Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Special Commissioners’ Meeting 5/21/2010

Thanks, Ken, for the format conversion!

Here’s the link: 5/21/2010 Meeting

Entry is ‘sticky’ scroll down for new content.

Pauleen Brewer 10:29 PM | (22) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
This just in from the Duck Hotline…

...parts of it are hard to believe—or are they? My sources lately have been pretty good, and we have seen and heard crazier things out of this bunch of elected officials… I wish I had this tip earlier. I was in the same room as Commissioner Collins not even two hours ago and could have asked him in person. Remember, this is just rumor at this point…

It is well known that the Commissioners recently eliminated the County’s Economic Development and Tourism Department and fired seven dedicated county employees.

But is it as well known that they did this after having spent thousands of tax dollars to renovate space for this department? Earlier this year, the County’s Economic Development and Tourism Department was relocated to the county building. Prior to their relocation, the space to accommodate them was totally renovated, from moving walls to building new offices and purchasing new furniture. In addition, other county employees were relocated in order to reconfigure a new conference room for this department.

Not even a year later, the money is spent, the department is gone and the space is empty.

But do not despair. Our extremely intelligent and astute leaders have come up with a new game plan. Renovate the office space once again and build a gym! What a great idea! With the savings the county realized from eliminating employees, they can now re-renovate and equip the county building with exercise equipment.

This new idea ranks right up there with purchasing four new Ford Explorers during a gas crisis so that no Commissioner ever gets stranded, in their own personal car, on a dark and dangerous Charles County road, during a snow storm.

Did we really elect these people?

Stimulus Bond Program Has Unforeseen Costs
Julie Creswell ― New York Times

They are supposed to help states and cities that are short of cash build roads, schools and bridges.

But Build America Bonds, part of President Obama’s economic stimulus plan, are also building something else: controversy.

States and cities have embraced these taxable bonds to borrow money at what they assume are favorable interest rates. The federal government pays 35 percent of the interest costs on the bonds, a huge potential saving.

But questions about this multibillion-dollar program are piling up.

Sammy 07:21 PM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Experts argue firing squad is a humane execution
JENNIFER DOBNER ― WTOP

A condemned Utah inmate’s decision to die in a barrage of bullets fired by five unnamed marksmen has been vilified by many as an archaic form of Old West-style justice.

But some experts argue it is more humane than all other execution methods, without the court challenges of cruelty that have plagued lethal injection.

Sammy 07:17 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Jump in US college enrollment largest in 40 years
HOPE YEN ― WTOP

The nation’s colleges are attracting record numbers of new students as more Hispanics finish high school and more young adults opt to pursue a higher education than languish in a weak job market.

A study released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center highlights the growing diversity in higher education.

Sammy 07:16 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
8 House members investigated over fundraisers held near financial reform vote
Carol D. Leonnig ― Washington Post

The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating eight lawmakers who held fundraisers within 48 hours of a major House vote on a Wall Street reform bill or received substantial donations from business people with a financial stake in the bill, according to congressional sources and letters.

The probe is focused on whether the timing of accepting the campaign checks created an unacceptable appearance of a conflict, according to sources familiar with the investigation and letters sent by the OCE to lobbyists requesting information. The OCE’s spokesman declined to comment for this article, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.

Sammy 07:11 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Board awards building contract
GRETCHEN PHILLIPS ― Maryland Independent

New high school soon under way

The Charles County Board of Education, after receiving five bids, awarded Scheibel Construction the Phase 1 construction contract for the county’s newest high school.

Scheibel provided the lowest bid and the board awarded the contract for the first phase of construction for $4.4 million for the project, which consists of site work and partial utilities construction.
[...]
The total high school project is set to cost $73.3 million. The state will give the school system $45.7 million while the county is responsible for 27.6 million.

Sammy 05:07 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Cardin, Bartlett are richest Md. lawmakers in D.C.
Baltimore Sun

Democratic Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin and Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett remain the wealthiest members of the Maryland congressional delegation, according to new financial disclosure reports made public Wednesday.
[...]
Bartlett and Cardin were among four Maryland lawmakers who drew public pensions from previous government jobs in addition to their current salary. Cardin, a former state House speaker, received $5,368; Bartlett got $15,000 from the state retirement system; Rep. Steny Hoyer padded his $193,400 salary as House Majority leader with $20,481 in pension payments from his dozen years in the Maryland Senate. Democratic Rep. C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger boosted his congressional pay with $88,607 in pension checks from government service in Baltimore County.

Sammy 04:55 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
The Charles County Commissioners are seeking County residents to fill vacancies…
Maryland Independent

...on the NEWLY FORMED Economic Development Advisory Council

The Economic Development Advisory Council will share ideas, solutions and creative approaches to business and economic development and related issues facing Charles County.

The Council will consist of 12 voting members with vacancies as follows: two (2) citizen-at-large members, two (2) civilian defense members, and the remaining eight (8) vacancies (one from each specification) are for a Business Community Representative, Tourism Advisory Board Member Representative, Financial
Representative, Large Employer Representative, Private Sector Representative, Real Estate/Development Representative, Workforce Development Representative, and a Higher Education Representative.

The Council will meet monthly at the Charles County Government Building in La Plata. Initial terms lengths will be two (2) and four (4) years. Thereafter members will serve four (4) year terms.

Sammy 04:40 PM | (1) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Incident Reports

Charles County Sheriff’s Office - June 15, 2010

Sammy 04:36 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Be a Smooth Operator

Sheriff’s Office to Target Aggressive Drivers in Traffic Safety Campaign

Attention Drivers: Do you drive to fast? Do you weave in traffic or make unsafe lane changes? Do you like to tailgate other vehicles? If so, then the Charles County Sheriff’s Office has just what you need — a citation.

The Sheriff’s Office will target aggressive driving as part of the 2010 Smooth Operator campaign, which encourages calmer, safer driving in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia. According to its website, www.smoothoperatorprogram.com, Smooth Operator was founded in 1997 when 18 law enforcement agencies coordinated efforts to discourage aggressive driving in the greater D.C. area. Since that year, nearly 2 million citations have been issued to aggressive drivers.

Sammy 04:28 PM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Commissioners Take Swift Action on Building Industry Relief Request

In an effort to mitigate the impact of the recession on the building industry, the Charles County Commissioners voted on Tuesday, June 15, to approve a one-year extended approval period for certain development-related approvals in Charles County. The extension is effective July 1. The Commissioners also requested that County staff consult with representatives of the building industry association and return with recommendations to the Board of Commissioners.

The Commissioners’ action was in response to a written request from Mr. Douglas W. Meeker, chairman of the Charles County Liaison Committee of the Maryland National Capital Building Industry Association (MNCBIA). In the letter dated May 3, 2010, the number of permits issued for new home construction in Charles County has decreased to 35% less than the historic average in the past two years, and builders are experiencing longer waits and increased costs to renew permits and approvals.

Specifically, the Commissioners approved a measure establishing, upon an applicant’s written request and payment of applicable extension fees, an one-year extension of time for plans, permits, and entitlements relating to the subdivision and development of commercial and residential properties in Charles County shall be granted. The additional extension may only be requested for those County approvals valid as of June 30, 2010.

Sammy 03:51 PM | (3) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
Guest Post: Andrew Gall for Congress

My name is Andrew Gall and I am running for Congress in Maryland’s 5th Congressional District.  Rather than talk about my background and motivations (I am confident that Delusional Duck readers can find this information on my website if they are so inclined), I would like to talk about what distinguishes me from the other candidates in the field.

Charles Lollar is a stereotypical politician.  I can’t say specifically how I differ from him on policies because I have never heard him say anything specific on policy measures.  He talks about his service in the Marines, he talks about his kids, and he talks in political platitudes like “I will create jobs and bring transparency to the system” without offering any details whatsoever.  In other words, Charles Lollar is a fantastic politician, but we already have a fantastic politician representing us.  I am not interested in being a politician (i.e., someone whose sole focus is on reelection).  I am interested in being a policymaker that will bring about changes to make our great nation even stronger and more prosperous.  If I someday cost myself reelection by arguing for unpopular measures that would make our country stronger, I will be quite proud because I am not interested in being a career politician.  I am interested in bringing about the changes I seek and then stepping away from Congress.

Specifically, my number one policy priority is to limit the influence of special interests on the legislative process.  Our tax and regulatory systems are Swiss cheese because of the influence of corporate lobbyists.  The result of this is that our free market system isn’t free; rather, it is tilted to favor large entrenched interests at the expense of small business owners and start-up companies.  Any country that stifles entrepreneurship (as our current tax system does) is headed towards failure.  Innovation is what drives economies and we need to limit special interest power in order to close loopholes, end unnecessary pork barrel spending, and support entrepreneurship.  There are a number of steps we, as a nation, can take to limit the influence of special interests, but the single most effective way to limit their undue influence is to stop them from funding our elections.  Because as long as politicians have to rely on special interests to fund their reelection campaigns, you will continue to see them cater to the hands that feed them.

Steny Hoyer is part of the problem.  He raises more money from special interests than any other Democrat in Congress, and he has consistently stood in the way of reforms attempting to bring transparency and accountability to the system.  Moreover, Hoyer has been in office for longer than I’ve been alive.  He’s clearly had more than enough time to accomplish his priorities.  I do not think an extra two years will do much for Hoyer or us, the people of the 5th District, but I do think that the new energy and vision I will bring to Congress can open doors to limiting the undue power of special interests and returning it to the people – where it belongs.

As for Collins Bailey, I like that he has the courage to actually talk about his vision for government in plain terms, but if we were to follow his advice, our national debt would continue its unsustainable expansion.  In order to arrest this looming problem, we need to both cut spending and raise revenue; anyone who says otherwise either isn’t honest or doesn’t understand the federal budget.  I understand that this is not a popular stance to take, but it is an honest one.  People constantly harp about a lack of honesty in politics, so voters of the 5th District I offer you an opportunity:  I offer you the option to vote for someone that is honest.  It’s so crazy it might just work.

-Andrew Gall
Democratic Candidate for Congress (MD-05)
www.andrewforcongress.org

Developer seeks zone to increase density
NANCY BROMLEY McCONATY ― Maryland Independent

Environmental benefits planned for project

The owner of 1,000 acres that border the Port Tobacco River is proffering a development option that he said would allow the construction of an active adult community on the land and provide a way to help clean up the waterway.

The Edelen family owns Mulberry Grove, the house where John Hanson — one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence who often is referred to as the nation’s first president — was born. The house sits on thousands of acres that stretch from just north of Stagecoach Road in La Plata along Chapel Point Road to Port Tobacco. The owner said he wants to develop the land and renovate the house but he wants to do it in such a way that it won’t harm the river, said Michael Wiles, president of The Wiles Group, a consulting and management development firm in La Quinta, Calif.
[...]
But, the community would require more density than is allowed under the current zoning, Wiles said. To gain the required density and to offer an incentive for residents in Port Tobacco to jump on board for such a project, the family would like the county to consider the creation of an environmental recovery overlay zone, he said.

Under the terms of the zoning classification, the developer would build a wastewater treatment plant that would have the capacity to serve both the adult community and existing houses that surround the property, including Port Tobacco Riviera — a subdivision that has a longstanding problem with failing septic systems, Wiles said.
[...]
But Ward 4 Councilman Joe Norris said the town is not prepared to tackle such a proposal right now.

Sammy 11:26 AM | (7) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
High-tech theft ring hits ATMs
BETHANY RODGERS ― Maryland Independent

Card ‘skimmers’ steal money

[...]
Instead, the culprits have been moving up and down the Eastern Seaboard, leaving a trail of depleted accounts in their wake, said Clark, an investigator with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office.

Clark reported that the thieves drained money from about eight accounts from the Bank of America on Leonardtown Road between Aug. 29 and Sept. 2 and four accounts from the BB&T near Post Office Road between April 24 and 26. They also attached a skimmer to an ATM at the Bank of America on U.S. 301 in Waldorf, stealing funds from several people in mid-May.
[...]
Police think the thieves are using the skimmers mainly during nights and weekends, when there aren’t as many bank employees around. In Charles County, the thieves, who usually don’t bother to conceal their faces, have installed the devices at walk-up ATMs in busy locations.

One part of the illegal device covers the ATM slot and scans bank cards, while often, a camera hidden in a cluster of pamphlets records customers punching in their PINs.

Sammy 11:24 AM | (0) Comments | Email this post | Permalink
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