Columbia at 50
The Business Monthly and long-time resident of Columbia and well-known political journalist Len Lazarick are partnering to bring a collection of essays featuring Columbia at 50. The essays, says Lazarick, “are about Columbia as a lived experience that brings us to the present, with a long view of how we got there and how it evolved from the plan, and in many cases was not planned at all.”
This is not a nostalgic series, but one of perspective and retrospect. Although, with that said, we are sure many people will nod or smile with remembrances of building a city from the ground up.
Topics by Month
This 4-page insert each month will be written by Len Lazarick and focus on specific topics including – Business, Media, Shopping and Retail, Politics, Schools, Government, Religion, Environment, Transportation, The Arts and Family, Sports, Swimming and the Rise of Soccer. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 2016: “The Shifting Weight of Columbia Political Power”
This is the fifth part in a series of 12 monthly essays over the next year leading up to Columbia’s 50th birthday celebration next June.
By Len Lazarick
As the election returns came in the night of Nov. 5, 1974, Howard County’s old guard was riding high. It looked like their campaign to “Beat the BLOC VOTE” from Columbia had worked. Republicans would get their first county executive, and car dealer Charlie Miller, who had approved the plans to build Columbia as an elected county commissioner, would get to stay on the county council. But as the results from Columbia precincts poured in later, elation turned to shock. The new town had voted overwhelmingly for the liberal slate of Democratic candidates, nine to one. People who had lived in Howard County for just a few years beat the old timers.
Three of the five new county council members actually lived in Columbia, and one, Dick Anderson, was even a former general manager of Howard Research and Development Corp., the Rouse Co. division building the planned community. A fourth, Lloyd Knowles, had moved near Columbia because of the new town, and the new county executive, County Council Member Ed Cochran, a mild-mannered research chemist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab where Knowles also worked, was seen as liberal, too. None of them were born or raised in Maryland.
The old guard’s dire predictions of bloc voting may have been a campaign ploy to rile up their constituent base, but they also riled up the bulk of Columbians who had voted 8-1 for liberal Democrat George McGovern for president two years before. The rest of the county Democrats had voted in the primary for George Wallace, the segregationist who survived an assassination attempt in nearby Laurel the day before the primary.
Click here to read the rest of this article and the entire November 2016 issue of Columbia at 50.