Tag Archives: Baker

Bowie council member Glass gets probation on DUI charge

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Bowie City Council member Courtney Glass has pleaded guilty last week to driving while impaired and was given probation before judgment by a Prince George’s County judge. (Courtesy Photo)

A Bowie City Council member Courtney Glass pleaded guilty last week to driving while impaired and was given probation before judgment by a Prince George’s County judge.

District Court Judge Vincent J. Femia set aside the plea and sentenced Glass to six months of unsupervised probation and assessed $645 — a $500 fine and $145 in court costs, said John Erzen, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Glass could not be reached for comment. She was represented by attorney Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., president of the state Senate, online court records show.

The traffic incident involving Glass took place in May of last year. Bowie police responded to a call about a possible hit-and-run accident near Annapolis Road and Grenville Lane at about 11:15 on the night of May 18, police said.

The motorcyclist, identified at Christian Streeter of Bowie, was not seriously injured, police said.

In addition to the fines and court costs, Glass was ordered to pay $1,020 in restitution to compensate Streeter for the insurance deductibles he paid for treatment and rehabilitation of the minor injuries he sustained. The nature of his injuries was not made clear.

Streeter could not be reached for comment.

A witness was able to get the license plate number of the vehicle that struck the motorcyclist. Bowie police officers eventually traced the vehicle to Glass, police said

Officers went to Glass’ home in Bowie shortly after midnight, where they encountered her after she had parked her car. Officers said they smelled alcohol on her breath, according to police, and administered a field sobriety test.

Glass, a legislative analyst for the Prince George’s County government, declined to take a Breathalyzer test, police said.

She was cited for driving under the influence, driving while impaired, driving the wrong way on a one-way street and failure to return and remain at the scene of an accident, online court records show. All of the charges were merged into a single county of DUI.

Glass, 34, is in her first term on the council, representing District 3. She won the spot in 2015, during the most recent citywide election.

Bowie Mayor G. Frederick Robinson said he did not anticipate any sort of official reprimand for Glass, because she received only probation and a fine for the incident.

“I don’t think we’ll be doing anything,” he said. “It’s a matter between her and the court.”

via capitalGazzette

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Rushern Baker III

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Bowie City Council member Courtney Glass was represented by attorney Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., president of the Maryland state Senate.

Prince George’s County juvenile judge reassigned after Malpractice

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Judge Herman C. Dawson whose penchant for committing delinquent youths to institutions has drawn criticism from families, attorneys and Maryland’s second-highest court, has been reassigned.

The longtime chief juvenile judge in Prince George’s County, whose penchant for committing delinquent youths to institutions has drawn criticism from families, attorneys and Maryland’s second-highest court, has been reassigned.

The transfer of Judge Herman C. Dawson was made public in an order issued this week by Judge Sheila R. Tillerson Adams, the county’s administrative judge. Dawson had been judge-in-charge of the county’s juvenile court since 2010.

“I enjoyed my seven years as coordinating judge for juvenile and look forward to my new assignment,” Dawson said in a statement.

Tia Lewis, a spokeswoman for the Prince George’s County Circuit Court, said Dawson requested the change, which took effect Friday. Lewis said the reassignment was not connected to criticisms that have been levied against the judge.

“Judge Dawson has a genuine commitment to the young people of Prince George’s County,” Lewis said. “Granted, there were complaints. However, there were many more accolades.”

The order came days after an article in The Baltimore Sun profiled a Columbia teenager whom Dawson committed to juvenile facilities for 891 days after the youth pleaded “involved” to the theft of a cell phone.

Dawson presided over the case for more than 21/2 years as he rejected repeated recommendations from Department of Juvenile Services officials, caseworkers and psychiatrists that the boy be sent home.

The teen, Michael, was released in October 2015 by another Prince George’s County judge. Since then, the 17-year-old has dropped out of school and has been arrested again. A psychiatrist found that Michael suffered long-term emotional and mental damage as a result of his stay in the system.

Youths Shackled in the Courtroom

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For years, youths in the juvenile justice system have been shackled in court. But there is a growing national movement to curb the practice. Despite a voluntary court resolution in Maryland, youths in Baltimore City courts are often still shackled. (Baltimore Sun video)

Michael’s mother, Keisha Hogan, has been sharply critical of Judge Dawson’s handling of her son’s case and appeared in a campaign advertisement against him. Upon learning of Dawson’s reassignment, Hogan said she was “relieved that nobody has to relive this nightmare.”

“I will never be able to undo the damage that he has created,” Hogan said. “However, this is a small victory and a step in the right direction… Other families will be able to safely and appropriately rehabilitate their child instead of having to deal with the unsurmountable damage that they would have had to endure.”

Dawson has said that he works hard to help the kids who come through his courtroom. He declined to comment on Michael’s specific case, but told The Sun that his goal on the juvenile bench was to “make sure that each and every kid that comes in front of me gets the help that he or she needs so they can be productive members of society.”

Dawson has been criticized for his tough-on-teens approach. Last year, the Maryland public defender’s office dispatched an attorney from its juvenile protection division to Dawson’s courtroom to observe his proceedings. Attorneys filed habeas corpus petitions against the judge that resulted in several juveniles being released from detentions that were found to be unlawful.

And the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled last year that Dawson had overstepped his discretion by sending a youth to an out-of-state placement.

Paul DeWolfe, the Maryland public defender, said his office looked forward to working with the new Prince George’s County judge in charge of juvenile matters, Lawrence Hill.

DeWolfe said he hopes the change will result in fewer youths being detained in the county, which has had one of the state’s highest detention rates.

“Our goal as always is to tenaciously represent our juvenile clients to reduce the unnecessary and harmful detention of children in Prince George’s County,” DeWolfe said.

In his new assignment, Dawson will oversee a “flexible docket,” where he will preside over cases on an as-needed basis and primarily handle family, civil and criminal cases. As a circuit judge, he earns $154,433 a year.

Court officials said it is unlikely he will hear juvenile cases in the new rotation.

The new assignment will last through September, according to the order. The recent order amends one issued in August 2015 that was supposed to last 24 months.

Evan Wilson, a former Prince George’s County public defender who represented Michael, said despite Dawson’s “frustrating” approach, he believes the judge thought he was acting in youths’ best interest.

“I know for a fact that he truly believed in what he was doing — he really was passionate about juvenile matters,” Wilson said.

Wilson said he thought rotating judges would improve objectivity in Prince George’s County juvenile cases.

“Such a rotation would prevent the administration of juvenile justice from becoming a personal mission for any one judge which, to me, lends itself to personal and emotional decision-making, rather than unbiased and thoughtful decision-making,” Wilson said.

via Baltimore sun

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Judge Sheila R. Tillerson Adams is also involved in questionable conduct. In 2013, a motion to transfer action filed by Afscme International was concealed in her court room in a questionable maneuver to assist them after they engaged willful violations in Prince Georges county.

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ALERT: Prince George’s Says SafeTrack Isn’t Its Problem

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In less than 2 weeks, WMATA will shut down Metrorail service across the Anacostia River on the Orange, Blue, and Silver Lines for 16 days, as part of its SafeTrack repair program. This will impact tens of thousands of commuters in Prince George’s County, who will still need to get to their jobs in downtown Washington and northern Virginia. Instead of adequately planning for this impending transit disaster, County Executive Rushern Baker and the Department of Public Works & Transportation have decided to tell riders to fend for themselves. This decision reflects a stunning failure of leadership and crisis management on the part of the county government.

For more information, please read blog article on the subject.

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Bitter budget battle in Prince George’s ends with Rushern Baker waving a white flag. He surrenders finally.

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By Arelis R. Hernández June 19 at 5:25 PM
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) announced Friday that he will accept the 2016 operating budget approved by the County Council and not challenge it in court, bringing an end to the most bitter battle he has waged with the council since taking office.

In a statement, Baker said he decided to put the interests of county residents “ahead of a lengthy and divisive legal process” surrounding a section of county law that he and the council interpreted differently.

The litigation would have fostered “uncertainty and disharmony,” the statement said.

The council rejected Baker’s proposal for a 15-percent hike in the property tax rate to generate more funds for public schools. Baker then vetoed parts of the budget passed by the council, demanding a tax rate hike of 11.45 percent. But the council overrode that veto and stuck with a 4-percent property tax rate hike — the first in Prince George’s in more than three decades — and a 1.5-cent increase in the park and planning tax.

Baker went on a countywide tour this spring to drum up support for his proposal to raise taxes dramatically to generate $133 million for public schools. He argued that better schools would boost home prices, attract new families and businesses and improve the county’s regional competitiveness.

But he failed to convince residents or win cooperation from lawmakers. The council passed an alternative budget that cut most of the Baker’s new initiatives and eliminated proposed furloughs and layoffs.

Baker then said that the county was barred by law from adjusting his proposed budget by more than 1 percent — a contention that council members said was ludicrous.

In his statement, Baker said the controversy over school funding was evidence that “we are very passionate about this place we call home.”

via Washington Post

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Prince George’s County Council vote unanimously to override Baker’s veto.

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Prince George’s County council overrode Baker’s veto with a 9-0 vote. As a result of new corruption involving Baker, his aides et al, the county is falling behind. 

FORT WASHINGTON – The Prince George’s County Council and County Executive Rushern Baker III are at odds again after the Council voted unanimously to override Baker’s veto of the adopted Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning (M-NCPPC) budget.

Last week the County Council adopted a budget slashing Baker’s proposal to raise taxes by 15 percent to fund $133 million in additional funds for the county school system, instead voting to raise taxes by only 4 percent. However, the council also approved a budget for M-NCPPC that includes a 1.5 percent property tax increase.

Baker, who did not propose a tax increase in the M-NCPPC budget, vetoed the council’s budget but the council overrode it with a 9-0 vote.

“While I’m not surprised at the County Council’s decision, it is certainly unfortunate that they chose to raise people’s taxes for more parks and recreation, something we don’t need at this time,” Baker said. “We already have world class facilities and programs for our youth and our community. I know that we need the same level of investment to achieve a world class education system for our students.”

The planning department faces a structural deficit, Council Chairman Mel Franklin said, with expenses exceeding revenue on an annual basis. The department originally asked the county to increase property taxes by three cents, he said, but the council cut the proposal in half.

“1.5 cents today would be double or triple that next year if we do nothing and put it off for a year,” Franklin said. “The county executive decided to veto because he wants to wait until next year. With all due respect to the county executive, this veto is disappointing and fiscally irresponsible.”

Cutting funding for M-NCPP this year would mean a loss of 20 percent of funding to summer youth programs, reducing hours of operation by 10 percent to 30 percent at community centers and other public facilities, according to an impact study conducted by M-NCPPC.

Baker said the county needs to emphasize providing better school facilities for children, not parks and planning departments.

“I have to tell you that I am appalled by the council’s decision to increase the property tax rate by five percent on citizens in Prince George’s County. This was an increase that was never discussed during any of our meetings over the last month,” Baker said.

The county has increased taxes to fund M-NCPP 13 times since 1978, Baker said, and another increase did not need to happen this year.

“It is not strategic or visionary. And it is not an unfunded mandate from the state,” Baker said.

Franklin disagreed with Baker, saying the tax is necessary because if it is not imposed this year, it must be imposed in the future and the cost will be greater because of the county’s structural deficit.

Lehman, who voted against the council’s overall budget last week, voted to support the override of Baker’s veto because the council needs to be unified in their approach to fixing the county’s deficits.

The council needs to work with M-NCPP, Lehman said, to reduce the project charges that have gotten out of control.

Despite the obvious differences between Baker and the council, both sides insist that there are no problems. Baker said it is a matter of “difference on issues.”

“The relationship with the council is just that we disagree with what the priorities of the county are and where we need to make improvement,” Baker said. “We disagree fundamentally on what would move this county forward and I think that’s just it.”

Franklin said there may be a lapse of communication between Baker and his staff causing the disagreements. Baker had staff present during some of the public sessions where the council discussed the planning tax, Franklin said.

“They heard, in detail, the conversation about the various scenarios of rate increases and what could happen if we don’t do anything,” Franklin said. “We still will work together with the County Executive on all kinds of issues. There is no sort of schism between the County Executive and the County Council. It’s just that these are the natural checks and balances of government.”

“It wasn’t done in a way, in terms of timing, where our residents got to hear it. It wasn’t out there when we were having our public hearings,” Lehman said. “The information needs to be out there in a transparent way so our residents can react. That is something that concerns me.”

Instead of continuing to raise taxes to aid M-NCPP and other county operations, Judy Robinson, a community activist and retired M-NCPP secretary, said, the county should look to cut expenses and reduce spending.

“My budget had to go down because I’m not working full time anymore. When you can’t afford things, what do you do? You cut expenses,” Robinson said. “That’s absolutely what our government needs to do. We need to cut expenses.”

The citizens asked for no tax increases, Robinson said, even if they were minimal and did not go toward education. Citizens still are not going to be happy with the smaller tax increases and having their money go to M-NCPP.

No decisions on the overall budget have been made, Baker said. According to Thomas Himler, deputy chief administrative officer in Baker’s office, the executive has until June 16 to make any other decisions.

>>> Read more Prince George’s County Sentinel

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Prince George’s County council overrode Baker’s veto with a 9-0 vote in order to improve the environment through the M-NCPP park system.PRINCE-large***

Baker endorses Van Hollen while majority of Council endorses Edwards.

Rep. Donna Edwards

Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-4)

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Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-8)

County Executive Rushern Baker III and the County Council may find themselves at odds once again.

Baker announced last Wednesday he has endorsed Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-8) for the U.S. Senate in the upcoming 2016 election, but some members of the County Council have chosen to go a different route and elected to endorse Donna Edwards (D-4).

Baker said he chose to endorse Van Hollen rather than Edwards, a Prince George’s County representative and native, because of their experience working together in the state legislature. The two have a history of working together, he said, and “rolling up [their] sleeves” on difficult issues.

“That’s the type of relationship I’ve had with Senator (Barbara) Mikulski. I know that Chris, going over to the Senate, will do that,” Baker said. “It was an easy decision in this respect. I don’t just know him as a name or as a congressman—I know him personally and I know the working relationship.”

However, all members of the Prince George’s County Council except for Councilman Todd Turner and Councilwoman Deni Taveras announced their support for Edwards at Prince George’s County Community College Wednesday.

Edwards thanked the council members for their support and said she looks forward to working with them at the Senate level.

“I am thrilled to stand with my partners on the Prince George’s County Council,” Edwards said. “Together, we have worked tirelessly to improve education, expand economic development, and stand up for our seniors. I thank them for their support, and look forward to continue working with them in the United States Senate.”

Mel Franklin, Chairman of the Prince George’s County Council, said he will stand with Edwards as works to stand in Senator Mikulski’s “trailblazing” shoes in her senate seat.

“Donna’s experiences and values have made her who she is today, a principled, progressive fighter with a unique, proven record of improving the lives of working families,” Franklin said. “That is what she has done in Prince George’s County, and that is what she will do for all Marylanders.”

Van Hollen said he is happy to have the support of Baker, as well as Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett who also attended the press conference where Baker made his announcement.

Van Hollen represents Congressional District 8, which used to include part of Prince George’s County as recently as 2013. In Congress, Van Hollen said he has done his best to give citizens the best opportunities to “live the American dream.”

>>> Read more 

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Prince George’s County Council

Rushern Baker - Appears to be driving corruption to new heights

County Executive Rushern Baker III

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Baker introduces new PGCPS schools chief.

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Homecoming is the theme for Prince George’s County Public Schools new CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell. (Pictured above)

Anne Arundel County School Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell returned to North Western high school in PGCPS where he served as principal more than a decade ago to be formally introduced Friday by Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) as the new schools chief.

“Welcome home,” said Baker, to applause. “Dr. Kevin Maxwell may not have started in the mailroom, but he did start in the classroom…he has learned every facet of school system operations in his journey, a journey which brings him back to Prince George’s County.”

Dr. Maxwell, who was lauded for his work in Prince George’s, Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties, will take the helm of Maryland’s second-largest school system after seven years leading Anne Arundel schools. (Read more Washingtonpost) (Read more Hyattsville patch)

In attendance were several senior delegation including  Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Maryland Senators, Delegates, Board of Educations members and senior county officials. Lt. Gov Brown praised Baker’s selection of Maxwell to take on the county school system. He said, “This is the right choice at the right time to lead the Prince George’s County school system to new heights.”

On his part, Dr. Maxwell said “I cannot do this by myself. I need every one of you,” he said to the crowd. “For every one of you who asks what are you going to do, I turn around and ask what are you going to do to help?” He further stated that,  “I’m here for the long haul,”. “I’ve lived here my whole life, I certainly expect to have my contract renewed in four years, and I expect to be here a good while.”

We at Reform Sasscer movement are very thrilled by the selection and look forward to supporting him and our other leaders within the county. Dr. Maxwell seems very articulate in several aspects and seem to understand what has been going on.  He brings a wealth of exeperience. Kudos to the County Executive Rushern Baker and his team!

See video of the event here

Ceremony in Pictures

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Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown praised Baker’s selection of Maxwell

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County Executive Rushern Baker Introducing Dr. Maxwell

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Segun C. Eubanks, Ed.D. ~ BOE Chair speaking to the invitated Guests.

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Mr. Christian Rhodes  ~ Education Policy Advisor at Office of the Prince George’s County Executive.

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From left, Dr. Segun Eubanks, chair of the PGCPS Board of Education, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, New PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker.

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Prince George’s County Public Schools new CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell speaking.

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County, State Leaders Welcome New Prince George’s Schools Chief in Pictures.

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It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership. ~ Nelson Mandela