Blocking people on Facebook comes back to haunt governor and county takes notice
ROCKVILLE – Members of the Montgomery County Council say they’re taking notice after the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against Gov. Larry Hogan.
The lawsuit, filed Monday, alleges that Hogan’s staff members deleted comments and blocked constituents from viewing his Facebook page.
“The highest purpose of the First Amendment is to protect the right of Americans to engage in political speech and to petition the government to address their concerns," said Deborah Jeon, legal director for the ACLU of Maryland in a statement.
Maryland and D.C. file suit against Trump claiming emoluments clause violation
WASHINGTON D.C. – Attorneys general for Maryland and the District of Columbia announced Monday that they are suing President Donald J, Trump for violating one of the U.S. Constitutions antcorruption clauses.
At a press conference Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine filed a lawsuit against the president, citing his real estate properties – including the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. – and alleged business deals between foreign governments at the Trump Organization as evidence the president violated the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.
The Emoluments Clause is a portion of the Constitution the states the president cannot receive a title of nobility from a foreign government or a salary other than the one Congress pays the president.
“I can tell as I look that as I look out the window and see the tower of the Trump International Hotel, we know exactly what’s going on every single day,” Racine said. “We know that foreign governments are spending money there in order to curry favor with the President of the United States.”
County Executive Ike Leggett praised a $25 million settlement between the County and developers of the Paul S. Sarbanes Silver Spring Transit Center last week.
Months after the County sued the transit center’s contractor Foulger-Pratt, its designer Parsons Brinckerhoff and the construction inspector Robert Balter, they settled May 30. The County claimed the developers and designers of the Silver Spring Transit Center were negligent and breached the contractor when they designed, built and inspected the transit center, but settled before the matter was decided by a jury.
"I am pleased that the County has settled the lawsuit we brought to recover taxpayer costs associated with the repair and remediation of the Silver Spring Transit Center,” Leggett said in statement after the settlement. “This is very much in the public interest. The $25 million payment to the County will cover 90 percent of the hard costs we incurred to deliver a safe and durable Silver Spring Transit Center.”
GAITHERSBURG – The plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Gaithersburg city government has pledged to modify and refile his suit after being dealt a legal setback last week.
Aaron Rosenzweig, a Gaithersburg resident who has testified several times before Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council and founded the website teamgaithersburg.org with the goal of increasing civic involvement, filed suit on Feb. 1 against Gaithersburg with regard to a vote taken by the Council on Dec. 19. On that date, the council passed two resolutions authorizing the annexation of the Johnson Property, an area near the intersection of Darnestown Road and Quince Orchard Boulevard and authorizing City Manager Tony Tomasello to execute an agreement to develop the property for mixed-zone commercial and residential development. Because of the absence or recusal of most of the five-member council, Council Vice President Neil Harris and Council member Michael Sesma passed both resolutions with a 2-0 vote.
GAITHERSBURG – A lawsuit concerning a controversial annexation will have its day in court. On December 19 last year, Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council took up two resolutions concerning the annexation of the Johnson Property, an area near the intersection of Darnestown Road and Quince Orchard Boulevard and authorizing City manager Tony Tomasello to execute an agreement to develop the property for mixed-zone commercial and residential use.
GAITHERSBURG – The City of Gaithersburg has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a resident who believes a vote to annex land into the city was carried out illegally.
On Dec. 19 of last year, Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council took up resolutions approving the annexation of the Johnson Property, an area of land near the intersection of Darnestown Road and Quince Orchard Boulevard, authorizing City Manager Tony Tomasello to execute an agreement to develop the area, which has been slated for mixed-zone commercial and residential use.
The council at the time was operating at reduced capacity following the death of longtime Council member Henry F. Marraffa two months prior. The Council appointed Yvette D. Monroe to serve the balance of Marraffa’s term earlier this year. Council member Ryan Spiegel, who was suffering from strep throat, was also absent from the meeting. Moreover, Spiegel had indicated that he would recuse himself from the vote after learning that his employer, the Bethesda law firm Paley Rothman, had a business relationship with one of the prospective property developers.
Democrats look to expand attorney general powers to sue the federal government
The General Assembly passed a bill Wednesday that will give the state’s attorney general more power to sue the federal government on the state’s behalf.
After several executive orders from President Donald J. Trump alarmed Democratic leaders in Annapolis, members of the General Assembly, along with Attorney General Brian Frosh, have crafted a bill to expand the attorney general’s powers in the state. The bill passed the House of Delegates Wednesday after passing the Senate last week. The bill does not require the governor’s signature.
“Frankly, the need for this arises from the, I would say, erratic and implosive and you might even say reckless nature of what’s going in the past few weeks,” Frosh said in a committee hearing on the bill. “There’s been blizzard of executive orders, many of which are ill-advised.”
Maryland’s two most recent governors agree on one of the most divisive issues in the state – gerrymandering.
Gov. Larry Hogan had faint praise for his predecessor, former Gov. Martin O’Malley, after getting wind of remarks O’Malley made at a speech at Boston College.
In his speech, which O’Malley published online in January, O’Malley called for a nonpartisan commission to draw congressional districts, a reform that Republicans in Maryland are in support of.
“America needs non-partisan redistricting commissions not only for drawing Congressional districts every ten years, but for state legislative districts as well,” O’Malley said. “This simple reform, already being adopted in some states, must become the new norm of American democracy.”