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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Re: County Forum Incites Citizens’ Anger

"What say ye?"  My response to Joseph Andoh's question, below.

Many of our elected officials have earned the anger that is being directed at them.  And. like Melonie Griffith, Sam Dean, and others, many of those elected officials have chosen to criticize the critics rather than deal with causes of the anger.

At least three of our sitting state senators are or recently have been under investigation for violation of various ethics laws or rules.

Our current council chair and two of her last three predecessors have a history of using county or school moneys for their own personal and family expenses.

One of those former council chairs was promoted to the senate by the Democratic Central Committee despite his ethical lapses and use of county money for personal expenses.

The current council chair and council member Dean recently stormed out of a council meeting without giving the public a chance to be heard.

The current council chair was promoted to that position, despite her history of using school money for personal expenses, by a vote of all but one of her ethically insensitive colleagues.

Just in the past week there have been reports about our state senators attempting to have a questionable secret meeting to try to influence election officials.

The state of Maryland has great financial difficulties.  Despite an obscenely large and very unpopular regressive tax increase passed two years ago  (supported by all of our Prince George's County legislators), the state continues to increase spending of money it doesn't have.

But rather than work to control spending and figure out how to maintain essential services in bad financial times, several of our elected officials (including Del. Griffith, below) chose to make a back room deal to increase state costs by providing welfare to multimillionaire sports moguls.  Members of the public who suggested that our money could be better used elsewhere were first ignored, then reviled by some of the very politicians now complaining about the taxpayers' anger.

Prince George's County has the second worst crime record in the metropolitan area and the second-worst crime record in the state of Maryland.  Likewise, the county has the second worst schools in the metropolitan area and the second worst schools in the state.

Although county and school officials also point to some minimal incremental improvements in crime or school statistics, we remain just above last.  Were it not for Washington, DC, and the city of Baltimore, we would be last.  Our current elected officials have not managed to improve matters enough to move us away from the bottom.

When the public complains about, or attempts to offer solutions to some of these problems, our elected officials tend to respond with personal attacks (as Del. Ben Barnes has done recently), to accuse people of being "haters" (as Del. Griffith did recently), or stop the discussion to criticize speakers for using the abbreviation "PG" (as Sen. Exum, currently under investigation, did at the meeting described below).

Our current elected officials have had years to address the problems of concern to the public.  The response at the meeting described below suggests that they have failed.  How many more chances to fail should we give them?

In my opinion, the most affirming actions we can take are to:

1.  Increase the heat on the politicians who have failed us, especially those who have been involved in corrupt or unethical behavior and those who seek to silence or attack their critics rather than listen to them, with the hope that they will either resign or not run for reelection.

2. Encourage other people, especially those who understand the problems left unsolved by our current officials, to run for office.  We need new blood--officials who are not content with being next to the worst in crime and education and who have the motivation, ability, and integrity to move us up.

Many of our elected officials complain about disrespect--disrespect for the county and disrespect of themselves.  Disrespect, like respect, is an attribute that is earned.  Those elected officials who are complaining about "maddness" [sic], hatred, disrespect, etc., ought to reflect on how their behavior has earned  those critical descriptors.

On Sun, Nov 1, 2009 at 9:11 AM, Jacob Andoh <jyandoh@grouply.com> wrote:

Good morning, All.

Good article, please see [Washington Informer link] below.

My (JA) thoughts) on the [linked] article below:

Self-expression, including vocal dissonance, is good, but......

We need to express more than raw anger.
We need to channel our energies into positive action, constructive dialogue, community-empowering stances, and affirmative, collaborative, civil, and solution-oriented activities.
True, it begins, but must not end with, our constitutionally-protected and guaranteed rights of free and fair expressions - verbal, written, even implied........

Affirming actions, not alienating words and dispositions, do speak much, much louder than mere words ever can.

So say I.

What say ye?

Jacob Andoh

Prince George's County Archive

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2009 07:06 PM

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