This week I noticed that local political ads are really ramping up-- on TV as well as on social media. For one, I noticed that Democratic County Executive candidate Calvin Ball has started his TV ad push, by coming out with at least three different ads that I have seen. Also, the ad I knew was coming, came. Which would be Councilmember Jon Weinstein's ad supporting Allan Kittleman.
In the ad, Weinstein says, In part, "Now, I'm supposed to support the Democrat", and then goes on to explain his support for Kittleman based on what he believes to be Kittleman's record of bipartisanship. Now, Jon Weinstein is supposed to do only one thing in life, and it's the same thing every single one of us is going to do eventually. Father Time is undefeated. And like I wrote previously, I was completely not surprised by Weinstein's endorsement of Kittleman, based on my knowledge, much of it direct, of the relationships between the persons involved. So I know Team AK18 is supposed to be all wanting to demonstrate how it's OK for for Democrats to support Kittleman-- given the backgrounds of some of the people whose testimonials are in Allan's ads, including someone who once advocated displacing hundreds of families of color out of my village of Oakland Mills, I guess the Kittleman campaign is REALLY eager to portray him as the kind of Republican a moderate Democrat like Jon Weinstein could support.
Not so fast. Jon Weinstein isn't the only moderate Democrat in Howard County. And I admit, it feels like there aren't that many of us left. But I am a pro-business, pro-growth, pro-environment, pro-social justice, pro-social equity, pro-diversity, pro-defense Democrat with a long history of community leadership who supports Calvin Ball, big-time. Why? Thank you for asking.
In talking about this election for County Executive with many of my friends who claim to be beyond party identity, they tell me how much they value a candidate who listens. OK. Listening is nice. But a political candidate who listens to you, who doesn't act like a jerk, is not an "above expectations" kind of activity. One should expect ALL political candidates to listen to you, regardless of party or anything else. Also, let's be honest about it-- listening is easy. It's polite. Sending a little note saying "thanks for your thoughts" is a nice gesture, but what does it matter if nothing happens?
Instead, my measuring stick is this. Who has DONE what is needed to bring stakeholders from across the county together to address problems that are difficult? That are hard to acknowledge and to bring out into the light? It's easy to show up at a groundbreaking, throw some dirt, and get your picture taken. But to meet for two hours with recovery advocates? To attend a three-hour community meeting where people are yelling about "those people" and "our community's property values"? To actively participate in and propose solutions within hours-long sessions to address issues of diversity awareness and racism in our county? There's only one County Executive candidate who has done those things, who has willingly put his neck out on the line, time and time again, to stand up for what Howard County can be and to guide it towards that vision. And that is Calvin Ball.
I'll also say this, as a Howard County native. Ever since I have become politically aware, except for the 1990-1994 quadrennium, Howard County has moved forward. It has developed, grown and matured. At least, it had, up until 2014. Even when the Great Recession hit in 2008, by the 2010 election, things got better. But what's gotten better in Howard County between 2014 and now? Are there better jobs? Is housing more reasonably priced? Are commutes shorter? Are schools less crowded? Do people feel safer at night? My answer to all five questions is, "no". And to those who point to new schools, new road building, the response to floods, I say to you this. Do not confuse doing what is necessary to being on the side of progress. I mean, Common Core is necessary now, right? Is it progress? So because some civic leader chooses to act because failing to act would simply be inhumane, that does not constitute an act of virtue.
I have written this blog for over 10 years with the prevailing theme being this: that Howard County has a great potential to fulfill as Maryland's star that shines brightest above all others. But that our pride, our exceptionalism, our overthinking, our undercaring, and our plain arrogance prohibit us from meeting that potential. But we have before us, a leader who gets Howard County, who realizes what all of it is, and who will work hard to make Howard County better. Who will provide us with wonderful parks and schools and amenities, but will also care for the less fortunate and the forgotten. Someone who will reverse the county's poor recent record of community development and job growth, and someone who will work to keep Howard County a place where an $80,000 annual salary doesn't mean having to take in a roommate. More than a talker, more than a listener. A doer with a long history of achievement.
That leader's name is Calvin Ball and regardless of how blue, purple, or even red a Democrat you are, he has earned your vote for Howard County Executive. Give it to him.
Let's be careful out there.
#hocoelections #mdelections #hocoexec #CalvinBallTeam