Friday, February 13, 2009

The Next Campaign for Columbia’s Soul

This spring, elections will be held in eight of the ten villages in Columbia for seats on the Columbia Association Board of Directors. Already, the jockeying has begun for what could potentially be the biggest single change in the makeup of the board in recent memory.

The implications for Columbia are huge. By May 1st, CA will have a new president. The new board will also be charged with resolving the impasse of the future of Symphony Woods and CA’s other holdings in Town Center.

The seats in play this year are in Oakland Mills, Long Reach. Wilde Lake, Owen Brown, Kings Contrivance, River Hill, Hickory Ridge, and Dorsey’s Search. In Oakland Mills, it widely expected that Alex Hekimian will run for reelection. Alex is closely aligned with the Alliance for a Better Columbia. Their idea of a better Columbia is at odds with my idea of a better Columbia.

In Long Reach, Henry Dagenais is planning on stepping down leaving an open seat. Henry was often a voice of moderation on the board but otherwise his tenure has been unremarkable.

In Wilde Lake, Phil Kirsch is expected to run for reelection. Phil is closely associated with Alex Hekimian and Harpers Choice representative, Cindy Coyle. In the last election Phil received the backing of Delegate Liz Bobo who allegedly used her House of Delegates email to campaign on his behalf against Linda Odum.

Pearl Atkinson-Stewart, representing Owen Brown, is the longest serving member on the board. According to my sources Pearl may finally be ready to step down this year depriving the board of its only institutional memory.

In Kings Contrivance, Evan Coren has proven to be a disappointment to some who expected him to bring a fresh perspective to the board. In his first term on the board he allied himself with Coyle, Kirsch and Hekimian. Evan is not expected to run for reelection.

Board Chair Tom O’Connor from Dorsey’s Search is also not expected to run for reelection. Tom has been another moderate and reasoned voice on the board.

Another moderate is board vice chair from River Hill, Michael Cornell. Michael is also expected to give up his seat this year.

And finally there is Miles Coffman from Hickory Ridge. Miles reluctantly agreed to stand for reelection last time around and he is apparently on the fence about running again this year. Miles has consistently been a voice of reason on the board and he would be sorely missed if he decides not to return.

Of course none of this is certain. The incumbents don’t need to declare their intentions yet but it won’t be long before they will.


Anonymous said...

"impasse of the future of Symphony Woods and CA's other holdings"?

What impasse? Columbia's open space, Symphony Woods included, was designated as permanent open space from Columbia's beginning. That seems very straightforward to me.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if there are any developments in finding a new President of the Columbia Association. Is the committee still reviewing resumes, has a short list been generated, how soon will we know the names placed before the Board of Directors? Have you heard anything?

Tom said...

Above is the link to our press release concerning the new president selection process.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tom
That was helpful.