Thursday, January 24, 2013

Kittamaqundi Fever (Thursday LINKS)

When I was in college, I spent a semester "abroad" in Washington, D.C.  While many of my fellow students were going to England, Russia, or Greece, I went four hours south to study Foreign Policy at American University and participate in a policy-centric internship.  After I returned, my Political Science professor asked me a simple question: "You going back?"

Without thinking I responded, "Yep."

"You have Potomac Fever."

After swimming in the Potomac for the first D.C. Triathalon, and possibly catching the real version of Potomac fever, which involves skin redness and diffuse itching, I don't know if I actually caught Potomac fever.  I loved living in D.C. during my three years of law school and still remember using the Washington Post as my "Cruise Guide" to check out what great authors were speaking in the various coffee shops and bookstores.  But there is something plastic about D.C.  Artificial.  I didn't have Potomac fever as much as I had an infatuation with people that "thought" for a living.  Still do.

I provide this long convoluted introduction to tell you that I have Kittamaqundi Fever.  I've decided to run for a second term on the Columbia Association Board of Directors.  I'm telling you this three months out because you may be considering a run yourself.

"Why?"  Right?  Nothing has changed.  Board meetings still go for three hours (despite the briefest respite in the Spring of 2012).  I still lament the tyranny of the minority on a bimonthly basis.  Don't I have anything better to do?

I've said it before and I will repeat it here -- There is absolutely nothing better, or more fulfilling, that being a part of the public's conversation for the common good.  Nothing.  Sitting down, looking at a problem, and figuring out how to fix it.  That's terror when it is in your family room, but invigorating in the conference room, particularly when the outcome is not certain.  There are hiccups.  I have votes I regret and lost battles that could have been won.  But that is the challenge that makes it worth doing.  If this was easy, it would be bland.  Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, we get up every morning hoping to face challenges that are just difficult enough to make us grow.

There is so much left to do.  I hope, and expect, Symphony Woods will be set on a track for completion before the end of my first term.  The next big item will be the future of CA's infrastructure and making an Infrastructure Master Plan for the next 30 years.  We also need to take another look at our Budget to take it off the conveyor belt and do some efficiency checks.  Zero-based budgeting may be the answer, but I look forward to seeing this through in 2013.  Finally, and most importantly, will be deciding where CA will be in the mind of the average Columbian 30 years from now?  Will we just be a lien that people grumble about paying or will we be the spoke that makes Columbia turn?  At this point in time, I think all opportunities are available to us, but those paths narrow with every year.  The significance of the new Fitness Facility in the Rouse Building cannot be overstated.  If that opportunity had been missed, CA as we know it could have been on the other side of a decline.

Now is around the time that you may want to think about running for the Board.  I have no idea what seats will be empty and what Board members will stay, but I will note that I think competition makes us all better.  Myself included.


The big news yesterday was that out-going Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the ban on women in combat was being lifted.  Color me naive, but I was not aware that this ban was in place.  It is one of those things that seemed like it would require a presumption that would seem out of place in the 21st Century.  "Why can't women serve on the front lines?  You know why, man!  'Cuz their women!  That's why."

Apparently, North Korea is conducting a war against us of which most of us were not aware.  I expect that these rockets will be taken care of with an "Iron Dome"-like defense, but it still no fun to think of nuclear warheads targeting U.S. land.

Baltimore County is working on its General Plan and has owners in one of their most successful commercial districts throwing their hands up in frustration.  The Council voted against the recommendations of the planning staff and Planning Board to deny expansion of Green Spring Station.  The sponsors of the expansion point out, correctly, that the Council does not have expertise in this regard.  Either way, they do have the vote, and that is really all that matters.

Featured Blog Post of the Day: TJ has returned to the keyboard to try a few pull-ups on the meaning of life.  Welcome him back with a quick read and maybe an encouraging comment.

By my count, the CA Board has received eight e-mails supporting the new Inner Arbor Plan and one e-mail promoting delay in pursuit of amendment.  Please continue to let the Board know how you feel about this Plan and the dangers of allowing this process to fester.  Our Board Meeting is tonight at 7:00 pm in the CA Building along Lake Kitt.  I hope to see you there.

Also, check out this great event for Saturday:

Trailblazing Afro Cuban saxophonist Yosvany Terry will perform at the 9th annual Jazz @ The Lake concert on Saturday, January 26 in Columbia, MD.  Terry has been heralded by The New York Times for having “helped redefine Latin jazz as a complex new idiom.” The concert is on Saturday, January 26 at 7:30 PM at the Jim Rouse Theatre, Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Rd., Columbia, 21044. Tickets are $20 ($10 for students) and can be purchased online at, at Wilde Lake High, or at the door.  For more information, contact or 410-997-2070 

Have a great Thursday doing what you love!