“Are you testifying tonight?”
The sad truth was that I wasn’t. I had merely come to watch. Some people go to PTA, I go to public hearings…sometimes. In fact last night was the first time I had attended one in the newly renovated George Howard building. Before the meeting started I spent a moment with the council chair, Dr. Calvin Ball. He was wondering if I was going to testfy for the proposed Hilltop Housing redevelopment land swap.
“No, you don’t really need to hear from me, you already know how I feel,” He told me that he had read my post from earlier that day.
I walked into the hearing with one of my favorite HoCo people,
Bita Dayhoff. Bita is president of the HoCo Community Action Council. I believe she was planning to testify in favor of Hilltop.
I say I believe because I left at ten o’clock and they were just getting to Hilltop. I called that too. I sat next to Kimberly Kepnes who was also there to testify in favor of the Hilltop project. She was representing the Ellicott City Business Association. When we sat down at the beginning of the meeting I told to her get ready for a long night.
“Look around. This is a big crowd. A lot people want to be heard tonight.”
It turns out that, in addition to the Hilltop project, the council was also taking testimony on CB9-2011, better known as the HoCo wineries legislation. One of those opposed to the bill, Theodore Mariani, representing a group called Concerned Citizens of the Rural West, began his testimony by declaring that since he is Italian, he’s been drinking wine since he was fourteen. He isn't against wine but he doesn't want wineries in his backyard. According to this article by Kellie Woodhouse in The Columbia Flier “many west county residents are still not satisfied with the bill, which allows wineries to host large events and sell their wares on site.”
I left after the wine testimony. I was thirsty.