One of the key elements of my campaign is responsiveness and connectivity with the electorate. I am excited by the opportunities technology presents and believe it is incumbent upon any elected official to utilize those tools to engage interested citizens and empower their ideas.
As a candidate, these tools can be used to solicit important issues, refine positions, and explain the same. One of the most basic platforms for doing so is a chat room. On August 20, I will be hosting an "On-Line Town Forum" in this space to discuss my recently released issue planks and anything else that you wish to have addressed. It will be moderated (for obvious reasons), but I hope, and expect, to be challenged by those who may not agree with me. This will not be a debate, but I think we can use this opportunity to get into the meat of the ideas I have proposed and find new topics that merit address.
This all may be a very bad idea. In fact, I think the chances of it being a bad idea, either a flop or a shooting gallery, are greater than it being a success, but it needs to be tried. I trust you. Every day I post, I trust all of you to offer responsive and responsible debate. This proposal is no different, but it will require those of you who want to see this kind of engagement to attend and participate.
When we started this campaign, we planned to do things differently. Thanks to all of your fundraising support last week, we can afford to spend time on events like this when we otherwise would have had to put another fundraiser on the calendar. Please take advantage of this opportunity to continue the conversation we started long ago. Our goal is to change state government as we know it, but it begins with the simple obligation to participate.
Also, please mark your calendar for Sunday, August 18 at 8:30 a.m., for our campaign's first Service Event. We will be cleaning up the Community Action Council's Community Garden, which is a great opportunity to support one of the core services CAC provides for Howard County's least fortunate. We only have room for 15 people, so when the Facebook event comes out (probably later today), please only RSVP if you plan on attending.
Of local interest, Kevin Rector of The Baltimore Sun reports that a study of the proposed intermodal facility for south Baltimore has found that the CSX project may have "negative impacts" such as abandonment of properties and blight once installed. Many of you will recall that this facility was once proposed for Elkridge, but was redirected to Baltimore once Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake indicated that she would welcome the project.
The Washington Post will be sold to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Some have described this as the "charity wing" of Amazon, which would be just fine by me so long as they never get rid of the Ideas section on Sunday morning.
I highly recommend Andrew Sullivan's post on the FreedomWorks campaign to encourage young people not to buy health insurance. It is quite partisan, and I apologize for that, but offers an interesting examination of the health care law and how it incorporates "personal responsibility".
I think the Baltimore Sun was a little unfair in its coverage of Attorney General Doug Gansler's event focused on re-entry reform for ex-offenders with the headline "Gansler Proposes Tablet Computers for Inmates". Any proposal to help with the reintegration, employment, and support of recently released offenders is a risky proposition to begin with, but the sensationalize of his down-right wonky talking points by making them about fancy computers is a quick way to shut down an important topic.
Carrie Wells and Erin Cox with The Baltimore Sun report that there have been 12 prison guards injured by inmates at the North Branch Correctional Institute since June. This is an important story that, I fear, may relate back to the abolition of the Death Penalty. That may be jumping the gun, but as someone who supported abolition, I hate to see the critics fears come true, particularly with hard-working state employees' lives at risk.
Featured Blog Post of the Day: Julie writes about extending outside of your comfort zone to "do good" and have a positive impact on your community. Couldn't agree more. My experience is that once you stretch your comfort zone, it is forever extended regardless of the outcome.
Finally, WB never won a "Best of Howard" award. That was an oversight on our part that we need to remedy. Please vote for at least 10 entries, including "Tales of Two Cities" for Best Blog.
That's all for today. I hope to see a number of you at tonight's National Night Out at the new Roger Carter Center.
Have a great (rainy) Tuesday doing what you love!