The Liberty Road Voice

January 16, 2016

Thanks for attending the Board of Education Hearing

Filed under: Uncategorized — rodhart @ 3:10 am

I would like to thank everyone who came out to the Board of Education Tuesday night to make their voices heard. Our community was well represented. The support for Dr. Dance was overwhelming. I am especially proud of the elementary and middle school students who testified in support of Dr. Dance and STAT (a complete 21st century technology learning environment, complete with tablets for every student).

Now that this hearing is over, I am hopeful that the outpouring of support for Dr. Dallas Dance will cause the Board of Education to make a decision to retain Dr. Dance as soon as possible. This is important so Dr. Dance can get on with the business of educating our children.  

Thanks again to everyone who came to the hearing and who sent a letter of support. I will keep you informed of this situation and please don’t hesitate to call me if I can be of any assistance to you.

Sincerely,

Julian

410-887-3389

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January 12, 2016

IRS withdrawal of charity substantiation

Filed under: Community Politics,Educational,Miscellaneous,Uncategorized — rodhart @ 2:51 am

The attached article proves even the IRS pays attention to citizen protest. When the need occur every interested party should at least voice their concerns via email. Little short and to the point messages in numbers will definitely influence the honest decision makers.

belltel%20logo.jpg

In mid-December the Association of BellTel retirees issued a message to our members alerting them about a pending IRS rule that would require all charities, be it a church, hospital, food pantry or even our Association to compel all donors making a contribution of $250 or more to supply their Social Security number. To anyone fearful about identity theft, this was concerning, so we asked our members to raise their voices and explain to the IRS the chilling negative impact this might result in.

Well on January 7th the federal government published the following notice:

“A wave of complaints forced the IRS on Thursday to withdraw its controversial plan to have nonprofit charities report the Social Security numbers of donors who give just $250 in any given year.”

This is magnificent news, but of greater significance is that it should prove to all of us that mountains would be moved if enough people make their voices heard loud and clear. There were over 37,000 comments, including 786 from our own membership avalanched upon the IRS, so many that it made the federal department sit up and take notice.

Our members need to look at this in a positive way and recognize what can be accomplished when we all have motivation to act swiftly. Let’s use this as a springboard and in the coming weeks we will be asking you to call your Members of Congress and/or State Legislators to take action, or simply pressing a button and sending an email relating to our issues.

Just imagine what else can be accomplished in 2016 if all of our members take action. You can see from what happened with the IRS that it works.

Jack K. Cohen, Chairman

Association of BellTel Retirees Inc.

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Food Lion Closing in Kings Point Square Shopping center

Filed under: Miscellaneous,Uncategorized — rodhart @ 2:44 am

Streamsend work in progress

Councilman Julian Jones call to action to support Dr. Dallas Dance

Filed under: Uncategorized — rodhart @ 2:43 am

Streamsend work in progress

January 11, 2016

The renewal of Balto. County School Superintendent’s Contract

Filed under: County Politics,Educational,Uncategorized — rodhart @ 3:18 am

It looks like the School Board is hedging on renewing Dr. Dance’s contract. About an hour or so ago (1/10/16) I receive a notice from County Councilman Julian Jones requesting a letter of support for Dr. Dance.

I suspected there would be a problem once the Common Core debate heated up. Anytime there is a push to equalize services across the system there is a big fight. Dr. Dance has represented ALL citizens of the county well and should be retained.

Attached you will find a copy of my letter. Please be advised that I could not submit my letter via the School Systems online system. Hopefully, that problem will be fixed real soon.

 

=======================================================

Baltimore County School Board Members,

Please accept this correspondence as an appeal to you and your fellow board members to retain Dr. Dance in the position of Superintendant of Baltimore County Public School System. To some of us the state of our School system has been in turmoil since Dr. Robert Dubel left many years ago.

Please accept this correspondence as an appeal to you and your fellow board members to retain Dr. Dance in the position of Superintendant of Baltimore County Public School System. To some of us the state of our School system has been in turmoil since Dr. Robert Dubel left many years ago.

With the engagement of Dr. Dance, you not only brought a heightened sensitivity to the problems in the system but you also acquired someone with the energy and academic standing to implement and manage the needed changes.

There is no doubt in my mind your detailed analysis of Dr. Dances performance will lead you to appreciate his work and impact on all the citizen of our county.

 

Thanks

 

Roderick W. Hart Sr.

9841 Branchleigh Road

Randallstown, Md. 21133

December 18, 2015

MD NAACP 2016 Priorities

 

MARYLAND STATE CONFERENCE

 OF NAACP BRANCHES

2016 Legislative Priorities

 

  • Increase Registration and Voting: Prioritize legislation that restores rights of returning citizens who have completed periods of incarceration, and expanded opportunities to register and vote (including same-day registration/voting opportunities.

 

  • WORK FOR THE ENACTMENT OF MUNICIPAL, STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION DESIGNED TO IMPROVE THE EDUCATIONAL, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC STATUS OF MINORITY GROUPS; These legislative items include paid sick leave, hiring of ex-offenders, expanded expungement, indexed minimum wage, free community college opportunities, and student loan forgiveness policies. Exploring the expanded role of worker co -ops as employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, as well as the establishment of state- chartered development bank to support capital needs for community development in adversely impacted areas of the state.

 

  • WORK TO REPEAL RACIALLY DISCRIMINATORY LEGISLATION; these include criminal justice bills that require analysis of racial impact as part of the fiscal note and bills that look at discriminatory practices around access to capital in the financial services sector.

 

  • IMPROVE THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE; these bills include right to counsel for indigent defendants at initial presentment and limiting the effects of bail on securing one’s freedom prior to trial. Insuring that suspension policies in education to not have disparate impact and disparate application on children of color. Making sure that environmental quality disparities that lead to adverse health outcomes for poor people and people of color are removed.

 

  • SECURE EQUAL ENFORCEMENT OF THE LAW; ensures proper application of police powers in all law enforcement agencies. Providing for enhanced participation in civilian review processes in instances of police-involved injury/death. Ensuring timely investigation and review of allegations of illegal acts of discrimination in the public and private sectors. Limiting the seizure power as it relates to personal assets of private citizens.

 

  • All Local Units Should Monitor and Track Legislation during the Legislative session and keep the Maryland State Conference informed of all proposed legislation that affects minority groups. Each Branch must designate a political action chair to assist with facilitating information flow and to respond to call to action, as required.

 

Network and other civic advocacy groups to work/support the following legislative priorities:

NAACP Strategic Plan:

Game Changers for the 21st Century

For more than a century the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has worked to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. Inspired by the force and commitment of The Call of 1909, which denounced the growing oppression of people of color and mobilized thousands to work to bring this discrimination to an end, the NAACP seeks to establish a strategic direction as it embarks on developing The New Call for the 21st Century.  In the fall of 2011, the NAACP launched a process to develop its strategic direction and plan, creating a powerful vision for the future, and setting organizational goals that would focus its work for the 21st Century.  The five NAACP Game Changers below address the major areas of inequality facing African Americans that are the focus of the NAACP’s work.

Economic Sustainability –A chance to live the American Dream for all

Every person will have equal opportunity to achieve economic success, sustainability, and financial security.

Health-Health equality for all Americans including a healthy life and high-quality health care

Everyone will have equal access to affordable, high-quality health care, and racially disparate health outcomes will end.

Public Safety and Criminal Justice-Equitable dispensation of justice for all

Disproportionate incarceration, racially motivated policing strategies, and racially biased, discriminatory, and mandatory minimum sentencing will end. Incarceration will be greatly reduced and communities will be safer. The death penalty will be abolished at the state and federal level, as well as in the military.

Voting Rights and Political Representation-Protect and enhance voting rights to Ex-Offenders

The Maryland State Conference of NAACP (MSC) will continue to work with the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus, ACLU of MD, Casa de Maryland Progressive Maryland, Equality MD, Advocates for Children and Youth, Maryland Health Care for All, Communities United, Health Working Families, Sugar Free Kids, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, MJPR, and other civic advocacy groups to work /support our legislative priorities

Legislation

ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY

SUPPORT TAX FAIRNESS IN SOLVING THE STATE BUDGET CRISIS

  • The MSC will work with progressive labor advocates to support legislation that promotes reasonable and progressive revenue enhancement programs that generate sustainable and balanced income to overcome budget deficits. We will oppose regressive taxation on the poor and the middle class.

 

  • Affordable Housing

 

DISCRMINATION AND CIVIL RIGHTS

  • We will support legislation to expand civil rights protections against discrimination in places of public accommodation so that it includes internet businesses, as well as legislation to add a private right of action for citizens’ discriminated against by places of public accommodation.
  • Home Act

MSC NAACP supports legislation to end discrimination against people renting or purchasing with housing vouchers or other legitimate sources of income.

  • Rental & Sales Properties Reentry

MSC SUPPORT OF EARNED SICK AND SAFE TIME ACT

  • Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches officially goes on record as supporting the Earned Sick and Safe Time Act, which will establish a paid sick day’s standard for Maryland by requiring employers to allow workers to earn a limited number of annual paid sick days.

  

 Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program –Support Maryland creating a state-run insurance fund to provide economic security for families. (Preliminary support, pending approval final bill language)

 

 

 EDUCATION

  • MSC supports a free, high-quality, public education for all. 

 

  • Every child will receive a free, high quality, equitably-funded, public pre-K and K-12 education followed by diverse opportunities for accessible, affordable vocational or university education. Public funding of Private Schools.

 

 

MARYLAND’S HISTORIC BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

  • MSC will Support the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus in its initiative to prioritize and ensure continued and adequate funding for Bowie State University, Copping State University, Morgan State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The state, during the era of segregation, had a policy of underfunding HBCU’s and, as a result, the infrastructure at these universities is not comparable to the infrastructure at predominately white institutions.

 

Eliminate disciplinary practices that result in disparate impact or disparate treatment of minority students.

 

  • Advocate compliance with Maryland Guidelines for State Code of Discipline in public schools throughout Maryland.

 

ADVOCATE FOR FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF COMMON CORE STANDARDS

 

  • The MSC-NAACP supports implementation of the Common Core as a means of providing all students quality curriculum that adheres to rigorous standards and goals with accountability.

 

Effective Curricular and Instructional Resources

  • The MSC-NAACP recognizes that school districts in Maryland have a wealth of instructional resources. Yet, there exists disparity in the availability of comparably high quality resources among school districts.  Therefore, the MSC-NAACP supports legislation, regulations, or policies that will provide all students in schools throughout the State access to high-quality curriculum and other materials to sustain learning and academic excellence.

 

HEALTH

ADVOCATE FOR THE FULL IMPLEMETATION & UTILIZATION OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT (ACA) IN MD

  • The MSC will advocate for the full implementation of the ACA in this state. To this end, we will work with others to continue the smooth operation of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE).  The MSC will also work in partnership with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Maryland Insurance Administration, Department of Human Resources, Maryland Health Care for All and other statewide stakeholders in promoting open enrollment and engagement in communities of color.

 

  • Our goal is to make health insurance affordable and accessible for all Maryland residents, with a focus on reducing racial health disparities, improving healthcare access and health outcomes for communities of color.

 

REDUCING CHILHOOD OBESITY & PREVENTING DIABETES BY MAKING HEALTHIER FOOD AND DRINKS MORE WIDELY AVAILABLE

 

  • Compared to Whites, African Americans are twice as likely to have diabetes, three times more likely to have an amputation from diabetes, five times more likely to suffer kidney disease from diabetes, fifty times more likely to go blind from diabetes; and experts predict that half of all African American children alive today will likely have diabetes in their lifetime unless we act now.
  • Daily sugary drink consumption is a major contributor to the nation’s high diabetes and obesity rates and leads to premature deaths and excess health care costs.

 

  • As a lead partner of Sugar Free Kids Maryland, the Maryland State Conference of NAACP will work to make healthy drink choices the most affordable and accessible choices in the places our children live, learn, play and pray through changes in public policy and institutional practices.

 

 

  • In 2016, the MSC NAACP will advocate for and support passage of state legislation to make healthier food and drinks more widely available in vending machines located on state property including those in all state government office buildings; roadside rest stops managed or owned by the state; state parks and recreation centers; statesupported hospitals; and state colleges and universities.

 

REDUCING CHILDHOOD OBESITY IN SCHOOLS

  • School Food Transparency Act School districts will be required to list all foods sold in their cafeterias on breakfast and lunch menus, including a la carte or snack foods.
  • Sensible Sugar in Schools Act School districts in Maryland will be required to form a committee to create a policy to reduce added sugar intake during any meal period for any given child to the levels recommended by the American Heart Association (no more than 3 teaspoons for children ages 4-8 and no more than 5 -8 teaspoons for pre-teens and teens).

 

  • The MSC will work collaboratively with Healthy School Food Maryland on this initiative.

 

  • Support SB 40/HB 385-Healthy working Families

 

CIGARETTE TAX SUPPORT TO IMPROVE HEALTH CARE SERVICES

 

  • MSC Support legislation of tax increase taxes on tobacco products to increase coverage of the uninsured.  The following is taken from the Baltimore Sun – Our View 11/26/2012.  “…Every year, some 400,000 Americans die from smoking-related illnesses, the vast majority of them caused by cigarettes.  As many as 40,000 more die from the effects of inhaling secondhand smoke, making cigarettes one of the leading causes of premature death in this country. “  “…If lawmakers adopt the dollar increase proposed by a coalition of 500 businesses, religious groups and nonprofits, the price of a pack cigarettes in Maryland would rise from about $6.25, including federal, state and local taxes, to $7.25, making the cost of cigarettes here the sixth-highest in the nation.  That compares to about $4.50 a pack in Virginia, whose 30-cent tax on cigarettes is one of the lowest in the country, and New York City, where the state’s $4.35 tax pushes up the price to more than $10 a pack.  Since Maryland began rising taxes on cigarettes more than a decade ago, smoking in the state has declined by 32 percent, more than twice as fast as the national average.  Among teens, the drop has been even more drastic, with 40 percent fewer young people becoming smokers over the same period.  That translates into as many as 70,000 lives that have been saved by higher cigarette taxes over the last 12 years, along with hundreds of millions of dollars in health care costs.

 

  • MSC Support increasing the state cigarette tax by $1 per pack, along with a similar increase to the tax on other tobacco products, with the revenue from these increases to fund: the state tobacco control program; the state health improvement process and other community based health initiatives including those that address childhood obesity, long term care for seniors; and, improved access to health care services for Maryland families. 

The MSC will work collaboratively with Maryland Health Care for All Coalition on this initiative.

 

PREVENTING HIV AND AIDS IN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR

 

  • MSC will advocate for funding to support HIV and AIDS, Prevention, Treatment and Awareness Programs in communities of color.

SICKLE CELL ANEMIA PREVENTION AND AWARENESS

 

  • MSC Support passage of legislation seeking additional funding for treatment, prevention and cure of Sickle Cell Anemia.

 

REDUCING HUNGER INSECURITY

 

  • MSC will Advocate for funding to support student’s meals program (Maryland Meals for Achievement), in collaboration with Maryland Hunger Solutions.

PROTECTING ANTIBIOTIC EFFECTIVENESS

  • Agriculture – Cattle, Swine, and Poultry – Use of Antimicrobial Drugs Act: The proposed legislation would: a) prohibit the non-therapeutic use of human antibiotics in agriculture; b), allow for and/or require reporting of the therapeutic use of antibiotics for sick animals – so that we can collect data on the use of antibiotics in agriculture in Maryland and monitor whether it’s growing; and c), make some exceptions for small farmers. This issue is a civil rights issue for a few reasons. First, as long as severe health disparities exist affecting people of color in general and African Americans in particular, African Americans are disproportionately impacted by any issues that make our key medicines less effective, and nothing is more fundamental to modern medicine than antibiotics. Second, African Americans are more likely to suffer from cancer, HIV, diabetes, sickle cell disease, heart disease, pneumococcal infections and other conditions that often require treatment with antibiotics, plus they are more likely to have to undergo chemotherapy for cancer treatment and surgery for these and other conditions, all of which rely on the need for effective antibiotics to prevent and fight infections. (Preliminary support ,pending approval final language)

 

  • The MSC NAACP will partner with The Maryland Committee to Keep Antibiotics working to advocate for this initiative.

 

 

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

 

  • Work with National NAACP and other stakeholders to Advocate for Environmental Justice by monitoring entities that pollute, contaminate, reduce air quality and/or render unsafe families and individuals in communities of color: Climate Justice with 25% Clean Energy

 

  • Climate Justice Reduction of Carbon Emission and Expand Clean energy.

Over half of Maryland’s electricity comes from pollution-spewing fossil fuels-coal, oil and natural gas. These dirty fuels are bad for our health, our economy, our climate, and our energy security. We want Maryland to re-commit to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and increase our state’s clean electricity standard to 25% by 2020. (Preliminary support, pending approval final language)

 

PUBLIC SAFETY & CRIMINAL JUSTICE/POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY

Law Enforcement Bill Of Rights (LEBOR)

The MSC will support legislation that support more psychological testing of police officers, whistle blower protection, decrease in ten day reporting and expanding deadlines to file complaints (Preliminary support, pending approval final language)

 

Segregated Confinement– aka Administrative or Disciplinary Segregation

MSC support legislation that will limit segregated confinement of inmates for minor infractions. (Preliminary support, pending approval final language)

 

Criminal Justice Reform, Maryland Public Information Act (Preliminary support, pending approval final language)

Criminal Record Shielding – Nonviolent Convictions  

 

  • MSC Supports Use and wearing Of Body Camera’s by police officers

 (However we will monitor proposed Bills to ensure correct language)

 

  • Support State legislation that supports the creation of local community “police accountability review boards.

 

  • MSC advocates for revisions and support laws that will be effective in holding officers accountable for their actions

 

CRIMINAL/ JUVENILE JUSTICE

  • The MSC will support legislation that provides juvenile defense counsel access to social workers, forensic investigators, mental health professionals, education, and specialist. . (Preliminary support ,pending approval final language)

 

  • The MSC will support legislation that prohibits entering a guilty plea or acceptance of a plea bargain (Preliminary support ,pending approval final language)

 

  • The MSC will support legislation amending bills to prohibit sentencing of life without parole on juveniles. (Preliminary support ,pending approval final language)

 

Female Parity in the Juvenile Justice System and Females in Jails and Detention Center

  • Work on legislation to address the disparity of services and programs girls receive in comparison to programs/services available to boys while they are in the system and similarly address the disparity of services and programs for females in jails and detention centers.

 

Drug Law Reforms

  • Asset forfeiture (Position Pending Legislation)

 

  • MSC will continue to support legislation that decriminalizes marijuana possession. (However, No Position on Legalization with taxation at this time).

 

Nonviolent Drug Offenses

 

MSC Support legislation that would steer the State away from locking up individuals for nonviolent offenses, a costly practice that is a significant factor in the overrepresentation of African Americans in the criminal justice system.

  • Allow Legal Counsel to be Available for Bail Hearings.

 

 

Criminal Justice Policy Impact Statements in Maryland;

  • Support Legislation that requires that Racial Impact Statement be included in the fiscal note of a bill when such a bill would have an impact on African Americans. (Preliminary support ,pending approval final language)

 

Encouraging Employment of Ex-Offenders (Ban the Box)

 

  • MSC NAACP will support legislation that encourages the reentry of ex-offenders back into society by supporting legislation to ban public employers from asking about criminal background on the initial job application.

 

Voting Rights & Political Representation

VOTER RESTORATION EX- OFFENDERS (UNLOCK THE VOTE)

FAIR ELECTIONS

IMMIGRANTS’ RIGHTS

  • The MSC will continue to oppose any anti-immigrant bills that are introduced each year.

 

VOTER REGISTRATION AND ABSENTEE BALLOT

 

  • Election Day Voter Registration (allowing eligible voter registration up to and including Election Day.

 

  • MSC will actively involve itself with increase voter registration and absentee ballot usage of eligible inmates and qualifying former felons.

 

  • Primary and General Elections increasing over 5 currently. By one day. 

COMMEMORATING LYNCHING VICTIMS OF MARYLAND MSC will support legislation to form a Commission on the Commemoration of Lynching Victims in the State. (Preliminary support, pending approval final language)

December 17, 2015

Liberty Road Bus Service

Filed under: Community Politics,County Politics — rodhart @ 8:59 pm
It looks like the Maryland Transit Administration is about to embark on another campaign to extend bus service from the existing turnaround on Liberty Road to the Hernwood area.  Since 1972 this has been an off and on struggle with the residents prevailing each and every time. Unfortunately the climate and atmosphere in the community has changed.  Many of the original property owners have passed on while others moved on to other areas. However, the original concerns still exist.
Just yesterday while returning from my daughter’s home off of Winands Road I noticed the poor condition of the streets. Back in the 60’s and 70’s you could not drive a large commercial vehicle within the boundaries of many of the residential developments in Randallstown, including Briarhurst. Today we not only have such vehicles passing through our residential developments with increasing frequency, we also have residents parking and storing the heavy vehicles along residential streets.  Along streets like Tiverton and Branchleigh Roads, everything from tractor trailers to huge utility vehicle passes regularly.  The condition of the surface of Branchleigh Road is beginning to resemble the dirt and gravel surfaces that served as roads when the community was first built.
I completely realize this area isn’t what we envisioned when we first moved in back in the 60’s and 70’s.  We have community needs now that we did not have back then and we must deal with those needs in a civilized and transparent manner.  On the other hand, those needing or requesting change must recognize the desires of long term and older property owners.  Some really know what they are talking about.  Here are my concerns; most are based on prior experiences, some of which actually prompted me to move my family to this area in the first place.  I will list a few of them below:
1. Heavy and commercial vehicles destroy streets and over passes and should not be allowed within residential area unless making deliveries or as part of a work project. I just cannot imagine a need or even a desire to run a bus, trailer truck, or other large commercial vehicle through Hernwood Park, Pikeswood, or Briarhurst.
2. Regardless of what many have said, I still believe the penetration of public transportation into residential areas increases loitering, trash, break-ins, and petty street crimes.  At one point there was an attempt to put a bus stop along Marriotsville Road across from the Deer Park Apartments.  However, there has never been any lighting along the street which would make such a  stop a perfect place for robberies, assaults and other crimes. It seems to me there actually was a robbery and shooting along that stretch of road within the last few years.
3. Property values would be severely impacted.  Just be honest and ask yourself, would you purchase a home with a bus stop in your front or back yard.  If you hesitate one bit in answering that question, you understand my concern.
In order to get a feel for the thinking of my neighbors, I have developed and put online a simple survey.  I thoroughly hope the people impacted by the proposal express their views honestly.  Since I have no way of determining when this little bomb will be drop on us I will seek to make the results of this survey available to those within the community requesting it via email.
Liberty Road Bus line extension survey
http://rodhart.polldaddy.com/s/the-extension-of-liberty-road-mta-bus-service
Roderick W. Hart Sr.
12/17/2015

June 13, 2015

Why Baltimore is and has been a single party city?

Why Baltimore is and has been a single party city?

 
This question keeps popping up, and I just can’t understand why? Most of the folks who ask that question are people who are quick to say they once lived in the city, however, they now reside in the suburbs. I could understand the question if the person asking was not from the area. For example, a recent transplant from Alaska or the Pacific Northwest.
Baltimore in my lifetime has had a Republican Mayor, Theodore McKeldin, and even played a role in sending Ted Agnew to Washington. So why were these two politicians successful at winning the support of Baltimorean and other Republicans have failed so miserably? I can remember a couple Black leaders of the Republican party.  Yes, I said it, let’s be honest because much of the problem is all about race. In most cases, those folks were powerless figure heads in a feeble attempt to defuse complaints that the GOP was tone deaf when it came to the plight of the poor and people of color.
Now here is the deal, short and sweet. For years, the voters of Baltimore City have had three choices at the polls. They could vote for the Republican candidate who in most case echo the thinking of the two politicians representing  part of Harford county and the upper bay shore area. One a Russian immigrant in the US Congress who if he had his way would transport all people of color to Siberia and the other, a loud obnoxious blow hard serving in the Maryland Legislature. There was another who a year or so ago left office to pursue a career in sports management. All three of these clowns spews hate at every opportunity. The second choice is not to vote at all. Just tune out and let what happens to happen. The last and only real choice is to vote like we as Americans are taught for the slick politicians who realize we have no other option than to vote for the Democrat candidate.  There is nothing complicated about it.
I had a discussion with a former Republican governor of Maryland at a football camp about four years ago. First off, he was annoyed that I had the guts to wear a “Support Obama” cap while serving as a camp counselor. I made it clear that it was so hot I would wear his cap if he gave me one. That seemed to stop him right in his tracks for a while. After giving the kids a pep talk, he approached me again asking me why people of color were so cold to his politics. I tried to make it really simple for him. My response was “Why does he think people of color should be the only group of people in America not voting their interest?” He walked away with a really puzzled look on his face. I was surprised a lowly City College, and Baltimore Jr. College guy could stump a Gilman and Princeton guy. He is just deaf to the issues or simply does not give a damn.
For you folks out there still trying to figure things out. We are going to continue to vote first of all. We need to flood the polls in our efforts to get as close to a 100% turnout as possible. Secondly, we are going to vote  only  for candidates who demonstrate a sensitivity to our needs and concerns. You see I believe in certain parts of the state   we can have enough leverage to deny office to the poorest of two candidates, whether he/she is Republican or Democrat.   The leadership of the two parties can determine which role they wish to play.
Please stop this BS about Maryland being a one-party state. It’s only because of your lame politics.

Roderick W. Hart Sr.

June 11, 2015

THE EXELON-PEPCO MERGER – NOT IN BEST INTEREST OF RATEPAYERS

Filed under: State & National Politics,Uncategorized — rodhart @ 9:03 pm

June 11, 2015

 

TO:  THE PEOPLE OF LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT 10

 

THE EXELON-PEPCO MERGER – NOT IN BEST INTEREST OF RATEPAYERS

 

 

In July 2014, I joined with AARP, consumer advocacy groups, and the Maryland Office of the  People’s Council (OPC) to strongly oppose the fourth consecutive rate increase and the $2 monthly surcharge on residential utility bills to pay up front for replacement of aging gas pipelines.  At that  time, I said that there appears to be no limit to utility greed.

 

Recently, I joined with many of those same voices in opposition to the Public Service Commission’s  narrow approval of the $6.9 billion Exelon-Pepco merger, which will make Exelon one of the largest utility corporations in the nation and responsible for providing electric distribution for 80% of  Maryland’s residential and commercial electric consumers.  Opposing the mammoth merger, on  behalf of the State Energy Administration, Maryland’s Attorney General Brian Frosh characterized it  as a “bad day for consumers and a great day for monopolies.”  I could not agree more.

 

The PSC imposed 46 conditions on Exelon as part of the merger, including a $100 bill credit per  customer and construction of 20 megawatts of renewable energy generation.  However, it did not diminish the opposition.  Consumer and environmental advocacy groups in opposition to the merger  stress Exelon’s ability to stifle competition and innovation.  Opponents are unanimous in their belief  that the merger will make rate hikes inevitable.  As BGE users, we have seen rate hikes every year since Exelon bought BGE’s parent, Constellation in 2012.

 

Consumers never benefit from monopolies.  Shareholders always benefit.  In this case, Pepco  shareholders will reap a windfall from the merger – 85% over book value of its assets.   The Exelon-  Pepco merger will usher in utility greed on steroids.

 

Paula Carmody, head of the OPC, emphasized deep concern about the operation of a near-monopoly  in Maryland controlled by Chicago-based corporate owners.  Carmody asserted the merger had few benefits for consumers and could actually harm them.  State law specifies the PSC can approve a  merger only if it results in “no harm” to consumers and is in the public interest.   Attorney General Frosh declared, “The harms to customers under this arrangement are obvious and substantial.”  He said he is “exploring all options” to protect the state’s consumers and is not ruling out a lawsuit to block the merger.   

 

Perhaps the most damning opposition comes from two of the five PSC Commissioners who opposed  the merger.  In their written dissent, Harold D. Williams and Anne E. Hoskins declared the merger “will undermine competition; it will increase rates, challenging the affordability for many consumers and it will eviscerate economic protections due to a weakened and compromised corporate governance  structure.”  They claimed that $100 billion in proposed reliability upgrades will be borne mostly by customers in the form of rate hikes.  The dissenting PSC commissioners think the merger will benefit  Exelon and Pepco shareholders more than customers.

 

Exelon is the owner of the largest number of nuclear power plants in the nation, deriving 63% of its  revenue from these power plants with 24 reactors in 14 locations in five states, including Maryland.  According to the merger proposal, Exelon is responsible for keeping electric rates as low as possible  for Marylanders.  Yet, it is Exelon’s corporate responsibility to its shareholders to seek higher rates for its nuclear power plants.  Any way one views this situation it looks like a conflict of interest.

 

 Frankly, I am shocked that in spite of strong opposition from state officials, government agencies,  consumer advocate groups and even two of the five PSC commissioners, the PSC approved the Exelon-  Pepco merger, which is clearly not in the best interest of Maryland’s citizens.  

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me on this or any other issue of concern to you.  Your thoughts and  opinions are important to me.  I encourage and welcome your input.

 State Senator Delores Kelley

April 10, 2015

Black American vs African American, whats your choice?

Filed under: Personal — rodhart @ 7:02 pm

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While listening to the CNN coverage of the South Carolina assassination this afternoon something struck me as

strange. The newscaster opened the coverage stating a “white cop shooting of an African American man.” She

could have just as well opened with an “European American cop shooting of a black man” or simply a “white cop

shooting of a black citizen.”  I really have not thought to much about this kind of stuff since we got rid of  that

“negro” label. Frankly, speaking, I believe it would have been proper for the newscaster to describe Mr. Scott

as a Black American.

I remember a conversation I had with a gentleman in Paris about ten years ago. We were at the airport waiting for

transportation to the hotel. The Frenchman like all Frenchmen  was comparing everything he could to inflate the

French culture. He asked me if I had ever been to Africa. My response was no. He then asked why do I prefer to be

addressed as an African American. I knew he was setting me up, but I went ahead anyhow and stated my forefathers

were from the continent of Africa. He then floored me with something like in France, they only had one kind of citizen,

and that was Frenchman.  At that moment, I was shocked and kind of embarrassed. However, before the end of that

week, I observed how badly the French treated their brothers from Northern Africa.

I am still ambivalent about this but the one thing I know is my forefather, and I have earned the right to be address as

American, and I will violently resist any effort to take that from me. I am extremely proud of my Nigerian DNA and

heritage and at my age, I seriously doubt I will ever get to see Africa; however, I believe Black American best describes

me.

How about you?

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