- The Washington Times - Monday, October 19, 2020

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, a Democrat, has her hands full.

One is trying to stem the tide of COVID-19, and the other is wrestling with crime and young people hellbent on wreaking havoc at one of Maryland’s most lucrative economic development projects.

National Harbor, a U.S. Census-designated site, is being overtaken by youths and nefarious ne’er-do-wells, including partygoers, restaurant-goers who skip out on their bills and — get this — parents and other adults who rent hotel rooms for the careless young people.

The problem is so acute that Ms. Alsobrooks put herself in the hot seat regarding hooligans at National Harbor — again. In 2019, swarms of illegal ATV drivers terrorized motorists and pedestrians at the Harbor, whose popular sites include hotels, gambling sites, restaurants and watering holes.

This year, the major sticking points are hundreds upon hundreds of young people whose favorite weekend pastimes include stiffing their foodie tabs, partying and brawling as if no adults were in sight.

Yet they were. In fact, the grown folk rented some of the hotel rooms, and adults were seen dropping off the young folk.

Ms. Alsobrooks, bless her surveillance, has uncovered that many of the attendees at what she dubbed “super large parties” have used ridesharing transportation. She also has said that some parents have been ordered to collect their children for participating in such unlawful behavior.

Humph. 2020 tough love?

In no way should this behavior be tolerated, and Ms. Alsobrooks knows as much. Prepare for the county to provide more activities, including sports and online games.

For her part, Ms. Alsobrooks, a mother of a teen daughter, espoused another aspect of her soft-hearted take, “because I understand what our kids are going through.”

And therein lies the lack-of-leadership rub: to admonish to do as I say, which liberals too often refuse to stand and deliver.

The illegal and uncontrolled behavior on display subtracts from the launch of the “Social Distance Here” campaign in September to capitalize on not only countywide COVID-19 practices but to lure tourists and other Marylanders.

Sure, National Harbor, hard by the Anacostia and Potomac rivers, has scenic views and great shopping experiences. But not in the absence of law and order.

Mother Nature might offer a reprieve this weekend, as rain is predicted for Saturday and Sunday. However, while that may delay outdoor activity, ne’er-do-wells will surely exploit indoor possibilities. So inquiring minds should, well, think like criminals now and plan.

After all, National Harbor is more than a destination; it’s home to an estimated 4,300 people. And according to 247WallSt.com, the total cost of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, taxes, and other necessities for a single adult in National Harbor is $45,479 a year — greater than the annual cost of living for Maryland of $43,414 and greater than the national figure of $38,433.

And if there are but two takeaways for Ms. Alsobrooks regarding the hooligans on behalf of hardworking home ownsers and renters, COVID-19, cooped-up grown folk, it’s leave their money alone and keep them safe.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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