Sunday, October 30, 2016

Prince Georges County - Does Prince Georges County Have Participatory Budgeting



Subject: Prince Georges County - Does Prince Georges County Have Participatory Budgeting?

Participatory Budgeting Website: http://www.participatorybudgeting.org/


Participatory Budgeting (PB) started in Porto Alegre, Brazil in the late 1980’s. It was a way of giving citizens the right to identify needs in their community, allowing citizens to determine which needs were most urgent through voting, and using public money to fund one or several projects. This sounds like democracy in its truest form. It’s not allowing one person to represent many but many representing themselves. When the project(s) gets funded citizens meet with local government agencies to formulate a plan to address the need. Citizen volunteers are usually needed as part of the labor force to implement these plans.



Real Money, Real Power: Participatory Budgeting from PBP on Vimeo.


Real Money, Real Power Participatory Budgeting 

I participated in “Envision Prince George’s” which was an open call to all residents of the County. The mission of the project was to come together and work in teams to determine what the County needed to grow and prosper. It was said the final recommendations of the plan would be combined and presented to elected officials to influence growth decisions. Whether that was done I don’t know. Participatory Budgeting goes one step further and puts teeth in the process. It actually allocates funding for ideas produced by citizens and the community. It also definitively states one or several of these projects will get done because of the funding and collaboration between citizen teams and local agencies that share their expertise.


A People's Budget: Our Voice, Our Needs, Our Rights

There are currently over 1,500 cities and institutions around the world implementing Participatory Budgeting. I was lucky enough to catch the ending of a documentary on PBS about this movement. It made me wonder if it’s happening in Maryland. From what I saw on the Participatory Budgeting website, there are no locations in Maryland that are currently implementing this democratic tool. I was motivated to write this blog post, which is my first since June 2016, because it seemed like a tool like-minded citizens of Prince George’s County would find useful to accomplish projects that fly under the radar of elected county officials. 



Direct Democracy Comes to Harlem

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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Prince George’s County - University of Maryland Brings Silicon Valley And Virtual Reality to Prince George’s County

Subject: Prince George’s County - University of Maryland Brings Silicon Valley And Virtual Reality to Prince George’s County

Link to U of MD Page: https://iribe.cs.umd.edu/home

Link to Oculus: https://www.oculus.com/en-us/

I attended the groundbreaking of The Brendan Iribe Center at the University of Maryland College Park campus. This project has been in the making for about 3 years. It’s the brainchild and vision of (3) students that met as freshman at the University of Maryland College Park. They are the founders of a Silicon Valley company called Oculus. Oculus is a leader in virtual reality (VR) which allows humans to experience things in 3-D without physically being in that space. Virtual reality has many applications to include video games, the military, medicine, etc.



The Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation

Because VR has many real life applications, it has great value and untapped potential. Luckily for Prince George’s County the investment of the co-founders of Oculus, the State of Maryland, the mother of one of the co-founders, and about 100 other donors, our county will be ground zero for VR. The amenities of the Brendan Iribe Center, the Rooftop (named after a deceased friend and colleague), and Antonov Auditorium are vast and this facility will benefit many populations.



President Loh: Turn Imagination into Innovation

It’s my sincerest hope that Prince George’s County government and public school leadership will continue to build strong relationships with school president Dr. Wallace Loh and the faculty. This will allow public school students to take advantage of the opportunities the center presents. If Prince George’s County grade school, middle school, and high school students are exposed to the resources and learning that will be available at the Brendan Iribe Center, they will be the trailblazers in VR. They will spin off start-up businesses that create VR applications in the next decade. They will get internships and start careers at the tech companies Mr. Iribe said will develop because of the Brendan Iribe Center.



UMD Celebrates Historic Gift

It was good to see Council Member Glaros, whose district University of Maryland College Park resides, at the groundbreaking. I did not see the County Executive, EDC President, or Director of the Office of Information Technology (OIT) but I hope they were in attendance to show support for this project that will pay dividends in business growth, jobs, and tax revenue for the County. It’s investments in tech like the Brendan Iribe Center that will allow government and economic development officials to travel the world and make the case for why tech companies need to relocate or start-up in Prince George’s County.



UMD Announces Largest Gift in University History

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Prince Georges County – 2016-2017 Maryland Senatorial Scholarships Deadline



Subject: Prince Georges County – 2016-2017 Maryland Senatorial Scholarships Deadline 

This post is an announcement to have students that will attend a Maryland college or university apply for Senatorial scholarship. The application must be completed and in your State of Maryland Senators office by May 31, 2016. 

I received notification via mail through my State Senator Ulysses Currie.



Legislative Scholarships - 2015-2016

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Prince George’s County – Maryland Based Company Sells “Ugly Produce”



Subject: Prince George’s County – Maryland Based Company Sells “Ugly Produce”



Did Prince George’s County traditional and urban farmers know they have the option to glean their imperfect/ugly produce or sell it to companies that specialize in imperfect produce? A Columbia based-company, Hungry Harvest has created a business model based on imperfect/ugly produce. They are generating revenue, growing, and expanding by selling what was once a negative revenue generator for farmers. They have 2,500 customers and sell over 60,000 pounds of this type of produce per month.



Local man gives ugly produce a purpose with Hungry Harvest

Prince George’s County farmers that want to both help feed those in need by gleaning their fields after the harvest and generate revenue by selling imperfect/ugly produce  can now do so. County traditional and urban farmers should call Hungry Harvest and other companies that have a similar business model to get into their supply chains.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Prince George’s County – County Executive Rushern Baker’s 2016 State Of The Economy Breakfast




Subject: Prince George’s County – County Executive Rushern Baker’s 2016 State Of The Economy Breakfast

The event will be held April 13, 2016 at the Colony South Hotel. If you attend this event, you will be able taste the cooking of Chef Christ who was a finalist in the 2015 Mason Dixon Master Chef Tournament. It will also give you a chance to see the newly launched Sweetgrass: Low Country Cooking Restaurant.



Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III's State of the Economy Breakfast Promotion

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