Were I running for County Executive I would offer the following concrete ideas. As County Executive I would immediately begin to address our established communities’ needs to raise the level of wealth and to reduce the concentrations of poverty in some of our elder communities focusing on making good schools, safe neighborhoods, quality health services, recreation, and other quality-of-life amenities (e.g., nearby retail service, employment, and cultural institutions) more available to all residents. I would base the specifics upon seven basic principles:
1. The desirability and benefits of walk-able, compact, mixed-use, mixed-income, racially diverse, livable urban cores and neighborhoods that are characteristic of “21st century” cities; 2. The need to make land use decisions in a way that ensures the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes; 3.The entitlement of all residents to a safe and healthful environment where they live, work, and recreate; 4.The value of encouraging retail businesses and service providers to stay or locate within the urban communities where their customers live; 5. the critical role of accessible local and multijurisdictional transportation alternatives in economic development, in reducing traffic congestion, and in minimizing urban land devoted to surface parking; 6.The need to unlock the value of vacant, abandoned, and/or underutilized property in the developed tier of established communities; 7.The unique character of a community’s historical, cultural, artistic, architectural, and natural resource assets and the need to preserve them.
I would immediately work through the public outreach, personal communication with the County Council and County Delegation as well as the municipalities and NGOs of the county to implement the following ideas:
1. Promote new private investment and reinvestment in the developed and developing tier using: Brownfield development tax credits and a Full-Time employment new hires graduated tax credit
2. Address existing government barriers to developed tier revitalization
3. Discourage state decisions and policies that subsidize and support sprawl
4. Target investments to maintain public infrastructure already in place (Fix-It-First)
5. Allow timely assembly of lands and property needed for urban redevelopment with full and complete input from both the property owners and the neighborhoods involved.
6. Expedite government decisions on the appropriate reuse of environmentally impaired property while protecting human health and the environment
7. Provide for “green infrastructure” as a catalyst to make urban areas more livable and to complement efforts to protect water quality
8. Encourage a wide array of options to provide for affordable housing with reasonable proximity and access to employment opportunities
a. Promote the adaptive reuse of historic buildings in urban cores including a green certification for agricultural tax rates in developed/ing tier
9. Support government collaboration with local neighborhood organizations in the development and evaluation of revitalization efforts
I full understand that these positions as part of my already announced platform are based on the idea that we need a New Way in Prince George’s - not more of the same. I believe that the people of Prince George’s County do not need to follow in the shadow of anyone, but can show the way for a new generation of ideas. Proud in its diversity, Prince George’s County can dare to lead; Prince George’s County can seek solutions from all point of view and take the best for its tomorrow.
And saying this, I realize that the prophets of the few and doom would cast their negative aspersions – the fear of a few would dim the passions of the many, and the torrents of reasons as to why we must follow the tired pathways of the past would cloud the light of change. So we will elect more of the same and complain that nothing ever changes once more.
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
First People - The Legends. Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves. November 16, 2004. [accessed April 7, 2012].