A list of tasks for Columbia Council Congratulation and...

LETTERS

April 29, 2001

A list of tasks for Columbia Council

Congratulation and best wishes to the seven newly elected CA Columbia Council representatives.

Here is a list of tasks for you to consider starting with your very first meeting:

1. Replace the incoming chair and vice chair with re-elected incumbents Miles Coffman and Barbara Russell respectively. The damage to Columbia's reputation done by the actions of Lanny Morrison and Pearl Atkinson-Stewart will take some time to repair.

2. Declare a moratorium on the FY 2001 CA capital budget and keep CA operating spending at the FY 2001 level for at least one month. The previous council was distracted by other matters (like the selection of a CA president and the annexation of the Key property) and passed the budget with little or no time to examine it or the CA Budget Committee's recommendations.

3. Immediately appoint council and resident members to the CA Budget Committee.

4. Convene the CA Budget Committee with the single task of re-examining the FY 2002 budget and the previous Budget Committee's recommendations and report their finding back to the council in four weeks.

5. Kill once and for all the repeated attempts by CA management to close or do away with the majority of our outdoor pools. Need I remind you that the neighborhood elementary schools, community centers, and outdoor pools were (and hopefully still are) at the center of the original Columbia concept. The latest attempt came in the form of a CA consultant $25,000 report promoting the closure of 20 of the 24 outdoor pools.

I urge concerned Columbia residents to contact their CA council representative and to attend the council open meetings where they can express their concerns to the council during Resident Speak-out.

Arie Eisner

Wilde Lake

Meters exacerbated Main Street problem

In her article April 20 ("Tasteful tour is an effort to lure visitors"), Lisa Respers reports the breaking news that the merchants of Main Street Ellicott City have devised a plan to bring in more visitors. It seems that visitors have to park in remote satellite lots. So what's needed is a trolley to shuttle them down to Main Street. Since trolleys don't come cheap (as apparently the merchants do), the entrepreneurs will sponsor a food tasting event to raise the cash. For just $150 you'll be treated to a progressive dinner Main Street style.

This is laughable on many fronts; first and foremost that the Sun even bothered to do this "story," which in reality is nothing more than a free advertisement. And then there's the issue of the merchants in essence asking their patrons to pay for the trolley, the function of which is to bring in more business for the merchants.

What the real story is here is that business on Main Street isn't what it used to be. And, while there are probably many factors contributing to that, one of the major ones is that a few years ago these very same merchants backed the plan which brought metered parking to the town. There was a problem, they said, with people parking on Main Street for extended periods.

To encourage turnover, parking on Main Street was limited to two hours and a private police service with ticketing authority hired to enforce it. But how to pay for the police service: install pay meters in the public lots and have the "police" monitor them as well. As a former Main Street merchant, I think I'm on solid ground when I say that the drop-off in business is probably directly correlated to the issuing of parking tickets. Yes my evidence is anecdotal; but I heard many very disgruntled patrons swear they would never visit Ellicott City again, having received a parking ticket for being 5 minutes overdue.

Michael H. Ries

Columbia

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