She may not have the endorsements of the local heavyweight County and State politicians, but she thinks she has the chance to win the race, “as equal as my opponents” – as she claims in the upcoming County Council District 1 Primary election.
“Yes, we can! Yes, we did. Hi, my name is Crystal Thompson. I am FIRED UP and READY TO Go!” – she says in her campaign web site, echoing the popular campaign slogan of nation’s current president Barack Obama.
“I’m the only candidate having a vision to save the county with programs like e-book sales throughout the nation” – referring to her proposal to produce and sell e-books to generate funds for the county. She made these comments to me in a recent telephone interview.
She criticized candidate Mary Lehman for “wasting county’s money” – referring to her role in the so-called discrimination case where a federal judge asked the county to pay $3.7 million to a Laurel faith group. “Those funds could have been used to prevent employee furloughs or towards providing our students free breakfast, lunch, and access to filtered water” – she added. (Ms. Lehman strongly rejects such charges).
She also criticized the other leading candidate Fred Smalls, charging him for not doing enough to save the Laurel Mall from turning it into ‘a ghost town’. Mr. Small has been serving as a Laurel City council member for the past 8 years.
Please read her complete interview here. As always, if you have additional questions or comments, please post them at the end of the article.
(1) There are five council candidates running in this year’s council election for District 1. Why do you think you are the best candidate in this crowded race?
I was the only one, in all of our candidate forums, who:
- Articulate a vision for the county. I envision of turning Prince George’s County into the Education, Community Health, and Environmental Corridor of the East Coast.
- Advocate the Audit the $1.058 billion dollars now listed as one line item of Board of Education budget (40% of the county budget) because our teachers, public safety, janitors, food service personnel are being furloughed or terminated.
- Stress the importance to feeding all students a nutritious breakfast, lunch and access to filtered water which will save parents up to $687 per child and minimize the cost of treating diabetes, obesity and other chronic illnesses among our children. There are great health tips on the obesity controller blog. Parents can also take a look at health services offered by functional-medicine.associates.
- Support all county employees to make sure they are not short changed in their paychecks and have to work in constant fear of furloughs and terminations.
- Outline ways to build revenue today by using the resources that exist in the county.
For example, the county can develop eTextbooks and compete with the textbook publishers, that cater to Texas, nationwide. As the owner of a software training company and as a certified Microsoft trainer and instructional designer, I developed training material for and delivered training to 17 law firms, International Monetary Fund, government agencies, military, IT staff, non-profits with limited resources. It can be done.
- Champion the idea of the county investing in developing eco-manufacturing (e.g. Portable solar devices), single payer healthcare and medical research, mass transit, and developing partnerships with government agencies (NASA), trade unions to expand our children’s educational experience and create jobs in distressed areas.
- Highlight and address the impact the new Healthcare Law where our seniors will receive free wellness starting January 1, 2010. I also point out that Steny Hoyer has five Community Health Centers under the new law and the urgency of building one in Konterra.
(2) Two of your opponent candidates Mary Lehman and Fred Smalls enjoy strong endorsements from well known political figures. Do you feel that your campaign is weakened by these endorsements?
I am focused on my race and have a strong chance of winning. As to Ms. Lehman and Mr. Smalls, I have talked to many voters in their strongholds who have no idea who they are; the experience they have; and are impressed with vision that I offer for the county’s future. It’s going to come down to who knocks on the most doors.
What do you say to those critics who say you do not have enough experience in holding public office in the past?
No one had the nerve to say that to me personally. I never needed to invalid any of my competitors’ experience because the my vision for the Prince George’s County and my solutions to deal with current fiscal issues override the insecurities of my unnamed critics and the named competitors.
The experience of District 1 Political Establishment resulted in wasting millions of taxpayers dollars, failing our schools, creating a hostile work environment for county employees (including public safety), further straining a broken Laurel Regional Hospital; and neglecting the needs of middle to lower income residents throughout District 1. Here are specific examples:
- Tom Dernoga (and his employee, Mary Lehman) allowed the Prince George’s County council to approve the sham Board of Education’s budget with a $1+ Billion single line-item called School Operating Resources during their tenure together. This year, the amount is $1.058 Billion (see page 10 of the 1. FY 2010 budget file).
- Fred Smalls experience, as a city councilman, resulted in Laurel Mall and Main Street becoming run down ghost towns instead of vibrant areas that residents want to frequent.
- The experience of the Dernoga/Lehman team cost Prince George’s County $3.7 million and county legal resources in the Reaching Hearts case. That verdict was not caused by slick lawyering by Reaching Heart as Lehman claimed. It was caused by a weak case presented by Dernoga/Lehman team. Those funds could have been used to prevent employee furloughs or towards providing our students free breakfast, lunch, and access to filtered water.
- The experience of Dernoga / Lehman and Fred Smalls/ Craig Moe teams, and some members of the 21stDelegation (e.g. Frush, a member to Dimensions Healthcare Systems) resulted unbearable strain at Laurel Regional Hospital where one physician have to cover the entire hospital on the weekends.
- The experience of Fred Smalls, Craig Moe, and the Laurel City Council resulted in partnership with a Viridian Electric independent consultant where the consultant would get exclusive advertising on the Laurel City website to push residents to sign up with Viridian in exchange for revenue of only $2 per resident sign up. Also, these politicians have not even tried the service at their homes or city facilities to effectively respond to resident questions about price stability, blackouts, energy assistance programs, etc.
- The experience of the Smalls/Moe team have resulted my seniors at Laurel Senior Apartments not having access to sidewalks to get to Safeway or Shoppers, etc. In fact, the crosswalk to Safeway is on the side of the street where there is no sidewalk. The seniors (my Dad included) risk riding their wheelchairs to the surrounding markets in fear of being running down by cars on the street.
- The experience of the Denorga/Lehman team resulted in five schools that failed under the No Child Left Behind Act. Yet, their neighborhood elementary school thrive and parents feel like they have to send their kids to Roosevelt High School outside of District 1.
- Our experienced politicians are totally disconnected from our neighbors (e.g. fixed or lower income areas) throughout the District 1. They never of heard of or heard from any of the incumbents and of current candidates.
(3) The City of College Park residents pay nearly 1 million dollars to hire 6 contract police officers (3 P/T, 3 F/T) from the county, because the police service from the county’s regular police PGFD is not enough. If elected, what will you do to help offset such extra cost of law enforcement from local municipalities?
Any agreements that enter into by any city government must be funded and honored by that government. Period.
(4) The current councilman has been criticized by some for his strong stance against redevelopment in North College Park. The implementation of “form-based codes” in the North College Park area, north of Greenbelt Road (Rt 193) has recently been blocked as part of Rt 1 sector plan. If elected, will you also support such position?
Again, we have to come back to the budget. Sector 1 plan falls in parks and planning. O’Malley cut taxes and MNCPPC funding was used to fill the county operating budget. We have to separate MNCPPC funding from the County’s general fund to see where we stand on every MNCPPC project.
I’ve have known Candidate Thompson for many years and she is the ideal person to guide the District 1 on a clear and concise path of success for the community. She understands the issues and has plans which meet the needs of all concern. Candidate Thompson has my unwavering support, because I know that she will “Do the Right Thing to Bring Positive CHANGE”.
Mosette S. Harmon
District I needs honest, concise, and a reachable candidate….which is what Candidate Thompson will provide with intergrity. Anyone satisfied with the direction District 1 community is going should be outraged…Open your eyes people and see the light…Crystal Thompson is our light into the future of District 1.