Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day One: $260 (Over 10%)! (Tuesday LINKS)

"Without vision, there is no power." - James Rouse

I saw that quote yesterday in a completely different context, but it made me think of the Project.  What is the vision?  Are we just putting money together for a loan?  Has the practicality of this effort overrun its idealism?

Why are you raising money?
Oh, we need a security deposit.
Aha, well that is the most uninspiring thing I've ever heard.

This effort is about so much more than scuffs, dents, and Spackle.  Sober houses change lives, but more importantly, their very existence creates hope.  When this project was first being discussed around the Route 1 Day Center, some clients would become emotional just over the idea of leaving the woods and going to a place that was dedicated to reforming lives.  The fact that there is already one house open, and that it is nothing short of a smashing success, gives hope to each and every man, woman, and child that society has moved on from.  Not only that, but if the Living in Recovery program is successful here, it can be a model for other efforts across the Country, and bring our goal of Ending Homelessness in Howard County even closer in time.  I am not inflating a small effort.  I'm letting you know just how big it is.

Here's a quote from one of the residents of our first Living in Recovery House: "I had never been clean 2 months straight in the last 20 years until I came here and now I've got 10 months.  This house is exactly what I needed."  That's powerful.  Even more powerful when you realize that you may have been one of the people to make that life change possible.

Here's what I would ask: Go to the page and donate $10.  Do it anonymously if you would like.  But I guarantee you this -- it will feel awesome.  Philanthropists talk about the "habit of giving."  This isn't just some defect that some of us have where we give up our hard earned money to strangers.  We do it because there is a psychic benefit.  I'm not going to go through the whole "you read here for free" deal, because that's not what this is about.  I don't need you to pay me through philanthropy.  I need you to help me do something big.

From the first day, thank you to:
Dave & Ilana Bittner (HoCoMoJo)
Barbara Kellner
Ellen Flynn Giles
Cory Andrews

You all are great friends.


Lindsey McPherson notes that Howard Hughes and the County Council are "moving on" after their public falling out last week.  One of the unfortunate aspects of transparency law is that it often stands in the way of mediation.  This is a conflict that could definitely use mediation.  I feel that Howard Hughes would like to see a less onerous process of approval for development projects, while the Council would like more public participation and openness to the Downtown Partnership.  Neither side would ever say in a public forum what they would be willing to give up, but it is apparent that there are some base level misunderstandings of the Downtown legislation that need clearing up, and pressing on in the face of such misunderstanding is a very bad idea.

City and State lawmakers are calling for greater oversight with regard to property tax credit programs in Baltimore City.  This is surprising, considering the fact that every time there is an audit, City and State lawmakers end up with egg on their face.

The Supreme Court has upheld the lower courts ruling affirming the Maryland congressional districting map.  This case presented the odd circumstance in which a conservative group in Iowa funded a federal lawsuit, which argued that the map "hurt black voters by diluting their voting strength and violating their constitutional rights."  Whenever conservatives in Iowa fight for the voting rights of black voters in Maryland, you can probably guess which way the Court is going.

Jeffrey Toobin takes a look at Justice Scalia's angry dissent in the Arizona immigration case.  In all my years in law school, I did not see a friendly dissent, so I don't see these things as that big of a deal.

Featured Blog Post of the Day: Duane looks at CA's renewed dredging and watershed projects, explaining why these are so important to the health of Columbia's lakes.  If you complain about the delay in dredging, yet put non-organic fertilizer on your yard, you, sir or madam, are a hypocrite.  (Duane also links to the Project, which is much appreciated).

That's all for today.  Have a great Tuesday doing what you love.