Friday, August 07, 2009

In Others Words…the first

I was hanging out with my old buddy Jim Binckley the other day. For those of you who’ve yet to be introduced to this member of the Tales of Two Cities cast of characters, Jim and I have been friends since our senior year of high school in Columbia. His family moved to Columbia in 1967. Mine came in ’68.

Whenever we get together, the politics of Columbia inevitably come up.

“Did you see Barbara Russell’s letter to the editor in the Flier?” Jim asked.

I hadn’t seen it.

“It has got to be one of the worst written paragraphs.”

The letter began as follows:

“The biggest problem with Council Bill 29 regarding the redevelopment of Columbia's village centers, and it has been there from the beginning and is still there despite all of the possible amendments, is this: The developer/property owner gets to design and present the proposal for redevelopment of the entire village center, with advice only from the community. The developer/property owner is the entity (others being residents and businesses in the village, the Zoning Board or the Planning Board) with the least interest or investment in the village centers except for a financial interest.”

Now I don’t care where you fall in the debate over the merits of CB 29 but you’d have to admit that this paragraph is a real mouthful. She doesn’t do a very effective job of making her point, whatever it is.

That got me to thinking. I decided to create a new irregular feature for Tales of Two Cities that highlights some of the more interesting words from local letters to the editor and assorted op-ed pieces. I’ve even created a new place on Where I Put Stuff called “In Others Words…”

The ground is very fertile here.

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

I just fail to understand Babs' reasoning that the owner of the village center shouldn't have say over, you know, the design of the village center.

Her claim that the owner has the least amount of interest (other than financial) is assanine and totally counter to her other arguments, such as the one against Walgreens.

She fought Walgreens due to the potential financial impact on the village center, namely, the FoLo.

So a thriving, financially successful village center isn't what's needed in Wilde Lake, but is what is needed in Oakland Mills?

Anonymous said...

The funny thing is a developer--GGP--already has the right to propose something to the County. CB 29 just makes it so that the actual owner of the property can now ask the County without having to ask GGP to ask the County.

She wants all of the power, (deciding what people do with their property) and none of the accountability (actually owning property, having to have her money and her children’s financial future invested. She is not willing to even consider what is economically feasible or viable.

How did she and her ilk go so far from loving a developer--Rouse--who had an 8-page concept with few mandates or details? It’s this generation’s turn to create their City that works for them in this world—not the 1960s!

Anonymous said...

I'll take a shot at answering anon 10:55's question. Trust.

They trusted Rouse and do not trust the current group, from what I read, with good reason.

B. Santos said...

Anon 10:59,

What have you read that would engender a total lack of trust? It would be helpful if you shared such damning evidence.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:00- that is an excellent point.

Tom said...

I thinks if you search recent interviews with Barbara she goes as far as to say even Jim Rouse was just out to make a buck, just like every other developer.

Tom said...

I would like to know in the past 40 years what developer/politician in Howard County has screwed up the community so badly all the developers/politicians are now deemed untrustworthy?

Anonymous said...

That is a stupid question and those on the receiving end of outright crimes will never post that data on this site.

Oh, except for the Altieri stuff, which pales in comparison to those still operating.

Crap, total crap, especially since you know what goes on. Never heard of Cattail Creek? Never heard of carcinogenic chemicals at Turf Valley? Where've you been, man.

Anonymous said...

OMG! Kimco built Catail Creek? Kimco put chemicals on the golf course? Is that right???

No, I suppose it isn't.

But to paint with such a broad brush as to incriminate all development is just as egregious (and possibly more so) than any transgression listed above.

Anon 8:08, you are part of the problem, and you don't offer any solutions.

Anonymous said...

Now THAT is a good ex of 'strawman', making up sh@@ that was never said, what a limp argument.

Anonymous said...

Made sense to me. I wonder what bias you have that prevents you from understanding her simple statement.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that's a good one. ouch.