Monthly Archives: January 2015

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For Your Viewing Pleasure.

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Franchot says procurement process is broken and needs fixing.

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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.

– See more at: http://marylandreporter.com/2015/01/27/franchot-says-procurement-process-is-broken-and-needs-fixing/#sthash.iNpeGwTM.gCKclaa5.dpuf

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Dangerous world of sex trafficking in Prince George’s.

…Under Rusher Baker Regime.

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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.

>>> Read more 

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Blackstone Group’s Stephen Schwarzman Says More Money Won’t Improve Public Education

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Blackstone Group CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman speaks at the “Business Backs Education” event at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 23, 2015. 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.

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Philadelphia: Parents United Wins a Major Victory for Transparency.

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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.

>>> Read more 

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POEM OF THE MONTH

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Democracy will not come

Today, this year,

Nor ever

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)

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Parents seek answers after Upper Marlboro principal resigns.

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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.

>>> Read more Gazette 

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