Monday, January 2, 2023

Press Conference


Today at eleven am, down at the Lakefront near the People Tree, Erika Strauss Chavarria and Columbia Community Care are hosting a press conference.

Here’s a description of the event as laid out on the blog page for The Merriweather Post.

Community leaders urge CA's Board of Directors, the Columbia community to take immediate action

What: A press conference to discuss Columbia Association (CA), its leadership, and a community call to action

When: 11am on Monday, January 2, 2023

Where: The People Tree statue at the Downtown Columbia Lakefront (next to 10223 Wincopin Circle)

Who: Non-profit leaders, business owners, former members of CA's Board of Directors, and prominent figures in the Columbia community

Why: To raise awareness of ongoing misconduct of CA's Board of Directors, the money and resources wasted at their expense, a lack of transparency and representation, and the direct impact the Board's actions have on residents and the future of our unique community; To urge the community to take immediate action.

Here’s the Facebook event page.

The most interesting thing about this event is that it is yet another example of how CA President Lakey Boyd has managed to connect with the community in a way that is unlike her predecessors. Other CA Presidents have had contentious relationships with the CA Board. For the most part we heard about that only after they’d been forced to leave. 

I met Ms. Boyd via Zoom (“Field Trips”) in July of 2021. At the time I was concerned by how isolated the role of CA President had become. I came into the meeting wanting to raise this issue, but I never did. It was a large part of what Boyd brought to the discussion without my asking. I had hoped that would bode well for her tenure here.

The fact that “non-profit leaders, business owners, former members of CA's Board of Directors, and prominent figures in the Columbia community” are will to turn up at the Lakefront today indicates that Ms.Boyd has invested in making strategic connections within the community. That’s worth noting. Other CA Presidents have disappeared under cover of darkness. 

No matter what the end result is in this case, it won’t be silent. 

I still feel that painting this conflict in black and white is inadequate. I think there are legitimate issues that need to be resolved in order for the CA Board and President to have a fruitful working relationship.

If I could wave a magic wand over the specifics of the current controversy, I’d probably wish that we had some sort of truly effective mediation process that could assist Boyd and the Board in hashing out their differences and in establishing a healthier way of relating with one another. The current mood to paint one side as all bad and the other as all good may help stir up public attention but it isn’t in the best interest of Columbia as a whole. (Condemned to Repeat)

Clearly there are plenty of folks out there who don’t see it the way I do. Or perhaps their immediate focus is to try to prevent the CA Board from terminating Ms. Boyd’s contract before a way to resolve their differences is found. A press conference is a very public way to take a stand. 

The only people who can fire the CA President are the CA Board. The only people who can fire the CA Board are the voters in CA village elections. I’ve been tearing my hair out trying to exhort people to vote in those elections as long as I’ve been writing this blog. To paraphrase the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz, “we’ve had the power all along.”

People may turn out for a press conference at the Lakefront while passions are running high. But will they turn up to vote in April? 

We shall see.

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