Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Don’t know much about … (insert musical notes)…affordable housing

Posted by bsflag2007 on Saturday, March 24, 2007

This is not going to be a “pile on” Stacy Spann piece. For those of you who don’t know, Mr. Spann is HoCo’s new Housing Director. He was on stage at the Association of Community Services luncheon last week. It was an unusually full house.

I’m refreshed by his candor. He said (from Sun article) : “I’m just stunned that all of these eyes are watching me,” Spann, said, adding that he had expected a small group. “I’m absolutely overwhelmed. It did not occur to me there would be this much interest.”

OK, maybe it was more an admission that he doesn’t have the requisite clue to take on this important task — but I think he can be forgiven for being surprised that people are actually interested in solving the affordable housing issues plaguing HoCo. This is the kind of issue that gets lip service all the time – with no real political, economic or social will behind it.

The person in charge of trying to figure out how to find ways to provide affordable housing in an area with an overheated, or at least extremely valuable, housing market could reasonably expect to spend his tenure pushing papers around, doodling calculations and ideas in the margins that are never going to materialize.

Maybe Mr. Spann has a plan, and will be energized to put it into action now that he has seen the level of active interest the community “players” have in this issue —

—though I’ve been to enough children’s birthday parties to recognize the particular brand of excitement exhibited at the luncheon …. it reminds me of the excitement of the pinata…. and Mr. Spann, it looks like you are the pinata — get ready to be beaten with sticks from all directions.

Cindy V.

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3 Responses to “Don’t know much about … (insert musical notes)…affordable housing”

  1. jim adams said

    Cindy, help me out here. I think the real problem is that there are two sides, one for, one against affordable housing in Howard Co. I think what ever other issues may be brought out, they are minor, they are smoke and mirrors.

    There are those, who because of their success may feel a little guilty and want to help those who are not as well off.

    Then there are those who have worked their butt’s off, and continue to work hard and feel this is the way to succeed.

    I am really asking a question here, and not trying to pass judgement.

  2. bsflag2007 said

    I don’t think the “problem” with making progress is that there are two “sides” (one for one against) – but that there are so many opinions on how to proceed…. fueled by many different agendas (some hidden and some right out there) and even best intentions.

    Beyond the question of whether any public money should be used to help some people when others have had to “do it themselves” — even among those who agree that some form of public policy which promotes the “hand up” (if not a hand out) there are dozens of conflicting approaches.

    As far as I am concerned – this issue shares the analysis paralysis problem of how to “fix” public education….. trying to find the single magic bullet that will be the permanent end all and be all cure.

    The factors that contribute to individual difficulties or delays in “achieving” the “american dream” or the desired test result are too dynamic and varied to be solved with “the right policy”.

    Basically, not only is there the fundamental argument of “whether we should or whether we shouldn’t” – there are knock down drag out fight among those who agree that we “should” over how to do it. The winner here is the “we shouldn’t” crowd … as they win be default while the others fight and nothing gets done.

    Cindy V.

  3. John Lebberfeilderman said

    This is a very nice blog!

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