I have a confession to make. Last night, as the heavy rains came down, the winds picked up, and my family took shelter between the furnace closet and the powder room, some very uncomfortable thoughts went through my mind. As I thought of the residents and merchants in Old Ellicott City, and prayed they would be safe, another layer of dread came into play.
If anything bad happens it will be used as a political football in the campaign for county executive.
Of course that was not my first thought. But it was there, nonetheless. And I felt terrible about it.
I’m just going to lay it out there:
- If you are inclined to support County Executive Ball you are more likely to have been following the work that County Government* has been doing to mitigate flood risk in Old Ellicott City and believe the County has been making steady progress in this area.
- If you are inclined to dislike County Executive Ball you are more likely to have dismissed any flood mitigation work done so far and believe “nothing has been done.”
That’s it. I could spend weeks constructing the timeline of everything that has been done since Ball took office to address dangerous flooding and the response would be the same.
- Those who are inclined to support County Executive Ball will be more likely to believe the County has been making steady progress.
- Those who are inclined to dislike County Executive Ball will be more likely to believe “nothing has been done.”
This is something I cannot fix. The task of making Old Ellicott City as safe and sound as it can possibly be is taking time and money. A lot of money. It is not the sort of thing that can be accomplished in four years. To some that may seem like an excuse.
You know who knows the truth of that better than anyone? Former County Executive Allan Kittleman. If it were so easy to accomplish he would have done it himself and he probably would have gotten re-elected, to boot.
I felt a sense of guilt last night as I wrestled with the notion that, not only did I worry about the folks in Old Ellicott City, I dreaded the possibility of political grandstanding by Kittleman should anything go wrong. I tried to push it out of my head as I focused my thoughts on safety for this community which has endured so much loss and heartbreak.
I’m not alone in feeling immense relief that Ellicott City sustained no major damage last night. I think all of us in our community root for them at almost every sign of rain. No matter what is done to mitigate risk I feel that most of us will always feel a sense of “we were lucky this time” after the kind of heavy rain storms that are becoming the hallmark of evolving climate change.
Candidate Kittleman no doubt feels that sense of relief along with the rest of us. That didn’t stop him from going on social media this morning to twist last night’s storm to his political advantage. Frankly, it doesn’t matter what he said. After all,
- If you support County Executive Ball you are more likely to believe the County has been making steady progress in mitigating flood risk.
- If you support candidate Kittleman you are more likely to believe “nothing has been done.”