Tag Archives: Maryland

College Park, MD votes to let non-US citizens vote in local elections

college park city council

College Park City Council: Betrayers of the US Constitution

I reported how the city council was contemplating this decision back in August. Now they’ve made it a “right”for illegal aliens to vote. How progressive!

From Fox5DC: The College Park City Council has voted in favor of a measure that would allow city residents who are not U.S. citizens to vote in local elections. College Park joins six other towns in allowing legal permanent residents and undocumented immigrants (also known as illegal aliens) to vote in municipal elections.

The council’s vote on this issue was supposed to happen back in August, but it was postponed due to threats made to council members over the proposal.

It was a very contentious debate inside College Park City Hall as almost two dozen people signed up to speak on the matter during Tuesday night’s meeting. One man against the proposal came to the podium saying he was called a Nazi while waiting in line to voice his opinion.

The reality is allowing all people to vote in municipal elections is going to make College Park more inclusive, and that has been the history of voting rights expansion in the United States and what has happened in our neighbors in Maryland who have expanded voting rights to non-U.S. citizens,” said Todd Larson, who is in favor of the proposal.

“Although you come up here and you say that there are hundreds of citizens and residents of College Park that are for this charter, I can tell you that there are thousands against it,” said Beth DeBosky, who is against non-citizen voting. “Voting is a right of the citizens. It’s plain and clear. It’s constitutional. It’s also written at the state level and it also belongs at the local level.”

Later into the meeting, a council member proposed a new amendment that would only allow green card holders to vote and exclude undocumented immigrants illegal aliens. However, the vote on the green card amendment failed.

DCG

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Baltimore lawmaker’s grandson killed in Labor Day weekend violence

talmadge branch

Lawmaker Talmadge Branch loses his grandson

Baltimore has a serious murder problem.

The residents of Baltimore recently begged for a “Don’t kill anybody weekend” which resulted in three people being shot, two of them fatally. Seven people were killed over Labor Day weekend. There have now been 242 homicides in the city in 2017, a near historic pace.

Lawmaker Talmadge Branch has been in office since 1995, representing the 45th legislative district. In 2013, he supported major gun control measures that included banning assault weapons, requiring people who buy handguns to provide their fingerprints and limiting gun magazines to 10 bullets. At the time he was quoted as saying the following (via Fox News):

“Delegate Talmadge Branch, D-Baltimore, told lawmakers how Baltimore legislators regularly attend funerals of people who are gunned down. He described a calendar that sometimes included two funerals a week or two a month. 

“We don’t have a need for an assault rifle in the city of Baltimore,” Branch said. “We don’t have that kind of need, and we don’t need guns on the street that are unlicensed, and we don’t need guns on the street that are actually killing people.” 

With all due respect sir, the guns aren’t actually killing people. It’s the people holding the guns who are killing people.

Now the gun violence has hit home especially close for this lawmaker. Sadly, murders will continue until lawmakers address the root cause of people killing people in that city.

From CBS Baltimore: A man killed in a shooting Monday is reportedly the grandson of Maryland House Majority Whip Talmadge Branch, according to our media partner The Baltimore Sun.

Branch said his grandson Tyrone is Baltimore’s latest murder victim, and the veteran lawmaker pleaded for the city’s gun violence to stop.

Three hours after the young man’s death, The Sun says Branch said that the city’s violence “touched my family now.”

Tyrone is reportedly the oldest child of Branch’s daughter.

Baltimore Police say the shooting happened around 12:30 p.m. at the 4200 block of Nicholas Ave.  Responding officers found the 22-year-old man with multiple gunshot wounds.

The victim was taken to a hospital, where he died a short time after arriving.

Police say the victim was reportedly was talking with two unknown suspects, when they opened fire on him, and left in a white vehicle after the shooting.

Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at (410) 396-2100, Metro crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP, or text a tip to (443)902-4824.

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Maryland mayor launches plan to employ Baltimore “Squeegee Boys”

squeegee boys

Showing up at your windshield soon, the “Squeegee Boys”

If the youths truly had “entrepreneurial spirit” they wouldn’t need a government program to get them moving.

From Baltimore Sun: Mayor Catherine Pugh this week launched a “pop up” car wash program for Baltimore youth.

The mayor announced in June she planned to create a program to employ what she calls the “Squeegee boys” — the Baltimore youths who seeks tips for washing motorists’ windshields on city streets.

Pugh said the boys show an entrepreneurial spirit, and the city could help them open their own car wash.

“The Squeegee Corps is up and running their first pop up car wash right here in front of City Hall!” Pugh wrote on Facebook Thursday.

Alexandra Smith, Pugh’s director of special projects, wrote on social media that residents should expect to see more “pop up” car washes throughout the city. She said one was planned soon for Bush Street near Carroll Park.

Prices for the services range from $5 to $15.

h/t Weasel Zippers

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Maryland city mulling idea to let illegal aliens vote

Christine_Nagle_OC4

Council member Christine Nagle: “It just makes sense.”

Demorats love giving voting “rights” to their “constituents.”

From Fox News: A D.C. suburb in Maryland is considering a plan that would give undocumented immigrants illegal aliens the right to vote, making their city the largest in the Old Line State to do so.

The city, which is home of the University of Maryland’s main campus and nearly 30,000 residents, is weighing approval of the new measure to let noncitizens cast ballots for mayor and City Council, The Baltimore Sun reported Sunday.

Supporters of the measure say that local elections focus on issues like trash collection, and other municipal services and they are issues that affect residents of the city, regardless of their citizenship status.

“These are folks who have a significant stake in our community, and who rely on the facilities in our city,” College Park City Councilwoman Christine Nagle, who is sponsoring the measure, said to the newspaper. “To me, it just made sense.”

Others in the community say that immigrants should not have a say until they have completed the process of becoming a citizen. “On a personal level, I do not agree that noncitizens should be voting,” College Park City Councilwoman Mary C. Cook said before adding that she will listen to her constituents before making a decision.

Jeff Werner, an advocate for tighter immigration restrictions with the advocacy group Help Save Maryland told the newspaper that he felt even more strongly about undocumented immigrants illegal aliens going to the voting booth. “What gives them that privilege?” He asked.

A total of 10 municipalities across two counties allow noncitizens to vote in local elections. Voters in Takoma Park, a liberal enclave in Montgomery County, narrowly approved a referendum in making the town one of the first to allow the practice in Maryland.

It was preceded by Barnesville — a small town near Sugarloaf Mountain in Montgomery County — has allowed noncitizens to vote since 1918 and Somerset, which approved noncitizen voting in 1976.

The number of communities in Maryland adopting the measure has surged in recent months. Hyattsville in Prince George’s County approved immigrant voting just last year, followed by Mount Rainier, also in Prince George’s County.

The College Park proposal like the other municipalities, does not distinguish between legal permanent residents and undocumented immigrants illegal aliens.

Those in favor of the policy say that’s by design. “We very intentionally made it so that we did not have questions about citizenship status,” said Patrick Paschall, a former member of the Hyattsville council who championed the legislation there said to the Sun. “It undermines the premise of noncitizen voting to try to draw a distinction.”

Click here for more from The Baltimore Sun.

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“Don’t kill anybody”: Murder-free weekend urged in Baltimore

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh

It’s come to this: Wearing t-shirts begging folks not to kill. Mayor Catherine Pugh and former mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake must be so proud.

From MSN: A 44-year-old mother might seem an unusual visitor on the drug corners of Baltimore, but Erricka Bridgeford has stopped by them for weeks to make her pitch for peace.

Forget your grudges for one weekend, she urges the young men she finds. Help bring a 72-hour truce to a city besieged by gun violence. “It’s a city-wide call,” she tells them, “but I’m talking to you.”

Bridgeford and other neighborhood leaders are drumming up support for the three-day ceasefire to quell Baltimore’s violence on the first weekend of August. She admits, however, that such peace is a tall order for a city that’s seen 188 killings this year.

Organizers aim to stop the shooting from Friday, Aug. 4 through Sunday, Aug. 6 with a unified and blunt message: “Nobody kill anybody.”

Their message has been printed on T-shirts and fliers. They designed a website and held community meetings. More than 1,600 people visited their Facebook page. The grassroots campaign has swelled since it began in May.

“I’ve seen the momentum build over the past several weeks,” said T.J. Smith, spokesman for Baltimore police. “We are all in this together and we’re 1,000 percent supportive of the efforts.”

The campaign urges people to put aside their guns and join weekend events for healing, from a peace rally Friday evening to a vigil Sunday where participants will read the names of every person killed in 2017.

“The Baltimore Ceasefire was not declared by any one organization,” organizers wrote on their website. “This ceasefire is the product of Baltimore residents not only being exhausted by homicides, but believing that Baltimore can have a murder-free weekend if everyone takes responsibility.”

More than 600 people have pledged to keep the peace, they wrote. Among them are some of the young men Bridgeford has met on the corners. “You just talk to them like they’re your little brother,” she said.

A professional mediator, neighborhood volunteer and part-time Uber driver — “Everyone who gets in my car leaves with a flyer and a speech” — Bridgeford’s own younger brother was gunned down a decade ago in Southwest Baltimore. His killer was never caught.

Next month’s ceasefire would prove successful if it deters a single shooting, she said. And she figured the movement has already saved a life somewhere. “Somebody was plotting on this weekend,” she said. “Now they’re not going to do it because of a rumbling in their soul.”

The organizers are raising money through their website for more fliers. Some of the money will be donated to the families of anyone killed over the ceasefire weekend. Bridgeford is urging everyone she meets to echo the call for peace. “Jumping out in open-air drug markets might not be for everyone,” she said. “But we’re asking everyone to do their part.”

Community ceasefires, however, have failed to stem the violence in the past. The group Mothers of Murdered Sons called for a ceasefire over Mother’s Day weekend, but at least four people were shot, including a 59-year-old man and 17-year-old woman; both were killed.

Other communities have called for ceasefires after spates of violence in Birmingham, Ala. and Berkeley, Calif., and such efforts are as much about empowering residents as reducing homicide statistics, said Cassandra Crifasi, deputy director of the Johns Hopkins-Baltimore Collaborative for Violence Reduction.

Persistent violence often leaves neighbors feeling powerless, she said. “Communities feel like they can’t do things for themselves. They don’t have a voice. They don’t feel heard,” she said. “This effort seems to me like the people most affected by violence are standing up and saying, ‘We’re not going to take this anymore.'”

A similar awareness campaign began in Chicago in 2013 and has spread across the country with people wearing orange in June to draw attention to the scourge of gun violence. Across the country more than 90 people are shot and killed every day, according to the Wear Orange campaign.

Baltimore, meanwhile, remains gripped by its own violent spike, with 2017 on pace to be the city’s deadliest year ever. The number of homicides shot up to 344 in 2015; another 318 people were killed last year. Baltimore had not exceeded 300 annual homicides for decades before 2015.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Crifasi said of the ceasefire. “It indicates to me there are lots of people in Baltimore still invested in the safety and security of their communities.”

People like Bridgeford who has carried the message to Baltimore’s drug corners. She found an unexpected audience, even encouragement in the streets. “I’ve absolutely heard skepticism,” she said. “But even the skeptics are like, ‘Stay out here.'”

DCG

Pajama Boy approved: Half of high schools do away with class rankings ‘so as not to destroy teens’ confidence’

valedictorian meme

Raising a generation of special snowflakes.

From Daily Mail: At many American high schools, the graduation-day tradition of crowning a valedictorian is becoming a thing of the past. The ranking of students from No. 1 on down, based on grade-point averages, has been fading steadily for about the past decade.

In its place are honors that recognize everyone who scores at a certain threshold – using Latin honors, for example. This year, one school in Tennessee had 48 valedictorians.

About half of schools no longer report class rank, according to the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Administrators worry about the college prospects of students separated by large differences in class rank despite small differences in their GPAs, and view rankings as obsolete in an era of high expectations for every student, association spokesman Bob Farrace said.

There are also concerns about intense, potentially unhealthy competition and students letting worries about rank drive their course selections.

Among those weighing a change is Lancaster High School in suburban Buffalo, where students are leading an exploration of replacing valedictorian-salutatorian recognitions with the college-style Latin honors of summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude.

The principal, Cesar Marchioli, said he’s neutral on the issue, though he feels for the 11th-ranked student who falls just short of the recognition awarded to the top 10 seniors honored at the annual banquet.

Graduating Lancaster senior Connor Carrow, 17, has pressed for the switch to Latin honors since his sophomore year, well before landing just out of the top 10, at No. 14, while serving as student union president and playing varsity lacrosse and hockey.

He said it’s a better fit with the school’s collaborative and cooperative ideals. ‘You’re striving for that (honor) personally, but you’re not hoping that you’re better than these other 400 people next to you,’ said Carrow.

The view was somewhat different from the No. 1 spot occupied by Carrow’s classmate Daniel Buscaglia, who also played saxophone in several performance ensembles and volunteered in his town’s youth bureau.

While he doesn’t oppose the change, Buscaglia expects the competition in high school, although it was mostly friendly, will help him at Cornell University in the fall.

Elsewhere, commenters have peppered news websites with disparaging comparisons to giving ‘participation trophies’ to avoid hurt feelings, while supporters point out the often statistically insignificant differences that separate students.

Rankings still play an important part in aspects of the college admissions process. There are scholarships for the top-ranked students, and the number of top students at colleges is factored into college rankings.

Class ranks are also credited with improving diversity at the University of Texas, where a law guaranteed that a school’s top 10 percent would be accepted into a public university.

Colleges are adjusting to the increasing number of applications arriving without class rank, though many applications still ask for it if available.

Even so, students’ individual grades and the rigor of the curriculum they chose tend to weigh more heavily, said Melanie Gottlieb, deputy director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. ‘More and more schools are moving toward a more holistic process. They look deeper into the transcript,’ Gottlieb said.

Wisconsin’s Elmbrook School District has for several years ranked only the valedictorian and salutatorian, and only then because the state awards scholarships to schools’ top two graduates, according to Assistant Superintendent Dana Monogue.

The change has been accepted by colleges and community alike, Monogue said. ‘We are encouraged by any movement that helps students understand that they’re more than a score, that they’re more than a rank,’ she said.

Tennessee’s Rutherford County schools give the valedictorian title to every student who meets requirements that include a 4.0 grade-point average and at least 12 honors courses. Its highly ranked Central Magnet School had 48 valedictorians this year, about a quarter of its graduating class.

The day rankings came out at Hammond High School in Columbia, Maryland, students were privately told their number – but things didn’t stay private for long. ‘That was the only thing everyone was talking about,’ said Mikey Peterson, 18, who shrugged off his bottom-third finish and will attend West Virginia University in the fall.

A spokesman for the Howard County, Maryland, district said schools recognize their top 5 percent so students can include it on college applications and hasn’t considered changing.

‘There was a big emphasis on where you landed,’ said Peterson’s classmate Vicki Howard, 18. ‘It made everything 10 times more competitive.’

Peterson’s mother, Elizabeth Goshorn, said she can’t walk into his school without hearing good things about her affable son, but worries about how rankings can affect a teenager’s confidence. ‘It has such an impact on them as to how they perceive themselves if you’re putting rankings on them,’ she said.

DCG

Charges dropped for immigrant teens accused of school sex assault in Maryland

henry sanchez illegalI told you about this case on March 20th – a 14-year-old girl claimed she was raped in the bathroom by two immigrants – one here illegally. They are not being charged with rape.

This latest development is infuriating and disappointing.

From NY Post: Prosecutors have dropped rape charges against two immigrant teens — one in the country illegally — because their alleged victim’s story fell apart.

Ninth-graders Jose Montano, 17, and Henry Sanchez Milian, 18, were accused of pushing a female classmate into a Rockville, Maryland, high school bathroom and violently raping her in March, fueling fiery national debate over immigration policies because both suspects were from Central America and Sanchez Milian was here illegally.

But officials dropped the charges Thursday, because school surveillance images and texts sent from the supposed victim to her alleged attackers raised doubts about the girl’s story, the Washington Post reports.

“At no point did the girl express any reluctance with any sex acts,” said Sanchez Milian’s attorney Andew Jezic. “From the night before, she actively planned a sexual encounter.”

Prosecutors are still charging Sanchez Milian with possession of child pornography over racy images of the female victim on his phone.

But his attorney says the victim willingly shared the pictures with Montano, who then passed the lewd photos to Sanchez Milian, and the smut charges are a last-ditch effort to target the immigrant teens, Jezic said.

“This is selective prosecution of elective promiscuity,” he said. “It is hardly uncommon behavior for teenagers.”

DCG