Jack Johnson Watch

News, Commentary, and Opinion on Jack Johnson and local politics.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Laurel Leader: general manager of the Stardust Inn is a former Prince George's County assistant state's attorney.

Laurel Leader: "Bar operated by former PG prosecutor

The general manager of the Stardust Inn is a former Prince George's County assistant state's attorney.
The general manager is Tae H. Kim of North Laurel, husband of one of the club's three owners, Robyn Kim, according to county liquor board officials.
Tae Kim was hired as a prosecutor by former Prince George's State's Attorney Jack Johnson, now county executive, in 2002, according to current State's Attorney Glenn Ivey.
Ivey said Kim resigned in 2003 after Ivey became aware that Kim had invested in a nightclub that featured exotic dancing.
Kim declined any comment when reached on the phone. "

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Prince George's struggles with crime spike - baltimoresun.com First Page

Prince George's struggles with crime spike - baltimoresun.com: "Prince George's struggles with crime spike
Police redouble efforts as residents are stunned by brazen violence
By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published July 31, 2005

UPPER MARLBORO - In February, a Boys and Girls Club basketball coach is killed in front of his 12-year- old son by men who had just robbed two women in New Carrollton. In June, a beloved police officer is shot to death after a traffic stop in Laurel.

Two weeks ago, police said, four men went on a violent crime spree in and near Glenarden that left two men dead and two others robbed - all within two miles over a time span of 90 minutes.

Such brazen acts are part of a steep rise in every category of violent crime, including homicides and robberies, that has left suburban Prince George's County struggling with some of the same urban ills troubling its neighbor, Washington, and Baltimore.

"Nobody is happy with the way things are going," says Percel Alston, president of the county's Fraternal Order of Police. "Crime has been escalating for a few years, but 2005 has really been an incredible spike."

On Friday, Prince George's County police Chief Melvin High promised to increase efforts to curtail crime and improve the productivity of officers found to be underperforming.

"We're going to lock up every thug we can find," the chief said at a news conference. "Nothing less will be tolerated."

Earlier, police acknowledged that crime is a continuing problem. "We're not where we want to be," said Lt. Col. Jeff Cox, deputy chief of the county police patrol services bureau.

Prince George's is a sprawling, diverse county. Parts of it are nearly indistinguishable from inner-city Washington, while the southern region stretches down through tobacco fields to rural Charles County.

Suburbs with new homes selling for a half-million dollars attract a "we've made it" crowd of federal employees and executives, and it's frequently spotlighted as the wealthiest majority-black area in the nation.

The county's steadily swelling population - 838,716, according to 2003 U.S. Census data - makes it the second-most-populous area of Maryland after Montgomery County, larger than either Baltimore City or Baltimore County.

Residents complain that the number of police officers has not kept up with growth.

Rising statistics

As of Friday, county police were investigating 97 homicides, compared with 80 at this time last year. It's a tally that rivals Washington's, though it's still far below Baltimore's body count of 163.

County police statistics show that robberies have more than doubled since this time last year, rape is up 20 percent and attempted rape is up 70 percent.

Carjackings have increased from about 215 in the first six months of last year to more than 300 so far this year.

And Prince George's County leads the state - and is among the highest in the nation - in vehicle theft.

"Prince George's County - we have money. We're highly educated. We're not losing population. These are not problems that we should be having," says Rushern L. Baker III, a former delegate who says he'll challenge County Executive Jack B. Johnson in the 2006 Democratic primary.

Most residents consider there to be two distinct regions of the county: inside and outside the Capital Beltway - Interstate 95/495 that separates urban areas around the District from the suburbs and rural farmland.

Although those interior neighborhoods adjacent to the District account for most of the 911 calls, police say outlying towns have also seen an unexpected increase in some crimes in recent years."

Prince George's struggles with crime spike - baltimoresun.com Page 2

Prince George's struggles with crime spike - baltimoresun.com: "Prince George's struggles with crime spike
Police redouble efforts as residents are stunned by brazen violence
By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published July 31, 2005

Innocent victim
Robert Lee Gail and his 12- year-old son were driving in Riverdale to basketball practice at a Prince George's County middle school just inside the Beltway on Valentine's Day when they had a fender-bender with two men in a stolen Chevrolet Blazer.

The drivers got out, and the man in the Blazer had a gun. He fatally shot Gail, a 41-year-old family man who had tucked teddy bears under the pillows of his wife and teenage daughter that morning and had coached basketball at the New Carrollton Boys and Girls Club for 14 years.

The man charged with Gail's killing, Lawrence Irving Green, according to court documents, had been speeding away from a nearby home where he had bound two young women with tape, fired shots to scare them and then took off in their Blazer.

Stacey Gail is raising their three children without her husband, her high school sweetheart, "the glue that held us all together." She's a lifelong resident who says her family never had any brushes with the law. She's so scared now that she won't send her boys to high school in the county.

"I just can't take the risk of losing them," she says.

Death in the suburbs

On a tree-lined street of longtime homeowners in a Hyattsville subdivision, Del. Rosetta C. Parker's son stepped outside one morning about three weeks ago to mow the lawn. A car parked across the street was running but wasn't moving.

When he looked inside, he saw the neighbor's son. He had been shot to death.

"I have never experienced anything even half like that before in my life," Rosetta Parker says. "It tore me apart."

A few years ago, she says, there was so little crime in her subdivision, Michigan Park Hills, that police had no idea where it was. "Now they sure know," she says.

Alston, the police union president, said at the funeral for the officer that police are "surrounded by a community that lives in fear."

He says he lives in a "quiet" southern part of the county. But his police cruiser was vandalized in the driveway one night last week.

"No one's immune from what's happening here," he says.

One morning about two years ago, two neighbors on Mardella Boulevard in Clinton looked out their windows and saw that their vehicles were not in their driveways.

"Oh, no, where's my car?" John W. Ball recalls thinking.

Across the street, his neighbor, Celestine Curseen, the widow of a U.S. postal worker who died in October 2001 after contracting anthrax at the Brentwood central mail facility in Washington, also had an empty driveway.

Ball called the police to report his 1998 Jeep Cherokee stolen. But so many cars have been stolen in recent years, Ball says, that police "don't bother coming out to take a report anymore." They do it over the phone.

Pushed out of D.C.

As Washington gentrifies, some say, poorer, more crime-prone residents are getting pushed out to the county. That - combined with a poor transportation system, a dearth of jobs and too much access to guns and drugs - could be the root of the county's growing crime problem."

Prince George's struggles with crime spike - baltimoresun.com Page 3

Prince George's struggles with crime spike - baltimoresun.com: "Prince George's struggles with crime spike
Police redouble efforts as residents are stunned by brazen violence
By Julie Bykowicz
Sun Staff
Originally published July 31, 2005

But some believe the cause is much simpler: There aren't enough police.
The county has tried to keep from outgrowing its public safety staffing by passing an ordinance that assesses a $6,000-per-new-home fee to help pay for police and fire station expansions.

Even so, Alston and some county leaders say there are far too few police officers to keep the surging crime in check.

Johnson, the county executive, has vowed to hire 150 officers each year for the next several years to add to the current force of about 1,350. Washington's Police Department has an authorized force of about 3,800 officers; Baltimore has 3,300.

Another problem, Alston says, is that the number of officers assigned to patrol has plummeted to about 40 percent of the department as the chief boosts specialized units. He says some squads have dwindled from 12 officers to three or four. He said the police chief, High, creates what he called "flavor of the day units."

At Friday's news conference, called to discuss crime trends and to counter criticism from the union, High said he would continue to implement the community policing strategy he began two years ago.

He did concede, however, that an analysis of statistics going back two decades showed that the number of arrests has declined while the crime rate has remained relatively constant.

This year, officers have been shot at eight times and have fired shots 13 times. In all of last year, Alston says, officers fired their weapons nine times, twice because they'd been shot at.

Police officer killed

Such violence peaked a few weeks ago when Steven Francis Gaughan, a 15-year-veteran, was killed by a man who jumped out of a Chevrolet Tahoe during a traffic stop near a Laurel apartment complex and opened fire.

Alston says Gaughan's death was the last straw for frustrated police officers in a department where morale, he says, is at an all-time low.

"I'm not going to allow anyone to place my officers in the line of fire and keep them there without some significant changes to the plan being made," he says.

State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey also says it is time for a new crime-fighting strategy. He has been pushing a "Boston model" of community policing that relies on partnerships among police, prosecutors, parole and probation officers and community groups to reduce crime.

"Whether we try Boston or something else, we need to be open to something different," he says.

Much as it has in Baltimore, crime seems to have touched off a political squabble that some residents say is hampering efforts to make the county safer.

The Rev. C. Anthony Muse, pastor of Ark of Safety Christian Church in Upper Marlboro, says he wants people to come together to address what is "everybody's problem."

Dozens of pastors who are part of Clergy United have met to discuss the church's role in crime-fighting. Muse, a former delegate, says some churches plan to cancel their prayer meetings and instead conduct neighborhood watches. He also says pastors will urge their parishioners to identify problem youths and "try to help them make an honest living."

"We are so affected by crime," he says. "We've got to do something. We've got to get these kids off the streets. Otherwise, we'll end up burying them."

Sun staff writer William Wan contributed to this article."

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Johnson Leaves Massive Health Care Crisis to Go Surfing in Hawaii

County Council Members Go West: "Before leaving for Hawaii, Johnson and the County Council met last week to discuss the beleaguered Dimensions Healthcare System, which operates Prince George's Hospital Center.
No final decisions were made about the hospital's future, but council members called the meeting productive.
'It mainly focused on how we move forward with what we have,' Knotts said.
County Council members have repeatedly questioned the county's liability if Dimensions falters on its $80 million in bond debt."

Jack B. Johnson Vacationed in Hawaii and YOU PAID!

County Council Members Go West:

Crimes Up, No Car is Safe, Murder Wave Blankets the County, and Jack is taking Surf lessons at Waikiki!

"County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) and his chief of staff, Michael Herman , also attended the Hawaii conference. John Erzen , Johnson's spokesman, said that he could not provide an estimate of the costs."

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Washington Post: Loves the Ivey Probosal, Calls Jack Johnson's Plan a "Hodgepodge"

Ivey Watch: Washington Post: Loves the Ivey Probosal, Calls Jack Johnson's Plan a "Hodgepodge": "Sunday, June 19, 2005
Washington Post: Loves the Ivey Probosal, Calls Jack Johnson's Plan a "Hodgerpodge"
Prince George's Crime: "Prince George's Crime

Saturday, June 18, 2005; Page A18
TO DEAL WITH Prince George's County's growing problem of violent crime, exemplified by 74 murders so far this year, County Executive Jack B. Johnson has put several programs in place, and State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey has offered a crime-fighting proposal as well. The rising murder rate dictates that reasonable plans be considered -- and implemented. But will they be sufficient?

Mr. Ivey has put forth a homicide-reduction proposal that draws heavily on an out-of-state solution: the so-called Boston strategy, which has been credited with dramatically reducing murders in that city. Proponents claim the most valuable component of the Boston strategy is the "call-in" program, a novel approach to intervention for parolees and probationers who, authorities believe, are engaging in violence. They are brought before a formidable lineup of police, federal agents and prosecutors and told how police are targeting and making arrests in crime hot spots. They are further informed that they are in imminent danger of prosecution, a message reinforced by displaying the mug shots and prison terms of those who didn't heed the warning.

These call-ins, which reportedly have proven effective in other cities, also provide a forum for service providers to explain what assistance is available for those who want to turn over a new leaf. That is better than learning about programs and services once in jail, as happens now. Mr. Ivey proposes to offer those who might otherwise choose violence an opportunity to change their lives right there and then. He acknowledges that not all will take advantage of it, but some will, he believes, especially when they realize how close they may come to doing hard time. The "call-in" aspect of the Boston strategy does not require new agencies or programs, Mr. Ivey said. That may be good news for an already understaffed police force, but we still believe every effort should be made to increase the number of quality officers in Prince George's, which has suffered from a shortage of police for years.

With Mr. Ivey's proposal in mind, we turn to Mr. Johnson's 18-page summary, released this week, of current and pending initiatives aimed at curbing violence and theft. Mr. Johnson asserted at a news conference that "this isn't a hodgepodge." Oh no? Listing existing programs together in one document doesn't make them less of a hodgepodge. Mr. Johnson's "initiatives" consist of different combinations of federal agencies and county departments collaborating on individual projects, rather than an overall strategy that coordinates crime-fighting efforts. Mr. Ivey proposes that top law enforcement officials working in the county meet frequently to share information and make decisions, and he suggests assembling a professional team to analyze data -- homicide and violent-crime reports, parole and probation records, and intelligence gathered by the various agencies -- on which a strategy focused on high-crime areas can be based. The puzzle pieces for attacking the Prince George's crime problem are already on the table; what is needed is someone to put them together. With bodies falling every week, this is a time for official cooperation, not competition." "

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Ralph Warren Dumps His Old Boss Jack Johnson To Support An Honest Man - Rushern Baker

Ralph Warren Dumps His Old Boss Jack Johnson To Support An Honest Man - Rushern Baker

Ralph Warren, who worked under Johnson when the county executive was
the Prince George's County state's attorney, is part of the team.
"[Rushern] is clearly the best person for the job," Warren said,
adding that the county is moving backwards in public safety, crime and
education. "We're retrogressing. We're have an unprecedented number of
murders and we're leading the state in terms of carjackings and armed
robberies. We just can't continue at this pace." - The Gazette

Baker, however, said the pressure was on the incumbent. "If anything,
[Johnson] has got to convince people why he should get four more years
based on his record," he said, citing the county's troubled school
system and increased crime since Johnson took office. - The Washington Post

Considered one of the state's most promising young African-American
leaders, Baker, a 46-year-old Democrat, is frequently mentioned as a
candidate for lieutenant governor, but said yesterday he is not interested
in being selected for a ticket. "I'm going to focus strictly on county
executive," he said. - Baltimore Sun

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

ABC 7 News - Jack Johnson Blocks Ivey Crime Fighting Initiative

ABC 7 News - Ivey Calls for More Federal Help on Crime: "Ivey Calls for More Federal Help on Crime
Wednesday June 08, 2005 7:09am

Upper Marlboro, Md. (AP) - Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn Ivey believes the feds can help county police stem the rising homicide rate.

Ivey says he urged County Executive Jack Johnson on Tuesday to explore greater federal involvement and coordination in fighting crime in the county. Ivey also tells The Washington Post that he urged the county executive to appoint a task force to look for crime patterns that could help police.

Ivey says Johnson agreed to try to arrange a meeting with federal law enforcement officials.

But Johnson spokesman Jim Keary has a different view of the meeting, saying no strategies were discussed or approved.

Keary says county is already working with federal agencies, including the F.B.I."

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Tyrell_LaFred - Is Jack Johnson Playing Massah on the PG Plantation?

ABC 7 News - Did the I-Team Touch a Nerve in P.G. County?:

Is Jack Johnson Playing Massah on the PG Plantation? If you read Tyrell LaFred on ABC 7 News he seems to think so. Before we go to far with this Massah analogy we need to get a few answers from Jack Johnson.

How many County Officials have Police Chauffeurs?

Do Police Officers perform personal errands for Jack Johnson or his staff?

Has Jack Johnson or Jacqueline F. Brown ever sent a Police Officer to pick up Dry Cleaning, Chinese take-out or any other take-out food?

"Viewer Comments on Did the I-Team Touch a Nerve in P.G. County?
IP: Logged
Posted: 05/23 9:32p Where does old Massah Jack Johnson get off using highly trained professional Police to act as personal servants. If this Honey that Massah Jack assigned a driver to really needs a ride you could get one in the $8 - $12 per hour range. Why use a much more expensive Police Officer who is desperately needed elsewhere. All God's children deserve equal protection under the law. Let drivers drive and let Cops be Cops.
If it is true that Police Officers actually ran personal errands for Massah Jack's Honey, including picking up Dry Cleaning and Chinese take-out then somebody should go to Jail.

Jack Johnson you shameful dog how can you tell a Parent burying a murdered son that there are no police and then use officers for some Babe you have stashed in the "job" for the county.

You may not like the sweet sound of truth but this is my heartfelt opinion.
Tyrell LaFred"