Wednesday, January 7, 2009

If I was in charge

If you woke up tomorrow and found out that you were County Executive, what is one change that you would make to make the community better? Without getting overly concerned about what the CE actually has the power to do (which isn’t much) but still paying some level of attention to political feasibility, there are a couple of changes that I would make. All of them involve reducing the amount of power wielded by the county government. There is one thing that I would do first.

The first change that I would make would be to have marijuana regulated in a manner similar to that of alcohol. I would forbid the HoCo police department from arresting any adult for growing, possessing, or using marijuana. Obviously, the Feds and the State police have the power to do what they want, but I'd be damned if the HoCo police would enforce any drug laws on my watch. There is not a bigger waste of taxpayer dollars, law enforcement resources and court system time than to arrest/harass consenting adults for using a substance that affects no one but themselves. I say this not as a drug user (because I am not, except for large amounts of caffeine), but rather as a rational adult who doesn’t like seeing his tax dollars squandered in an absurd way by a bunch of elected buffoons. The police should be worried about violent crime and theft. Wasting time with some 40 year old person for smoking a doobie in their own home is an epic misuse of police resources and a slap in the face to freedom. As a matter of fact, there are legitimate medical uses for marijuana, and it is still illegal. This situation defies common sense, and should be a complete embarrassment for any political figure with half a brain and an ounce of courage.

Fortunately, there are a few politicians out there at the state and federal level that are slowly beginning to see the basic common sense of this argument.

Anyway, that’s what I would do. Anyone else want to take a shot?


Anonymous said...

too wasted to respond

Freemarket said...

If you were stoned, your comment would have been much more interesting, witty and intelligent.

JessieX said...

You make me laugh, FM. Ditto, someone who thinks they'd be too wasted to respond intelligently probably either 1) hasn't smoked ever or 2) hasn't smoked good weed ... as in really good stuff grown with love and respect for the plant.

Anyhoo. What I'd change? The county website and communications. I'd immediately fire half the communications staff at the county, starting with anyone who doesn't read (I didn't say "write") blogs, public online forums or Web 2.0 type communications.

Then I'd hire some of the absolutely stellar Web 2.0 communications and tech pros in the Balt-DC region. FT or consultants, they abound: Steven Fisher (user experience, podcasts), Peter Corbett (mashable tech and more), Aaron Brazell (WP and incredible blog expertise), Javier Rios. There are many, many more. Just go to a Bmore Refresh meeting or the upcoming Twin Tech III party in DC to get a sense. That's just a start, the tech/Web 2.0 people know there's much more to communications than just technology, so identifying what to communicate, how to do it, using which methods and to whom ... well, that's another important layer of the process.

But the first tool I'd want on my belt would be bi-directional, multi-channeled, hyper-local, easily re-purposable content and communications.

Freemarket said...

Thanks for putting thought into that comment, Jessie. I know I am an anti-government-stick-in-the-mud, but does the local gov have anything important or useful enough to communicate that they need a better website/communications network in which to do so? My guess is that most of the 270K people in the county have never even seen the county website.

JessieX said...

Oh, FM, at least you're open to the possibility that sometimes you're quite the anti-government stick-in-the-mud. OK, let's assume the county govt would continue operations as is with its current roles and responsibilities. Of course, there are a ton of things to communicate with local citizenry. And, yes, I agree, I'd bet you less than 5% of county citizens have every bothered going to the county's current website. That said, that doesn't mean the info the county could-should communicate isn't worthy or valuable. It's *how* they communicate it that's so unappealing to most folk. Hence, why making communication bi-directional, multi-channeled, hyper-local and easily repurposed would be my "If I were in charge" #1 priority.

Btw, the assumption I have that "the county" will remain silent in this conversation -- probably from some anachronistic rule -- is testament to my point. WHERE ARE THE REPS in the local conversations? I can see they may not want so much to participate when blogs allow Anons, such as your site, FM. Most Anons just write nasty, petty drivel. But, frig, why wouldn't the county create its own blogs (real blogs with voice and perspective) and allow conversations there.

Anyway, I'm starting to sound like a preacher on a pulpit. I've answered your question, I do believe.

PS -- Haha. The "drunken letter" to type when entering my blog comment above is "semorm," which, in its drunken letter view looks a bit like "sermon." Haha.

JessieX said...

Great timing. Blog post about governments and web 2.0 from a most-thoughtful writer.

Drunken letters are "pater." haha

Anonymous said...

A case in point is the JessieX comment about anons. People reading that will assume it's true.

It's not. FM termed JessieX a fatxxx, and I have not once seen an anon use a term that strong.

Where's your evidence?