Thursday starts early voting in Howard County and throughout Maryland, in advance of the Maryland Primary Election. From April 14 through 21, including the weekend, you'll be able to cast your ballot anytime between 10am and 8pm, at The Florence Bain Center in Columbia, the Miller Branch Library in Ellicott City, or the Ridgely's Run Community Center in Jessup. I'm a huge supporter, and participant, in early voting and strongly encourage you to do so.
So the last couple days, I've seen a lot of things posted about the Howard County School Board race. I see that there's more silliness going on with signs-- now, Nayab Siddiqui signs from 2014 are popping up, in lieu of Janet Siddiqui signs. And there's more tomfoolery afoot as online signups for poll workers for candidates and groups who stand against the incumbents are being hacked and mucked around with.
It's sad that this happens, it's pathetic that it happens, but it's all noise. And frankly, at this stage of the game it's as much a trap as an annoyance. Because, if you focus on the annoyance, it will, in the eyes of the establishment, brand you as some extreme wingnut and so obviously, being outside of the mainstream, you can't be good for Howard County.
I'd like to remind everyone what this Board of Education is about. As far as I'm concerned. And I'm pretty sure my voice matters in this burg.
I'm tired stewardship of over 60% of the county's budget that knows no check and balance. The Superintendent is the Executive Director. The Superintendent is the CEO. The Superintendent is beholden to and an employee of the Board, and serves at the pleasure of the Board. And is held accountable by the Board. There is a necessary tension in that relationship. So that the best work gets done for Howard County's children. That's not what currently exists.
The management of over 60% of the county's budget must be transparent and open. The HCPSS must be open to customer requests and concerns, especially-- obviously-- where the safety and health of children are involved. And requests for information by the public must be fulfilled, again, in the spirit and practice of openness and good faith and good government and public trust. That's not what currently exists.
The HCPSS must encourage innovation and unique thinking in all forms, and from all corners. Citizens are welcomed to be involved in HCPSS affairs and especially, our educators have a right and responsibility to be open and honest to their superiors about what they need to do their jobs well. That's not what currently exists.
The Board of the HCPSS must be open to new ideas and approaches, such as looking at the way the Board of Education is currently elected. That's not what currently exists.
The leadership of the HCPSS are to be citizen-servants, public officials energized by their love of education and of children. They don't use the power of their office, Board member or Superintendent, to mislead the public, present skewed facts, tell the side of the story that benefits them most, and use their office to spread out "goodies" in the form of money and programs to where it might get them the most political support. These are local government workers, right? Not Congresspeople! But that's not what currently exists.
In these five areas alone-- and I could think of others-- the behavior and actions of the current Superintendent and Board of Education, in my view, disqualify the Superintendent from the privilege of continuing to serve in her position, and disqualified the majority of the Board of Education from keeping their jobs as well. I see very little about the business practices of this current collection of leaders in the HCPSS that gives me confidence that their resources of HCPSS will be managed in a prudent, mature manner. Therefore it's time to replace old leaders with new.
So that's why I'm voting the way I am. Am I emotional, sometimes very passionate, about what I see going on in this county? Yes. As anyone who knows me knows, I despise the abuse of power. And this crew has brought the abuse of power to an art form. Saw that so blatantly back in February. And so I choose to use my power-- the power of my vote-- to attempt to effect change which, I hope, will bring an end to the abuse of power, the disconnection with the community, the inability of this crowd to simply follow humane values and morals.
If you feel the same way, then I urge you to vote-- early or otherwise. Oh, and while you're at it-- go online and take this very unofficial survey I'm conducting. It's anonymous to me. Open now through April 22, with results to be posted April 23rd!
Let's be careful out there.
#hocoschools #hcpss #hocopolitics