Updated November 2016: I’ve decided that Gov Hogan isn’t the sort of politician who thinks it important to keep one’s word. I’ll remember that the next election cycle. As will everyone who reads this.
Updated as of December 2015: As of today’s date, Gov. Hogan’s office has failed to respond as he indicated that they would. This goes to the very heart of engagement: when you SAY you will do something, you do it or explain why you can’t and make alternative arrangements. Election season is in full bloom. These are the things people pay attention to.
One never knows where the letters go that are addressed to public officials. Are they going to be intercepted by someone in the mailroom, only to surface near the end of the person’s term? Filed away in someone’s file cabinet, to be found when the next administration takes office? Shredded in the hopes that the writer will assume it was not important enough to warrant inquiry or a response?
I don’t know the kind of man that you are, or how you do business, Governor Hogan. I never had occasion to do business with your real estate company to see for myself. What I do know is that I liked the words spoken from a man who founded an organization called Change Maryland. Maryland needs to change. What I have found, that many Marylanders and (likely) US citizens also have, is that words sound good and even look good on paper, but they are worth nothing if and when it is discovered that they shouldn’t be relied upon. I’m not talking about when someone tries their best and fails at it. I’m talking about when a person knowingly lies for the sole purpose of achieving short term gains, and it costs other people in the long run. By “other people”, I’m referring to those of us that comprise the WE in “We the People”. I am one of those people.
Things have gotten out of hand around here. “Unlimited data” ends up not being unlimited, the “doctor” you visited ends up being someone posing as one, and people you trust with your life savings end up having secret frauds that they have been perpetrating for years. What does each one of these things have in common? They are all TRUE things that have happened to people in varying degrees. There is comfort in the truth, because at least you know what to expect and can adjust your expectations accordingly. It’s tempting to do things the way that they have always been done, but doing so will mean that you get what you’ve always gotten. I don’t want things to be the way they have always been: I want them to be BETTER! Those of us who have helped put you into office want You to tell us how you are going to do better, mean it, and be consistent with your word and DO IT! If something changes with your original promise, you should tell us quickly and honestly, and tell us what we CAN expect. And if you end up not keeping your word, you should be accountable to We The People, not corporations or campaign donors who think they may have bought your loyalty. These are foundations of trusting relationships. Lying is an infectious disease in our country (shout-out to Judge Sally Adkins for calling that out), and it needs to be better-addressed. Perhaps Maryland can be a trailblazer in that area, and be known as a state that understands the reciprocal arrangement that exists between trust, profitability and viability? Must the numbers of people who distrust government decline to the single digits before someone does something about it? The interdependence between trust and one’s word is something I made sure to instill into my son as he grew up. We all know this on some level- yet, too few people LIVE it.
I am hoping that over the next four years, you will keep in mind what I know you understand as a business person but that I must confess I didn’t fully understand until just a few years ago: trust is not a given, it is EARNED. It’s nice to think that people can be trusted to do the things that will help society and our way of life to prosper, but most of us know otherwise. It’s funny to me when I see the news focus on ISIS, and on “what they might do to us”. I say “funny” because I’m more concerned about the things I see us doing to our own citizens that undermines us, cheats us, leaves us struggling, burned, and disillusioned, and generally wanting to escape the reality of it all. I am more concerned about lawyers filing false documents to foreclose upon homeowners, tenants being able to file quit claim deeds to take ownership of houses, people being able to file false Statements of Charges simply to harass someone, people using police resources to file false damage claims to get out of scheduled depositions, and people filing false documents in order to get benefits that they aren’t otherwise entitled to receive (which takes away from everyone else). ISIS? Beheading? That’s a distant “maybe” that pales in comparison to the realities I have experienced. I know that I am not the only one. The activities at my local courthouse, in my city, in my state, affect me 100 times more, and they are nothing to write home about.
It may have seemed as if what I wrote above was “the letter” (I like being thorough), but the letter I sent to you in the mail is in fact below (minus the attachments it references). I wanted to increase the likelihood that you actually receive the letter, for all of the reasons I wrote in the beginning. I’m not trying to tell you how to do your job, since I cannot imagine all of the things you have to take care of and the balancing act it will require to even try to pull it off. I just thought that it might be helpful to give you information on why this citizen is disengaged with our state. Most people won’t tell you why they aren’t. Most people don’t want to hear why they aren’t. Maryland won’t really change unless THAT changes. I hope that it starts with YOU.
I’m happy to meet you to chat more about this: m.jareaux(at)testingmaryland.com
I wish you had an accountant, like the one in the 1993 movie Dave, who could tell you simple ways to steady the financially unsteady boat that is our state budget. My simplistic view, which mimics those of Kevin Kline’s character in that movie, is why I wouldn’t last in today’s politics. But I’m trying to do my part, like his accountant friend did…
I hope it helps! More is planned for the site. Stay tuned!