Thursday, April 29, 2021

It Could Be Fun


Note to the reader: what follows is not meant to be a serious solution to a complex issue. Nor is it meant in any way to mock anyone who is deeply committed to advocacy around this topic. It is simply a light-hearted response to the endless arguments in our community. - - jam


Monday I saw this information* on Facebook and I had one of those lightbulb moments you see in the old cartoons.

You see here 2020 census information as regards population changes in several Maryland counties. Clearly Howard County has had the largest increase of the counties on the list. I know that this is seen to be a concern for those who are worried about the capacity of local infrastructure to support an increasing population. Quite a bit of energy is spent trying to limit new housing development with the thought that it will stem the tide of new residents.

Suddenly I had a crazy idea. (Hear me out, now.) What if we’ve been going about this the completely wrong way? Perhaps what is needed is an all-out campaign to convince people to live somewhere else.

At first I wondered if the approach might be to convince potential residents how perfectly awful Howard County is. “You wouldn’t possibly want to live here.” But that didn’t feel right, somehow.

Instead, what about a full-scale public relations effort to sell people on how great it would be to live in a different county? Advocates could create the “office of why you want to live in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, or Carroll County”, for instance. Make enticing brochures. Work with realtors in other counties. Use all that determination and energy to help people find great homes: but not in Howard County. 

Think if it as a similar approach to the one that Mr. Kringle suggests in the old classic Christmas movie “Miracle on 34th Street” where Macy’s clerks are trained to tell customers if an item they want is available at a different store or is on sale at another establishment. It’s wildly successful, in the movie, anyway.

It could be fun. Helpful. Positive, even. I think it would give people a better experience than the current steady diet of attending meetings to observe, oppose, and object. After all, if the population trend begins to turn those developers will stop proposing projects here and start eyeing those nice counties elsewhere.

Am I serious? No. Do I feel as though we are all stuck in an endless cycle of the same arguments? Yes. So, for today, and probably today alone, I am entertaining perfectly ridiculous solutions to this never-ending problem. Feel free to add your own.

*Many thanks to my friend Cheryl Stricker who was able to locate this information for me in less than a minute. 

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