November 12, 2010

Delays due to computer malfunction

My computer is ill, which is going to cause this blog to have less posts in the next week, so please forgive me.

FBI Raids Prince George's Government Center; Jack Johnson Arrested

Update from MPW: We do not know the exact charges made against Johnson. But we do know that the FBI has been investigating various people connected to the county government since at least September 2008, when it conducted a series of raids against a former County Council Member, a fire department official and a developer. Two sets of documents seized in the raids contained these labels:


JT VENTURE AG - STAVROU, COLTON, RICKER DEVE GRP, LLC; DRAFT LTR FROM JACK JOHNSON RE: GB SENIOR HOUSING Also, a $700,000 charity fund set up by National Harbor developer Milt Peterson at the county's behest has attracted a bit of attention. Much of the money wound up with Johnson’s political allies. That spurred an investigation by state prosecutors in 2007. Leslie Johnson was involved in disbursing grants from the fund.

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WUSA) -- The U.S. Attorney's Office in Maryland confirms that Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson was arrested. The charges he faces have not been disclosed. Johnson's arrest follows news that the FBI is conducting multiple raids in Prince George's County. According to sources, the raids are taking place at the County Administration Building in Upper Marlboro and the homes of several county leaders. Two sources tell us County Executive Jack Johnson's home and office were among those places being raided. SOURCE: WUSA

Veterans Day Marks Somber Day For Silver Spring Family

Washington, DC Weather Video Forecast

November 11, 2010

Closing Metro Train Doors Separate Infant From Mother on Platform

HYATTSVILLE, Md. - An infant was left behind alone on a Metro train as the doors abruptly closed at the West Hyattsville station, leaving the infant’s mother behind on the platform. Passengers on board are raising questions about how Metro reacted.

"I am sitting there with sick feeling in my stomach. We're in shock that something like this could happen," said Barbara Runion, who witnessed it the entire incident.

It was panic from Metro passengers as the ‘Doors Closing’ chime sounded during rush hour on the Green Line Wednesday morning.

"A mother with a stroller attempted to board the train. The stroller got in, the mother didn't. The door slammed on the mother and she couldn't get in. She was banging on the glass door," said Runion.

Springbrook HS: Gun brought to school fight

Montgomery County police said two Springbrook High School students are facing charges after pulling a gun during a fist fight behind the school. Police said the two students were fighting near the school in the White Oak area of Silver Spring on Thursday when a third student pulled out a gun. The crowd scattered, but police said the gun was handed to one of the teens in the fight and he chased several students with it. Tavon Body, 17, of Burtonsville was charged as an adult with assault, reckless endangerment and a weapons offense. Police were looking for the second student, Ladonta Wright, 17, of Burtonsville, and believe he is in Virginia. SOURCE: Parents Coalition and Washington Examiner

County Councilmember Navarro to Host Informational Meeting on Snow Removal

ROCKVILLE, Md., November 9, 2010—Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro, who represents District 4 covering the eastern part of the County, will host a public forum from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at the Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center in Silver Spring centering on the County’s snow removal procedures. The Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center is located at 3300 Briggs Chaney Road. In addition to Councilmember Navarro, among those expected to participate in the discussion is Keith Compton, chief of the County’s Department of Transportation (DOT) Division of Highway Services. A presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

As winter approaches, Councilmember Navarro said she organized the forum in response to last winter’s record snow storms that generated hundreds of complaints to her office from residents who believed their streets were not plowed in a timely fashion. She said other residents expressed concerns about coordination with utility companies. District 4 includes all or parts of Aspen Hill, Burtonsville, Calverton, Cloverly, Colesville, Derwood, Fairland, Olney, Sandy Spring, Silver Spring, Spencerville, Wheaton and White Oak.

“While it’s very unlikely that we’ll have another winter like last year’s, I want to make sure that District 4 residents have an opportunity to learn about the County’s snow removal plans and ask questions before the season’s first snowfall,” said Councilmember Navarro. “I know that DOT looks forward to sharing the lessons learned and experience gained from our back-to-back, record-breaking snowstorms. The more information residents have, the better off they are in emergency situations.”

For more information about the forum, call 240-777-7968.

On Veterans Day, honoring Marine who lost limbs in Afghanistan, but not spirit

The morning that Marine Cpl. Todd A. Nicely received his medal for valor, he and his wife, Crystal, paused in a restroom at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to pull the trousers of his uniform over his artificial legs. Crystal maneuvered his pants past the carbon fiber feet. Then they fitted the prostheses onto the stumps of Todd's legs.

He put on his tan utility shirt, which she buttoned, attached his artificial left arm and slipped his metal pole crutch onto the stump of his right arm. When he donned his camouflage Marine Corps hat "low on the brow," he was ready. It was the first time in six months that he had been back in his "cammies" - since the day in March when he had stepped on the explosive device in Afghanistan that tore off his hands and lower legs.

The blast broke his jaw, punctured his ear drums and left him, according to the latest statistics, one of only three men - a soldier and two Marines - from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive an attack as a quadruple amputee. They now top a grim hierarchy of more than 1,100 military amputees from the two conflicts, which includes 21 people who have lost three limbs, 258 who have lost two and 832 who have lost one. READ MORE: Washington Post

Join us for the MCYR - Thank You Party!

Members, Supporters and Activists,  

It was a long, hard fought campaign season and the Montgomery County Young Republicans would like to thank you for your work.  Please join us Tuesday, November 16th at 6pm for a Thank You Party!  See attached and below for further information;  

Location: Austin Grill (36 Maryland Avenue, Unit A, Rockville, MD 20850)
Date and Time: Tuesday, November 16th at 6pm  

FREE DRINKS FROM 6 TO 7PM! See you there. Montgomery County Young Republicans.

Report Detailing Metro Escalator Problems Warned of Failures

November 10, 2010

Montgomery County Republicans to elect chairman, officers

Tonight at 7:30 p.m., the Montgomery County Republican Party will elect its officers, including: chairman, first vice chairman, second vice chairman, secretary, and treasurer. Following devastating loses by the Maryland GOP (and especially the county GOP), the vote is expected to draw diverse opinions from an audience of over 80 people.

The location is "Ehrlich Headquarters" at 718 Rockville Pike, Rockville MD 20852 (across from Marlo furniture and in the old Ford dealership location). The event is open to anyone in the public, regardless of orientation. The meeting time is 7:30 p.m. until whenever.

NOTE #1: I want to be clear that I am not comparing the chairman race of Rick Hansen versus Mark Uncapher to the smurfs versus Gargamel, though it does come to mind.

DISCLAIMER: Daniel Vovak is an elected, at-large member of the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee.

Red Montgomery: A Look at the Future of the Republican Party of Ma...

Red Montgomery: A Look at the Future of the Republican Party of Ma...: "The other day in the Baltimore Sun, Mary Kane, Candidate for Lt. Governor this past election cycle proclaimed that Maryland won’t elect anot..."

November 9, 2010

Montgomery County Residents Ready for Sunday Liquor Sa

For the first time, Montgomery County residents will be able to walk into a liquor store on Sunday and walk out with a bottle of booze -- just in time for afternoon football watching. The Washington Examiner reports that County Executive Ike Leggett will finalize an executive order later this week to allow liquor sales on Sunday. Some are against the change, saying Sunday is for family time and worship. But others are pointing to the additional revenue the county will bring in because of Sunday sales. NBC

Mysterious Missile Launches over Southern California

Frederick Cracks Down on School 'Sexting'

Frederick County Schools are cracking down on the practice of sending sexually explicit pictures via text message...or sexting. Students caught sexting could face suspension, expulsion or the school could even call law enforcement. Making the penalties similar to those meted out for gang activity. FOX 5 spoke with teens about how prevalent the practice is and asked parents to weigh in on the new penalties.

CASA de Maryland ramps up political efforts

The political wing of CASA de Maryland devoted thousands of dollars this election cycle to push for Hispanic-backed candidates. But some argue the group should stay out of politics while accepting taxpayer money. CASA in Action, the sister organization run by the state's largest immigration advocacy group, spent $35,000 this election on phone banks, mailers and door-to-door canvassing across the state.

The group attempted to call every Latino voter, up to three times each, in Montgomery and Prince George's counties and portions of Baltimore City and Carroll County. Members also knocked on the doors of thousands of Hispanic households in the 20 most Spanish-speaking areas in the region.

"Facing down a stream of xenophobic attacks by Republican candidates, my community responded exactly as they should," said CASA Executive Director Gustavo Torres, who is also the leader of the political organization. "They marched to the power of the vote."

But a growing number of critics say the political efforts interfered with the group's service pursuits. SOURCE: Washington Examiner

November 8, 2010

After Sex-chat gone bad, Alante Saunders Pleads Guilty in Murder of Principal Brian Betts

Metro Inspecting Brakes on All of Its Escalators

WASHINGTON - Metro says it will begin inspecting brakes on all 588 of its escalators starting Friday night. This comes in the wake of an escalator accident at the L’Enfant Plaza station on Saturday that injured six people. A preliminary investigation this week showed that escalator brakes failed in this incident, causing it to speed up and hurl riders to the bottom. Metro says it should take less than a week to complete the inspections. Metro Board and D.C. Council Member Jim Graham sat down with the FOX 5 News at 10 to discuss the inspections and the escalator brake problems.

Montgomery Council Seeks Applicants for Clarksburg Infrastructure Working Group

ROCKVILLE, Md., November 5, 2010—The Montgomery County Council is seeking applicants to serve on a new Clarksburg Infrastructure Working Group that will review and prioritize the necessary infrastructure items for the Clarksburg area and propose suitable mechanisms to finance the recommended infrastructure for the emerging upcounty community. Creation of the task force was approved as the Council voted on Oct. 19 to terminate the Clarksburg Town Center Development District. Implementation of the development district would have levied a special annual assessment on the community’s residents to fund specific public infrastructure.

Applications to serve on the Clarksburg Infrastructure Working Group must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 19. The group will have 11 members who are scheduled to be appointed by the Council on Nov. 30. The group will start meeting soon after its creation, with a report expected to be delivered by April 1 for review by the Council and County Executive Isiah Leggett.

The working group is designed to have one member who has expertise or significant background in municipal financing; four members of the Clarksburg community; two representatives of the building industry; two representatives of the County Executive; one representative from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission; and one additional member.

The Oct. 19 vote did not directly affect two other development districts proposed for Clarksburg—the Clarksburg Village and Clarksburg Skylark development districts. However, it decreases the likelihood of them going forward. The County’s development district law was enacted in 1994 and rewritten in 2008. The concept would dedicate special assessments from property owners to pay for specific infrastructure (streets, libraries, parks etc.) for those communities. By dedicating the funds, development districts would allow new communities to get infrastructure built more quickly, rather than competing with all parts of the County for limited funds.

The Clarksburg Town Center Development District was created in 2003 to cover residences built over an unincorporated area of approximately 247 acres. Resolution 15-87, which created the district, listed specific infrastructure items that it would finance, including road improvements, a library, enhancements for the planned Clarksburg Village South local park and improvements to local trails. Assessments collected were to be paid to a special fund used to pay off bonds that would pay for those items.

It was originally estimated that property owners in the Clarksburg Town Center Development District would pay an annual assessment of about $1,200. Those interested in serving on the Clarksburg Infrastructure Working Group should submit letters, with resume, to: Clarksburg Infrastructure Working Group, c/o Council President Nancy Floreen, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850. Applications must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 19. It is the Council’s policy not to consider applications received after the deadline.

Bill would allow Montgomery school system to charge magnet students for transportation

Montgomery's public school students in magnet, immersion and other programs could be charged for bus rides to their schools if a bill proposed by the county's state legislators passes next year. Sen. Richard S. Madaleno (D-Dist. 18) of Kensington, who drafted the bill, said he introduced it to give Montgomery County Public Schools a method to charge students in optional regular education programs for transportation provided by the school system.

Last year, as an option among broad budget cuts, the Board of Education considered the elimination of transportation for students attending magnet programs. It later backed off after an outcry from parents and students. The cuts would have saved the school system $4.9 million, or $1,026 for each of the 4,775 students in the programs, during a year in which the operating budget was cut from $2.2 billion in fiscal 2010 to $2.1 billion in fiscal 2011.

The proposed bill would repeal a Maryland law that prohibits Montgomery County from charging for transportation of students to certain programs, such as magnet, foreign language immersion and International Baccalaureate. Madaleno said Montgomery County is the only county in Maryland prohibited from charging a fee to students for transportation in these situations. SOURCE: Gazette

'Call of Action' in support of Jewish school

Republican Friends,

On Nov 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Hearing Room (100 Maryland Ave, Rockville), I need to ask you to consider a call to action in support of the Jewish community against Montgomery County's perfectly Democrat county council. In 1998 a man by the name of Dennis Berman bought a building in Aspen Hill (near Rockville) and personally renovated it to make it a pre-K through high school for Montgomery County's Jewish students.

From what I understand, the building had 5 previous contracts on it but all of them fell through because the earlier buyers could not field the costs to renovate the building. (It was an old high school that was abandoned 14 years previous and had since become a hangout for gangs. Graffiti and alcohol bottles were everywhere. Windows were smashed, walls were broken through, and the roof of the auditorium had collapsed. Nevertheless, the Berman family raised millions and gave millions to renovate the school and make it a safe and viable place for education once again.

This removed a local gang problem and raised property values in Aspen Hill considerably. This is the good news. The bad news is that Duchy Trachtenberg, in one of her last moves before she was voted off of county council, was to move against the original lease-to-purchase agreement approved by the county council when making this deal. Which was good for Montgomery County in terms of revenue and crime reduction.

Now, because of this, the county council is calling a public forum to hear from Montgomery County residents regarding this matter. The case being considered is that the MC School Board is lobbying the MC County Council to take the school back, as is, without payment for all the money (10's of millions) that went into fixing the school or any other form of compensation. This is an injustice that the Jewish community is suffering and we're looking for our friends to attend the meeting and stand with Montgomery County's Orthodox community.

The meeting will be held on Nov 23, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Hearing Room (100 Maryland Ave, Rockville). Busses are available to transport participants from the Melvin J. Berman Academy to the county council meeting. You can register here for the bus if you'd like to take advantage of it:

Thank you for your consideration!


PS. It is rare that I appeal to the larger Montgomery County community on behalf of the Jewish community but this is an issue that is going to have lasting impact on the Orthodox community and is an injustice in the county that shouldn't be ignored.

SOURCE: Moshe Starkman

William H. Farquhar Middle School closed due to water break

William H. Farquhar Middle School is CLOSED on Monday, November 8, due to a water main break. All school activities are canceled. SOURCE: MCPS

Telecom firm moving North American headquarters to area

Alvarion, an Israel-based company that specializes in deploying commercial wireless broadband networks, is moving its North American headquarters to Montgomery County from Silicon Valley and will create 25 new jobs by 2013. To assist the company with the relocation, Maryland and county officials have agreed to provide $95,000 in loans that are contingent on job creation at the new location, which is yet to be determined. SOURCE: Washington Post

Montgomery County news blurbs

Concern for Missing Rockville Teen -

Police Search for Critically Missing 13-Year-Old Rockville Teen -

Open House at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center – Friday, November 12 – 9:30 am – 12:00 pm -

Community Service Day at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center -

Extension of Nebel Street Starting -

Holiday Schedule for Veterans Day -

Solid Waste Service on Veterans Day – is a regular recycling and Trash Collection Day -

C & O Canal Trust is Looking for Interns - The C&O Canal Trust is seeking a college student intern to assist with community outreach and the development of new programs. Tasks would include researching and gathering information, drafting web content, and collaborating with staff on the build-out of new web pages. Applicants from business, marketing, communications, tourism and hospitality, community development, and other related majors are welcome to apply by sending a cover letter, resume, and reference list to The intern will be expected to perform the majority of the work during afternoon hours at the Trust's office in Hagerstown, MD.

Maryland Republican candidates: The Baltimore Orioles of politics?

Some Maryland Republicans, on the heels of devastating political losses statewide, say GOP prognostications — even from party leaders — are far too gloomy. For example, Maryland lieutenant governor candidate Mary Kane doubted whether the state would see another Republican governor before 2050, according to The Baltimore Sun. That statement isn’t going over well with some party activists.

“Even when the Baltimore Orioles finished dead last in 2009, the franchise didn’t write off future victories,” said Daniel Vovak, an at-large member of the Montgomery County Republican Party. “Therefore, I ask that Mary Kane retracts her quote and apologizes before Doug Gansler thanks her by sending a bouquet of roses.”

But the O’s didn’t exactly turn it around this year, as they accrued the second-worst record in the American League. SOURCE: Washington Examiner

November 7, 2010

Kendel Ehrlich on WBAL's C4 Show 11-05-10

Kendel Ehrlich, on WBAL, says that Maryland Republicans cannot win because of "demographics."