Monthly Archives: June 2014

Political sycophancy in Prince George’s…

…is a dangerous trend.

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Mr. Rushern Baker – (Pictured above at the center) has been running around.

County Executive Mr. Rushern Baker’s regime mobilized some county residents and other loyalist recently in Prince George’s county in a bid to plug the hole that his administration disunity has created. Among the main items on the agenda was the desperate bid to save HB1107 “skunk,” law.

Several months ago, in this blog, we suggested that the local Government led by Mr. Rushern Baker needs to reach out to the Opposition in dialogue about the many things that afflict us today. Every so often, you meet people who greet you with the question, “Where is this county going?” An honest answer is that nobody seems to know where the county is going under Mr.Rushern Baker. Graft, terrorism, general insecurity, a bloated public wage bill, poverty, road carnage, homelessness, mutual racial animosity, nepotism, professional misconduct, religious hypocrisy, political intransigence, malfeasance – such is the state of our life in Prince George’s county in Maryland. We are experimenting with HB1107 “skunk,”. The exercise to take over the school system began with suspicion. There is hate and suspicion within the county Board of Education. The new county CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell and Board Chairman Segun C. Eubanks, who is his brother in law understand that their sole role is to get rich by impeaching everybody and anybody who exposes their illegal situation. County Executive Mr. Rushern Baker believes that he is a “small president” if not “small god.” Members of the general assembly understand that it is their duty to clip everybody’s wings – take away illegal power, titles and all. The publicity about relocating the FBI Headquarters in Prince George’s County  territory is not a genuine endeavor because of the conspiracies and fraud involved. Every keen observer knows it.

We have lost all sense of purpose, balance and direction. Our political leaders’ appetite for lavish living at the citizens’ expense is at an all time high. Citizens, too. Everywhere people want humongous pay perks. There is not the slightest care about the source of the perks and the sense of service. Litigation is the order of the day. Pay off attorneys and judges has become the new normal. Even over matters that could be amicably resolved through alternative avenues. Unbridled rage drives the county psyche. Road rage, profligate drunkenness, robbery in broad daylight, domestic violence; police running amok, basically people killing those they ought to be protecting – such is the order of our troubled and uncertain existence in Prince George’s County. Don’t we need to dialogue to get to the bottom of the triggers and drivers of this hopelessness?

People in a lurch such as ours talk with each other. If they don’t talk, they will well end up fighting. The fighting can either be in court or in the legislature etc.. Then, maybe after fighting, they could see the need to talk. Dialogue, however, cannot be on any one individual’s terms. Nor can it be on the conditions of any one group, or ill-tempered whims and angry public ultimatums. Dialogue is conducted on platforms of mutual trust and respect, wherever our differences may be. No one should lay the stage for dialogue by threatening the other side with unspecified consequences or by retaliating. Conversely, no one should reject a request for dialogue, just because they are in Government or the head of local Government etc.

In this regard, no leader can arrogate himself to the position of the all-knowing all-powerful deliverer who will single-handedly lift the people of Prince George’s County and place them into a special status. County Executive Rushern Baker regime must work with all persons across the board if he was to deliver the promises to different and divergent populations and he must stop playing “small god”. Judging from his track record, he needs to do a lot of work if he was to survive the vote of no confidence.

Much as the state Governor is genuinely keen on Rushern Baker administration regime maintaining a united front, it would be better to let the process run its course and not be drawn into the machinations of county mandarins inadvertently out to spoil his legacy.

Maryland State Governor himself has said his Cabinet secretaries must account for their actions. It thus sets a bad precedent when he appears to be creating political protégés within Prince George’s County.

There is no doubt that the Cabinet secretaries like Dr. Lillian Lowery and County Executives like Mr. Rushern Baker operate under unique conditions that their predecessors did not have to deal with under the old Constitution in this ancient old land, but the best way to test the law is to allow it space to work. The American Constitution on issues concerning Integrity applies to all public servants and State officers.

Stain

It is more than possible that the attacks against the County Executive Mr. Rushern Baker for Prince George’s County are prompted by genuine political considerations and infringement of the law.

On this note, if the state Governor does not give the Prince George’s county Executive, Dr. Lillian Lowery and Dr. Charlene Dukes  a chance to defend themselves, he will forever remain with the stain that the “county Executive, State Superintendent, State Board of Education President  survived” an impeachment attempt because the state’s top most CEO intervened.

No one doubts that if given a fair hearing, County Executive Mr. Rushern Baker, Dr. Lillian Lowery, Dr. Charlene Dukes, are fearless fighters, are more than capable of stating their cases effectively to defend their actions.

The impeachment is a political process and neutering it mid stream will do them more harm than good since the accusations brought against Mr. Rushern Baker’s regime and the Maryland State Board of Education bring neither honour nor dignity to their offices. Mr. Baker in particular needs to record his achievements and his thoughts for the future. It’s not only for his own good but for the good of Prince George’s County.

The case against Prince George’s County and any other motion to be brought by the Prince George’s County Council and others in the near future should be allowed to proceed through the laid down channels. Should the cases lack merit, County Executive Rushern Baker will be vindicated and emerge stronger. Forcing litigants to abandon cases or Motions that are publicized and in the public domain will give the impression that the State Governor, and indeed Rushern Baker Regime, does not care about accountability. Public servants with the ear of the Maryland State Governor will operate with impunity in the confidence, misplaced or otherwise, that he will shield them.

We should not be dragged back to the days when leaders in Prince George’s County had to toe the county administration line or be punished. The old principle of collective responsibility that enabled leaders to hide behind each other and cover one another’s mistakes should not be allowed to creep back in and destroy the democratic gains Prince George’s county have made over the many  years.

Sycophancy of the kind displayed by County Executive Mr. Rushern Baker and his ilk is the fertilizer for corruption, nepotism, professional misconduct, malfeasance and dictatorships. Allegiance to a corrupt  Rushern Baker regime as Head of County must never be the reason one holds a Cabinet office within the state or the County Executive office.

Government is about leaders listening to the citizens and working with them. It begins with talking with the people in opposition or different views and persuasions. On this note, Rushern Baker, Dr. Lillian lowery, Dr. Charlene Dukes and others are innocent unless proved guilty. All persons in Rushern Baker administration whether Republicans, independents or Democrats in Prince George’s county must respect divergent views that member legislators, county citizens and others have on issues. This is what underpins the vibrancy of a working democracy.

The writer is a publishing editor, special consultant and advisor on public relations and media relations to the Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County.

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Good Governance and Human Rights

Overview

What is good governance?

There is no single and exhaustive definition of “good governance,” nor is there a delimitation of its scope, that commands universal acceptance. The term is used with great flexibility; this is an advantage, but also a source of some difficulty at the operational level. Depending on the context and the overriding objective sought, good governance has been said at various times to encompass: full respect of human rights, the rule of law, effective participation, multi-actor partnerships, political pluralism, transparent and accountable processes and institutions, an efficient and effective public sector, legitimacy, access to knowledge, information and education, political empowerment of people, equity, sustainability, and attitudes and values that foster responsibility, solidarity and tolerance.

However, there is a significant degree of consensus that good governance relates to political and institutional processes and outcomes that are deemed necessary to achieve the goals of development. It has been said that good governance is the process whereby public institutions conduct public affairs, manage public resources and guarantee the realization of human rights in a manner essentially free of abuse and corruption, and with due regard for the rule of law. The true test of “good” governance is the degree to which it delivers on the promise of human rights: civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. The key question is: are the institutions of governance effectively guaranteeing the right to health, adequate housing, sufficient food, quality education, fair justice and personal security?

Key attributes of good governance

The concept of good governance has been clarified by the work of the former Commission on Human Rights. In its resolution 2000/64, the Commission identified the key attributes of good governance:

•transparency

•responsibility

•accountability

•participation

•responsiveness (to the needs of the people)

By linking good governance to sustainable human development, emphasizing principles such as accountability, participation and the enjoyment of human rights, and rejecting prescriptive approaches to development assistance, the resolution stands as an implicit endorsement of the rights-based approach to development.

Resolution 2000/64 expressly linked good governance to an enabling environment conducive to the enjoyment of human rights and “prompting growth and sustainable human development.” In underscoring the importance of development cooperation for securing good governance in countries in need of external support, the resolution recognized the value of partnership approaches to development cooperation and the inappropriateness of prescriptive approaches.

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Dance found in violation of ethics code over consulting job.

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Dr. Dance

The Baltimore County school board ethics panel has ruled that Superintendent Dallas Dance violated rules when he took a consulting job with a professional development company that does business with the school system.

School board President Lawrence Schmidt said Thursday that in light of the ruling, the board and Dance have agreed that he will not take any other consulting jobs as long as he works for the school system. Dance also said in a statement that he would be more careful to avoid conflicts.

The ruling stemmed from a part-time job Dance took in the summer of 2013 with SUPES Academy to coach Chicago public school principals, just months after the school board signed an $875,000 contract with SUPES in December 2012. Under the county contract, SUPES will train about 25 principals a year over three years.

“The ethics panel found that there was a violation by Dr. Dance insofar as his consulting for SUPES Academy,” Schmidt said. “In this case, Dr. Dance proposed a cure to the violation, and that cure was that he would not hereinafter do any paid consulting.”

Dance resigned from the consulting job in December 2013, the day public officials began questioning the arrangement, which some viewed as a conflict of interest. Del. Patrick L. McDonough, a Republican representing Baltimore and Howard counties, filed a complaint with the ethics panel, prompting the investigation.
Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/blog/bs-md-co-dance-ethics-20140612,0,3391716.story#ixzz34aCeNi1t

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Guira Cuckoo, REGUA

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The Guira Cuckoo (Guira guira) is a social, non-parasitic cuckoo found widely in open and semi-open habitats of eastern and southern Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, and north-eastern Argentina. It is monotypic within the genus Guira, and is related to the anis.

It has whitish-buff underparts and rump, dark brownish upperparts, a broadly white-tipped dark tail that is relatively long, an orange-rufous crest, bare yellow ocular-skin (commonly fades in captivity), and a relatively heavy, orange-yellow bill. It is generally rather shaggy-looking and has a total length of approximately 34 cm (13 in). Like other members of the subfamily Crotophaginae, the Guira Cuckoo gives off a strong, pungent odour.

imageimage image5110214771_b09e0008eb_b377-Pirincho-Guira-guira--Guira-Cuckoo-Andresito-ago081280px-Guira_guira_national_aviaryAnu_brancoGuira cuckooGuira_Cuckoo_(Guira_guira)_-Isle_of_Wight-8

The nest is built on a tree fork 2 to 5 m (7–16 ft) from the ground. The eggs (from 5 to 7) are dark green and covered with a chalky layer. They are incubated either in individual or community nests; in the latter one can find up to 20 eggs. Under community nests there are many broken eggs. The competition between young being great, mortality is significant.

We try to point out the faults in the regime because we want it to succeed

In Summary

•We have a real corruption and security crisis, despite all the denials and the name-calling. Even the county Executive’s personal security has been expensively upgraded as the rest of us sort ourselves out.

•We have been told lies about this HB1107 “skunk,” which now marks this regime. We know from Moody, the rating agency, that our credit rating wouldn’t have been affected for almost refusing to pay because of all the foreclosures.

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Mr. Rushern Baker

It is amusing when die-hard supporters of the County Executive Mr. Rushern Baker regime get all vitriolic against criticisms of the actions and omissions of the regime. And often, rather than considering the message, they focus on the messenger. This is what County Executive Mr. Rushern Baker regime has been doing lately.

The most common attack is that critics are lackeys of some other powers within the state or some other forein power. How patronising! It assumes that Prince George’s County citizens can’t think for themselves and only do what they are told.

So let us say it loud and clear: Prince George’s County citizens need this regime to succeed and to stop the corruption, nepotism and professional misconduct. One need not like or support it. Its successes, or failures, will affect all Prince Georgenians, not just its die-hard supporters.

All Prince Georgenians — critics and sycophants alike — want to live in a secure environment, where Malfeasance, corruption, nepotism and other vices are managed and contained well.

Prince George’s County is not unique as a target for corruption, nepotism and of late terrorist attacks. But the management and handling of corruption is so bad that we are losing confidence in the county and the Maryland state’s ability to protect us from corruption.

READ: Why corruption in Prince George’s County is the County’s worst Enemy

READ: Call your Elected Officials now and the Media.

So when they try outdated racial profiling as a solution, we become less secure. We wonder why the Rushern Baker regime spend so much of the massive (and almost unaccountable) snow removal budget rather than working to prevent corruption, etc.

The job of the County police and others in the office of the attorney general should not be monitoring of dissent. It should be on real violent threats that affect Prince George’s County citizens and Marylanders in general, not the regime!

We have a real corruption and security crisis in Prince George’s County, despite all the name-calling. Even the County Executive’s personal security has been expensively upgraded as the rest of us sort ourselves out.

But to resolve this crisis needs creative and tough approaches that address both the architecture and software of our security systems and the way the county is managed. The Local Circuit Court needs to be left alone to do what is right for the citizens and any corruption involving men and women of the bench needs to be dwelt with heads on by the law enforcement community.

As we prepare to elect new leaders in 2014 election cycle, the key is the public and transparent commission of inquiry into HB1107 “skunk” and other CORRUPT related deals which was promised, then unceremoniously nixed as soon as it was announced, clearly to protect some sacred cows.

EMPTY STATEMENTS OF REGRET

As long as protecting a few is more important than protecting the county — Minorities (Spanish, Africans) included — we will not resolve the insecurity and malfeasance problems and other forms of corruption in Prince George’s County.

So, too, with corruption and waste: Nothing hurts this county more. It weakens our security, encourages impunity, increases racism, and deprives us of resources that could lift many out of poverty.

And it makes every public appointment a vicious racial battle ground.

Prince George’s County citizens need corruption and malfeasance to end, but the blatant and insulting return of No- bid contracts, invading of children’s reserve funds in order for the Rushern Baker regime to pay themselves big salaries signals the official rejection of our Constitution.

Never mind the empty statements of regret about how “tough” it was to decide to pay out our taxes to corruption. Regret will only be real if this money is paid back to us by those who facilitated and benefited from the scam and when heads roll.

We have been told lies about this HB1107 “skunk,” which now marks this regime. We know for sure, the rating agency, that our credit rating wouldn’t have been affected for refusing to pay.

And as Moody’s Rating eloquently states, the investors who invest in Bonds — which could have been floated on our own Securities Exchange after mismanagement and declines in tax base or weakening of socio-economic profile.

Similarly, we attack and insult other racial groups, and then complain when these citizens don’t visit. What do we expect? Yes we want and need the Chinese, Indian, Europeans and Brazillian tourists, but why limit ourselves?

Why not aim for five million tourists and also target the Swedes, the Dutch, the British, the Finns and the Norwegians? Won’t we all benefit then?

In fact, it is sycophancy and the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” doctrine that do the most damage to the Rushern Baker regime, losing it credibility and legitimacy faster than you can say Hallelujah!

For governing, unlike World Cup football, creates winners or losers in all of us, not just the supporters. (Go, Matt Besler and Team USA! Go, Origi and Belgium!).

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