4WmvXvwiq

Statement by Ex-Md. delegate admiting to acceptance of bribes.


William A. Campos-Escobar, 42 of Hyattsville, has pleaded guilty to federal bribery and conspiracy charges, according to U.S. Attorney for Maryland Rod Rosenstein’s office, which released details of an unsealed plea deal with Campos on Tuesday.

William A. Campos-Escobar issued the following statement:

Dear friends, it is with great sadness and embarrassment that I deliver this message. I have been under Federal investigation for bribery and conspiracy and I have pleaded guilty to these charges. The investigation has been going on for years now.

When I was first approached by the government, I immediately acknowledged my wrongdoing and have been trying to make amends ever since.

I truly apologize to all of you, my friends and supporters, and to my family. I admitted my transgression from day one. I have not been answering any inquiries in the last few days due to ongoing investigation. As embarrassing and devastating as this may be, I own up to my mistakes. While I have never been shy about speaking to the media, on the advice of my counsel I am constrained not to comment further. I beg for your understanding.

As strange as this may sound, I am relieved that this is finally coming to an end. This process has been torturous, and I have learned so much about life and myself. I thank God for the lesson that he has taught me and will continue to teach me. It has definitely made me into a better person and it has humbled me to a level that I needed to reach for my own personal growth. I definitely strayed and I thank God for setting me straight.

Please pray for everyone who will be directly and indirectly affected by all of this. Having gone through it myself, I know what lies ahead for many others and I will ask God to guide them through this as he has guided and blessed me.


Once again, my sincerest apologies to all of you; I admit to my failings. I only ask for your prayers during this very difficult time. I believe ultimate justice is with divine grace.

Read more >>> WTOP >>> PG mess


@USAO_MD @FBIBaltimore & PGPD Chief urge elected officials in the County who have accepted bribes, to come forward before they are caught.


Governor calls for reforms after Liquor commissioner arrest

generic_pgliquorboard_1483718705872_7550606_ver1-0GREENBELT, MD (WUSA9) – New charges are expected soon in the public corruption scandal involving liquor licenses in Prince George’s County.

The US Attorney for Maryland said he’ll charge three more people before the Maryland General Assembly goes back into session on Wednesday. One of the as-yet-unnamed targets is a Maryland state senator and another is a Maryland state delegate.

Governor Larry Hogan told the Washington Post that liquor commissioner Anuj Sud has now resigned. He also told the Post that Maryland’s system of regulating alcohol sales needs to be reformed. He called them “antiquated” and “without oversight.”

RELATED: Prince George’s Co. Liquor Board officials, business owners charged in bribery conspiracy

A lot of Prince George’s residents are furious that alleged bribe-taking is once again giving the county a black eye.

“I was stunned,” said County Executive Rushern Baker. “I’m disappointed, and quite honestly pissed.”

And he knows it’s going to get worse. “Anytime elected officials abuse their position, it’s a betrayal of the people of Prince George’s County and the State of Maryland,” said Baker.

On Thursday, the FBI raided the offices of the county liquor board, two liquor stores, and a scrap yard. Agents arrested a liquor board commissioner and the director of the board and charged them and two liquor store owners with conspiracy and bribery.

 Then there is the as-yet-unnamed state senator and state delegate who allegedly voted to give liquor stores permits to sell on Sundays in exchange for thousands of dollars —and promises of tens of thousands more.

“They need to go wherever it leads them,” said Prince George’s resident Steve Young about the investigation. “Take it all the way up the line. Make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

With so many good things happening in the county, including a $1.7 billion casino, residents said a scandal like this is the last thing they need.

“I’m so tired of corrupt individuals in our government, I really am,” said Brenda Cahill of Mitchellville.

“I’m going to need them to distribute that money back to the community,” said Tracy Rivers of Springdale.

The FBI said both the elected officials are cooperating to some extent in this investigation. We’re hearing several politicians’ names kicked around, but so far none of them have responded to our messages.



Governor Larry Hogan told the Washington Post that liquor commissioner Anuj Sud has now resigned. He also told the Post that Maryland’s system of regulating alcohol sales needs to be reformed. He called them “antiquated” and “without oversight.”


Mandela left us a gift in 2013, but ….

…Prince George’s County government is not ready to receive it.


Late Honorable Nelson Madiba Mandela

In Summary

  • Mandela was humble enough to accept that the business of running a country was different, something he had never done before.
  • We shudder at how little the Prince George’s County regime cares for our Constitution. For them, the freedoms there seem a nuisance to be ignored or, worse, negated
By Moses Mackenzie
Policy Director
Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County.

A lot has been written about the gigantic legacy of Nelson Mandela.

And as we end this difficult year — still waiting for the full accounting of money lost and unaccounted for during Dr. William Hite and Jack Johnson’s regime  — it is good that we look back at this significant human being.

While his death was a huge loss, his legacy remains a shining light that will hopefully guide us back on track.

Mandela was a one-in-a-lifetime figure. And since his death, we have been reading and re-reading about him and his life, and wondering why Prince George’s County was not so lucky as to have our own Mandela: a leader far-sighted, fair, reflective, courageous and brimming with integrity and the highest human values.


The film Invictus, about how Mandela used rugby as a tool for cohesion, reconciliation and nation building during the 1995 Rugby World Cup held in South Africa, should be necessary viewing for our political, administrative and judicial elite, and especially now when we are more divided than we have ever been despite the calm of the 2012 elections.

In a fascinating scene, Mandela has just been sworn in and as he takes an early morning walk at Qunu with his bodyguards, they come across the early morning papers.

The headline is ‘He may win an election, but can he run a country?’ The bodyguards are upset, but Mandela’s reacts differently saying, “It’s a fair question.”

Such was the man who, though adored and feted globally, and on the back of an overwhelming and clear election victory, was humble enough to accept that the business of running a country was different, something he had never done before.

We should be so lucky to have such leaders here in Prince George’s County who understand that running a country needs everyone, not just their “home boys,” and not just for the personal interests of a few.

To be fair, even those who followed Mandela in South Africa have fallen way short. The booing of President Zuma at the memorial service dominated South African media, with some shocked that it could happen in front of an audience of presidents and leaders, and screened live globally to billions.

But such are the frustrations in South Africa with the scandals surrounding President Zuma, the most outrageous being the ‘renovation’ of his rural home — at tax-payers’ expense — for US $20 million!

Mandela lived and breathed the hard fought and negotiated South African constitution, knowing that, that was what the people of South Africa wanted and needed.

The best guarantee of stability, development and peace was to craft the country to the dictates of the Constitution.


So we shudder at how little the Prince George’s County current regime cares for our Constitution. For them, the freedoms there — of expression, media, association, assembly, information etc — seem a nuisance to be ignored or, worse, negated. For nothing else can explain their dogged desire to reduce democratic space and ignore victims of discrimination and prejudice.

And nothing else can explain their turning to one of the most repressive tools favored by despots in police brutality and bribing of judges in the local courts . Yes, there is insecurity and interference of judicial proceedings, but spying on neighbors and interfering with court systems has never reduced insecurity.

That only increases fear and intimidation.

What reduces insecurity is a non-corrupt police force that focuses on the junior police officer on the street and not the living large of the top.

What reduces insecurity is when the law is applied equally to both rich and poor.

And what reduces insecurity is when we end the impunity for the rich and powerful, and when corruption is addressed from the top down. We reduce corruption when leaders mean what they say by creating proper checks and balances.

And now we learn that the Office of the County Executive, the most resourced yet opaque of all offices, may be extorting, illegally and covertly, funds from the Education system and elsewhere in ways that do not foster accountability or transparency.

These extra-budgetary allocations need Prince George’s County council and Maryland legislation approval as per the Constitution. The inspector General position promised years ago by the current County Executive Rushern Baker III is now water under the bridge.

If Prince George’s County Government could take a few lessons from Mandela in 2014, we will be a much better county!


“I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days.”- Nelson Mandela


Cartoon of Income Inequality

Mr. Nelson Mandela did not like corruption. Something which continues to happen here in prince George’s county involving management. There is currently no checks and balances. Hence effects on thousands of it’s citizens.  Mr. Mandela once said, “We need to exert ourselves that much more, and break out of the vicious cycle of dependence imposed on us by the financially powerful: those in command of immense market power and those who dare to fashion the world in their own image.”