A Message from MD Architects PAC Treasurer – June 2016

By Allen E. Neyman, AIA, Treasurer Maryland Architects PAC
June 2016

Principles, Annapolis Style

One of the perks of the Maryland Architects PAC is the opportunity to meet elected leaders. It’s usually a fund raiser that brings everyone together. They need and appreciate the cash, and we want and appreciate opportunities to exchange ideas and discuss the politics of a better world in architecture.  In the process, one learns how stereotypes don’t fit, and instead, how important principles are in those we support.

The Maryland Architects PAC has supported Delegate Sheila Hixon, Chairperson of Ways and Means, and several other important committees. Attending a fund raiser for her came down to me in July 2014. Before I got to meet Delegate Hixon and to deliver the architects message, Governor O’Malley walked in. Not sure what to expect, it was curious that he was alone, no body guards, no entourage, no blockers for the quarterback. In jeans and tee, anyone else would have looked out of place. Truth be said, what could be less threatening or more civil these days than jeans and tee, coupled with handshake and smiles? But this guy was buff and healthy looking. Not at all the appearance of a politician stereotype, but it was obvious he had the ability to make friends. It was from one gym rat to another once we started talking. When I asked how he could go a gym and avoid being bothered by the public, he said he used the Naval Academy gym. Convenient, and a “safe ground,” everyone there is from out of town, so no one recognized him, he joked. For the few minutes shared, he was appealing and believable, a grass roots guy? At least worth a chance, I believed, and wished him luck “in is next” career. Even then it was rumored he was in the race for US President. I thought often about that during the campaign. The PAC does not fund candidates for president – sometimes I wish it did!

My photography is great joy, but my skills are learned mainly on the job. I have painstakingly done firm photography for almost 30 years. Now I carry a camera everywhere. Delegate Aruna Miller, Appropriations Committee member and several more, has been a friend of the PAC and she sees a lot of my pics on Facebook. She was particularly complimentary of them at a recent Housing Unlimited event in Bethesda saying “You have a way of capturing meaningful subjects.” Then I thought she’s setting me up when she asked “maybe you could help someone with his photography…..”  I thought, I am only an architect, and sometimes a photographer. In truth, like everyone, I avoid getting involved. I really didn’t, won’t, don’t know anything about helping someone, living in group quarters away from family, out in the burbs and can’t drive. Unable to work, he is autistic, but takes very nice pictures, all agree. The real point is, and eventually I got it, this is not about me or the PAC. It is about a talented young person who needs a mentor and can’t find help because of disabilities. It may sound like high expectations, but what does it take? A public official gets an architect with success and a comfortable life to start thinking more about helping others who haven’t found either yet. Actually, that’s leadership, the kind the world and government needs.  At the camera club I started a dialogue with members who, believe it or not, actually have experience helping others this way. Thanks, Delegate Miller, I can’t wait to see what happens.

A US House political campaign caught the attention of my wife and me recently. We attended a rally for a candidate, an illustrious Senator in Annapolis, Jamie Raskin. Years from now when we read history about laws that changed same sex marriage, the legalization of marijuana, or the repeal of the death penalty, very few will remember who was responsible. Nevertheless, Raskin’s success with these issues may change history. As he got deeper into a campaign speech, my wife caught all by surprise when she questioned Senator Raskin, on matters he spoke about without enough thought given to them. While going on about implementing well-meaning but costly public programs, Karen let him finish and asked “who will pay for the projects, and with what funds?” The brilliant Raskin floundered, and with his skills at answering questions, he just never answered. And there was a short hum in the room before he brushed it off and moved on to new ground. On the way home, Karen and I talked about the obvious “you just can’t do that and win votes.”  Apparently we were not the only one troubled by the blunder, because the Senator placed a call to Karen the very next morning. It was a congenial conversation, a personal one. Raskin recognized his own inadvertence. Don’t we often see this amongst our leaders, but with scant attention to making it right?  Leadership, though guided by the will to do right, requires more. Raskin won the primary demonstrating that he listens and is trying harder to get it right. That’s principled leadership that will guide us on course.

The Maryland Architects PAC has a role to play in supporting candidates for the Senate and the Delegation in Annapolis. They have a direct and powerful role in determining legislation that affect the architectural profession. Please contribute generously to the PAC to help educate and promote for the important issues.

The Maryland Architects PAC does not support all Maryland candidates who run for office, only a few in the Maryland legislature, due to limited funds. Please help us reach out further and consistently for candidates who will make a difference. Did you know the PAC is open 24/7/365? Well it isn’t. But we accept donations at any time. Please give at http://www.aiamd.org/advocacy/contribute-to-md-architects-pac/



A Message from MD Architects PAC Treasurer – Are PAC’s on the right side of history?  [April 2016]
A Message from MD Architects PAC Treasurer [December 2015]
A Message from MD Architects PAC Treasurer – It’s Reality Now  [March 2015]