Self-serving self promotion in Howard County [Letter]

September 24, 2014

The headline "Howard County applauds Howard County" (Sept. 18) is perfect for this tale of shameless self-promotion. Hanging 242 banners is being spun as a way of attracting tourism. Do you choose your tourist destination based on the locale's libraries, schools or digital prowess?

One just can't suspend reality enough to buy into this excuse for spending $28,000 in taxpayer funds. Both the Economic Development Authority and Howard County Tourism are county budget items. This project is offensive on so many levels it may backfire on accolade-obsessed Ken Ulman and candidates Calvin Ball and Courtney Watson.

Is this election year timing a coincidence? Does the price tag include Public Works costs to put up — and eventually take down — the banners? When removed, will the banners somehow be recycled or reside in a landfill for 100 years? Columbia residents may wonder: Isn't this the antithesis of our minimal signage tradition? Does the lack of banners along the Route 1 corridor mean there is nothing to "love" here?

Mr. Ulman said "There were a lot of thoughts about … how we do it in a way that is appropriate and makes sense." I would suggest he recall the adage "Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should."

Maryland taxpayers take note. This occurred the week a $6,000 project to mount copies of six paintings along trails was also announced by Ulman.

Susan Garber, Laurel

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