Monday, May 24, 2010


Alan Klein held a press conference this morning at the Hug statue in Town Center to officially announce his candidacy for county council. I couldn’t help think of the irony of this setting. The Hug statue honors the memory of Mort Hoppenfeld, one of the early planners of Columbia for The Rouse Company.

In other words, it is a statue honoring a developer.

Mr. Klein doesn’t seem to care much about developers, except when he spins their “vision” to support his views. During his prepared remarks he spoke of Jim Rouse and Mort Hoppenfeld citing their values that he claims “have not been represented on the council.”


In a critique of Town Center written in 1981, Mort wrote that “Downtown needs apartments and condos: At high density within walking distance- on top of things like shops and offices. This is hard to accomplish, but HRD knows how. They may need help with zoning.”


I’ve said it before but it does bear repeating; Jim Rouse and by extension Mort Hoppenfeld, were developers first and foremost. While it is certainly true that they introduced innovative concepts to community planning and development they also understood that those concepts needed to economically viable in order to succeed.

I just don’t get that Alan understands this part of the equation and I further suspect Mort would not have been pleased with Alan’s interpretation of his “values”. In fact Mort understood the need to adjust to changing times. What he and the other planners originally conceived in the sixties may not be appropriate today.

“What was concluded then were not so much answers as hypotheses or best bets as to what would work best for the evolution of the communities and the people in this city. Now there is the potential of information and experience to modify the hypotheses, to “answer” the questions. Certainly conditions within and external to Columbia have changed and needless to say, will continue to change.”

Alan and his supporters don’t seem to understand this dynamic. He said he believes that the council should mandate that a grocery store be part of every village center, including Town Center. I wonder how he intends to force a grocery store to locate where they don’t want to be.

Another ironic moment when occurred when Alan spoke of his early involvement in politics. He recalled that, as a six year old, he actively championed the candidacy of JFK with his playmates. After relating further episodes of his continued political activism through adulthood he told the assembled audience that he was not a “political animal by nature.”



Anonymous said...

It is most interesting how no one in that picture seems to be under the age of 75.

Anonymous said...

Alan is a natural leader but not prone to seeking out power. That makes a near perfect elected official.

No one ever said all developers are bad, except you guys on the gluttony side of issues (when you're falsely accusing others).

Alan hasn't said any such thing and does not speak in terms like your characterization.

Have you talked with him one on one? Immenently respectable and mild.

Anonymous said...

So, what will Alan do for his constituents if he were elected? What can they expect him to actually accomplish in four years? Being in opposition to downtown revitalization, as passed by the County Council in February, is not good enough.

Anonymous said...

Well, Dennis, you do not disappoint. Your sneering
and smirking during this morning's announcement
told me what to expect on your blog.
1. People have to work.....anonymous #1. I am
glad Alan did not expect people to pay to hear him this am.
2. Anonymous #2 is correct. It is the fog of the blog
that distorts and you are good at that.
3. Anonymous #3 what Alan will do when elected is
work diligently in whatever political environment he finds himself to honor his campaign promises.
That, I realize, is a situation some folk would find
most unusual. I, for one, expect it.
Please read the CCD position paper, anon #3, it
might educate enough to disagree with information
rather than incorrect info, and negative opinion

Anonymous said...

I am Mary Pivar. I posted the 4th comment under
anonymous, which I refuse to be.
My comment to anonymous #2 refers to Dennis and his wordbones blog, not the poster.

For the record, I approached Dennis of wordbones blog after Alan Klein presented himself, his
values, his experience, his vision for Columbia.
I only asked Dennis to post the truth. His response was that the 'truth will set you free". Well, when does he set himself free?
I realize, now. in our wonderful country, many wannabe visible and important folk, substitute the toxic tongue for rational speak.
"Sacriege", aw come on, Dennis, even you should
recognize hyperbole, even your own.
Mary Pivar, never anonymous

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #1
Anonymous #2
Anonymous #3

Wow, I like that system. Works great for ensuring a healthy conversation that actually moves our community forward, deepens relationships and helps identify skills, capacities, abilities and will in the community.


I want to be Anonymous #4 -- just because I can.

Guess who?

Anonymous said...

So, Mary Waht Alan will do is honor his promises. What are they and why should I vote for him? You see, he makes an argument for why I should vote against Sigaty or D'Asto if I don't like Downtwon revitalization. He doesn't talk about why I SHOULD vote for him. What's he going to do? It seems you, a supporter, don't even know.

wordbones said...


I'm sorry I didn't have time to stay and speak with you after the press conference. I needed to get to an appointment so I couldn't hang out. I was already a little late.

You did ask me to write the truth and I told you that's what I always seek to do.

For Alan to stand next to a statue of someone who clearly supported increased density in Town Center and claim that Mort Hoppenfelds "values" are not represented on this council is a gross distortion of the truth.

I think that in this situation, hyperbole was well warranted.

And thank you for visiting here and not posting anonymously.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, most were white haired who are watching the council's actions. And most of those who are watching the HCPSS have children. Then there are the single people who are volunteering left and right at homeless shelters and food banks.

What's your point?

It's just as important that we all watch the biggest spender in the county, the school system, but how many are able to do everything?

Anonymous said...

Mary Pivar makes more sense than even the blog host! What a welcome addition. Anon #4: cute, Jess. Cute.
Dennis, I (not Mary) thoroughly reject your excuse. You pompous ass bloggers are so freaking high and mighty it makes me choke at times. That nasty superior arrogant attitude is what will keep you in your personal prison (as opposed to set free).
You all could be performing a genuine public service but instead you choose to become a part of the problem! You had a fantastic opportunity and continually blow it with obvious misrepresentations and exclusivity. People don’t like either of those things.

wordbones said...

Anon 7:11 AM,

"You pompous ass bloggers are so freaking high and mighty it makes me choke at times."

Perhaps you should keep a glass of water close by when reading the blogs.


Anonymous said...

Alan Klein haiku:

Question of the week:
Who the hell is Alan Klein?
Liz Bobo's puppet!

Anonymous said...

Oh, mercy, Maude,

now we have haiku for me and you

Alan Klein is NO one's Puppet....think again,
the man is a man of huge integrity, independence
and maturity......
so why, Anonymous, are you afraid of your own identity?
Mary Pivar, never anonymous....why are you?

Anonymous said...

Crazy old lady haiku:

How adorable.
Using terms like, "mercy Maude."
Is this 1910?