Saturday, December 01, 2012

Fun with Numbers

The story about the county’s plan to build a new apartment complex for the homeless provided a surprisingly target rich environment for us this week. Preparing for the show earlier in the day both Paul and lamented that our selection of local stories for this news cycle were a little weak. As we talking I received an email from George Berkheimer, a colleague at The Business Monthly. He pointed out that in order to build this new complex the county would be replacing an existing 38 unit mobile home community called Beechcrest. The new development would have 33 individual apartments.

“That’s five in the hole, the way I count it,” he wrote.

Or more. Consider that most of those 38 units house more than one person. It seems as if the county housing department is just creating more work for our guest, Bita Dayhoff, the president of the Community ActionCouncil.

Bita is a gem and we are lucky to have her. She’s smart and incredibly charming. Three years ago I had the opportunity to work with Bita on renewing the lease for the Food Bank in Columbia. I found her to be a tough negotiator and a constant advocate for the less fortunate in HoCo. She sits on the front line of HoCo hard times.

We also talked a bit about Courtney Watson's anti bullying initiative. Courtney had proposed a resolution to “Encourage the General Assembly to provide the necessary resources to appropriate agencies to implement the use of multidisciplinary teams to address bullying, harassment, and intimidation among students.”

She has since tabled the bill. At best it had lukewarm support. The school board didn't even endorse it and it is questionable whether she had the votes on the council to get it passed. It was widely criticized as lacking any substance. As one of her colleagues on the council pointed out to me, even the people who testified at the public hearing in support testified more about the problem of bullying than about supporting the actual resolution. For example, Brian Meshkin spent his most of three minutes giving a campaign speech telling the council about everything he’s done about bullying. Courtney’s resolution merely provided him a jumping off point for another self promotion pitch.

You can listen to the 79th episode of “and then there’s that…” here.
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