Thursday, August 14, 2014

Definitions for 500, Alex

I attended the Oakland Mills Village Board meeting on Tuesday evening because I had a question. Here is what I said:

I love living in Oakland Mills, and I am familiar with the all of the good work of those who worked on the Oakland Mills Revitalization. But recently I keep hearing the word "reinvent." I wanted to make sure I knew what that meant, so I looked it up in the dictionary.

Reinvent: To make over completely, or to change (something) so much that it appears to be entirely new.

That's a really big deal. In light of this:

1. Where can I find the working definition that the board formulated for what exactly constitutes "reinventing Oakland Mills?"

2. Also, where can I find the body of evidence you are using to justify "reinventing Oakand Mills"?

Co-chair Bill McCormack was extremely courteous to me, but he didn't seem to understand my question. He referred me to the Village website to read the minutes of the meetings that had been held so far. So I asked again,

Where can I find the working definition that the board has formulated for what exactly constitutes "reinventing Oakland Mills?"

He seemed genuinely surprised. After a moment he said (I am paraphrasing here) that Oakland Mills has some problems and we are trying to fix them.

And I said I looked forward to learning more and then I sat down.

One of my favorite quotes about language comes from Confucius.

If language is not correct then what is said is not what is meant. If what is said is not what is meant, then what ought to be done remains undone.

I must say that I think it is extremely dangerous for the Oakland Mills Board to be embarking on a process of "reinvention" with no stated definition or body of evidence to support their work. This is not an effective way to do business. These people are in position to make decisions that affect the entire village and influence how the rest of Columbia and Howard County sees Oakland Mills.

I do think that if one has a mission, it should stated clearly and thoroughly and shared openly for public comment. I do not think that any board has a mandate to just make it up as they go along. Remember about the road to Hell...and that's assuming one has good intentions.

I want to assume our board has good intentions. But how on earth can I tell?






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