Wednesday, December 19, 2012

United Way’s Maryland 2-1-1

United Way’s Maryland 2-1-1 offers information and resources to assist residents in need of mental health resources.

Upper Marlboro, MD – In the wake of last week’s tragic shootings in Newtown, CT, the Office of Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III and Community Crisis Services, Inc. wants to make residents aware of a free resource called Maryland 2-1-1This free service connects residents to mental health and other human services that are so important during difficult times like these. 2-1-1 is staffed by professionals who quickly assess the callers’ needs and refer them agencies or resources to assist them or family members who are struggling with emotional issues.  2-1-1 operates 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, in over 200 languages.

2-1-1 is also a resource for referral to many other County and regional services including rental assistance, food banks, affordable housing resources, child care, after-school programs, elderly care, financial literacy and job training programs.  2-1-1 is funded through local and state sources including, the United Way and other nonprofits, foundations and businesses.

Maryland’s 2-1-1 professionals will connect everyone who needs help with the right resources. 

Friday, December 14, 2012


Are you a woman serving in an elected position in a municipality in Maryland?  Well, you should visit the WINGS WEBSITE LINK, and consider getting involved.  Here is the Link:  Check it out and take the survey while you are there.

Holiday TIPS from the Chief

Police are asking residents to review their holiday purchases and shipments to determine if any packages are missing. If you have shipped a gift to a family member, confirm with the recipient that it has arrived. If the delivery company reports that the package was delivered, but you believe it may have been stolen, take the following steps:

• Check the back or side door to see if the delivery was left at another location. Check with neighbors to see if the package was delivered to the wrong address.
• Call the delivery company to confirm it was delivered.
• Report the incident to police by calling 301-985-6565/6566.

To prevent thefts, police encourage residents to follow these tips:

• Track shipments, and try to be home when they are scheduled to arrive.
• If you won’t be home, have the shipment delivered to your work, if possible, or ask the delivery company to leave the package in a discreet location, such as a back door.
• Ask a neighbor to take the package inside until you get home.
• Be aware of suspicious people and vehicles. Delivery drivers are asked to be aware of vehicles following them.
• If you notice suspicious behavior, call 911 immediately. Make note of any vehicle’s make, model, tag number and direction of travel.

Michael E. Scott
Chief of Police
Mount Rainier Police Department
3249 Rhode Island Avenue
Mount Rainier, Maryland 20712
Twitter: @MRPDChief

Monday, December 10, 2012


Stumbled across this earlier this morning and wanted to share.  Click on or copy and paste this link and see Mount Rainier from another point of view.

I loved it.  Think you will too!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

National Christmas Tree Lighting 2012

he National Christmas Tree Lighting2012

Join WETA Television on Friday, December 7 for a Washington holiday tradition. Now in its 90th year, the ceremonial lighting of the National Christmas Tree signals the start of the holiday season across the country. Taped at President's Park in Washington, D.C., this special features performances by musical artists including James Taylor, Kenny "Baby-face" Edmonds, Colbie Caillat andAmerican Idol winner Phillip Phillips. The festivities will be capped by the ceremonial lighting of the National Christmas Tree.
Watch Friday, December 7 at 9:00pm on WETA Television

Monday, December 03, 2012

Yard Waste Collection December - February

A REMINDER -- Mount Rainier Resident

In accordance with the City of Mount Rainier Code 110 A, Yard waste will be collected on the second (2nd) Monday in December, January and February by appointments only

Residents are to call the bulk line (301-985-6558) and choose options 2 for yard waste.


WHO: Prince George’s County Public School’s Office of Pupil Accounting 
WHAT: School Boundary Public Forums
WHERE: Various locations
Tuesday, December 4
Nicholas Orem Middle School (Cafeteria)
6100 Editors Park Dr., Hyattsville
Thursday, December 6
Walker Mill Middle School (Cafeteria)
800 Karen Blvd., Capitol Heights
Wednesday, December 12
Oxon Hill Middle School (Cafeteria)
9570 Fort Foote Rd., Fort Washington

WHEN: All scheduled forums will start at 6 p.m.
BACKGROUND: Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) will host three public forums on school boundaries, grade structures and academic program changes. For more information call  301.952.6300 or email 
*Courtesy of PGCPS website

Friday, November 09, 2012

Looking Toward Veterans Day 11/11/2012

Veterans Day is Sunday, November 11, and many celebrations will go on around the United States of America.  Again, this year, Mount Rainier will not have a celebration for our Veterans even though I tried to get the program off the ground.  It is my goal to work on this project all year long and be prepared to showcase our first Veterans Day program in 2013.

To those men in women who live in or lived in Mount Rainier that are veterans or are currently serving, I salute you.  You remind me every day of those freedoms that I so cherish.  I am grateful to have had more than 25 members of my family serve in various branches of the military.  Many of them are deceased, but many of them are still here.  Those who served in the Vietnam War still feel the pain of that war, and so do I.  My hat goes off to the mothers and wives of those veterans.

A few years ago, my best friend, a veteran of Vietnam died.  When he returned from the war, he had agent orange, post traumatic stress disorder/sysdrome PTSD, along with many other problems and issues including a drug habit that he brought back with him.  He was never given the treatment and services he needed in the early years, and his illnesses worsened over the years even though he overcame his drug addiction.

I know and knew then he was not alone in his struggle.  He was just one of many.  My ex-husband, who lived here in Mount Rainier for many years is also a Vietnam Veteran.  He is currently a physician in Columbia South Carolina, but it took him some years to settle back into America, continue his education, and move forward with his life.  His experience in Vietnam, and the death of his Mother pushed his to seek and obtain a medical degree to help others.

So, today, November 9, 2011, I wish to let you know how much I value you, admire you, and appreciate that you have chosen Mount Rainier as your home!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012


October 31, 2012

Trick or treating will go on as scheduled tonight. MRPD will have extra officers on duty to ensure the safety of parents and children.

Listed below are a few of the more important safety tips to help parents and children ensure a night of fun without incurring the risk of future nightmares.
·         Help your child pick out or make a costume that will be safe.  Make it fire proof, and if you use a mask, be sure that the eye holes are large enough for good peripheral vision.  It is always better to use non-allergenic face paint rather than wearing a mask.
·         It is always best to use a non-flame light source to illuminate your decorative jack-o-lanterns. If you set jack-o-lanterns on your porch with candles in them, be sure that they are far enough out of the way so that kids’ costumes won’t be accidentally set on fire. 
·         Make sure that if your child is carrying a prop such as knives or swords as part of his or her costume that the tips are smooth and flexible enough not to cause injury if the child falls or comes into contact with another child or adult.
·         Children always want to take part in pumpkin carving.  Small children should not be allowed to use a sharp knife or saw to cut the top or carve the face.  There are many commercially available pumpkin-carving kits that come with tiny saws that work better than knives and are safer for older children to use.  It is best to let the younger children clean out the pumpkin and draw a face or other design on it, which parents or older children can then carve for them.
·         Treating your kids to a spooky Halloween dinner will make them less likely to eat the candy they collect before you have the chance to check it for them.  Instruct your children not to eat any treats until they bring them home to be examined by you.
·         Review with your children some basic personal safety tips such as not getting into cars or talking to strangers, and watching both ways before crossing streets.
·         Let your children know not to cut through back alleys and fields. Make sure they know to stay in populated places and don't go off the beaten track. Stay in well-lighted areas.
·         Make sure your child carries a flashlight, glow stick or has reflective tape on their costume to make them more visible to cars.
·         It is important that younger children not be permitted to go out Trick or Treating by themselves without some adult supervision.  It is a good rule of thumb to have at least one adult for every 3-5 children in a group.  Take this opportunity to partner with a neighbor or other family member to assist with supervising the kids.  Heck, why not get into costume yourself – no sense letting the kids have all the fun!
·         If you allow your older children to go out Trick or Treating by themselves, know the route they will be taking.  It is also a good idea for you to walk the route, in the dark, a day or so before hand so you’ll be aware of any hazards the children may come across.  If you have a friend or neighbor you know that lives along the planned route, alert them to what costume your child is wearing so that they can keep an eye out for them.
·         Make sure you set a time by which the children should be home, and be sure to stress to them the importance of being home on time before they leave.  Some children do not have a good sense of time, so an alternative would be to have them come home after they have gone around the block once.
·         Explain to your children the difference between tricks and vandalism.  Throwing eggs or papering a house may seem like fun, but they need to know that this is unacceptable behavior.  Damaging someone’s property or causing them a lot of messy clean up is not fun.  Clean up, having to pay for damages and other legal repercussions can ruin Halloween for both children and their parents.  The Mount Rainier Police Department is extremely intolerant of vandalism of any sort, regardless of a person’s age.
·         Explain to your kids that animal cruelty is not acceptable.  Kids know this on their own, but sometimes peer pressure can be a bad thing. Make sure that they know that harming animals is not only morally wrong, but punishable by law and will not be tolerated.
·         The official Halloween Safety Game - is a fun, interactive way to teach younger children basic Halloween safety rules.
·         Homeowners should consider healthy food alternatives to candy for trick-or-treaters which may include packages of low-fat crackers with cheese or peanut butter filling, single-serve boxes of cereal, packaged fruit rolls, mini boxes of raisins and single-serve packets of low-fat popcorn that can be microwaved later.  You can also offer non-food treats such as plastic rings, pencils, stickers, erasers, or other small school supplies.

From Chief Michael Sott

Early Voting Re-Opens TODAY

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III , Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown and State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks Encourage Early Voting As Polls Re-Open Upper Marlboro, MD –This morning, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown and State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks will stop by one of Prince George’s County’s five early voting locations as the polls re-open in Prince George’s County and around the state.

“I applaud the Governor for extending the hours for voting and adding another day to early voting. This is a very important election and I encourage people to vote early,” said Rushern L. Baker.

WHO:     Maryland Lieutenant Governor Anthony BrownPrince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, IIIPrince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks

WHAT:Promote early voting and the re-opening of Prince George’s County’s five locations

WHERE:Wayne K. Curry Sports & Learning Center, 8001 Sheriff Road, Landover, MD 20785
  WHEN:   Wednesday, October 31, 20128:45 AM – 9:15 AM

Getting Rid of the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

Rushern L. Baker

– The Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources (DER) announced that all waste management facilities, including the Brown Station Road Sanitary Landfill, Brown Station Road Public Convenience Center and Acceptance Centers, Missouri Avenue Solid Waste Acceptance and Recycling Center, Prince George’s County Yard Waste Composting Facility and the Materials Recycling Facility, will be open and fully operational on Wednesday, October 31, 2012. In addition, collection services for refuse, recycling, yard waste and bulky trash will resume on Wednesday, October 31, 2012.

Residents may dispose of storm-related debris at the Brown Station Road Sanitary Landfill and the Prince George’s County Yard Waste Composting Facility, free of charge, beginning Wednesday, October 31 and continuing through Saturday, November 10, 2012.

Residents may dispose of their brush and tree limbs at the Brown Station Road Sanitary Landfill located at 11611 White House Road in Upper Marlboro between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The brush and tree limbs must not exceed 5 feet in length and 10 inches in diameter.

The Prince George’s County Yard Waste Composting Facility, located at 6601 E. Crain Highway in Upper Marlboro (from Crain Highway, proceed on Maude Savoy Brown Road and follow signs to the facility), will be open for residents to dispose of their storm-related brush and tree limbs from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The brush and tree limbs must not exceed 5 feet in length and 10 inches in diameter.

County residents may also dispose of their storm-related brush and tree limbs by placing it at the curb on their regularly scheduled collection day for yard waste. Tree limbs must not exceed 4 feet in length and 3 inches in diameter, and must be securely tied in bundles. Brush may be placed in securely tied, heavy-duty plastic bags, paper yard bags or heavy-duty trash cans with handles and a secure lid.

Verification of County residency will be required upon entering the Brown Station Road Sanitary Landfill and the Prince George’s County Yard Waste Composting Facility. Commercial vehicles will be charged according to the normal disposal rates. For more information on the disposal of storm-related debris, call the 3-1-1 Call Center.

Monday, October 29, 2012

City Residents, YOUR staff is at WORK TODAY!

The City of Mount Rainier is  open today and will remain open the remainder of the day.  Please note that this City of Mount Rainier and the City of Seat Pleasant are the only local governments open to our knowledge in Prince George’s County as of this communication.  All Federal and DC Government Offices are closed as well as Metro Bus and Rail service.  The State of Maryland is also closed and Governor O’Malley has issued warning for people to stay indoors.  I elected along with ACM Jackson to keep the offices open today since the height of storm with severe wind gusts is not expected until 5pm this evening through all day tomorrow.  We will notify both Fox 5 and WUSA 9 of the City of Mount Rainier closure tomorrow.  We have already been experiencing limited cell phone usage and disruption in the alarm service at city hall.

Today, all public works and public safety personnel are on duty as well as civilian, administrative and management staff.  Tomorrow the schedule is as follows:

1.    Essential personnel will be on duty:  this includes all public safety personnel including civilian staff.  All public safety personnel will be on duty around the clock (I.E., 24 HOURS) beginning with today.  Public Works will be on duty as well the management team.
2.    The police station will be open 24 hours.  All persons needing assistant or that have questions should call the police station at 301-985-6980 or 6590.
3.    All emergencies should be called into 911.
4.    The police station has enough fuel should there be a power outage to last for three (3) days.
5.    The nearest shelter is at Ritchie Stadium on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park.  There has been no notification of the Northwestern HS shelter on Adelphi, Road Hyattsville, MD as all schools are currently closed.  There are cases of water at both city Hall and the Police Station.
6.    Everyone should ensure that their residence has at a minimum a three day supply of non-perishable food items, water, bleach, and wipes.

Please note that wind gusts are expected up to 70-90 MPH.  During heavy wind and rain, the public works department staff will be unable to remove or cut tree limbs until safe to do so.  PEPCO will also not send out crews to repair downed power lines during heavy wind gusts.

Please send this information out to all those on your list serv.  We will post this information on the website and city cable stations.  On Wednesday, we hopefully will be back to full operation should the severe weather improve.  Please contact us should you have any questions.  Chief, Mike – please feel free to add anything I may have omitted in this communication.

Please take every precaution to be safe.

Thank you.                                                                                      

Jeannelle Branson Wallace
City Manager
City of Mount Rainier
One Municipal Place
Mount Rainier, Maryland 20712
(301) 985-6585 (Direct)
(240) 508-3595 (Cellular)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Winning Design for BUS WRAP ON ROUTE 1

Route 1 Municipal Mayors & Administrators:

I would like to pre-announce to all the municipalities that have assisted with the Route 1 Ride Project the winner of the Public Art Bus-Wrap Design Competition.  Attached is the winning design, created by local artist Jennifer Axner, entitled “Route 1 Paint Tube”.  Ms. Axner’s design will be used to wrap the exterior of three buses owned by Prince George’s County, servicing TheBus Route 17 “Route 1 Ride”, which extends along the Route 1 Corridor from Mount Rainier to North College Park. 

The Route 1 Ride Collaborative provided online crowdsourcing to determine the final selection.  For nearly two months this summer, anyone with access to the Internet could vote for one of three final designs that were chosen from a jury comprised of representatives from the Route 1 Corridor, including members from all seven municipalities.  We received about 3,000 votes total, and the final results indicated that each of the three designs were nearly equal in popularity. 

The Collaborative will now negotiate with the County’s Department of Public Works & Transportation on a timeline to have the buses wrapped with the winning design.  Our best estimate for this is late fall.  Once the buses are wrapped, a ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned.  All participating municipalities will receive appropriate invitations. 

Please share this information with your council members and staff.  We look forward to the continued collaborative effort to make the Route 1 Ride a successful public transportation service, and a part of the ongoing effort to redevelop this area of the Route 1 Corridor.

As always, please contact me if you have any questions.

With regards,
Alex Hirtle
Route 1 Ride Coordinator

Alex Hirtle
Assistant to the Council Administrator
for Special Projects
Prince George's County Council

Preparing for Hurricane Sandy

Dear Citizens of Mount Rainier:

Depending on the path of Hurricane Sandy it is possible that we could see high winds and heavy rains. The upcoming storm that is forecaste to take place Sunday through the early part of next is could bring high winds that can cause dangerous conditions for your home.  Meteorologists are monitoring the path of Hurricane Sandy as it heads up the coast.  Please stay tuned to your local weather station for up to date information.  We want to provide you some tips to keep in mind as it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Below are some steps that you can take to secure your home.  Please note that these are precautionary measures.

1.       Secure any loose lawn furniture in the front or rear of your home.
2.       Make sure any furniture or objects are NOT near any sliding doors.
3.       If you have anything that cannot be brought into your home securely fasten it or store in a shed.
4.       If you have any damage to windows or glass doors make sure to secure immediately.
5.       Remove any toys, bikes, or lawn care equipment from the yard.
6.       Remove any bird feeders.
7.       Secure satellite dishes.
8.       If you doubt that an object can withstand high winds, bring it inside.
Taking these simple steps can help with safety for everyone during storms.

In the event that you lose power, there are some general steps you can take to remain safe. First contact your electric provider to alert them of the issue. The Pepco number to report power outages is: 1-877-737-2662 Make sure to have plenty of water and batteries. Have a flashlight on hand at all times. Make sure to not burn candles. DO NOT use gas powered generators because they are a fire hazard and illegal. Have a battery powered radio on hand to stay informed on all emergency information.

Here is a link from the National Weather Service of extra information on severe storms and the latest on Hurricane Sandy:  This website can provide information on family preparedness as well as extra safety precautions that can be taken.

Please try to prepare your home as best as possible for the well being of you and your neighbors. Thank you very much and stay safe and dry.

Thank you,

Michael D. Jackson

Assistant City Manager
City of Mount Rainier
1 Municipal Place
Mount Rainier, Md. 20712

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Governor has declared a State of Emergency for The State of Maryland in anticipation of the storm

Our office recently received an e-mail stating the Governor has declared a State of Emergency for The State of Maryland in anticipation of the storm.  Please read and consider the tips provided below.  Our office is also providing additional contact information.  Please be careful and vigilant of your surroundings.  Let’s Hope for the Best, but prepare for the worst.   
Updates and additional contact information will be forwarded as we receive them.

Regards, Will

Preparing For The Storm

  • Prepare for possible power outages lasting several hours or even several days.
  • Have emergency numbers on hand, including the power company, gas company and your insurance carrier, including your policy number.
·         Keep all cell phones charged and keep a full tank of gas in your car.
·         Get lanterns or large flashlights and have them in a place that will be easily accessible if the power goes out. Avoid candles which can be a fire risk.
·         Keep at least a three day supply of non-perishable food on hand.
·         FEMA suggests you keep one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation. Remember to plan for pets as well.
·         If the power goes out, don’t open the refrigerator! If the power is out for less than two hours, the food inside should be safe to eat.
·         Don’t forget a manual can opener.
·         Clear all gutters and drains.
  • Secure any loose items such as yard furniture and grills outside of your house.
  • If using a generator, make sure it is not in a basement or garage and make sure it is located a safe distance from any door, windows or ventilation systems.
  • Stores may be crowded on Sunday; consider stocking up on essentials a day or two sooner.
·         Have adequate prescription medicines and/or infant supplies on hand. Keep a list of all medications on hand.

For more preparedness information, please visit the following web sites:
ANIMAL MANAGEMENT DIVISION – 301-780-7200.  Emergency Customer Svc. after hours numbers 301-780-7241; 7242;7243
BALTIMORE GAS & ELECTRIC – 1-877-778-2222
PEPCO – 1-877- PEPCO62 OR 1-877-737-2662 OR 202-833-7500
WASHINGTON GAS – 24 HOUR EMERGENCY LINE 703-750-1400 – 1-800-752-7520
FIRE/EMS DEPARTMENT – Emergency Watch office staffed 24hours – 301-583-2200
PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY CLICK 311 – DIAL 311 to report any issue or click on the link below.

National Red Cross

American Red Cross National Headquarters
2025 E Street
Washington, DC 20006



National Headquarters Staff Directory


Public Inquiries

202-303-4498 (M-F, 8 AM -5 PM)
MEMA -  Toll Free: 1-877-MEMA-USA (1-877-636-2872)

Thank You,

John J. McGroarty
Community Liaison
Council Member Will Campos
District II - Prince George's County Council
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive - 2nd Floor
Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772
(301) 952-4858


Not much in favor of early voting, but it is here and available to you.  Regardless of when you vote, IT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAT YOU VOTE.  Early voting is available to you in MARYLAND.  Prince George's County residents may vote early.

Early voting begins Saturday, October 27th and ends Thursday, November 1st, 2012. Early voting centers will be open 10am – 8pm every day except Sunday during this period. On Sunday, centers will be open 12pm – 6pm.

Here is a list of where you can vote early :

Upper Marlboro Community Center
5400 Marlboro Race Track Rd
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Directions To This Location

College Park Community Center
5051 Pierce Avenue
College Park, MD 20742
Directions To This Location

Bowie Library
15210 Annapolis Road
Bowie, MD 20715
Directions To This Location

Wayne K. Curry Sports & Learning Center
Landover Room A
8001 Sheriff Road
Landover, MD 20785
Directions To This Location

Oxon Hill Library
6200 Oxon Hill Road
Oxon Hill, MD 20745
Directions To This Location

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Community in the Courthouse returns

  • From States Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks
    Community in the Courthouse returns on Friday, September 28 at 8:30 a.m. Do you want to learn more about the criminal justice system and our courts? This is a chance for everyday citizens to get involved and stay updated on criminal justice issues in our community. We meet at the Upper Marlboro Courthouse on the ground floor. Join us for light breakfast, coffee and a great discussion!


GOAL:   Identify all veterans living in Mount Rainier Maryland.

PURPOSE:  To recognize and honor them on Saturday, November 10, 2012

INVITED:  All residents of Mount Rainier and Prince George's County as well as the District of Columbia

PROGRAM and REFRESHMENTS:  Will be available

TIME:  11:00am

PLACE:  Mount Rainier's City Hall/Pott's House

NEED:  Name, Rank, Address, Years Served, and any other information you wish to share


SEND TO:  Mayor Malinda Miles, One Municipal Place, Mount Rainier, MD 20712 or

                   EMAIL IT TO:

LET'S MAKE this a special celebration for those who fought for our freedom!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Free Food and Entertainment

Save the Date...
      The 47th District Picnic
           Is September 22nd from 12-5
Who:  All our friends and constituents
When:  Saturday, Sept 22nd   from 12-5 pm
Where:  Bartlett Park in Brentwood, Maryland
             (between Upshur and 39th Place)
Mark your calendars to come and enjoy a little lunch, entertainment and a relaxing afternoon with Delegates Summers, Ivey and Niemann and Senator Ramirez.
Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Survey from our public library

Not sure if the survey was intended for a wide audience.  I hope you can provide input.  It is an important survey for our community.  This link SHOULD get you to the survey.  Please complete it if you can.

Prince George's County Memorial Library System is embarking on a study to understand the needs of our community and our customers.

As part of this process, we are conducting an online survey with our library stakeholders to assess the direction of the library to meet our community’s ongoing needs. You may have recently received another survey invitation from the Library which was sent to all cardholders, and we appreciate if you responded to it. However, this survey was designed specially for stakeholders from around our community.

On behalf of everyone at the Library, we would like to thank you in advance for your willingness to share your thoughts and opinions with us to help make our Library better for the future.

Please click here to take the survey.


Kathleen Teaze
Director, Prince George's County Memorial Library System

NOTE: If you do not wish to take the survey and would like to opt out of it, please click here.

From the Office of the Governor

Office of the Governor

August 20, 2012

Dear Friend,

Today, the Secretary of State released the final language for the ballot questions in Maryland for the 2012 General Election. This is an important election, and as Marylanders, it is our responsibility to make informed decisions on policies that will affect our State for years to come.

I encourage everyone to closely examine the ballot initiatives and share the language with family and friends. This year, we have a unique opportunity to move our State forward toward a more just and equal society, while defending dignity, protecting religious freedom, and investing in our greatest assets: the talents, skills, ingenuity and creativity of our people.

To read all of the ballot language, please click here or copy and post this link in your address line above 

Below are the statewide ballot questions.
Question 1 - Constitutional Amendment – Qualifications for Prince George’s County Orphans’ Court Judges
Question 2 – Constitutional Amendment – Qualifications for Baltimore County Orphans’ Court Judges
Question 3 – Constitutional Amendment – Suspension and Removal of Elected Officials
Question 4 – Referendum Petition – Public Institutions of Higher Education – Tuition Rates
Question 5 – Referendum Petition – Congressional Districting Plan
Question 6 – Referendum Petition - Civil Marriage Protection Act
Question 7 – Gaming Expansion Referendum - Gaming Expansion

I'd also like to encourage every Marylander to register to vote. This year, for the first time, you can register to vote and change your address online. Click here to register. 
Thank you,Martin O'MalleyGovernor

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Are you a soldier, veteran or reservist living in Mount Rainier?  Are you a soldier, veteran or reservist and once lived in Mount Rainier?  Do you know someone that falls in either of these categories?  In November 2012, I would be honored to recognize them during the first Veteran Day service held in Mount Rainier in more than 40+ years.  To put together the program and recognize our veterans, I need to collect names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, and other information ASAP.  I am working with the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs to make this an outstanding event.

How will YOU vote on the Casino Referendum?

Did you even know that there was a special session of our Maryland State Legislature?  Did you know we the residents took the hit for that special session for two issues:  Pit Bulls and the Expansion of Casinos by opening one in Prince George's County.

Below is our Delegate Doyle Niemann's take on this issue, why and how he voted.

A Disappointing Special Session

On Tuesday night, slightly before midnight, the second special session this year of the Maryland General Assembly came to an end.  It was not one of our better moments.
This session was called for two purposes. 
·         First, to correct problems created by a court decision that declared pit bulls to be inherently dangerous. This meant landlords could be held liable for any harm they cause. As a result, the owners of rental properties are facing loss of insurance and pet owners may have to give up their dogs.
·         Second, to consider a proposal to expand gambling to include table games and a new casino in Prince George's County. 

No Action on Dogs

On the dog front, we failed to do anything.  The Senate passed a bill that abolished Maryland’s long-standing policy requiring proof that a dog is dangerous before an owner or landlord can be held liable for damages.  The House passed a narrower bill.  But in the craze over gambling nothing was done to reconcile the two.

Concessions and Give-Aways on Gambling

On gambling, a poorly crafted bill passed by the narrowest of margins.  Because I believe it will cause lasting damage to Maryland consumers and communities, I voted against it.
The problem the casino owners and their supporters had was that they didn’t have the votes to pass their bill on its merits.  So they had to make big concessions and deals to get the 71 votes they needed.
To appease existing casino owners, the leaders in the House slashed the amount of money going to the state’s Education Trust Fund, giving much more to the casino owners.  For “Maryland Live!” in Anne Arundel County, the share going to education was cut from 67% to 51%, with the possibility of another 2% reduction in the future.  For the proposed facility in Baltimore, the share for education was cut from 67% to 54%, with the possibility of a cut to 51% in the future. The casino owners get the rest.
But that was not enough. Casinos will now be able to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  The late hours won’t attract many “recreational gamblers,” but they will make it easier for the desperate and the addicted to lose their money.  That’s a big dollar gain for the casinos but a loss for Maryland families.
And still more, the casino owners will now be allowed to keep 80% of the proceeds from unlimited table games.  In 2017, that would be $255 million to the owners but a credit of only $50 million for education.

Adding It All Up: A Bad Deal

Adding it all together, with the increased payouts to owners and the reduction in the share for education, the 24-hour operation, and table games, in 2017, the Education Trust Fund will get less than $40 million more from the expansion of gaming.  The owners, on the other hand, will get a whopping $435 million on top of what they already get.  That is more than double what they would have received if we had left things as they are.
Looked at another way, under this bill, Maryland families will be allowed (encouraged even) to lose more than half a billion dollars ($577 million) in additional money at the casinos to gain the Educational Trust Fund less than $40 million in new money.[1]
I do not believe this makes economic or social sense.  That is why I voted against the bill.

Neighborhood Slots and More Questionable Deals

In one of the most disturbing deals to win votes, a floor amendment was adopted that allows entities that declare themselves to be “veterans” organizations to apply for up to five slot machines.  That will put gambling within reach of virtually every neighborhood in the state (except for Montgomery County, whose leaders cynically exempted themselves out).
In Prince George's County alone, 26 VFWs and American Legions could qualify for five slot machines each.  But the deluge of slots isn’t likely to be so limited.  Given the poor definitions in the bill, the actual number of eligible organizations and slot machines could be many times higher.  (You can be sure that those looking for a quick buck will figure out how to use this to their advantage.)
I led a floor fight on this amendment but lost after the Speaker refused to allow a recorded vote.  I believe this proposal alone could result in the placement of thousands of slot machines in neighborhoods around the state – with all the negative consequences that can bring.
Local communities where casinos are located get money under the bill.  That is one of the stated reasons County Executive Baker pushed so hard for a casino in our county.  In our case, this could be as much as $16 million.  But to win a vote in committee, 40% of that money must go just for infrastructure along Indian Head Highway.
To win some Baltimore votes, House leaders also agreed to a provision that will make it harder to eliminate illegal slot machines in bars, restaurants and other locations in Baltimore County and City.  This overturned a decision the legislature made in January.  Its supporters believe it will open the door to an expansion of neighborhood-based slots in those areas.

How to Vote in November

The real damage caused by the bill, which has now been signed into law by Governor O’Malley, does not come from the addition of a Prince George's County casino, whether at National Harbor or elsewhere.  It comes from the changes in hours, the changes in formulas, the addition of table games, and the expansion of non-casino slots into neighborhoods.  All of this is either in effect now or will go into effect if the package is approved by voters statewide.
We face a dilemma. If Prince George's County voters do not approve the bill in November, no casino will open here.  This opens the all-too-likely possibility that some of the casino interests will push Prince George's voters to vote no, while encouraging state voters to vote yes.  For them, that would be the best of all worlds: they avoid competition but get the benefit of all the concessions and giveaways.
As a county, we have been placed in a no-win situation.  We have lost the critical battle, which had to do with the expansion of gambling on our borders.  We must now think hard about whether to vote yes or no in November.
Delegate Doyle Niemann
Maryland House of Delegates, District 47