Monday, January 26, 2015

New Session, New Administration .... Is change there for animals?

A lot of pixels and ink have been spent on rehashing the Hogan victory in Maryland, and what it means for various constituencies, issues, and geographies.  There is a somewhat clear (and also somewhat murky) budget on the table now.  Will any of this spell change as far as the welfare of animals goes?

It is probably too soon to tell.  Some appointments are in flux within the new Administration, and whether changes in personnel will reach down as far as programs involving nonprofit organizations, the veterinary profession, dogs, cats, or pet owners, who can say?

Last year, a new state grant fund was set up ostensibly to decrease the killing ("euthanasia" is the euphemism in this world view) in animal control programs.  No one bothered much to look closely though, at what species are most at risk, or what other qualities characterize the most-often-killed individuals.  Finally, after Department of Agriculture and local animal welfare activists worked hard to compile a portfolio of the best proposals, the Department of Natural Resources -- an agency with NO stake in the program or its outcome -- quashed funding for a few of the most-highly-rated proposals.  Well, there was way too much need and way too little money to go around, too.

Most of the money went to those with close ties to the folks who designed the grant program and deliberated over the proposals.  It's all in who you know, ho hum.

Will rescue organizations, which are small businesses, as nonprofit groups, see any increases in support from the larger business community as Governor Hogan makes Maryland a magnet for commercial investment?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

School Days and campaign signs

Things are settling back into a routine now, with the young 'uns back in school, and Labor Day just past.  I was really surprised at how busy Wegman's was the other evening, well after I thought the cook-out shopping should have been over and done.  It didn't look like many people were buying steaks or hot dogs or burgers for those grills, either.  It made me wonder how sale shopping had been.  I remember years when my Mom and I haunted every one of the "big" sale days, traipsing from store to store, either in a mall, or, pre-shopping mall, from each individual building to the next.  I got new things for school, but seems like we did nothing like families are doing these days, virtually refurnishing the entire house AND closets!

What do you think the coming election will bring?  I have to admit to being un-enthused, since it seems we're well decided since our primary is the only real contest.  I am not so thrilled, either, with any of the promises of politicians sure to be running things, after the election proper.  We have seen little new and very little positive change from these (mostly) men and women, and I don't see any good reason why they would wake up, now.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Animal shelters testing ground for tactics in Ferguson MO?

In Ferguson, MO recently, a Senator was told she could not enter a public building to serve petitions.l  Around the Senator, you could hear others protesting that it WAS a public building.  The Senator expressed surprise and irritation that as a State Senator, she was still barred from simply walking into that building.

If we subsidize the construction and day-to-day operation of public buildings -- like legislative chambers, or law enforcement agencies, or even animal facilities -- then what is the reasoning saying that we, the same public, cannot simply enter these premises?

I have been (relatively politely) escorted from an animal facility.  And I know others who have been not-so-subtly urged to leave those same premises.  So when I watched Senator Nasheed confronting a man who worked for the police department, it occurred to me how similar it was, to my experience.

It has been many years that Marylanders have struggled, to a greater, or lesser extent, against animal "shelters" or "services" that refuse to be monitored by the same public that pays the salaries of the managers there.  Recently,I've heard many people talk about being kept out of those buildings.  My own experience and that of the others I mentioned, has been within the past five years.

But, that's long enough, for the action of barring people, to have been tested on us working for shelter reform.  And now, with the testing over, in Ferguson MO (among other places), the same tactic is being used to keep people from knowing what is going on.  To keep them from opposing the things being done in their name.

If it was not time, before this, for people to start paying attention to the work of animal shelter reform, maybe it is time, now.  If we are the testing ground for oppression today, then maybe those who want to fight oppression, need to stand with us to oppose it at the local "pound."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Blurry Vision? Did Baker deliver on his Vision, Mission and Principles?

Sorry to have been absent for some time.  Things do move slowly in Pee Gee in spite of technology and all of our modern world's efficiencies.  And sometimes when you look back, you wonder whether you've actually gone back in time!

Does anyone remember the campaign promises of elections past?  Mr. Baker, the current County Executive, made such promises.  It's true, he can rest on his (whatever) laurels, he's not opposed by any official candidates in the November race. 

But take a look here, at what is advertised on our County website.  Our taxes pay for this to appear:

Does it strike you as though these remain principles that the County is true to, today?  Has the Baker Administration been results-oriented?  Has what the County does been true to the principle of sustainability?

Certainly the promise to get the best people in the right roles, hasn't happened in animal control.  We saw this Administration name an oldie (but goodie?) Sam Wynkoop to direct Environmental Resources.  Sam long ago held the same role and never did any innovation.  He continued that record, this time around.  He maintained all of the policies and staff that have launched zero new programs, at animal control.

Baker may be a strong campaigner.  He certainly can talk a good line.  Take a listen at what he said about what he'd do with animal control. 

Baker's plan to reform animal control in 2010

Yet outcomes for animals have changed practically not at all, between 2009 and today, in 2014.  Blurry?  I'd say so.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

What's new around here?

With Yahoo changing its user interface for the forums on their site ("Groups"), I've noticed it is quiet on the news front again.  And yet, things are continuing to move forward.  I heard from a friend, that there was a major court decision against Prince George's County on civil rights as far as wrongful arrest -- but I haven't seen it covered in the media.  Have you?  If so, please post a link or share what you know!

A frequent blogger on education issues has thrown her hat in the ring for the D9 School Board job.  Cheers for that, because we need more voices that have not been co-opted by needing their political jobs to pay the bills.

The President is supposed to visit Largo to talk about the Affordable Care Act today!  Are you there?  Snap a photo, or leave me a comment!

What's new in your part of the world?