Three PGCPS teens arrested in fatal shooting of 17-year-old in Laurel, Md.

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 – Three teens associated with Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) seen above have been arrested and face charges in connection with a deadly shooting of a 17-year-old in Prince George’s County.

Kalik Johnson, 18, of Laurel; Kylah Nettleton, 18, of Severn; and Darius Tarik Johnson, 17, of Upper Marlboro, have been charged with first- and second-degree murder, according to Prince George’s County police.

The shooting happened near Contee Road and Larchdale Road in Laurel at about 8:25 p.m. on July 18.

Authorities said 17-year-old Dustin Khoury of Sparrows Point, Maryland was killed in the shooting.

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Dustin Khoury, 17, died after being found shot in a car in Prince George’s County. The 17-year-old was shot while sitting behind the wheel of his Buick LeSabre, then drove the car a short distance before going unconscious near Larchdale Rd. and Contee Rd. at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. A passenger in the car was not hurt. Khoury died at the scene.

Khoury was a rising senior at Meade High School in Severn and had aspirations to go to college, according to his father Michael Khoury, who once served as a police officer in Hyattsville.

“He was very kind and he was very motivated,” Khoury said. “He worked two jobs.”

“We’re sad and we’re devastated,” Khoury added. According WUSA 9 which broke the story.  “I saw him Monday night. We went out to dinner. I didn’t know it was going to be the last time I had supper with him. Tuesday, I get a knock at the door and they say ‘your son’s dead. Somebody killed your son.'”

Police said the suspects and victim had agreed to meet to conduct an “illegal transaction” before the shooting took place. Johnson is being charged as an adult, and all three teens are being held without the possibility of bail, police said.

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Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO meets with Md. lawmakers

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Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell met with concerned state lawmakers to talk about a number of troubling issues.

 – Prince George’s County Public Schools has been dealing with a number of troubling allegations, many of which have been reported by FOX 5. On Thursday, Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell met with concerned state lawmakers to talk about a number of troubling issues.

At times, it was a contentious meeting between Maxwell and the Prince George’s County members of the Maryland House of Delegates.

 The latest allegations claim there has been fraud and corruption in the awarding of grades and diplomas to inflate graduation rates among the county’s public high schools. This has led the Maryland State Board of Education to launch an investigation into the claims.

“FOX 5 and the Washington Post have the resources to do their own investigation,” said Del. Dereck Davis. “They don’t need us to provide them will filler.”

“I can assure you that there is no systemic attempt to inflate graduation rates or as the letter to the governor said – systemic corruption at the highest levels of the organization,” Maxwell said. “It does not exist.”

These state lawmakers want to know what the school system is doing to correct the unintended fallout from policies established by a student safety task force. Over 800 teachers and staffers have been placed on leave this school year while being investigated for alleged abuse and misconduct.

“We must remain vigilant to provide a safe learning environment for children while regaining our balance,” said Maxwell.

He said the ship is being righted.

“We had a whole summer of training session with principals and senior leaders this year on a book called about building trust,  rebuilding trust,” he told reporters.

Del. Jay Walker was asked whether he supports Dr. Maxwell.

“Just to give you an honest answer, I’m more concerned now about the leadership we have in the school system now,” Walker said.

“I have dedicated my entire career of almost 40 years to providing children with an education that will help lift them out of poverty into the middle class and higher,” Dr. Maxwell told the state delegates during the meeting.

Officials said they are looking forward to regularly scheduled meetings among lawmakers and education executives starting Friday to help keep these lines of communication open.

Via Fox5DC

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Prince George’s County School CEO Kevin Maxwell was questioned by the Prince George’s Delegation Education Committee on a series of issues such as graduation rates, grade changes and teacher sexual assault allegations.

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According to Washington Post reporter, Del. Dereck Davis said he has tried to stay out of it since his wife is one of Maxwell’s top deputies but today, he couldn’t resist.
He called the controversies brought forth by BOE members a “minstrel show”. Despite overwhelming evidence of Kleptocracy curse. 

Read more >>>> BOE political cronyism-nepotism refresher -via P-G Politics.

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In resignation letter, former PGCPS board member calls board ‘dysfunctional’

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Dr. Beverly Anderson

 – A former Prince George’s County School Board member calls the board “dysfunctional, “ and cites lack of a “coherent educational plan” and “thoughtful budget” in her resignation letter.

Beverly Anderson was appointed by County Executive Rushern Baker in 2013 and wrote her resignation letter to him in June. FOX 5 obtained the letter through an open records request.

Anderson resigned soon after four board members called for a state investigation into allegations of grade fixing and other fraud to boost the graduation rate. In response, nine other board members condemned their colleagues calling the claims “appalling.” Anderson was the only board member who did not publicly take a side.

In her resignation letter, she writes to Baker:  “I have communicated my concerns to your office on several occasions about the School System’s lack of a coherent educational plan replete with performance measures to move all of our children forward, particularly low performing students; the lack of a thoughtful budget to support the educational needs of all of our children, particularly low performing students; the lack of independence of board members to make decisions that are in the best interest of all of our children, and the inability of our system to see that several of the deficiencies of immigrant students are also shared by some non-immigrant students who need and deserve equitable educational support. I did my best in addressing these issues, but in some cases, my best was not good enough. The barriers were too hard to penetrate.”

Anderson went on to say that she has been an ardent supporter of Baker, who’s now running as a Democratic candidate for Maryland governor, for nearly 20 years.

“We have a dysfunctional board possibly because too many of the members are compromised or have conflicts of interest; an angry student body because we have not figured out how to incorporate some of their good ideas into our practices; unhappy parents because we do not solve in an efficient manner classroom or administrative problems impacting their children; and an apathetic teaching force. This scenario must change!”

Anderson declined an interview, but told FOX 5 by phone that she would consider returning to the school board when the climate changes. As for the allegations of fraud to boost the graduation rate, she said she believes the truth will come out.

“In my mind, sometimes it takes the storm before the calm,” Anderson said in a farewell speech at her final board meeting in June. “And once we get that calm, we can start moving in the direction that all students are given a quality education.”

FOX 5 asked County Executive Baker his response to Anderson’s letter. He had nothing but praise for her in an emailed statement.

“I would like to thank Dr. Beverly Anderson for her service and commitment to the Prince George’s County Board of Education,” Baker said.   “I appointed her to the Board of Education because she possessed the expertise we needed to change the trajectory of our school system.  Since her appointment in 2013, Dr. Anderson has been a strong voice for all students and she consistently fought to ensure that the needs of low income students were met.  In addition, she has been an advocated for programs and services that would help to improve the performance of our students so that they are college and career ready.  During her tenure, graduation rates have improved, fewer young people are dropping out of school after 9th grade, dual enrollment and world language offerings have increased, and full day pre-kindergarten has expanded throughout the County.  Dr. Anderson cares deeply about our children and her passion for educational excellence is matched by few.  There is no doubt that our school system has improved as a result of her work.”

The Maryland State Department of Education is working to secure a company to conduct the investigation into the fraud claims. A spokesperson said the public bid went out last week.

The Maryland State Board of Education voted unanimously to launch a third-party investigation into claims of grade fixing and other fraud after FOX 5 broke the story that teachers and staff members report being under tremendous pressure to increase the high school graduation rate. Some say they have personally been told make sure grades are changed for failing students.

Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell continues to deny the allegations, calling them false and politically motivated.

Dr. Beverly Anderson’s resignation letter (app users: Click here to read)

via FOX5DC

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Donna Edwards talks local governance in Prince George’s

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Former congresswoman Donna F. Edwards

For someone who has not publicly announced her political plans, former congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) sure sounded like a candidate for Prince George’s county executive Wednesday morning.

Speaking to a friendly crowd at a union hall in Landover, Edwards touched on all the flash points that are emerging as issues for voters in the 2018 race, including the embattled school system, economic development and responsive governance.

She described being stopped recently at a pharmacy by a woman who said changes to trash pickup schedules left her with an overflowing garbage can for days after a family cookout.

“It seems like a really tiny thing,” Edwards said. “But when elected leadership doesn’t understand how people live their lives and provide the basic kinds of services, the little things can start to get on your nerves. If she . . . believes that I can do something about picking up her trash, then she will trust me to do the stuff that’s really hard.”

Upon seeing a reporter in the crowd, Edwards told her audience that she would not have anything to say Wednesday about her political future. Through an aide, she declined requests for an interview.

Former congresswoman Donna F. Edwards speaks to labor activists on July 19 at the headquarters of UFCW Local 400 in Landover. (Astrid Riecken/For The Washington Post)

But a friend, former Montgomery County Council member Valerie Ervin, said Edwards is considering a run for county executive but is weighing polling and other data before making her decision.

A group of activists in Prince George’s has been urging Edwards to enter the race since late April.

If she runs, Edwards — who lost a bitter U.S. Senate primary race last year to fellow congressman Chris Van Hollen — would be competing in the Democratic primary against state Sen. C. Anthony Muse, a political ally. County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks (D) is also expected to announce her candidacy in the coming weeks. County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), who is term-limited, is running for governor.

“We want to be a part of whatever decision [Edwards] makes,” said Dyana Forester, political director for the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which hosted Wednesday morning’s event at the Local 400 headquarters. “If Donna does run for county executive, we will definitely support her.”

Edwards spent more than 40 minutes speaking to the audience of about 50 political, labor and community activists about demanding more from developers who want to build on county-owned land, “standing up” to President Trump on health care, creating a county-level “sanctuary” for undocumented immigrants and providing more economic opportunities for people who have been released from prison.

“Here in this county of such great opportunity and great capacity . . . we have to be about having elected leaders who want to realize that capacity, who understand the promise of what we are and the challenges that we face, and are willing to take them on,” Edwards said. “So I’ve been thinking about some of those things, and what I might be able to contribute.”

Edwards disclosed in a recent op-ed in The Washington Post that she has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She said Wednesday that it was difficult to write so publicly about her situation but that she wanted to personalize the national debate over health-care coverage in hopes of having an impact.

“We need a system that’s affordable,” Edwards said. “I’m not the only one out there with a preexisting condition.”

via Washington post

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Time for the Maryland state prosecutor to get involved?

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Senate President Mike Miller. MarylandReporter.com photo

By Michael Collins

For MarylandReporter.com

Two intertwined issues exploded last week in what some consider a constitutional crisis, but this dispute is a bit overblown.

The showdown was initially between Gov. Larry Hogan and the legislature over whether or not Dennis Schrader could be paid after being appointed acting secretary of health.  The plot thickened, however, when it was revealed that Schrader’s nomination was pulled before a vote because Senate President Mike Miller allegedly attempted to secure an unethical—possibly illegal—quid pro quo as the cost of confirmation.

The deal

Gov. Hogan nominated Schrader as health secretary during the legislative session.  Miller repeatedly said that Schrader would be confirmed.  But after the independent Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) approved Anne Arundel Medical Center’s (AAMC) request to perform cardiac surgery, things changed.

Miller considers AAMC’s cardiac surgery program a threat to the mega-facility being built in Prince George’s County to replace the decrepit Prince George’s Hospital Center.  Miller still represents part of Prince George’s though he no longer lives there.

Schrader alleged that Miller promised him Senate confirmation on the condition that he overturns the decision of the independent MHCC to grant AAMC a certificate of need for cardiac surgery.

This is a continuation of an effort Miller began in public last summer, when he wrote to Prince George’s County elected officials ordering them to band together to stop AAMC’s application.  He doubled-down last January when he held a press conference with Prince George’s officials at the State House to reiterate his call to quash AAMC’s application, and threatened to keep the legislature in session until he got his way.

The Maryland Health Care Commission was not intimidated and approved AAMC’s application, thus, Miller allegedly tried to leverage Schrader’s confirmation to undo their decision.

Constitutional issue

When Hogan withdrew Schrader’s nomination before a vote, Democrats anticipated that Schrader would be reappointed after the legislative session closed. They added a rider to the budget bill banning him from being paid if appointed in an acting capacity. The same applied to Planning Secretary Wendi Peters.

Hogan claims that the legislature’s rider is illegal, and Comptroller Peter Franchot’s office said it would pay Schrader.  Democratic Attorney General Brian Frosh said paying Schrader is illegal.  Treasurer Nancy Kopp, whose signature also goes on the checks and is elected by the legislature, agreed and stopped the pay.

There are valid arguments to be made on both sides of the pay issue.  But things get sticky when the quid pro quo enters the picture.  Nobody questions the Senate’s constitutional “advise and consent” role.  But should the public accept an “extort and consent” standard?

Impartiality compromised?

Hogan’s office thinks that Frosh is not the final word on the pay matter, preferring the advice of his own counsel.  While Frosh is no doubt sincere in his legal opinion, he has given reason to doubt his impartiality.

While Frosh is more liberal than Miller, it was Miller who made him chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.  Frosh owes a lot to Miller.

Frosh personally represented Miller during a recent deposition as part of a lawsuit against the 2012 redistricting.  While it was appropriate for his office to participate, it was unusual for the attorney general to serve as personal counsel, especially when two assistant attorneys general were on hand.

More recently, a three-judge panel in Baltimore ruled last week there is enough evidence to proceed to trial with the suit against the 2012 Congressional Districts, with one judge referring to the partisan redistricting as, “nefarious activities.”

Also last session, Frosh requested and received legislative authority—over Hogan’s veto—to sue President Trump without the governor’s approval.  Frosh has used that authority with gusto leading Republicans in the legislature to recently accuse him of partisan grandstanding on the taxpayer’s dime and warn him to knock it off.

Between his overt partisanship and his loyalty to Miller, it is easy to see how critics can question Frosh’s impartiality on Schrader’s pay or any other dispute between the governor and legislature.  Both are technically Frosh’s clients.

Impartial investigator

All this obscures the greater question: Did Senate President Miller engage in unethical or illegal activity when he allegedly tried to get Hogan and Schrader to interfere with the decisions of the statutorily independent MHCC?

Hogan’s communications director, Doug Mayer, thinks so, but hastened to add that the administration was not planning to file ethics charges against Miller.  Still, rumors abound that the administration is weighing their options.

The Office of the State Prosecutor may initiate investigations independently to examine violations of state election and ethics laws, as well as misconduct by public officials, bribery, extortion, perjury, etc.

Legitimate questions have been raised about Miller’s alleged quid pro quo with Schrader, as well as his veracity under oath in the federal redistricting case, both of which could fall within the scope of the State Prosecutor.

Sadly, the public has been so inured by the self-dealing and back scratching in Annapolis that allegations of an unethical quid pro quo are utterly unremarkable.  Call it the banality of corruption.

The corrosive nature of “politics as usual” in Annapolis is just another shovelful deepening the cynicism of the public.

While the state Court of Appeals ultimately will decide the constitutionality of the pay issue, it is time for the state prosecutor to open an investigation to determine if the quid pro quo was in violation of ethics laws.  If not the state prosecutor, then who?

Michael Collins can be reached at michaelcollins.capital@gmail.com

BACKGROUND AND RELATED STORIES

Hogan official accuses Maryland Senate president of ‘unethical’ behavior

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-miller-governor-20170713-story.html

Hogan administration doesn’t plan to file ethics charges against Miller

http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/government/bs-md-mayer-miller-allegations-20170714-story.html

Hogan’s Constitutional Crisis

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/editorial/bs-ed-0711-hogan-appointments-20170710-story.html

Culture of Corruption

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bal-md.culture21oct21-story.html

State should approve AAMC for cardiac care

http://www.capitalgazette.com/opinion/columns/ph-ac-ce-column-collins-0816-20160816-story.html

Miller to Prince George’s officials: Band together to push for hospital

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/miller-to-prince-georges-officials-band-together-to-push-for-hospital/2016/08/23/f171b08a-6956-11e6-8225-fbb8a6fc65bc_story.html?utm_term=.1bf86ca81d5d

Letter from Mike Miller to Prince George’s County officials

http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/local/letter-from-thomas-v-mike-miller/2132/

Politics as usual on Prince George’s County hospital

http://marylandreporter.com/2017/01/30/collins-politics-as-usual-on-prince-georges-county-hospital/

GOP lawmakers: attorney general is ‘grandstanding’ with Trump lawsuit

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-gop-frosh-trump-suits-20170710-story.html

The depositions of Maryland’s three highest official make interesting reading, though the format is trying. The Washington Post has put the depositions on Document Cloud.

Gov. Martin O’Malley:

http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/local/redistricting-deposition-of-former-maryland-governor-martin-omalley/2458/

Senate President Mike Miller

http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/local/redistricting-deposition-of-maryland-senate-president-mike-miller/2459/

House Speaker Michael Busch:

http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/local/redistricting-deposition-of-maryland-house-speaker-mike-busch/2460/

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Senate President Mike Miller.

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Brian Frosh requested and received legislative authority—over Hogan’s veto—to sue President Trump without the governor’s approval.  Frosh has used that authority with gusto leading Republicans in the legislature to recently accuse him of partisan grandstanding on the taxpayer’s dime and warn him to knock it off. Mr. Frosh Frosh personally represented Miller during a recent deposition as part of a lawsuit against the 2012 redistricting.  While it was appropriate for his office to participate, it was unusual for the attorney general to serve as personal counsel, especially when two assistant attorneys general were on hand.

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While Brian Frosh (left) is more liberal than Miller, it was Miller who made him chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.  Frosh owes a lot to Miller. Brian Frosh is currently involved in tortious interference with the courts in Maryland which is another ongoing issue.

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Prince George’s School Board Member Resigns, Citing Disfunction

Prince_Georges_School_Board_Member_ResignsA member of the Prince George’s County school board — who recently came to the defense of a fellow board member who was banned from participating in a graduation by police — has resigned from the county school board. Dr. Beverly Johnson resigned last month, alleging dysfunction within the board and the whole school system. News4 obtained her resignation letter through a public information request. The district thanked her for her work, Tracee Wilkins reports, though she said in her letter that “We have not taken the masses as far as we could or should.”

Source: Prince George’s School Board Member Resigns, Citing Disfunction | NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Prince-George_s-School-Board-Member-Resigns-Citing-Disf_Washington-DC-434576553.html#ixzz4mr5EGHrF


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PGCPS Board member Beverly Anderson resigned.

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Dr. Beverly Anderson Former PGCPS Board of Education Member

In a letter released to the news media, It’s now clear that PGCPS Board member Beverly Anderson resigned her seat in protest after many months consulting widely including with the Prince George’s county Executive Rushern Baker III. Based on the letter attached below, the majority of Board members who stand in solidarity are the questionable ones and part of the systemic corruption, which is currently in progress at Upper Marlboro.

Dr. Anderson was a good leader. It is very sad for many of us who advocate for a better school system to see that she resigned her seat in protest. After reviewing the letter, her criticisms of the school board are legit and are issue based.

Let us hope the leadership at the Federal, State and County levels are listening to her concerns. We hope with this letter and many others we have shared in this blog is not going to be business as usual for the county.

See her letter here:

SYSTEMIC CORRUPTION

Systemic corruption impedes market development, drives away investment, and erodes the rule of law. Prevalent corruption can render a populace susceptible to demagogic political appeals, and de-legitimizes political leadership. In economic terms, corruption diverts investments and distorts markets – with the poor bearing the brunt of the negative economic impact. Consequently, improving governance and eliminating corrupt practices are the keys to improving business performance, establishing rule of law, and ensuring that democracy delivers for citizens.

We must pressure State and local law makers to pass and enforce laws which protect whistle blowers who call out foul play and corruption.

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Dr. Beverly Anderson flagged by our County Executive Mr. Rushern L. Baker III during the initial swearing in ceremony as a board member in Upper Marlboro.

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