Reasons for activism

GovernorBillSigning 1bLife is very much like a box; you can keep taking from it but there comes a time when you have to start putting things back into it or else be faced with an empty box or, to extend the analogy, a possibly less-fulfilled life.
That is where activism and advocacy come into play. Advocacy is a means of putting something back into that box of life by doing something that benefits the many and not just the individual, contrary to the Ayn Rand teachings.
My road to becoming an activist came rather late in life. During my rather lengthy federal career I focused on the many challenging issues I was involved in. These included such issues as addressing the security threat created by moving cargo under bond across the nation, especially in the post 9/11 environment, during my time at U.S. Customs.
It included implementing programs designed to more fully unify the more than 22 disparate entities comprising the newly-created umbrella known as the Department of Homeland Security while serving in that department. It included, while at FEMA post Katrina, estimating the needs and identifying the capabilities and resources at the local, state and federal levels prior to the advent of the next great disaster to, thereby, ensure a more effective response and recovery to avoid what is currently happening in Puerto Rico.
It wasn't until I left federal service that I became much more interested in public policy and community service leading to my becoming much more active in raising my voice to influence that public policy. This, to me, is the very definition of the word activism.


Sometimes appealing the vote outcome is moot

gavel2  1

This past election cycle saw many attempts at legal challenges related to voting, including claims that persons who should be allowed to vote were being disenfranchised. While the Courts have to grapple with these issues, sometimes the timing of the legal challenge as a practical matter makes the merits of the claim moot because the Court does not have time to do anything about it. This is illustrated by an opinion this week from Maryland’s highest Court in a case called Voters Organized for the Integrity of City Elections (VOICE) v. Baltimore City Elections Board.


Voters slow their roll at Leisure World

  • Published in Local

Machine malfunctions created problems at the Leisure World retirement community’s Clubhouse II precinct, according to the chief election judges Laura Jones-Eller and Steve Kline.

After 6 p.m. Tuesday, a sign taped to the side of a handicap-accessible voting booth read, “Machine Is Down,” the result of a ballot card being “stuck in the machine.”

“This is all time-consuming,” said Kline.


And so now we vote...


It’s that wonderful time of the year following the cherry blossoms and prior to the dreary dog days of summer when the ground bakes and your head aches.

It’s that delicious time when it’s too hot and too cold all within a 24-hour span and we can expect rain, hail, maybe some snow and definitely some sunshine.

It’s spring when a man with a political fancy turns to voting.

This primary season there are about 70 candidates on the ballot in Montgomery and all of them have something to offer.


Jud Ashman confident in bid to remain Gaithersburg mayor

  • Published in Local


jud ashmanGAITHERSBURG – Last year, Jud Ashman was selected by his colleagues on the Gaithersburg City Council to serve as the city's mayor following longtime Mayor Sidney Katz' election to the District 3 seat of the County Council. This fall, city voters will decide if he will serve the remaining two years of Katz' term.


Voter identification and the right to vote

voting signFifty years after the historic march on Selma for voting rights we should give pause and reflect how far we have come.  This is how far: fifteen red states recently enacted voter I.D. laws to address a problem that does not seem to exist with a remedy that does not seem to address the non-existing problem. 


Bring out your voters!

mccivicfedI have just inherited this column from our steadfast civic activist, Jim Humphrey, and am grateful for the opportunity to write about the Civic Fed, and the issues in which we are engaged. 


Good government begins with the vote

mccivicfedFor decades now, media pundits have bemoaned the influence of special interests over elections, as well as the functioning of government in general.  No sooner had Congress approved the McCain-Feingold Act to close Federal election finance loopholes, and the President signed the bill into law, than special interests invented a creative new way to circumvent the law and funnel soft money to their chosen candidates for elected office.

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