Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bus Driver Pleads Guilty to Leaving Bus Unattended;

…Bus Then Struck Child

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Prince George’s County school Bus Driver Mr. Arturo Harris

A school bus driver pleaded guilty Monday to reckless endangerment and other charges after he left his bus to use the restroom — and the bus rolled down a hill and into a group of elementary-school children.

One six-year-old was struck and had to be pulled from under the bus by a bystander. Four other students on the bus suffered minor injuries.

Arturo Harris, 61, pleaded guilty to one count of leaving an unattended child, three counts of reckless endangerment and one count of failing to curb the wheels of an unattended vehicle for the April, 2014 incident. >>> Read more NBC 4 >>>  (WJLA) 

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Prince George’s County school board chairman Segun Eubanks (Brother in Law to Mr. Rushern Baker)  listens to parents and staff speak. He has demonstrated poor leadership skills and continuation of status quo after he has  chosen to look the other way rather than find proper solutions to various problems within the racist Prince George’s County system.

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A civil lawsuit filed by Tracy Allison…

….to start on September 16, 2014.

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Greenbelt Federal Court.

A civil lawsuit filed by Ms. Tracy Allison against the Prince George’s county public schools (Pgcps) will go to trial starting Tuesday September 16th, 2014 at 10:00 am until September 23rd, 2014 in Green Belt Federal court. (See Federal Case 8:11-cv-01329-PJM).

Jury selection will begin the same day for her lawsuit. Ms. Allison claims she was retaliated against when she reported what she believed were inappropriate acts by the administration of former Superintendent Dr. William Hite jr and that the Board of Education engaged in retaliation.

Ms. Tracy Allison is African American woman, who worked at Largo High school, alleges that she was racially harassed by Principal Angelique Simpson-Marcus of Largo High School, who is African American. On February 28, 2014, a federal jury, at the Greenbelt, MD federal courthouse, issued a verdict that means Prince George’s County Public Schools can be found liable under Title VI for race discrimination and retaliation. Specifically, the jury decided that Prince George’s County Public School received federal assistance, starting in 2009, which had the primary objective of providing employment. In 2009, PGCPS, which has an annual budget of approximately $1.7 billion, received $140 million in federal stimulus funds which it used to avert laying off hundreds of teachers and other school workers.

The standard of prove under Title VI is the same as under Title VII, except Title VII has a cap on damages of $300,000 while Title VI has no cap on damages. Plaintiff must show by a preponderance of the evidence, that when they were employed at Largo High School—the time period covered by their Complaints—the Board of Education of Prince George’s County (“School Board”) received federal funds which had a primary objective of providing employment, as opposed to educating students or any other purpose.

According to the complaint, Tracy Allison has been employed by Prince George’s County Public Schools since 2005. Ms. Allison joined Largo High School as a secretary in 2006. Ms. Allison worked in the principal’s front office. Ms. Allison is a thirty eight (38) year old African American woman. Principal Simpson-Marcus openly despised white teachers. Principal Simpson-Marcus referred to a white English teacher as “poor white trash” and instructed her staff not to associate with him. Principal Simpson-Marcus referred to a white science teacher as “Bozo”. Ms. Allison worked as Principal Simpson-Marcus’ front office secretary. Ms. Allison came in contact with white teachers on a daily basis and treated them with due respect.

Several times a week, Principal Simpson-Marcus called Ms. Allison “chicken head”, “bird”, “hood rat” and “ghetto” in the presence of faculty, staff, parents, and students.

The terms “chicken head” and “bird” are urban slang terms for slut, according to the Urban Dictionary website at http://www.urbandictionary.com.

The terms “chicken head” and “bird” refer to the motion a woman’s head makes when she performs fellatio. Ms. Allison was extremely upset by Principal Simpson-Marcus’ use of these terms in reference to her. Ms. Allison considered the use of these slang terms as racial slurs. Ms. Allison frequently cried when Principal Simpson-Marcus used these slang terms.

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Prince George’s County school board chairman Segun Eubanks listens to parents and staff speak. He has demonstrated poor leadership skills and continuation of status quo after he has  chosen to look the other way rather than help negotiate a settlement with employees victimized by the racist Prince George’s County system.

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Read more >>> Prince George’s County leaders must remain sensitive to public interest.

Prince George’s County leaders must remain sensitive to public interest.

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When Messer Annibale Bentivogli was ruler in Bologna, the Canneschi clan formed a conspiracy and murdered him; and even though no members of his family survived except the infant Giovanni, the people rose up and slew all of the Canneschi. This was a consequence of the popularity the Bentivogli then enjoyed in Bologna. Their popularity was so great, in fact, that, with no member of the family left to rule in Bologna, the people sent to Florence where, according to reports, there was an illegitimate offspring of the Bentivogli who had been brought up by a blacksmith. They summoned him back to Bologna and entrusted him with the rule until Giovanni reached his age of majority.

This 1445 tale is used by Niccolo Machiavelli in his 1513 masterpiece, The Prince, to illustrate the supreme premium every leader must place on the trust of his people and the esteem in which they hold him. The essence of Machiavelli’s thesis here is that a leader (prince) must endeavour to avoid those things that would make him the object of hatred and contempt. So long as he avoids these, he will have done his part and will encounter no risk at all from other vice. He should conduct himself in such a way that greatness, boldness, gravity, and strength will be observed in his actions.

In dealing with individual subjects, his decisions must be irrevocable; and he must maintain himself in such high regard that no one will ever think of cheating him or misleading him. A prince who gives this account of himself will be highly esteemed; and against someone who is highly esteemed, conspiracy is unlikely.

Attack is also unlikely, so long as he is known to be respected by his subjects as an excellent man. For a prince has only two things to fear: one is internal and concerns his subjects; the other is external. When there is no external attack, the prince must worry about hidden conspiracies, against which he will find security by avoiding hatred and contempt and by keeping the people satisfied.

Indeed, the most potent remedy a prince can have against conspiracies lies in his not being hated by the populace, for those who conspire always believe the death of the prince will please the people. When they suspect that their action will anger the people, they will not be so rash as to undertake it. “I conclude, then, that a prince need take little account of conspiracies if the people are disposed in his favour. If they are opposed and hate him, however, he must fear every incident and every individual…,” Machiavelli says.

After over one year in office, it is not yet safe to say County Executive Rushern Baker and his Education Executive Dr. Kevin Maxwell have settled into some clear, inherent trend by which their leadership demeanour and style can be assessed. The duo has, without doubt, come across as not so approachable and amiable, striking the pose of what youth call “not easy”. That is not pretty cool or quite freshing, especially coming hot on the heels of Dr. William Hite’s eternal aloofness.

But, on a more serious note, the Prince George’s County spearheads seem to have grown into the rather disturbing habits of condoning the unacceptable, excusing the inexcusable, being to prickly in the face of criticism and even displaying conduct bordering on hubris. Their handling of the runaway insecurity and the stubborn vestiges of corruption in public service is illustrative of a worrying reluctance to act ruthlessly and decisively in best public interest. And they could certainly do better in their engagement with the Opposition and generally those who hold divergent views.

Yet you can never go wrong by walking on the right side of history, with the people. Robert Green best highlights our point here when he says: “Occasional mistakes are inevitable. People in power, however, are undone not by the mistakes they make, but by the way they deal with them. In the last several months, we have highlighted our displeasure with the following individuals in leadership capacity in the Headquaters of Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) at Sasscer involved in questionable activity. The list includes but is not limited to Robert Gaskin, Shauna Battle, James Fisher, Shani Whisonant, Monica Goldson, Thatcher Law Firm via Abbey Hairston and anyone else involved in public corruption in Prince George’s County.

Like surgeons, Prince George’s County leadership must cut away the tumor with speed and finality within the Prince George’s County public schools as highlighted. Excuses and apologies are much too blunt tools for this delicate operation…The mistake does not vanish with an apology; it deepens and festers. Better cut it off instantly, distract attention from yourself…”

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Mr. James Fisher.

Ms. Monica Goldson - Public Enemy number 1

Ms. Monica Goldson – Public Enemy number 1

Shani Whisonant - Involved in Human rights violations and manipulation

Shani Whisonant – Involved in Human rights violations and corruption

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Read more >>>In Pr. George’s County, momentum builds against cellphone towers at school sites.

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Prince George’s BOE creates committees

 …to address numerous areas of work

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The Prince George’s County Board of Education has created six committees to help carry out the work of the school board.

The formation of the new committees comes more than a year after the board was overhauled. The reconfigured board, which was a fully-elected body changed to a hybrid board with several appointed members, had a rough transition after County Executive Rushern Baker III pushed for a school takeover.

Elected members said they were marginalized by the new leadership, while appointed members were trying to adjust to the demands of the job. The board, in turn, hired a corporate foundation to help smooth the transition. >>> Read more Washington Post

Summary:

The six committees are:

  1. Academic Achievement,
  2. Chief Executive Officer and Board Evaluation,
  3. Finance, Audit and Budget,
  4. Parent and Community Engagement,
  5. Policy, Legal and Legislative,
  6. Board Development and Governance.

The role of each Board member

  1. Board members Sonya Williams (District 9) and Zabrina Epps (District 1) ~> committee on academic achievement,
  2. Eubanks and Vice Chairman Carolyn Boston (District 6) ~>will chair the committee on evaluations.
  3. Appointed board members Beverly Anderson and Daniel Kaufman ~>will head the budget committee,
  4. Board members Curtis Valentine (appointed) and Amber Waller (District 3) ~> will lead the parent and community engagement committee.
  5. Board members Edward Burroughs (District 8) and Verjeana Jacobs (District 5) ~> will steer the policy, legal and legislative committee
  6. Boston and Board member Lyn Mundey (District 7) ~> will head the board development committee.

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OPINION

At this point, there appears to be a conflict of interest (COI) involving Ms. Verjeana Jacobs in particular in regards to these appointments. Voters and the Maryland General assembly rejected Ms. verjeana Jacobs – and her ideas – overwhelmingly in 2012. We hope this board won’t follow her and anybody else involved in a conflict of interest to lead and steer the policy, legal and legislative committee among others. Why stay where you aren’t wanted? Ms. Verjeana Jacobs and other employees of the Board of Education who are facing multiple lawsuits in courts, should not be allowed to lead in those areas where they have cost the Board of Education money. Among the accusations involving Ms. Jacobs is fraud, conspiracy, breach of contracts, bribery, cell tower fiasco, false claims inter alia. Of course we do not expect Ms. Jacobs to be the judge, the jury and the prosecutor all rolled into one? Let us scrutinize and call our elected officials for proper changes and accountability.

A conflict of interest (COI) is a situation occurring when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation.

The presence of a conflict of interest is independent of the occurrence of impropriety. Therefore, a conflict of interest can be discovered and voluntarily defused before any corruption occurs. We hope Segun Eubanks and others advancing this corruption will see the sense in these issues and do the right thing.

A widely used definition is: “A conflict of interest is a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgment or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest.” Primary interest refers to the principal goals of the profession or activity, such as the protection of clients, the health of patients, the integrity of research, and the duties of public office. Secondary interest includes not only financial gain but also such motives as the desire for professional advancement and the wish to do favors for family and friends, but conflict of interest rules usually focus on financial relationships because they are relatively more objective, fungible, and quantifiable. The secondary interests are not treated as wrong in themselves, but become objectionable when they are believed to have greater weight than the primary interests. The conflict in a conflict of interest exists whether or not a particular individual is actually influenced by the secondary interest. It exists if the circumstances are reasonably believed (on the basis of past experience and objective evidence) to create a risk that decisions may be unduly influenced by secondary interests.

MITIGATION AND CALL FOR ACTION.

Removal

The best way to handle conflicts of interests is to avoid them entirely. For example, someone elected to political office might sell all corporate stocks that they own before taking office, and resign from all corporate boards. Or that person could move their corporate stocks to a special trust, which would be authorized to buy and sell without disclosure to the owner. (This is referred to as a “blind trust“.) With such a trust, since the politician does not know in which companies they have investments, there should be no temptation to act to their advantage.

Recusal

Those with a conflict of interest are expected to recuse themselves from (i.e., abstain from) decisions where such a conflict exists. The imperative for recusal varies depending upon the circumstance and profession, either as common sense ethics, codified ethics, or by statute. For example, if the governing board of a government agency is considering hiring a consulting firm for some task, and one firm being considered has, as a partner, a close relative of one of the board’s members, then that board member should not vote on which firm is to be selected. In fact, to minimize any conflict, the board member should not participate in any way in the decision, including discussions.

Judges are supposed to recuse themselves from cases when personal conflicts of interest may arise. For example, if a judge has participated in a case previously in some other judicial role he/she is not allowed to try that case. Recusal is also expected when one of the lawyers in a case might be a close personal friend, or when the outcome of the case might affect the judge directly, such as whether a car maker is obliged to recall a model that a judge drives. This is required by law under Continental civil law systems and by the Rome Statute, organic law of the International Criminal Court.

Call your elected officials now and the media. Let us demand an end to this fraud and the madness!

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Former police officer, convicted of assault…

…tries to attack Pr. Geo.’s prosecutors

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Former District Heights police officer Johnnie Riley tried to attack prosecutors

Former District Heights police officer Johnnie Riley’s sentencing was postponed after he tried to attack prosecutors in court on Tuesday, authorities said.

In a press release, the Office of the State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County said that Riley tried to attack prosecutors. The courtroom was cleared, and several sheriff’s deputies then subdued Riley. His bond was revoked, and the sentencing hearing that got underway on Tuesday before the incident was rescheduled for Oct. 15.

Riley was convicted in June of first-degree assault for shooting a fleeing, handcuffed suspect in the back and paralyzing him >>> Read more Washington Post >>> Fox 5 DC

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Politics 101: How to request public documents.

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There are statutes on the federal and state levels which allow citizens to gain access to public documents and records.

What are the information acts?

On the federal level, it is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which can be read here. The FOIA rules are spelled out very clearly at this link.

On the state level, the act in Maryland is called the Public Information Act (PIA), which can be read here.

The information acts have exemptions, in which certain documents are excluded from disclosure for security reasons. But overall, any agency document or record may be requested. The acts do not, however, require governmental agencies to conduct research or create records in order to comply with your request. They also do not require agencies to answer written questions that are not requests for documents or records, although they sometimes will at their discretion.

On the local level, jurisdictions may have adopted regulations which set procedures for compliance with the PIA. Baltimore County’s regulation for example can be read here. Prince George’s County compliance is not much different from Baltimore county.

See sample PIA request here.

How to submit a request

It is important to submit your written request, either by hard copy in the mail or emailed, to the head of the department in which the records are likely maintained, as well as to the individual specified by the department as responsible for information act requests.

Generally, government agencies have one month to comply with an information act request. If longer time is needed due to the nature of the request, the agency should send an acknowledgement of the request and indicate a timeframe for responding.

Also important to note is that the agency can charge the requestor for both the time invested in collecting the information and for any copies of the documents. In Maryland, only the first two man hours invested in compiling the documents requested are free of charge. So it is advisable to either keep your requests small, perhaps even submitting several small requests instead of one big one, or specify in the request that you only want them to invest two hours in pulling the documents.

Compliance issues

It is not unheard of for information act requests to go unanswered by an agency. And members of the media, as well as citizens, have been ignored. Non-compliance is subject to court action, but can be a time-consuming and costly matter. See article here by Bryan Sears. Some legislators in Maryland are looking at reforms to the PIA, and a national group is pushing for reforms on the federal level to the FOIA.

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Legal Disclaimer

Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County DOES NOT provide any legal advice and users of this web site should consult with their own lawyer for legal advice.

This web site (the “Site blog”) is a general service that provides legal information over the Internet. We are not a law firm and our employees are not acting as your attorney. The information contained in the Site blog is general legal information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation. If you are unsure whether your particular situation requires that a document be changed or requested, you should consult a lawyer.

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Prince George’s County elite must put the County and the nation first.

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In the classic The Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon famously said: “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission (and) fulfil it or betray it.”

We spent the prime of our youth, some of us, in the struggle for constitutional and political reforms in Prince George’s County and in state of Maryland. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say we lost our youth in the struggle. The democratic experiment and practice has a long and tortuous history.

Creationists, specifically those who believe in the Bible can attest to the fact that initially, theocracy was the chosen way.

So that democracy, a variant of man-rule-man system was in itself an act of rebellion against God. But the train left the station many millennia ago.

Today, we can only find ways and means of making the best of whatever mess we call human rule.  Our American Founding Fathers did just that hundreds of years ago. After several months at the national convention from May 1787, the Constitution was ready for signing on September 17, 1787.

The next hurdle after the delegates had signed would be ratification. Yet I go ahead of myself.

Even before the final signatures, amendments were demanded and granted. These amendments were to address the fears that a strong national government would be a threat to personal liberties. These form part of American civil rights. They were reportedly all written by James Madison.

Now, for ratification, the final document needed the approval of nine out of the twelve states. Those opposed to the constitution, the Anti – Federalists began a press propaganda campaign against ratification. To counter them, Alexander Hamilton recruited fellow statesmen and intellectuals James Madison and John Jay. They wrote a series of more than 50 pro-ratification letters to the New York press of that time. The one that eventually rose to the pinnacle of glory is Federalist No. 10 by James Madison. It concerned itself with the threat of faction, racism or class differences.

Madison described faction as “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or a majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interest of the community”.

So he agonised between removing or controlling causes and effects of faction. To remove faction, you had to do away with liberty. The folly of so doing would be akin to removing oxygen so as to put out a fire. The damage would be cumulatively greater. A second option in removing causes of faction would be to give everyone uniform choices and views. This too would be totally absurd.

So that in the end, he opined, one would have to limit the effects of faction. He prescribed a republican remedy. A republic, he averred, would dilute the undesirable effects of majoritarianism.

He came early. Long before someone coined the phrase “tyranny of numbers”. The phrase is these days parroted by pseudo-intellectuals without attribution.

These writers, the authors of the 87 articles later dubbed Federalist Papers, sought neither fortune nor fame. They loved their country. They were not participants in empty political rhetoric.

Our latter-day columnists must read this collection of ideological masterpiece and constitutional architecture.

In fact, it behooves the Committee of Experts even though long disbanded to let us in on the reasoning behind some sticky facts of the constitution.

Jurists and legal experts still quote the Federalist Papers hundreds of years. Our President Barrack Obama, in Audicity of Hope, was so moved as to say these documents betray and mirror natural law if not divine inspiration.

our guess is that, he should have just said these people were geniuses living at the height of the Enlightenment.

These days, columnists engage in what Madison termed as the vicious arts. Empty and laughable ad hominen if not crass, pitiable partisanship. Take a position. Indeed you must. But do it on principle.

This way, people will identify you with a particular shade of opinion or school. Don’t oscillate depending on where the money is. Madison and group are still points of reference because they thought long and hard. Whatever they wrote stood the test of time.

They mentioned no names. Never poured vitriol on fellow Americans. If small minds discuss people, average ones events and great minds discuss ideas, next time you pick your favourite newspaper, you will have an easy time classifying your favourite commentator.

Prince George’s County is at a worse crossroad than 1787 – 88 America. Democracy will be strengthened more by statesmen. Whether in civil society, media, political parties or even the now silent academy, we must love our counties, our states, our countries and our planet earth above all else. We must be patriots.

We must sacrifice short-term gain at the altar of posterity. This is our prayer as we move forward unto the future!

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