Howard County Blog

A Blog on what is going on in Howard County

Friday, December 01, 2006

Open Thread

I plan a lot of posts over the weekend, but use this as an open thread to discuss any issue you are interested in. For example, what are your top priorities that you want the new County Council and County Executive to address?



Thanks also to guestblogger Ken for posting while I have had a busy week. I am looking for other guestbloggers to help spread the load out and help make sure a broad percpective on the county's issues are discussed here. I am pretty picky about who I ultimately choose, but if you are interested or know someone who would be good please email me and I will send them an application so I can see some of their writing.


I expect posts will start getting a lot more active once the new county government is sworn in next week, but as I said I also hope to post this weekend on a whole backlog of issues I just haven't had time to post on this week.

21 Comments:

Blogger Ken said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

Not that I really have high expectations about county government action on the following matters of interest to me, but here they are:
(1) Initiate action that effectively ends required Howard County taxpayer subsidization of transportation to five particular religious schools in the county. Despite past court decisions, I will never stop believing that this is the kind of governmental aid to religion that the First Amendment was intended to prohibit.
(2) Finish the job of improving and cleaning up the county charter. I've got to see what the charter looks like after the adoption by the voters of Question B on Nov. 7, but expect there is still some deletion of completed transitional provisions that would be desirable. There are other reforms that I as a member of the last Charter Review Commission either pushed or supported and which I continue to support. They include (a) amending sections 202(b), 302(b) (3), and 405(f) to provide for forfeiture of office for any Council member, Executive, County Solicitor who was convicted of a felony or any crime for which the penalty is imprisonment for one year or more (rather than, as now, "any crime involving moral turpitude," (b)amending section 404(a)to require that all members of county boards other than those controlled by state law or otherwise specifically covered by our charter be residents of Howard County and not be an elected county official or head of any county office or department, and (c)amending section 606 to permit the Council to increase budget items and to give the Executive an item veto on the budget (subject to a regular override vote by the Council).
I'm not optimistic about favorable action on the first because it seems that the beneficiaries of religious school transportation are a more powerful organized force for lobbying public officials than are the opponents. Action on the latter might be seen by some as coming too soon after charter amendments that were voted on this year. If the public is interested in any of these reforms, they would have to make that interest known.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I’ve been following your blog for the last few weeks—nothing fancy about me—I have a college degree, multi-year marketing background and I’m a mom with 2 kids and II work during school hours 4 days a week so that I can bring in some income and be there for my kids when they get home from school. As I’m 40-something, I couldn’t figure out how to post a comment on your site, so I thought I’d simply reply to your request for guest bloggers in the hopes that you would print our story….



The developer Jared Spahn used your blog as a handout for his case tonight at the pre-submission hearing at the Howard Building, supporting a 59 unit low income project named Centennial Gardens on Frederick Road (I’d be happy to send you the materials) so I thought I’d do my part in countering that and post this food for thought…

I sent this to the reporter at the Baltimore Sun, who I met with last weekend regarding this project..



Hi xxxx,



I’m not sure if you were there tonight, as it was literally standing room only—must have been 200-300 people there. When we met last Sunday with you, Patrick and John { {Secretary-Treasurer and President, respectively, of the Friends of Font Hill] also brought up the possible shady deals going on in the background that culminated in this whole project…I think it would behoove the Sun to look into this matter. People at the hearing tonight were crying out for an independent investigator to probe questions that need to be asked and answered about this entire deal….nothing in government moves quickly, yet within 3 months the Housing Commission (Leonard Vaughan) managed to get a promissory note from the County for 1.6 million, contract with a developer (without any bidding process, it appears), draw up full architectural and elevation plans, inform the MD State Housing Commission to try to secure financing, and try to move ahead with this project without informing the community, adhering to zoning laws, and doing school, environmental, and traffic impact studies. All very fishy….The Sun could score quite a story if you can figure out who, what, and when money exchanged hands on this deal….







hiattfan
bluesfan02766@hotmail.com

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