Columbia Council Erred

In Golf Course Decision

Groucho Marx once made this insightful remark: "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it and then misapplying the wrong remedies." He must have had the Columbia Association in mind when he made that remark.

During the Columbia Council's pre-budget work sessions, there was a straw vote on what to do about the conditions of the greens at Hobbit's Glen Golf Course. The majority of the council members voted to spend $679,000 to rebuild most of the greens and lose $529,000 in operating income by closing the course for at least a year.

What a waste! A group of golfers had testified to the council that rebuilding the course was unnecessary. They said the real source of the problems with the greens was CA staff's poor management and maintenance of the course. They cited the fact that the greens were in terrific condition a few years ago when the Seniors Tournament officials rather than CA staff controlled the quality of maintenance at the course. They also cited that CA had already spent a lot of money to rebuild several greens in previous years, but CA's poor maintenance practices have caused their conditions to deteriorate. These golfers called for an outright change in management.

CA staff made their intentions known early on that changing management was not an option and that instead they wanted a lot of money to have the course rebuilt. The majority on the Columbia Council simply did what they were told and rubber-stamped staff's wishes. Credit goes to Barbara Russell, Wolfger Schneider and Joshua Feldmark for being the only ones to withhold their votes on this wasteful project.

If all that the majority of the council members want to do is sleepwalk through the CA budget process and approve whatever the staff wants, they might as well stay home and let the staff vote. Why waste all that time in meaningless meetings? They shouldn't be surprised if, in the Columbia Council elections next April, Columbia's residents vote to have those council members stay home.

Alex Hekimian

Alliance for a Better Columbia