Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Stroller Votes: The Sleeping Giant of Columbia Elections (Wednesday LINKS)

One of the most moving moments during Resident Speak-out on February 14 was when Ian Kennedy, spokesperson for Let's Make Columbia Awesome, told us that one of the reasons he wanted to see the implementation of the Inner Arbor Plan was because he wanted his two little girls to live as close to him for as long as possible and that this Plan provided another reason for them to "come home to Columbia."

And it is no surprise that so many young families support this Plan.  It is exciting.  It is a sign of public renewal and regrowth contrary to the Let Them Eat Cheesecake mindset of the last 30 years.  While it is a multi-generational park, with passive gardens, interactive art pieces, and center-piece attractions, you can't help but imagine young families driving through Downtown Columbia, pointing out the window, and saying "Oh, wow.  What is that?"

But we've been missing the voice of young families in Columbia.  You are represented more by happenstance than intention.  Your interests are presumed and, often, dismissed as already provided for.  There is a crusty set of assumptions that whatever was good for young families in the 1980's continues to exist in perfect form and is similarly adequate for those it serves.

We know that's not true.  We know that a least a part of your love for Columbia is what it was and the other part is what it could be.  I know that what you want from Columbia really doesn't matter that much to you.  It's what you want for your child.  If you grew up here, you want your child to have the same experience you did, shooting down to the end of a cul-de-sac on your bike and hoping you hit the turn instead of riding into your neighbors lawn, exploring the streams in Columbia's open space and maybe creating a miniature natural disaster with your amateur dam (sorry, 1989 Columbia), going to summer camps with all of your friends around Wilde Lake and Lake Elkhorn...and making amateur dams (I really should have been an engineer) -- these are the things you thought of when you moved back here.

I've had so much fun collecting my petition signatures this year.  I've had the opportunity to discuss the future of Columbia with those same young families described above.  They care.  A lot.  It is no surprise that daily walks around Columbia with a stroller will give you a very strong opinion on the future of the loop around Lake Kittamaqundi.  It is no surprise that an afternoon pulling out splinters will give you a very strong opinion about the maintenance of CA tot-lots.  It is no surprise that upon learning that your voice has been usurped by a vocal minority who claim to speak for the "residents of Columbia", you get out your date iPhone...and ask for the date of Village Elections (4/20 - easily communicable to "young families" for reasons that I will not go into here).

If the Stroller Votes come out on April 20, the Inner Arbor Plan will be protected in its infancy and Columbia will have that new exciting future that young families want for their children.  If they don't, that doesn't mean they won't be heard.  It will just be someone else using their voice.


Speaking of having a voice, please take the time to read these thoughtful leaders in support of the Inner Arbor Plan and Trust by Rhoda Toback (Arbor on!), Julia Jackson McCready (Candidate for Columbia Council in Oakland Mills), and Trevor Greene (Elijah Greene's first bit of press!).

I also have a letter to the editor in this week's Flier to address the slew of misinformation put out by opponents of the Inner Arbor Plan.  It is a full time job.

Very scary news yesterday regarding four Columbia teens charged with attempted murder of a cab driver.  The article recounts a truly bizarre episode in which the four teens used a karate belt and a BB gun to try to stick up the cab driver, who then drove his car into a tree to set off the air bags.  All four teens will be charged as adults.

Breaking news from Andrea Walker at The Sun this morning notes that Howard County is, yet again, Maryland's healthiest County.

Yesterday, the Maryland Senate passed by bipartisan vote a measure that would essentially decriminalize the possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana.  I say "essentially" because the offender would still be subject to up to $100 in fines, but no jail-time.  This measure now moves to the House of Delegates.

This story about a rejuvenation effort in the Oliver Neighborhood of Baltimore City is pretty exciting.  Sure, it takes a concentrated effort and may only progress mile-by-mile, but it is a truly spectacular feat to remake a drug market into a neighborhood people want to live in.

Featured Blog Post of the Day: HowChow reviews cookbooks, including one that I bought for my wife (Plenty).  I have been trying to cook more (and be home to do so), which made me give this post a longer look.

That's all for today.  Please consider "liking" my friend Regina Clay's Columbia Council Candidate page on Facebook.  We have a fight on our hands for the next month.

Have a great Wednesday doing what you love!