The 2016 presidential election was a wake up call.
I have an eight-year-old daughter. And the notion that the world I was turning over to her was somehow worse for her than the one my own Momma gave me, that could not stand. Down to the Women’s March we went, January 21, 2017. And the more steeled I became every passing day to change the course. Change the course.
As a lawyer for nearly twenty years I had always sought out pro bono work in service to the rule of law, to fight against abuse of power. I filed suit in Baltimore City Circuit Court against the landlord of a dangerously neglected apartment building on behalf of the elderly tenants who lived there. I represented a young African-American farmer in Mississippi denied equal treatment when applying for federally-subsidized loans. The amicus brief I helped write in defense of DC’s handgun ban (https://www.americanbar.org/…/publiced_preview_briefs_pdfs_…) was cited in the Supreme Court’s 2008 opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller. On special assignment from the Maryland Public Defender’s office, I took on the appeal of an African-American homebuilder criminally prosecuted for breaching a number of homebuilding contracts in Prince George’s County during the 2009 recession (https://mdcourts.gov/data/opinions/coa/2011/14a11.pdf). I submitted petitions for clemency of prison terms imposed under federal sentencing guidelines that discriminatorily penalized non-violent drug offenders, at the close of Barack Obama’s presidency. And I did work for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, writing know-your-rights materials for BLM protestors taking to the streets after fatal police shootings—in Baton Rouge and Charlotte and so many other cities—in 2016, and, most recently, for a new crop of young activists protesting revocation of the DACA program.
At home, I had been tracking new development in old Ellicott City (as @savechurchroad) ever since Howard County government okayed a Developer's request to clear 7.5 acres of woodlands there. But now I started paying even more attention to what my own elected representatives and other local politicians were doing. About my kids’ crowded schools, our flooding neighborhoods, the congested streets. And I began paying attention to what they were not doing. And why.
***Jon Weinstein: You take all that money from Developer LLC and then maybe you don’t question their bunk math next time they show up at your Zoning Board hearing to demand even higher density housing. You vote to allow industrial mulching operations on land zoned for agricultural preservation in neighborhoods where families drink well water. You botch passage of an APFO law that would impose just slightly more controls on development in your own most crowded school district and then you dilute even those measures, too, with your loophole amendments.
You make promises you cannot keep.***
Change the course, D1. I get that us voters may not agree on every issue there is, that’s what democracy’s all about. For me, there has to be a guiding principle motivating the candidates I elect, more than simple political gain. Like doing what’s right. For all our kids. For the environment. For our neighborhoods and homes. Every time. No compromise. No lies.
I am True Blue. I am #WalshforOne. And this will be #OneforAll.