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Working Our Way into the New Year

Beyond generosity to jobs

It seems like just yesterday that I last saw you here, but here it is a whole year later. 2013 — so recently new and now all used up — raced into history in record time. 2014 will go just as fast, so we’d best plan right now to make best use of it.
    That was the resolution I drank to as midnight, December 31, turned 2013 into the thin stuff of memory. New Year, I said, I’m going to make something of you. Like the Broadneck Trail you’ll read about in this issue, I’m going some place this year.
    That’s Mitchelle Stephenson’s plan. And Andrew Parks’ and Jim Wilder’s plan, too.
    As you’ll read in this issue devoted to first steps, the three of them have defined 2014 as a make-it-or-break-it year.
    2014 is the year electoral-newcomer Stephenson will campaign her way into the Maryland General Assembly. Or not. With 10 months and two days from Bay Weekly’s first issue of 2014 until Election Day on November 4, Stephenson has got to make every minute count. This is not a resolution she can let slip away — as do so many of the hours, days, weeks and months of everyday life.
    For Andrew Parks and Jim Wilder, 2014 brings the same urgency. Politicians like Stephenson depend on polls to tell them how they’re doing. Restaurateurs like Parks and Wilder get day-by-day returns. They see the success of their new partnership in the number of people who eat lunch or dinner at Sam’s on the Waterfront. So they’ve got to get it right — and get you in — today, tomorrow and every day. There’ll be no frittering away their 2014.
    That kind of urgency is appealing. It’s like deadline, which I’m fond of saying is a writer’s best friend. It makes you accountable for how you use your minutes.
    I’ve got 56 deadlines to live up to every year, what with Bay Weekly’s 52 regular issues and our quarterly specials like Season’s Bounty, which is just about used up with the old year. I like to think that’s enough. But I want something more out of this year.
    This year, I want to make a difference in the quality of the life we share. As my place to make a difference is these pages, I’m asking you to join me in taking on a problem I think you will, because you’re clearly big hearted.
    Through November and December, your hearts, hands and wallets overflowed. You’ve given shelter, food, clothes, toys, entertainment and kindness to people buffeted by hard times. Through the last minutes of 2013, calls on your generosity continued from every kind of do-gooding cause and organization here and abroad. You no doubt answered many of those calls.
    Your generosity is a wonderful thing, but it’s not a solution.
    The problem is that too many Americas make too little money to support their families. Even Marylanders. Last month’s unemployment rate of 6.4 percent — a bit under the national average — means that at least 199,807 Marylanders are looking for work.
    Generosity can give people coats to fend off January’s cold. Generosity can give people Christmas dinners, presents and even Christmas trees. But generosity can’t give them jobs and living wages. Nor, apparently, the billions it would cost to extend emergency unemployment across the nation for the 1.3 million Americans — and the longer-unemployed of our own 200,000 — looking for work.
    In 2014, I’m asking you to join me in a creative conversation about jobs and wages. My commitment is to look at job creation throughout Chesapeake Country. Small and large, entrepreneurial and employed, who’s going beyond generosity to solutions? Some have already been in our pages, like the culinary training institute founded by End Hunger in Calvert County. Or entrepreneur ­Vinnie Bevivino, who’s turning food waste into compost.
    There are lots more out there, and they’ve got secrets we need to learn.
    So reading these stories is only part of the conversation I’m asking you to join. Leading me to job creators is another part, and sending me your ideas and criticisms still another.
    Opening a forum on job creation and stirring up the debate while writing stories you want to read: That’s how I want to make 2104 a year we got something done.
    At the same time, I promise to keep you entertained and enlightened with the part of Bay Weekly you like best. We’ll keep doing our part in keeping gainfully employed writers Rob Breszny and the Bay Gardener, Chuck Shepherd and Sporting Life’s Dennis Doyle, movie reviewer Diana Beechener and theater reviewer Jane Elkin.
    But we can’t keep the same promise for our other theater reviewer, Davina Grace Hill, who’s moving to Douglasville, Georgia, to be more gainfully employed. May she — and all of us — do well in this new year!

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com