Howard County Blog

A Blog on what is going on in Howard County

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Window Into Life on the CA Board

I hope to have a longer post on my CA experience thus far up in the next couple days, but I saw this article by Sara Michael in the Examiner and thought I would link to it so here is a quick taste since I haven't yet had time to draft my longer post.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bagel Bin Listening Session

I will hold my next Bagel Bin Listening Session on Sunday, May 27th from 12:15pm to 2:15pm. Please come by and share your thoughts on any issues effecting our community.


Columbia Pools

With pool season here the Columbia Association has a new pools website:

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Friday, May 25, 2007

The CA Meeting

If I didn't have my sense of humor I think I would never get through the next two years. I just made it through my first full CA Board meeting. We made some slow progress and I think there is a lot of opportunity for this board really make a big difference if 1) some board members would stop attacking fellow board members (interestingly I have observed it is the board members that are first to shout for the need for civility that are the main ones trying to attack fellow board members) and 2) if we would develop a greater capacity to take action rather than postponing decisions.

Anyway here is a run down of some of what happened:

1) There is still a lot of disagreement over the Presidents Performance Goals. We will have a special public board meeting on Tuesday, May 29th at 7:30pm to hopefully finish them up. I will probably write more on this later.

2) The version of my Pool Sheds motion that was amended in committee was passed that says CA will prepare the ground and install the pool sheds that the CA Swim Teams need to store there gear if the Swim Team can find a way to purchace a shed and get RAC (i.e. architectural) approval.

3) My survey of pool usage to identify the causes of the parking problem at the pools was defeated.

4) My Online Searchable Database of Board Decisions went down on a 5-5 vote and was sent back to committee for more detail. Interesting all of the detail had been stripped from the proposal in committee this past time. I had used up my debate time on the motion by the time people were talking of needing more detail and was not recognized to answer these points as a result. I am not good at sitting on my hands and not being allowed to respond. I need to learn how to manage my two turns to speak better. I think I was getting better at it by the time we got to the performance goals, which was actually one of the later items we addressed.

5) The Board has fixed our committee structure to allow Vice Chairs to sit in if their Chair is absent on Board Operations Committee meetings. The Board Operations Committee is the committee of committee chairs that is suppose to manage the board and the boards relations with the President. The notion of whether the Board's overall Vice Chair can sit in for the Board's overall Chair if the Chair is absent from Board Operations Committee meetings was sent back to committee.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Columbia Council Meeting Tonight

The Columbia Council is having its first full board meeting since I got elected tonight. Its at the CA Headquarters at 7:30pm. Here's the agenda.


Downtown Columbia Redevelopment

Here is a quick overview of some of the issues dealing with the redevelopment of Downtown Columbia:

The Mall to Merriweather Promenade: Part 1
The Mall to Merriweather Promenade: Part 2

Mixed Income Housing: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3


Why community planning matters.

Martin Luther King Day thoughts on the impact of community planning and whether new developments are contributing or undermining his dream and Rouses vision.

Let's Not Be Florida

Why the Community can set the terms of of redevelopment: Market Forces

Will the county use the Focus Group to help restore public trust?

I guess not yet, but here's hoping they will do it this time.

Transportation Solutions: Or How to Exand Metro to Solve Local Road Congestion and Maximize Ridership

Let's Talk Solutions


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bagel Bin Listening Session

I will hold my next Bagel Bin Listening Session on Sunday, May 27th from 12:15pm to 2:15pm. Please come by and share your thoughts on any issues effecting our community.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Speaking on Downtown Columbia Redevelopment

I will be speaking about Downtown Columbia's Redevopment Process this Tuesday at the Democracy for Howard County meeting at 7pm at the Locust Park Neighborhood Center. Please come by. The Locust Park Neighborhood Center is at 8995 Lambskin Lane, Columbia, MD 21045.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Open Thread

What is on your mind? What issues are you interested in discussing?


Monday, May 14, 2007

CA President's Performance Goals

As part of CA President Maggie Brown's new contract the CA Board of Directors has to establish performance goals for her to complete over the next year to get her bonus. The current proposed performance goals are basically made of completion tasks with no measure of quality of completion. If a goal is to "develop a plan" and then any plan irregardless of how good the plan is could be interpreted as satisfying that goal even though that is not what is best for CA. The Board Operations Committee will be meeting at the CA Headquarters at 7pm on Tuesday, May 15th to edit these for the Board's approval on Thursday, May 24th. I am interested in hearing your suggestions on what the performance goals should be. I will check the comments right before I go to the meeting at 7pm. I also encourage you if you have some ideas to come to the meeting and tell the committee during resident speak out.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007


From time to time I will be using this blog to get input of various CA facilities and issues. What do you think of SplashDown?

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Friday, May 11, 2007


So I have not posted in a week. I have been very focused on learning everything I need to know to to do a good job on the Columbia Council and doing a lot of in person listening. I also want to wait and reflect a little more on my first week on the board before posting on it. I will be writing more on this in the near future and asking your thoughts on specific items, but for now let me do a quick run down on the past week in CA world.

May 2nd - New Board Takes Office
May 4th and 5th - attended CA Board Retreat
May 6th - I went hiking on the Billy Goat Trail at Great Falls to collect my thoughts
May 7th- attended External Relations Committee
May 8th - attended Performance Oversight Committee
May 10th - served on the Planning and Strategy Committee

I am still collecting my thoughts on all of this. While I collect my thoughts please share with me your experience both good and bad with the functioning on the CA Board. How do you get your information of what CA is doing?


Friday, May 04, 2007

The Republican Presidential Debate Open Thread

Did you watch the Republican Presidential Debate tonight? What did you think? Who looked good? Who looked bad?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

CA Board Organization

At tonights CA meeting Barbara Russell was elected Chair and Phil Kirsch was elected Vice Chair. Committee Assignments were also made. They are:

Planning and Strategy
Gail Broida
Evan Coren
Phil Kirsch

Preformance Oversight
Mike Cornell
Cindy Coyle
Tom O'Conner

External Relations
Pearl Atkinson-Stewart
Miles Coffman
Hank Dagenais


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

My Youngest Volunteer

The father of my youngest campaign volunteer sent me this picture and said I could share it:

Despite this volunteer's youth he came with a lot of campaign experience:

The first meeting of the new Columbia Council is tonight at 7:30pm at CA Headquarters.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

First Listening Session

Last Sunday I had my first listening session at the Bagel Bin. I think it went very well. Eight Kings Contrivance residents stopped by to say hi and talk. I got some reading material suggested to me and I got to talk to serveral residents about issues in the community that concerned them. Owen Brown's Columbia Council Rep Pearl Atkinson-Stewart also stopped by to say hi. I look forward to seeing everyone at my next one which will be in late May. If you were unable to stop by, please feel free to use the comments in this post as a continuing listening session.

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