Friday, May 22, 2009

2nd Annual Land Use Summit

Last night I had a free moment before meeting up with David Keelan for my long awaited beer so I decided to drop in on the 2nd Annual Land Use Summit sponsored by Howard County Issues. As soon as I walked in the room I felt like a fish out of water. It was quite obvious to everyone that I wasn’t really one of them.

Not that there were that many of them. At most, I counted fifteen people including the organizers. Mona Brinegar, the publisher of HoCo Issues was there as was Bridget Mugane, Angela Beltram, Barbara Russell, Susan Gray and Michael Cornell. I don’t believe any of the attendees were under 40. Mona told the gathering that last year about 70 people attended the first annual summit so it appears that there has been a dramatic drop off in interest.

Among the things that the organizers were happy about was the election of Russ Swatek over James Howard in the Long Reach election for the Columbia Council. Mona described James as being“aggressively pro developer” while Russ was described being “very egalitarian minded.”

After Mona spoke, Susan Gray took the floor, or more accurately, sat on the floor while she gave an update on the lawsuit she and Paul Kendall have filed against the county in federal court to place all county zoning decisions under federal jurisdiction. This generated a round of applause from the small group.

Susan told the gathering that she is very optimistic about this suit. She thinks they have put together a very strong case. I’ve come to the conclusion that Susan is delusional.

I left around eight o’clock to meet Mr. Keelan.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for attending. If you were there to represent the Chamber, we would have encouraged you to speak. Since you are also a columnist it didn't seem appropriate to ask you.

Mona Brinegar

wordbones said...

I represent no one but myself, a citizen taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

I am so sick of hearing how certain people in the community supposedly “represent” a number of other people in the community. I represent the lollypop league, and I welcome you to munchkin land.

Brian said...


After you left, more people arrived late. Unlike last year, the attendees were primarily community leaders from across the county.

The issue at hand is how citizens can regain their (County Charter)right to referendum. Until that happens our elected officials will continue to operate with impunity in the absence of checks/balances.

Anonymous said...

If its checks and balances you want, why don't people start electing some Republicans to local politics.

Tom said...

The argument from some in this group of people is all the elected officials are bought off with developer money to run their campaigns. My question in this heavily Democratic County why are the Democrat and Republican elected officials both "pro-development"? Perhaps because the majority of our electorate are actually in favor of some level of development, not the anti-development positions many in this group advocate. Howard County has been under a controlled (planned) housing development plan for over a decade. What has that gotten us? Some would say recognition as one of the best places to live in the USA. Others would say a severe low income housing shortage. We need development to advance as a community, controls do need to be placed on it, but not too stringent controls that will stifle the community.

Anonymous said...

What evidence do these anti-development folks have that any of our electeds would make a decision exclusively because someone put money in a campaign account, a campaign account?

Do they have a list of votes where a politician got campaign checks from developers and cast votes different from politicians who did not get campaign checks from the same developers? If so, they should make the case instead of just being negative and calling people names who take time away from their families to serve because they don’t agree.

We can call them wrong, but unethical is crossing the line without evidence.

Bill said...

ANON - Who questioned the ethics of our officials?

The vast majority of people aren't anti development, they just want planned, managed and supervised growth in OUR county.

Sometimes that means our officials should say NO to the massive development proposals. Each project doesn't have to be super sized to maximize profits.

Party affiliation doesn't seem to mean much when it comes to campaign contributions from the development community.

Maybe the real growth and zoning question is: What do the D's and R's really stand for and how are they different?

HC Noob said...

Crikies! Vague generalities abound! Seriously, do you ever have discussions with actual data and verifiable information, or is everyone in Howard County busy fighting their own imagined boogeyman?

PZGURU said...

I sincerely hope David did NOT buy you that beer. Your claim to is NOT legitimate since the case was settled by the plaintiffs as opposed to getting an up or down ruling from the judge.

wordbones said...

Actually he bought me two beers cause that's just the kind of guy he is.

Anonymous said...


Most of us are loyal to friends, family on at least some level. But for some, loyalty to ideals is a stronger pull. That's the difference between individuals who've been on the right side of history and the opposers.

Might be time to rethink your loyalties as it seems others are clearly showing that it's about people rather than rule of law.

PZGURU said...


Where do you get that I'm not loyal to family and friends?

But, more importantly, what kind of loyalty are you talking about? True loyalty or blind loyalty?

So you're the kind of person that if your (FOR EXAMPLE ONLY) brother robbed a bank, you would cover for him out of LOYALTY?

What if he committed a worse crime?

If you said yes to covering for him, then I;m afraid YOU have your brain all screwed up, and your priorities screwed up. It's no wonder that the world is in the sorry state it is when people, far too many people, think the way you do.

PZGURU said...

WB - David is an upstanding person - one of the most genuinely, sincerely, good people I've ever met. I have no doubt of his generosity - I just don't think you truly won the bet - and if you were as honest as he is generous, you would have bought one for David. I hope the beers went down smoothly though.

Anonymous said...

PZ: I interpret the loyalty item differently, so there may be a misunderstanding.

In any case, for a topic that no one was interested in and that hardly deserved a separate post, it's drawn the most comments in quite some time.

PZGURU said...

Anon - ok. I just wasn't sure how my loyalty came into question based on the first comment I left. My comment was basically saying that WB's and David's bet ended in a kind of draw (in my opinion) so I don't think David owed WB a beer.

I wasn't being vapid or nasty. Just posting a comment.