The legendary Billy Graham once quipped, “We stand our best chance of leaving a legacy to those who want to learn, our children, by standing firm.” Robert Murdoch was correct by suggesting that in order to do so, you must first be a catalyst for change.
In 2006, the voter’s guide on Gazette.Net asked Rushern Baker the following: “Do you support allowing slots in Prince George’s? If so, where?” He replied, “I will never allow slots or any form of legalized gambling in Prince George’s County.”
This is probably the first lesson of leadership and ultimately the demise of our young county executive’s legacy by example. The paradoxical challenge he has faced is that our community is exactly the same as it was when he was a delegate. With ample time to formulate an aggressive economic strategic recovery plan subsequent to the exposed character flaws of the tarnished and embattled Jack Johnson, he failed the integrity test early on.
Since that time, the most our community has received is the implementation of a citywide statistical tool, an economic empowerment loan to a small pizza company and a gambling proposal that will never see the Potomac River before the class of 2017 are juniors in community college.
Given that we have the highest foreclosure and bankruptcy delinquencies in the state of Maryland, Baker’s hand is face up and all in. Due to the laggard nature of economic, fiscal and industrial policies, it would be impossible for any public official to impact our local economy before 2014 with any new proposals. With two consecutive years of budget deficits already on the books, a balanced budget is not in the cards anytime soon.
The catalyst that we were hoping for in 2010 worked his way into the hearts and minds of just enough voters and our government through social equity that had been built up over 10 years of statesmanship. This is honorable but, quite frankly, our children will not realize that neighboring children improved their position by the great exodus of over 11,255 former Maryland residents (nearly $390 million in taxes over three years, according to the Maryland GOP) who are skilled workers, their resources and intellectual capacity as they moved to calmer seas. The loss of skilled positions from the Department of Health and Human Services, potential jobs and leasing space from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the loss of leadership of two key superintendents from the school board and the recent announcement of 450 skilled federal jobs moving to West Virginia by the U.S. Treasury Department — we are losing at tables and slots.
When all is said and done, West Virginia is not doing too badly. We retain the gamblers, and they get the federal work force and a robust supply chain.
[Former Massachusetts Senator] Paul Tsongas opined, “We are a continuum. Just as we reach back to our ancestors for our fundamental values, so we, as guardians of that legacy, must reach ahead to our children and their children. And we do so with a sense of sacredness in that reaching.”
Let’s hope that the voting public will end this card game in 2014.
T. Dweylan Wilson, Bowie