Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How Did This Happen Follow Up

I spoke with Kim Flowers today. Kim is the Deputy Director of Planning & Zoning for Howard County. She put together the Land Plan video I wrote about in a previous post. I asked Kim point blank how Bridget Mugane, the president of the Howard County Citizens Association, came to be featured in this video.

“We thought it would be great to have someone who could speak for majority of the citizens of Howard County” in the video.

I pointed out to Kim that I don’t believe that Ms. Mugane speaks for the majority of the citizens of Howard County. Kim tacitly acknowledged that point.

She admitted that, in retrospect, it would probably have been better to have other citizen views represented as well. She also said stated that she did not believe Bridget was anti development.


I asked Kim if she thought a majority of citizens were “threatened” by development and she said she did not believe that to be so. I pointed out to her that this is exactly what Bridget states in her video.

“She does? I’ll have to go back and check that.

Good idea.

Kim went on to explain that Bridget has “input on everything we are doing” in her department

No doubt.

I still wondered how it came to be that she was given such a prominent place in the video. Who exactly made that call?

“I can’t recall. I’d have to go back to my notes and check.”

I asked her to call me back after she did that and she said she would.

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

No one could make a case that the County Executive speaks for everyone in the County, and he was elected by a voting majority. Who could possibly think that Mugane speaks for anyone but herself? Mugane’s opinion on what the public thinks is as weightless as a molecule of CO2.

JessieX said...

Just watched the DPZ vid myself. Thanks for the link, Wordbones. Hey, has Geren Mortensen, GTV guy and blogger at Blather de la Semaine, become a developer? Oh, wait! That was a re-enactment for educational purposes.

Kudos to the county for doing some proactive education. I concur with Wordbones, though, that Ms. Mugane either 1) should not have been included in the video (same for Ms. Filipczak) and 2) that including her unsubstantiated claim/quote that "the majority" of citizens were against development was a unfortunate mistake on DPZ's part.

It's digital media. DPZ can edit it out and re-issue the vid.

Just a thought. And my two yuan.

Anonymous said...

At one point Mugane and the rest of the HCCA board tried to shut out citizen participation from the HCCA listserv. They were certainly free to do that for no other reason than that they are a private group who speaks only for themselves. The fact that they would even consider such a move shows that they have utter disregard for the opinions of those outside their group.

If Mugane is foolish enough to think she speaks for a majority of citizens, well, that is her problem. But the fact that a DPZ official thinks that Mugane speaks for a majority of citizens is another matter altogether- and a very serious problem.

wordbones said...

Anon 9:01 AM,

"But the fact that a DPZ official thinks that Mugane speaks for a majority of citizens is another matter altogether- and a very serious problem."

I could not agree more.


Anonymous said...

Someone should do a freedom of information act request on all e-mails sent to County employees from Mugane. I bet there would be some interesting info contained.

Anonymous said...

Kim went on to explain that Bridget has “input on everything we are doing” in her department


I don't understand why DPZ feels like HCCA is so important. I means it is like 20 people that moan and yell really loud, so they seem like more, but really its the same 20 people over and over again. That goes for their list serve as well, its the same people posting and bitching there as well. Why is it that 20 people get speak for the majority of Howard County?

Tom said...

Squeaky wheel always gets the grease right or wrong.

Anonymous said...

Scared of Bridget Mugane? What, the person, or any opposing voice? Stay out of the sun, son - there are shadows out there.

Maybe this blog would be more accurately named Tucked Tails of the Pretties.

Anonymous said...

Nobody has a problem with her expressing her own personal opinion. The problem is when county officals think that she is speaking on behalf of the citizens of HoCo.

Speaking of names, perhaps DPZ takes the name of her small group too literally.

Anonymous said...

Dont forget that HCCA also hates the opinions of those who pay dues and are members, but disagree with bridget and the politburo.

Howard County Contrived Association said...

Anon 411- HCCA doesn't hate the dissenting opinions. To hate them, you must first acknowledge them.

HCCA doesn't acknowledge that HoCo citizens disagree with the approved opinions on approved topics.

If you disagree, you are not a citizen, and must be a developer or someone in the pockets of the enemy. It's the only explanation.

Anonymous said...

Many of us sat in the final PELU (Public engagement) meeting only to see abnoxious behavior on the part of the developer representatives, all the while Bridget kept her composure.

Several letters to the papers have been published on this topic, we all saw the same thing.

So now I have to wonder about the source of the negative comments. I can recall three times, three separate blogs in HC shut out commenters for disagreeing but I haven't seen that happen on her list serve.

(note: thus far TTC/wb has not shut anyone out)

Anonymous said...

Actually, I am not aware of any bloggers that have shut out comments. Some have chosen to shut out 'anon' comments, but anyone is able to comment if they log into their google account. HCCA does not let anons join the list to begin with, so the analogy is invalid anyway.

Bridget actually did try to shut out listserv particpants, but to the credit of the rank and file HCCA members, they basically told her not too and she finally agreed. In fact, I think some members of HCCA left the group after Bridget said that only members could participate on the list.

As at least one other comment notes, nobody has a problem with the expression of opinion. The problem arises when someone claims to speak for someone else to county officals.

wordbones said...

Anon 7:29 AM,

"Scared of Bridget Mugane? What, the person or any opposing voice?
Stay out of the sun, son - there are shadows out there."

Very bravely (though oddly) put my anonymous commenter.


Anonymous said...


Intensely amusing, coming from an ex-anon.

wordbones said...

Anon 9:03 PM:

I always aim to amuse.