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May 07, 2014


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Michael Cornell

Its a shame people have been intimidating into not running. Having said that, un-opposed candidates is more often the norm throughout Columbia. I think the real question is "How do we get more residents engaged with the governance of Columbia?" We asked this question at our Board retreat ... some ideas that arouse: • Hold Town meetings – presenting and gathering information using open space technology/Future Search processes.• More marketing and education – more community outreach. Instead just inviting people to our meetings, go where people gather. • Recreate the Columbia Visitor’s Center. Thoughts?

Marshmallow Man

Hi Michael,

Great questions. Some thoughts:

-- I think a lot of people in Columbia have "How do I?" or "Where do I"? questions. CA could have those information primers/ refreshers for residents.
-- Very few people are aware of Columbia's governance structure. Or of their village's. This leads to the portrayal of CA Board members and village board members as "elected officials" when this is not completely the case. Maybe there's another information primer called "What is Columbia?" that can be done that discusses Columbia's history, structure, relationship with Howard County, etc.
-- All of these info primers should be backed up with rich information on these topics available online.
-- I have to look at the issue of establishing election guidelines for Columbia elections. Should there be financial reporting? What about these quotes from elected officials on candidates' literature? Should those be allowed? Would organizational endorsements be allowed? Lots of subject matter there.
-- Once rules for Columbia elections are established then I believe there should be education sessions for people considering running for Columbia office;
-- A lot of people don't read their mail. If it's unfamiliar it gets tossed. A lot of village ballots go unused. I like the idea of online or some form of "early voting" for Columbia elections.
-- I love the idea of gathering where people gather-- CA should be a presence at virtually every civic function in Columbia.

Those are a few thoughts-- there are more!

Joel Hurewitz

CA's governing documents clearly state that a candidate for public office can not serve on the CA Board.

The Charter and By-Laws are the governing documents, not the Code of Ethics. There are no restrictions in the Charter and By-Laws. Strike One.

CA has legal authority not to seat someone who has this conflict.

CA is without authority to amend the Charter and By-Laws through the backdoor in the Code of Ethics. Strike Two.

Therefore CA has done nothing wrong.

The Code of Ethics has several provisions in conflict with the Charter and By-Laws. CA has done many, many things wrong apparently since 2007 when the Code was adopted. Strike Three -- You are Out!!

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