Commentary: Frosh’s pursuit of President Trump is unconstitutional and hurts Maryland

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Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh listens at left as District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine answers a question during a news conference in Washington, Monday, June 12, 2017, to announce what they call a “major lawsuit” against President Donald Trump. The lawsuit cites Trump’s leases, properties and other business “entanglements” around the world as the reason for the suit, saying those posed a conflict of interest under a clause of the Constitution. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

By Richard J. Douglas 

An Oct. 17 article in the Maryland Reporter on Attorney General Brian Frosh asks:  AG Frosh’s broad legal power: Partisanship or ‘long overdue’?  The correct option, though unstated, is: “unconstitutional.”

On June 12, 2017, exceeding his authority under the  Maryland  Constitution, Mr. Frosh filed a federal suit for relief he must have known to be unconstitutional:  an injunction against the President under the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.  The Frosh suit will be dismissed.

Its legacy, however, will be the loss to Maryland of the FBI Headquarters project and hundreds of jobs.

Mr. Frosh’s federal complaint is silent on Maryland’s Constitution and Code, probably because neither provides authority for his lawsuit.  Mr. Frosh acknowledged as much on June 12, 2017 when he told the Daily Record that [an Emoluments suit against the President] “was not on my radar in February.”

For 150 years before its 2017 session, a suit like this was not on the Maryland General Assembly’s “radar” either.  The Daily Record reported (June 11, 2017) that “the General Assembly gave [Frosh] the authority to take the [President] to court to protect the state’s residents.”

In truth, the law in question — the “Maryland Defense Act” (MDA 2017) — does not even mention the president.  And even assuming the General Assembly could haphazardly upset the federal-state balance created in 1788 when Maryland ratified the federal Constitution, MDA-2017 would still not authorize the Frosh lawsuit.

The text of MDA 2017 is aimed at the “federal government,” a creature that is not identical to the president.  The federal government includes the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches and many agencies.  The President is unitary head of only a third of it.

Maryland Constitution should have been amended 

Authority to sue a President in his official capacity cannot be “assumed into” a law (like MDA 2017) with text that plainly does not provide for it. In short, without amending Maryland’s Constitution, the General Assembly exceeded its own state constitutional limits by enacting MDA2017.

In hindsight, a bid to amend our state Constitution would have tested Maryland appetites for upsetting federal-state equilibrium here that not even the Civil War destroyed.  Mr. Frosh is after a new federal-state relationship, but he will only draw dire consequences for Maryland.  Loss of the FBI project is an example.

Whatever else may be allowed to Mr. Frosh by Maryland’s Constitution, lawsuits for unconstitutional remedies is not.  This is the Achilles heel.

Since 1866, the Supreme Court has forbidden injunctive or declaratory relief against a President under the Emoluments Clause.  In other words, Mr. Frosh demands what has been forbidden since Reconstruction.  Such lawlessness fosters more lawlessness like anti-police sentiment in the General Assembly and disenfranchisement of voters through gerrymandering.

Marylanders are appalled by Mr. Frosh’s neglect of official duties.  Of 85 press releases posted to his official web site between Inauguration Day and his anti-Trump lawsuit, 35 attack the President, his nominees, or his policies.  During the same period, Mr. Frosh posted one press release on Maryland’s opioid crisis.

2016 election settled the question    

The Frosh lawsuit also dealt Maryland electoral integrity a blow rivaling anything Russia is accused of doing.  The 2016 General Election settled the question of the presidential succession decisively and constitutionally.  The Frosh effort to undo that result is anti-constitutional and harmful to Maryland democracy.

During Mr. Frosh’s quixotic legal attacks on the president, citizen and lawfully-admitted alien workers in Maryland have been swamped by unlawfully-present foreign labor.  Mr. Frosh has had no part in creating a business-friendly Maryland to attract jobs.  Maryland health care was in distress, and the price for Chesapeake Bay preservation efforts was paid by elderly and poor Baltimore City residents.  Foreign criminals found “sanctuary” in Maryland as Mr. Frosh invited lawsuits against police departments and municipalities standing in their way.

After four years, Mr. Frosh has harmed our state and the office of the Attorney General.  He has not rationally pursued Maryland’s interests.  Murky economic complaints from entities outside Maryland (that, tellingly, did not even join the Frosh lawsuit ) cannot be laid at the door of a President who had been in office just seven months when Mr. Frosh filed suit.

Rather, apart from his personal anti-Trump ideology, the ills Mr. Frosh catalogs in his lawsuit reflect failures to improve conditions in Maryland by former governors and the General Assembly, where Mr. Frosh himself served.  Either way, Mr. Frosh has demonstrated that, for our state, a second Frosh term as attorney general is likely to do far more harm than good.

The FBI Headquarters project held genuine promise for Maryland workers and businesses.  Mr. Frosh and his anti-Trump ideology helped kill it.  Past is prologue, and on Nov. 6, Mr. Frosh should be replaced.

Richard Douglas is an attorney who has run for U.S. Senate and is currently a candidate for delegate in District 21.

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Craig Wolf’s lifelong commitment to public service has led him to run for Attorney General of Maryland. He feels that Maryland needs an AG who puts the safety and security of Marylanders first. The relentless politicization of the Attorney General’s office has left Marylanders behind, and the issues that are most pressing in our communities are ignored. Craig believes that the top priority of the Attorney General should be to protect the citizens of Maryland, not the interests of partisan power-brokers. Vote Craig Wolf for Maryland Attorney General in 2018. 

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WaPo Picks a Side in Maryland Race—the Side That’s Offering Billions to Amazon.

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The Washington Post (10/29/17) initially attacked Ben Jealous’s proposal for publicly funded college as a “gigantic giveaway” to “affluent families”…

By Justin Anderson

Ben Jealous, the Democratic candidate to be Maryland’s governor, is hoping to pull off a big upset in the November midterm elections against Republican incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan. If he wins, Jealous will be the state’s first African-American governor, and just the third elected African-American governor in the country. (Other 2018 gubernatorial candidates with the same potential to break that racial barrier include Andrew Gillum in Florida and Stacey Abrams in Georgia, who would be the first-ever black female governor if she wins.)

Those who believe in the myth of the “liberal media” might assume that the Washington Post would support a progressive who backs policies such as Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage and legalization of marijuana. In fact, the paper—the most influential news outlet in much of Maryland—seems to have an axe to grind with Jealous, and has instead chosen to support Hogan for the governor’s race. As Pete Tucker at CounterPunch (8/31/189/18/1810/8/18) has explained, the Post has opposed Jealous at every turn.

Most of the paper’s criticisms relate to what it depicts as Jealous’s spendthrift economic policies. Last year, the Post editorial board (10/29/17) called Jealous’s education policy a “gigantic giveaway,” a promise of “free lunches” that would “blow a Chesapeake Bay-sized hole in the state budget.” In July (7/19/18), it defined the race between Hogan and Jealous as a “stark contrast” between “centrist or liberal,” questioning whether the latter’s “soak the rich” agenda was “implementable, wise or remotely bipartisan.” Jealous’s policies in support of raising teacher wages and advancing universal pre-K were called “pricey,” because they would raise taxes on the One Percent in Montgomery County, the state’s largest and richest county.

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…before arguing (7/30/18) that the real problem with Jealous’s proposals is that they would “soak the rich.”

Condescension toward left-wing economic policy is nothing new for corporate media, but when the Post describes Jealous as a “coup leader” who is both “craven” and “reckless,” they seem to be out to personally demonize the candidate. The Post’s news pages (8/18/18) decried Jealous’s skipping events on Maryland’s deep-red Eastern Shore, and tsked him for dropping an F-bomb when a reporter repeatedly called him a socialist, a label he has continually rejected. The paper’s reporting seemed aimed at keeping the spotlight on Jealous’s missteps.

By contrast, the paper continues to downplay Hogan’s entanglements and liabilities as governor, including the eyebrow-raising financial success of his real-estate company—turned over to his brother’s management in a half-hearted effort to avoid conflict-of-interest issues—as well as his anti-immigrant stances and pro-pollution policies (although the Post did publish a letter from Hogan’s environmental director, who unsurprisingly hailed the governor’s record).

While these priorities sound much like the current occupant of the White House, the Post editorial board labeled Hogan a “moderate” because he distanced himself from the National Rifle Association, who declined to endorse him, and a “radical centrist” for his supposedly “anti-Trump” policies. They continue to frame Hogan in glowing terms, portraying him as “down to earth” and folksy.

As Tucker highlights in CounterPunch, Hogan never receives blame (or even mention) by the Postfor any of Maryland’s problems, such as the lack of air conditioning in public schools during heatwaves. And the newspaper continually declines to ask questions of Hogan that it does of other public officials, such as whether he supports President Trump’s federal worker pay freezes—a major issue in the DC metro region—or his opinion on Colin Kaepernick’s NFL protests against police brutality. Tucker also criticizes the Post for disingenuous headlines like “Jealous Tries to Leverage Trump’s Attack on His Free College Proposal”—a framing that suggests the story is Jealous’s  political machinations, rather than Trump’s opposition to a popular policy. (The headline was later changed.)

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Washington Post news article (8/18/18) takes Jealous to task for not campaigning in the most Republican part of the state.

The Post’s support for Hogan and demonization of Jealous could be a big reason why some Democratic politicians in Maryland have been reluctant to get behind Jealous. However, since the Democratic politicians named are mostly no longer in office, the Post does Hogan a favor by highlighting their opinions—just as it does when it praises rather than scrutinizes him for his supposed political distance from other members of his party.

Tucker also highlights the Post’s  burial of reports on Jealous’s overwhelming support in polls from African-American voters, stories that were relegated to the back of the Metro section. On the other hand, the Post pushed a story on one poll that found Hogan trailing Jealous among black voters by a relatively narrow 14 percentage points—offering Jealous’s lack of endorsements from African-American Democrats, such as former Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, as an explanation.

While polls are often unruly and have frequently been wrong, they’ve been used by the Post to hammer Jealous. By consistently describing the governor as “popular” (even though his policies are not), the paper inculcates apathy among Democrats, suggesting that a loss by Jealous is a foregone conclusion. While Hogan indeed does have high approval ratings, the Post’s reporting has the feel of a prophecy that hopes to be self-fulfilling.

Looming over the Post’s coverage of the governor’s race is Hogan’s ingratiating support for Amazon, the e-commerce giant owned by the world’s richest person, Jeff Bezos, who also happens to own the Washington PostAmazon, and the paper’s relationship to it, hardly ever come up in articles about the governor’s race: In the past year, just three articles about Ben Jealous’s run for governor mentioned Amazon. This level of attention underplays just how much Amazon, and its owner, have at stake in Maryland.

Amazon has a vested interest in seeing Maryland remain “business-friendly,” something the Post considers Hogan to be. The former White Flint Mall in Montgomery County, just north of the wealthy DC commuter suburb of Bethesda, is a leading candidate in the company’s high-profile search for a second headquarters. Amazon is expected to settle on a location by the end of the year.

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Jeff Bezos meeting with Gov. Larry Hogan at the DC Economic Club, founded in 1986 as “a forum where area business leaders could broaden their sphere of influence.”

The relationship between Amazon and states with the potential to host its “HQ2” is different from typical lobbying arrangements. While businesses usually lobby state governments for subsidies, tax breaks and the like, it is state governments that are heavily lobbying Amazon to select their states. Governor Hogan pledged $8.5 billion in state incentives for the Montgomery location, so far the highest offer of any state (after the inclusion of $2 billion in contingent transportation improvements).

On the company’s potential relocation plan, Hogan remarked, “HQ2 is the single greatest economic development opportunity in a generation, and we’re committing all of the resources we have to bring it home to Maryland.” Hogan met with Bezos in person at the Economic Club of Washington in September.

But even if it doesn’t land in Maryland, the state already figures large in Amazon’s plans; the company operates or leases a number of sprawling fulfillment and sorting warehouses in the state, including one in Cecil County, one in Rockville in Montgomery County, one outside BWI Airport in Anne Arundel County, and three facilities by the Baltimore Marine Terminal. The company just finished building its newest fulfilment center in Sparrow’s Point in eastern Baltimore County, a location chosen after the state and county doled out $2.2 million in incentives.

All told, Amazon has received $46 million in subsidies from the state and local governments in Maryland since 2000, more than 42 other states. Considering that the company has spent only $10 million in lobbying in Maryland and given $6 million in campaign contributions to state politicians over the past 18 years, this is a healthy return on Amazon’s political investments.

Even if HQ2 doesn’t come to Maryland, there is a decent chance that it will be located nearby, with other possible sites located in Washington proper or close to the sprawling data center campuses near Dulles Airport in Northern Virginia. The metro area’s interconnectivity and its intimate relationship with the federal government mean that Amazon would no doubt become a bigger regional player, regardless of which state it actually ends up calling home.

As Amazon receives increasing antitrust scrutiny from President Trumplegislatorsregulators and the public at large, and continues to diversify into a wide variety of industries like groceries, media, healthcare and drone delivery, its interests require an ever-expanding lobbying presence. The e-commerce giant’s lobbying expenditures have exploded by more than 400 percent over the past five years, and in 2017 was the eighth-largest corporate lobbyist, and the second-largest in the technology sector, after Google’s parent company Alphabet.

Amazon also receives large contracts from the federal government, including providing cloud computing services for the CIA, while Bezos’s spaceflight company Blue Origin maintains large contracts with NASA.

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Bezos’ DC mansion when it was still a museum.

What’s more, Bezos just purchased the largest house in DC, a former textile museum, while his ownership of the Washington Post anchors his relationship to the city his paper serves, as well as to Maryland and Virginia. A friendly governor in Maryland, a key part of the DC metro region, is crucial for Amazon’s continued presence there.

While Hogan seems to fill that role, Jealous is not as certain. If he were to be elected, Jealous has stated that he would honor a potential deal made by Hogan for Amazon’s new headquarters if they decided on a location in Maryland within the coming months. However, Jealous has criticized the incentives offered by Hogan as “fundamentally bad negotiation,” and has questioned the rationale for giving a “generous tax package to one of the world’s wealthiest corporations.” One article (7/27/18) on “tepid” support for Jealous from establishment Democrats cited the fact that he “appears insufficiently supportive” of efforts to woo Amazon.

Perhaps the biggest red flag for the Post is Jealous’s alignment with Bernie Sanders, a longtime adversary of Bezos. Last week, Sanders pressured the billionaire into raising wages at Amazon with his proposal of the Stop BEZOS Act, which would tax companies on the amount their employees receive in public benefits.

The Post has a penchant for attacking Democrats who don’t toe the corporate line. They have gone out of their way to try to discredit Sanders on numerous occasions (FAIR.org10/1/153/8/165/11/1611/17/16, etc.), running 16 negative stories on Sanders in one 16-hour period during the 2016 primaries. The paper (7/11/18) described Mark Elrich, a progressive who is running for Montgomery County executive, as a “leftist” whose “anti-business and anti-development” attitudes should be “cause for concern” to voters—though it said that Elrich’s assurance that “he would embrace a decision by Amazon to locate its second corporate headquarters in the county” was “welcome.” Like Jealous, Elrich has since assured Bezos that he will not attempt to block the AmazonHQ should it land in Montgomery County.

As it does with Sanders and Elrich, the Post’s coverage of Jealous combines skepticism towards his electoral chances and dismissal of his supposedly radical policies. Disparaging the political and practical viability of such people-friendly policies as universal healthcare and a livable minimum wage is in the obvious interests of the billionaire class—and, by extension, billionaire-owned news outlets like the Post.

Such interests are rarely directly expressed. A media outlet’s awareness of the preferences of its owner seldom takes the form of a memo from the boss telling editors to assign stories critical of the owner’s enemies or supportive of their friends. Shrewd employees understand what kind of work makes the person who signs their paychecks happy, and direct their efforts accordingly. And savvy employers know how to hire workers who will do what is expected without being told—which is why pioneering press critic George Seldes wrote:

The most stupid boast in the history of present-day journalism is that of the writer who says, “I have never been given orders; I am free to do as I like.”

The Post does offer dissenting opinions every now and then. This week, it published a pro-Jealous op-ed, as well as a letter to the editor that decried the paper’s “loaded words” in a past report on Jealous’s relation to the Maryland Democratic Party. The paper has also published pieces skeptical of Amazon’s relocation to the DC metro area (on the grounds that it will increase traffic and housing costs, rather than opposition to the multi-billion dollar incentive plan), as well as reporting on activism against the potential to land HQ2. But this hardly balances the negative approach it has taken towards Jealous, or the praise it has showered on Hogan.

Bezos’ effect on the Washington Post’s coverage of politicians who will influence Amazon’s business plans, either positively or negatively, is hard to demonstrate with a smoking gun. What is clear is that newspapers’ editorial decisions have real impact on public opinion, elections, people’s livelihoods, corporate power, race relations, environmental sustainability and many other facets of life. The more papers are owned by billionaires like Bezos, the more potentially pervasive the billionaires’ influence.

via Fair.org

Read more >>>> Disaster! Here is Why Governor Larry Hogan should go home ASAP on November 6 at 8am.

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Disaster! Here is Why Governor Larry Hogan should go home ASAP on November 6 at 8am.

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Gov Larry Hogan is seen here with his friend former new jersey Governor Chris Christie.Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey knew that three of his top officials were involved in a plan to shut down lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge as it was happening and that the closings were intended to punish a local mayor for declining to support him.

When you are choosing who to vote for in the Governorship race in Maryland, consider that Governor Larry Hogan appointed Robert Moffit to the Maryland Health Commission. Moffit is an advocate for removing the protections for access to health care for people with pre-existing conditions which were put in place in the Affordable Care Act.

We in Maryland can’t afford to let Hogan and Moffit take away our access to health care. On November 6 general election, Vote like your access to health care depends on it, because it does. If you can’t afford to lose your health care coverage, you need to vote for Ben Jealous.

There are many reasons why Maryland citizens should vote for Ben Jealous. One reason being that, Governor Larry Hogan has lately been making false Statements while misleading the general public. The truth is that, Hogan came at a time when corruption was high and which continues to date in Maryland. He promised to change Maryland for the better. However, instead of fixing the issues, he appeared to have covered up shenanigans involving former Governor Martin O’Malley, Hogan’s friends and others in current and previous administrations in what appears to be quid pro quo and in exchange for backing Hogan for a second term.

This strategy will backfire badly for Governor Larry Hogan as the public discovers the truth which involves bribing of judges in Maryland and elsewhere to dismiss cases touching on Martin O’Malley, Hogan and their administrations. This explains reasons why the Democratic Party machine in Maryland is backing Hogan behind the scenes as part of developing scandal. The question should be asked, how many pieces of silver did each judge receive and Governor Hogan himself?

In addition, Larry Hogan recently released tax returns showing that, he’s made about $2.4 million in corporate earnings while governor in a blind trust managed by his brother. According to a review of financial disclosure forms, his corporate holdings include stakes in commercial real estate deals as well as residential and retail developments around Maryland. Larry Hogan’s businesses are still being operated by his closest relatives, they are cloaked in secrecy, and they raise many questions about the decisions he makes as governor,” says Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews who was interviewed by the Baltimore sun recently.

Martin O’Malley had a long term vision for MARC. He wanted to build a badly needed new rail tunnel in Baltimore, add two stations on the Penn Line at Bayview and JHU Downtown, and connect the Penn Line with VRE and SEPTA. He even explored the feasibility of providing MARC service to Southern Maryland by using existing rail infrastructure. But now thanks to Larry Hogan’s and Pete Rahn’s mismanagement of MARC (which we think was intentional given their hatred of mass transit), commuters are lucky if they get home from work a half hour late.

This 1950s mentality of building more freeways must be stopped. Tell your friends that Larry Hogan is #NotAModerate and wants to turn Maryland into an asphalt wasteland like Houston.

Please, don’t forget what former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie did in the garden state during his last term including Bridge gate scandal which saw minorities suffer greatly in New Jersey. The same will happen in Maryland if you let Hogan win. We are not going to disrupt the Machine by being nice. So to put it succinctly Larry Hogan should go home.  Vote Ben Jealous (Democrat) for Maryland Governor and Vote Craig Wolf (Republican) as the next Maryland Attorney General to drastically alter or destroy the structure of the illegal schemes supported by the machine. Watch this space………

God fearing leadership will never do illegal things and will strive for the truth to help protect God’s children! #DisruptTheMachine and #DisruptThecorruption.

More to come!

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Robert Moffit serves on the Maryland Health Care Commission as an appointee of Gov. Larry Hogan. Moffit is an advocate for removing the protections for access to health care for people with pre-existing conditions which were put in place in the Affordable Care Act.

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2nd teen arrested for murder of former PGCPS 18-year-old TaQuan Pinkney

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 – A second teenager has been arrested for the murder of an 18-year-old D.C. man who was shot to death a few months after he graduated from high school.

D.C. police say members of the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force took a 15-year-old Southeast D.C. boy into custody on Tuesday for the deadly shooting of TaQuan Pinkney.

According to Pinkney’s family, he was heading to the store on Sept. 9 when he was shot in the 2800 block of Stanton Road in Southeast D.C. The 18-year-old victim was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Pinkney graduated from Suitland High School in Maryland and was known as a role model to children in his D.C. community as a volunteer with Horton’s Kids, an organization that helps at-risk children to graduate from high school.

Police have charged the 15-year-old suspect with first-degree murder while armed.

Earlier this month, D.C. police also charged a 17-year-old D.C. boy with Pinkney’s murder.

via Fox5DC

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Pinkney graduated from Suitland High School in Maryland and was known as a role model to children in his D.C. community as a volunteer with Horton’s Kids

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EXCLUSIVE: 3 Prince George’s Co. school employees file lawsuit after hidden camera found in school

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 – Three employees of Prince George’s County Public Schools are suing the school district claiming that the school system broke state and federal law by installing a hidden surveillance camera at Charles H. Flowers High School to spy on them.

They are also alleging the camera may have recorded students as they changed clothes.

Six months ago, Prince George’s County police held a press conference to announce the camera’s discovery, with few additional details. The FBI got involved soon after. Since then, there has been no update on the investigation from the school system or the police department.

The lawsuit, filed by Flowers principal Gorman Brown, resident principal Mar-C Holland and secretary Donna Bussey, says the camera was found in the principal’s office and was disguised as a smoke detector.

According to the lawsuit, it had been in the office more than two years since the summer of 2016 and was connected to the school security network. What is still unknown is who authorized this and why.

The lawsuit says not only did the staff occasionally change clothes in the office, but so did students, including girls on the Flowers’ Pom and Dance team.

The lawsuit says Bussey, a co-sponsor of the team, was “particularly saddened and hurt that the girls on the Pom Team were put in a position to be filmed and videotaped without anyone’s knowledge.” She says the students would use the office to change because opposing sports teams were using the school’s locker rooms.

The camera was discovered on April 13, according to the lawsuit. It says an assistant principal was looking for security footage after a hit-and-run in the parking lot. He clicked on a school system camera labeled “main lobby” and realized it was a live feed of the principal’s office. He alerted resident principal Holland who was in the office at the time. The lawsuit says that Holland pulled up the camera on her computer and was able to see herself at her desk. She found the hidden camera in a smoke alarm in the corner.

At the press conference on April 16, Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said the case was under investigation by the department’s Public Corruption Squad.

“We do not believe [the camera] was intended for criminal purposes, but at this point in the investigation, we are unclear as to who authorized the placement of that device,” Stawinski said at the time.

Dr. Kevin Maxwell, the school district’s CEO at the time, also spoke saying he didn’t know who put the camera there. Maxwell said he alerted police immediately after it came to his attention.

“We thought together that it was best for us that we came forward in a transparent way,” said Maxwell.

On Tuesday, a Prince George’s County police spokeswoman said the investigation was still underway and there was no update she could provide.

Maryland employment attorney Jim Rubin is not involved in the case, but spoke to FOX 5 about the legality of an employer secretly recording employees.

“My first thought was kind of surprise that a public employer was surveilling its employees,” Rubin said.

He says a major factor in this case is the expectation of privacy. An employer can record employees without issue in areas where they have no expectation of privacy, like in a break room or open office area. But Rubin says a private office is different.

“Without some real proof that there is some wrongdoing going on, then in a closed-off office, you have the expectation of privacy,” Rubin said.

The attorney for the three employees suing says it is unclear if the camera was recording audio. It is illegal to record conversations of other people without their knowledge.

Rubin says there should be a higher standard for government employers versus private businesses.

“They are using our public money, so you want to know what are they up to,” he said.

The three employees are alleging their state and constitutional rights were violated and asking for an unspecified amount in damages. In a court filing, the school district is denying those allegations.

Via Fox5DC

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Charles H. Flowers High School principal Gorman Brown is suing PGCPS

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Charles H. Flowers High School resident principal Mar-C Holland is suing PGCPS

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Shame on Democrats for not backing Ben Jealous

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Democratic gubernatorial challenger Ben Jealous (left) and his running mate Hon. Susan Turnbull (right) in a past photo.

After reading the article, “Some Dems tepid on Jealous” (Sept. 24), I felt compelled to do something I have never done — write a letter to The Baltimore Sun. The Democratic leaders should be ashamed that they are not fully behind the forward thinking Democratic candidate running for governor. Ben Jealous is advocating for our future and yes, that means taking some risks and offering some sacrifices to achieve the goals for the long game.

We Democrats just sit on our hands and don’t take the risks that will ensure the health, welfare and education of our children. That is what we need to be focused on — our children and their future well being. Everyone should have health care without the risk of bankruptcy, Everyone should receive an education with the best teachers, best facilities and the best curriculum we can provide. We need public transportation to ensure people can get to work easily and safely and entice businesses to Baltimore and the surrounding counties.

Yes, we may have to pay for those things with more taxes or fees, but isn’t our children’s welfare and future worth that? We are leaving a legacy of poor schools, poor environment, poor infrastructure and poor medical care opportunities for our children. We should be ashamed. We need to pull up our “boot straps” and look to the ideas of the future and not be “tepid” or timid. Maryland, in my opinion, is one of the best places in the U.S. to live but we could do better, we could be the leaders and example for other states in the areas of education, environment and health services.

We have so many excellent resources, organizations and caring people in Maryland, let’s add to that advantage with a progressive governor. Everyone needs to vote and Democrats should support Ben Jealous as our candidate. I have heard him speak. He is articulate, he has excellent ideas and he has thought through solutions to the problems. Please make an informed decision when you vote and vote for the brightest future we can give our children. Vote for Ben Jealous.

Kelly Boyle, Catonsville

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Governor Larry Hogan talks about Maryland’s opioid epidemic during an interview with the Editorial Board of The Baltimore Sun. After Larry Hogan vowed to take on Maryland’s opioid epidemic, deaths soared. What happened? Corruption in Prince George’s County and in Maryland soared too and violations covered up by the state all the way to the U.S Supreme Court in an organized version. What happened under Governor Larry Hogans watch? Where is the conservative agenda?

For those who say Hogan is “good enough,” what has he actually done to deserve your support? Does he support working families, a living wage, health care for those who need it, protection of immigrants from being torn from their families? He tried to take credit for education measures that passed in the legislature despite his objections. The opioid crisis has accelerated on his watch and he says he has tried everything; the Sun says that’s not true.

He has no real ideas for how to fix the transportation mess that plagues Baltimore. Ben Jealous has plans for all of these things and more but Hogan paints him as a dangerous radical and then makes fun of his speech impediment. That’s a guy who is good enough for another four years as governor? Wake up folks and cast a vote to make a real difference for Maryland this year. Vote Ben Jealous democrat for Governor of Maryland and disrupt the machine. Vote for Craig Wolf as the next Maryland Attorney General. Vote Frosh out.

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Craig Wolf for Maryland Attorney General (in white polo shirt at the center here) Get this guy in office Craig Wolf is a high action impact guy that will kick butt and take names as he is known for. Once elected to the Public office and he will restore trust within the Maryland State government agencies unlike Brian Frosh seen below.

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Mr. Brian Frosh is seen here is accused of advancing corruption within the judiciary, discriminatory and racist tendencies within state agencies in addition to failing to protect Marylanders first before going to confront the federal government. “It’s Misplaced Priority”. In Maryland, We need a no nonsense AG. Even the Baltimore Community can no longer put up with ineffective Frosh. His ads are lunacy.  Many who have lived in Baltimore for more than 10 years and don’t ever remember him doing any of the things he says he has done in those ads. Vote Frosh out. Vote Craig Wolf in as AG.

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In Prince George’s, a battle over whether developers must fund school construction

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Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III vetoed a council bill that allowed lawmakers to waive school surcharge fees for some residential developers. His veto was overridden. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

By Rachel Chason

In the final months of his eight-year tenure, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III is battling with the County Council over legislation that touches on two of the county’s most hotly debated issues: education and development.

The back-and-forth, which led Baker to issue his third-ever veto, began last month, when the council approved a bill allowing it to waive a school facilities surcharge for some residential developers. Supporters say such waivers would spur development in areas where long-vacant buildings have frustrated lawmakers and residents alike.

Opponents — Baker chief among them — say the legislation is an illegal move by the council that could deprive the already beleaguered school system of an important funding source that has been codified in state law since 1995. The state General Assembly, not the County Council, is the body that has the authority to impose or waive taxes, Baker wrote in his veto letter.

“I am obligated to respect the rule of law,” Baker wrote in the Oct. 1 letter.

Lawmakers overrode Baker’s veto the next day by a vote of 7 to 2.

Council member Derrick Leon Davis (D-District 6), one of the legislation’s two sponsors, said council members have consulted with their lawyers and “believe we have the authority to do this” because of the council’s power to implement land-use policies. They are also convinced that waiving the surcharge would lead to new projects that would bring in additional tax revenue for the school system.

“I have observed the inability to catalyze development over the past 10 to 15 years,” said Davis, who is especially focused on development around Largo Town Center, an area of his district where a regional hospital is being built. “This would just be another tool in our toolbox.”

The General Assembly previously has passed legislation exempting other types of development in Prince George’s from the surcharge, including retirement communities and some student housing.

Fees from the surcharge on residential developers, which totaled $28.5 million last fiscal year, are leveraged by the county to borrow up to $500 million for school renovation and construction, said Thomas Himler, Baker’s budget chief. The school system’s capital improvements budget is already backlogged; the county sent more than 134,000 students home early one sweltering day last month because of air-conditioning problems in its public schools, which are on average nearly half a century old.

“For the County Council to turn around and potentially grant waivers without any basis does not make sense,” Himler said. “We already know we have a school construction gap, and we have multiple billions of dollars in need.”

The fee, collected by the county’s permitting department before it grants use and occupancy permits, is $9,317 per unit for buildings inside the Capital Beltway and near Metro stations, and $15,972 per unit for all other buildings.

The law gives the council the option of waiving the fee for multifamily projects within the Beltway, near Metro stations or in some additional locations close to major roadways. The council must approve each waiver individually.

Council member Obie Patterson (D-District 8), the legislation’s other co-sponsor, cited the Oxford apartment building in Oxon Hill as one property whose viability could depend on getting a school surcharge waiver.

The Varsity Investment Group received county approval last year to turn a long-vacant office building at 6009 Oxon Hill Rd. into a 187-unit apartment complex with a business center, entertainment room and dog park. Donnie Gross, a managing member of Varsity, said paying the school surcharge fee would cost him an additional $3 million, forcing him to “reevaluate our rent structure” for the project.

Gross said the company “took a lot of risk” when it bought the building, which had squatters living inside and broken first-floor windows. Without increasing rents, he said, “we would be underwater.”

Across the region, other local governments are also considering ways to encourage redevelopment of empty office buildings, with the commercial vacancy rate in the District and its suburbs nearly double what it was a decade ago.

The D.C. Council is considering legislation that would offer tax abatements for developers who convert office space into residential units in certain downtown areas, and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors changed the county’s land-use plan to make such conversions easier.

Both Patterson and Davis suggested that providing exemptions for certain projects could ultimately bring in more revenue for schools as new taxpayers move into the new buildings.

“We believe we acted in the best interests of those who voted for us,” Patterson said. “The county executive certainly has the right to oppose us.”

Until now, the highest-profile back-and-forth between Baker and the council was in 2015, when the council scaled back Baker’s attempt to raise property taxes by 15 percent to increase funding for schools. Then, too, Baker’s veto was overridden.

The county attorney has recommended the council seek an opinion from Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) on the legality of the surcharge waiver law. But a spokesman for Frosh said the council has not done so.

Council member Deni Taveras (D-District 2), who cast one of the two votes against overriding Baker’s veto, said the surcharge should stay in place because of the number of schools already grappling with overcrowding and aging infrastructure.

“I don’t think it’s the right course of action to allow these developers to get a windfall,” Taveras said.

Theresa Mitchell Dudley, president of the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association, said it was “ridiculous” to waive the surcharge. “There is no shortage of people wanting to build houses in Prince George’s, and there are no schools being built to support these communities,” she said.

via Washington Post 

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