Sunday, April 23, 2017

Friday, April 21, 2017

Disability Rights Maryland Legislative Report

DRM 2017 Legislative Report
During the 2017 General Assembly (GA) session, DRM followed about 140 bills on a range of topics. We focused substantial energy on a package of bills aimed at improving outcomes for young people with disabilities, and are very pleased to report that ALL of the bills have passed! Gubernatorial action is pending, and the bills are listed below. A hearty thanks to DRM's allies and supporters, legislators and other who helped achieve progress for people with disabilities in the 2017 session.

HB 425/SB 651
Strictly limits out of school suspension for children pre-K through 2nd grade, requires positive interventions and supports, and authorizes restorative practices.

HB 331/SB 786
Creates a task force to review and revise state regulations governing use of seclusion and restraint in schools.

HB 174/SB 710
Requires parental consent for specific Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team proposals (e.g. including restraint or seclusion on IEP, removing a student from diploma track) effectively shifting the due process burden of proof.

HB 287
Establishes the Commission on the School-to-Prison pipeline and restorative practices.

HB 456/SB 943
Mandates the State Department of Education to develop a dispute resolution process for families of children with disabilities and child care providers.

HB 279/SB 272
Grants continuing jurisdiction to the juvenile court in guardianship and child welfare cases involving foster youth with developmental disabilities transitioning to adult services at age 21, to ensure provision of ongoing supports.

Our  2017 General Assembly Report and complete list of bills DRM supported, opposed, followed or worked on can be found on DRM's Public Policy page.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

PG Board of ed considers policies restricting public comment

UPPER MARLBORO – The number of speakers per meeting and what they can speak on may be restricted if the Prince George’s County Board of Education passes proposed policies introduced during its most recent work session.
At a meeting held at 1 p.m. on April 6, the board of education formally introduced changes to a board policy regarding public comment at public meetings. The changes were only a first reader, meaning board discussion or comment on the issue was not necessary; however a few members found the changes egregious and said so during their introduction.
Boardmember Edward Burroughs, III said the revamped policy would restrict residents in a burdensome way...

http://www.thesentinel.com/pgs/news/local/item/3610-board-of-ed-considers-policies-restricting-public-comment

CNN: Where rapists can gain parental rights.(MD is one state and #MGA17 is OK with this. #Progressive)

(CNN) It's an almost unimaginable scenario: a victim of rape being forced to face her attacker over custody rights for a child conceived during an assault.
"Almost" is the key word, because it's a situation that can easily happen in states across the United States. The shorthand for this occurrence is often referred to as "parental rights for rapists," a phrase that's mind-boggling but accurate in its representation of the issue.
Without any legislation stopping a sexual assailant from claiming parental rights of a child, individuals are free and clear to pursue custody or visitation rights of their biological offspring..

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Meeting Scheduled, Document Not Released. What is a "week" in Montgomery County? #celltower #DAS #smalllcells

Small cell tower in MoCo
4/20/2017 UPDATE:  Montgomery County has deleted the statement that the proposed zoning change will be released one week before the public meeting. The public does not need to read the proposal to be able to comment on it, right?  Just "trust" that Montgomery County is "good" and agree to any proposals. No need for notice. 

------
It is important that Montgomery County residents have good imaginations.  

The Montgomery County Government has scheduled a meeting to discuss proposed changes to the zoning ordinance that concerns cell towers.  The County said that the proposed changes would be made public one week prior to the meeting.  The meeting is April 26th.  Today is April 19th, the Wednesday before the meeting, yet the proposed changes are nowhere to be found.  

Just imagine what the County might be up to and mark your calendar to attend the April 26th meeting.



 --------------
Attn: Montgomery County residents Montgomery County will host a Wireless Telecommunications Community Meeting to discuss proposed changes to the County zoning ordinance and process for regulatory review of wireless telecommunications structures, to address new deployment and densification of lower-height (17’ to 30’) wireless technology in residential and commercial areas.
The Community Meeting is planned for April 26, 2017 at the Executive Office Building in the Cafeteria and Outdoor Plaza, 101 Monroe St, Rockville, MD 20850.
The County has invited equipment manufacturers to display so-called “stealth” equipment that disguises wireless antennas as streetlights and similar fixtures from 6 pm to 7 pm in the Outdoor Plaza.
From 7 pm to 8:30 pm, the County will host a discussion regarding potential changes to the zoning ordinance and regulatory review process. A summary and text of the potential changes will be made available here at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/towers one week prior to the Community meeting.

http://montgomerycountymd.gov/cable/towers/home.html

Video Casey Anderson Did Not Want You to See: Planning Board Invites BOE to Lunch

The Buffet taxpayers provided for this meeting.
Today the Montgomery County Planning Board invited the Board of Education to lunch.  The two public bodies met in the Planning Board's public meeting auditorium.  However, the Planning Chair, Casey Anderson, did not turn on the cameras in the room so the public was not able to observe this meeting.

The Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, MD, however, recorded the meeting and we are making the discussion of these two public bodies available to the public.

The public, after all, pays the salaries and stipends for everyone shown in this video, paid for the building where the two public bodies are meeting, and paid for the food they consumed.

Don't miss the discussions among the participants about the public's distrust of the planning process, transparency, and how much better the two public bodies are getting along. 

 



2015 Planning Board did videotape the dinner meeting with the Board of Education

2013 No video of dinner meeting

2011 Citizen records audio of Planning Board and BOE dinner meeting

Leggett warns Berliner on proposal to create new school funding bonds



Hat tip to the Montgomery County Civic Federation for providing the above memo.

Publc School Arrests 10 year old with Autism for Acting Out. Child handcuffed, spends night in detention. #publicschool failure


A Florida mother filmed the arrest of her 10-year-old son as school resource deputies handcuffed him and took him away.
The boy, who has autism, is accused of battery of a school employee in Okeechobee County because he kicked a teacher last November. The offense is a third-degree felony.
His mother Luanne Haygood said her son shouldn’t have been arrested for the incident.
“It was because of his autism that spurred this incident,” Haygood told WPTV. “And he was arrested for that.”
In the video, which Haygood recorded on her cell phone, her son John Benji Haygood is heard as officers place handcuffs on his wrists.
“I don’t want to be touched. Please don’t touch me,” the boy says in the video. “I don’t know what’s going on.”
Not wanting to be touched can be a symptom of autism, according to Autism Speaks.
Haygood said watching her son be cuffed and put in a law enforcement vehicle “broke her heart.” She said the 10-year-old boy then spent the night at a juvenile facility in Fort Pierce, Florida.
Although the incident took place last year, deputies said they couldn’t serve the arrest paperwork until last week.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article145281069.html


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article145281069.html#storylink=cpy
 and first court appearance

http://www.wpbf.com/article/child-with-autism-arrested-in-okeechobee/9269563

...Montgomery Parks to increase the amount of calories for 20-ounce drinks, from 250 calories to 290 calories.

An organization that wants healthier food more widely available in government vending machines is faulting a proposal by the Montgomery Parks to increase the amount of calories for 20-ounce drinks, from 250 calories to 290 calories.
“On the surface, it might be, ‘What’s the big deal?’” said Shawn McIntosh, executive director of Sugar Free Kids Maryland. “We’re just saying that’s enough sugar.”
In an email, Melissa Chotiner, media relations manager for Montgomery Parks, wrote in an email that the parks commission agreed to the change “to accommodate sports drinks in vending machines since we host many sporting events and have places where people engage in intense physical activity.”
Chotiner also said the change will support jobs in our communities that might be hurt by limiting the types of beverages to those with less than 250 calories.
The proposed change has not been approved and will be reviewed Wednesday, Chotiner wrote...

https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=722263422968684230#editor/target=post;postID=3636331342448213377

Paint Branch HS & Gaithersburg HS Alert: The Latest FieldTurf Issue Is Nothing 1,000 Gallons of Glue Won’t Fix #FieldTurf #artificialturf #fooledUagain

 [This is the brand of artificial turf that was installed at Gaithersburg High School and Paint Branch High School.  You know, the old no bid favorite of the Montgomery County Council!]

...FieldTurf crews are dumping a thousand gallons of latex glue called Beybond on top of the Revolution fields. During a weeklong process, crews vacuum up all the crumb rubber and sand infill cushioning between the grass blades, pour on the glue, then re-apply the infill in layers.
FieldTurf documents sent to San Diego Unified in October 2015 by turf salesman Tim Coury blamed the issues on a polyurethane “breakdown on the backing” of the turf rolls. The topical glue remedy was described as “non-invasive,” and FieldTurf claims in the documents that testing so far indicated there was “no negative impact on drainage,” often a selling point for the company...

http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/news/latest-fieldturf-issue-nothing-1000-gallons-glue-wont-fix/?utm_source=Voice+of+San+Diego+Master+List&utm_campaign=bea815ad5a-Morning_Report&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c2357fd0a3-bea815ad5a-84139409&goal=0_c2357fd0a3-bea815ad5a-84139409

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

URGENT – Today is Last Chance to Comment on the New MCPS Wellness Regulation

All public input on the new MCPS Wellness Regulation, which regulates Food and Nutrition, Nutrition Education, Physical Education and Activity and Communications with Parents on these topics in MCPS will be downloaded on April 19thIt is URGENT that if you haven’t yet, you submit comments today.
 
To do so, go to:
and at minimum, we recommend that you submit these top two priority recommendations that RFKM is working on. Under “Food and Nutrition Services” copy and paste these two suggestions:
____________________________
 
The combination of all foods and beverages (including meals and a la carte snacks) served or sold to any child in MCPS during any breakfast or lunch period should contain no more than 10% of calories from added sugar.
 
All beverages sold in vending machines in MCPS at all hours should be compliant with MCPS’ wellness policy for drinks sold during the school day.
____________________________
 
Feel free to add your own additional thoughts in this and other areas as well! RFKM has also provided a more extensive list of recommendations for changes to the Wellness Regulation for your use.  

Agenda for Off Camera LUNCH: Board of Ed. to Meet with Planning Board Wed. April 19, 2017

Off Camera: Board of Ed. to Meet with Planning Board Wed. April 19, 2017: Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, Maryland

 
Joint Planning Board and Board of Education Lunch Meeting
8787 Georgia Avenue (Auditorium)
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
 

Agenda

1.Update on Development Plans–
WMAL and any other significant
developments plans in the pipeline


2.Update on 10 Schools Field Renovations by Parks Department and strategy discussion on MCPS field maintenance


3.Update on Co-location Study
and innovations in school design


4. Coordination on school projections
for master plans 


5. New thoughts on student forecasting

School Had High Levels of Carbon Dioxide: PGCPS Test Results Released.

Fix The Lead Contamination in Prince George's County Public Schools Water Fountains : District Heights Had High Levels of Carbon Dioxid...: District Heights Elementary School Mold/Air Assessment Shows The Air was Toxic. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TESTING After we sent a public info...

BCPS superintendent Dallas Dance announces resignation

http://www.wbaltv.com/article/bcps-superintendent-dallas-dance-announces-resignation/9523237

New Student Data Show That Half of Graduating Seniors in LA Not Eligible for California’s Public Universities

...Two years ago, the school board decided to roll back graduation requirements, allowing students to pass A–G courses with a D instead of a C. At the time, school board members feared thousands of students wouldn’t graduate. The data show that their fears were founded, as roughly 14,200 graduates, or 53 percent, earned at least one D...

https://www.the74million.org/article/new-student-data-shows-that-half-of-graduating-seniors-in-la-not-eligible-for-californias-public-universities

Monday, April 17, 2017

Time for a Spotlight on Sexual Abuse in our Schools and the Failures to Report It

Sex abuse in schools. No one wants to think about it let alone talk about it. But we must because the statistics are staggering and because living in denial puts children at risk. It wasn’t too long ago that no one wanted to talk about what was happening to children at the hands of priests either and we all know how that turned out. But as with the Catholic church, this is a very real problem in our schools nationally. Rhode Island is no exception.

Cranston West High School is the latest school here in Rhode Island to make news for a teacher allegedly abusing a student and the story gets worse by the day. Not only has a science teacher with a history of similar incidents in the past been arrested on twelve counts of second-degree sexual assault, but it turns out that a school psychologist had ample reason to suspect the abuse, yet chose to stay silent. He too has been arrested.

http://goodschoolhunting.org/2017/04/time-spotlight-sexual-abuse-schools-failures-report.html

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hundreds of Prince George's school staff members put on leave in misconduct cases this school year

An open records request to Prince George’s County Public Schools found hundreds of staff members are being put on administrative leave for abuse and misconduct allegations. Teachers tell FOX 5 the high number isn’t about widespread abuse, but a system that isn’t working.

The records request stated that 299 staff members were on leave for misconduct as of March 8, and there had been a total of 636 misconduct cases so far for the 2016-2017 school year. For perspective, Montgomery County, the largest district in the state, currently has less than 20 staff members out for misconduct...
http://www.fox5dc.com/news/local-news/248049870-story

As of April 2017: List of MCPS Staff Arrests and Notices - Sexual Abuse of Students or Inappropriate Activity with Students


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

MCFRS Responds to Dryer Fire at Kingsview Middle School

https://www.germantownpulse.net/single-post/2017/04/11/MCFRS-Responds-to-Dryer-Fire-at-Kingsview-Middle-School

Screens and Kids: Through the Looking Glass The MD General Assembly...

Screens and Kids: Through the Looking Glass The MD General Assembly...:

Through the Looking Glass The MD General Assembly and Classroom Screen Safety: 
A study of disturbing nonsense

For student health advocates across the state and across the country, watching the developments surrounding the nation's first classroom digital device safety legislation during the recent Maryland General Assembly was a surreal, Alice in Wonderland kind of experience.

Just the idea that parents would have to take their case to the state legislature, to protect their children from serious harm caused by their teachers and schools is a bizarre concept. Aren't teachers supposed to be caring, nurturing people who protect children? And yet, their silence is deafening, even after learning of the myopia, retinal damage, sleeplessness, muscle pain, eye strain, anxiety, depression and addiction associated with daily use of digital devices in school.

Perhaps they are silenced by a craven shadow government, the Maryland State Department of Education, that consumes the lion's share of any budget, and then arrogantly dismisses the people who pay their salaries, while utterly disregarding the medical needs of the growing children, whom they are paid to serve.

A culture of fear 

Bloated and self-satisfied, state and local school boards and the crony political groups who shape them dole out mandates without a single thought to the health of our kids, and then intimidate any staff member or teacher who doesn't get onboard, according to what teachers say privately. 

http://www.screensandkids.us/2017/04/through-looking-glass-md-general.html?spref=bl

Monday, April 10, 2017

Remember: Sexual Abuse Conviction is not a fireable offense to Board of Education. BOE Did Not Fire Shemer, They Allowed Him to Resign After Internal Investigation

Exclusive: BOE Did Not Fire Shemer, They Allowed Him to Resign After Internal Investigation: Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, Maryland

MCPS Background Checks Lacking and RM Security Leader still on Administrative Leave

MCPS Checking for Gaps in Employee Screening After Arrest of Richard Montgomery Staffer: Security leader passed background check despite misdemeanor charge from 1994

Why Social Media is Not Smart for Middle School Kids

...2. Social media is an entertainment technology. It does not make your child smarter or more prepared for real life or a future job; nor is it necessary for healthy social development. It is pure entertainment attached to a marketing platform extracting bits and pieces of personal information and preferences from your child every time they use it, not to mention hours of their time and attention...

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201703/why-social-media-is-not-smart-middle-school-kids#_=_

Friday, April 7, 2017

wife filed a protection order against Yantsos following his arrest, asking that the court restrict him from contacting herself and his daughter, who is a minor, and his two step-children, but a judge denied the petition...

...If he posts bond, Yantsos will also not be permitted to have any contact with the minor and would not be allowed on school property, Wolfe said. He would also have to provide the court with an address where he would be residing. Assistant State's Attorney Hannah Gleason said his wife has told attorneys he would not be welcome at their home.
On Thursday, Yantsos’ wife filed a protection order against Yantsos following his arrest, asking that the court restrict him from contacting herself and his daughter, who is a minor, and his two step-children, but a judge denied the petition...

Richard Montgomery Security Leader Accused of Sexually Abusing Student Held on 75,000 Bond

Child cried for 'mommy' during recorded sexual assault, police say

BURTONSVILLE, MD (WUSA9) - A Montgomery County man is charged with sexually abusing three girls, two of them younger than 5 years old.
An anonymous source told police Kyle S. Thompson, 31, showed off several videos of him having sex and molesting a 4-year-old girl and two other underage females.
According to charging documents, in one video the toddler cried “I want my mommy,” to which Thompson replied “Your mommy can’t save you!”
Another video showed the girl’s arms tied with a belt. She cried while Thompson performed a sexual act, police said.
The reported abuse lasted six months at Thompson’s home in Burtonsville and in a nearby wooded area...

http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/maryland/child-cried-for-mommy-during-recorded-sexual-assault/428964148

Kennedy Center Performance Cancelled for Stedwick Kids Opera Company

The opera third grade students at Stedwick Elementary have worked on all school year will not be performed at the Kennedy Center after all. The Discover the Music Inside Kids Opera Company was scheduled to perform “Falling from Judgment” on May 24.  The opera company plans to put on a puppet show to share their work. Teacher Mary McGinn has been leading students through creation of opera productions for 16 years. She sent out the letter below to explain the reason for the cancellation...

http://www.mymcmedia.org/kennedy-center-performance-cancelled-for-stedwick-kids-opera-company/

Thursday, April 6, 2017

On Monday, Yantsos saw the girl’s mother enter school and head to the main office. Yantsos made contact with the girl while she was in class. They met in school, and Yantsos took custody of the iPhone he’d purchased for her.

...Investigators received copies of text messages Yantsos had recently sent the girl.
On Monday, Yantsos saw the girl’s mother enter school and head to the main office. 
Yantsos made contact with the girl while she was in class. They met in school, and Yantsos took custody of the iPhone he’d purchased for her... 
http://wtop.com/montgomery-county/2017/04/montgomery-county-school-security-leader-charged-sex-offense/

MCPS Hired Security Guard who: "was accused of using his revolver to menace a female while working for the New York Police Department."

A Message from Dr. Jack R. Smith Regarding the Arrest of Mark Yantsos on Allegations of Sexual Abuse of a Minor
April 6, 2017
“The allegations against Mark Yantsos, the security team leader at Richard Montgomery High School, are disturbing. As Principal Monteleone stated in his letter to the community (included below), the behavior described in the charging document “represents an irreparable breach of trust, ethics and the law.” Any adult who abuses their position and takes advantage of our students has no place in our schools or community.
“Additionally, it has come to our attention that in 1994, Mr. Yantsos was accused of using his revolver to menace a female while working for the New York Police Department. We have provided this information to the police.
“The safety of our students is paramount. In 2015, the Montgomery County Board of Education updated its policy regarding child abuse and neglect. Central to the updated policy are new practices, procedures and protocols to ensure students have a safe environment in which to learn. This includes: 
• updated mandatory training of all full-time employees on recognizing and reporting child abuse; and
• the development of the Employee Code of Conduct, a document that summarizes the standards of conduct that MCPS and the broader community expect employees to follow.
We remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure all of our students are in a safe environment.” 

http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/press/index.aspx?pagetype=showrelease&id=5046&type=current&startYear=&pageNumber=&mode

MCPS Security Team Leader Charged with Sex Offense


Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department – Special Victims Investigations Division (SVID) have arrested and charged Mark Christopher Yantsos, age 57, of the 600 block of Warfield Drive in Rockville, for having inappropriate contact with a 17-year-old female Richard Montgomery High School student while he worked as the security team leader at the school. The Montgomery County Public Schools system placed Yantsos on administrative leave as soon as it learned of these allegations.

On Monday, April 3, SVID detectives were notified by school officials that a Montgomery County Public Schools employee had engaged in an ongoing sexual relationship with a student at the high school where he worked.

SVID detectives interviewed the victim who told investigators that she met Yantsos while she was a student at Richard Montgomery High School and while he worked as part of the school security team at the school. The victim stated that Yantsos befriended her in 2016 and that he purchased multiple gifts for her since that time. In March of 2017, Yantsos bought the victim a phone in order to communicate with her during and after school hours.

The victim further stated that on March 3, 2017 at approximately 10:00 p.m., Yantsos drove to her home, picked her up, and drove her to a hotel in Rockville where he engaged in inappropriate contact with her.

Investigators were provided with copies of inappropriate text messages that Yantsos had recently sent to the victim.

Yantsos was arrested this morning at his home on the strength of a Montgomery County criminal warrant, charging him with sexual abuse of a minor and a fourth-degree sex offense. He was transported to the Central Processing Unit. Bond information is not available at this time.

Detectives are requesting that parents of students who attend Richard Montgomery High School talk to their children about their interactions with Mark Christopher Yantsos and contact SVID detectives at 240-773-5400 if they believe their child was victimized.

http://www.mymcpnews.com/2017/04/06/montgomery-county-public-school-security-team-leader-charged-with-sex-offense/

Advocates for Victims of Domestic Violence Urge Council To Add Funds for Child Exchange and Visitation Center

Advocates for Victims of Domestic Violence Urge Council To Add Funds for Child Exchange and Visitation Center: New center would provide a safe space for victims to turn over children for court-ordered visitation

Pediatricians may start asking parents what they're posting on social media


SEATTLE - The next time your child has a check-up, the pediatrician might have some new questions for you. Don't be surprised if the doctor wants to know what you're posting on Facebook.
The journal Pediatrics just published a commentary offering guidelines for pediatricians to talk to parents about social media...

http://wjla.com/news/nation-world/pediatricians-may-start-asking-parents-what-theyre-posting-on-social-media?utm_content=buffer318d6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Upset parents claim Md. school building unsafe, causing students, staff to get sick



http://www.fox5dc.stfi.re/news/local-news/246211605-story?sf=gwadljy#/aa

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Homeowners Tax Credit of $692 actually raises the tax bills of senior citizens over 65 who make less than $60,000 a year.

Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row: Montgomery County Council stealing money from seni...: Montgomery County falsely asserts that its proposed FY-2018 budget "holds the line on taxes," and reduces the property tax rate ...

Education study: Attendance, graduation rates may match the science that teenagers need more sleep

Later school start times catch on nationwide

Many district administrators seem to agree that teenagers need more sleep. A new study released in February indicates that attendance and graduation rates may match the science, too.

Published in Sleep Health, the journal of the National Sleep Foundation, the study includes data for 30,000 students in 29 high schools from eight districts across seven states.
Two years after a delayed start was implemented at these high schools, average attendance rates increased from 90 percent to 94 percent, and graduation rates increased from 79 percent to 88 percent...

https://www.districtadministration.com/article/later-school-start-times-catch-nationwide?utm_content=buffer7a18a&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hogan to Board of Education: Focus on ensuring students are safe in schools

The following letter from Governor Hogan to the Montgomery County Board of Education was posted today on Twitter by Board of Education staff.
 


Guest: MoCo Tower Committee Withholds Report Prior to Wed. Meeting & Vote on Cell Tower Application. End Free Do-Overs on Cell Tower Applications.

 On Wednesday, April 5, 2017, the Montgomery County Transmission Facility Coordinating Group (TFCG) will take up a number of applications, including the one shown below.  Comments from Sue Present concerning this application review process below. 



I ask the Tower Committee to “NOT RECOMMEND” TFCG application 201609-12. I appreciate your very promptly facilitating my request to provide me access to this application. Yet, I am frustrated and disappointed that you have denied me access to the corresponding Tower Coordinator’s Report and Recommendation, which the Committee is scheduled to review at its Wednesday meeting. Perhaps the Tower Coordinator materials, which apparently have been shared with the applicant (per COMCOR 02.58E.01.05.a.3.) would have shed light on why the Tower Coordinator is advising the Tower Committee’s favorable action on this application. However, based upon my examination of the application materials, I make my request that the Tower Committee “NOT RECOMMEND” the application for the following reasons.

1.      The TFCG application is defective.

a.      The application’s attached plans are only drafts. They are identified as “preliminary.” Furthermore, these documents are missing the signature and seal of the professional engineer that prepared them.  As a result, these plans should be disqualified from consideration. Per the Maryland Article - Business Occupations and Professions, §14–103.(a), “All engineering documents prepared in connection with the alteration, construction, design, or repair of a building, structure, building engineering system and its components, machine, equipment, process, works, subsystem, project, public or private utility, or facility in the built or economic environment, including an engineering document prepared at the request of the State or a political subdivision of the State, where the skills of a professional engineer are required, shall be signed, sealed, and dated by the professional engineer who prepared or approved the documents.” (emphasis added)

b.      The application documents are inaccurate, contradictory, and deceptive.

                                          i.     The application form says that the applicant will install equipment as an “attachment to the existing steel light pole.” The supporting application materials contradict the application statement. Sheet T-1, in the Project Description, says the pole is an “existing concrete light pole.” The Pole Elevation on Sheet EV-1, a Plumbing Diagram note on Sheet PL-1, and the Equipment Mounting Details on EQ-2 all say it is a “concrete pole.” However, the County’s DOT website suggests that the material of this existing pole is “spun aluminum.” See https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DOT-Traffic/Resources/Files/PDF/SLspecs/spun_aluminum_pole.pdf . By the way, this pole is described on the TFCG’s interactive map (for the public) as a “wooden utility pole.”

                                         ii.     The plans reference a separate “structural analysis” (which was not included in the application materials that I was permitted to review). If the structural analysis has relied upon the use of the wrong pole material, such as concrete or steel when spun aluminum would be utilized, then the referenced structural analysis is unreliable.

                                        iii.     The applicant’s photo simulation and diagrams of the equipment attached to the pole. But some are “not to scale” and others are mis-scaled. The equipment has been under-scaled relative to the size of the pole. As a result, this TMNC/Mobilitie application deceptively diminishes the adverse visual impact of this equipment, most of which is significantly wider than the existing tapered pole. (The afore-referenced MC-DOT specs state, “The spun aluminum, tapered streetlight pole shall have a round, circular, cross-section with an outside base diameter of seven (7) inches, and with a uniform taper decreasing from the base at a rate of 0.1 inch (minimum) to 0.14 inch (maximum) inches per foot of height.”)
Here is an example of actual Mobilitie attachments on a light pole. However, this example does not include the 13”w x 19”h meter proposed in the TFCG application. Source:http://wireless.blog.law/2016/05/27/anatomy-mobilitie-site-sprint/




c.      The application, as proposed, may accommodate two carriers. See page 21 of 33, which provides information on the Radio Specifications: Number of LTE Carriers – 2.  If the expectation would be for one or more future co-locators to add equipment to the facility, then information should be included in the application to simulate the fully loaded facility.

2.      Coverage statements in the TFCG application are problematic.

a.      There is no wireless carrier serving as a co-applicant. The information in the attached “Memo in Response to RFT SENT ON 01.31.17” does not sufficiently clarify/resolve this issue.  It can be factually accurate that Sprint is a Mobilitie, LLC client, and it can also be accurate that Mobilitie is aware that Sprint has transmission needs (or wishes) in this geographic vicinity. Regardless, however, there is no evidence that Sprint has retained TMNC/Mobilitie to act on Sprint’s behalf to pursue transmission needs at this location. Thus, perhaps TMNC/Mobilitie is doing nothing more than speculating to attract the business of Sprint and/or other carriers, and to support its own business model. Acquiring and occuping any wireless space for that purpose – especially a public space -- should not be “recommended” by the Tower Committee.

b.      The application indicates that it would provide coverage over approximately a 0.1 mile radius. It is noteworthy that the pending Crown Castle/Verizon application 201608-28 is within this radius. However, the “RF Propagation for Current Target Area” coverage map, provided in the “revised 09/09/16” version of the subject application, identified as revised 09/09/16 anticipates far greater actual coverage than the 0.1 mile radius. (The map has neither been updated in the most recent edition of the application, nor rescinded, and so I presume it is still relevant.)  This coverage map places six pending Crown Castle/Verizon applications within the subject applicant’s identified coverage area, with the applicant’s site in the approximate center. The Crown Castle/Verizon pending applications are:          1)  201608-20
                              2)  201608-26
                              3)  201608-28
                              4)  201608-37
                              5)  201610-13
                              6)  201610-16
Both TMNC/Mobilitie and Crown Castle have asserted that their facilities could accommodate various carriers. Therefore, without a carrier co-applicant, there is no substantiation that TMNC/Mobilitie is doing anything beyond engaging incompetitive jockeying for transmission space.

3.      The TFCG has an obligation under Sec. 2.58E of the County Code to minimize the adverse impact to citizens.

a.      The application seeks an unnecessary visual intrusion upon the residents and their property owner. As you are aware, Montgomery County has asserted in Comments to the FCC that, in general, visible wireless telecommunications facilities of all types and sizes, including small cell facilities in public rights-of-way, adversely affect residential property values. At the approximate proposed location, where this applicant seeks the attachment of its antennas and equipment, both sides of Crystal Rock Drive have identical County light poles. So does the cross street, Century Boulevard. But Mobilitie has selected a County light pole that abuts a residential use (garden apartments) rather than any of the County light poles that abut the commercial use on the opposite side of the street, or any of the County light poles that are on Century Blvd., which is the cross street where the County light poles in the public right-of-way abut the Montgomery County Police Department. This suggests that the Tower Coordinator has not adequately engaged with this applicant to flesh out “site suitability and co-location options,” per COMCOR 02.58E.01.05.a.3(a).

b.      The dearth of information in this application demonstrating the visual impact of co-locations suggests that the visual impact of co-locations was not considered by the Tower Coordinator when making recommending this application. As mentioned above, if, as it appears, it is the applicant’s intent to accommodate one or more co-locators, then this application is also missing simulations that show the visual effects of the facility, fully loaded. As you are aware, Montgomery County asserted in Comments to the FCC, “it is necessary to presume and consider full utilization of rights granted by virtue of a particular authorization.” Thus, the Tower Committee’s review and vote on whether or not to “Recommend” must consider the impact of any prospective co-location installations.
4.      The contact information for signage in the TFCG application is deceptive.
The Pole Mounted Signs proposed in the application, found on Sheet EQ-2, rather than identifying the true owner, only identify Interstate Transport and Broadband. This is deceptive and represents the kind of subterfuge that the media have reported Mobilitie as engaging in throughout the United States. Any signs should transparently identify this owner, such as “Mobilitie,” “Mobilitie DBA Technology MD Network Company,” or “TMNC/Mobilitie.”
I have herein identified several reasons why the Tower Committee should “NOT RECOMMEND” the application; I urge the Committee to act accordingly. I ask the Tower Committee to take notice that the application includes two revisions to the application and the above-referenced 03-31-17 TFCG memo and Mobilitie replies. And I ask the Committee to recognize that the County has itself provided detailed accounts of the lengthy experiences working with Mobilitie in its March 8, 2017 Comments to the FCC (See pp. 12 – 21,https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/103091020720870/COMMENTS-Montgomery%20County.pdf ). In sum, Montgomery County’s expenditure of resources to review this and other TMNC/Mobilitie small cell applications on the “taxpayers’ dime” have been excessive.

Frankly, I object to the existing process, which uses taxpayer dollars to underwrite the industry’s TFCG application reviews. For the FY-18 budget and beyond, I will urge the County Council to take measures to ensure that all costs associated with TFCG reviews are borne by the applicants, rather than continuing to approve general revenues to support application reviews in the TFCG Budget and through the County Budget as a whole.

But I particularly object to supporting this applicant’s waste and abuse of the TFCG application process. Approximately seven years ago, I heard the announcement about the Tower Committee’s plans to end the free application do-overs. The industry has been on notice for a long time. See ~min. 1:02:15 – 1:04 at http://mncppc.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=7&clip_id=505. Therefore, if there would be a decision to postpone action on this application for further corrective measures (initiated by the TFCG or by the applicant), then I ask that the Tower Committee require the application process to start anew with a new application fee. Also, it seems likely that the errors that I have pointed out in this application repeat themselves in other TMNC/Mobilitie applications. As a result, I ask for the same thing – a fresh start, not more free passes -- for any other pending applications where further corrective measures would be needed.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sue Present