Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Craziness Returns

What with the interesting political hocus pocus going on in Annapolis this week, I thought it was significant that this post came up in my memories for today on Facebook.

The Craziness Continues

At the heart of that post:

I'm of the opinion that these meetings allow for greater transparency and accountability. In Howard County the community struggle with our school system over these issues has taken on almost epic proportions. Citizens continue to testify in Annapolis in favor of a bill to ensure meaningful compliance with MPIA requests, yet legislators in Annapolis don't think our Superintendent should need to articulate capital budget priorities in an open meeting. 

For heaven's sake, right now Howard County is practically the definition of why these meetings need to be open. We have students and staff who have suffered long term health problems due to mold issues in their schools. All the while those in power denied there was any problem at all and there was no one holding them accountable. The Board of Education, whose mission is to direct the Superintendent, largely abdicated their responsibility to the community.

So what happened in Annapolis this week? Here’s a few snippets from Bryan Sears of the Maryland Daily Record:

Breaking: while the Board of Public Works met and the governor and comptroller criticizes an effort to remove them from the school construction process, the Budget and Taxation Committee was pulled from the floor and voted out the House bill. Republican senators expressed anger over a lack of a hearing.  
#mdpolitics #mdga18

Live from the Board of Public Works. Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter VR Franchot are expected to comment on pending legislation that would end board oversight of school construction around the state. 
#mdpolitics #mdga18

No one would suggest that I’m a big fan either of the Governor or of Mr. Franchot, but I’m still very much in support of having these sessions remain as they are, in open hearings in front of elected officials. I don’t know where Howard County would be right now if we hadn’t been able to present our concerns about mold in our schools during this very public forum. 

Some folks seem to think that this is political payback for Mr. Franchot’s involvement in proposed craft beer legislation. I’m not an Annapolis insider, so I really couldn’t say. But the bill passed and now goes to the Governor. The Governor will very likely veto and the begins the process of whether or not the assembly will override the veto. If this is political payback for something, I think it’s poorly thought out. Taking away an opportunity for public input and scrutiny just doesn’t feel right to me.

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