One of the most interesting aspects of living in Columbia is just how much our history imposes itself on our politics. Some would even say there's an entrance exam.
"Did you read...Rouse?"
"Do you know this about...Rouse?"
When I first moved back to the area, I saw this almost like a quiz with an answer key. When faced with this problem, Rouse did X, proposed X, hated X. It is inescapable. The benefit is that it provides some base truths in an arena that is so often ambiguous. Integration. People power. Personal growth. Environment. Core values to guide all further discussion. We never talk about "bringing jobs to Columbia" or "increasing property values." Those topics are so pedestrian when living amongst the trappings of a giant like Jim Rouse, right? Or at least that's what we tell ourselves. It makes everything shimmer a little more...makes the graffiti less vandalism and more "street art".
In the midst of our second great development, it is hard to see that basket-weave of history and politics sustain itself. We're moving off of a single line from Rouse to Present. "That was built by Howard Hughes" may become part of our driving tours of Columbia. And in the muddling, it seems the historical frame of things becomes a little less pressing.
Columbia needs to think seriously about what it is going to do with its history. The Columbia Archives is a treasure. Not just to this City, but to the Country, if not the World. A man built a city based on a set of ideals. That is incredible. The success or failure of that attempt can be left to the moping of post-post-modern authors, but the idea is spectacular enough to merit preservation and promotion. We can, and need to, do more to share this story. It seems so foreign to the 21st Century way of things. Can you imagine anyone doing what Rouse did now?
I worry sometimes that we may be brought to resent our history. Its close integration with politics prompts a dangerous game. Rouse, through no fault of his own, has already found himself a punchline of jokes having to do with trees in Symphony Woods or density around Town Center. Sometimes its better to leave a bit of history in the past, if for no other reason than to leave room for adoration and respect.
"You don't have Cameron to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is his last press conference."
As for new O-Coordinator Jim Caldwell, he just needs to do this, every day, three times a day, while saying "one-two-three-THROW. One-two-three-THROW."
The Howard County Farm Bureau issued a statement yesterday supporting the County Council Tier legislation, further complicating the County/State dynamic for our County Executive and his veto pen. There seems to be a 80% likelihood that he uses his veto by Friday, but the list of local opinions he will be rejecting with such an act seem to be getting longer.
Today, at 11 am, the Horizon Foundation will be dumping 10 tons of sugar into a parking lot at Burleigh Manor Middle School to begin their campaign against sugary drinks for kids. This stunt, and the expenses related thereto, may confuse or disappoint some of the nonprofits that have had grant applications turned down by the Foundation in its pursuit of a more targeted focus on childhood obesity.
Delegate Jon Cardin has proposed a $1,000 fine to be paid by local jurisdictions for every "bogus" speed citation issued by one of their machines. This seems to be one more law aggravating the increasingly adversarial relationship between the General Assembly and County governments. I think what many more of us would like to see is a rescission of automated law enforcement, not a bill that would bankrupt County coffers over an afternoon of malfunctioning equipment.
Featured Blog Post of the Day: I'm sad to report the passing of another blog into the digital mist. Sarah Says she is moving to California and, for reasons left to the author, will be deleting her blog. Sarah's posts made you smarter and think differently about complex issues, particularly in regards to transportation. I hope California brings her all of the rail, bus, and bike lanes her heart desires. We will miss you.
That's all for today. Have a great Tuesday doing what you love.