Monday, April 09, 2007

Try to see it my way...

I wasn't planning on writing for the blog today, but since tomorrow is the Oakland Mills candidates forum and Wednesday's for hula hooping, I figured I should at least post a couple links to yesterday's stories.

The campaigns for 2010 have already begun in Howard County. Personally, I've come to the pragmatic conclusion that money in politics is what it is: necessary, but largely inconsequential (I have enough faith in voters to see through the sheen of expensive campaigns). However, given that politicians are going to raise money, I'd rather they spread out their fundraising over four years than squeeze it into the final year, which often leads to them neglecting their duties as elected officials.

Meanwhile, the Ulmans get a couple of nice press clippings for their refrigerators thanks to The Sun (liberal media alert!).

Finally, a business alliance is joining the Town Center fray. Can we work it out?


Anonymous said...

You say: "money in poitics is what it is"

Don't you think there is a better solution out there? One where campaigns are publically financed and politicians don't have to spend their time fundraising instead of doing the people's work? It would also reduce influence that larger donors have over government.

Just a thought. I believe the state had a public campaign finance bill under consideration recently that went nowhere. Also, there are several states already doing this, with some success.

jim adams said...

Good morning Hayduke,

I am glad to see that you have come to the pragmatic conclusion that money in politics is necessary. Those who do not except this may be idealistic, but for sure they are naive. I would warn you, the voters as wise as you may think they are, find it hard to see through the sheen of expensive campaigns.

The wise and experienced politician hates the pressure that raising money places on them, but look at the national races, listen to the reports. The politicians are measured by the dollars they raise, more then what they stand for.

What we need are intelligent, honest individuals who will run for office, raise 2 or 3 times more money than their opponent, so they can get in office. Then they work at passing legislation that will restrict the levels of campaign funding. This would be a sign of an individual who really cares about doing the right thing. They have gained the power of money, but then they are willing to level the playing field.

It has been said before, but needs repeating " Money is the Mother's milk of politics", but at some point the politican must raise their head away from the breast that nurtures to address the issues that are important if we are to live in a better world.

Hayduke said...

I don't know. I go back and forth on publicly-financed campaigns -- I used to be a big supporter. However, it seems to me that, regardless of the rules or systems we create, money will find its way into politics. And rather than holding back the dam from bursting, letting everything flow in the open at least ensures the public has good knowledge of who's getting what from whom. Though not perfect, the system we have now seems to work well enough.

Anonymous said...

Look here, George, enough with the Beatles!

Anonymous said...


When you say you have enough faith in voters to see through the sheen of expensive campaigns, I hate to say it, but either you're pandering to upcoming voters or you're being naive about what happens in elections. If your premise is true, wouldn't this guy have been elected? Instead, he was kept from even debating. While letting the $ flow and keeping things in the open, the system we have can work much better.

The Business Alliance

"a coalition has been formed to caution officials and the public to tread lightly or risk stifling economic expansion and harming Howard County's business climate." Ahem, the geese that are laying the golden eggs are the local spend of the federal budget and the quality of life within the County - not the 'business climate'. It's those geese that are the primary drivers of the business climate.

The assertion of not taking steps to address a widely criticized unusual Planning Board decision because "It's really an issue of right or wrong" ignores that the Planning Board was most likely wrong in approving it. Is it right to ignore a wrong? Or is it more right to correct the wrong? I'd argue that the most "right" path forward is to correct the "wrong" and improve regulations so things don't errantly get through the system in the future.

"Enactment of the legislation would represent changing the rules and be a signal of lack of predictability of doing business in Howard County." Isn't increasing the residential density in Town Center exactly that, too - just 30+ years later? And with such a proposed 5,500 residence increase, increasing traffic congestion to failure, increasing school crowding (and demand for future school construction dollars), etc.? Shouldn't existing and potential homeowners be equally wary of such a lack of predicatbility after paying a premium, ostensibly to live in a community where more predictability was part of the bargain?

Endangering that predictability will adversely affect quality of life and that, not better development regulation, will harm Howard County's business climate.

Keep in mind there is a limit to how intensely Town Center can be developed commercially without introducing more residential density in close proximity to these additional businesses. This is especially true relative to some of the business draw to nearby shopping centers - Columbia Crossing I&II, Dobbin, Snowden Square, etc., places that probably weren't figured into the residential/commercial mix back when, but now make the original commercial density planned for Town Center less viable without increasing residential density therein beyond the original plan. There's several levels to what's going on.

Hayduke said...

Anon 10:58:

First, Ralph Nader could have had all the money in the world and he wouldn't have won in 2000. Maybe he would have hit the 20% or so, but winning was out of the question. His problem wasn't a lack of money, it was (is) our entrenched two-party system.

But why does my faith in the intelligence of others have to be either pandering or naivete? This kind of takes us back to the whole "HoCo voters are stupid" mularkey following the November elections. I really don't understand why it's so hard for some people to acknowledge that thier fellow citizens are smart enough and grown-up enough to make rational, adult decisions.

As for the Biz Alliance and Town Center. I'm glad to see you wrote "most likely" before saying the Planning Board's decision was illegal. To be honest, I'm anxiously awaiting a final decision on the merits of the challenge. Regardless of what's decided, I think that's probably the only way we'll be able to finally move past this issue.

With respect to predictability and development intensity, as I've said numerous times in the past, I really think we need to get away from the idea of having a 30 year master plan. I think we need a 30 year vision plan, and six 5-year (or 3 10-year...whatever) master plans, each granting a certain level of development but with numerous incentives and benchmarks that will help dictate the level of density in the plans that follow.

jim adams said...

Anon 4:44, one more thing about the Beatles. Neil Aspinall, former road manager for the Beatles, has left Apple Corps, the band's management company.

jim adams said...

"HoCo voters are stupid", no they are conditioned, conditioned to buy what is advertised the most.

$70bn is spent yearly on t.v. ads, and, o.k. you don't watch t.v., well internet advertising is the fastest growing advertising sector.

HoCo voters make decisions all day, advertising helps them make decisions without them having to use their intelligence in a critical way. How many HoCo voters have ever meet the candidates one on one, or go to the forums, or even watched the forums on t.v.

Being smart,and grown up is just not enough when we are hit with advertising all day, all night.

A picture may be worth a 1000 words. A hand shake, a look in the eye, a little conversion is worth more than a 1000 words, especially when it is our future that we are allowing someone else to determine.

Anonymous said...

Good fawning press for the Ulman family. But it is more like "profiles in privilege" than "profiles in courage"

My impressions of the article:

* Ulman's wife has children and works part-time. Not exactly "Pursuit of Happyness"

* Ulman's father is a founding attorney who apparently gave several of his clients to his son, Ken Ulman.

So are we supposed to still be impressed that Ken Ulman started his own law firm, with his dad's old clients?

A friend of mine said it best:

"A lawyer is never unemployed. He is just a solo practitioner"

Between that and his resume, any admiration I might have for Ken Ulman just continues to wane.

* Why would Ulman's father have to leave his Towson firm because his son was running for County Executive? That didn't make sense to me.

Can someone explain? Am I missing something?

On a related note: when is the next election day? Will some qualified Democrat PLEASE run for CE?

Anonymous said...

To 7:06 PM,

It was just a puff piece. There was no redeeming information in it. I loved Ken's quote about his wife. Of course he'd say something nice. But to say her job is "so impressive" -- I guess compared to his. When I read it again, I think his father was just joking.

Anonymous said...

At least her job is an actual job and actual experience on a verifiable resume.