For Your Viewing Pleasure.
For Your Viewing Pleasure.
Above photo: Comptroller Peter Franchot speaks after being sworn in by Gov. Larry Hogan, left. Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan, right, was master of ceremonies. Pic courtesy Maryland Reporter –
At the Board of Public Works, Comptroller Peter Franchot has frequently complained about Maryland’s contracting process. At his swearing-in Monday, he made fixing the procurement process a priority he and Gov. Larry Hogan can accomplish without new legislation.
Hogan will chair his first Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday flanked by Franchot and State Treasurer Nancy Kopp.
Here is an excerpt from Franchot’s speech.
By Peter Franchot
We must make drastic improvements to the manner in which we obtain goods and services as a state. This cuts to the heart of what I do as your independent fiscal watchdog – ensuring that we’re getting the best possible deal for your hard-earned tax dollars.
As Comptroller, I’ve voted on approximately 15,000 contracts worth $80 billion on the Board of Public Works. And I can tell you – our procurement process is broken.
Far too often, I‘ve seen bid solicitations that result in single-bid contracts, and coincidentally or not, these single bids tend to be from incumbent vendors. So the Board of Public Works is forced to award contracts without ever knowing whether we, as a state, are getting the best deal on the market.
Far too often, we’re presented with contracts that practically put a gun to our head, where we don’t have adequate time to fix procedural issues. And instead are faced with an unacceptable choice between agreeing to a bad deal for taxpayers or discontinuing a service they desperately need.
…Under Rusher Baker Regime.
HYATTSVILLE, Md. –They are hidden in plain sight: establishments that say they are one thing, but operate as another. They are illegal operations that harbor potential sex traffickers, and yet the fight to shut them down continues. FOX 5’s Marina Marraco went looking for answers as to why these places are still open for business.
From the outside, they are ordinary buildings. Although there are no signs in sight, one in an industrial park in Hyattsville is actually licensed as South Carolina Cafe, a banquet hall with a $20 entrance fee and no menu to order from.
And tucked in an industrial park of Hyattsville, Club Fuego is licensed as a banquet hall and auditorium.
But once the sun sets, the unassuming banquet halls turn into something different.
Our FOX 5 crew saw full-on nude dancing and illicit activities inside Club Fuego as well as in South Carolina Cafe — or Irving’s as it is known on the streets.
“When we were leaving there, I thought that it was also interesting that some man walked up to me in the hallway and immediately knew to come to me and starts asking me if I was looking for a job,” said Tina Frundt.
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David Sirota/International Business Times
DAVOS, Switzerland — Private equity investor Stephen Schwarzmann is generally a believer in the power of money, a trait that has netted him billions of dollars worth of that useful commodity. But when it comes to education, Schwarzman says more money is not necessarily a fix for ailing American public schools.
Speaking Friday at a World Economic Forum event called “Business Backs Education,” the Blackstone Group CEO was asked by International Business Times if he supports raising more money for education through President Barack Obama’s new proposal to increase capital gains taxes or through other proposals to end special “carried interest” tax exemptions for Wall Street financiers.
He declined to answer that question and instead suggested that a focus on resources is misguided.
“In the Catholic schools they spend much less money than the public schools, and they get amazing results. Private schools spend much more money than the public schools and they get remarkable results,” said Schwarzman, who was once rumored to have likened tax increases to Hitler invading Poland.
>>> Read more International Business Times.
Dr. William Hite leadership which appears to lack proper transparency and accountability has left Philly School District in poor shape.
The civic group Parents United and the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia have been fighting the School Reform Commission for access to secret documents created by the Boston Consulting Group as its “reform” plan for the Philadelphia public schools under Dr. William Hite leadership. The plan was shared with district officials and the foundation that paid for the report, but was not made public. The groups just won a victory and were able to review the report, see the list of schools that BCG wanted to close, and see how flawed BCG’s projections were. Of course, BCG wanted to privatize as much of the district’s schools and operations as possible.
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Democracy will not come
Today, this year,
Through compromise and fear.
I have as much right As the other fellow has
To stand on my two feet And own the land.
I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course,
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I’m dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.
Freedom is a strong seed
Planted in a great need.
I live here, too.
I want freedom Just as you
By ,The late Langston Hughes (Poet Laureate)
Parents are demanding answers after management and personality conflicts at Clinton Christian School in Upper Marlboro led to the principal’s resignation earlier this month.
Former principal Carlos Williams said school president Steve Layne gave him a written warning Nov. 20 about creating a hostile work environment. Williams said the warning came after he reprimanded a teacher for tardiness and expelled a student who consistently failed to wear his school uniform.
Williams said he was forced to resign Jan. 2 after Layne demanded he sign a “corrective action plan” without ample time to consult his attorney. The plan, which Layne gave him Dec. 29, severely limited Williams’ role at the school, according to Williams, who first became principal in August 2011.
“At that point it was too much harassment and too much damage had been done that it was practically impossible to return,” Williams said. “I never want to leave families in the middle of the year, but it left me no choice.”
Layne, who is also the pastor of Life Church in Upper Marlboro, said the school could not comment publicly on any matter related to a staff member’s employment.
“Legally we’re not permitted to give the details of any personnel issue, which makes it difficult to alleviate some of the particular concerns the parents might have,” Layne said.
Victoria Davis, 48, of Clinton, the mother of a second-grader, said the sudden departure of the principal disturbed her.
“Mr. Williams was very hands-on,” Davis said. “He was always there in the morning, letting the kids in, directing traffic, different things. He was very visible.”
She said Layne would not meet with the school’s Parent Teacher Fellowship to address concerns and parents have had trouble arranging one-on-one meetings.
A month after the Frederick Douglass High School football team won the state 2A championships and three days after it was honored by the Prince George’s County school board, a team member allegedly shot and wounded two other players and himself.
Delano Dunmore, 16, has been charged as an adult with attempted first-degree and second-degree murder, according to Prince George’s County police.
Investigators believe an argument erupted in Dunmore’s Clinton home Sunday afternoon and officers arrived at the scene around 4 p.m. to find the three teams members suffering from gunshot wounds, police said. The victims, whose names have not been released, are 16 and 17 years old and one of them is at a local hospital in critical condition, police said.
Sherrie Johnson, a spokeswoman for the county school system, said extra counselors will be available to any Frederick Douglass student who would like support processing through the incident.
…Refuge as Wilderness
Each year, as the darkness of the Arctic winter brightens into spring, as the snow melts and the hills and valleys slowly turn green, the tens of thousands of members of the Porcupine caribou herd begin their great migration — traveling some 1,500 miles through Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to their calving grounds on the Coastal Plain.
This far northern region is known as “The Sacred Place Where Life Begins” to Alaska Native communities. The Refuge sustains the most diverse array of wildlife in the entire Arctic — home not only to the Porcupine caribou, but to polar bears, gray wolves, and muskoxen. Bird species from the Coastal Plain migrate to all 50 states of the country — meaning that no matter where you live, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is part of your landscape.
But the majority of the Refuge is not protected as wilderness, including the Coastal Plain. For more than three decades, some voices have clamored to drill for oil in the Coastal Plain — a move that could irreparably damage this ecological treasure and harm the Alaska Native communities who still depend on the caribou for subsistence.
Today, the Department of the Interior released a revised Comprehensive Conservation Plan to better sustain and manage the entire Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — and President Obama took it a step further and announced his plans to ask Congress to designate the Coastal Plain and other core areas of the refuge as wilderness:
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Maryland New Governor Larry Hogan.
Last week, Larry Hogan, now this state’s 62nd governor, took the oath of office and officially began his first term in elected office. Hogan, our second Republican governor since 1969, was the winner of the nation’s biggest electoral upset of 2014, defeating former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown by almost 70,000 votes.
The victory was thanks to a campaign that should be studied in political science classes, an economically focused message and an opponent who did not take the election seriously. But now that the campaign is over, Hogan has to implement his administration and deliver on his campaign promises — especially on government spending and taxation.
On the surface, the obstacles to Hogan’s agenda seem almost insurmountable. The General Assembly is dominated by Democrats, who have 90 delegates and 33 senators (Republicans have 51 and 14, respectively). An inherited budgetary shortfall — to the tune of $750 million in fiscal 2016 — will be a serious challenge that will most likely lead to unpopular budget cuts.
This challenge is one of the reasons voters selected Hogan in November. Hogan wasted no time getting down to business, releasing a budget (for the general fund) Friday that would balance projected revenues and expenditures.To close the current general fund budget deficit, cuts must be made or taxes increased. Hogan has adamantly opposed raising taxes on an already burdened populace — the Tax Foundation has found that this state’s tax burden is one of the worst in the country. More tax hikes would also be discouraging for business owners.
Therefore, the budget adjustments are significant: a 2 percent cut for state agencies, a freeze on state employees’ salaries and a reduction in the annual increase on education spending (education spending increases at a lower rate).
This state ranks highly on a variety of economic indicators: education, income, research and development and quality of life, among other advantages. Most of these indicate that the state has tremendous potential to create one of the nation’s best economies. But when the federal government directly or indirectly comprises one-third of the state’s economy, it is important to have a strong private sector to weather federal uncertainties.
Even with all this potential, this state still ranks near the bottom among states in terms of actual GDP growth, and its business climate is not considered particularly strong. By improving the tax structure, regulatory systems and infrastructure, this state can certainly leverage its already strong potential into a model economy for the nation.