Howard County Blog

A Blog on what is going on in Howard County

Sunday, January 14, 2007

One Year Anniversary

Today is the one year anniversary of this blog and what a year its been! When I started this blog I had no idea really where it was going. My thought was to provide a means for collective brainstorming solutions to issues in our community such as the Downtown Columbia redevelopment, where success or failure will be determined by the details. Blogging seemed like a superb new medium to have this open public discussion of details in a way that newspapers, TV, and even meetings set at times that few could attend could. Though the comments thus far have not yet achieve this level of discussion I strongly believe as we get more deeply into discussing changes in the plan over the next year we will be able to achieve that level of discussion.

That being said my second purpose of starting this blog has been a superb success. At the time I started this blog the county was trying to rush through approval of the downtown redevelopment within months often using what an architect friend of mine called deceptive sketches. In order to get the plan fixed so that it would produce what the proponents of the plan said they wanted there needed to be a place where these issues could be pointed out, so that the deceptive sketches could not be used to deceive the public. Since this blog starting there has been an increase awareness of the plan in the community and county officials have learned that if they do try to pull the wool over the publics eyes they will be called out for it. This has resulted in the plans approval being pushed back until after the elections and the increasing likelihood that the plan will be changed (hopefully being made much better so we can have the superb downtown everyone wants). Of course this blog was only one small part of that public pressure, with community members turning out for public meetings, writing letters to the editor, talking to elected officials and candidates, and voting played a huge part in the success we have had so far to move towards a plan that will not result in the reduction in the quality of life in our county, a reduction in the values of mixed income housing that strenthen our community, or the pushing of development costs onto taxpayers so that developers can increase their profit margins at the publics expense.

This blog has also dealt with a broad range of other issues in our county. I have had guestbloggers from Savage, Ellicott City, Elkridge, Mt. Hebron High School, and Columbia. Though I wish these guestbloggers would post more often, I think as a whole they have done a superb job. These guestbloggers have added a breadth I knew I could not provide and I hope you have enjoyed their posts. This blog was the first group blog in our county and we seem to be leading the trend as another major local blog HoCoMD has recently moved to the group blog format.

In the last year we have had 375 posts, averaging slightly more than one post a day. As a result I think many people are making checking this blog part of their daily routine and I am very happy that you guys and gals think the quality of these posts are worthy of you taking time to read them. I have tried to make my posts thought provoking and I hope that is one of the reasons you keep coming back.

What types of things would you like to see on this blog in our second year?