Tag Archives: fewer papers of record in Prince George’s.

Both sides make their case on Pr. George’s term limits.

…  Vote “NO” on Question J.

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Mr. Baker. >>> Read more >>>Major scandal unfolding in PGCPS.  >>>  Rot at Upper Marlboro.

October 24

During the only public forum on Question J — the ballot question that would allow Prince George’s officials to serve three terms instead of two — the measure’s strongest proponent was absent.In his place, County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) sent an attorney to square off against opponents of loosening term limits.While those close to Baker know how much he dislikes the term-limit law, Baker has refused to campaign for the ballot initiative — unwilling to attach his name to an effort that would benefit him personally and has failed twice in the past 20 years.Just over a week before the general election, there are no yard signs, robo-calls or e-mails to voters in favor of the referendum from Baker or any of the County Council members who stand to benefit from it.Baker — who is running unopposed for a second term and will be forced to leave office after that if the ballot initiative fails — is relying on the “yes” vote recommended on the sample ballot distributed by the county’s powerful Democratic party central committee.

Meanwhile, activists who want to keep the stricter limits in place are exhorting the electorate to vote “no” through community e-mail discussion groups, public meetings and on the Internet.

“I think people understand where I stand on term limits,” Baker said. “There are term limits, and they are called ‘the voters.’ ”

Baker said proponents of term limits assume voters are not mature enough to make the right selections and argued that forcing politicians out after two terms destroys institutional knowledge and governing momentum.

“This is the most popular council in 30 years with constituents,” Baker said. “People like what they see.”

Opponents of the term-limit extension fear political entrenchment and say the ballot referendum is premature, coming just four years after the federal corruption investigation that toppled Baker’s predecessor, Jack Johnson.

Not one Prince George’s County incumbent has been defeated in the two decades since Judy Robinson and her group collected the 18,000 signatures that instituted term limits in 1992.

Gerron Levi, a former state delegate who lost to sitting council incumbent Derrick Leon Davis (D-Mitchellville) in the primary, said the political system can have a corrupting influence on any long-serving elected official. “The longer you are in office, the longer you are captive to moneyed interests, because that’s how you get reelected,” Levi said.

Prince George’s is the only local government in the region to limit how long its local officials can serve (although the Virginia governor can remain in office only four years and the Maryland governor is limited to eight).

County officials say that means more turnover for Prince George’s County than for its neighbors on regional boards that oversee topics such as water, transportation and planning.

“We are constantly being outmaneuvered by Northern Virginia, where that long tenure exists,” said M.H. Jim Estepp, a former county council chair. “There was a lot more I could’ve done for my constituency if I had more time.”

Baker said his vision for the county will take more than two terms to achieve. It took four years to “get used to the job” and craft the details of his agenda, he said, and he doesn’t expect his marquee education revisions and economic development plans to fully take effect until 2015.

>>> Read more Washington Post.

>>> Read more Vote against longer term limits, fewer papers of record in Prince George’s.

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Vote against longer term limits, fewer papers of record in Prince George’s.

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Early Voting began on Thursday October 23, 2014. This midterm election is most important because you will have a chance to elect people who will represent you on local levels.

Above all and especially Questions H and J are disservice to Prince Georgians.  Please vote against Question H and J. In addition, elect Board of Education members who can ask tough questions to Rushern Baker administration and not sycophants as a result of on going corruption and misconduct involving county leadership.

Questions H and J  are couched in a group of Prince George’s County ballot questions that could be easily approved but are two pretty significant requests that must be soundly rejected: permission to extend term limits and to be able to reduce the number of newspapers of record, publications authorized to carry public and legal notices.

The Reform Sasscer Movement and other news outlets have long been opposed to term limits; we believe voters should decide when an elected official leaves office, and it’s a disservice when a strong leader must leave because of such rules.

However, Question J seeks merely to make term limits slightly longer, extending county executive and council terms from two to three — and smacks of a gradual attempt to remove term limits. Please reject Question J and spread the word. 

The county should either keep or remove the limits, not add a few years based on what leaders think voters will let them get away with. For this reason, We  oppose Question J.

Another less-talked-about referendum is Question H, a request that the county only be required to have at least one newspaper of record. Instead of the current rule of having at least three papers of record, the county would also use county-maintained electronic media for such items.

While this may seem minor, it’s actually a big deal. Legal information needs to be easily accessible by the community and, unfortunately, computers are not yet readily available to all residents. One only needs to look at the struggle libraries have encountered as job-seekers compete with students for free computer time.

In addition, the Prince George’s government is still working to regain residents’ trust, so it’s important to have independent carriers for legal and public notices rather than relying on the government.

The county’s disturbing request also would complicate access to information such as foreclosures, a major problem in Prince George’s County.

In the interest of full disclosure,  we recognize that computer access is growing daily. However, until that time becomes a reality — and until the county government website becomes an easy and reliable place for legal information and notices — the government owes it to county residents to make the information as widely available as possible.

For these reasons, Prince George’s voters should vote against questions H and J.

However, the other ballot questions should get approved with no problem.

Questions A through E

The first five questions ask voters whether the county can borrow money and issue bonds for construction and repair of public safety, library, community college, county, and public works and transportation facilities. The price tag is high at $727.3 million, but the work must be done.

Question F

County officials want the flexibility to be able to issue bonds in serial form or term form (they differ based on maturation dates). Put in layman’s terms, officials want to be able to use the bond that would best fit their financing strategy. It makes sense.

Question G

Currently, if the county executive leaves office less than two years before the end of the term, the County Council is required to vote one of its own as a replacement or the council chair fills in as county executive until the next election. Question G would let the chief administrative officer serve as acting county executive until action is taken. The alternative would be to leave the post empty until the council makes a decision, which doesn’t make sense, so we support Question G.

Question I

Although disability and sexual orientation are protected categories under state law, the county charter doesn’t include them in the list of prohibited forms of discrimination for county employees. Question I simply adds them to the list, as it should.

Statewide ballot questions

Question 1 involves the Transportation Trust Fund, a pot of money Maryland collects that includes revenue from the gas tax and vehicle registration fees. The fund was created to pay for transportation projects, but over the years, lawmakers have distributed the money to other programs to balance the Maryland budget.

The question would require the fund be spent on road and transit projects. The money could be transferred into other accounts if the governor declares a fiscal emergency and the General Assembly approves legislation authorizing the transfer with a three-fifths majority. We think these are significantly high hurdles and transfers will be rare, which means the money will be used for the purpose intended.

Statewide Question 2 authorizes charter counties to hold special elections whenever a county executive cannot finish a term and there’s a vacancy in the office.

Currently, if a Prince George’s County executive has less than two years left in the term and leaves office, the position can be filled only by an appointment from the County Council.

Choosing “yes” for Question 2 will be a step forward, giving voters a greater say in their county governments in those rare instances when a county executive resigns or dies in office.

Please vote! Nobody’s vote is more important than yours unless you don’t show up. Then everybody’s vote is more important than yours.

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Prince George's County

Prince George’s County

Early Voting Centers

2014 GUBERNATORIAL GENERAL ELECTION
Early Voting Wait Times

Early Voting is October 23, 2014 through October 30, 2014
Daily 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

EV-01 Upper Marlboro Community Center
5400 Marlboro Race Track Road
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

EV-02  College Park Community Center
5051 Pierce Avenue
College Park, MD 20740

EV-03  Bowie Community Center
3209 Stonybrook Drive
Bowie, MD 20715

EV-04  Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Center
8001 Sheriff Road
Landover, MD 20785

EV-05  Southern Regional Technology and Recreation Complex
7007 Bock Road
Fort Washington, MD 20744

EV-06  Laurel – Beltsville Senior Activity Center
7120 Contee Road
Laurel, MD 20707

EV-07  Baden Community Center
13601 Baden-Westwood Road
Brandywine, MD 20613

EV-08 Suitland Community Park School Center
5600 Regency Lane
Forestville, MD 20747

 Directions to Early Voting Centers

For more information, contact the Prince George’s County Board of Elections at (301)341-7300.

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