Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Other Shoe

It would be a lot easier for me were I to not write this post. But the events of that much-discussed County Council meeting are still weighing heavily on me. There’s more that I need to say.

First: during the moments when Councilwoman Walsh and Jung were permitted to share their thoughts on the leadership of the Zoning Board, I heard a sound that I am sadly all too familiar with. It is the sound of a woman’s voice when she has been undercut, isolated, and disrespected, but still must hold it together in a public meeting. I know that sound, because I know that feeling, and I have been there. No matter what other things were said during that meeting, it doesn’t change the fact that something was already deeply wrong before it even started.

Second, I find it disheartening to view people I want so much to admire doing things that are patently not admirable. When Board Chair Christiana Rigby tried to shut down all discussion and push forward a vote my reaction at home was almost physical. The similarity to those old Board of Education meetings back under the former Superintendent couldn’t be ignored. I didn’t like it when they did it, and I don’t like it now. It’s a really bad look.

Lastly, why on earth did the election of officers go in the order that it did that night? Precedent for these meetings has been to elect Chair and Vice-Chair first, then the new chair runs the rest of the meeting. If that format had been followed, the rest of the meeting might very well have progressed more satisfactorily.

I wonder why that change was made.

As I have said before, I am not an expert on the County Council nor have I been to many of their meetings. I do know enough, however, to be aware that the negotiations for committee roles should have been handled well before that meeting had begun. The fact that there was so much acrimony and so many hurt feelings cannot be laid solely on one or two people. There’s plenty of responsibility to go around here.

As an aside, I felt that the lone Republican on the Council came across in a rather sympathetic light. 

Every member of the council, whether you or I agree with their views or their votes, was duly elected by Howard County citizens and is deserving of respect as they perform their duties. Whether differences are personal or political, Council leadership should be committed to engage and collaborate in good faith with all other members of the council. I don’t know if this is codified in the law but I would hope that it would be.

So now the leadership of the Council has changed. But will these entrenched dynamics change? As the Ladies’ Home Journal column used to ask. “Can this marriage be saved?”

I’m hoping for some transformational growth all around. Without it, we all lose.


Ice and Fire Festival Advent Calendar

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