Maryland delegation takes on Democratic convention in upheaval


13680785 1299385890079454 1255167274195815338 nSen. Bernie Sanders spoke about party unity at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. PHOTO BY PAUL SCHWARTZ 

PHILADELPHIA – While Democrats planned on sending out a message of hope and unity during their convention, it was anything but, as loud boos echoed out through the conventional hall signaling that the party is still reeling from upheaval.

On the Friday before the Democratic National Convention, WikiLeaks published about 20,000 emails from the Democratic Party that showed the key party leaders – including the Democratic Party Chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz – favored former Secretary State Hillary Clinton over rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) for the presidential nomination.

After the revelations that members of the Democratic Party favored Hillary Clinton, Wasserman-Schultz resigned as chair, but that did not stop ardent Sanders supporters from holding up signs in protest and booing speakers.


MVA switches to snail mail to issue all drivers licenses


MVA logo

Starting July 11, Maryland Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicles Administration began issuing all learner’s permits, driver’s licenses and identification cards through the mail, further increasing security measures against identity theft and fraud.

On June 20, the MVA started giving new cards for learner’s permits, ID cards and licenses renewed online that were more secure, according to MVA Administrator Christine Nizer. Everyone received new cards starting Monday.

There are several different features compared to the old driver’s license, which had not been updated since 2003, and the cards are printed from a “high-security MVA facility,” according to a June 16 release from MVA Organization Relations contact Buel Young.


'There's a Convention?'

Hogan skips GOP national convention to address MoCo traffic problems

Larry Hogan sunglasses 7-20-16Governor Larry Hogan       PHOTO BY NEAL EARLEY

POTOMAC – Calling Interstate 270 the “most congested, plagued corridor in all of Maryland,” Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced the state government will spend $229.6 million to alleviate traffic on the highway.

Flanked by a Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Council members Nancy Floreen (D-At large), Roger Berliner (D-1) and George Leventhal (D-At large) near I-270 in Potomac, Hogan said Maryland had the worst traffic in the nation.

“We inherited a state infrastructure that for eight years had been largely ignored and severely underfunded,” Hogan said.

“A billion dollars has been siphoned from the transportation trust fund and was spent on things totally unrelated to transportation. As a result we had crumbling roads and bridges and the worst traffic in the nation.”


State Democrats and Republicans clash over congressional gun violence sit-in

After nine of Maryland’s 10 congressional members participated in the June 22 Democratic sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives, some Republicans decried the move as a “stunt.”

The three Republican candidates running for the House districts that include Montgomery County all said they opposed the sit-in, though they varied on what to do to prevent future mass shootings.

Democrats, led by Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), protested Republican leaders not calling for a vote on any gun control bills after four of those bills died in the Senate.

Local Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-8), John Delaney (D-6) and John Sarbanes (D-3) all joined their Democratic colleagues on the House floor last week, along with Sens. Ben Cardin (D) and Barbara Mikulski (D).


Hogan decides to just say "NO" to Trump

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Wednesday he will not vote for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, according to the Washington Post.

“No, I don’t plan to,” Hogan told the Post on whether he would vote for Trump. “I guess when I get behind the curtain I’ll have to figure it out. Maybe write someone in. I’m not sure.”


Local student reaches out to assist incoming immigrants

SILVER SPRING — Since the deportation of his parents years earlier and possibly facing a similar fate, Yves Gomes, 23, has battled to remain in the United States, campaigning for other undocumented immigrants like himself, and pushing state and national legislators to reform current immigration laws.

Gomes is currently staying in the U.S. under a two-year waiver from President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an executive order that allows undocumented immigrants who came to the United States when they were 16 or younger to apply for temporary legal status.

The last time Yves Gomes saw his father Robin Gomes in person was almost eight years ago, when he was being escorted out of their Silver Spring home in handcuffs by federal authorities. The family ordeal began a week earlier when the elder Gomes was pulled over by police for a broken taillight, not knowing for sure whether police would share information about his immigration status with federal authorities. Then, in the early morning hours on Aug. 9, 2008, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided the Gomes’ residence to detain Robin Gomes for overstaying his visa.


State considers curtailing use of Tasers by cops


SILVER SPRING – State Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez (D-18) said she is considering introducing a bill that would require all police agencies in Maryland to follow a common set of Taser guidelines and standards.

"It was clear that there was a need to put in place some of the recommended guidelines and standards,” said Gutierrez of federal standards on police Taser use.

Gutierrez attended a May 25 meeting featuring Montgomery County Police Officers Frank Stone and Greg Woodman.

The two officers discussed the Montgomery County Police Department’s use of force policy on Tasers and how they’re upgrading Taser equipment. The Montgomery County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland hosted the forum.


More Zika virus warnings as weather heats up


aedes-egypti-zika-virus-mosquito1The Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of infected Aedes species mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti, seen above, and Aedes albopictus). COURTESY PHOTO

As the temperature rises, Montgomery County residents need to protect themselves from the Zika virus even though all 17 Maryland residents who have contracted the virus were infected while traveling outside the United States, according to county and state officials.

Drs. Howard Haft and Ulder Tilman and other speakers conducted a 90-minute town hall meeting at the Dennis Avenue Health Center in Silver Spring May 26 to discuss the issue.


Hogan signs “Noah’s Law” after man pleads guilty in officer’s drunk-driving death

On Wednesday, May 18, a man pled guilty to a felony charge stemming from a drunken driving incident that resulted in the death of Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta. One day later, Governor Larry Hogan signed the anti-DUI bill that bears the officer’s name into Maryland law.


Undocumented immigrants negotiating broken system

WASHINGTON--Yves Gomes was not born in the United States, but has known no other country.

A 23-year-old Montgomery County resident, Gomes is one of millions of undocumented people in the United States who could potentially be affected by the United State Supreme Court’s decision in Texas v. United States.

Gomes, who has been in the U.S. since he was an infant, faces deportation if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to overturn President Obama’s executive action on immigration.