Criminal Behaviour

On the part of who? It would appear some Baltimore Police officers.

Not just according to WBAL TV News, after all there is surveillance video from the bar to back up this assertion. You decide.

The real question here (that I have) is exactly how is justice served by actions like this? Unwarranted police searches. Bad treatment of customers in a place of business, when their immediate target is one specific person.

Ultimately, how will the Police Department handle this outrageous behaviour? Will we be privy to the process and determination of the status of those officers? Will they come to trial? What’s more – will those officers learn from their mistakes, or just operate that way more “carefully” in the future?

Lastly, here’s a quote. See if anyone can tell me who said it.

“The law must apply to everyone, or it means nothing. Do you understand?”

Dispelling Rumors

It has come to my attention that there are those folks out there wondering of the identity/identities of who is behind several sites/postings both here and other places.

All I can tell you is, this site is run largely by one person. Myself. At least, until someone expresses an interest in posting as a guest blogger, or offers material intended to relate to the upcoming Question on the 2010 Maryland Ballot.

I am not related in any way with the O’MalleyWatch2010 site, although I do frequent it as a reader and message poster. I do not know who is behind the creation/administration of that site. And what is more, that person is not responsible for this site.

The sole purpose of this site is to educate the Maryland public of an upcoming event that they may consider useful when the time comes to vote in November, 2010. That’s it. No politicking is allowed here, this is a non-partisan site.

Informative. That’s what I want for everyone. And only that.

Harford Co. Council wants no TEA Party?

On The Dagger is an interesting article concerning the Harford County Council’s response to an enterprising email for an upcoming protest on Tuesday, May 19.

Please go read that article here. (And then come back, please.)

While the question there is – “Will keeping the Constant Tax Yield rate be considered a tax hike?” – my concern, and maybe others, is – “Shouldn’t the calculation of this rate be addressed to take into account the fall in property (aka, homeowners) values?”

This is a considerable problem in this current storm of falling economic times.

Here’s a better question.

Why should government be excluded from an economic “hit” whenever property values fall like it has recently? This is a rare event. But, given the current definition of the Constant Yield Rate, it clearly means that homeowners economic problems (higher bills) means nothing to government.

Talk about unfair.

Who has a better answer?

Problem: When to say, “Enough is enough.”

Particularly when a criminal keeps being a criminal, being brought before a judge approximately 40 times, and his latest crime is the ultimate crime. Murder. Oh, and kidnapping.

32 year old Sherman Anderson, according to court records, hasĀ  a lengthy criminal history which includes more than 40 arrests. Time spent in jail was not more than a few months.

Some of his crimes were a drug charge, three attempted murders, five handgun charges. All dropped.

Margaret Burns, City State’s Attorney’s Office, says that many cases are dropped due to insufficient evidence. In other cases either witnesses could not be located or the identification witness is not available. But it did not sound like she was speaking these were the facts in this particular case.

For now, Anderson is held without bail.

We desperately need an answer to a very serious problem such as this.
Do we need a “3 Strikes Law”, or something like it?

It seems in this case, the latest murder could have been prevented – if Mr. Anderson would have been jailed right after the third attempted murder.

Now, I know what you are going to say – “There’s nothing here that says he was found guilty of these 3 attempted murder charges.”

True. Not said in this article nor in the Fox 45 report. Yet this does not mean we should avoid the issue of making sure a legal tool is in place for a possibility like this.

So why do we not have such a law? Or do we have one on the books? If so, has it ever been used? And if it hasn’t, why not?

Don’t answer that now, perhaps in 2010 we would have a chance to ensure that we HAVE such a law and make it work.

Waste, however small in scale, still waste

Last evening’s FOX 45 News Cover Story focused on our tax dollars at work providing top officials security and state drivers.
Surprisingly, state law requires the Governor and Lt. Governor have a security detail and driver. Others?
Recently, State Comptroller Franchot (& party) visited a Bel Air new high school on a good will journey via a state car and state driver.
Franchot was quoted saying – “We want to make sure that money is spent efficiently, without waste.” “Actually we want to see how state dollars are spent.” “I think it’s important to have good protection and efficient transportation.”

Fox45 watched the Comptroller’s protection sit in the vehicle, waiting for 20 minutes. Never stepping out of the car. Except to open the door for Franchot.

Del. Anthony O’Donnel (R) Dict 29C also stated, “People are having a hard time paying electric bills, they don’t want to see someone being driven around …”
“Things like this kind of highlight the waste that goes on here.”

Dept of Legislative Services estimates over $3.4 million a year for driving and protecting a select group of elected state officials.

Most do not know that the Attorney General, Comptroller and State Treasurer all receive executive protection. The Senate President and Speaker of the House are entitled to year-round legislative security & drivers. A legislative session only lasts 90 days.

Christopher Summers, President of the MD Public Policy Institute says, “Why does the Speaker, Comptroller and Treasurer require a security detail and drivers?”

Each of the 42 Troopers assigned earn about $100K per year, which includes the benefits.
Franchot – “This is a very important way of getting around the state.”

But wasteful, according to Chris Summers.
“It sort of highlights the arrogance in Annapolis.”

It’s not just lawmakers who enjoy drivers. Drivers are also assigned to:
Univ System of MD Chancellor & President, 3 Univ MD campuses, Morgan State, St. Mary’s College and members of the state’s judiciary branch.

Del. O’Donnel introduced legislation in last session to prohibit any official, except for the Gov & Lt Gov, from using or receiving state police chauffeured transportation. The bill stalled in the House after failing to gain traction.

Dept of Legislative Services analysis of state agencies using tax dollars for chauffeured transportation found that getting rid of the drivers would only have a “minimal impact” on state expenditures.

Del. O’Donnel says that is not an excuse. “People need to know we are trying to save the taxpayer every nickel and dime possible.”

Franchot has said the he would not have a problem driving himself around the state of Maryland if lawmakers said so.

The state reimburses its employees $.55 per mile if they use their own vehicles for official business.

Excessive? I think so. One has to start cutting back somewhere.