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Monday, January 22, 2018

Amazon gives Howard County a pass

    We recently found out that Howard County's long shot proposal for Amazon to locate it's second headquarters in our County not making the first cut.  We may still get some benefit if Washington D.C. or Montgomery County gets selected.  As we know many people working in those two locations choose to live in Howard County because of our quality of life.
     In looking at why we didn't make this cut I would assume that limited transportation resources in Howard County hurt our proposal.  Having the Washington and Baltimore subways reaching HoCo would have certainly helped us.  Also BWI doesn't have the international flights that go through Dulles. Given the salaries of most of the Amazon workers in their headquarters I don't think our housing costs would have been a factor in decision.  Including Montgomery County in their cut showed that reality. 
     In a way being between 2 metropolitan areas doesn't have the appeal that it did when Rouse selected our area for building Columbia.  While DC has become a world class metropolitan area Baltimore has gone in the opposite direction.  Baltimore has lost half its population since the 1960's. Crime, gangs and drug addiction now makes Baltimore a drag on the image of our area.  Except for Johns Hopkins Hospital and Medical School Baltimore is seen as a decaying urban area.
     The good news is that we regularly hear of new businesses moving into Howard County because of our quality of life which always places Howard County near the top in any national rankings of good places to live.  While maybe not the size of the Amazon headquarters proposal we will continue to have high tech and security firms see our area as a perfect fit for their employees.  Gateway and the Crescent area development means that growth in our County will be strong for a long time.  Our tax base is the envy of most other counties.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

This is one time (and only one) you wished you lived in a more "red" community

   Guess what book has 404 people waiting to borrow it at the Howard County Library?  You guessed it---Fire and Fury, one year in the Trump White House.  The Library knew ahead of time of the book's popularity so they have 75 copies on order.  The good news is that many people will read this book in one read so there should be a quick return of the book back to the Library.  Something in the book to be a sleuth about is that near the end of the book if you read between the lines you might be able to figure out who Trump is still having an affair with.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Emergency room shuffle

      I wasn't surprised to read of a woman being left at the bus stop outside of the University of Maryland Hospital in downtown Baltimore.  Emergency rooms are many times the places that are forced to deal with the social problems of the cities in which they exist.  Homeless people, alcoholics, drug abusers, mentally ill and often just mentally confused persons find their way to hospital ER's.  Many, many years ago I was a social worker at Providence Hospital in DC and had the ER as my area of responsibility.  When many of the above persons showed up at the ER I was called after they had been check out and the ER was not going to admit the person.  My job was to see what resources the person had to safely leave the ER.  Often this meant giving them a cab voucher to take them anywhere but the waiting room of the ER.  However, often these were people who had been brought from one the DC's board and care homes that were refusing to take the person back.  The homes had not been able to find a nursing home to take these indigent persons because they didn't meet the skilled care requirements but the medical needs were beyond the capabilities of the board and care provider.   The b&c provider had to resort to calling an ambulance to have the elderly person taken to a local ER and then refuse to take them back.  Past the responsibility to the hospital ER social worker.
     So what does a young, inexperienced 20's something social worker do?  Ever try call the DC Department of Human Resources at 5 pm on a Friday afternoon?  Call DC Village the public nursing home in DC that had a waiting list of over a hundred elderly persons?  The common way people came off that list was by dying.  Not infrequently when we couldn't find a family member or friend (more like never) to come and pick the person up the hospital was forced to admit the elderly person at least until Monday and DHR could be reached.  When I was able to reach a family member I was told of the difficulties they had in caring for their parent and the guilt they experienced in seeing their parent bounced around in the failed health care system.
      After experiencing this too common problem for a few months I decided the situation needed some attention and I started calling the local TV stations to see if they could do a story on this problem.  The assignment editor at WMAL TV (Now WJLA) said he would have one of their reporters contact me to discuss a possible story.  The reporter called me a couple of days later and arranged a time to meet to discuss the possible story.  When we met the reporter stated that the complexity of the story might be good for a multi day investigative report.  Passed on to their investigative reporter I was able to identify many different angles to the story and identify people to talk with for their report.  A 5 part series was put together, promoted by the station for a week, ready to air and then guess what happened?  Nixon decides to resign!  The station had to shelve the series for one week to cover the Nixon resignation news which of course took up much of their local news.  The station didn't want their reports to get lost in that national news.  When the report aired that last segment focused on DHR and their not addressing the issue impacting this elderly population and ended with a reporter chasing the head of DHR through their underground parking area trying to get a comment.
      Seems like the shuffle continues.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Sign of our times

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     When Trump is looking at countries to mock maybe he should look closer to home.  This might explain why more people from Norway are not emigrating to the United States.

Image result for child poverty rates by country

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Haitians to the rescue?

Monument color

   With the obscene comments from our "genius" leader this week about Haiti I wanted to share some history that I learned about on a recent visit to Savannah and their historical museum.  When the British captured the city of Savannah during the Revolutionary War 500 black Haitians lead by a French general fought in the battle to retake the city.  The statue above was erected in 2006 to honor those Haitians who fought and died in the battle.  We probably don't think of this battle in Savannah when we think of Revolutionary War battles but it was one of the bloodiest battle of the War.  The role of the Haitians, many of whom died, played a significant role in retaking the city from the British.
     I guess bone spurs hadn't become a disqualify condition for military service in Revolutionary days.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

It won't be a quiet year in Annapolis

 The Baltimore Sun had an article in today's paper outlining some of the areas that will be addressed in the upcoming session of the legislature this year.   The Trump agenda has put our Republican governor in a position where he has to look at the political consequences of running for reelection by having to oppose many of the positions Republicans have taken at the federal level.  Topping the list is how to fund healthcare for Marylanders and how to mitigate the tax increase caused by the tax bill passed in Congress.
     How far the governor is willing to go may impact his popularity in progressive Maryland and give the Democrats hope for making a real race in this year's election.  At present the Democrats that have announced for governor don't include any strong statewide candidates but that could change moving closer to the election.  Anger among Democrats at the Trump administration should bring out a large turnout of Democrat voters in 2018.  If enough decide to vote a straight Democratic ticket it may make a tight race in the governor's race even with a popular Republican governor.

     Did Hillary win the election and I missed it?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Long Reach Development

    Recently I came across a blog by James Howard on the development of the Long Reach Village Center.  The blog is worth sharing