Tuesday, February 23, 2010

CA Board Second Guessing Nelson

After taking great pains to select a strong president to lead the Columbia Association, the homeowners’ association board of directors is cutting him off at the knees and setting him up for failure while advancing their own personal agendas.

According to this story by Larry Carson in The Sun today, in a budget committee meeting last night, the committee members took a straw vote that “reversed several of CA president Philip Nelson's recommendations, including a decision to keep a part-time community organizer in Oakland Mills and adding another one for Wilde Lake, and to hire a full-time watershed manager to push Columbia's environmental agenda.”

"Board member Russell Swatek of Long Reach said at the meeting that he particularly wanted to cut the grant to the county's Economic Development Authority because he often personally disagrees with its positions on public issues.”

It’s really a shame. From all appearances Phillip Nelson is a highly capable manager but unless the board stops micro managing and lets the man do his job they are just wasting the lien payers’ money. They should have just hired a monkey.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Another haiku:

Dysfunctional Board.
We need to vote these clowns out,
starting with Swatek.

John Bailey said...

Mark your calendars, the village board elections for most villages are April 24th. It is amazing that you would hire an executive and then vote to overturn their decisions. I have met Mr. Nelson on a number of occasions. He is a very reasonable person with well thought out ideas. He actually has business and community leadership experience, as opposed to members of the CA Board. I am lucky that I live in Hickory Ridge and my board member is Gregg Schwind.

Anonymous said...

Ditto on Swatek. He does not even represent his constituents.

Anonymous said...

Swatek is a wing nut. He needs to be voted out asap.

Anonymous said...

Swatek is leading a referendum drive to overturn the downtown Columbia redevelopment plan that will enhance some of CA's assets while generating huge additional fees for CA. He's entitled to his opinion that Columbia should remain a museum to the 1970's, but to be actively working against something that's in CA's financial interest just shows how he uses his position to further his own personal agenda over that of the CA shareholders (property owners).

Anonymous said...

Another haiku:

Swatek needs to go.
He has overstepped his bounds.
Enough already.

Anonymous said...

Last one for today:

New definition.
Trying to thwart real progress:
to, "pull a Swatek".

Tom said...

Phil Nelson is a professional. This group hired him for that reason. He has implemented many new initiatives that are enhancing CA ability to support it's lien holders. I have not seen Phil make a decision that wasn't pro resident. If this Board keeps undermining him with their individual micro-managing we might be watching the CA Board going through another executive search. Who would blame him?

Anonymous said...

The problem is that the CA Board itself is unprofessional. They abused Maggie Brown for years and have now moved on to driving Nelson out. I guess Phil Kirsch assumes he can just run it himself if they never have a strong/consistent President in place. Has anyone ever listened to Coyle or watched her in action at these meetings? She's totally out of control. And Swatek? He's too fixated on his personal vendetta against GGP and the downtown redevelopment to worry about little things like serving the residents of Long Reach.

Anonymous said...

PEOPLE OF COLUMBIA! CA elections are next month. Kirsch and Coyle are up for re-election. If they win, it will be because nobody was willing to run against them and not more than 300 people bothered to vote. We'll get what we allow so let's RISE UP and get these people out! We need people to run against these worthless incumbents and the challengers need your help and your votes.

Anonymous said...

I do like this new haiku commentary trend, although I'm not the originator of it. I have my own haiku blog, so I appreciate the application of this somewhat "pop lit" technique to public discouse.

Succint words count
Where a plethora of rant
Bores the blog reader.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how out of touch with reality/normal voters commenters on this blog tend toward.

Swatek was elected based on reasonable growth, the anti-GGP bailout plan. Have you not heard? James Howard was aggressively pro developer, spent many times over what Swatek spent on campaigning, and still James Howard LOST.

Calling someone nuts really casts aspersions on your own cred, folks.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:21
What does development and growth have to do with CA? They are not the zoning authority. They are an HOA that is supposed to focus on recreational, cultural and community services.

According to the vision statement "through a combination of respect for diversity of all kinds, environmental sustainability, sound financial practices, advocacy for and involvement with our residential and business community—we have created a thriving, vibrant and robust community."

Swatek and others do not employ sound financial practices by opposing the GGP plan that will make them about $10 million for doing nothing.

Swatek and others do not engage in advocacy for and involvement with our business community. In fact, just the opposite!

What is he doing for the residents of Long Reach to create a thriving, vibrant and robust community? NOTHING!!

James P. Howard, II said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James P. Howard, II said...

I love how a Village election gets reframed. If you are going to insult me it would be nicer to do so to my face and sign your name.


For the record, I'm a civil servant and a PhD student. I am not even going to dignify the rest of this with a response.

Anonymous said...

James, that was patently a non-answer.

Red Herrings, straw men, whatever.

PZGURU said...

I love how all of the pro-GGP redevelopment plan try to paint anyone who even remotely didn't support the plan as being out of touch with their constituents. You all act as if EVERYONE in Columbia supports the plan. What if MOST residents of Columbia DIDNT support the plan???? Wouldn't that mean that Coyle and Swatek were in fact listening to their constituents's voices?!?!?!?!

As for you Mr. Howard - I saw how you conducted things on that PELU board (or whatever the heck it was called). You were a JOKE!!! A bureaucratic nightmare come true. Yeah, let's require developers to post bigger signs and have more public meetings to make the public feel like the County (the political leaders) are enforcing tough regulations. All the while people like Ulman and Guzzone violate the rules and make back room deals with certain "preferred" developers and certain "preferred" lawyers. You're either a clueless stooge puppet for people like Ulman (and you're trying to curry favor with them due to your own political aspirations) or you're well aware of this charade and you're intentionally deceiving the public. Either way, it doesn't look good for you.

James P. Howard, II said...

I served on PELU at the request of my councilperson, as a citizen's representative. As I have stated before, I have absolutely zero connection with the development community. I was appointed as Citizen Co-Chair after the original Citizen Co-Chair resigned from the task force.

PELU recommended things like increased visibility for proposals and deeper public involvement because the County Council only authorized the Task Force to examine "current opportunities for public engagement in the land planning process, identify opportunities for [i]mproving public participation." As co-chair, it was my responsibility to keep the Task Force focused on the task assigned because the credibility and viability of any recommendations PELU made were directly dependent upon its ability to answer the questions asked. It was neither desirable nor proper for an unelected committee to change zoning law. That is the responsibility of Howard County's elected officials.

Also, please note that the makeup of PELU was 25 members, 15 were residents appointed by the County Council, and the other 10 represented specific constituencies (the Bar Association, Howard County Citizen's Association, Howard County Association of Realtors, League of Women Voters, Economic Development Authority, Howard County Chapter of the Home Builder's Association of Maryland, Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Industrial and Office Parks).

Also, PZGURU, I am happy to talk to anyone about just about anything, whether online, in person, or on the telephone. It is part of living in a civilized society. You are also welcome to disagree with me, tell me I am totally wrong, and use a bull horn to tell the world how wrong my opinions are. However, I do not respond to personal insults, and I would prefer that you refrain from directing them at me. One of the things I love about Howard County is that people are generally extremely polite and disagree civilly.

James P. Howard, II said...

Correction to the above. There were 24 total members with nine representing specific constituencies.

PZGURU said...

I didn't say that PELU had the power to change zoning laws, nor did I indicate that that is what PELU should have tried to do. I was opining that PELU did nothing but create extra additional "fluff" requirements (ie: bureaucracy) such as larger signs to be posted on the property, MORE meetings between the developer and the community, etc., etc., etc.
Those things don't make a hill of beans of difference in improving the integrity and honesty of the land development system/process in Howard County. Especially when the public officials who are supposed to ENFORCE the real regulations (ie: setbacks, height limits, denisty limits, infrastructure improvements, APFO, traffic study info and improvements) consistently bend and break those rules. I beleive you were one of the members who pushed vigorously for those fluff requirements, and in fact you wanted more than the final recommendations ultimately contained. Hence, my label for you as a bureaucratic nightmare and a joke. (Plus you obviously had/have connections with Mr. Ulman - who in my estimation is the most crooked politician to ever set foot in the County, with an everest-like ego to boot.)

To your "civility" mantra, I place a much higher importance on HONESTY. People think that by smiling and "acting" nice, somehow makes you truly nice, or "civil". Phooeey! It's sort of like Nancy Pelosi when she would shake Bush's hand. She might have been smiling, but inside she was thinking of how much she hates him, and everyone knows she hates him, so why even put on the act? Why be phony? Better to be an honest enemy than a phony friend. Ulman and most politicians are "phony friends" who act like they are doing the will of the people and that they are following the rules, but behind the scenes they're as corrupt as can be.

Maybe I was a little more agressive toward you than I should have been. I know you didn't attack Swatek in your comment. I am just sick of this blogger (wordbones) and all of the people who supported the redevelopment plan unjustly attacking those who disagree with them.

wordbones said...

PZG,

I'm sorry you're sick.

Take two asprin but don't call me in the morning.

-wb

James P. Howard, II said...

If you value honesty so highly, why hide behind a false identity?

Anonymous said...

I see you are back in rare form PZGURU. When I read your comments I can't understand why your blood pressure doesn't blow the top of your head off. Slow down, cool off and live a fuller life.
HH

Anonymous said...

Ummm, lots of people (including many of our founding fathers) used false identities specifically so they could speak the truth.

Anonymous said...

As usual, PZ is right on target. Sorry opposition, but he sees things the way most voters do, except that he has hard core facts to back up his inclinations.

He is angry because he saw what the rest of us saw: A PUBLIC engagement in land use (PELU) task force made up of 50% developer interests!!

Our council is responsible for this farce, but it served a valued purpose. It exposed James Howard as aggressively pro developer, pro insider developer. And he did lose after mounting an epic campaign for Columbia's Long Reach.

Russ won. He had a handful of volunteers and no money, and he WON against a moneyed, power-backed insider (who made his way inside via the PELU). Russ made it very clear what his positions were, and people wanted him to represent their interests.

It's possible, it happens, it's growing. From Jane Byrne, to Browne, it's growing. No wonder the insider powers have resorted to name calling - it's all they have left to hang onto with logic trumping their power.

Anonymous said...

anon 9:34, right on. i'm sensing a kindred spirit.

PZGURU said...

@ James Howard - I am not hiding behind a false name. That's my blogger ID. You can read all about me if you want to - it's no secret.

And, please, nobody gives a hoot about your PhD! Does that make what you say or think more important than other people's comments? NOPE!!!! If anything, it makes you sound like an elitist snob.

HoCoRising said...

PZGURU,
Did you ever end up getting that dog?

PZGURU said...

HoCoRising - if that's the start of a "...so you can kick your dog" joke, not funny on several levels. I don't condone animal abuse. In fact, I love animals, for the main reason that, unlike humans, they don't LIE. They have no "agenda".

@ HH - no, actually I have borderline low bloodpressure. Proabably because I don't bottle up my feelings and I;m not passive agressive - like so many people who seem nice, who act nice in the public spotlight, but who inside are boiling over with hate and bile, or beat their spouses and kids when nobody's around. Anger is a normal emotion. Especially since my "anger" is over injustice, corrupt government, etc. It's not like I'm walking up to innocent people on the street and punching them in the face for no reason. In fact, people who never seem to get angry are the people who tend to have health or mental problems. Ted Bundy was as calm and "gentle" as could be on the outside, but on the inside....

HoCoRising said...

Nope. http://hocomd.wordpress.com/2007/01/28/introduction-for-pzguru/

I love dogs. Just checking to see if you ever got around to getting one. Hopefully via adoption. (Trying to lighten the discussion a little). No offense, brother-man.

Anonymous said...

PhD: pile higher and deeper

Freemarket said...

It must be an election year. Comment volume is reaching 2006 levels. Yay!

James P. Howard, II said...

My point is is that I am just a poor graduate student on a government salary. I am not the wealthy baron certain anonymous cowards have presented me as. More importantly, I did not receive a dime of financial assistance in my campaign. It all came out of my pocket.

If you like facts, try this on for size. I am not sure how much Mr. Swatek spent, but I know what I spent and it looks like he spent significantly more than I did. He paid for $0.42 stamps when I went for bulk rate postcards. I produced postcards on my own printer for a penny and a half a piece. I outsourced full-color work over the Internet. The cheapest price for a door hanger is four cents; so that's what I paid, doing the design work myself in open source software on my laptop. In the end, Kinko's just cost too much for me, but in 2009, technology can make a home-based operation look spectacular.

PZGURU said...

@ HoCoRising - no sweat. I went into a little defensive mode on account of other commenters in the far past making comments that I probably kick my dog and such - you know, because I'm so MEAN. But to re-answer, no I have not gotten a dog yet as much as I'd really like to. Dogs require a lot of personal attention and at this point in my life I don't think I would be able to be the dedicated owner that I should be. That, plus our cat might not adapt well to it so it's probably a few years off for me. Until then, I'll live vicariously through my neighbors dogs.

@ James Howard - I don't know the details of your campaign versus Mr. Swatek. Nor do I think you were in the "pro-developer side". I personally don't like breaking things down into "pro-developer" versus "anti-developer" because that's not the distinction that matters to me. I am more concerned with people who believe in the rule of law and that all laws apply equally to all people, versus people (like Ulman) who believe that it's ok to break the laws for some people (ie: their political supporters and cronies). It's that behavior by public officials that is the root cause of discourse, and distrust of government, whether on the local, county, state, or federal level.

My "criticism" of you is that you are apparently closely tied to Ulman and the Ulman "machine" and knowing about Ulman's dispicable behavior, it's kind of a guilt by association thing for me.
And, although you may have honestly felt that many of the recommendations of PELU were well-intentioned and beneficial, the reality is, as I stated previously, that what is REALLY needed in Howard County is to get public officials into office that will enforce the IMPORTANT regulations and laws in the same manner for all land owners, developers, and attorneys.

Anonymous said...

See, there you go again, James. “Cowards”. I would submit that we should assess courage levels or lack thereof in the people who consistently side with anyone who has power. You can’t possibly agree with them 100% of the time. Come on, Man.
James, since you are providing specifics, how many times did you mail to each household?
PZ: Hocorising doesn’t have a mean bent, so no matter how heated things become you can count on him to be quite reasonable.

PZGURU said...

I wasn't sure at first, but yes, I believe HoCoRising is a fair minded person. I like his/her blog too. Honest perspective based on facts as opposed to having an "agenda" like WordBones.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who attacks someone else by name under the guise of anon. is a coward. At least let Mr. Howard face his accuser!

wordbones said...

pzg,

Everyone has an agenda.

-wb

HoCoRising said...

Darn right, WB, I just haven't figured out what mine is just yet. Ha ha.

I do appreciate the kind words, but I imagine that sooner or later I will be on the other end of the arrow, if you get me. I just hope everyone knows that the blogger's main goal (WB included) is to be conversation starters. I think WB does a darn good job at that by the look of these 39 comments.

PZGURU said...

WB - that's a less than accurate view of the situation. There's a difference between having a position on something versus having an agenda. And beyond that, there's a difference in having a legitimate agenda versus having an illegitimate agenda. Having an agenda is when people distort the dialogue in order to achieve a desired outcome. The distortion can come in a variety of forms. Sometimes it's a matter of facts and info being misprepresented (for example: misquoting someone) or it's a matter of facts and info being completely hidden or ignored.

YOU have habit of distorting things and leaving out a lot of facts. YOU have even stated that you don't see any problem with rules being applied unevenly to people. So your agenda is to have a system that is unfair and arbitrary, which is NOT a legitimate agenda to have. You either have law and order (equal for all) or you have chaos (tyrrany would be an apt synonym).
If you want to say that I have an "agenda" because I want equality for all, well I guess I;m guilty. The difference is your agenda is contraryo to basic laws and the constitution.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:58:

are you being sarcastic?

Anonymous said...

Well my congratulations to you for the controversy which has been generated here.
HH