Friday, September 01, 2006

On Dunbar...

Harry Dunbar gets a story today in The Sun. Like the man himself, it’s full of comedy but is only funny to a point.

The 62-year-old federal retiree and real estate agent has based his campaign on dissatisfaction with the pace of development, making flamboyant, often inaccurate charges about the most sensitive political issue in the county this year.

At a candidates forum Monday night in Harper's Choice, Dunbar again assailed plans for a high-rise near Lake Kittamaqundi and the redevelopment of Town Center, recalling the green open spaces when he arrived in the new town from New York City in 1973.

"That's when I feel we had the highest quality of life because we had uncrowded schools and less density," he said, adding there "were no cars and no noise."
OK, I’ll admit it: I laughed out loud when I read the “flamboyant, often inaccurate charges” part. That was funny.

What’s funny in a less “ha, ha” way is his statement about how great life was in Columbia in 1973. Is he serious? How could he have moved here then and not known about what the future of Columbia would look like? Models, drawings, brochures and other materials all displayed for anyone with eyes what the “Next American City” would look like. And, not surprisingly, it looked a lot like what we have now.

Let’s get back to those accusations.
He has accused Ulman of making "backroom" deals with developers to allow construction of the proposed 23-story high-rise in Columbia…”

...As for the 23-story Columbia high-rise, Ulman said he has never met "with anybody affiliated with the project," much less in a "backroom deal." Dunbar acknowledged that he has no firsthand knowledge of such a meeting, and though he claims he read about it in a newspaper account, he cannot produce a copy of any such article.

Ulman has been frustrated hearing the accusations, which he said go beyond normal standards of campaign criticism.

"I do not mind being criticized. That's part of the job. What I mind is when people lie about me. When people cross the line and make things up," Ulman said.
I don’t care how you feel about Ulman, but he’s completely right here. If you think flat-out lying about someone to further your own goals or views or partisanship is fine, you don’t deserve to be heard. As good as it is to have Harry Dunbar around for comic relief, his quixotic quest sets an example of dishonesty that only perpetuates a climate of hostility, one where unsubstantiated attacks are not only acceptable, but the preferred method of debate.

Meanwhile, Ulman also had this to say in the article:
"I am proud to have stood up strongly in supporting investing in our quality of life," he said at a recent forum.

However, he said more work needs to be done on the plan for downtown Columbia, which includes adding 5,500 housing units, stores, offices and a hotel.

"I thought 5,000 units is ludicrous. The vision that emerged from the charrette is too intense. It wouldn't work," Ulman said.
Now, here’s a question for you. I’ve heard a lot of people say that Ulman has no limit to the development that he thinks is acceptable. Yet, here’s an example to the contrary. Does anyone have a link/citation to an article or anything where he said he supported the 5,500 units for Town Center? If my memory serves, Ulman’s been fairly quiet on the downtown plan since around the time of the charrette, saying at most that he supports the process and those working through it.

6 comments:

Tom Berkhouse said...

Hayduke,

You're bias and ignorance grows every day. You think that just because Ulman says publicly that 5,000 units is too many, that he is sincere. If you believe that one, then I've got a bridge in Brooklyn that I'd like to sell to you. What he's doing is called "backpedalling". If you're having trouble understanding why people are questioning Ulman's integrity, just examine the sleazy mess he made of Comp Lite. Why don't you research that issue and report on what you find? Afraid that you're guy might turn out to be everything everyone has accused him of being?

You also blast Harry for his comments about Columbia. You chide him for not having looked at the plans that were on the books in 1973 which would have shown what Columbia was to be like. This coming from the same person who sat at the Crescent Property Sketch Plan hearings and protested development of that property even though what was being proposed was exactly what was shown on the originally approved plans - the plans that Jim Rouse himself designed. YOU ARE A MONUMENTAL HYPOCRITE!

What the charette is doing is nothing more than tearing down Jim Rouse's Columbia to create Ken Ulman's Columbia. Of course he's not going to take credit for it yet, after all there are a lot of people who hate the proposals, and rightly so. Plus, he has DPZ and the task force group to blame - it's a nice political tactic. Even if he wants the plans toned down to just 3,000 units, that's still more than twice as much as HRD/GGP proposed under any of there previous applications, both of which Ulman, and you, roundly criticized and opposed.

You and he may be able to fool a lot of people in Columbia and Howard County about your actions and motivations, but not everyone. You and Napoleon Boy (Ken Ulman) need to go take some lessons on how to be better leaders instead of politicians.

hocoblog said...

Supporters praised the plan - and the process county officials used to develop it - as providing officials and residents a promising blueprint with which to guide Town Center's future.
"We've really got a lot of specifics about how the future of development will look," said County Council member Kenneth Ulman, a Democrat from Columbia, who helped initiate the process that led to the plan. "I am proud of how far we've come."
County officials unveiled the plan Feb. 27. The presentation was the latest step in a planning process county officials began in October with a series of public meetings in which residents submitted ideas for the master plan.

http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?pnpid=573&show=archivedetails&ArchiveID=1170163&om=1

The 30-year master plan has been a work in progress since officials and residents began drafting it last October. The latest draft envisions building an additional 5,500 residential units downtown, along with 5.2 million square feet of office space and 750,000 square feet of retail development.

http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?pnpid=573&show=archivedetails&ArchiveID=1198974&om=1

Hayduke said...

Tom: Good to hear from you again!

David: That quote sounds like he's supporting the process in general, rather than a specific plan. However, I'd be glad to hear why you may think otherwise. Also, there's this in the same article:

In an interview after the presentation, Ulman stressed that residents should remember that the plan represents a 30-year process and can be amended.

"We are creating benchmarks to hit before development can continue," he said. "If we see we've hit limits either with traffic or schools or other things covered under the adequate facilities, we will have to retool before we continue."


I'm not sure why you posted a link to the second article if you're trying to show that Ulman supports 5,500 residential units. Here's the fifth paragraph from that one:

However, the proposal to build up to 5,500 more residential units has always seemed "ludicrous" given that the county has no mass transit system, said Howard County Council member Kenneth Ulman, a Democrat who represents Town Center.

Tom Berkhouse said...

Hayduke,

You're last excerpt is telling. Ulman thinks 5,500 units is ludicrous, especially since the COunty has no mas transit system. But, isn't one of the recommendations of the task force, and also Joshua Feldmark and Ulman, that the County implement and establish a mass transit system? If that is done, then Ulman will no longer have any reason to think 5,500 units is ludicrous - right? And just who pays for the mass transit system? TAXPAYERS.
I also like the whopper that Ulman says in the previous quote: "If we see we've hit limits either with traffic or schools or other things covered under the adequate facilities, we will have to retool before we continue."

Well - wouldn't you know. The draft Master Plan says that water and sewer capacity are ok - if the water station is upgraded, and if the wasterwater treatment facility are upgraded. So - water and sewer capacity are NOT ok. They do NOT pass APFO. Is Napolean (I mean Ken), going to halt the process and "retool" now, given that there ARE problems with APFO compliance?

How about that research on COMP LITE - any progress on that Hayduke?

Anonymous said...

"How could he have moved here then and not known about what the future of Columbia would look like? Models, drawings, brochures and other materials all displayed for anyone with eyes what the “Next American City” would look like. And, not surprisingly, it looked a lot like what we have now.

How could he have moved here then and not known about what the future of Columbia would look like? Models, drawings, brochures and other materials all displayed for anyone with eyes what the “Next American City” would look like. And, not surprisingly, it looked a lot like what we have now.

"The 30-year master plan has been a work in progress since officials and residents began drafting it last October. The latest draft envisions building an additional 5,500 residential units downtown, along with 5.2 million square feet of office space and 750,000 square feet of retail development."

Well, here we are with another density increase being pursued. It's kind of like when you go to a concert at Merriweather, leave work early to get a nice lawn seat at the front of the lawn, and five minutes before the show starts hordes of less considerate folks want to "just squeeze in", filling every square inch around you.

Sure, the ticket (Charette/Master Plan) reads like you'll have a good time, but how it gets implemented (loopholes in Master Plan, loopholes in Design Manual) may result in a lousy evening in the heart of Columbia.

Anyone read the Design Manual yet? If not, don't kid yourself about being involved and knowing what happens and will happen.

Anonymous said...

I had a little copy/paste typo in the last post. Oops. Here's the corrected version.
----

"How could he have moved here then and not known about what the future of Columbia would look like? Models, drawings, brochures and other materials all displayed for anyone with eyes what the “Next American City” would look like. And, not surprisingly, it looked a lot like what we have now.

I believe (based on a not-too-long-ago letter to the editor by former County Councilman Lloyd Knowles) that Columbia's original plan had residential density less than what it is now, that the Rouse Co. requested (in the '70's or '80's) a density increase from the County, and received it with a commitment they would not pursue an additional residential density increase in New Town. So, there is some validity to Mr. Dunbar's statement.

"The 30-year master plan has been a work in progress since officials and residents began drafting it last October. The latest draft envisions building an additional 5,500 residential units downtown, along with 5.2 million square feet of office space and 750,000 square feet of retail development."

Well, here we are with another density increase being pursued. It's kind of like when you go to a concert at Merriweather, leave work early to get a nice lawn seat at the front of the lawn, and five minutes before the show starts hordes of less considerate folks want to "just squeeze in", filling every square inch around you.

Sure, the ticket (Charette/Master Plan) reads like you'll have a good time, but how it gets implemented (loopholes in Master Plan, loopholes in Design Manual) may result in a lousy evening in the heart of Columbia.

Anyone read the Design Manual yet? If not, don't kid yourself about being involved and knowing what happens and will happen.