The Pledge for Prince George’s County
With the primary campaign season behind us, many of you may recall, but have already forgotten, about the Pledge for Prince George’s County. Launched by County Executive Candidate Rushern Baker and funded by Southern Management Company, it provided a way for Baker to re-introduce himself to voters, and showcased Council candidates who pledged to work with him to achieve important County goals. You probably saw the slick television advertisements, read the newspapers that were reporting about it, and heard the promises from the candidates who signed it.
Although the pledge is a great concept, the voters have heard many of the same promises from our elected officials in past campaigns. Unfortunately, if you look around you, it’s obvious that our public servants have yet to deliver on many of their promises to us. That’s because the promises are made outside the practical realities of operating within local government. To be fair, Baker has never actually worked for local government, so he may have limited knowledge of how challenging it will be to deliver on his pledge. It’s unfortunate that our new administrator has no actual experience within the halls of local government, but neither have many of our past leaders either. When is the last time you got a job where you had no actual experience to demonstrate your capability for doing it? That’s only one of the challenges we face in our system of government here in the county.
Getting back to the Pledge for Prince George’s County, the reason it is already a distant memory and faded from the news as the primary approached, is because it opened Baker up to criticism down the road. He, probably along with many other candidates, have already realized that they conveniently forgot to talk about what the pledge was going to cost, or how they planned to pay for it. Neither has Baker ever talked about how he will report on the results of the pledge to residents. Ironically, no candidate ever made a pledge to step down if they did not deliver on their bold promises. They have been conveniently silent about that matter, because some of them have every intention of running for re-election, and to continue their political careers by running for higher office.
Where does that leave you, the voters? You deserve transparency from elected officials that pledge to respond to your concerns, and be measured by a scorecard of results. Outside of the spotlight of cameras, television crews, and reporters, we need elected officials who ensure that we are getting what we deserve for our tax dollars.
Four years from now, after the pledge is just a piece of history in the 2010 campaign, this blogger will be keeping a scorecard that measures the real results of the Pledge for Prince George’s County, long after our elected officials will be hoping voters forgot about it. It will take more than an advertising campaign for translating a pledge into reality, and I’m going to make sure our public servants are held accountable for that.