Saturday, March 17, 2012

Invisible Columbia

You may recall that, as a result of the councilmanic redistricting process, some rather vocal folks came out to detail their objections to being moved into a district that included Columbia.  (I believe that would be District 2, represented by Calvin Ball.)  I found the hostility disheartening. While I don't believe that Columbia is the center of the universe or that it holds any innate superiority over other parts of Howard County, it is where I live, and it is difficult to see it kicked around in this manner.

Well, I had just about gotten over that unpleasantness, until this morning.  I attended the opening of Blandair Regional Park. It was a beautiful day, and it is a beautiful park.  I have been waiting with excitement for this day since I moved here in 1999. As my daughter ran for the play equipment, I felt the kind of joy that only a parent can have, watching a child take flight in play.

Okay, that's the good part, you say.  What could be unpleasant about that?

Well. Grand Openings mean ribbon cuttings, and speeches, and giving thanks for the significant contribution of those who made the day possible.  And as the event wore on, it became apparent to me that there was one word that would not be mentioned:  Columbia.  Not once.  And the Village of Oakland Mills was mentioned in such an offhand way as to look like a careless afterthought.

The more I go to such events, the more I know that mentioning the names of The Important People is extremely important.  In fact, word on the street has it that some politicians will actually make a point of expressing their displeasure if they are overlooked.  Today, in a park which is located, geographically speaking, in Columbia, in the Village of Oakland Mills, some significant people were overlooked.

Yes, I am aware that it is a Howard County Park.  But we are not at war, here, are we, folks?  Is Columbia so unpopular a place that it is acceptable to go through a full half hour of speeches without even speaking its name? It took me right back to those angry folks who protested being a part of District Two.  Dr. Ball, in a recent visit to an Oakland Mills Village Board meeting, remarked that it was a relief to be amongst people who were happy to be in his district.  And we are. 

But we shouldn't be invisible.  I dare say that many of The Important People who spoke today have received votes from residents of Columbia, including Oakland Mills.  They have had a long time to prepare for this day, so a suggestion that this was an oversight just doesn't cut it with me.

So, here is my thanks to The Important People who should have been thanked:  Sandy Cederbaum, Oakland Mills Village Manager; Abby Hendrix, Oakland Mills Village Board Chair; Alex Hekimian, Columbia Council Representative from Oakland Mills, Cathy Latham, Oakland Mills Representative to the Blandair Park Committee.  Every single one of these people was present today.

So, to everyone who made this park a reality:  Thank You. And, from the Village of Oakland Mills, in Columbia, Maryland, I offer this:  You're Welcome.


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