Heartless politics shall rob the county of its pulse no longer.
Council members Calvin Hawkins & Mel Franklin are at it again, seeking to protect their own political power and developers interests over the community. This past Tuesday, Council Chair Hawkins and Council Member Franklin presented two bills they hope will prevent the incoming Council Majority from enacting positive, community-centered zoning legislation or hearing most zoning cases.
Their bill, CB-91-2022 will amend the new Zoning Ordinance rules for enacting developer friendly amendments to the Zoning Ordinance so as to require a Supermajority vote (8 votes) instead of the longstanding simple majority (6 votes). Hawkins and Franklin, in collaboration with other Council Members, have adopted countless friendly amendments to the Zoning Ordinance based on a simple majority vote. Now, they want to change the rules for an incoming Council Majority that they know will be accountable to the community instead of developers.
CB-92-2022 will amend the new Zoning Ordinance to prohibit the County Council from choosing to hear zoning and site plan cases from the Planning Board and Zoning Hearing Examiner. For decades, zoning hearings have been a vehicle for the community to express their concerns. If enacted, there will be no hearings for the community, and only appeals will come before the council in limited circumstances. Developers have long wanted to eliminate public hearings to avoid accountability.
In another anti-democratic move regularly used by Hawkins and Franklin, CB-91-2022 & CB-92-2022 are being rushed through the legislative process to avoid public awareness and scrutiny. ALL Zoning Bills must be "Introduced" by Tuesday, September 20th. These bills were presented Tuesday and have to be heard by the "PHED Committee", next week. The September 15th Committee meeting has been announced, giving only 7 days notice for major land use policy changes that will dramatically harm citizen rights. This committee's members include current Council Members Mel Franklin, Calvin Hawkins, Todd Turner, Sydney Harrison. Many of this group of Council Members have a track record of trying to enact legislation that favors special interests groups over community stakeholders, always without community input, sometimes illegally as recent history has shown. The lack of notice undermines the community’s ability to plan to speak out against these bills.
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO TAKE ACTION
Progressive Maryland & PG Changemakers are working together to get the word out to the community so that we can stand up to these members, and let them know we oppose Council Bills 91 & 92 that seek to, once again, silence the voice and usurp the will of the voters by using our system of democracy to cater to developers and their own political power instead of their constituents.
Sign up to testify or send comment in opposition of CB-91 & 92
Write to the Clerk of the Council asking that your comments be added to the record in CB-91-2022 & CB-92-2022. ClerkoftheCouncil@co.pg.md.us
Write to the County Executive and demand that she take a stand for Democracy in Prince George’s County. firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure your voice is heard! Add your voice by signing the petition, send an email to your council members, and/or sign up to testify or send in comment in opposition of the zoning amendments. Share them with friends and through your networks and ask them to pass them along. If the fight against illegal redistricting taught us anything, it is that when enough of us stand up together in solidarity and demand that our elected representatives do what's in the best interest of the people of this County, we WIN!
The Progressive Maryland & PG Changemakers Teams