I’ve just spent the last hour telling myself I was not going to write a year-in-review piece.
Well…not exactly. How about some wishes for the New Year, instead? Here are some things I’d like to see in 2023:
Merriweather Lakehouse - - I’d like to see this business redeem itself after an ugly beginning where it essentially broke a union and circumvented new county labor legislation. It could be a local showplace, a destination for large events and for taking guests from out of town. I’d like to see it succeed. But not by crushing the very workers who are essential for making it run.
Howard County School System - - The move to more humane school start times is long overdue. The research is clear that teens desperately need later start times. Please don’t let this decision crash and burn at the last minute, or get watered down in a way that renders it useless.
Also at HCPSS: Please continue to keep an eye on the wave of angry folks who are hell-bent on making LGBTQ+ students less safe at school. Don’t let down your guard in 2023. Support libraries and media specialists as they choose and defend appropriate materials for students. Be vocal in support of CARY and of the work of Danielle Dupuis, the HCPSS LGBTQ+ Initiatives Specialist. Turn out when related issues come before the board.
Elkridge - - as the County Executive begins a second term it’s the ideal time to take another look at what the residents of Elkridge would like for their community. A good friend of mine (and an Elkridge resident) has suggested to me that Elkridge needs the kind of investment that would make it possible to affirm a “sense of place.” After taking several driving tours over the last year, I completely agree.
Columbia - - this is a hard one. The recent controversies over disputes between the CA President and the Board have used up most of my wishes. Can I wish that they will resolve their differences? Sure. Do I see how that’s going to happen? Okay, no. But I’m asking 2023 to surprise me in a good way.
Howard County Lynching Truth & Reconciliation - - these folks are doing amazing work that no one else is doing about Pre-Civil War Black history in Howard County. My wish is that more people will catch on to this in 2023 and become active supporters. Did you know they have a book coming out? You should preorder it now.
Local journalism coverage - - we need it. We barely have it. Hope springs eternal.
Local government - - there are some strong disagreements within our local Democratic Party and I’d like to see more respectful hashing it out in 2023. I was seriously turned off by comments posted online after the recent swearing-in ceremony which revealed how quick people in various camps were to insult people on “the other side” and demonize them. I’m not suggesting some namby-pamby “why don’t we all get along?” I’m saying we have conflicts that need to be resolved by going through to the heart of the matter rather than by strategic battles to “win” at the others’ expense.
COVID-19 - - Big wish is that it just magically disappears. Realistic wish is that people realize how much their own personal behavior makes people around them more or less safe and that they will choose to care for others.
Ooh…that last sentence. It covers more than COVID.
In 2023, I wish that residents of Columbia/HoCo realize how much their own personal behavior makes people around them more or less: