The Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) came into office in November 2018, as the 8th County Executive for Prince George’s County and the first woman to hold the position on a promise to strengthen democratic institutions in the county. Since then, her administration has failed to take several critical steps to revitalize norms that successfully guide many successful administrations across the State and in the nation instead choosing to undermine rule of law.
Repeated abuse of executive power, government officials’ unethical conduct, and politicization of government functions have eroded public trust in the county and within the Prince George’s county public schools (PGCPS) system. A core tenet of our democracy — that no one is above the law — must be restored. An administration dedicated to accountability can do much to rebuild confidence and check abuses of power.
There is no question, Prince George’s (PG) county; Maryland needs a complete, thorough housecleaning. The more new people who have not previously served in elected office the better. We keep recycling the same people and nothing ever gets better. No one should also serve more than 4 years. That just gives them more time to cover up their BS!
Further, Alsobrooks recently issued a flawed opinion on House Bill 1057 that would create a workgroup to study the way we deliver recreation opportunities to Prince George’s residents. These maneuvers do not safeguard against the politicization of Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC, MD) created in 1927. The deeply flawed bill is for initial takeover of the local parks and control to defraud similarly to what occurred to PGCPS system TAKE OVER under Rushern Baker III in the wee hours of Maryland legislature before breaking out for the year in 2013. The response to the House Bill 1057 by (MNCPPC, MD) is demonstrated critical importance of protecting (MNCPPC, MD) scientific integrity of the local parks in the local level.
“The Transparency was lacking from the start when this late filed House bill 1057 was hastily, heard and approved by the full Delegation in less than a week with insufficient review and input from community and stakeholders. It appeared that the only community and stakeholders who knew about the hearing were members of “Team Takeover” who were responsible for producing the video which was shown at the beginning of the hearing on February 7th. I found it quite alarming that all but one of the speakers was in support of HB 1057. The one speaker who was opposed to the bill was the last speaker to be heard and expressed that had it not been for the assistance of a Delegate, her testimony may not have been heard. If HB-1057 is passed, it will establish the Prince George’s County Recreation Authority and Blue Ribbon Workgroup to make legal, policy, and fiscal recommendations on HOW to transfer existing recreation programs and personnel to the County. In a nutshell, this is nothing more than a bold attempt to dismantle the Department of Parks and Recreation by moving the Sports, Arts, Youth & Teens, and Senior programs and its employees to the County,” said a concerned citizen.
Alsobrooks weaponization of the county and state institutions has been straight out of the playbooks of the dictators and despots she idolizes, and it remains particularly concerning because she and some of her supporters in the highest levels of her government believe she could become governor one day with this kind of shenanigan at play. Next time, Alsobrooks (or some other equally dishonest politician) might not wait for a state attorney general or Justice Department investigation to yield evidence; she might just order that people be locked up, per her “threats” campaign mantra as seen by local board of education members fleeing their seats in droves out of fear.
And using the State Attorney office and county Executive positions to protect and promote corrupt officials in her cabinet to probe her political opponents is just one more abuse among many Alsobrooks perpetrated upon the county.
“My question is: What statistical data does the County have to support its ability to manage these Park programs and staff more efficiently and effectively than the Commission? Given its nationally acclaimed recognition as a Six Time National Gold Medal Award Winning Agency for excellence in parks and recreation management, there’s no question that the Commission is doing a commendable job in the eyes of many. If there are changes that need to be made to programs and service delivery, then the “Commission” should be given an opportunity to meet with residents and stakeholders and determine just what those changes are and how they can best be implemented.
If not stopped, the impact of this bill may have grave repercussions on the way Prince Georgians continue to receive programs and services as we have come to know them. Let’s not forget that the dedicated staff of the Department of Parks and Recreation is stakeholders too. They work hard to provide a diverse program offering for residents to enjoy. We owe it to them to have a voice in a decision that will ultimately impact how they deliver services, as well as their own livelihood.
I urge you to VOTE NO to moving HB 1057 forward! Thank you in advance for giving consideration,” wrote one county citizen to the delegation as attached.
A Park Service official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid, said the Department of Parks and Recreation opposes this move, but he did not provide the document. This official did not specify how many agency employees would be impacted once the county takes over, but he said it could be a number in the hundreds whose retirement benefits could be affected. He stated that, union Gino Renne, President of UFCW 1994, who represents the employees, supported the bill because they opposed vaccinations. It was a way of getting back with (MNCPPC, MD) administration to oppose vaccination mandate.
People who want an authority to study options for managing recreation locally have a video campaign and Maryland House bill sponsored by Del. Nick Charles, D-Prince George’s County.
“Ninety million dollars is collected for recreational tax through Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning, and I want to make sure that we use that money to truly focus on providing opportunities for kids,” Del. Nick Charles said.
Not everyone supports the proposal. Opponents have a website explaining why they think it’s a bad idea. Several testimonials were presented to oppose the takeover of the parks by the county. Community activists fear this is the first step to turn local parks to developers to build a variety of real estate and investor of mixed-use properties due to housing demand.
“It’s unnecessary; Prince George’s County has six national gold medals for excellence in managing its parks and recreation”, stated Tonya Michael
Despite its obvious and serious imperfections by the county officials, our democracy has thrived since the day President George Washington left office and gave our country its first peaceful transfer of power. This county and nation will be a very different place if we all do not stand together now and demand answers and solutions TO STOP what is happening locally in Prince George’s County. Unite in strengthening our institutions so that these abuses can never happen again locally as seen under County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.
In our blog post recently, we cited the role the county Executive Angela Alsobrooks is playing in advancing public corruption in the county through violations of law including campaign finance. Whether falling under the label of political cronyism, crony capitalism, political party cartels, oligarchy, plutocracy and even kleptocracy, widespread patterns of private and public corruption construct social systems that are rigged in the private interest as seen in this case. Citizens with strong ethical principles (and citizens who lack significant funds, connections, favours to dispense, “hard power” over others such as guns or private enforcers) lose representation, influence and power.
The rule of law is fundamental to maintaining the freedoms of individuals in a society, and for the protection of people’s rights. You cannot ask the county citizenry and their kids to obey the law when you are violating it in many ways willfully yourself”, one parent who did not want to be identified said.
When corruption pervades the justice system, people can no longer count on prosecutors and judges to do their jobs. The powerful may escape justice. And citizens, especially those with few resources or few powerful allies, may be unfairly accused of crimes, deprived of due process, and wrongly imprisoned.
As stated before, there must be constant vigilance by “we, the people” to ensure that our constitutional rights are defended! We hope the situation will be positively changed for the better soon and not the other way around.
More to come.