Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What Do We Want Out of Service (Wednesday LINKS)

As may be obvious, Al's comment yesterday has me thinking a lot about the future of Columbia's leadership.  Particularly the line:

"For every X units of effort I put into a service project, I expect to see at least X units of positive return."

Al seems to represent the base expectation many of us have from time we take away from our family, work, or leisure activities to devote to volunteer service.  Most who serve on any non-profit Board would probably scoff at the idea and say "There is no product you walk away from the table with", but I think Al's comment is a little different and relates to general fulfillment.  Does the time I put into this activity equate to a comparable level of fulfillment?  OR does my involvement create an inverse level of frustration, anger, and blood pressure medicine?

We all love our community, but the question is what moves us from a state of inertia to a state of involvement.  Can service as a leader of Columbia produce "X"?

I went to bed concerned.  You all have read many pages of hand wringing about whether I am doing more harm than good in posting the highs and lows of CA Board service.  It seems that the lows have staying power, while the highs are either dismissed or forgotten.  I am proud to be a CA Board member and have enjoyed the past year.  I can't say that I've received X for every hour of service I've put in, but it gets close.  Whether it is the expansion of the Dorsey's Search Meeting Room, increased awareness of CA business, or protecting the integrity of the Symphony Woods Master Plan, I have a number of "X's" that I am very proud of helping to produce.

My frustration is that we are "so close."  So close to getting the Board out of the operations of CA Staff.  So close to turning the Board's focus to long term strategic planning that will make CA an example for future Community Associations across the Country.  So close to earning a seat at the table for stakeholder meetings regarding the future of Columbia.  On some of these points, we may already be there.  CA is a very strong organization that is belittled due to the notorious missteps of its Board, but have no doubt that the organization itself is sound.

My service has allowed me the opportunity to dig in and see what I can do.  It concerns me to see friends like Al have that opportunity foreclosed.  I am excited to work with Regina Clay, the new representative from Wilde Lake, as she sees all the opportunity that is rooted in imperfection.  I hope all of you will consider the vacancies on your Village Boards as similar opportunities to bring your perspective for change to the table.

There are plenty of X's here.  We aren't yet at the equal sign, but I don't want to give the impression that we aren't close.


It now appears that the collapse of the House-Senate deal that stymied the General Assembly in the final hours was the result of greed.  Local delegations saw some unfinished french fries on the plate and asked "Are you going to eat that?"

Those same leaders are now calling for a Special Session, but the Guv has been noncommittal, citing the failure to pass a budget an agreement on additional revenue as "the low point in my experience here."  A Democratic Governor being unable to get a budget legisltation passed by the Democratic Assembly seems to show a failure in leadership.  This deadline was not unknown to the Governor and there was no reason to leave it to the last night of the Session.  Whatever interests blew the whole thing up on Monday could have been incorporated long before.  The blame seems to be falling squarely on Mike Miller for his persistence in seeking expanded gambling legislation, but that would seem to be in the absence of a Democratic opponent of similar stature telling him to "shut up and get the thing done."  I've recently been told that Senate President Miller "bullies" O'Malley around.  Nothing that happened Monday proved that assessment to be incorrect.

Embodying the concerns I have over classifying some violent crimes as "hate crimes", Baltimore City Police Chief Bealefeld has announced that the brutal beating and stripping of a white male by a group of black males is not a "hate crime."  I'm not saying it should be, but the comparative analyses that will result from this announcement is unfortunate and unnecessary.  If you beat someone unconscious, take their money, and strip them naked in the street, it is a hate crime, regardless of anyone's race, and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent the law allows.

Featured Blog Post of the Day: Frank Hecker looks to promote free informal education amongst interested readers.  He has some things he can teach and hopes you have some things you can teach him.

Tonight is the HoCo Blogs Party at Second Chance Saloon.  Unfortunately, I will not be able to make it, but I hope all those that do have a great time.

Have a great Wednesday doing what you love!