Tuesday, March 20, 2007

You spin me right round, baby...

After successfully doing so last year, it appears that some would like to turn the upcoming Columbia election into another referendum on Town Center.

I know that Town Center is a great big polarizing issue, thereby making it an ideal wedge in an election where information is at a premium. Tales can be spun about who’s a part of what conspiracy and who’s in the pockets of developers and all that other BS, but ultimately, shifting the focus to something that’s only tangentially related to the operations of the Columbia Association – a massive, confusing body that collects a hefty amount in “taxes” from us each year – does a disservice to all Columbians, regardless of where they stand on downtown development.

Is there a shortage of venues for citizens to express their ideas about Town Center?

And how much power does CA really have in the Town Center master plan process? How much can it change the outcome? Yes, I know it owns a lot of land in Town Center and the board needs to be cognizant of the impacts of future development on our open space, but how do these facts lead us to the conclusion that Town Center should be the deciding factor in electing CA reps?

I mean, has the board really performed so well over the past year that we can ignore its structural problems in favor of more and more debate about Town Center?

Is it a problem that even people who have served on the board for many years still can’t really define the organization in any meaningful sense?

Or how about the recent actions of the “caucus?” Although they have followed the letter of the law, these members are likely violating its spirit with their private meetings. And the tragic irony is that at least a few of them came to power because of concerns over secret meetings.

Or, what about the rest of our open space? Is the future of Symphony Woods more important than the future of the other thousands of acres of land, much of which is floating away with each rain storm?

And what of the Oakland Mills master plan, something that is truly a product of the citizens but is being ignored and having its progress stifled because it’s seemingly more important to engage in county elections and debate whether tall buildings will destroy our essence.

Yes, I agree that there is much at stake now -- much more than Town Center.

But those wishing to turn this election into another special interest power grab are more than welcome to do so. Many Columbians are weary of the obfuscation and spin, and they, I think, are ready for something new.


Anonymous said...

You not only hit the nail on the head. You drove it totally in with one stroke. Oakland Mills has been looking for someone who can sucinctly discuss the issues without all the politics.

Anonymous said...

One quick question - those that got elected last year on the downtown issue, mainly Broida, Coyle, and Kirsch, can anyone name a SINGLE thing they have done around the downtown issue? I think that has something to do with the fact that it's not a CA issue. Bravo to you for trying to tackle the real issues - mainly what on earth is this CA and what do they do for me.

Anonymous said...

"Is the future of Symphony Woods more important than the future of the other thousands of acres of land, much of which is floating away with each rain storm?"

Both are important, worthy of consideration, and should be addressed. Was open space erosion covered here previously? Or was the issue formally communicated to CA already?

Town Center isn't the only issue, but it is a big one and certainly shouldn't be left off the table for this election. And, because some of the proposals for it could greatly impact the lives of the majority of Columbians and some of our CA-stewarded open space, it may very well rightly prove to be the deciding factor in this election.

Perhaps too much ground was lightly covered in this post to sufficiently delve into any of the items mentioned, the first example being the start referring to "some", but not mentioning "who", which leaves the casual reader wondering "what?". Isn't that the same obfuscation alluded to at the post's end?

"ready for something new"? Please put something on the box that demonstrates how it's better and the voters' choice will be made all the easier. Some of us do read the ingredients.

Hadn't a previous resolution been made to frequent slower moving, but deeper blogging waters, a good practice to which BS seems to more consistently adhere?

Also, refraining from using BS in the other context would improve the tone of the election and be less off putting to potential constituents. Public forum? Public decorum.