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Prince George's County Afro-American Newspaper, February 19, 2011

Prince George's County Afro-American Newspaper, February 19, 2011

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Prince George's County Afro-American Newspaper, February 19, 2011
Prince George's County Afro-American Newspaper, February 19, 2011

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Published by: The AFRO-American Newspapers on Feb 17, 2011
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February 19, 2011 - February 25, 2011, The Afro-American
By George Barnette
 AFRO Sta Writer 
Former Prince George’sCounty Executive JackJohnson was indicted onfederal bribery, extortionand witness and evidencetampering charges on Feb.14.According to theindictment, the 61-year-old Johnson is accusedof conspiring – withdevelopers, politicalcandidates, public ofcialsand Amrik Singh Melhi,owner of Tick Tock Liquorsin Hyattsville, as well asother liquor stores in theregion – to use his inuenceto produce favorableofcial actions for theaforementioned parties.“Pay-to-playgovernment is notdemocratic government,”said U.S. Attorney Rod J.Rosenstein in a statement.“Anyone who seeksbenets or approvals fromthe government should beevaluated on the merits,without being extorted forpayments or losing out tocompetitors who pay bribes.Government employeesagrantly abuse the publictrust when they take moneyin return for ofcial acts.”
By George Barnette and Shernay Williams
 AFRO Sta Writers
Maryland’s Black population increasedslightly to 29.4 percent, while Blacksseemingly migrated to southern counties,according to new Census data released Feb. 9.Counties such as Anne Arundel, Howardand Charles – whose White population dippedfrom 67 to 48 percent over the last decade – experienced the largest growth spurts of Black residents.U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., saidareas such as Charles County, which was oncerural and undeveloped, are becoming moredeveloped as the result of urban sprawl fromthe Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.She says the new racial compositionmay benet minorities during legislativeredistricting. “[Minority growth] actuallybodes well depending on where these Censusblocks are in the population and where thepopulation is,” Edwards said. “We get tosee what this might mean, in terms of theprospects for additional members of thestate senate, who might be African Americanand be competitive in some districts wherethere hasn’t been competition [from AfricanAmericans] before.”Prince George’s County has also seengrowth since 2000. The county’s populationgrew 7.7 percent from 801,515 to 863,420.Despite the fallout from the foreclosure crisis,which left the county’s economy in shambles,ofcials say they’re not surprised at thenumbers.“I’ve actually long suspected that we were
Copyright © 2011 by the Afro-American Company
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Volume 119 No. 28FEBRUARY 19, 2011 -
Hear the
on The DailyDrum, Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Continued on A5
Character EducationSpecial Section insert
Continued on A5
Gonzaga EdgesDeMatha
Did Civil Rights-Era Comic Book Inspire Egyptian Protestors?
Photo by Rob Roberts
Former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnsonfaces a possible 115 years based on the indictmenthanded down on Feb. 14.
 Jack Johnson Indicted
By AFRO Sta 
The MarylandDepartment of Transportation (MDOT) andWashington MetropolitanArea Transit Authority(Metro) has selected ForestCity Washington to developthe land around the NewCarrollton Metro Stationaccording to the
.Neither ofcialsat MDOT nor Metrowould comment on theprocess but did admit theselection phase is nearingan end. “Metro and theMaryland Departmentof Transportation arestill in the process of anactive procurement forNew Carrollton,” Metrospokeswoman AngelaGates told the
. “Theselection team is preparing arecommendation for MetroBoard action by the end of March and for subsequentaction by MDOT.”The process to select adeveloper was supposedto have happened already.Interested companies wereto have bids submitted by
Md., Prince George’s BlackPopulation Increases
Developer forNew CarrolltonStation Chosen
Continued on A6 
FEBRUARY 25, 2011
By Zenitha Prince
Washington Bureau Chief 
President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget,released on Valentine’s Day, is getting littlelove from either side of the ideological aisle.Republicans, who in a nod to their teaparty supporters have proposed $61 billion inspending cuts for the current scal year endingSept. 30, said Obama’s $3.73 trillion proposalfalls short of his pledge to scal discipline.“The President’s budget reects a completelack of seriousness about our present scalcrisis. If this is our generation’s Sputnikmoment, then the White House clearly hasn’tgotten the message,” said Republican NationalCommittee Chairman Reince Priebus in astatement. “If we are serious about cuttingthe size of government and creating jobs, itis going to require real leadership from thisWhite House.”The White House spending plan promisesto cut the decit by $1.1 trillion over 10 yearsbut will increase the decit by $1.65 trillionthis year before starting to scale back.The plan reects funding boosts in areassuch as biomedical research, broadbandextension, high-speed rail, elementaryeducation and clean energy. “Theseinvestments are an essential part of thebudget,” President Obama said at Baltimore’sParkville Middle School and Center forTechnology on Monday, “... because I’m
President Barack Obamamakes a statement abouthis budget during anews conference on theWhite House complex inWashington on Feb. 15.
Obama Budget Criticized
Continued on A3
    A    P    P    h   o    t   o    /    C    h   a   r    l   e   s    D    h   a   r   a   p   a    k
 AFRO File Photo
The Afro-American, February 19, 2011 - February 25, 2011
Did Forgotten Civil Rights-Era Comic Book InspireEgypt’s Protestors?
Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy of social justice andnonviolent protest may have prompted thousands of Egyptianactivists to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.Georgia Rep. John Lewis (D) told MSNBC a 50-year-old comicbook about the slain civil right’s leader and the Montgomery,Ala. bus boycott has gained notoriety in the Arab world.“Egypt is a reliable, dependable friend of the UnitedStates of America, but what we’re witnessing is a nonviolentrevolution occurring in Egypt and we must be on the rightside of history. ... I just heard a day or two ago that morethan 250,000 copies of 
 Montgomery Story
in comic bookform was distributed throughout Egypt and it was copied andtranslated. I believe many of the people in the streets todayhave been deeply inspiredby the civil rights movementin America and deeplyinspired by Martin LutherKing ...”
The Montgomery Story
 was rst published in 1956and highlighted the busboycott that ended the city’ssegregated transportationpolicies. Although itgarnered little attentionstateside, Egyptian bloggerDalia Ziada translated thecomic book into Farsi andArabic in 2008. Accordingto her blog, the Arabic andFarsi translations inspiredVietnamese activists and
 Montgomery Story
is now being distributed throughoutother Asian countries.“The main message I hope that Arabic readers will takefrom the MLK comic book is that: change is not impossible.It is time to stop using our muscles blindly,” said Ziada,director of the American Islamic Congress (AIC) – a activistgroup created in response to the Sept. 11 attacks – accordingto TheGrio.com. “Let’s try using our intellect in innovative,creative ways to pressure decision makers and end dictatorship,tyranny and the suppression practiced against us.”
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Charters South AfricanChapter
The world’s oldest intercollegiate fraternity founded byAfrican-American men has established its rst chapter inSouth Africa. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, founded at CornellUniversity in Ithaca, N.Y., in 1906, chartered Rho Phi LambdaChapter in Johannesburg on Feb. 3.The ceremony was held during the Kenneth HarlanSimmons Memorial Charity Dinner. Simmons, a successfulAfrican-American architect and professor, was a longtimemember of the fraternity known for his work on equal rights,urban planning and community development. He relocatedto South Africa in 1994 after retiring from the University of California-Berkeley.The event, which included an Alpha auction for education,was presided over by the fraternity’s world leader, GeneralPresident Herman “Skip” Mason Jr., and included members of the fraternity’s board of directors, dignitaries and more than200 others.The new Johannesburg chapter’s 13 charter membersrelocated from America to South Africa. However, thefraternity aims to expand by inviting native South Africans to join the fraternity through the Rho Phi Lambda chapter.“We are excited about establishing the rst chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha on the African continent in the 21st century,”said Michael Sudarkasa, chapter president and a HarvardUniversity-trained lawyer initiated at the University of Michigan. “We look forward to playing an integral part inhelping to expand the fraternity’s presence in Africa in thecoming years.”
Va.’s First Black Chief of Justice Dies at 55
Leroy Hassell Sr., Virginia’s rst Black chief justice, diedFeb. 9 at a Richmond hospital, the Supreme Court of Virginiaannounced in a press release. The cause of his death was notreleased.A native of Norfolk, Hassell was a graduate of theUniversity of Virginia andHarvard Law School. Before joining the Supreme Court at34, he became partner at thenationally recognized McGuireWoods law rm.Hassell was a member of the court since 1989 and servedas chief justice from February2003 until his death. Hissuccessor, Chief Justice Kinser,praised Hassell’s intellectand “passion for the law” in astatement.“The Supreme Court of Virginia and the entire judiciaryin the Commonwealth aresaddened by the death of Justice Hassell. He was devoted to theCourt and worked tirelessly to improve the administration of  justice,” Kinser said.On Feb. 11, Hassell’s body lay in state in the state capitolrotunda, where relatives and friends paid their nal respects.His funeral took place Feb. 12 at an undisclosed church whereHassell and his family worshipped.
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Leroy Hassell Sr.
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 Johannesburg’s new Rho Phi Lambda Chapter
The Afro-American, February 19, 2011 - February 25, 2011
convinced that if we out-buildand out-innovate and out-educate, as well as out-hustlethe rest of the world, the jobsand industries of our time willtake root here in the UnitedStates. Our people willprosper and our country willsucceed.”But such increases y inthe face of the president’spromise to address long-termdecit reduction, Capitol HillRepublicans said.“He’s been eloquentabout the problem and yethis solutions don’t addressthe problem,” said OhioRepublican Sen. RobPortman, former director of the Ofce of Managementand Budget under George W.Bush, in a press conference.“The president has chosen toincrease spending in someplaces, like high-speed rail,and then make reductionselsewhere. But at the endof the day, it does nothingin terms of addressing ourbudget problem because itdoesn’t reduce spending.”“But here’s the thing,”President Obama counteredin his speech. “While it’sabsolutely essential to livewithin our means, while weare absolutely committed toworking with Democrats andRepublicans to nd furthersavings and to look at thewhole range of budget issues,we can’t sacrice our futurein the process. Even as wecut out things that we canafford to do without, we havea responsibility to invest inthose areas that will have thebiggest impact in our future – and that’s especially truewhen it comes to education.”To pay for theseinvestments – and with aneye to debt reduction – theproposed budget includes ave-year freeze on domesticdiscretionary spending, a$78 billion deduction indefense funds with a furtheranticipation of savings fromthe ending of the Iraq andAfghanistan wars, endingtax breaks for oil and gascompanies and ending taxcuts to wealthy Americans.In all the plan cuts back oreliminates more than 200programs and the presidenthas further promised to vetoany bill larded with earmarks.The plan even includescuts to programs that hecares “deeply” about, thepresident added, includinga $300 million reduction incommunity developmentblock grants, $2.5 billioncut from the Low IncomeHome Energy AssistanceProgram, Pell Grant decreasesand a 50 percent fundingcut for community servicesblock grants. “This budgetfreeze will require sometough choices,” Obamaacknowledged. “But if we’regoing to walk the walk whenit comes to scal discipline,these kinds of cuts will benecessary.”Democratic lawmakersand liberal advocacy groupsare decrying the cuts,however, saying it targetscommunities that are moresocioeconomically vulnerable.“Rebuilding our economyon the backs of the mostvulnerable Americans issomething that I simplycannot accept,” saidCongressional Black CaucusChairman Emanuel CleaverII, D-Mo., in a statement. “Iunderstand that now is thetime for us as a nation tosacrice in order to protectour children from a mountainof debt; however, I amstruggling to understand howthis budget helps us to bestachieve this critical goal.“Cutting fundingto programsthat assist hard-workingAmericans, help familiesheat their homes, and expandaccess to graduate-leveleducation seems to conictwith the notion of winning thefuture,” he added. “We cannotwin the future by leaving ourmost vulnerable behind.”Harking back to theCBC’s disagreement withthe president over last year’sextension of tax cuts for thewealthy, Illinois DemocratJesse Jackson Jr. said thisbudget further plays intothe GOP’s hands. “Thisrequest for FY2012 opens thedoor for the huge cuts thatRepublicans are forcing us todigest for the rest of FY2011,”he said in a statement. “Howcan we stop the Republicancuts when the president hasone-upped them? As thepresident, he should be thelast line of defense for themost vulnerable Americans,instead of the rst one to cut.”Black lawmakers andothers such as
 John Irons,research and policy directorof the Economic Policy Institute, said the budget ismisguided.
“The president’stop economic priority shouldbe job creation, but theproposed budget does toolittle and turns too quicklytoward decit reduction,”said Irons in a statement,adding that the unemploymentclimate – 9 percent for 21months and anticipatedelevated rates for the next fewyears – “demands a strongerresponse.”Though he praisedthe president’s proposedinvestments in transportationinfrastructure, energyresearch and the like, Ironscautioned, “Unfortunately,the funding increases inthese and other areas, whilewelcome, are insufcientto put a major dent inunemployment. Furthermore,the overall freeze in domesticdiscretionary spending allbut ensures that the ght tocreate jobs and ensure futureeconomic growth will belimited.”
February 19, 2011 - February 25, 2011 The Afro-American
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By George Barnette
 AFRO Staf Writer 
The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission(WSSC) recently released a report saying it has failed inawarding contracts to minority owned business (MBE).The study, done by Mason Tillman Associates (MTA),examined the contracts handed out from 2004 through2009. It says that WSSC signicantly underutilized MBEin construction, architecture and engineering, goods andservices and professional services.MTA recommended options for WSSC to consider, butofcials at the organization say they already see the writingon the wall to explore other options as a result of the study.“It’s important that WSSC fosters a businessenvironment that is inclusive in purchasing practices,expands contract opportunities and cultivates the growthof small, local and minority businesses,” said TowandaLivingston, director of the WSSC Small Local and MinorityBusiness Enterprise (SLMBE) Ofce.The study scrutinized bids, awards and payments toMBEs that bid for contracts over that period in additionto researching the regional market to determine whetherenough MBEs exist to meet WSSC’s needs.Part of that research was to interview MBE owners tosee what kind of barriers stood in their way of receivingcontracts. According to the study, owners felt they wereheld to a different standard than those of non-minoritycompanies as well as being disadvantaged due to a lack of vast resources.“Unfair tactics by WSSC managers and inspectors werealso reported by several interviewees,” the report states.“Furthermore, there was a report that large majority-ownedrms were able to convince or coerce WSSC selectionpanels to select them because the panel members wouldmost likely work for such Caucasian prime contractors afterleaving WSSC.”Despite this nding and the Commission’sacknowledgement that it needs to change how it awardcontracts, WSSC ofcials said it was fair in its contractingprocess. John White, WSSC public affairs manager, toldthe
WSSC has always been committed to providingopportunities to these unrepresented groups. Specically,White said, WSSC awarded over $77 million in contractsand paid nearly $60 million in expenditures to MBEs.Those numbers represented 29 percent of all contractawarded and 26 percent of all contract expendituresrespectively.“The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission takesits responsibility to meet the expectations of our MinorityBusiness Enterprise program very seriously,” White said.“Our success depends on our ability to manage costs,provide safe and reliable service to our customers andwe recognize that MBE rms play a key role in helpingus achieve our goals. WSSC is committed to supportingthe growth of MBE rms and developing sustainablerelationships with our MBE rms.”WSSC is now re-evaluating its MBE program, whichexpires April 30, and hopes to have a long-term agendain place by then. In order to do that, it will host severalcommunity meetings and public hearings to discuss whatshould happen next. The rst community meeting tookplace on Feb. 16 in Laurel. Subsequent public hearings willtake place on Feb. 23 in Upper Marlboro and Feb. 24 inRockville.According to WSSC general manager and CEO Jerry N.Johnson, this phase will be “the foundation for creating alegally sufcient minority business enterprise program.”
Study: WSSC Failed in AwardingMinority Contracts
Obama Budget Criticized
Continued from A1

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