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Category: Politics Page 1 of 3

Shooting at Greenbelt Metro: Suspect still at Large

According to Metro Police, a shooting happened at Greenbelt Metro station around 5 pm.

Shooting not believed to be random, per detectives.

The shooting suspect is still at large.

Suspect description: B/M, late teens/early 20s, dark-color jeans, sweatshirt with gray hood/sleeves and dark chest/back. Ran north toward Beltway.

Please Text MyMTPD (696873) or call 202-962-2121 if you have any information.

Tonight: Town Hall meeting on Get Big Money Out of Politics

“Revolution Prince George’s” and the “Fair Elections Prince George’s” Coalition in Calling for a Small Donor Funded Elections Program in Our County.

In the 2014 election, the average winning Prince George’s council candidate spent nearly $60,000 and the County Executive spent $1.5 million. Only 15% of the average council candidate’s contributions and less than 4% of the executive’s contributions were donations smaller than $150 – the amount an average resident may have given. The vast majority of campaign contributions came from large donors who expect a return for their contribution.

Come to a Town Hall Meeting with former Congresswoman Donna Edwards and Council Member Mary Lehman tonight  to discuss a Small Donor Funded Elections Program Town Hall Meeting with Donna Edwards and Mary Lehman

Date: Today, Thursday, September 28, 2017 Time: 7-9pm

Place: College Park City Hall (4500 Knox Road)

Please RSVP:

Sign a petition asking the Prince George’s County Council to legislate a Small Donor Program –

Primaries Tomorrow: See Where the Candidates Stand

Gubernatorial candidates debate at the Maryland Municipal League

After spending months on the campaign trails, the voters will choose the Democratic and Republican candidates tomorrow for the November election.

Three Democratic and four Republican candidates are running for the governor position. Depending on the affiliation, voters will get to choose one from each party. as far as the Maryland legislature goes, all candidates of the 21st Delegation are running unopposed. The same goes County Council District 1.

The Washington Post has an excellent analysis of the positions where the gubernatorial, and Attorney General candidates are standing. Please check that out here.

Ron Paul Speaks in College Park

Republican Presidential primary candidate Ron Paul came to University of Maryland College Park yesterday and spoke to masses at the Ritchie Coliseum.

Trail Talk 5: Sorry, “I Hate Politics” (Me too..)

I hate politics (

Getting some of my neighbors talking to me on my campaign trail sometimes becomes a daunting challenge for me.

Most my neighbors spend a minute or two discussing my campaign stuff. Some go even further. It’s a lot of fun when they open up and start talking about things they love (and hate) about this small town. Some, especially elderly ones love to talk about how they raised their kids when they moved many years ago and then how much things have changed lately.

Yet, I find a few who wouldn’t even talk to me.

I mean almost. Fortunately, some are kind enough to tell me their reason of distaste for City election. They smell politics in election. I mean any election, no matter how big or small they are.

“Sorry, I hate politics” – said one such neighbor as she saw me approaching her the other day with the pack of campaign brochures in my hand.

“Ok, thanks”, I quickly responded and moved on.

Though I really wanted to tell her that I’m not a big fan of traditional politics either.

Some College Park council representatives may be interested to use their position as stepping stones to climb the political ladder in future and move into county or state politics. But for those who know me, I’m an engineer and  a teacher by trade; I love my day job and I’ve absolutely no desire to climb that political ladder to rise to those higher places.

If history is any guide, the city had two types of council representatives. Except a very few, most served their districts locally – they never moved up. I’d like to see myself as part of this majority group of council reps.

I’m happy that unlike in other local governments and big cities, our city council representatives are not full time salaried employees. They only get $5K/year as stipends and most have their day jobs. This forces our council representatives to serve this community for whatever reason, but absolutely not for money. I see being a council representative will allow someone to extend similar kind of grass root community services that we often do in our local neighborhoods.

I know the  political fields in the federal and even in some local level have been plagued by scandals (remember Jack Johnson), and dirty attacks by political opponents, but can we extend that kind of political evil to a small town like College Park? I don’t think so.

After its Defeat, NCP’s Wojahn Wants to See Gay Marriage Bill ‘a Priority’ in 2012

Set to Change.. Definition of traditional marriage in MD

North College Park (District 1) council member Patrick Wojahn wants to see gay marriage bill a priority of Gov. O’Malley administration in 2012.

Council member Wojahn is the Chairman of Equality Maryland, Maryland’s largest LGBT (lesbian, gay bi-sexual and trans gender) community group.

Mr. Wojahn’s comments came a day before last Friday, when Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley says his office will work harder to get a same-sex marriage bill passed. .

Earlier this year, the bill passed the Senate before dying in the House, after at least two House Democrats withdrew their support and party leaders appeared unable to gain the 71 votes needed for passage. Leaders estimated at the time they had about 68 firm supporters. Gay Marriage supporters in College Park lobbied heavily to help pass the bill in Senate.

Mr. O’Malley — who before becoming governor said he favored civil unions and believed marriage was intended for a man and woman — said Friday his views have evolved beyond those initially instilled by his Catholic upbringing.

Mary Ellen Russell, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference, said her organization greeted the governor’s announcement with “great disappointment” and said the group would lobby against such a bill.

“We continue to urge members of the Maryland General Assembly not to allow this issue to be driven by partisan politics, and to give full and fair consideration to the legitimate reasons why our state should maintain its recognition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” she said according to the Washington Times.

A group of 35 Maryland clergy members expressed disappointment with the governor’s decision. They pointed out that Maryland voters would have a chance to petition any bill that passes to referendum in November 2012, as opponents of unrelated legislation to allow in-state tuition for illegal immigrants have done.

“We’re ready for the fight and have no doubt that marriage will remain between one man and one woman,” the group said.

State Sen. Nancy Jacobs, the Senate minority leader, said she believes the majority of state residents oppose same-sex marriage.
“I oppose legalizing gay marriage in Maryland and will fight vehemently against Governor O’Malley’s initiative to pass this legislation,” Jacobs, R-Harford, said in a statement.

PGPOA Sends referendum Letter To College Park Homes

PGPOA Letter

In a new twist to the politics surrounding the referendum petition, College Park residents have started to receive a letter from the Prince George’s Property Association (PGPOA) yesterday. The letter asks residents to support the petition, which will force the City to put the referendum questions to the upcoming November election if it receives support of 20% of total registered voters.

Here is the full text of the letter.

The initiatives are sponsored by concerned voters in the City of College Park and the Prince George’s Property Owners Association. The Association has secured the services of a professional organization to collect the required signatures to place the initiatives on the next ballot.

The initiatives simply provide the voters the opportunity to vote on the issues.

It would NOT preclude future tax increases. It merely requires that the City Council obtains voter approval to increase taxes. If the Council cannot justify a tax increase, it would need to live within its current revenues.

Currently, Rent Control only applies to single family homes and small apartment units. This initiative would apply the law to ALL rental units in the City, including the high-rise apartment units. It is a question of fairness and equity, and levels the playing field for all property owners.


The initiative will not affect the Homestead Tax provisions of county law, and will not impact current rental licensing and inspections and fees on rental properties.

Please remember, signing these initiatives is your democratic right.

BOTTOM LINE: It provides the opportunity for YOU, the voter, to have the final say on these vital issues.

On Same-Sex Marriage Bill, ‘Heavy Lobbying’ Tips the Balance, WaPo Says

A change in tradition - definition of marriage in MD

For generations, marriage has been known as a legal contract between a man and a woman to Maryland’s millions of residents.

Heavy lobbying by a group of local activists has all but certainly changed that traditional definition of marriage last week, when one single lawmaker, Senator Jim Rosapepe (D) threw his support for a bill in Maryland legislature.

The support of Senator Rosapepe, who also represents College Park, makes the number of State Senators supporting the same-sex marriage bill (SB611) to 24, a much crucial number when it comes to the votes needed to pass the bill in the Senate.

Out of 47 Senators, 21 have publicly opposed the bill. (Click here to see where the Senators stand.)

Senators will vote on the bill as early as this week, after a Senate panel sent the bill to the Senate floor with a 7-4 vote last week. After the bill passes in the Senate, the bill will be voted by the States House of Delegates, where the bill is expected to face a lesser resistance. Governor O’Mally has promised that he will sign the bill to law if it comes to his table.

Local courts could begin performing same-sex ceremonies as early as October in Maryland.

The same-sex mariage bill was introduced early this year after Democratic Party captured two additional Senate seats in the last November election.

Speaking of lobbying, the Washington Post says: “Shortly after the [Senate] committee vote, Sen. James C. Rosapepe (D-Prince George’s)issued a statement endorsing the legislation. Rosapepe, whose district includes College Park, has been heavily lobbied by university students and others who support the bill.”

A group of lobbyists from the University of Maryland handed over some 450 letters of support to Senator Rosapepe, as part of what they call the “Tell Jim” campaign.

Reflecting on the meeting with  Senator Rosapepe,  College Democrats President Daniel Borman later talked about what he saw firsthand the impact of their lobbying effort. “As I said how many letters I had, [Rosapepe] said ‘Wow,’ and then I handed him the letters,” said Borman. “I do think it made a difference that so many letters were sent by students. It’s hard for him to ignore the 440 letters in his hands.”

College Park’s first openly gay council member (Dist 1) Patrick Wojahn, spoke at UMD’s Student Government Association meeting, advocating their support for the bill. Mr. Wojahn’s collegue in district 4, council member Marcus Afzali was also present at the forum and spoke in support of the proposed bill.

Pena-Melnyk Talks to NCP Residents on New Session, Life in Annapolis

Joseline Pena-Melnyk at NCPCA

The super-busy new session in Annapolis  had just started a day ago, yet that did not stop State Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk to make a trip to north College Park, and speak to its residents.

“It’s very hard to drive back from Annapolis at this time of the year, but for north College Park, it’s anything (that I can do)” – Ms. Pena-Melnyk told  the residents gathered at the north College Park Citizens’ Association’s regular January meeting on last Thursday. Ms. Pena-Melnyk also served as the council woman of College Park before she became a member of the 21st district Delegation.

Usually, the 21st Delegation that represents College Park comes to civic association meetings after the 90 days session ends, thus Pena-Melnyk’s trip to NCPCA was an unusual one.

“It”s an early trip, but if you have an idea about a bill, you can make an early request.” – explained Pena-Melnyk about her visit to north College Park.

Talking about the make-up of the new House in Annapolis, Pena-Mylnyk said it currently has 141 delegates and 47 Senators. “It’s a very changed place [since the last one], in the House there has been 26% turnover – a lot of new faces – a number of committees have changed, since a lot of people have moved.” – said Ms. Pena-Melnyk, who is serving second term as part of 21st Delegation.

Ms. Pena-Melnyk is a member of the health care committee, which is one of the 6 committees in the house. “We’ve extended Medicaid, and made sure children can stay with their parents’ policies.” said Ms. Pena-Melnyk about her previous accomplishment about the health insurance. There are some 47 million people in the US uninsured, almost 700,000 of those are in Maryland alone.”

Talking about her job in Annapolis, she said every year over 2500 bills are passed. “This figure is a big number, since all these must be passed within 90 days” – she said. Each bill first comes from the related committee and then it is passed in the House first requiring 71 delegate votes (out of 141 votes). Then the bill goes to Senate where it needs 24 Sentaors’ votes (out of 47 votes). At the end, the Governor must sign the bill, when it becomes a law. If the Governor seeks a change, it goes through hearings in the House and the Senate again.

Ms. Melnyk represents two counties – Prince George’s and the Anne Arundel county. This means that she needs to attend two Delegates’ meetings, which happen simultaneously every Friday morning. She said residents are most welcome to join those meetings. Attending two meeting simultaneously is “stressful” – she said, but she  tries to be in both meetings depending on when and where voting takes place. “You basically choose your battle” – she said.

She has also been appointed as the new Chair of the WSSC subcommittee of the Prince George’s county. In this session the committee will be dealing with 4 new bills.

When not in session, Delegates work with different caucuses, such as Democratic, Black and Women caucuses, where they attend many meetings.

She said each bill can take up to 8 hours of hearing before the Delegates can get a chance to vote on them. She had seen a single bill having up to 92 witnesses. “You came to Annapolis, you must get the respect and be heard” – she said of the constituents who speak at these hearings.

“After 10pm, when the session ends, I get to my computer and I see some 1000 emails just one particular issue.” – she said. “Some time I get to stay until 2am to answer these emails”.

In the new session, the hot topics are mostly about policy makings – such as alcohol tax, possibly a gas tax and the same sex marriage act. “You know we don’t have money” – she said why the Delegates will be busy in working on these policy issues, which involve minimal funding.

The House will also be working on balancing budget to address $1.6B deficit that the State is facing.

Residents, City Officials Weigh in Progress Made in 2010, Make Wishes for 2011

As yet another year has just disappeared from the city’s screen, residents and the City officials engaged in a lively discussion on what they think about the progress made in the past year and what to expect in the new year.

The City saw the leanest budget in years, due to thousands of dollars of loss in State revenues and property taxes, yet there were signs of progress that several City officials tried to show off.

On the other hand, overall reactions from most residents can be summarized as “mixed”.

The issue of public safety seems still a hot button issue. While the county’s overall crime rates have seen a 35 year drop in the past year, the city has seen a modest rise in violent crimes such as assaults, homicides and robberies. For example, the overall violent crimes against persons, from 2009 to 2010 have increased 10%, whereas crimes against properties, such as burglaries during the same period have gone down 18.4%.

There are however attempts to improve public safety, especially in downtown area.

Crime is an issue, but as a result of a state grant we were able to install about 20 security cameras downtown at year’s end.  In 2011 we will be able to judge their effectiveness and determine if such cameras are an economical substitute for adding more police.” – said District 2 council member Bob Catlin.

There were no such security cameras for north College Park residents. The area residents were shocked by a sexual assault incident when a 15 year girl was attacked by a stranger at the north entrance of Greenbelt station in the past summer. Though the suspect was arrested 3 months later, residents felt a security camera at the Metro entrance could’ve prevented the incident. The City will soon send a 300+ signature petition to WMATA asking them to install the cameras at the Metro entrance.

There were also concerns about police presence. PGPD’s District 1 had a new police chief in 2010 (Maj. Liberati) and  a new community liaison officer (Mr.Jaron Black). The new leadership is also publishing crime reports for the north and the south College Park on a weekly basis and having a weekly morning coffee club gathering to update neighbors about the crime incidents.

However, that did not stop some residents from expecting more. “the police still do not get out of their cars and their reports still include inaccuracies and people still have trouble with responsiveness – I don’t think we will see any real changes unless and until we have our own police force.” said Stephen Jascourt, a north College Park resident. Mr. Jascourt however thinks that attempts have been made to involve the police more in the community and getting more information more quickly to the community.

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