Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Swatek to Lead Petition Drive

The petition drive to put the Columbia Town Center redevelopment enabling legislation up for referendum is being led by Russ Swatek, the leader of a newly formed group that is calling itself “Taxpayers Against Giveaways.”

Taxpayers Against Giveaways is falsely claiming that General Growths plans for Town Center “will increase traffic congestion and impose future additional burdens on Howard County taxpayers and Columbia Association lien payers.”

In truth, the enabling legislation will reverse the declining fortunes of the Columbia’s downtown and, according to an independent study by Bay Area Economics, the proposed redevelopment program “would generate over $4.8 billion in total economic activity and 3,140 jobs in Howard County ” in the construction phase alone.

“In addition, renovation of the Merriweather Post Pavilion would lead to an estimated 46,000 additional visitors per year and support approximately $1.35 million annually in increased revenues and County visitor expenditures.”

The arguments that Russ Swatek and the Town Center redevelopment opponents are making are not backed up my any studies that I am aware of.


Anonymous said...

Why was the original title of this post "Anarchist to Lead Petition Drive"?

wordbones said...

Anon 11:07 AM,

I mistakenly hit "publish" instead of save as draft when, while working on this post I was interrupted by a phone call.

I'm not exactly sure why but I often get Steve Meskin and Russ Swatek confused. Meskin, in answering a question during his public testimony about what would make the current traffic situation in Town Center better responded by saying "blow up the mall."

Hence the "anarchist" label.

After I got off the phone and realized I published the draft instead of saving it as a draft, I deleted it but not before it was caught by some feeds.


Anonymous said...

This plan will generate an economic net benefit to the County in the range of $10M annually. Is it ethical for an elected CA rep to lead this?

PZGURU said...

WB - you make me laugh. You consistently only present half of the situation - namely the half that supports your position.

How do you know that the supposed "new" construction workers weren't already employed???. How do you are anyone else for that matter have the ability to legitimately make such preposterous claims???

As for the economic "benefit", you and the other commenters are leaving out a LOT of factors. And, more importantly, you are distorting some key statistics. You can't simply say that tax revenues will increase by X amount of dollars because of the additional space that will be built compared with tax revenues at this point in time, because at this point in time the real estate market is at an atypical low point when there are a fair amount of vacancies due to the market bust. If any comparison were to be made, and be viewed as valid, it would need to compare projected tax with tax revenues at a time when the vacancy rate was at its lowest.

Secondly, to arrive at a true net benefit, you have to deduct out all of the costs that the County will incur for services and maintaince. Roads, sewer lines, water lines, schools, fire/rescue service, snow removal, trash removal, etc.

If you are going to discuss an issue and have a position on the issue at least be HONEST and stop being a lying, distorting hypocrite!!!!

The only thing than worse than an anarchist is someone like YOU - someone who believes in the government playing god and helping certain businesses/companies and not everyone. You stink!

wordbones said...


I'm glad I make you laugh.


Anonymous said...

You really are LOL funny. Bay Area Economists is a front for Real Estate professionals – HARDLY unbiased. Good grief man, do you really think your readers are that ignorant? You vastly underestimate our intelligence.

This part of the post is especially funny, “…falsely claiming that plans for Town Center will increase traffic congestion”. Seriously funny stuff, as anyone with an IQ above ignoramus can figure out that 5500 residential units = 13,000+ residents = 13,000+ additional cars in one of 10 villages. That's some serious density, confirmed by the Simon action.

THEN, in true w’re- gonna- gi’- you -40 -acres -and -a -mule fashion, “In truth…will reverse the declining fortunes”, the cycle through of absurdity is complete.

You could outshine Leno, buddy.

Freemarket said...

I predict that this referendum will succeed to get this matter on the ballot, assuming they can amass the required number of signatures (which should not be that difficult). If I were GGP, I would take this issue very seriously.

If on the other hand, a bunch of signatures are invalidated over a technicality, I will buy stock in any company that makes torches and pitchforks, because that’s what people will want to hold in their hands when they march on the county government headquarters. That may also serve to embolden the anti-incumbent folks which may have implications for the election. In wake of the failed Turf Valley referendum, I think this one needs to succeed or many people will be extremely disenfranchised with government.

I am not opining on whether or not this referendum is good or bad, just that it succeed to get the measure on the ballot. Take it seriously.

Anonymous said...

Wait, now Mr. Meskin is making terroristic threats?

Blowing up the mall is serious business. Hopefully he meant something like close down the mall, but that's an odd way to phrase it.

HoCoRising said...

Wow, WB, "lying hypocrite"? Going by the standard of "the more mad people are, the better the post" you've had an A+ day.

My view on the referendum is that it can really serve as a permanent stamp on this redevelopment deal. Even if "most people" are for this plan, as Mr. Hamm and Mike Davis seem to suggest, I don't see any harm in putting it to a vote. This is a 30 year plan. One election cycle isn't going to get in the way of anything.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya about getting Swatek and Meskin mixed up, wordbones. All those crazies look the same to me.

PZGURU said...

WordBones - credibility level sinking lower than the wreckage of the Titanic. Well done!
And to think you won the award for best political blog. Which, I guess is appropriate since politics so often has little honesty and integrity involved with it.

Bob O said...

Wordbones, thanks for stirring up the pot! Great comments here.

Freemarket: I think you nailed it, so I'll just remain silent, except for one number: 2010.

Anonymous said...

Wow, FM. I wouldn't have given this referendum a snowball's chance in hell. I hope you are right, but past tends to be an indicator of future and I can easily imagine Nordaas and Richman talking with elected people about the partial referendum component as the way out.

The Bd of elects will again pretend to support the referendum and will wait until time is out and all the resources have been expended before saying, 'oops! we should have told you that xyz is not allowed. so sorry'

They have MADE UP law interpretation in the past, what's to stop them from doing it again?

Hocorising is right on target, as is FM regarding reaction if the referendum does not go through. Incumbents better update resumes, put out applications for other employment -- they'll be fired with a large margin.

I say the referendum will fail, but I hope I'm wrong.