"Any fool can blow something up." - Jon Stewart
I heard that quote the other day and it stuck with me. Turning aside funny quips about why you shouldn't wrestle with a pig or idiots beating you with experience, it is a maxim that holds true in multiple formats.
Any fool can tear something down.
Any fool can repeal.
Any fool can criticize.
Any fool can hate.
Does that mean you are a fool for doing so? Not necessarily. It is merely an observation that the skill set for taking things apart is not as important as what may be necessary for putting things together.
As you have heard repeatedly throughout the election cycle for the Columbia Council, these elections are about whether or not the Columbia Association will build or destroy. Opponents of the Inner Arbor Plan would rebuff me by saying that they are not looking to "destroy" anything, but rather would prefer Cy Paumier's Plan for Symphony Woods. I don't buy it. Even the most surface level scrutiny indicates that the one CA Board member they appear to be championing this election, Alex Heikimian, voted against Cy Paumier's Plan in 2011, meanwhile none of the individuals who now prefer Cy's Plan spoke in favor of it at Resident Speak-Out when it was first considered or before the Planning Board last year. This Plan was an orphan before there was another Plan to be against.
The Inner Arbor Plan passed in February. We have begun to take the first steps in building that Plan by selecting members for the Inner Arbor Board. It took a lot of work to build up to where we are now. It took a dedicated Columbian with the right set of skills to create the idea. It took multiple versions of this Plan to meet the concerns of various members of the community. It took scores of letters from you to the editor of our local paper and the CA Board. It took hours of Resident Speak-Out for and against the Plan. It took dedicated community activists like Ian Kennedy to create videos and petitions to remind our community what we were missing by continuing with an empty Park. It took a lot of work to build.
I feel a little silly writing this. I don't think I'm going to convince anyone who wasn't already planning for vote for Coleman, Cornell, Clay, and McCready to do so. But we need a little bit more than that. We very well can lose this election. All four elections. And in doing so, the Columbia Association may never recover. Any progress on any item of import will be viewed as temporary. All of the goodwill, hope, and promise CA has earned over the last few years will be spent in pursuit of the figment that the organization works in a vacuum and can do whatever it wants, ignorant of the surrounding stake-holders. No matter what relevance you think CA has in your life, are you willing to take a chance on what it would be like if things went wrong?
If you live in Long Reach, vote for Ed Coleman - this Saturday (9:30 am to Noon) and next at Stonehouse.
If you live in River Hill, vote for Michael Cornell - this Saturday, 9 am to 3 pm, at Claret Hall.
If you live in Wilde Lake, vote for Regina Clay - this Saturday, 9 am to 3 pm, at Slayton House.
If you live in Oakland Mills, vote for Julia McCready - this Saturday, 8:30 am to 5 pm, at the Other Barn.
Vote. Tell your friends to vote. Work a poll station. Build something great.
Have a great Friday doing what you love!