Following the lead of Donald Trump and other Republicans who deny the realities of climate change, Howard County’s Republican County Executive Allan Kittleman’s failure to act on climate and repeated obfuscation on the issue is a failure of leadership.
He introduced legislation as a state senator in 2014 seeking to overturn a state mandate requiring the collection of fees for storm water remediation improvement projects. He won office as county executive 2014 on the clever but misleading claim that such fees were a “rain tax.” He scaled back the county’s environmental efforts, telling county staff upon taking office that, unlike his predecessor, “I’m not the environmental guy.”
Further, Mr. Kittleman failed to act on warnings raised by citizens in his first month in office on the need to mitigate flood threats to Ellicott City and consistently ignored the threats posed by climate change. He thwarted a proposed 9-month building moratorium after the devastating July 2016 flash flood along Main Street, as his administration argued that it was "too early to determine the relationship between development and flooding" even as they pushed for the immediate redevelopment Main Street. He then touted the recovery of Main Street as one of his top accomplishments in early 2018 campaign ads, until a stronger, more disastrous May 27 flash flood wiped out millions of public and private dollars invested as part of his hasty rush to rebuild after the 2016 flood.
On top of that, he ducked questions about the role of climate change in unprecedented 1,000-year floods happening in a 22-month span, as he hid behind a lame dodge used by other Republicans, saying “I’m not a climatologist.” He then rushed to announce a new 5-year, $50 million scheme for Main Street, which was conceived behind closed doors and put forward as a fait accompli with great fanfare at an Aug. 23 press conference, all without transparent public participation allowing a full range of stakeholders to understand and consider potential alternatives.
Beholden to anti-science Republican dogma, Mr. Kittleman has failed to make climate action a priority for Howard County, hindering our ability to make our communities more resilient and to gain from the enormous opportunities offered by a cleaner, more energy-efficient economy.
HIs misleading campaign slogan says he is a “Proven Independent Leader,” masking his links to President Trump’s cultish, decadent Republican Party. His record is that of a “Proven Republican Misleader.” I do not trust him for a second term.
Tim Lattimer, Columbia
Become a subscriber today to support editorial writing like this. Start getting full access to our signature journalism for just 99 cents for the first four weeks.