I took a brief hiatus from blogging to enjoy the Thanksgiving holidays. I also did not feel the need to add to the dialogue on any of our local news items. The other Howard County bloggers were doing just fine.
I have recently had the opportunity to speak with Barbara Russell, the Columbia Council representative from Oakland Mills and I have come to the conclusion that she is clueless. I happened to mentioned to her that the commercial property owners do not have any vote in Columbia elections, even though they contribute over a quarter of the CA assessment income.
She said that wasn't true.
I told that it was and to prove the point I asked her what village Columbia Gateway Corporate Park was in.
She didn't know.
I do. It isn't in one.
This is no small issue. To not understand that a significant source of your assessment income comes from disenfranchised property owners is inexcusable, particularly for someone who has been on the board as long she has. In other words, I believe she's clueless.
Ms Russell is also beginning to flex her seniority muscles more and more on the council. The latest example is her participation in the group that does not want to extend Maggie Browns contract. Maggie Brown is the president of The Columbia Association. She has served in this role for five years. She has admirably guided an organization with a $50 million dollar annual operating budget while dealing with a Board of Directors that can best be called dysfunctional.
I find Cynthia Coyle, the Harpers Choice Columbia Council representative, to be worrisome as well. While I have not had the opportunity to speak with her directly I have recently attended a meeting and watched her in action. The people in Columbia should be concerned. Very concerned.
It is interesting to note that the CA website does not contain any information on the backgrounds or qualifications of the board members. These are the people making policy decisions for a large organization that touches the lives of everyone in Columbia. They are often elected by fewer than 300 votes!
What will it take to change this?
I spoke with Guy Guzzone at a cocktail party about this very issue. The majority of the assessment paying population of Columbia simply does not have the Columbia Council on their radar screens. It is amazing that such an educated and informed populace can be so out of touch with what is happening in their own community. Until that changes The Columbia Association is destined to be run by some people who ordinarily would never be entrusted with much more responsibility than dogcatcher.
In my not so humble opinion that is!