Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

For those of us who follow a Christian faith today is Good Friday. Even as a not so good Catholic, I would have to acknowledge that Friday is indeed good. Outside of religious observances, there’s not much going on today. My office is officially closed as are many other offices throughout Howard County including the county offices.

It’s a good day to haul trash though. The landfill is open.

The quiet time gave me an opportunity to write a post about the upcoming Columbia village elections but first I needed some help with a name from the past that I was having difficulty remembering. When you need a name from the past, a good place to start is with Pearl Atkinson-Stewart. Pearl is the longest serving member of the Columbia Council.

I needed help recalling the name of the Columbia Council representative from the Village of Town Center who served before Donna Rice. That was about ten years ago. Pearl reminded me that the gentlemen’s name was Joe Merke.

Now I can write the post that I set out to write.

Back in the day, after Joe decided that he no longer had the stomach for serving on the Columbia Council, he asked me if I would consider running for his seat. At the time I lived in the Vantage Point neighborhood of Town Center. I let my ego get the better of me and accepted his invitation without thinking.

As it turned out, the heir apparent to Joe was Donna Rice. Donna had faithfully served on the Town Center village board and she believed she was logical choice to succeed Joe. To complicate matters even more, Suzanne Waller, the current Columbia Council representative, decided that she too was ready to step up and fill Joe’s seat.

As the campaign unfolded I slowly sobered up and realized that serving on the Columbia Council was the last thing I wanted to do. In the end I finished up third in the three way race and Donna Rice was the victor. The only positive moment of the entire experience was when I received the endorsement of the Columbia Flier. A few days after the paper came out with their endorsements I ran into the Editor In Chief at a community function. I thanked her for the support.

“I don’t know how good that will be for you,” she cautioned, “our track record is pretty dismal in that regard.”

How prophetic.

All of this finally brings me to the point of this post. I like two of the candidates in the Columbia Council races this month. I’d really like to help them out but I’m afraid that in endorsing them it could have the opposite effect.

People will regularly tell me that they don’t much agree with me. Some will attempt to sugar coat it by saying I amuse them but most just flat out tell me I’m wrong. I’m okay with this because I’m not running for anything.

The two people I do like live in Long Reach and Wilde Lake.  They are running for something and I don’t want to jinx their chances by coming right out with a stated endorsement.

I’ll opt for a subliminal approach.

If you live in Long Reach and you think I’m a wacko, please don’t vote for James Howard. If you live in Wilde Lake and think I’m an idiot, please don’t vote for Linda Odum.

Village election day is Saturday, April 25th.

Have a Good Friday.


John G. Boyle said...

Good post on a Good Friday.

The problem is that all I can think of now are jokes that I want to make about local politics and its crucifixions, empty tombs and messianic figures :)

Ian said...

Good call on the endorsement approach. Remember this? Fat lot of good it did me.

(Actually, losing that race was the best outcome for me. So, thanks!)

Anonymous said...

There are two races, Long Reach and Wilde Lake that have CC candidates on opposite sides of issues, and constituencies.

Linda Odum is in Real Estate, and James Howard fell over himself to support the ridiculous attack-dog behavior of the developer attorneys on the PUBLIC Engagement in Land Use task farce.

Russ Swatek and Phil Kirsch will represent all constituents equally regardless of profession, profit, power, prestige, whereas the others have a tiny constituency.

If you value Democracy and Liberty, vote for Russ Swatek and Phil Kirsch. These elections make a huge difference, so maybe just vote.

Anonymous said...

To call James Howard a lackey of developers is about the funniest thing I have ever heard. The man is a government analyst and PhD candidate for goodness sake. He's about as far away from big business or developers as you could get.

James has put in his time volunteering for the CA, Long Reach, the County, and others. He created the Howard County Search, which connects local websites. He's served on countless committees, and unlike almost every other volunteer in town, he actually posts reports about what those committees do on his website.

The PELU argument is just atrocious - James helped put together the PELU blog, actively advertised the PELU meetings, and solicited citizen input. Just because a few people did not care to invest their time and get involved, then wanted a seat at the table at the very end, they are now attacking him. Why not instead actually do something for the community?

Anonymous said...

anon 4:01,

exactly how will russ and phil represent all constituencies? aren't they just placeholders?

Anonymous said...

I love it: Capitalizing "Democracy" and "Liberty" in a discussion over CA elections, as if the very foundation of our country -- and not just the question of whether to open another mini water park at a local pool -- is at stake.

And some people wonder why they aren't taken seriously.

Anonymous said...

James Howard is pro-pro development. Just stating the facts. Look at his PELU votes before you make ANOTHER mistake.

Or perhaps it's not a mistake at all.

His PELU "Blog" didn't allow citizen input in the PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT in land use task force. If anyone is not to be taken seriously...

Readers, beware. These guys are a mess when up against hard data. All they have is hype and misrepresentation, no facts, no data, no nothing.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:01,

Attacking a candidate for their occupation? Can you remember Rudy Giuliani attacking Barack Obama for being a community organizer? Maybe Sarah Palin attacking Barack Obama for being a community organizer?

Did you see how well that worked?

People r tired of silly name calling.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:34,

I notice your post is delightfully data-free, as is anything from Phil or Russ.

Keep stirrin up the dust, your fear-based mantra is old.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:34,

Are we talking about the same PELU blog? It is still accepting comments from the public, and has since it was set up in January of last year. Do you have any more lies you care to call hard data?

Anonymous said...


I wouldn't call you the most understated Irishman in town.

I do like your anti-endorsement idea.

I forget who said it "I don't care what they say about me, just so long as they keep talking"

Publicity, paid or otherwise, is everything as the democratic party showed this last election.

I don't know John Howard but I do know Linda Odum and we couldn't ask for a better person, intelligent, informed, with a healthy abundance of integrity. I trust her to do the right thing for Columbia.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Ah, the authoritative link(s). Argument settled.


Anonymous said...

Again, misrepresenting with no data.

The blog is open NOW that the discussion is over.

It was not open while the PELU was in session.

Get your facts straight.

Anonymous said...

And what does this have to do with the Columbia Association?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:31,

That post proves you have gone off the deep end.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Since when is development the only issue in Long Reach. I would rather have someone like Mr. Howard who cares about the future of the every aspect of the community.

Swatek has not mentioned anything about safety, education, tot lots, Blandair, the village center, lighting, or the yriad of other issue that people who live in Long Reach care about.

He is anti-GGP and pro-Marc Norman--what a combination.

Anonymous said...

Swatek is against a lot. What is he for?