On the face of things, Howard County Executive Elizabeth Bobo and County Council member Angela Beltram would seem to have little in common when it comes to land-use issues.
After all, Bobo, a self-described zoning moderate, has won the praise of local home builders and business leaders for her hands-off approach to development. Beltram, an Ellicott City Democrat who is the only current officeholder not to have been endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce, won her first council seat on a pledge to slow down the county's growth.
Perhaps that's why Beltram expressed some surprise after hearing Bobo's comments on comprehensive rezoning last week at the Maryland Association of Counties annual winter conference. While participating on a panel, the county executive cautioned those who believe "we have to implement everything in the General Plan right away."
"I think that's a big mistake and that's why we've gotten a little bit ahead of ourselves in this county," Bobo said, adding that the next time the County Council goes through the comprehensive rezoning process it ought to work from smaller area plans instead of a plan for the whole county.
To Beltram, these remarks sounded astonishingly familiar. Too familiar, as she eagerly pointed out after the meeting.
"You know where she got those ideas, don't you?" Beltram said. "Those are things I was saying all during my campaign. It's right in my campaign literature and I gave her all my campaign literature after the election. I sat down and talked with her planning and zoning director and gave him my campaign literature."
But if she's missing the credit, Beltram says she's not going to complain too loudly, at least not yet.
"I'm glad we agree," she said. "But if there is an announcement of some sort of a policy, I'm going to take advantage of it. I want people to know that these are things I've been saying all along."