El Tiempo Latino
9:17 p.m. | 66° 9/24/2018


With El Tiempo Latino’s “Power Meter 100” coming up, the question is: How do we measure power?

John Rodríguez | Senior Political Analyst | El Tiempo Latino | 6/22/2017, 12:55 p.m.
Un día sombrío en Washington marcó el martes, el primer día del 115º Congreso, mientras que peatones pasan por delante del Capitolio. | Matt McClain | The Washington Post

Political figures have an overt representation of power given their very public role. The money generated during the electoral process must come from somewhere. Whether they self fund or fundraise, once elected to office, their decisions have a direct affect on the community around them. An assessment of their power in community is not only measured by the budget they wield or the laws/legislations affected. It must also be measured in public opinion, votes, and capacity to raise money. It is both “organized money and people”… sometimes a little more of one than the other. Once in office, the administration of a multimillion-dollar budget can be very influential. However, during a campaign they affect ideas and values for a great many people.

When measuring power we are not merely recognizing the good deeds of people. We are measuring the result of people's ambition as well.

One more evident example of “organized money” is in the private sector where business owners and CEO’s work hard to create a profitable organization. They employ people that contribute to the local economy through their sales. Both large and small businesses contribute in similar ways by becoming descriptive of a place or becoming staples of a community. They can shape the feel, look, and development of the city or region like Bethlehem Steel did for Baltimore. Stakeholders in the private sector have major influence on the decisions made by virtue of the resources they produce and the manner in which they choose to employ those resources.

One the best examples of “organized people” are labor unions. Their directors are usually demure and shy away from being the center of attention in order to lift up the power of the people they lead. However, their role is very influential in organizing the agenda for a great number of people working together on very specific interests. Working conditions, compensation, pensions, and health benefits are general interests of unions. Collective power of people is used to advance the interest for the whole body. Leadership and strategy is essential to realizing the desired goals therefore making the role important to regard, hence powerful.

Community leadership cannot be overlooked in the measurement of power because they provide a necessary role in ensure investment and development for the benefit others. Quite often, leaders arise from an urgent need for a great many people. Their motivation is passion or sense of duty to serve others in order to create a better quality of life. Power of community leadership can influence support for proposed development, affect the results of an election, and create policy or legislation. The public trust can be very powerful when it is cultivated over time through a body of work devoted to service.

The common thread that binds this sampling of archetypes in power is the end or focus they represent. Money alone or having money is not the manifestation of power nor is a multitude of people. Power is the yield of focused efforts of people or money or both, but for a purpose. The 100 honorees of El Tiempo Latino’s Power Meter allows for the mapping of the potential influence in the DMV area, which is important for the advancement of our communities.