Sunday, February 05, 2006

Everything you ever needed to know about...

Gary Rosenbaum, nominee for the open seat on the Planning Board (his nomination will almost definitely receive council approval).

Some highlights from The Sun profile:

Gary Lester Rosenbaum is 53, but he looks a good deal younger, and he lacks a speck of gray in his full, dark hair. All that may change soon, though, because he is poised to join the Howard County Planning Board, which has been overwhelmed with profound issues and, as a result, has become a focal point of controversy.

Rosenbaum first laughs off the prospects, but then he acknowledges that he understands what he is getting into.

"I'm used to people complaining," he says.

Brother, you ain't never seen complainin' like you'll see on the Planning Board.
He received a bachelor's degree in conservation and resource development from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1974, and a master's degree in regional planning from the University of Michigan two years later.

"I was interested in coastal zone planning - that kind of brought me back to Maryland, looking for positions having to do with the Chesapeake Bay and the [Baltimore] harbor," said the Highland resident.

He worked as a planner for the state for five years, first with the Department of Transportation, then with the Maryland Railroad Administration, specializing in mass transit and light rail station development.

He has a background in planning? Are we sure the planning board is the right fit for him?

His father had a chain of shoe stores and his father-in-law was in the catering business in Atlanta. "He was using a lot of disposables at the time," Rosenbaum says of his father-in-law. "He said it might be something you want to look into as a potential retail business."

Rosenbaum researched the party supply field and determined "the market was underserved." He opened Party, Party, Party, a small store in Randallstown.

Until I started reading about Rosenbaum last week, I always thought Party, Party, Party was a national chain store. Shows what I know.

His appointment to the Planning Board would mean coming full circle for Rosenbaum in two ways. First, it would get him back into the field in which he was trained. Second, it provides the opportunity to help determine the shape of downtown Columbia.

"I remember in college taking field trips to the so-called new town of Columbia," Rosenbaum says. "Back then, I said, 'That's going to be a unique place. I'd like to live there someday.'"

And we're all still hoping it's going to be a unique place...still hoping.

Any last words, Gary?

"I know it's a thankless job," Rosenbaum says, "... but I have a passion for it at the local level. I was involved in the state level and I had some contact at the federal level, as well. But the rubber meets the road at the county level. This is where things happen.

"You have a chance to influence what's happening and that's what makes it interesting. In the end, just the satisfaction that you get in helping guide and help implement how things are [done] in the community."

Well, in my least sarcastic voice, let me say that Rosenbaum sounds like a great pick, and I'm looking forward to him being criticized by developers and citizens alike.

Good luck, Gary (you'll need it)!

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