Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Other Side of NIMBY...

I usually try to avoid commenting on letters to the editor in the Flier. It's a place where people should be able say what they want (within reason) without running the risk of having some annoying blogger parse their every sentence. What's more, in weeks like this, it's a hornet's nest of partisanship that I don't feel like kicking. Except…

…for this:

Vote for Democrats is vote for run-down downtown

On Oct. 4, the Baltimore Examiner ran a front-page story stating that 90 percent of the new residential units proposed under the new charrette master plan for downtown Columbia will be apartments. Some or most of these may be rented through government subsidy programs.

So much for the upscale luxury condominium image that was presented during the charrette process. Are we supposed to believe that Town Center is capable of absorbing 4,950 rental units without experiencing any of the problems associated with this type of housing program?

As every day goes by, this November's election is becoming more and more of a referendum on saving our very special and unique community versus turning it into an urban nightmare. We already have enough traffic, pollution, crime, drugs, gangs, etc.

Wake up, Columbia. Your choice should be very clear: Ken Ulman, who has orchestrated and endorsed the charrette master plan, and Mary Kay Sigaty, who wants more rental subsidies (see her Web site), or Chris Merdon and Tom D'Asto, who support affordable housing, but believe that planning and managing the growth of Columbia should be done in a responsible manner.

Nov. 7 will be our last opportunity to stop the charrette master plan from moving forward. Please do the right thing and help preserve the Columbia we know and love by electing officials that will listen to our concerns and act accordingly.

Mark Pennsy
Hickory Ridge
Honestly, I'm appalled by this letter, with its implicit prejudices, appeals to the basest fear instincts, and total ignorance of the facts. And this from a guy who claims to love Columbia.

I'm actually glad he wrote this letter. I can't imagine anyone – regardless of how they feel about the charrette or which candidates they're backing – would want to be associated, at least publicly, with these sentiments. Perhaps he can help us refocus on what really matters. Or perhaps he's just given us a peek into life underneath the rock he crawled out from.

Here's a story about the stagnant supply of "rental subsidies" in the county (a product of national priorities) and the subsequent increase in homelessness.

1 comment:

dwk said...

I agree. With you.