Seeking the genesis of problems in Columbia
And darkness covered the face of democracy in Columbia. And the people said, "Let there be light!" And there was light, and the people defeated the Key property annexation and the property assessment rate increase, and Lanny Morrison and his cohorts were greatly wroth.
And they said, "Let this not happen again." And they created Columbia '01. And Columbia '01 said, "Let's all be nice. It isn't nice to disagree."
And yet, Barbara Russell was re-elected, and Steve Pine and Josh Feldmesser were elected. Yet did the old majority not give up and they created "Values and Administrative Procedures," which told Council members who disagreed with them to politely abstain. And again the people objected, and "Values" was diluted, perhaps to disappear.
And a man of the people spoke at Residents' Speakout and asked that council members respond to residents' concerns during Council Members' Comments which has always followed Residents' Speakout on the Columbia Council meetings agenda. Some Council members dared to respond, and Chairman Morrison again waxed wroth. Yet did not Lanny Morrison despair.
At the June 28 public meeting, he decreed that Council Members' Comments would now be the last item on the agenda. This would occur when most of the public and newspeople had left.
Despite objections, this came to pass, and the agenda item was reached before a total audience of four CA staff members and none of the public. Chairman Morrison had said, "Let There Be Silence" both from the people and from dissenting Council members. And lo, there was silence ... temporarily!
Henry D. Shapiro
Even before award, Howard was a winner
Congratulations on winning the National Civil League's All America City Award! This prestigious national award is given to communities from across the United States in recognition of their citizen involvement and collaborative problem-solving.
In 1998, the Columbia Foundation engaged the National Civic League to facilitate Howard County: A United Vision, a grassroots, citizen-led planning effort that involved 200-plus stakeholders and countless others in our county. As we worked on United Vision, we created a community vision, looked critically at important issues and created action plans.
We learned about our county - its strengths, weaknesses and, most important, the wonderful work that our residents do to make Howard County such a great place to live. As we worked with the National Civic League, we realized that Howard County already was an All America City.
Last fall, civic leaders from around the county were asked to serve on a Steering Committee to prepare Howard County's application for the All America City award. Out of many, many possible programs, the Steering Committee chose to highlight the work of Aging in Place, which enables seniors to stay in their homes and neighborhoods; the Health Alliance for Patients in Need, which provides health care to those without insurance; and the Wilde Times Cafe, a safe place created by students and supported by many community institutions.
Out of 93 applicants, 30 were chosen as finalists, and 10 won - one of which was Howard County. We won because of the dedication, hard work, and love for Howard County demonstrated by the collaborative efforts among businesses, nonprofits and county government.
We won because of the thousands of residents who contribute daily to making the quality of life in Howard County what it is - including those who contributed to the United Vision.
Our county's volunteers make Howard County an All America Award winner. Again, congratulations Howard County residents!
Sandra T. Gray
Co-chair, Howard County - A United Vision ; president, Vision-Howard County