Monday, December 06, 2010

Familiar Faces

This evening the new county council and county executive were sworn in at a ceremony at Howard High School. The five new council members and executive are identical to the old council and executive as each and every one of them won reelection.

I didn't attend the festivities four years ago so I don't know if the speeches were new but at least they were new to me.

Courtney Watson reflected back on her nine years as an elected official that began with a seat on the school board. She said that among her proudest accomplishments were the hiring of Dr. Sydney Cousin when she was on the school board and protecting the future of Doughoregan Manor and the establishment of an affordable housing trust fund as a council member.

Calvin Ball, the philosopher poet of the council, channeled Plato as he referred to the Allegory of the Cave and the role of guardians as servant leaders. He reminded the audience, and perhaps his fellow council members, that a true leader serves the greater good not the individual. His remarks were easily the heaviest in thought. 

Jen Terrasa took a cue from Academy Award speeches, thanking all those who helped her in the campaign. She particularly singled out Ken Ulman for his support. She was the only council member to thank the executive for helping her get reelected.

Mary Kay Sigaty told the assembled that besides being a mom, being a council member was the best job she’ s ever had. She spoke of the “hopes and dreams” of our children and the importance of seeing to the needs of the next generation. She made extensive use of her hands and arms to accent her points.

Greg Fox noted that the audience was smaller than four years ago because this was more like a sequel. He made it a point to thank his staff. He also paid homage to Maggie Brown and his grandfather who both passed away this year. He also used the opportunity to promote the establishment of a county veteran’s commission, noting that HoCo is the only county in Maryland that doesn’t have one.

The proposed veterans’ commission was actually the subject of a little drama later in the new councils first session which followed the ceremony. The council had tabled his veterans commission legislation at the last meeting and so tonight Greg moved to reintroduce it. When none of the other members of the council seconded his motion, which would have at least allowed a vote, there followed an awkward moment. The Democratic members of the council favor establishing a task force first to determine what a HoCo veterans commission would look like.

The best speech of the night was given by Jaki Ulman who introduced her husband. She noted that Ken is always reminding anyone he speaks to that HoCo is the second best place to live in the country. Jaki said that in their home Ken is also number two.

Ken Ulman spent his time at the podium reflecting back to what he had promised four years ago and then explaining how his administration had accomplished everything he promised they would...and more. In addition to eliminating spending, Healthy Howard, expanded recycling, weathering back to back blizzards, planting 50,000 trees and the broadband initiative, HoCo is the only county in Maryland where you watch county council meetings live on your computer!

Take that Eden Prairie!
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