Sunday, March 8, 2020


Facebook reminded me this morning of my one foray into the world of local “politics”.

It was my first experience with being a candidate, unless you count running for president of my eighth grade class in middle school.

Truth in advertising: I lost both times.

At the time (2013) I found this loss to be both heartbreaking and personally humiliating. Now I feel largely “meh” about it. I did it, I endured it, I didn’t die. I had good reasons for trying, and I worked with some amazing people in the process.

A lot has happened since then. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know that CA now does live streaming video of Board Meetings that are also posted for residents to watch later. This fact came up this week in a conversation about “The 20 Grand Boondoggle”. I had been so concerned upon reading Phil Engelke’s letter in the Columbia Flier that I jumped right in to write about it. Had I consulted the budget meeting footage first I would have had some additional information.

Some clarification is in order. The CA rep from Oakland Mills took this proposal to the CA Board meeting and made a motion for the additional funds to be included in the budget. The decision of the CA Board was to table that request. So it has not been included in this year’s funding. All good, as far as I am concerned. (And for members of the Oakland Mills community who were blindsided by the proposal.)

It is important to note that the proposal was tabled, not outright rejected, so it could come up again in the future. I do think it is good for members of the CA Board to know that the Oakland Mills community doesn’t support this, so any letters to them have provided valuable insight that very likely was not provided to them by the Oakland Mills rep.

One thing that has not changed much since I ran for Columbia Council. Some of the people holding those positions think nothing of forwarding their own personal agendas and feel no obligation to communicate the positions of their own Village boards and community members to their peers on the CA Board. That’s part of why I decided to run in 2013, and, sadly, it’s still going on today.

Some of my readers suggested that term limits might be helpful under the circumstances. Perhaps. It’s my personal opinion that these positions won’t be open to ordinary Columbia residents until Old Columbia decides it is done with them. Ask anyone who has gone up against them.

So, in the meantime, active participation and staying informed is the best we can do.

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