Monday, February 23, 2009

A Visit with Vernon

The new Starbucks at Shipley’s Grant has become a regular workday stop for me. It is perfectly positioned on my commute route between Ellicott City and Columbia. Lately, it seems as if every morning I run into someone I know there. Last week one of those someone’s was Vernon Gray.

C. Vernon Gray is, among other things, a former five term county councilman (District 2), a past president of the Maryland Association of Counties, a past president of the National Association of Counties and a resident of the Village of Long Reach. After serving on the council he ran for the District 13 State Senate and lost in close race to Sandy Schrader. That seat is now held by Jim Robey.

These days he is the administrator of the Howard County Office of Human Rights. He said he misses some of his former life in politics. “I like to get things done,” he told me. Vernon was very instrumental in the early development approvals for Maple Lawn.

He lamented about the vocal few who seem to dominate the discussion on local issues like the governance of CA and the redevelopment of Town Center. He generally supports the plan that General Growth Properties has put forward and believes that it is in the best interest of Columbia and the county to see this come to fruition.

And though he has retired as a professor of political science at Morgan State University he shows no sign of slowing down. The coffee is probably helping that.