Prince George's County D9 Politico Blog

Keeping politicians accountable and voters informed.

Guest Blog: Is Mel Franklin responding to your e-mails?

with 13 comments

Guest Blog Contributor “RF” Wants to Know What You Think About Communications From Your Councilman

Maybe I’m just a spoiled political activist. Two days after I contacted the current president’s fledgling campaign in a crucial early primary state, I was sitting in the campaign state director’s office explaining my strategic advice in more detail. When I lived in a more conservative electoral district, I received, despite my obvious liberal Democratic stances, personal responses to my e-mails from the Republican state legislators that represented me. Even here in southern Prince George’s county, my Board of Education representative always responds with a personal note.

Thus, when I moved to District 9 in the summer of 2010, I expected personal touch from my County Council candidates. After figuring out that the Democratic primary was the real electoral contest in my new county, I spent some time looking at the candidates. I identified Mel Franklin and another candidate as my top choices, and decided to contact them both regarding my concerns about Prince George’s county schools. The other candidate responded within 24 hours with a lengthy, personal e-mail. I never received a response from Mr. Franklin.  The other candidate knocked on my door one August weekend and spent time discussing issues with me. To my knowledge, Mel Franklin never made it to our neighborhood. When the primary day came in September, my choice was easy.

Even though my preferred candidate did not win, I was happy Mel Franklin was going to be my representative on the County Council. He was saying the right things. He was an apparent community activist. I got the feeling he was on my side, fighting for the kind of change I want to see in this county.

In my view, the County Council representative is my most important political ally and conduit. He is the one who represents me in the government entity that affects my daily life the most. Since the election, I have e-mailed Mel Franklin three times about various issues.  As of today, I have not received a response to any of my messages.

I understand all of our elected officials receive a large amount of communications from constituents. However, most of these folks are able to respond in one way or another. I don’t expect Mel Franklin to send me a long detailed response to all my e-mails. But, an acknowledgment of some sort of would be nice. “Thanks for your note, I’ll look into this” would suffice. By now, I’m hesitant to spend my time composing a thoughtful note, just to have it disappear into the black hole that Mr. Franklin’s e-mail address appears to be.

I haven’t lost hope. Mel Franklin is an ambitious, intelligent young man, new on the job. But, for him to succeed in the long run, he must step up his constituent communications efforts. I suspect he and his staff are more responsive to individuals they personally know. But to me, the real measure of an elected official is how they respond to the concerns of all their constituents. I’m sure even Jack Johnson was responsive to his friends.

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Written by pgd9politico

February 24, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

13 Responses

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  1. Yes, he responds to my emails. It might be because he knows me and I’m a community activist. I’m not a political activist, though, and I’ve been open with him about not preferring to be active via the Democratic party, though at one time I gave it a try.

    Do you get his newsletter? I think he’s still using his campaign site to sign up for newsletters: http://www.melfranklin.com/support/

    Joyce

    March 1, 2011 at 6:25 pm

  2. Joyce, thank you for the link to the newsletter sign-up! I would not have thought to go to his campaign site to sign up. Your experience seems to confirm my suspicion that he is more responsive with people he knows.

    RF

    March 2, 2011 at 4:27 pm

  3. Several legislators are like that. I’m sure they get a lot of email and it’s hard to deal with it all. I heard one say that she’s afraid of dealing with strangers. It’s sad, but that’s the kind of world we live in.

    Joyce

    March 2, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    • Well, if you are an elected official afraid to communicate with people who email you with their community concerns, you are definitely in the wrong line of business. Plus, if you only pay attention to your friends and people you know, I’m afraid you are on a slippery slope to cronyism.

      I will try to judge Mel Franklin on his accomplishments. It’s very early in his term. But, from my perspective, his start has been very underwhelming. Much will be forgiven if he delivers.

      RF

      March 3, 2011 at 3:32 am

      • That’s true, but I think they have their staff deal with the email they’re not familiar with. But constituents also should remember that if they want it viewed as an official message, to write it like a letter starting with their address. Otherwise how would they know the person is a constituent? I do that with my state delegates and senator, because they don’t know me as well even though they’ve been in office for so long. I don’t think Delegate Vallario even has staff read email.

        Joyce

        March 3, 2011 at 3:35 pm

  4. I am shocked by your response and have forwarded your email to Mr. Franklin’s office. He is very good about not only responding to emails but getting the job done. We in he southern end of the County have been very vocal about how we felt neglected but Mr. Franklin has had community meetings and has been in touch with not only the civic leaders but the residents. His community person is Mr. James Harley and please give them a call with your concerns.

    Pat O'Neal

    March 11, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    • Pat, “RF” was eventually contacted by Mr. Franklin after this blog entry was posted. Franklin is, indeed, much more responsive than our previous representative. He has always been very responsive to me personally, but I have known him for years. You also contributed financially to his campaign and have known him for some time.

      I thought it would be good to put out a different perspective from a relative newcomer to District 9. Like so many who moved into one of dozens of new developments that have sprung up over the past few years in our area, he came to Distric 9 not having our connections to leaders, so it was interesting to hear his experience so far. I am glad that he has finally heard back from Franklin’s office, and hope this was just a “blip” in constituent communications for his team.

      pgd9politico

      March 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm

  5. I agree with you. I truly believe for anyone to become a good politician they need to hear and respond to the good and the bad. It is people like “RF” who will make Mel a great politician because the bottom line is he has to serve all of his people.

    Pat O'Neal

    March 11, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    • I agree. Mel has a lot of potential, and I will judge him based on what he will be able to deliver.

      RF

      March 11, 2011 at 10:49 pm

      • so far has been little,

        al newman

        February 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm

  6. youve heard of WHERE’S THE BEEF!! in our case its WHERE’S OUR BRIDGE!! since the irene and lee storm a small bridge has been washed out on baden naylor road, brandywine, needless to say our bridge is still out and impacting many commuters and local emergency response times, I WILL LOOK INTO IT (mr franklins routine response) just doesnt cut it anymore, we demand action!!!

    al newman

    February 27, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    • I guess it’s a county road, but we didn’t have any trouble gettting the Brandywine Rd. fixed immediately, though it took a week, as it’s a state road. The state gives the county money, so it doesn’t hurt to call the delegates. Proctor is especially responsive.

      Joyce Dowling

      March 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      • They are all useless. The bridge is still out with no help from Mel Franklin or his useless personell. Unelected Fred could care less about anyone in the Rural Tier. This will all be remembered come election time.

        Useless Officials

        December 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm


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