Commentary: Local Control

How often do we complain about stuff happening around us that is out of our control? I don’t hold that to be true of local government. Our leaders are our neighbors. In county government, Ken Ulman, Mary Kay Sigaty, Calvin Ball, and Jen Terrasa are all Columbia residents. In the course of testifying at public hearings on behalf of nonprofit organizations I’ve worked with and attending various social events, I’ve met these politicians and know them to be honorable people concerned about our community. They will be the first to admit that they are not expert in all things and therefore depend on citizens like you and me to educate them about the issues and their likely impact on the community.

Change is happening all around us in Columbia: Consideration of solutions for struggling Village Centers, creation of Columbia’s central park at Symphony Woods, development of Town Center, construction of the cross-town trail from the Hospital to Oakland Mills and Blandair, to name a few. I happen to think that all of these efforts can rejuvenate our city and make it a more attractive place to live. BUT . . . we need to assure that plans are fully scrutinized and we’ve done our best to anticipate the problems that could arise.

I think that’s the appropriate role of citizens. By participating in the process of decision-making, we gain some measure of control over our local lives and share in achieving a successful outcome. Obviously, the absence of an involved citizenry leaves the decisions in the hands of a few. Too often, the ones who are heard are oppositional rather than helpful, and vilifying rather than empowering. They forget that most of us share the common goal of improving our human situation; that we’re all in this together.

pls shoot photo of the sculpture, pehaps w/ peeps milling around - perhaps w/ peeps looking at it if opportunity presents itself...P

The People Tree of Columbia represents for me the image of all of us working together for the common good. By running for Columbia Council, I am offering to serve my community. I can only do the job effectively with your participation. Folks need to share with their elected representatives their concerns and aspirations.  I stand ready to listen, and to do my best to represent our collective interests.

Please vote for me on April 26th.

Harry Schwarz

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Published by

Harry Schwarz

Nicknamed “The Professor” by his colleagues, Harry is a native Marylander who moved to Columbia in 2001. Harry’s wife, Cathy, is a Columbia acupuncturist and the family includes two college-age children, a dog and a cat. Harry is a partner with BearsolutionsLLC, assisting charter school authorizers to provide effective financial oversight. He is underemployed at this time and welcomes conversation about how he might help you.

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