TWO PROBLEMS conspired recently to scuttle any hope that the village of Wilde Lake in Columbia would succeed in securing the time-honored democratic system of one-person, one-vote.
One is the virtually impossible task of getting 90 percent of homeowners to support a covenant change, a benchmark required under the system established by Columbia's developer, the Rouse Co.
American presidential elections are lucky to turn out two-thirds the number of people who care enough to register to vote. Ninety percent is nigh asking the impossible.
The other problem: Most residents could care less about the issue, and are satisfied with the present system of one vote per lot.
The valiant efforts of the election organizers notwithstanding, they should have known from the get-go than an election held in the midst of the busy holiday shopping season would fare miserably. Under the 90-percent rule, approval from about 1,945 of the village's 2,161 owners is needed to secure a bylaw change. Still, the Wilde Lake organizers amassed a sizable number of volunteers and publicity stunts in an attempt to effect the change. They should be commended for their work.
The Rouse Co. established the voting restriction long ago partly to make village boards in Howard's planned city less political. Ironically, what it did was make them less relevant.
Trouble spelled F-U-N
In another Columbia village, Long Reach, opposition is mounting to a proposed ice skating rink and "family fun center," which would include batting cages and a miniature golf course. Anything called "family fun" would seem innocent enough, but the objections being raised aren't without merit. Members of the Columbia Council ought to consider them carefully before approving such a facility. Fueling some of the ire is the fact that the complex is being considered at the same time a sports facility is being considered for the new village of River Hill. Long Reach residents see the issue as one of equity: A sports facility presumably attracts a stable clientele while a fun center might draw rowdies. Indeed, one need only look at the skating rink in Oakland Mills to know problems can arise with such venues.