Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

I still feel like…

Posted by David Keelan on Saturday, November 11, 2006

…it is going to take a while to get over Tuesday night and move on.  Hocoterp put it best.  If anyone thinks they taught George Bush and the GOP congress a lesson by ignoring great local GOP candidates they are sadly mistaken.  That is what gets me more than anything.

However, we will lick our wounds and we will come out of our funk.  The GOP in Howard County is not going to be satisfied to sit on the sidelines for the next four years.  Already people are talking, strategizing and rebuilding.  Great ideas are emerging and a plan will be forthcoming.

It will be all about executing on that plan.

We can watch with cautious optimism over the next four years.  Our worst expectations are not necessarily going to materialize – it might actually be better than we think.  Regardless, we will be prepared to play the role of the loyal opposition and position ourselves for the next cycle in four years.

That means we need you to stay active, help formulate the plan, and help execute the plan.

If you were an active volunteer this year and haven’t joined the Howard County Republican Club do so today.  Join us for our next First Friday Happy Hour.  Misery loves company but at this happy hour we are going to shake off the funk and get excited about what needs to be done over the next four years.

We are not in the waste land.  There are a lot of exciting plans in the making so come out and be part of it.


14 Responses to “I still feel like…”

  1. Freemarket said

    “If anyone thinks they taught George Bush and the GOP congress a lesson by ignoring great local GOP candidates they are sadly mistaken.”

    I disagree with this statement. This is one of the purposes of having political party affiliation. When you affiliate yourself with a party, you fly with them when things are good and fall with them when things are bad. Bush got that message that he screw up loud and clear when R’s took a beating, as evidenced by the fact that Rumsfeld was out the door before all the votes were even counted. Rumsfeld has offered his resignation to Bush before, but was turned down. Not this time. Bush very smugly asserted that he was given a mandate after he won the last election. Now he knows his “mandate” has been recalled.

    I’ll bet that any GOP plan to improve their chances for the next election won’t involve shoring up support for Bush’s policies. Message received.

  2. Jane said


    Everything you say is suspect until you stop allowing commenters to claim Mary Smith said things which are easily found to be patently false. She never called anyone bitter, bigot, or belligerent. For you to allow this is beyond acceptable.

    I’m asking that you stop this from happening on your blog.

    Thank you.

  3. Jane,

    You are entitled to your opinion.

    Mary Smith implied Chris Merdon was crooked because of the property he purchased on Folly Quarter. I could go back and look for more – but that was the biggest one and it was patently false.

    I don’t recall anyone calling her a bigot, however I did find her tone to be rather bitter in the end. My tone is rather bitter at times too.

    Jane, I will only censor the most serious of comments and foul language. I think you would find more egregious comments on the other blogs. I won’t go any further otherwise why would I even allow comment?

    One of the reasons I am recruiting other bloggers is to attempt to even out the discussion on this blog. You may find me suspect, but you know who I am and where I stand and that I will stand by my posts unless I find that I am wrong.


  4. Freemarket,

    I don’t think most people would disagree with you. If you are affiliated with a party you go the way the party goes. Pretty simple. However, I think the issues at a local level are much much different than at a national level. As such I think the candidates should be looked at on that basis.

    What I learned is that voters do not see it that way. It has to be spelled out for them in black and white.

    I think Ulman made progress on the mailer he put out showing Chris Merdon back in 2004 wearing a Bush Cheney sticker. He said, “if you don’t like me just remember your alternative is a Republican.” It worked.

  5. Freemarket said

    I agree with you that the influence of national politics appears to be stronger than it should be. Knowing that now, I think Ulman played a good hand when he answered a question about stem cells, gay marriage and abortion after Merdon and Wallis blew off the question as irrelevant to local politics. Voters don’t see those issues as irrelevant and I don’t blame them.

    I am not too down that Merdon lost. I think Ulman will do a great job as CE, because this is his chance to really make a name for himself. If he screws up the CE job, he will never become Governor.

  6. timactual said

    “If anyone thinks they taught George Bush and the GOP congress a lesson by ignoring great local GOP candidates they are sadly mistaken. That is what gets me more than anything.”

    I don’t follow polls and such, so I really don’t know, but is there any actual evidence that a significant number of Republicans did this? If so, could it be because these state and local candidates and party organizations expressed their support for Bush and urged people to do likewise?

  7. Freemarket,

    I hope you are right. Does Howard County have a recall provision? Just kidding!

  8. Don't Worry Be Happy said

    Ulman will screw up, thereby making the Republicans look good for 2010.

    Did you ever get those job descriptions for Ulman’s cabinet secretary and public works positions? You may want to get those in time for the next election. Just because he got away with it now doesn’t mean it is a dead issue. The people deserve answers.

  9. Never did get them. He would have to release the docs.

  10. Don't Worry Be Happy said

    A guy with nothing to hide would release the documents…

  11. numbersgirl said

    Oh my goodness. Let it go. The resume question didn’t spike anyone’s interest except on this blog. It’s time to drop this.

  12. Rebecca J. said

    Although I did not support Ken Ulman in the past election, I’m pleased to say that on Nov. 3, he released a vision for Downtown that is closely aligned with those of the Coalition for Columbia’s Downtown, of which I am a member. Ken’s plan can be found at ( Mr. Ulman, along with County Council-elects Jen Terrasa, Mary Kay Sigaty, anmd Courtney Watson, have also signed on as supporters of CCD. I’ll look forward to working with these folks and others in the community as we seek to design a Downtown that reflects the values Columbians hold dear.

    Rebecca Johnson
    Member, Coalition for Columbia’s Downtown
    writing as an individual

  13. Rebecca J. said

    I don’t know how long Ken’s campaign website will be up now that the election is over. In case it comes down, here are his Nov. 3 remarks describing his vision for Downtown Columbia:

    Three years ago, I led the fight to block the Rouse Company’s request for additional density in Downtown Columbia and to Save Merriweather Post Pavilion. Now, I am asking for the opportunity to finish the job by seeing Town Center become the world’s model for green development, sustainability, and positive community planning.

    We know that Jim Rouse wanted a vibrant, wonderful, town center, filled with cultural amenities and people of all backgrounds enjoying them. As County Executive, that is exactly what I will deliver. Columbia’s Town Center will truly become the “garden for growing people” that Rouse envisioned.

    I was proud to initiate the charrette process, the first time the County reached out to citizens to shape the vision for the future of our community.

    There were concerns coming out of the charrette that the County would rush into adopting a new master plan without adequately addressing the details. I shared those concerns and advocated to slow the process down to take the time to look at those details carefully and incorporate more community input. I called for a delay before the Department of Planning and Zoning would submit any plan to the Planning Board and asked the department to continue to work with citizens and continue the public process.

    Over the past year since the end of the charrette, I have been relatively quiet about my own personal vision for downtown Columbia. Other than advocating for an open planning process, I have intentionally refrained from suggesting my own vision, because I felt strongly that the plan for downtown Columbia should reflect the people’s vision, rather than mine or any other elected official’s. The whole point of the charrette process was to create a community-driven plan; I did not want to dictate my plan, so I felt I needed to sit back and let the community drive.

    The community stepped-up to that opportunity with enthusiasm and commitment, bringing thoughtful and creative suggestions to the table as well as critical insight to examine all ideas proposed.

    Over the course of the past year, I believe the voice of the community has been clear; and while all residents certainly do not agree on all points, I think there has been considerable movement toward an emerging consensus on the community’s vision. Unfortunately, however, the Department of Planning and Zoning – despite hosting the forum in which the community has been voicing its vision – has not heard the message, or has simply chosen not to listen.

    I am disappointed in many ways in the direction DPZ has taken this process and the resulting level of distrust among community members. We must change the direction of the process before it reverts to an adversarial process in which the community and DPZ are unable to engage productively.

    As County Executive, I will put this planning process back on track as originally intended, and my administration will work with the community to shape their vision into a plan. I believe there is still much work to do before we reach a final master plan for downtown, but I believe that working together we will create a downtown that preserves Columbia’s character, honors Jim Rouse’s vision, and reflects the values on which this community was founded—values which I share and hold deeply.

    While I continue to believe this process MUST be community driven, I feel it is important to answer the calls from a large section of the community to hear specific plans and visions from elected officials. I will share with you what I see as the core features of the master plan based on my own personal vision and what I have heard from the
     Downtown Columbia will be a model for green development and sustainability. Green development will be mandated—green buildings and green infrastructure, such as porous paving, rain gardens, green roofs, onsite renewable energy, energy conservation, etc.
     I will establish a Conservation Commission to review all development plans – no plan will move forward unless the environment will be better off after the project is completed.
     Columbia was created with the goal of being a diverse community, and Jim Rouse voluntarily integrated affordable housing into his plans to ensure economic diversity. We must ensure that a full range of housing options will be part of any new development, and an affordable housing requirement will be added to New Town Zoning.
     Throughout the development process we will require that amenities such as parks, plazas, public art, pathways and other improvements be delivered at the beginning of the project, rather than at the end.
     Symphony Woods will be converted to Rouse Park in Columbia, as a shining tribute to our founder, James Rouse. I envision a park with creative features such as a “Symphony Playground” where every piece of apparatus is a musical instrument and public art featuring pieces that honor the social values of Columbia and Jim Rouse.
     Public art will be prominent throughout downtown, as a certain percentage of the total budget of any new project will be invested into public art.
     Merriweather Post Pavilion should be converted to an indoor/outdoor venue, open year round and featuring diverse cultural and family programming in addition to the shows we have come to enjoy over the years.
     I believe making downtown pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly must be a top priority in our planning process, and we must decrease dependence on cars by providing convenient and reliable mass transit. The master plan must include transportation that circulates regularly throughout the downtown area as well as a site for a hub for the County’s bus system and plans for future connections to regional transit systems.
     I want to see a downtown that is cutting-edge with innovative ideas in every area from free wi-fi to a new fire station featuring workforce housing for fire fighters and others above the station.
     Downtown Columbia must be developed at a reasonable density. The number 5,500 which is so frequently — and usually inaccurately — cited was a number the County’s consultants recommended as an estimate of the maximum number of units the market could support. When I first heard that number, I thought it was ludicrous, and I still feel that way. The traffic study confirmed what so many of us believed intuitively—that the full scope of possible development suggested by our consultants during the charrette would simply be much too much for our roads to handle. I do not know what the final number of residential units will be, but it will certainly be much closer to the 1,600 units requested three years ago.
     And finally, downtown Columbia must be developed at reasonable heights. The community’s voice has been loud and clear that a 22 story building has no place in our Town Center. As County Executive, I will introduce a height limit for New Town Zoning to prohibit any building over 14 stories.

    Under my administration, the Department of Planning and Zoning will be heading in a new direction. I believe our experience over the past year with the downtown planning process points clearly to the need for a different approach, but that need is not limited to Columbia. Throughout the County, communities must be able to work with DPZ rather than feel they must fight against it.

    I hope you share my vision, and I look forward to working with you as your next County Executive to make that vision a reality.

    Ken Ulman

  14. To Numbersgirl said

    So the Baltimore Sun article about Ken’s “experience” was what? I, for one, care about a fake resume.

    Ken showed that he can smear and deceive with the best of them. He was never “Secretary of the Cabinet” but Democrats ignored his deception in favor of partisanship.

    I long for the days when we again hold politicians to a higher standard.

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