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