If we were to ask one another, free from cynical smirks and judgment, why we're "involved" or why we care about local affairs, the answer would likely boil down to some version of "Create positive change." Democrat or Republican; liberal or conservative; religious or secular - I think the foundational motivation for all of us is to create positive change in this world while we have time to do so. We just disagree on the means.
I've had this little motto echoing in my head since I was 16 years old. When I participated in Leadership U all those years ago, it was the "call and response" for bus rides and anytime our program coordinator wanted us to quiet down.
Why are we here?
To create positive change.
And when I'm stuck, whether that be in life, career, or general motivation, I ask myself "Why are you here?" and it seems to clear my head. I'm someone who can easily get caught up in chasing the next flag-pole and miss the reason for why that flag-pole mattered in the first place.
Over the last month, as I've allowed my world to come back into focus after months of caring about little else but the campaign, I see all the things I've been missing. It is funny how life can lose its texture and diversity if you let it; how vanilla it can all become. Taking a step back, I found a bit of ambivalence about politics that I never knew I had in me. It is a means to an end and not necessarily the cleanest one. To create positive change.
I say all this because it is Giving Tuesday. I'm not going to make a pitch for you to give $50 to X nonprofit (although that would be a great way to celebrate the occasion). I am going to recommend you evaluate your personal contribution (financial or otherwise) to this collective goal I'm describing. I've spent hours and hours doing so and realized that my greatest enjoyments in life, other than those found with my family, have been through "ringing that bell" and making a positive change in my community. I cannot recommend it highly enough. And as I've said from the start, you don't need a fancy name-tag or a seat on a dais to do so.
We live amongst great need. Use this Giving Tuesday to figure out how to can fill it.
The new members of the Board of Education were sworn in yesterday and not without acrimony, reports Blair Ames with the Howard County Times. Janet Siddiqui was voted Chair, but when Ann DeLacy was nominated for Vice Chair, Cindy Vaillancourt moved to table the vote until her nominee for Vice Chair, Sandie French, was eligible for nomination (Ms. French was out of the country for this meeting).
Amanda Yeager covered the swearing in of the County Executive and County Council, where our new CE announced that his top priorities would be education and public safety.
Erin Cox with The Baltimore Sun writes that the Maryland legislature will be reevaluating $62.5 million in film and television tax credits. No lie - Kevin Spacey's masseuse lives in Ellicott City and approached me about these tax credits during the campaign. I explained that while I appreciate the jobs created by the film and television industry, I am wary of making tax expenditures to keep them here. Unfortunately, I don't think the folks in Annapolis share my view.
Yvonne Wenger with The Sun writes that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake vetoed both the plastic bag ban and police body camera bills passed by the City Council. Ms. Wenger also reports that supporters of both bills do not have the votes to override. To summarize, major arteries of Baltimore City transit were blocked last week in protest of a police officer's use of deadly force, but the Council does not have 12 votes or the support of the Mayor to actually do something about that concern. Democracy is a weird animal.
Featured Blog Post of the Day: Wild Cajun ends its short run at the Lotte Shopping Center and will be replaced by Viet Pearl, according to HowChow's Twitterati. As someone who lives nearby and tried Wild Cajun, I welcome the change.
Have a great Tuesday giving to the organizations you love!