This is one in a series of submitted candidate profiles for the Columbia Association Elections.
The Columbia Association will hold elections on Saturday, April 26. During the elections, Columbia residents who pay the Columbia Association assessed fee can vote in their respective village for their village's representative to the 10-member Columbia Council, which becomes the 10-member Board of Directors.
Each village hosts its own election. This year, there are only three contested races for the 10-member board. Those races are in Harper's Choice, Hickory Ridge and Town Center.
Each candidate was submitted the same list of questions and request for information. The responses that follow were submitted by each of the candidates.
Q: What made you decide to run for election, or re-election, to the Columbia Association Board of Directors?
When the CA board made the decision to give away $1.6 of Columbia homeowner's money and private land to a private corporation without sufficient public consideration, I decided to get involved. As a long-term Columbia resident, I believe Columbia residents deserve better.
Q: What qualities do you possess that would make you a good board member?
I am smart, honest and keep my word. I am a skilled researcher who is not afraid to ask tough questions. Town Center residents will have a board representative who listens to them and presents their concerns and opinions at CA board meetings.
Q: Identify, in your mind, the two most pressing issues facing the Columbia Association right now? Explain why you chose these and expound on possible solutions.
I believe Columbia residents are too often left out of the decision-making process. Current CA board members approved a motion to suspend CA's normal rules and to bring the Inner Arbor issue to a hasty vote, which then led to a majority of the board voting for the $1.6 million giveaway for the Symphony Woods project. The community should have had more time to be involved before CA made the decision to give away our money and our land. If I am elected - I will reach out to the community for all major decisions that affect the well being of Columbia residents.
In recent years, because decision-making is often done in secret, CA has lost the confidence of many in our community. CA should at the forefront in following Maryland Homeowners Association law, not resisting it. In 2004, the Maryland Office of the Attorney General ruled that CA is a Homeowners Association (HOA), which means according to state law; the Columbia Association should provide greater transparency to the public. While corporate law allows actions to be taken in secret, HOA law allows secret sessions in only limited situations.
Q: If elected, what do you hope to help accomplish while on the board?
I would like CA to complete the "transition" process started March 31, 1982 when all Rouse Company appointed members resigned their positions on CA's board and the governance of Columbia was turned over to elected community representatives. CA staff's insistence that CA is a corporation rather than an HOA has impeded finalizing this decision.