Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Rockin’ Around the Old and New



If I’m going to go to the Mall, I should do it soon, because I generally try to avoid any trip after Thanksgiving. Dealing with crowds of people in our local cathedral of retail has been known to knock all sense of the Christmas Spirit right out of me. I lose all sense of Peace on Earth, Goodwill to  fellow creatures.

As we watch all the usual signs of the holiday season being rolled out locally, I’ve been wondering. Has anyone seen anythng about the Poinsettia Tree? You may recall there was one year that Mall management thought they’d do away with this local tradition. Dennis Lane wrote about it on Tales of Two Cities blog.




I’d like to share the actual blog posts with  you but it looks as though they are no longer accessible. If true, that’s a great loss to anyone looking for his insight on local affairs.

At any rate, what of the famed Poinsettia Tree? Is it going forward as usual? Is Mall management quietly going in a different direction? What difference would 11 years make in how the community feels about this?

For my part, I find the Poinsettia Tree to be lovely but it doesn’t make or break my holiday experience. Of course, I didn’t grow up here. Your opinion may be wildly different. Feel free to share it in the comments on Facebook. 

I don’t mean to start unnecessary rumors. Just because I haven’t seen anything about the Tree doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Please don’t plan any protests without verification. Also, maybe there are more worthwhile things to come out for?

UPDATE: readers Jolene Moseley and Joan Lancos report that the Poinsettia Tree lives on. I find it interesting that there’s no mention of it in the Mall’s social media feed.

We love our old traditions in the VG/T². I’m looking forward to making a new family tradition by going to Celebration in the Woods. You can learn more here. In keeping with the Inner Arbor Trust’s commitment to presenting affordable and family-friendly events, tickets are five dollars and children under two are free. From the Inner Arbor Trust website:

Join the Inner Arbor Trust, Inc. and Downtown Columbia Partnership, Inc. for a new Celebration in Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods! On Saturdays from November 24th to December 22nd from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Chrysalis transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with artist-decorated trees, live performances, a “snow” ball pit, seasonal crafts, and winter treats such as hot chocolate, apple cider, mulled wine, and more! Santa will visit the Chrysalis at 3 p.m. Come join us for the magic of the season!

And then you could finish off your day with a trip through the Symphony of Lights. This feels like a win-win to me. And, who knows? The sight of the Chrysalis in the snow might become a new local holiday tradition.






Monday, November 19, 2018

Bit of a Day



It’s  going to be a bit of a day (see Lin-Manuel Miranda for context)  for the folks at the Elevate Maryland podcast. Tonight at Lupa hosts Candace Dodson Reed and Tom Coale will be doing a live taping with guests Calvin Ball, Rich Gibson, and Marcus Harris. (Newly-elected County Executive, State’s Attorney, and Sherriff, respectively) Billed as a Special Thanksgiving Show with Howard County Historymakers, it’s the closest thing a podcast can do to giving front-page status to the first African Americans elected to these posts in Howard County.

Three things I’m thinking about tonight’s podcast:

1. We are at the very beginning of an entirely new era of leadership in Howard County. Will we learn anything tonight that hints at either the style or substance of how these men will serve?

2. The vile KKK flyers dumped off over the weekend in Old Ellicott City. The language they contained seemed awfully reminiscent of the folks who tuned out en masse to oppose CB-9. Does the KKK See Howard County as fertile ground for organizing? What’s the best way for us as a community to stand against their hatred and racism?

3. On this International Men’s Day I hope Candace and Tom will make time to ask their guests how they balance their careers with fatherhood and/or home responsibilities. A few questions about clothing choices and or recipe recommendations for those busy committee-meeting nights would not be amiss, either.

Will any of the above come up at tonight’s event? Turn up at 7 pm to find out! If you can, visit the event page to let them know you’re coming.

Of course, if you can’t make it, you’ll be able to check out the podcast later. But I think this just might be one you’ll want to be able to say you were there for.

Can’t make it tonight but your heart is full of HoCo goodwill and community spirit? Make a donation to the Community Action Council to help families in need have a Thanksgiving meal this year.





Sunday, November 18, 2018

Remember

Being white brings privilege.
Add to that:
White male.
White cisgender male
White straight cisgender male

Bubble upon bubble of  protection encircles this segment of our society. 


Other are not so lucky.


If you are transgender (and especially a trans person of color) it seems that instead of a bubble you carry a target. Already in 2018 there have been at least 22 murders of trans individuals in the US. There are likely more we do not know about.


To mark the Transgender Day of Remembrance, The Rev’d Paige Getty will be leading a vespers service tonight, November 18th, to “honor the memory of those whose lives have been lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.” The service begins at 7:30 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation Of Columbia, which is located in the Owen Brown Interfath Center. The address is: 7246 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, MD 21045.


You can learn more about TDOR here, and Trans week of Awareness (November 12-19th) here.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Unacceptable



Once upon a time the Baltimore Sun sponsored a celebration of local blogs and social media called the Mobbies. Remember them? Then, for one year they were called The Crabbies. This year they appear to be no more. I’ve been digging around on Twitter for info and, although the Crabbies account is still there, it hasn’t been updated for a year and no one responds to inquiries.

Farewell, Mobbies. You were nice while you lasted. And yet, looking at a picture of the final year’s winners, a Howard County reader noted:

 I find myself wondering if this is reflective of the diversity of internet voices in Baltimore...

She’s got a good point. The photo shows an all-white crowd. Predominantly male.

But this is where things go downhill in a hurry.





Hmm. These offensive tweets appear to be from a writer of one of the winners of the Crabbies. They reference MSB, Maryland Sports Blog.
  

This man decided to target and harass a woman on Twitter who dared to question the outcome of a local blog popularity contest whose winners are determined by clicks.  I won’t presume to know his motive. I will say without reservation that his behavior is unacceptable. I reported these tweets. Strangely enough, nothing happened.

Since Mr.Hradsky is so quick to mention his professional association with the Maryland Sports Blog I feel comfortable sharing this page from their website.



These are their sponsors. I wonder what they would think of a representative of MSB carrying on like this on social media? Do we think that Sonoma’s would be happy to have him associated with their brand?

I sincerely hope not.






Friday, November 16, 2018

LOL



I did. Laugh out loud, that is, when I saw this announcement from the Rotary Club of Columbia/Patuxent:



Support group?

I have thought of the Friends and Foundation of Howard County Library in many different ways but I must admit I have never thought of it as a “support group.”


Who should use support groups? (From Mental Health America)

Support groups are offered as a space where individuals can come together to share their stories, experiences, and lives in a way that helps reduce isolation and loneliness. Oftentimes, we think we are struggling alone, but support groups help us see that there are others who may dealing with similar situations and who in turn can help us get better. 
My imagination ran wild with the thought of an assortment of bibliophiles meeting together in a circle of folding chairs, each revealing a confessional truth in turn.
“I have twenty-seven overdue books.”
“I’m forty-five and I still love picture books.”
“I sneak in and clean the study tables with wet wipes.”
“I love the smell of new books.”
“I’m very competitive with my number on the waiting list for best sellers.”
Lest someone suggest that I am making fun of the Rotary, I most certainly am not. I am keenly aware that I have an odd sense of humor and an overactive imagination. This is probably why I am such a big fan of Mickey Gomez, who, along with Phillip Dodge, will be giving a presentation at The Rotary this morning about the Friends and Foundation organization. Mickey brings imagination, humor, and enthusiasm to anything she puts her hand to on the local scene.
I touched base with Mickey last night to ask for her informal description of the Friends and Foundation of the Howard County Library. (Truth in advertising - - I didn’t tell her about the “support group” moniker.) She began like this:
I'd say it's a group of people who value our library system, and who recognize that their contributions go towards strengthening the library's ability to offer new and innovative opportunities.
Her next sentence captured my imagination.
It's a group I love, filled with people who celebrate my very favorite library system.
Well, that’s definitely a support group I can see myself being a part of. And that is how I came to click on over to the website, renew my membership in the Friends organization, and make a donation in honor of Mickey Gomez.
Maybe LOL should stand for Love Our Library, too.




Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Top Story






Yesterday was Union Day. The journalists of the Capital Gazette, the Carroll County Times and the Baltimore Sun Media Group have united to form a union. Want to learn more? Visit the Chesapeake News Guild website. And here’s their promotional video

Taken from their mission statement:

We are tired of bearing a workload that requires a newsroom four times the size. We are tired of not receiving reasonable cost of living raises, despite the fact we bear the additional responsibilities of our former co-workers. We are tired of having staffs too small to cover all the stories our readers care about.

It seems as though we were just talking about this, doesn’t it?

BaltSun reporter Pamela Wood tweeted this morning:

Speaking to a political club in Columbia (the Columbia Democratic Club) tonight, I heard concerns from members that they want a strong @HoCoTimes/Columbia Flier. I urged them to show support for @ChesapeakeGuild in order to support the dedicated journalists who cover their community.

If you want to support stronger local journalism and fair working conditions for local journalists, here’s what you can do:

SUBSCRIBE

I subscribe to the Baltimore Sun purely to have access to local coverage. I also subscribe to the Capital Gazette to support the paper. Considering a subscription? These are the publications represented by the Chesapeake News Guild:

The Capital Gazette, Caroll County Times, plus all the local publications under the Baltimore Sun Media Group, such as The Aegis Of Harford County, Howard County Times, Towson Times, and Soundoff of Ft. Meade.

Another way you can support local journalism while you are out and about in the world and on social media is to kindly explain why those articles people want to read are behind that troublesome paywall. Remind them that nobody works for free and that journalists have to eat. For more ways to support, go here.

Something to ponder, from Capital Gazette’s Joshua McKerrow:

The BSMG papers are paid DRASTICALLY lower wages than union-protected Sun journalists. And they use our work to fill their paper...They get my 18 years of photojournalism experience at a third of what they pay Sun photogs.

On Tuesday evening the live recording of local podcast Elevate Maryland concluded in its usual fashion, with this question:

What do we all need to do to Elevate Maryland?

Guest Alec MacGillis: I would say top of the list would be to do everything we possibly can to support Maryland media. It matters so much to have people covering stuff. To do everything you can, subscribing, donating...

Subscribe. Spread the word in support of the Chesapeake News Guild. Let your friends, neighbors, and coworkers know you are proud to pay for local journalism. 









Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Concession



Arizona’s Martha McSally charmed the Internet with her video concession to Krysten Sinema. It was gracious and it had a Golden Retriever. What’s not to like?

Compare that to this Facebook post by HoCo Republican Lisa Kim.


Even a strategically placed Golden Retriever couldn’t save this post. It’s a hot mess of insults, accusations, and conservative conspiracy-theory gobbledegook. Holy Mackerel, am I glad that she did not win a Council Seat.

Enough said.

Tomorrow the latest issue of the Howard County Times comes out. Can’t wait to see how they treat last week’s election results. I sure hope it’s worth the wait.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Cheers?



The new hot spot in town, Cured/18th and 21st, is having a big to-do on December 5th. A shindig. A soirée. Take your pick.

Here are the details:

Join us for a Repeal Party. 

December 5th 5:30 - 11:00pm

We are celebrating the repeal of Prohibition on December 5th!

Classic Cocktails | Food | Live Music | Fun | Champagne Toast

Two Ticket Options

VIP Ticket ($100) Includes: 

Special 5:30 early access (general tickets cannot enter till 7:00pm)

Open Bar* from 5:30 - 7:00pm includes choice of five Classic cocktails, select beer and wine. 

Champagne Toast at 7:30pm 

Food Buffet 

General Admission Ticket ($50) includes:

Entry to the party at 7:00pm

One Classic Cocktail of your choice. Cash bar available

Food Buffet

Champagne Toast at 7:30 pm.

Sounds fancy.

There’s just one thing. I realized while reading it that I was looking for information to tell me what it’s in aid of. Surely people aren’t spending $100 a head just for...fun? If I spend that kind of money (and rarely, I might add) it’s for a charitable cause. Or a political fundraiser. It boggles my mind that Howard County has enough people who will lay down that kind of cash for no good reason.

But that’s just me. Cured/18th & 21st is a business, after all. They are entitled to have fancy events that are purely commercial ventures, even if I can’t wrap my brain around it.

Here’s a thought. Since this is meant to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition, couldn’t they donate a portion on the proceeds to some local group that assists those struggling with alcohol addiction? The Serenity Center comes to mind, but I’m sure there are others. Have a big party with all of the trappings but share the wealth with folks for whom alcohol is not just a big party.

And that’s your unsolicited opinion for the day.


Monday, November 12, 2018

A Parade by the Pictures



My plans to attend yesterday’s Veterans Day Parade were derailed by a trip to urgent care with a sick kid. I am indebted to Scott Ewart of ScottE Blog for the photos he took of the event. Were you there? What did you think? I don’t know the last time an actual parade traversed down Columbia’s main street but it was most assuredly a long, long time ago.

Last year I wrote a piece about the Veterans Day Parade in Old Ellicott City. It seemed to me that the parade didn’t reflect the diversity of the Howard County citizens who have served. As I looked at the photos from yesterday’s parade, it was clearly a much more diverse turnout. Does having the parade in Columbia make a difference? Or did parade organizers make a concerted effort to include more folks?

Our Veterans Day Parade hasn’t been around that long so perhaps it has just taken some time to build momentum. I wonder what will happen when the parade returns to Old Ellicott City. One thing I’m sure of is that this year’s parade looked more like the Howard County I know and that makes me happy.

Kudos to the parade organizers and everyone who participated. Our community is grateful to all who have served.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Retraction



Almost as soon as I posted yesterday’s blog I began to have second thoughts. So, here I am.

I was looking at the election news as a sort of last minute crisis that couldn’t be accommodated by the skeleton crew that our local paper has become. But the election wasn’t unexpected. The candidates were known well in advance. Along with that should have come the understanding of how historic it would be in our community should Calvin Ball win the election.

A cover story for each candidate should have been at the ready. It certainly could have been done in advance. The fact that the powers that be knew an election was coming and invested their efforts in a retirement piece for Dario Broccolino shows an incredible lack of foresight. They actually decided that an election was no reason to turn their attention from “business as usual.”

Somebody, somewhere in the BaltSun/HoCoTimes management made that judgement call. That the County Executive election was not worth preparing for and that the possible election of the first African American County Executive was not worth any extra thought.

That’s what I missed when I wrote yesterday’s post.

I have such a strong feeling of empathy for our local reporters and such concern for how our local news is being cannibalized by owner-corporations that I missed the point.

My apologies.

I’d like to thank the folks who patiently walked me through this without biting my head off.










Saturday, November 10, 2018

Front Page News



While Howard County made history this week by electing our first African American County Executive on Tuesday night, the front page of Wednesday’s Howard County Times didn’t seem to acknowledge that. Instead, the week’s cover story is about the career and retirement of longtime prosecutor Dario Broccolino. The information about Dr. Ball’s victory has been added in on the lower left corner of the front page photo.

I have read some rather blunt quotes on social media questioning the wisdom of this choice. I haven’t had time to touch base with folks and get approval to run those comments here, so I’m going to err on the side of caution and ask you to take my word for it.

A few thoughts on this:

The Howard County Times is not a daily publication. It’s a weekly, and as such it probably has a different timeline for preparing longer pieces. At what point in the week do they “put the paper to bed”, so to speak? Modern technology allows them to work like mad and slot in election results but the longer stories may not be movable pieces. When you think about it, the fact that the election results are coming in on a Tuesday night and they somehow manage to get any of them in at all by Wednesday is kind of amazing.

Why?

It’s a weekly. It’s a free weekly and they have a staff of about two and a half people who are worked like dogs until they burn out and they make a shockingly low income. I’ve heard many locals explain why they just can’t afford to pay for a subscription to the Baltimore Sun/Howard County Times and yet they somehow expect that it will keep operating like newspapers you see in the old Hollywood movies.

It just doesn’t work that way. As important as this election is to us, we are not a major market that supports an in-depth daily paper like The NY Times or the Washington Post. And so the decisions that get made about what runs, and when, are different for us. Fewer options, smaller scope. You know how I rant about supporting local journalism? This is why. (Support local journalism.)

My guess it that the folks at the Howard County Times are spending this week preparing that front page feature on Calvin Ball. My gut tells me that those pieces take longer and have to be done farther in advance.

If they don’t lead off with the County Exec upset next week you’ll see me here joining the rest of the critics.




Friday, November 9, 2018

Common Yet Uncommon






I attended an event celebrating the Grand Opening of The Common Kitchen last night. A shoutout to Anastasia MacDonald and Roger Caplan for giving me such a warm welcome when I arrived.



So many different flavors and cuisines to explore! If you want to know what all the buzz is about, they are holding a big celebratory event for the community on Saturday.


My daughter’s school choir will be performing, so I’ll be back for that, too. Maybe I’ll see you there.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Not Yet



It is November 8th and the Mall in Columbia has announced that,

“The Holidays are Here!”

Oh good heavens. I am hoping that means that “the election season is finically over and we can celebrate a reduction in all the noise” but I don’t think it does.

I just want a bit of peace. Some rest. I want there to be no roiling controversy, no campaign fundraisers, no “have to do” events, no impassioned requests for one last check. I want my whole world simply to settle into silence for even just a little while.

But, “the holidays are here!”

Sigh.

I will jump on the holiday bandwagon when I am ready. Or maybe I’ll allow it to seep in gradually. I’m hoping to do things more simply this year. Less money. More experiences.

Blogger HoCoHouseHon has her own take on holiday observances. Definitely worth the read.

Are you ready to jump in to the next big thing? Are you already making your lists and checking them twice? Or do you, like me, need some time to chill out, unwind, and regroup?

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Nice



Throughout the campaign for County Executive I saw Calvin Ball derided for being nothing more than a nice guy, while for Allan Kittleman being a nice guy was an actual selling point.

“It’s too bad the Dems think it’s okay to vote for Ball just because they think he’s a nice guy.”

“Oh, you have to vote for Kittleman. He’s such a nice guy!”

If my guy is nice, it’s a major qualification. If your guy is nice, well, he’s got nothing else to offer.

Hmm.

When the votes were tallied and the results known Allan Kittleman came to Kahler Hall with his family to concede and offer Calvin Ball his best wishes. It was a gracious gesture. It was the sort of thing that Mr. Kittleman’s supporters point to when they speak well of him.

As much as we in Howard County love to see a moment like this, we need to look beyond it to the real policy differences that were at play in this election. This was not a referendum on niceness. Nor was it meant to be. It was an opportunity to evaluate the goals and experiences of two candidates and choose the best direction for Howard County. Who do we want to be? Where do we want to go?

We have work to do in Howard County, and all the niceness in the world won’t get it done. We have uncomfortable truths to address and some soul searching ahead. And work, plenty of it. Work to be more inclusive, more transparent, more imaginative in our efforts to make Howard County a fairer and more just place for everyone.

A moment in front of supporters and cameras is lovely. And we have every right to treasure it if we wish. But the moments I am getting ready to savor are those that come after the photos and the parties: the ones where the work begins.


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Elevator Pitch



As you go to cast your votes for new members of the Board of Education today, I have some final thoughts on what makes a good board member.

Number 1 on that list would be listening. Really listening. Listening to learn, listening to help. 

2. The ability to take what you’ve learned and plug it in to what you know already and then do even more research to fill in the holes.
3. A talent for making connections between people. A persistent belief that all kinds of people can and should work together.

4. The capacity to say “I was wrong.” And with that, the proven commitment to learn more and do better.

5. Strong background knowledge of the school system - - where we are, and how we got here.

Each of the candidates listed on the ballot for BOE has their own strong points. But one candidate embodies all of the qualities I listed above:

Vicky Cutroneo

You can learn more about her here.

Here’s the deal:
  • She knows her stuff. 
  • She’s done the work. 
  • She has heart. 
Ms. Cutroneo has earned my trust and that of community members from all over the County. I hope you’ll take the time to learn more about her and consider giving her your vote.

My best wishes to all BOE candidates today. It’s going to be a long and tiring day. Thank you for putting yourself out there to serve our schools.







Monday, November 5, 2018

Not in Vain






If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

These words, by American poet Emily Dickinson, form the basis of the third movement of Kim André Arnesen’s Requiem, which was performed by the GT County High School Chorus Sunday afternoon. Arnesen uses this poem almost as a replacement for the traditional Kyrie Eleison: Lord, Have Mercy.

Listening to the richness of the harmonies woven by the singing and orchestral playing opened my mind to thoughts of current affairs. I thought of the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue. I thought  of families separated from their children. How can we bear to live in such a world?

“If I can stop one heart from breaking...”

I thought of all the people I know here in Howard County who live this truth every day. The Community Action Council who invite us to join in their work to share Thanksgiving meals with those who would do without. The staff at hcpss’ Gateway School who make their students holidays brighter by organizing a Recycled Treasure Sale so they can get gifts for their families. Volunteers who give their time to advocate for abused and neglected children

The folks from UUCC and the greater community who turn out, month after month, to proclaim the truth that Black Lives Matter and we must do better.

“If I can ease one life the aching...”

High school students sang these words and high schoolers made up the orchestra that supported them. Music Coordinator Terry Eberhardt noted that we are in the business of making better people through music. Perhaps this is to placate career-minded parents who worry that the pursuit of music might derail their child’s focus from pre law or pre med.  Not everyone who pursues musical experiences will become a professional musician. Most won’t. But every student who worked to fashion yesterday’s performance was changed by the experience and will carry it with them forever.

Today’s post is offered in thanks to all those who do the work of goodness or who offer our young people opportunities to live and think beyond themselves. And, to all of you who are pounding the pavement in support of candidates who believe that the care of others is every bit as important as our love of self: you are fighting the good fight.

If you have five minutes today, stop and listen. I can’t promise it will make you a better person. But it just might.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Tokens



I went to the great and mighty Google and entered the following question:

What do special needs parents want?






Here’s a sampling of the results. There’s plenty to delve into and learn from. You know what answer I didn’t find?

Badges.


Apparently the school system is launching an initiative to motivate special needs parents to attend informational workshops by offering them...badges.

I’m sure this is well-meaning, but I just don’t get it. Special needs parents are some of the most highly motivated parents out there. They maintain an active, independent parent advocacy group, SECAC. Why on earth would you think you could motivate them with badges? Were they out of stickers? 

What happens if you earn all the badges? Do you get a sash?

If I wanted to get parents who are already over-burdened to participate in educational workshops I think I’d appeal to their innate desire to learn more about how they could become better equipped to support their children. If I wanted to provide incentives I’d be thinking along the lines of certificates for respite care and restaurant gift cards for those nights where everything has gone to pieces and you just can’t cook. 

But, badges? No. It just wouldn’t enter my mind.

I promise I’ll keep my eye on this in case there’s somehow more about this that I don’t yet fully understand. But, at this very moment, it seems to be an unwitting insult to a group of parents in our community who are looking for empowerment, not token reinforcement.




Saturday, November 3, 2018

A Little Love for the OM


Today!

30th Annual Oakland Mills High School Craft Fair
Saturday, November 3rd, 2018  10am-3pm
9410 Kilimanjaro Road  Columbia, MD 21045
FREE ADMISSION
Over 100 vendors to shop from.


Not too far away there’s a neighborhood yard sale:

Probably the last neighbourhood yard sale of the year!!!!
Come to Wandering way this Saturday 9am-12  noon for that bargain you have been looking for! 

New in the Village Center, where the Thai restaurant used to be is Pizza Man. You can look at a full menu here.  Right now they are open with a limited menu for take out only. They will be offering the full menu both as a take out and a full service, sit-down restaurant once they are finished with redecorating.

Dunkin Donuts...is...coming...eventually...

There will be an international market in the Weis Market space.

Oakland Mill resident Ian Kennedy will be guest co-hosting the Elevate Maryland podcast this Thursday at Lupa. Learn more here

And, of course, the big news of the week, a new school for Talbott Springs.

There’s just a whole lot going on in Oakland Mills. A shout out to OMCA staff, especially Sandy Cederbaum, and the OMCA board and especially chair Jonathan Edelson for being such awesome advocates for our village and keeping us all informed.

Maybe I will see you at the Craft Fair. I’m hoping Momma (From Momma’s Kitchen) will be there with her melt in your mouth cookies.


Friday, November 2, 2018

The Last Day for Millennials



The Columbia Association is seeking input from Millennials. They want to know how they can serve them better. They have created a Millennial Work Group. And they have a form you can fill out to give input.

Here is a link to the form. Today is the last day to send in your ideas. Don’t miss out!

Millennials take so much bashing in popular culture and have been blamed for the decline of almost everything. You won’t see me doing that here. However, I’m pretty clear that I most likely don’t have a lot of them as readers of my blog, other than this notable one.

If you know any Millennials who live in Columbia, please tell them to take a few minutes today to fill out the online form.

I’d like to share the hilarious stock photo that CA was originally using to promote the Millennial Work Group but, after I poked fun of it a bit online, they took it down. I’m not sure it’s my fault but I suspect it might be.

In case you’re interested in some earlier results of what our local young folks are thinking, The Business Monthly has that for you here.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Mean-spirited



My first thought upon finding Council member Jon Weinstein’s email blast in my inbox was this quote, which has famously been attributed to a number of people:

I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.

Mr. Weinstein must have been pressed for time because this piece is far, far too long. It takes a certain kind of self-discipline and even a little humility to take one’s thoughts and give them the kind of focused editing and revision that produces a cogent overall statement. That work is not in evidence here. The overarching tone feels self-indulgent and perhaps even a bit whiny. 

This piece was meant for people who agree with Mr. Weinstein already, and, for them, it is very likely a completely acceptable effort.

I’ll tell you why it’s not acceptable to me.

1. A letter from a constituent is printed in its entirety as an example of what is wrong with political discourse and local politics. While the writer’s name is witheld, the choice to publicly shame one individual voter and make them the target of blame and derision is an extremely bad judgement call. It’s truly cringeworthy. If you’re in politics you are going to get some critical letters and that is part of the territory. This has all the maturity of sticking one’s tongue out and saying, “I get the last laugh, so there.”

2. The sheer wrong-headedness of calling this “hate speech” is beyond me. Hate speech is a real thing that some members of our community have actually experienced and includes more than criticism. Offensive insults, threats of physical violence, sexual violence, racial, ethnic, and religious slurs, filthy language and suggestions that the victim should harm themselves - - that would be hate speech. 

The letter he shares here might be characterized as a tad beyond disgruntled and closer to irate. That’s it.

Oh, and in case I forgot to mention it, this piece is supposed to be an endorsement for County Executive Candidate Allan Kittleman. At least, I think it is. It’s hard to tell.

If you like Allan Kittleman already you don’t really need this treatise. But if you are inclined to believe that a hot letter from a Democrat is “mean” and probably constitutes hate speech and the breakdown of civil discourse, well, this one’s for you. 

If, instead, you’re pretty sure you know who the mean-spirited one is here, you’ll be pleased to know it took me less than one-third of the words to prove my point.