Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mom and Dad you made me so uptight...

Just a couple of quick, Round Up-like links today. It's been a while, after all.

The first is this piece about the Columbia Association and the upcoming elections. The story itself provides a pretty good summary of why I'm running for the Oakland Mills position (even though I'm not mentioned): basically, the CA board, with its interpersonal spats and tendancy to want to micromanage, is, on balance, a mess and kind of a joke. Here's a pretty good diagnosis from River Hill representative Patrick von Schlag, one of the reasonable ones:

"The position needs someone with extra time on their hands," he said of being a board member. "The board meets way too often and debates things that are not policy issues. The board needs to learn how to be a board and not a debating group."
Yes! Boards of directors should not, because of needless meddling, add another layer of bureaucracy, especially when only a few board members actually have management experience. To make a somewhat trite metaphor, boards should set the course; staff should steer the ship.


A couple weeks ago, the Flier's editorial board questioned the fairness of forcing the already-approved Plaza Tower (legality of that decision, which the courts have yet decide on, aside) to adhere to a yet-to-be-enacted height restriction. It was a pretty straightforward opinion, focused exclusively on the fairness question and not whether height restrictions are good or bad, warranted or not.

Nevertheless, as is the case in these increasingly polarized and non-nuanced times, umbrage was taken at the Flier's careless disregard for "citizens" and is displayed on the paper's letters page today.

You're either with us or against us, indeed.


Anonymous said...

It's about time someone with sense is running in Oakland Mills. Get the word out!

Anonymous said...

Yes, needless meddling has no place in any organization, but is that really a fair representation of past actions by the Board? Boards are supposed to provide careful oversight and take appropriate action when necessary to protect the interests of the members of the organization. Speaking of sense, come along to the not-so-Wayback Machine, and set it for Cents and Sensibilities.

While we're down hear rowing like mad to keep the boat moving, we want the Board up on deck watching to make sure we're not headed for the falls. Do you think the S.S. Enron's shareholders and pensioners are happy their Board just set the course? (Thankfully, CA has much, much better management than that.) Well run organizations, their members, and Boards don't balk at adequate oversight and the time and effort to do so, they welcome them as just a few of many ways to achieve even better results. Better results from active Boards.

Do you think sufficient debate and scrutiny, both by CA management and the CA Board, was provided when CA, for the sum of $0, gave up control of a portion of CA property along LPP in Town Center? And for a paltry $10,000 gave a 1/8 acre easement across CA property also along LPP in Town Center, replacing a lot of turf with a lot of driveway? Would less debate really have resulted in better outcomes?
CA does have room for improvement, but advocating for less involvement by CA's member-representing Board doesn't seem like one of the best ways to get there. That kind of service in other offices by other people hasn't worked out so well of late.

One Board member saying the Board meets "way too often and debates things that are not policy issues" doesn't sound to me like a good diagnosis. Good diagnoses have corroborative detail. What's way too often? What things have been debated that aren't policy issues?

Anonymous said...

What is your opinion on making Oakland Mills barns into a place for artists and into promoting Oakland Mills into an artists community? I am on the Oakland Mills Arts and Music Committee and have been promoting this idea, but I cannot get details on what is being done. So also, what is your opinion on making such business open and not behind closed doors?

Hayduke said...

As a musician and friend of many artists, I really like the idea of building an arts community in OM. I don't know anything about converting the barns into art space, but I do know that creating spaces for arts is one of the goals in the master plan. Also, since both barns are currently in use for community programs, we would likely need additional buildings or the conversion of older ones to make this happen, which is also being considered in the revitalization effort.

I think discussions like these need to take place with residents at the table, especially those, like yourself, involved with arts in the community.