Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Great Divide

Just when I was beginning to think that the lines between Columbia and Ellicott City were becoming blurred, last nights County Council Legislative public hearing gave me a big dose of reality. For at least fifty three Ellicott City residents, who attended the hearing dressed in red, the notion of being part of a Columbia council district is abhorrent.

Wheatfield resident James Weidemann went so far as to use images of babies and puppies saying “not me” to drive home his neighborhoods opposition to being moved from District 1 to District 2.

Jonathan Branch, the president of the Columbia Democratic Club, sparked a heated exchange between Courtney Watson and Greg Fox when he testified in favor of the recommended district changes. Greg said that the proposed changes “did the worst job of addressing existing political boundaries." Courtney responded that was only one of the criteria and suggested that Greg was unfairly attacking Mr. Branch. Greg responded that Courtney didn’t seem to have a problem attacking the people who testified against these changes in a previous public hearing. That generated a round of applause from the red shirts.

I getting the feeling that Courtney and Greg and aren’t getting along very well these days.

My favorite testimony however came from Sherman Howell. Sherman said that Ellicott City residents are afraid of Columbia because Columbia is “too progressive.” He went on to insinuate that an African-American doesn’t have a chance to win an election outside of Columbia “because of the progressive nature of Columbia” which predisposes Columbia residents to support black candidates more than Ellicott City residents.

Wow!  Is he suggesting that Ellicott City is inherently racist?

I’m sorry but to me this all seems so silly. Perhaps what we need is another effort like Bridge Columbia to get a bridge built across Route 100.

Note: I tried to embed the video clips of this testimony but there was something screwy with the code. After several attempts using different browsers I gave up. I even attempted to provide a link but received the message "Permission Denied." What's up with that?
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