September 25 - October 1, 2014
O’Malley Administration Unveils Website to Help
Unaccompanied Immigrant Children
By Stephen Waldron
Capital News Service
HYATTSVILLE – In an effort to help the almost 3,000
unaccompanied immigrant children who have arrived in Maryland this year, the
state this week launched Buscando, a website designed to connect them and their
caretakers with volunteers and resources.
Officials from Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration debuted
the website during a press conference at the Hyattsville Branch Library on
Wednesday. Ted Dallas, secretary of Maryland’s Department of Human Resources,
said Buscando (which means to look for in Spanish) is the newest phase in the
state’s response to the needs of unaccompanied children in Maryland.
Buscando is designed to serve as a database of resources for
the children and their caretakers. For example, users can type in their
location and search for clothing, and a map is generated which shows contact
information for nearby organizations that will provide clothes.
Organizations and individual volunteers can also sign up on
the website to provide materials, or services like transportation or
The website was built by volunteer programmers from Code for
Me Code and the Tech
Aliya Rahman, of Code for Progress, said the project was a
chance for programmers to use their skills to make a difference in the
“The best technology is built for and by people affected by
the issues,” Rahman said.
Roughly 2,800 unaccompanied children have arrived in
Maryland in 2014, the fifth largest number in the country. The children have
come primarily from Central America, fleeing violence in countries like El
Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
Anne Sheridan, executive director of the Governor’s Office
for Children, described the project as a “labor of love.”
The first challenge, according to Sheridan, has been
determining what kinds of resources are useful to children and their
“We have to figure out what they need,” Sheridan said.
“Then, it’s all about mechanics.”
Officials also highlighted other resources for unaccompanied
children, including a printed resource guide for people who do not have access
to the website. The United Way of Central Maryland also operates a 24-hour 2-1-1
phone hotline, which aims to provide immediate assistance and guide callers
through the Buscando website.*
The goal for Buscando is to efficiently deliver information
and resources to the people who need them. Sheridan also said she wants
children and their caretakers to know that the government is in it for the long
“We’re a welcoming place, and we want them to know that help
is available,” Sheridan said.
* An earlier version of the story mistakenly
said that Maryland’s state government operates a 2-1-1 phone hotline for
unaccompanied children and their caretakers. The 2-1-1 phone hotline is
operated by the United Way of Central Maryland.
Top of Page
Prince George’s County Deploys “Data Prince George’s”
By Press Officer
PG County Government Office
County leverages Socrata to encourage Open Government
Largo, MD – Prince George's County, through a partnership
with Socrata, recently unveiled a new government transparency portal, branded
as Data Prince George’s, which can be accessed at
By leveraging Data Prince George’s, residents and portal
visitors are able to view a wide array of datasets that range from CountyClick
311 statistics to the recipients of Prince George’s County Government
contracts. The system directly supports County Executive Rushern L. Baker III’s
focus on providing information and ensuring the transparency of government in a
more accessible and efficient manner.
Prince George’s County welcomes portal visitors to visualize,
explore, and interact with the County’s data in a collaborative online
environment that currently includes dozens of graphs, reports and maps.
Developers can also programmatically access the datasets or
download them in a multitude of formats.
One of the most immediate governmental uses for Data Prince
George’s will be alignment with the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNI)
to identify trends in distressed neighborhoods and aiding decisions about what
programs and initiatives are needed in those neighborhoods.
"Data Prince George’s will make it much easier for
County Government to share information with residents and to apply valuable
resources more wisely,” said County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III.
The general public is invited to come and experience Data
Prince George’s first hand on October 4th 2014 at 8:00am at the inaugural
Prince George’s County Hackathon hosted at Bowie State University. This event
is a chance for civically minded technologists, developers, and open data
enthusiasts to build applications based on the Data Prince George’s Application
Programming Interface (API).
“With the new Data Prince
George’s site, we invite developers to leverage the available datasets to build
apps and to develop use cases that beneficially impact the everyday lives of
our county citizens,” said Chief Information Officer Vennard Wright.
Top of Page
Campaign-Finance Complaints Stack Up as Election Day Nears
By Lejla Sarcevic
Capital News Service
ANNAPOLIS – The Maryland State Board of Elections is
carefully reviewing the two complaints Maryland gubernatorial campaigns have
filed against each other in the past two weeks.
But theirs are not the only electoral grievances filed with
Anyone can file a campaign finance complaint, and they do:
Maryland Board of Elections’ records of a dozen complaints this year show
everyone from private citizens to disgruntled campaign employees are feeling
aggrieved this election season. And the state prosecutor’s office has received
In the gubernatorial race, GOP nominee Larry Hogan filed a
complaint against Democrat Anthony Brown Sept. 4, charging that the lieutenant
governor’s campaign coordinated with a super PAC by sharing the same political
consultants. Brown filed his complaint on Tuesday, alleging his challenger’s
campaign was underpaying for the use of a tour bus, which Hogan owns.
The question of coordination between candidates and
political-fundraising groups is part of a larger national trend that has
emerged since the rise of political action committees and has left campaign
staff and election lawyers grappling with the legal consequences.
“The whole existence of super PACs depends on them being
independent of the campaign,” said Larry Noble, counsel at the Campaign Legal
Center, a non-partisan advocacy group.
Noble said that this has put the focus on what constitutes
“What we see is candidates appearing at events for their
super PACs. We see common vendors between the super PAC and the campaign.”
Courts and election boards across the nation are trying to
resolve the legality of these overlapping interests.
Jared DeMarinis, director of the Division of Candidacy and
Campaign Finance at the Maryland State Board of Elections, said that concern
about coordination between PACs and candidates is a 50-state issue.
With Election Day less than eight weeks away and a new poll
from the New York Times/CBS showing Brown at 51 percent to Hogan’s 37, time is
running short and pressure is rising for the candidates to scrutinize each
Hogan’s complaint accuses the Democratic candidate of
illegally coordinating with a super PAC called One State, One Future by sharing
the same political consulting firm, Martin-Lauer Associates.
The Baltimore-based firm has worked with other high-profile
Democrats in the state, including Gov. Martin O’Malley and Baltimore Mayor
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Martin-Lauer Associates did not respond to a request
Brown’s complaint accuses Hogan of campaign finance
violations including deceptive reporting and underreporting the cost of Hogan’s
The campaign pays Hogan, who owns the bus, $683.77 per month
for its use as an office – which they say is the same amount he pays to finance
the vehicle – according to the expenditure filings from Hogan-Rutherford.
Although Hogan’s campaign has not revealed what he paid for
the bus, the Maryland Democratic Party alleges in its complaint that “online
sales information indicates that similar models retail for between $97,000 and
And, the Maryland Democratic Party says, according to
vendors, the $683.77 reflects what it would cost to operate such a vehicle per
day, not per month.
The state’s campaign finance law states that the bus must be
rented at a fair market value and the Democratic Party is accusing
Hogan-Rutherford of underreporting Hogan’s in-kind contributions.
“Each of these cases, they are fact-based,” Noble said. “The
motive for the complaint becomes irrelevant if it is a fact-based complaint.”
But Todd Eberly, assistant professor in the political
science department at St. Mary’s College, said that there are political
advantages to filing campaign finance complaints.
Hogan’s campaign is restricted by his decision to accept
public financing, which means there are limitations on total spending and
further rules on how the $2.6 million of public money is used.
In the case of the bus, if the elections board decides that
Hogan’s campaign should be paying more, it would mean re-directing more of
Hogan’s limited funds there instead of toward other expenses.
DeMarinis, with the electoral board, said that complaints at
the gubernatorial level are not common, and are more often filed in other races
across the state.
The State Board of Elections receives campaign finance
complaints for state, county and Baltimore elections. Local election complaints
are received by that municipality, said Alisha Alexander, elections
administrator with the Prince George’s County Board of Elections.
Complaints of violations that appear criminal in nature are
forwarded to the state prosecutor’s office, because the board of elections does
not have the authority to conduct criminal investigations, said Nicolle Norris,
senior assistant state prosecutor.
Her office has received about 150 complaints since the
beginning of the year. They range from failures to file campaign finance
reports on time to more serious violations that require deeper investigations,
Norris said. Norris said that legal restrictions prohibited her from disclosing
any complaints sent to her office.
Here’s a sample of complaints filed thus far this year with
the Maryland State Board of Elections:
• A complaint alleges one candidate’s campaign committee
donated $6,000, the maximum allowed, to another candidate, and later also paid
for the second candidate’s direct mail, thereby exceeding the donation limit.
• A campaign staffer for a candidate for delegate disputed
reimbursements for lodging. He also charged the candidate forged the campaign
treasurer’s signature, among other complaints.
• In one case, the complaint stated that a candidate was
added to the ballot without a valid campaign committee.
• One candidate in a Democratic primary filed a wide-ranging
20-page complaint requesting nullification of the election due to corruption
among the media, non-profits, and the state board of elections.
For information about non-municipal campaign-finance
complaints, visit the Maryland State Board of Elections online, at www.elections.state.md.us.
Top of Page
Rangel Joins Steny Hoyer and others in Launch of “VRA for
By Press Officer
Office of Charles Rangel
Washington, DC - Congressman Rangel (D-NY) joined
Congressman Steny Hoyer, House Minority Whip (D-MD), Congresswoman Judy Chu
(D-CA), Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Congressman Bobby Scott, (D-VA),
Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA), and Congressman G.K. Butterfield, (D-NC) in
calling for an immediate vote on an amendment to the Voting Rights Act in
response to the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which struck
down key protections for voters.
Joining the Congressional Members were representatives from
major civil rights groups such as Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Marge Baker, executive vice
president for policy and program at People for the American Way (PFAW), Laura
Murphy, director of the Washington Legislative office of the ACLU, Hadar Susskind,
director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, and Hilary O. Shelton, Washington
bureau director for the NAACP.
"I'm very pleased to be part of the launch of this very
important effort to protect the legacy of the Voting Right Act," said
Rangel. Four decades after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, many
Americans are once again in danger of being disenfranchised. The Supreme Court
decision undermines the voting rights of minorities, immigrants, senior
citizens, students, and the disabled."
The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder
eliminated a crucial element of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Court ruled
that state and local governments no longer needed federal preclearance before
changing voting laws or practices. This decision has already seen states
changing their voting procedures to make it more difficult for certain groups
to be represented at the ballot.
"I remember marching from Selma to Washington with Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. and many other civil rights leaders to stand up for
everyone's rights to vote and to pursue the American Dream," Rangel
stated. "Later, as a lawyer and a U.S. Representative, I have fought to
ensure the integrity and reliability of the democratic process that we as a
country hold so dear — because shrinking the electorate has no place in
Currently, 500,000 Americans have signed a petition
supporting the Voting Rights Act amendment. Congressional Members attempted to
deliver the petition to Speaker John Boehner's office, but found the door
locked during business hours. Congressional offices usually close only during
threats of terrorism.
Rangel concluded by once again recalling the historic march
with Dr. King. "In 1965, what started out as a march turned into a
movement that ultimately cemented our fundamental right to vote, which we must
continue to invoke in our present day. Voting is the basis of our own national
security, and broadening - not restricting - the ability of everyone to vote is
the best policy for every single American."
"I am honored to stand with this group,
because the people fighting for voting rights are the real patriots in this
country," Rangel added.
Top of Page
Holds Briefing With Civil Rights Leaders on Racial Profiling Bill
By Mike Persley
Capital News Service
WASHINGTON – Members of civil rights organizations met in
Washington Tuesday morning to discuss a strategy for passing the End Racial
Profiling Act, a bill that lays out a national, comprehensive approach to end
racial discrimination by the nation’s law enforcement.
The meeting was convened by Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, who
introduced the bill in May 2013, only to watch it die in a gridlocked Congress.
The Democratic senator reintroduced the bill last week in the wake of the
controversial death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August.
“We have a racial problem with policing in the United
States, and the way we have been approaching it has not been serious because we
don’t have a plan. We don’t even know what the numbers are,” said Phillip A.
Goff, president of the Center for Policing Equity and associate professor of
psychology at UCLA, who sat on a panel of guest speakers. “We can’t answer
basic questions like how often does it happen? Where does it happen? How bad is
The End Racial Profiling Act, along with it’s House
counterpart of the same name, he said, is a first step.
Under the bill, it will be illegal for a police officer to
profile a person on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity or national origin.
It also requires police forces on all levels – state, local, and federal – to
receive training on racial profiling and to collect data on routine law
enforcement and investigatory activities.
The data collected can then be analyzed to better understand
the scope of the problem.
“How many more Michael Browns will we have that are going to
lose their life? How many Trayvon Martins?” said Cardin as he began the
There are 17 states with racial profiling bans, according to
Amnesty International USA. Six other
states have bans that only apply to motorists, and exclude pedestrians.
In Maryland, police have been required since 2001 to provide
information on traffic stops, including the demographics of the driver, the
reason for the stop, the reason for the search if one was conducted, and the
type of search.
“We need to pass legislation that once and for all says racial
profiling is wrong,” said Cardin.
The legislation will likely be blocked by the Republican-led
House, and faces an uncertain outcome in the
Senate. Several groups are arguing that new rules against
racial profiling aren’t necessary.
Roger Clegg, president and general counsel for the
conservative Center for Equal Opportunity, said the law’s lowering of the
standards required to sue will only result in a glut of litigation.
“It creates incentives to address the problem through
litigation,” he said. “But litigation is expensive. It’s unpredictable. Juries
are sometimes unpredictable. It’s not a great way to address a problem.”
Clegg also said the extent of racial profiling throughout
the country is exaggerated, and much of the disproportionality in police
efforts is because they’re focused in high-crime areas, which he said tend to
be more black or Latino.
The Fraternal Order of
Police, which represents 325,000 police officers nationwide,
has also come out against the legislation.
But Tony Rothert, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties
Union of Missouri, who has been active in helping the Brown family obtain
information from the Ferguson police, said the unrest there shows the lack of
trust between people of color and their police, and highlights why legislation
“There’s nothing special about the city of Ferguson. There’s
nothing special about the Ferguson police department,” he said, speaking to a
crowded room. “If I were making a list of the dozens of police departments
within St. Louis County where
“Ferguson” would have happened, Ferguson would
not have been in my top 10. There’s likely a million other places where it’s
waiting to happen.”
Top of Page
Would you like to subscribe?
Please contact our office:
15207 Marlboro Pike
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
The Prince George's Post is
made up of the following staff:
Senior Editor & Publisher
Legusta Floyd, Sr.
General Manager & Legal Advertising Manager
Legal Advertising Assistant
Subscriptions and Legals
Michal W. Frangia
James and Betty Murphy