A new plan for Symphony Woods

18 minute read

The Inner Arbor Trust is revising its plans for Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods to reflect new realities.

How do schools and parents matter?

20 minute read

I explore the ideas of Judith Rich Harris as they apply to the roles of parents and schools in Howard County and elsewhere.

Creating the Chrysalis: Timeline

89 minute read

A timeline of significant events in the history of the Chrysalis and its surroundings, from 1962 to the present, with references.

Creating the Chrysalis: Theater

14 minute read

I discuss how the Chrysalis will function as a professional stage, as designed by the theater consulting group of Arup.

Howard County government by the numbers

3 minute read

As we wait to hear more about Allan Kittleman’s HoCoStat proposal, you don’t have to wait to download lots of useful county-related data at data.howardcounty...

The year of blogging sporadically

3 minute read

Don’t expect many blog posts from me in 2015. Those I do post will be on micro-local issues like Merriweather Park, with a smattering of other stuff of inter...

Thank you Tom Coale

2 minute read

Tom Coale deserves our thanks for showing us the best aspects of politics, in a world in which we so often see the worst.

Campaign signs 2014: Final results

4 minute read

I’ve looked at and commented on lots of Howard County campaign signs during the 2014 primaries. I end my series of posts with some final winners.

Campaign signs 2014: Howard County Sheriff

4 minute read

OK, the preliminaries are over, and here’s my first campaign sign 2014 face-off. I’m starting with the courthouse races, and in particular the race for Howar...

Campaign signs 2014: A call for submissions

2 minute read

Pity the poor political candidates of Howard County. It’s hard enough running a campaign as it is, but they also have pesky bloggers grading their performanc...

Promoting the Inner Arbor plan

3 minute read

I lay out some thoughts on how best to promote the Inner Arbor plan for Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods.

A walk in Symphony Woods

4 minute read

I take a lonely walk through Symphony Woods in order to get a feel for what it is and might be.

Symphony Woods and sacred lands

6 minute read

Why is the controversy over Symphony Woods so heated? Because at least in part it’s about questions of “sanctity” and “violation”.

Two visions for Symphony Woods

9 minute read

Is Symphony Woods really an untouched (and by implication untouchable) piece of natural woodlands? I think not.

The Inner Arbor plan takes shape, part 5

6 minute read

I now turn to the most prominent features in the Inner Arbor plan, starting with the Caterpillar. For context and more information see other posts in this se...

The Inner Arbor plan takes shape, part 4

7 minute read

Today I focus on the Picnic Table and the Lily Pads as I continue my look at structures and other features proposed as part of the Inner Arbor plan. For more...

The Inner Arbor plan takes shape, part 3

6 minute read

Today I look at the proposed structures and other features proposed for Symphony Woods as part of the Inner Arbor plan presented at the pre-submission meetin...

The Inner Arbor plan takes shape, part 2

6 minute read

After reviewing concerns expressed about the Inner Arbor plan, it’s now time to take a closer look at the proposed design. Andrew Metcalf has done a great br...

The Inner Arbor plan takes shape, part 1

7 minute read

Last Tuesday night the Inner Arbor Trust revealed a clearer picture of what’s they’re proposing for downtown Columbia. I attended the pre-submission meeting,...

Tom Coale for Delegate in District 9B

5 minute read

Last Tuesday Tom Coale announced that he’s running for the open House of Delegates seat in the newly-created District 9B in (parts of) Ellicott City. Unfortu...

Repairing my personal infrastructure

less than 1 minute read

They say America is suffering a crisis of ill-maintained infrastructure prone to occasional failure. Closer to home I’ve been having my own infrastructure pr...

RIP Dennis Lane

1 minute read

I knew Dennis Lane only slightly: I occasionally commented on his blog, he commented on mine once or twice, and I met and talked to him several times at Howa...

The long game in Columbia

2 minute read

One political faction obtains a solid majority and uses it to push through a far-reaching initiative, only to have their dominance threatened in a subsequent...

The library as spiritual experience

less than 1 minute read

I think this is a record for me: Three posts in one day, and all about libraries to boot, to mark the occasion of the “Evening in the Stacks” fundraising eve...

Columbia is not a gated community

3 minute read

Over at Columbia Compass Bill Santos has written a great post that brought into focus some of my thoughts around the proposed Inner Arbor project for Symphon...

Michael Chabon on Columbia and Obama

2 minute read

I saw this on Andrew Sullivan’s blog and thought it interesting: Michael Chabon’s interview at Salon where he talks about his new book Telegraph Avenue and n...

Participatory budgeting in Howard County?

3 minute read

If you could vote on exactly how Howard County spends $10M (just over 1% of its operating budget), would you take advantage of the opportunity? What if you c...

Are you a “statist”?

4 minute read

Some people are fond of using the term “statist” to describe their political opponents. (I’ve never heard of anyone using it to describe themselves.) For exa...

Online education in Howard County

2 minute read

I’ll interrupt my blog hiatus briefly to note today’s article in the Howard County Times, “Coming soon to Howard County: a digital school system”. The headli...

Closing the book on 2011

3 minute read

Last December I took the opportunity to review my Howard County-related blogging in 2010, and I thought it would be fun to repeat that for 2011, including pr...

No Columbia, no Howard County Council?

3 minute read

This is Dividing Howard week here on my blog, as I discuss some topics related to my new book on the history of council council redistricting in Howard Count...

Weekly reading

3 minute read

Here are more recent links from This week (actually, more like two weeks) was somewhat random, to say the least.

Changing my (blog) name, plus Plus

2 minute read

For those following this blog, note that I’ve changed the canonical site name from to Any links and feed URLs referencing th...

A personal milestone in math blogging

4 minute read

A continuation of my history of Howard County Council redistricting series is coming soon (I promise! really!), but after an evening at the HoCo Blogtail par...

A symbol of Columbia

2 minute read

Tonight I attended the presentation by Chris Leinberger on walkable urbanism at the Spear Center in the Howard Hughes Corporation building in downtown Columb...

Bleeding heart libertarians

6 minute read

For those of you who haven’t heard, the Howard County local blogosphere has a new entrant, as Corey Andrews has started a new HoCoLibertarian blog, to get a ...

HoCo Rising takes on HoCo homelessness

less than 1 minute read

HoCo Rising has been teasing us all week about his big announcement. It turned out that he’s not just raising consciousness through his blog but he’s also ra...

Where should I bank in Ellicott City?

1 minute read

After posting lots of information it’s time for me to turn around and ask my few readers a question: I’m currently considering establishing a new bank accoun... comes to Maryland

2 minute read

I hadn’t seen this mentioned in any other local blogs, so I thought I’d note it here for the benefit of all you political anoraks out there: The folks who br...

Happy New Year to Howard County bloggers

1 minute read

My last two posts were all about me, so I wanted to switch gears and wish a Happy New Year to all of the local Howard County bloggers and other local media m...

My Howard County blogging in 2010

6 minute read

This is the week for everyone to do looking back at 2010 reviews, and I’m no exception. I thought this would be a good time to review my past year (really, p...

Howard County population growth, 1950-2009

2 minute read

In doing research for my series on the history of Howard County Council redistricting one thing that became apparent was the major impact that the founding o...

A Howard County Democrat looks at Ed Priola

14 minute read

As I’ve written before, I don’t plan to urge people to vote for or against particular candidates, and I don’t plan to publicize who I vote for or against. So...

Unaffiliated or independent?

2 minute read

In the course of commenting on voter turnout today, HoCo Rising complained about use of the term unaffiliated to describe voters who don’t register as Republ...

Why government? Public goods

12 minute read

A while back in the course of a comment thread for a HoCo Rising post I promised to write more about my political views, so that people could decide whether ...

Howard County primary miscellany

3 minute read

Now that the polls have closed in Howard County I thought I’d post a few random comments on the primary election. Since I don’t know all that much about Howa...

A visit to Kentlands

6 minute read

Today On Wednesday I had to drive over to drop something off at a co-worker’s house in Kentlands, the neo-traditional residential and commercial development ...

More on the Taxpayer Protection Initiative

3 minute read

I’m still working on the next blog post in my Howard County in the 21st century series. In the meantime I thought I’d take a break and revisit the proposed T...

Howard County and the 21st century suburb

10 minute read

In a recent post I opined that three things made Columbia (and by extension Howard County) the kind of place it was and (to a greater or lesser degree) still...

What is a sense of place?

1 minute read

So far I’ve written two posts discussing whether Columbia and Howard County have (or could have) a true sense of place, and I really haven’t defined what I m...

Fun times at Pure Wine Cafe

less than 1 minute read

Thanks to all those who showed up at tonight’s HoCo Blogtail meetup at Pure Wine Cafe. Blogs represented included Annethologie (more active recently as @Anna...

A sense of place in Howard County? ctd.

3 minute read

In a recent post I questioned whether Howard County and Columbia had a true sense of place and, if not, whether there were anything that we as residents of H...

June 2 meetup at Pure Wine Cafe

less than 1 minute read

I should have mentioned this earlier, but better late than never: I’m co-hosting (with Jessie X) a blogger meetup this Wednesday evening, June 2, at Pure Win...

Doesn’t Wilde Lake have a grocery store?

4 minute read

My apologies, I was going to work on my next post about a sense of place in Howard County, but got distracted by something I read in Alan Klein’s announcemen...

A sense of place in Howard County?

3 minute read

A little over a year ago the Howard County Chamber of Commerce and other local organizations sponsored a presentation by Richard Florida of creative class fa...

GGP and zoning referendums

2 minute read

I meant my last post to be my final word on voter referendums, ballot initiatives, and other forms of direct democracy. However I found something interesting...

Relaxing at Pure Wine Cafe

2 minute read

This is a very rare week (the first one in years) in which I’ve been left at home to take care of the pets and work past my usual stopping time. Tonight I de...

Coal Fire Pizza in Ellicott City

4 minute read

I don’t normally do restaurant reviews, but I thought I’d do a quick one for the Coal Fire Pizza in Ellicott City, since it just opened and I was among the f...

Columbia’s account is no longer active

less than 1 minute read

This doesn’t sound good: While researching a Howard County-related blog post today I happened to follow a Google search to (a domain cont...

So Bill Gates walks into Howard County …

3 minute read

In a previous post I investigated the question of whether those in Howard County with annual incomes of $120,000 or more truly constituted the wealthy few or...

The “wealthy few” in Howard County

3 minute read

Last night a post by local blogger Wordbones caught my eye. Based on a story in the Baltimore Sun, it discussed proposed plans for affordable housing in Colu...

Blogging closer to home

less than 1 minute read

For those Mozilla folks and others who’ve been following my full blog feed: I happen to live in Howard County, Maryland, between Washington DC and Baltimore....