Wednesday, November 26, 2014

On Ferguson and the State of Humanity Today

I would like to believe that human nature contains an impulse towards perfection, like a gravitational pull, that over time will draw us inexorably closer to some better, more enlightened version of humanity.  Perhaps future societies, fifty generations hence, will look back in some combination of awe and disgust at present-day Earth.  Awe that we managed to not destroy ourselves and disgust that our civilization obtained a relatively advanced level of technological development, yet still had not found a way to transcend our baser instincts.  Hatreds and fears based on racism, taking the form of overt acts, spoken words, hidden thoughts and unarticulated assumptions continue to plague our communities.

It is difficult to see Progress when history, to the average observer, seems to repeat itself over and over again.   Who among the age cohort commonly known as Generation X has forgotten about Rodney King?  Wasn’t there supposed to be a National Conversation on race following the acquittal of the police officers involved in his beating?  Whatever became of that?  What lessons were learned?  And the specific case of Mr. King is - sadly - just one of many possible examples.  Tragedies and instances of brutality, based on racism, persist and remain threats to our Union and other nations around the globe. 

So now we bear witness to the terrible events in Ferguson, Missouri following the death of Michael Brown and the decision by the grand jury to not indict the police officer who shot and killed Mr. Brown.  The immediate aftermath, among many, probably evoked sickeningly familiar feelings – sadness for the deceased and his grieving family, anger at the officer for using deadly force, dismay that the legal system will, yet again, not deliver justice.  Another double standard applied, another heart-wrenching reminder that our multicultural society is far from discrimination-free.  “Post-racial” America is a myth.

I find it difficult to finish on a note of optimism for the future.  I can not tell it because I do not feel it.  I will just hope that my thoughts regarding our capacity for evolution will not prove horribly naive and misguided.

Stay tuned, as more will follow.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

"Exit the Warrior"

Bereft of a rental car, Slats asked if I could transport him to the nearest Aston Martin dealership on Saturday.  Why not?  The DB9 is a fine bit of automotive engineering. And I’m sure the salespeople would love to see my ’01 Civic HX on their lot.

While on the road to Vienna, VA, we chatted about the political arena and his semi-retirement therefrom.  We’ve had variations on this conversation before, but I suppose the nostalgia factor was running high with the holiday music emanating from the radio.

“I got tired of oscillating between rage and regret,” he said. 

“Aren’t those two of your preferred emotions?”

He waved his hand in a manner that indicated he was being serious.  I knew I should stop cracking wise for one minute, perhaps two if I exercised super-human self-restraint.

“No, and I’m not talking about the grind, or chasing down campaigns for non-payment.  It’s seeing good people lose.  Sometimes they were my clients; other times, I was working against them.”

“Sounds like you still have a touch of the true believer.”

“Eh.  Mercenary sensibilities will only get you so far.  Actually pretty far, based on what my accountant is telling me.  But he keeps yelling about my spending habits, so what does he know?”

Slats paused.  He was probably calculating his personal cash-on-hand following his most recent visit to Atlantic City.  After a moment, he picked up again.

“So anyway, yeah.  The disappointment accumulates. It’s the tundra in January. One snowstorm leads to the next and it settles in.  It’s isolating.  I spent four months in Kemijarvi, Finland back in…’79. Not the center of the city either, the outskirts.”

“Sure, because downtown Kemijarvi is known for it’s bustle.”

“You have no idea.  I was in a cabin there…in the winter.  It was harsh too.  Desolate once you got a few miles off the main road.  The snow would pile up and there was nothing you could do about it.  Same feeling when you see fine people getting the short end of the electoral stick…folks who would shake up the System getting overwhelmed by vicious circumstances.  Spent too many Novembers cycling between anger and resignation. It wears you down.”   

“I hear you.  I don't know though.  I always thought of those occasions as opportunities for productive contemplation, for introspection.  And long-term plotting on a grand scale, of course.”

“It helps if you know some good people.   Authentic, dedicated to public service.  Not raging, self-involved jagoffs.”

“I do actually.”

“Well,” he shrugged, “that’s good then.  That is what keeps you going.  Resilient people getting through the tough times, the Valley Forge moments.” 

“Ice melts. Spring always arrives.  The shamrocks return every year.”

“I suppose that is true.  Listen, when we get there, you should tell them you are looking for a trade-in deal.  How many miles you have on this ride?”

“123,000, Slats.  And I’m not the one in the market for a new vehicle.”

“Why should you be? It’s practically just off the showroom floor.  Plenty of value left.”

“So you aren’t planning on buying today I assume?”

“Nah.  The roads are open. Not a flake of snow in sight.  A perfect day for a drive.”

Stay tuned, as more will follow.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Morning Conversation

“So why isn’t the Administration cutting deals on Keystone? On immigration?”

“Both fine questions Slats, but the President seems to be doubling-down.  Partially out of principle, partially because of optics…he doesn’t want to appear to be getting rolled, and the last element is that he doesn’t have much in the way of negotiating partners, with the GOP leadership in Congress being what it is.”

“Almost makes Newt look statesman-like.”

“Might be an overstretch. Is that coffee in that cup?”

“No. It’s a Drambuie Sunrise. It’s all the rage in Zurich now.”

“Sure.  Anyway, it is shaping up to be a brutal two years for 44. The only good news for the White House is that HRC is going to take a fair amount of heat.”

“The discourse is going to become increasingly polarized as candidates for the Big Chair appeal to their respective bases.  Compromise is going to be difficult on most domestic issues.  No will to deal, not with the aspirants bashing DC as they crisscross Iowa and New Hampshire. ”

“And the traditional pivot to a foreign policy focus isn’t promising either.   ISIS/ISIL, Putin indulging his revanchist inclinations, no hope of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.  What’s left? Maybe going after narco-terrorists in the Western Hemisphere?     
“It’s 11:45 pm in America.”

“Perhaps not so dour a prognosis, but Happy Days have not yet arrived.”

“They should have spun off Potsie and Ralph Malph.  A good screwball buddy sitcom could have really helped with ABC’s Tuesday night prime time line up.”

“That isn’t what I meant and that is also a debatable proposition.  But I would have watched “The Tuscaderos!”

“Santorum would love another popular resurgence of ‘50s nostalgia. Of course he would embrace it without any sense of irony and he would forget all of the ‘unpleasant’ parts.

“Of course not, the actual history of the time wouldn’t fit with his image of that decade as some sort of halcyon era of permanent triumphalism.”

Pleasantville all over again, at least the first half of that movie.”

“Might not even need to worry about Santorum running again.  He said he would announce his decision in June of 2015.”

“Late.   Who is going to sit on the sidelines that long…for him?  The money and talent will flow elsewhere.”

“Yep.  It would be a significant infrastructure deficit. However, he still has some support on the ground in Iowa.  But he doesn’t want to limp into the fall debates looking like an also-ran four months before the Caucuses.”

“But if he runs, it will just make the Democratic Party seem considerably more centrist.”

“Santorum.  Cruz. Paul.  All together on one stage?  Hillary should be so lucky.”

“Or Bernie Sanders.”

“You need to spend more time state-side.  That just isn’t going to happen.  Are you catching your news on RT?”

“Heaven forbid! Pravda redux.  Now, what do they have on tap here?”

“It's a Panera. So nothing.”

“Right, let’s go.”

Stay tuned, as more will follow.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Figuring Out a Way to Work Together

The Howard County Board of Education General Election returns revealed some interesting outcomes.

Based on the still unofficial results:

1. Cindy Vaillancourt obtained the highest number of votes of the eight candidates on the ballot in 57 of the 118 Election Day precincts.  She finished second in another 39 precincts…and in the top four in 117 (all but one of the smaller ones).  She performed well countywide and crushed in Board of Elections Voting District 6 (southeast HoCo: Laurel, Columbia, Jessup, a bit of Ellicott City and Fulton) where she won 27 of the 35 precincts.

Bottom line:  This election served as a vote of confidence in the oft-embattled Vaillancourt. Even with lower turnout, there is no other way to read this outcome.  The other Board Members need to take note, and I am assuming they have already.

2. Sandie French garnered a plurality of the vote in 43 precincts and placed second in another 30.  She also banked the greatest number of early votes (9,721 compared to 9,561 for Vaillancourt).  She fared best in Board of Elections Voting District 2 (Ellicott City) where she won 15 of 26 precincts and also ran well in Board of Elections Voting Districts 3 (primarily West Friendship, Marriottsville, and a slice of western Ellicott City) and 4 (western Howard County) where she won five of six and four of six precincts respectively.

Bottom line:  French capitalized on the strong name identification she has built up over her years of service, a good organization and solid forum performances.  As I noted earlier, incumbents are tough to defeat and this race was no exception.

3. Bess Altwerger won four precincts and finished second in 30.  She was a fine candidate and a prime example that the Howard County Education Association’s backing is important in BoE general elections.  She banked 8,274 early votes, which helped propel her to a third-place finish overall.

4. Christine O’Connor ran away with Voting District 1 (Elkridge, the eastern part of Ellicott City) where she placed first in 13 of the 21 precincts and second in four others.  Overall, she won 18 districts and obtained a second place showing in another 16.  Her strength was concentrated in eastern HoCo but she performed well enough countywide to place in the top four, approximately 200 votes behind Altwerger.  Her 7,426 early votes were 650 more than Dan Furman’s tally.
5.  51.95% of the votes cast for Board of Education candidates were cast for candidates supported by the HCEA.  They backed four candidates, two of whom were elected, with the others finishing with respectable fifth and sixth place showings.  It would have been extremely difficult for the full slate to have been successful, given French’s presence on the ballot.  The HCEA would have helped elect a third but O’Connor (an educator) ran a smart campaign and took the fourth position.

Shifting away from numbers for a moment, it is my hope that the two new Members will help usher in a new Era of Good Feelings on the Board of Education.  No one is asking for hand-holding and exchanges of “You are my BFF” texts but the corrosive environment has not been healthy for the Board, for the Howard County Public School System, or the County as a whole.  Now is the time to begin a new dynamic, one that is productive but also conciliatory, respectful and civil. 

Stay tuned, as more will follow.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Philanthropic Foursome

The major takeaways from last night’s program: “The State of Nonprofits in Howard County: Perceptions, Challenges and Opportunities” were, in my estimation:

  • Be mindful of the opportunities to help, and don’t be afraid to begin a dialogue, ask questions, and take action.

  • When considering volunteer possibilities, think about what strikes a chord with you personally.  Perhaps think and feel in equal measure; a true head/heart collaboration.  What causes evoke an emotional response? That might provide a useful internal compass.

The panel spoke before a Standing Room Only crowd at the Jeffers Hill Neighborhood Center.  There were many elected officials and activists in the audience.  Courtney Watson delivered brief remarks.  She spoke about the election returns and, importantly, vowed to continue to work for the policies and causes dear to many of the assembled.  She received a warm round of applause.  Jon Weinstein, the Council Member-elect from the 1st Council District, the three Delegates-elect from the 12th HD, Clarence Lam, Terri Hill and Eric Ebersole, and Judge of the Orphans’ Court-elect Nicole Bormel Miller were also in attendance.

Considering the fatigue levels of many of the assembled, coming so soon after a long and bruising election season, the Columbia Democratic Club and Alan Brody, the evening’s moderator, really pulled off a spectacular event.

As Council Member Watson did, I would also like to acknowledge the dedication of two of her key campaign staffers who were present last night: Anna Mudd and Dylan Goldberg.  Having just completed a marathon, while running at a sprint pace, they both exhibited impressive vim and vigor levels.  Today’s campaign workers must be doing something right. Clean living?  Perhaps. In any event, they are rising stars and we shall hear more from them down the road.

But I digress.  The Philanthropic Foursome of Bita Dayhoff, Joan Driessen, Mickey Gomez, and Beverly White-Seals were at the epicenter of last night’s gathering/educational experience. 

The highlights, in my mind, were those moments when the panelists or audience members discussed personal experiences and how those events helped lead to a Pivotal Question (What can I do?  How can I help?  Where do I go now?) and/or a Helping Action (Knowing X, I was able to do Y). 

While the information on the challenges being faced by Howard County nonprofits was interesting, the stories that were uplifting and/or resulted in the transmission of useful information (In order to address specific challenge Z, here are some resources you might consider…) were, far and away, the most engaging and productive elements of the program.  Those were the memorable moments, and the ones most likely to motivate potential volunteers to become actual volunteers.

With that in mind, I encourage you to visit the websites of the organizations that were represented so ably on the panel:

That is all for today. 

Stay tuned, as more will follow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

100% Positive

Comparative (some call it “negative”) campaigning has been with us since the early days of our Republic, even some of our Founders and their associates practiced it.  The first truly contested presidential elections under our Constitution – in 1796 and 1800 – were rife with vitriolic accusations and counter-accusations.  Rough and tumble politicking of the highest order. The Willie Horton ad, relatively speaking, was subtle and nuanced compared to some of the allegations that were printed in the newspapers of that era.   

So if you are opposed to comparative campaign tactics, you must be against the Founders and therefore, hate America. Commie swine!

Do I even need to write, “See what I did there?”

My point with this inelegant example is to recognize that pointing out the shortcomings of one’s political opponent(s) is generally well within the bounds of fair play in our democracy and that witless hand-wringing while bemoaning the so-called coarseness of modern elections is to miss the mark completely.

Don’t get it twisted, there were folks on both sides of the aisle, in Maryland, that engaged in comparative campaigning in 2014.  Sometimes it took the form of paid media, in other cases, attacks generated earned media.  In some communities, whisper campaigns via word-of-mouth or social media conveyed messages…information that wasn’t always grounded in that which the boffins call “facts.”  Sometimes attacks were cloaked as defensive statements.

So before one starts saying, “Golly gee, I reckon ‘negative’ campaigning doesn’t work.” Think again. You might not like it, and it might not appeal to “our better angels” but it serves a purpose…and it is often effective.  A back-and-forth on voting records and statements helps facilitate a free exchange of ideas and allows for the painting of more detailed portraits of those seeking public office.  Those on the receiving end may not appreciate the “warts and all” image of themselves, but it offers an electorate another way of thinking about someone who may represent them. 

Of course serious money is spent by campaigns in an effort to showcase/position their candidate in the most favorable light possible, and they will get miffed because comparative communications efforts require the expenditure of additional time and resources, both of which are precious, to ensure that the voters are hearing “our” story about our candidate as opposed to “their” narrative about our candidate.

Academic arguments can discuss the impact of such campaigns on political efficacy and voter turnout.  That subject will not be addressed here today. 

My point is that those on high horses tend to dismount quickly when it becomes advantageous for them/their political party to engage in such practices. So the “holier-than-thou” attitude gets very tiring, very fast…and often precedes behavior that could best be described as hypocritical. 

Stay tuned, as more will follow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"And You Give, and You Give"

Katy bar the freakin’ door because it is about to get real…and personal…real personal to the point of over-sharing. To the max. I can’t stress that enough, or can I?

[Insert local TV news awkward story transition] Speaking of sharing…I know we are all looking for different ways in which we can engage in our local communities.   This Wednesday offers a prime opportunity to hear from the Super Friends of Howard County’s Non-Profit Community.  Just look at this line-up:

Bita Dayhoff: President, Community Action Council of Howard County
Beverly White-Seals: President and CEO, Community Foundation of Howard County
Joan Driessen: Executive Director, Association of Community Services of Howard County
Mickey “#AllDogs” Gomez: Executive Director, Volunteer Center Serving Howard County

This is promising to be a fascinating night of panelist insights and Q & A.  If you want to get a handle on what is happening in our local not-for-profit scene, there is no better place to be than the Jeffers Hills Neighborhood Center (at 6030 Tamar Drive in Columbia) on November 12 (again, this Wednesday). The Columbia Democratic Club is hosting the event although this panel discussion is not focused on electoral politics.  It will be centered on: “The State of Nonprofits in Howard County: Perception, Challenges and Opportunities.”  Which is excellent news because that is also the title of the program. 

The meeting should kick off at 7:00 pm with the panel discussion commencing at about 7:30 pm.

Seriously, these are some awesome people doing great and important work in our community.  Come hear what they have to say, share your ideas, and let’s make connections and take steps to make our County an even more amazing place to live.

Stay tuned, as more will follow.

Monday, November 10, 2014

"Time Keeps On Slippin'"

I will keep this brief.  The 4:05 pm to Saskatoon is boarding soon and my sprint from Parking Garage A to the ticket counter resulted in four exclamations to “Watch out,” two muttered apologies and one spilled latte. Thankfully, the coffee wasn’t mine.

Anyone who believes they can run for President, seeking the nomination of a major party, and wait on announcing until the summer of 2015 is either a complete dolt…or Hillary Clinton, because she could get away with it.   She wouldn’t tarry to that extent, but she has advantages that none of her likely Democratic rivals can match: astronomically high name recognition & solid Fav/Unfav numbers among likely D primary voters/caucus attendees, a broad network of supporters (ranging from top-flight operatives to keyed-in local elected officials and activists), massive fundraising potential, a spouse who (when on his game) is probably the most persuasive advocate for Democratic candidates and causes since JFK, and a personal biography that seems ideally suited for the Challenges of Today.  Do you think Bernie Sanders is going to stop that juggernaut?  Extremely unlikely.

She could afford to wait, if she wanted to. That said, she won’t. I would wager dollars to doughnuts, that Clinton will most likely announce her intentions in early some point between January 1 and March 31...most likely in the first half of that window.

For the record: I am not, viscerally, a huge fan of HRC.  Intellectually, I admire her accomplishments and respect her brainpower and toughness.  Genuine heavy mettle.  I think she would be a good president, perhaps even very good.

Perhaps I just find the Clinton family saga a little tiresome.  Maybe my thinking on the matter will evolve, and it is all about making the best choice from the available options.  That said, my last votes for a Clinton occurred back in ’92 (once in March, again in November).  Pissed off on how he handled the Lani Guinier nomination, I decided I would not vote for his re-election in 1996.  I ended up casting my ballot for Steve Forbes in the GOP primary, and for Senator Bob Dole in the General. 

But that was the other Clinton.  Fast forward to late 2007, I favored then-Senator Obama’s stance on the War and his overall positioning, slightly to the left of then-Senator Clinton… a good mainstream progressive from the Heartland. 

But now, deep into the second term of the Obama Presidency, with Official DC turning its critical, menaced and slightly rum-soaked eyes to 2016 and whispering of Iowa, of New Hampshire…and facing the near inevitability of yet another Clinton campaign.  One must ask, is this her time? 

In the post WWII era, few candidates who aren’t sitting Presidents, incumbent Vice Presidents or Bushes have had such a clear road to the nomination of a major party. Adlai Stevenson’s second run in ’56 comes close, and even he had to contend with Estes Kefauver, who was no slacker.

So who will step up on the D side?  I have a list of 38 names.  Many of the other 37 won’t run.  Some might explore it, then opt against such an arduous campaign.  A handful will get into the race, I would estimate no more than four or five serious candidates in addition to former Secretary of State Clinton. In short, a small field by modern standards. 

There will be a challenger from the Far Left (right this way Senator Sanders), a slot for a conservative Democrat who wants to over-correct based on one interpretation of the 2014 election results (greetings Senator Manchin), a couple of candidates who want to be in the mix because a) they believe they have a compelling story to tell and b) Hillary might stumble…let’s just put in former Senator Webb and current Governor Martin O’Malley in this category….for now.  The former is an interesting possibility, given his populist inclinations and swing state geographic base.   Potentially very interesting.  O’Malley was dinged, probably not irreparably, based on last week’s election outcomes in Maryland…but he remains a decided long-shot.

Oh yes, and let us not forget Vice President Joe Biden.  First, I don’t believe he will run again.   He had two decent opportunities. I recall his 1988 campaign vividly and his 2008 effort recently.  Second, he is a fine public servant but he is not the future of the Democratic Party.  

The progressive wing will long for Senator Elizabeth Warren, some of the unreconstructed will want the ageless Jerry Brown to saddle up once more, Rahm may practice speeches in his bathroom mirror, and Senator Booker will keep his calendar open for 2024.

Me? I will probably spend the Holidays pondering the possibility of a Cuomo, the reemergence of Feingold or Dean, the potential of Gillibrand, or if John Cusack is ready to take a break from this acting nonsense and get into politics in a serious way.   

That said, I will most likely be wearing a Clinton button on 12/31/2015…just like many of you will too. 

But who knows? 

In any event, it is all coming sooner than you think.  The calendar demands it.  Beware those who jump in late, history has not been kind to them.

With that in mind…up next…a look at the Republicans.  And yes, they will probably go Establishment again in 2016, in case you were wondering.

Stay tuned, as more will follow.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Yes Columbia, We Can Have Nice Things

Recognizing the oft-stated aphorism that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it is my hope that the open-minded attendees of last night’s Howard County Planning Board meeting appreciated the many virtues – aesthetic, functional and otherwise – of the Inner Arbor Trust’s vision for a “curated arts park.”

I have attended several Inner Arbor presentations.  Unfortunately, with both Scandal and HTGAWM on last night, I knew my window of opportunity for being able to chat with the Mrs. was closing fast, so I headed for the exits before the bell sounded for the perpetually entertaining Speak-out session. 

I was able to catch most of Michael McCall’s remarks.  From a communications perspective, I believe the Trust has developed a very compelling narrative – with Mr. McCall delivering a solid verbal accompaniment to the impressive visual presentation.  The discussion on how the Chrysalis amphitheater could be used was both inspired and inspiring and should catch the attention of every local arts and culture maven.

The importance placed on the preservation of trees should also be noted.  Based on my understanding of the plan, it appears as though there is a concerted effort to protect the natural beauty of the Woods in which the Park would be located.  For those that are concerned about environmental issues, that commitment should be commended.

Others have written in much greater detail, and far more eloquently, than I regarding the Inner Arbor Plan.  I just want to say that the more I learn about the proposed Park, the more it reflects a vision of a near-future Columbia that is both family and arts-friendly….a true gathering place for posterity. And that would be a nice thing indeed.

Stay tuned, as more will follow.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Surface Tension: A Topline Post Election Wrap-Up

There will be time for a deep dive into the numbers.  Now is not the moment.  Here are some initial observations regarding last night’s Election results:

The recent high-water mark for a Maryland gubernatorial race is Governor Martin O’Malley’s 56.2% in his 2010 re-election bid.  (Side note: what is he going to say in Des Moines? In Cedar Falls? In Sioux City?).   In 2006, he won with 52.7% and four years prior to that, the Democratic nominee for Governor obtained only 47.68% of the statewide vote.

My point is that Maryland has witnessed some competitive Governor’s races, four of the last six being won by single-digit margins. So even with the demographic trends of recent years, the 2014 gubernatorial election was unlikely to be a cakewalk. But any serious Democratic nominee for that office would have to be considered a significant favorite going into a general election contest.

Yet Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown lost, to a B-tier Republican candidate.  I believe this occurred because:

1)   Maryland was not immune from the Democratic shellacking that occurred nationwide.
2)   Biography aside, his campaign was uninspiring.  Yes, I was a Mizeur voter in the primary but I cast my ballot for Brown in the general; even though the campaign didn’t communicate much in the way of a positive rationale for such an act.
3)   Democratic turnout in MD was lower than expected. I don’t have the final or even penultimate numbers in front of me, but there was an enthusiasm/activation gap…and the Republicans ran a stronger than expected GOTV operation.  Also, the GOP brand seems to have recovered a bit from the earlier post-Bush 43 years, even though voters still show high dissatisfaction levels with both parties and with the both the President and Congress.
4)   “Articulation”-oriented campaign (covered elsewhere in this blog) can be tough.  You find yourself running against your opponent and the perceived sins of the affiliated incumbent administration.  I don’t believe the Brown campaign pulled together a truly compelling/cohesive narrative when discussing the O’Malley record.

Senator Allan Kittleman, apparently Howard County Executive-elect, would have been Governor-elect had he tossed his hat into that ring instead.  I am guessing he knows I am right on this matter.

How bad was it for Democrats locally?  Congressman Cummings' GOP opponent garnered 43.89% of the vote in the Howard County portion of the 7th Congressional District and said opponent would, charitably, be called a perennial candidate. 

It appears as though Jon Weinstein pulled off a victory in Councilmanic District 1, a true swing constituency.  How did he accomplish this? I believe he did an excellent job of localizing the election, framing the race on local issues and concerns.  That appealed to a majority of voters in the First.

I still maintain that Courtney Watson ran a strong campaign for County Executive.  Look, had they not attempted to reposition Kittleman, he probably would have won with 55% of the vote in an election cycle such as this.  The comparative effort was necessary and generally decently executed.  Moreover, Watson provided numerous reasons to vote for her, not just against Kittleman.  She had a good narrative but it just wasn’t enough in a Rejection Election cycle (you can read more about that concept here:

The biggest bummer of the evening, for me, was 9B.   From a technical perspective, it would be hard to find a Maryland campaign better run than Tom Coale’s.  Running a positive citizen-neighbor-legislator style effort that was focused on local issues and finding practical solutions for the present and the future…it simply wasn’t enough to overcome a well-known GOP opponent in a highly competitive single-member House of Delegates district.

On the Howard County Board of Education, the results were not a huge surprise.  I voted the Apple Ballot because I believe they would have been an effective team.  In terms of intensity, I was primarily concerned with electing Altwerger (who won) and Beams (who did not…which was very disappointing).  That said, I am not displeased that Christine O’Connor won a seat.  I was not thrilled when she allied herself with Mike Smith, that decision dropped her to the fifth position on my list, but she was in the running for a while.  And thank goodness that neither Smith nor Dyer finished in the top four.

At some point, I am going to talk about people who sought public office this cycle that were unsuccessful...but who should run again.  But I am too cranky to write about 2016 or 2018 right now.  Let’s call it a post.

Stay tuned, as more will follow.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Immoderate Inclinations

1)        In a county with an active conservative/Tea Party contingent, if Senator Allan Kittleman were really that moderate, don’t you think he would have been primaried from the right?  Yet he was not.  What does that mean?

2)        To answer that question, I recommend reviewing    The facts reveal a disappointingly conservative voting record on education, on guns, on economic issues, on the environment, and on women’s health issues.

3)        When a seemingly moderate persona comes in conflict with an actual right wing voting record in Annapolis, what is more important…a “nice guy” personality or a County Executive who shares your values and vision for Howard County…and who has, and who will, deliver real-world results? 

Facts matter. On Tuesday, vote for Courtney Watson for County Executive.

Stay tuned, as more will follow.