Thanks to the efforts of Progressive Prince George's members and our allies on the Prince George's County Democratic Central Committee (PGCDCC) we were able to prevent the Prince George's Democratic Party from endorsing Question D. Watch the video footage from the contentious meeting below!
/By Larry Stafford/ Last night, despite pressure from local elected officials, the Prince George's County Democratic Central Committee chose once again not to endorse ballot Question D. We are happy that the Prince George's County Democratic Party chose not to support a ballot measure that would cost the county potentially an additional one million dollars a year to merely create additional career opportunities for term limited Council Members.
Progressive Prince Georgians turned out in force to the meeting and demonstrated the broad disapproval for the proposal. For many, this was their first time attending a central committee meeting and while we we came out victorious, the videos below demonstrate the need for new blood and new leadership within county politics.
We must build a political revolution at the local level to replace the inept political machine in Prince George's. While local leaders within Prince George's put forward proposals that help them meet their own political ambitions, and as the locally elected body of the Democratic party debates basic parliamentary procedure, our county suffers. Our children suffer from abuse in school, returning citizens still suffer from the impacts of mass incarceration, and county residents still struggle to manage the cost of housing and living in Prince George's County.
During the yesterday's proceedings the chair of the committee attempted to prevent our filming of the meeting. She even expressed that she wanted no public participation. This action was yet another example of a political culture in Prince George's that is far too top-down and often attempts to silence the progressive grassroots. At a time in which voter participation, especially in midterm elections, is reaching all-time lows, attempting to exclude and silence county voters at a public Democratic Party meeting is not the formula for increasing civic engagement. However, while this action could appear to be an isolated incident, we must understand that its occurrence was in fact by design. According to the book Black Power in the Suburbs (one of the foremost scholarly works produced on the political history of Prince George's County) from the beginning Prince George's political power brokers have thrived through low civic engagement. In reference to the original political machine of the county, the book states: "Unlike some urban machines that were based on high, working-class participation, Sasscer's machine and other suburban machines were based on low voter turnout and political indifference." This statement remains true to this day.
If you live in Prince George's County and care about what happens to the place that you live, now is the time to join our movement for change.
Larry Stafford is executive director of Progressive Maryland.