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Del. Griffith fights back against the 'haters'

In response to several occasions where public officials have been verbally flogged by some residents during public comment periods with insults and accusations of corruption, Prince George's House Delegation Chairwoman Melony G. Griffith (D) recently issued a call for those residents to behave themselves and to "stop the Maddness [sic]."

(State photo)

"In the past 18 months I have had the misfortune of interacting with a few people in the county who I can only describe as haters," Griffith wrote. "For the purpose of this correspondence, I am defining haters as those who choose hateful attack politics that seek to embarrass public servants and gain media attention under the guise of promoting an issue or position.

"I am calling on those haters to STOP THE MADDNESS [sic]. STOP insulting, misleading and attacking. I have heard these haters demand respect, transparency and open communications. These requests are reasonable, and when presented with respect and civility even welcomed. When laced with hatred, drama and insults, these demands will be ignored.....at least by me." (See full e-mail below.)

Griffith's message, distributed in an e-mail blast to about 50 people including elected colleagues, residents and members of the media, came after a town-hall-style forum at a Glenarden church last week, in which several attendees hurled verbal assaults at a panel of local elected leaders. One man accused officials of corruption, waving his shoes in rage. A woman lamented that God can't seem to find Prince George's County, apparently because of a malfunctioning gps device. And County Council Member Samuel H. Dean (D-Mitchellville), who did not attend, was called out by a senior citizen--who was there to highlight alleged substandard living conditions in his community--for being "missing."

Several of the more fiery attendees were affiliated with the group People For Change, who first gained notoriety for their opposition to a proposal to build a professional soccer stadium in the county. They railed against the project, and protested outside the County Administration Building in the spring, calling for the resignation of several officials. Some had signs that said, "Hit the Road Jack," referring to County Executive Jack Johnson.

The group also rallied around a man who filed a law suit claiming that a single polling site for a referendum in Laurel constituted racial discrimination, and has supported a group of seniors in the Cameron Grove community who blame their developer and county officials for alleged poor conditions there.

In an interview, Griffith said she intentionally spelled "Maddness" with two D's in her message as a reference to the theatrics of the protesters, which she said reminded her of the sketch comedy show named after MAD magazine. However, the magazine, and the show, MADtv, were both spelled with one D.

Griffith declined to cite any individual or group by name when asked just who the "haters" were, and said to refer back to the definition in her e-mail.

"If the shoe fits," she said, "wear it."

--
[Griffith's e-mail]

For the past 11 years it has been my honor and privilege to represent the citizens of the 25th Legislative District and Prince Georges County as a Delegate to the Maryland General Assembly. For nearly a year I have also had the fortune of serving as Chair of the Prince George's County Delegation. I have had the pleasure of working with and for some of the
most committed talented and dynamic public servants in the country. In the same 11 years I have interacted with passionate community activists, business owners and leaders of the faith community. I have also enjoyed the opportunity to work with state and local agencies, municipal leaders and non-profits.

In the past 18 months I have had the misfortune of interacting with a few people in the county who I can only describe as haters. For the purpose of this correspondence, I am defining haters as those who choose hateful attack politics that seek to embarrass public servants and gain media attention under the guise of promoting an issue or position.

I am calling on those haters to STOP THE MADDNESS. STOP insulting, misleading and attacking. I have heard these haters demand respect, transparency and open communications. These requests are reasonable, and when presented with respect and civility even welcomed. When laced with hatred, drama and insults, these demands will be ignored.....at least by me.

In a county that celebrates its diversity, I recognize that there will be differing opinions about the challenges that we face and the solutions we select to address them. I remain open and available to hear from the citizens and give thoughtful consideration to the input of others.

I must again state that the overwhelming majority of my interactions with my colleagues in public service and the citizens of Prince George's County have been valuable solution based interactions. It is my hope that the haters will join the majority who are willing to be civil even in disagreement.

I invite elected officials, citizens and representatives with solution based ideas to contact me at delegate.griffith@verizon.net.

I remain committed to service,


Melony G. Griffith

By Jonathan Mummolo  |  October 23, 2009; 11:19 AM ET
Categories:  Jonathan Mummolo , Prince George's County  
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Comments

Yo, yo, yo, don't be hatin on me yo. Don't hate, appreciate and congratulate. Where my hos at yun?

PG politics at it's finest. No wonder the county is in the condition it's in.

Posted by: islandhopper24 | October 23, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

People for Change deals in inflammatory, exaggerated gangster tactics, more reminiscent of the nutty "Birthers" and "Tea Party" folks than a legitimate, thoughtful, or informed advocacy organization. I know for a fact that they and their supporters have used intimidation and misrepresentation to get people to sign petitions. So far, the facts haven't gotten in the way of People for Change...but sooner or later, they will.

Posted by: delores52 | October 23, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I’m somewhat confused by Delegate Melanie Griffith’s call for a more respectful public debate. I agree the concept is laudable, and think it’s a goal we should all aspire to.

Without getting into the he said/she said, of Delegate Griffin’s concerns, which are a little opaque, I’ll offer the following.

Delegate Griffith complains (rightly), of an apparently diminishing lack of respect for elected officials among the electorate, and then try’s to lay the blame for that upon the electorate, leaving elected officials to skate home free, without obligation, (kinda like Wall Street bankers). I for one, am not buying what she is selling. Delegate Griffith needs to wise up.

I learned to my cost, of many $K in the early 1990’s in Montgomery County Maryland, that treating public officials with the respect that they sought, often resulted in evermore countervailing derision on their part. So, no more respect!

My motto now, you public official, want my respect? Splain why I should give it?

I regularly use this forum to make anonymous attacks on those in, or seeking elected office, and have no apologies to make for anything I have said so far.

If it can be shown I have crossed the line, into inappropriate comment I am prepared to apologize. (Who decides)?

Linda Lamone and Camels excepted.


Posted by: countbobulescu | October 24, 2009 3:00 AM | Report abuse

I agree fully with the comments of Del. Griffith. It is indeed time that we stop tearing down our most beloved county. Trashing and putting down Prince George's County is easy.

I am prayerful that more people will begin to do the hard work by consistently lifting up, raising up, and building up Prince George's County. It can be done. And, it must be done.
Peace & Blessings,
Arthur Turner

Posted by: aturnerj | October 26, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

First , Delegate Griffith takes issue with the decorum of the citizens that she was elected to serve. It is very difficult to demand respect when respect is not given. In Annapolis, it was convenient to give outside supporters of the soccer stadium unlimited time to speak on their position ,in contrast, Prince Georges residents were given a 2 minute limit. The local residents that were present happened to be opposed to Delegate Griffin's position.

When residents of P.G. are constantly harassed by current Council Chair Marilyn Bland and former Chair Sam Dean about the use of the word P.G. it is somewhat understandable why respect is not present.

When the County Chair Marilyn Bland walked out during a session on the citizens, yes, respect was lost. There is a very clear divide between the council and the delegation, this does not encourage the citizens either.

The County Executive is constantly exposed for being involved in shady business dealings. He has recently hired a long time friend to head the most important agency in the county - Housing. Ask for his resume and it is very apparent that housing experience could not have been a prerequisite.Prince Georges County has the worst housing department in the state. Millions of dollars of state dollars go unused because of incompetency and inefficiency.

Give me a leader and I will give you respect.

Give me anything less and anything is possible.

Posted by: pgcitizen00 | October 30, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

I could not just let this go. I think that the taxpaying residents have a right to be very upset at leadership. People for Change is doing a good job enlightening the residents.

How should the people respond to the highest foreclosure rate in the state of Maryland? Respectfully?It was stated in the Post, "The county had disbursed about 66 percent of its total Home Funds, placing it in the second lowest percentile among comparable recipients nationwide". Let me simplify this , the county is simply inefficient and negligent resulting in a loss of millions of dollars. This is clearly a direct result of poor leadership.The county this week almost lost $ 5.2 million dollars. The reason stated is someone switched jobs. You think that someone is really concerned about respect, you should be embarassed. I believe someone should be fired or impeached.

Furthermore, how should they feel when Montgomery County caps the tax being paid to Park and Planning and there is no cap for Prince Georges County.This means that P.G. residents pay an unfair amount of property taxes. Why has Montgomery County rolled back the Md. Park and Planning taxes and Prince Georges County has not?
Why did the state delegates vote to take a $ 60 million dollar overpayment ( paid by P.G. residents )of Md. Park and Planning taxes and use it for the deficit versus returning it to the tax payers. By the way, they said that they found $ 60 million dollars. It was never lost but always stolen from the taxpayer.

I think that we have a much bigger issue to deal with than respect from the people. I think that we need to develop some respect of the people. Why don't you try this for a change?

I am not worried about the elected officials responding to this blog comment. They are not issue driven officials. They are more concerned about decorum, protocol, political posturing and appearing unified.

Posted by: pgcitizen00 | October 30, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

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