Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Calvin Ball for County Executive

Thank goodness that I don’t have to pen 600 words on the Great Campaign Sign Placement Scourge of 2018.

Today, I want to focus on why I support Calvin Ball for County Executive.

First, a few words on the incumbent, Allan Kittleman.

For those expecting a sound thrashing of Mr. Kittleman, you will not find that here.  It is difficult to summon up much in the way of indignation (righteous or otherwise) when you are talking about the Nickelback of county executives.  This author believes we have seen his best and it’s mediocre. 

For example, I (like Kittleman) support the growth of a vibrant Downtown, but I don’t believe (unlike Kittleman) that tax increment financing is a proper mechanism for doing so.  TIFs are supposed to be used for blighted areas and I have yet to find blight in and around the Mall (near Nordstrom, perhaps?).  So in this case, the TIF as proposed by the County Executive seemed like a developer giveaway.  Ball and the County Council worked to improve the legislation to help ensure that the public would realize more benefits.

I too want a safe Ellicott City and I concur that we need to expedite the process whereby a genuine solution is implemented.  But the flood mitigation proposal supported by Mr. Kittleman and Councilmember Jon Weinstein seems like an expensive ($50 million) rush to adopt a plan that won’t resolve the core issue of high, life-threatening floodwaters pouring down Main Street.  I believe Dr. Ball is more committed to finding a real solution, not a plan that appears to offer only a false sense of security.     

The common thread in both of these cases seems to be a lack of transparency, where despite the protestations of Mr. Kittleman to the contrary, only a select few have a "seat at the table.”

Dr. Ball has demonstrated a collaborative working style that is more likely to ensure a thoughtful, public debate of the issues that Howard County will face in the years ahead. Combining that with Ball’s views on immigration and on promoting housing diversity, he offers a vision of a more inclusive Howard County.

Since I moved to Columbia several years ago, I have seen both Mr. Kittleman and Dr. Ball out in the community and heard their words regarding County priorities.  I believe Dr. Ball is more likely to be committed to adopting public policies that are animated by a sense of fairness and “the common good.”  This applies to finding equitable solutions to school overcrowding, development, and investing in our people through strong community services while making our County a better place for small business owners to operate.

It would be too easy for some to shrug and say, “they are both neoliberals” or “they will both advocate for public policies with which I will disagree from time-to-time.”  The reality is that, in my opinion, one is more likely to lead while adopting an open, consensus-seeking governance style while the other, having had the opportunity to do so for four years, chose a comparatively opaque approach.  Behind closed doors, it is difficult…if not impossible… to determine if people were truly put above politics. I believe a Ball Administration will be more transparent than the current one.  People will know exactly where Ball stands, and Ball will reach out to the people, all of the people, to hear their voices.

This is why I support Calvin Ball for County Executive.

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