Howard County Blog

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I am Running for Columbia Council

I filed today to run for the Columbia Council. My current representative here in Kings Contrivance, Phil Marcus, has decided not to run for re-election so it is an open seat. As some of you may know Phil was the only local elected official to have his own blog. Interestingly this year I will be the fourth local blogger to announce I am running in this years Columbia elections.

The big issue in this election is the role and direction of the Columbia Association. Yesterday I noted that one of the things at stake in this election is the quality (note I said quality not quantity, because I still think the overriding problem with the current downtown redevelopment plan is its slopiness as the post below demonstrates and not some arbitrary number of units, because ultimately the number of units will be a product of the rest of the variables in the plan and the slopiness of addressing these other variable is what is holding back addressing the number of units) of how downtown Columbia will be redeveloped. This is clearly not the only issue, but the current state of affairs with CA's willingness to accept, and sometimes chearlead, the current plan (without asking the serious questions that need to be asked before a plan is approved) is a is a symptom of the larger problem considering the redevelopment will have a major impact on CA's future and the quality of life of those would live and work in Columbia. CA has been adrift without its actions reflected its stated mission.

The Columbia Association is a non-profit public benefit organization, created to nurture the Columbia vision and to enhance the qualify of life for people living and working here.

Yet throughout the downtown discussion and many other decisions in recent years is a lack of commitment to the Columbia vision as laid out by Jim Rouse. The vision of promoting diversity through mixed income housing and then fostering the breaking down of stereotypes by promoting positive interaction at shared community pools, tot lots, interfaith centers, and many other design features. The Columbia Association should be playing a major role in the carrying forward of the Rouse vision and thus fostering ways to bring people together and promote community. The decision not to build neighborhood pools for Columbia's newer neighborhoods is a perfect example of this drift. Pearl Atkinson-Stewart, the Columbia Council member from Owen Brown tells me this was a decision of the Board. The next Columbia Council needs to start returning the Rouse vision back to the core of CA's decisions. It is CA's stated mission and it should follow it.

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Anonymous jim adams said...

I know of no one more qualified.

If I can help, and I surly will, you know how to reach me.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Residents of Wilde Lake, Kings Contrivance, or Oakland Mills should be much more concerned with their own Village Centers than Downtown Columbia. Which do you think is more important? Which do you think people are more concerned about, the amount of money they pay CA and what they do with it or Town Center? I just think Town Center is a very small issue among many many large issues CA faces in the coming years. Can you clarify what your priorities will be if elected?

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you even know or care about issues in Kings Contrivance? What are you going to do for that/your community?

Have you ever mentioned or worked on issues in Kings Contrivance?

11:05 AM  
Anonymous jim adams said...

Evan, looks like the questions are coming at you already. I hope you have the fire in your belly. Running for office is in no way exciting, it is stressful and exhausting, while in some odd way rewarding.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


If you are elected, I really hope that you will have the presence of mind to set aside your personal affiliations with groups such as BoBo's, and see to it that all points of view are heard and addressed.

The Columbia Council should not be the voice of a few, as it has been, but rather, promote what is best for all.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Evan said...

Thanks Jim.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

Being a strong advocate for the needs of Kings Contrivance is one of my top priorities. I love Kings Contrivance and will work hard to make sure it is well represented on the Columbia Council. I have a proven record of being willing to champion looking out for the community's need and will bring that with me to the council.

I attended the openning of the Kings Contrivance Village Center and will work closely with the Village Board and county officials to look out for our local merchants and get the new Harris Teeter constructed quickly.

Anon, I don't know if you live in Kings Contrivance, but what I hear repeatedly from my neighbors here is they're concern about Columbia being adrift and they see the downtown redevelopment as a symptom of that. They also repeatedly tell me it matters to them and they want CA to have a voice. They know that the money they pay to CA will be effected and they know that their own lives will be effected. Each of Columbia's villages is not a isolate pocket, but part of a living, breathing whole.

As for all points of view being heard, I think I have demonstrated through this blog and anyone who has ever taken the time to get to know me knows that I listen to everyone and I see out hearing as many points of view as possible before making a decision. I will continue to do that on the council. I will also hold monthly listening sessions at the Bagel Bin for anyone to drop by and talk to me about their concerns.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Monthly listening sessions! Great idea! I saw the same thing on Princess Diaries 2: A Royal Engagement. It worked great for Julie Andrews' character. Can't wait!

p.s. watch out for chickens, though!

11:24 AM  
Blogger Byron said...

Good luck, Evan. Hopefully you can keep the Columbia Council on an even keel. As the mother of all HOA's, sensible people need to keep watch to make sure its authority isn't abused.

Who else is running, by the way?

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Running to be part of a Council or group means you should have the skills it takes to collaborate with and convince others (at least a majority) to support issues you care about. Do you have any abilities or experience in that?

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Kristine L. said...

This is in response to the commentator who wrote, “Residents of Wilde Lake, Kings Contrivance, or Oakland Mills should be much more concerned with their own Village Centers than Downtown Columbia.”

No one lives in a vacuum. For example, where will the downtown kids go to school? Wilde Lake. And perhaps Oakland Mills and Hammond in the future, depending on redistricting. Where will the families by groceries? Not downtown. Ice skate? Roller skate? Swim? The design of Columbia brings folks out of their own village and into the mix. Therefore, Evan is representing his own village when he considers the happenings in Columbia that will impact his village. Moreover, a the Columbia Council rep is supposed to be concerned about Columbia as a whole otherwise we may as well just limit our representation to the village board members.

2:49 AM  
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12:07 AM  

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