Getting schooled on Howard County

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From the hikes in Centennial Park to the concerts at Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia always brings us back. Howard County Executive Calvin Ball tells Nestor what makes his county successful and how the kids going back to school is a good thing.


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Calvin Ball, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:00

Welcome back wn S T, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive we are positively in Ocean City, Maryland. It is Mako we’re I haven’t gotten I get a little sand in my shoes walking around secrets the other night but it’s all brought to you by the Maryland lottery celebrating 50 years here we are celebrating 25 years at wn st taking the crabcake tour out on the road it’s all brought to you by our friends and window nation 866 90 nation I’m with all these elected I’m not going to wear the funny floppy hat. It looks a little but it would be a good beach at 866 90 nation buy to get to free and our friends at Raskin global with the special crab Mal, let’s get a beer open account executive account executive Calvin Ball joins us here. Shellfish intolerant, right. I mean, so the only time I can get you on is someplace where there’s not a crab cake within 50 feet of us. How are

Calvin Ball  00:49

you? I’m doing all right, you know as a native Marylander it is my my biggest shame to not be able to have crab cakes but I still want everybody to enjoy. I gotta think

Nestor Aparicio  00:59

for you. All right, because Odette Ramos was here. She’s vegan. I have had two vegan crab cakes in my time, land of Cush up in Baltimore, but we’re gonna go to gertrudes one night Jamie Raskin is also vegan. So I know all the vegan electeds and all the shellfish intolerant, right? Because when I call communicate, he can’t eat crab cakes. Can he still do the show? Like he can add chicken cheeseburger salad, whatever he wants, you know, I come down to your county all the time. And I praise you about this as a kid growing up in a row house and Dundalk. I always wanted the good life in Howard County, you know, I would always go down and see all these, you know, the tree lined streets in the planning community and all that. But I love coming to marry whether I do on a summer night. Every time I’m there. I feel like I’m in a special place. And I think what Columbia has become in that way, we look forward to nights down there under the stars and it’s a real it’s a centerpiece, I want to beat CFG Bank Arena, Camden Yards, all that you have one of the great things in my life one of the special places that when I’m under the stars and Merriweather, it’s 1984 and I’m 16 Again,

Calvin Ball  02:04

you know, well, I tell you what, I graduated from Woodlawn High and I always aspired to go and live in Howard County. We have the lakefront we have Merriweather so many places to visit. And it is also one of the best places to live and grow in the world.

Nestor Aparicio  02:20

Well, you are the ultimate out in front of this. Kids are going back to what’s important in your county right now. I mean, I had listed notes here for all my senators and stuff, what sits on your plate every day?

Calvin Ball  02:31

Well, I’ll tell you what you’re talking about kids going back to school, the last two budgets, we’ve given record funding the highest single year increase to our school system ever and Howard County history. So investing in education, we’re investing in our community college, you know, my doctorates in education with a focus on community college. Howard Community College is one of the best in the entire world. So investing in our community college and investing in our young people. We just launched our youth engagement programming or yep, there are so many ways to engage our young people to make sure they have something to do this productive yet did

Nestor Aparicio  03:06

you come up with that? You got a marketing team for that

Calvin Ball  03:08

I hire people smarter than me. And then I empower them to do their job.

Nestor Aparicio  03:13

Spoken like a true county executive cow the balls here from Howard County. The school situation I remember the dust up a couple of years ago in high schools. My high school got rebuilt Baltimore County, so I always give Johnny do some love on that over Dundalk. I covered high school sports in the late 80s. All throughout the region. Centennial Howard Walliams down all the schools and then the quince orchards and all these other places pop up names, and Harford County has some new schools as well. But Howard County is one of those places where growth and development in the early 70s in schools, it created something that wound up on your day, speak to the people who aren’t from or don’t know about it, that parents are in your county, especially, they were very proprietary about where they live where they want. And you would say wherever school gives everybody a chance to have a proper education in your county, right like to think they’re all the same,

Calvin Ball  04:02

or you would like to think but there’s always differences. There’s always challenges and whenever there’s school redistricting, there are growing pains we just opened last week, the first new high school in Howard County since 2005. What’s the name? Guilford Park High School. I got home with a panther though as

Nestor Aparicio  04:21

you say the mighty Panther. That’s right. I was up in Carroll County. And they don’t have a county executive commission. But I was up in Hampstead and they have North Carroll High School that they shut down and I had the guys on they played baseball and they have a whole they’ve kept baseball under the Panthers to the North Carolina Panthers but they shut the school down there I can’t imagine could shut in Dundalk dance Patapsco they No way. I mean, so I mean I have a little bit of fun with that even later in life about all of that but the beginning of something right like and the first graduate you have all that going on. It’s

Calvin Ball  04:57

right. So whenever you have a new school you’re in besting in schools like we’ve been doing over the last few years, there’s always going to be some growing pains. And it’s tough. And I think a lot of people have some legitimate concerns. We’re gonna move forward together.

Nestor Aparicio  05:09

How many years does it take to get a school? A new school? Like when did that start? Well, century, like, literally,

Calvin Ball  05:16

I tell you, when I became county executive, we had to finish up the paperwork, the site had already been selected. So we finished up the paperwork. And then over my time, about four years, we invested nearly $130 million of state and local dollars to finally cut a ribbon. So it took us quite some time, but we got it done.

Nestor Aparicio  05:34

Education blueprint, how does that affect your county and make Governor more come by and the differences between Governor Hogan and Governor more just from, you know, just ideology for education? And for what it means? What does it mean? And when when will it? You see results bear the fruit?

Calvin Ball  05:52

Well, I think we all want the best teaching and learning environment for all of our students and all of our educators. And I think most of us agree with the tenants of the blueprint, we got to move it forward. We’ve got to move it forward in a fiscally responsible and realistic way. We want to make sure that we’re investing in our schools in a transparent way. Because if we’re asking our taxpayer dollars to go into our schools, like in Howard County, it’s more than half that we have now over a billion dollar budget going just to our school system. I think the parents have right budget, half the budget.

Nestor Aparicio  06:24

How much on policing?

Calvin Ball  06:26

Not as much.

Nestor Aparicio  06:27

Okay. That, isn’t it? I mean, I haven’t looked at your budget. I mean, that half of the money goes to educating kids. I don’t know how much more you you could, but parents expect a lot. I

Calvin Ball  06:40

don’t need to tell you that right? They sure do. But I’ll tell you what we have right now in our Police Academy, the largest police academy since the 90s. Going through why? Well, I’ve been investing in public safety police fire because I think that people not only should be safe, but feel safe. And there’s a reason why it’s every year that I’ve been county executive Columbia has been named the safest city in America because we make the investments and we ensure that we have community policing.

Nestor Aparicio  07:05

Well I come down to Merriweather get those stars I’m coming at see ZZ Top and a couple of weeks ago, I’m trying to get tickets to get down there for the festival is going on in September, but they’re bringing in big stars. So I have to call Jean Parker and work on that for your county and West being what’s been the difference with a Democratic administration there from a Republican administration for you?

Calvin Ball  07:28

Well, I think just collaboration communication. You know, I worked very well with Governor Hogan. But there were just some differences of opinion differences of focus. We were able to always come together and collaborate but I think working with Governor more someone who wants to invest more into the state wants to partner and collaborate wants to listen to our issues our thoughts our hopes, our dreams our concerns. I’m just so excited about the writing the next chapter from Maryland

Nestor Aparicio  07:57

well i Orioles ravens, we gotta talk a little sports. Yeah, you want to get you up to an Oreo game you Yeah, come on, man. We got playoffs coming here.

Calvin Ball  08:06

Well, I tell you what, the O’s are on fire. This is like a great season. I’ve been an Orioles fan my whole life growing up and Catonsville and then moving up to Columbia. And so seeing them, this is a great, great season for both.

Nestor Aparicio  08:20

Well I told Brandon Scott was here I said, Man you even have a calendar for October said because you got to keep free time. That’s right a month has to be kept free. And I didn’t think about the problems of the Orioles being successful. You’re gonna have these broken I sat here Yellin for years and years now. It’s like October. Can’t make any plans. Exactly. They play the game one in the afternoon played at eight at night, but I know they’re going to be playing more orange today. That’s right. We all got to buy more orange. Absolutely. You’ve been in the Merriweather concerts are now you go over there. Every once

Calvin Ball  08:50

in a while, I’d like to go over there. But I tell you having Merriweather was draws the entire region there are people from outside of even this region who are coming to marry whether it’s

Nestor Aparicio  09:01

yours and then they pull in and they’re likely this is pretty good place. It’s a good spot. That’s right. My wife and I since the last time I had you on I had you on before the plane because we were unmasked we were having coffee over state fairs. I remember that’s right, your former homeland in Baltimore County. And and since then, and I think I even said to you if I went back at the tape that I always wanted to go hiking through Centennial Park, because I had a girlfriend down there in the 80s and I would see the park and I would always drive by it. And it was like fun. You see people out the plague. Because we were stuck in the house and we lived in the city. My wife’s like we’re going to explore places I don’t think I’ve had you want to tell you this. We took a night drive I mean a heart of the place where you couldn’t go out and we got down there. And the park was mobbed because it was outdoor. And we walked around twice and my wife has gone back three or four times so like her favorite park discovered it.

Calvin Ball  09:55

I’ve been so Platt proud and honored. Our team has ensured We have some of the best parks in the entire nation. People come from all over to come to parks and Howard County, Centennial bland air Shipley,

Nestor Aparicio  10:09

nobody’s worthy.

Calvin Ball  10:10

Oh my gosh, you


got a nice oh,

Calvin Ball  10:12

gotta go, you gotta come. You gotta come best parks in the nation. And during the pandemic, so many people needed to be outdoors and they were at parks and we saw so much more engagement. So we’re glad

Nestor Aparicio  10:25

I told Brandon this. I’ve lived in Baltimore my whole life. My brother took his first steps at Patterson park when he was a little boy back in the early 60s. And I played soccer and I skated and I played, but I never walked into Patterson Park as a city resident. First trip we took during the plague. We walked from downtown to the park, and my wife, we had a pizza and beer, and we’re gonna be like, sitting in the park eating pizza out of a box. During the plague. Nobody’s out. And my wife’s like, everybody’s walking that way. What’s over there? And I’m like, I don’t know. I’ve never been over there before. There’s a pond with birds and trees, frogs in the middle of downtown Baltimore. And it took a play. I was too busy going to ball games, concerts, you know, and all that stuff to even see the beauty that’s in the middle of your own community. And I think the plague sort of moved us out to do things a little bit differently in it brought us to your county.

Calvin Ball  11:24

Some good things now. You know, you’re always welcome.

Nestor Aparicio  11:27

You got to be able to get me some tickets for some data. Calvin Ball he is a Howard County Executive doesn’t drop by much because he shellfish and taller. He’s a little afraid of me, because we haven’t had crab cakes together. But they had a great crab cake and Leland stout in your part of the world delicious crab

Calvin Ball  11:44

cake. Howard County has some of the best crab cakes in the nation.

Nestor Aparicio  11:48

Don’t say that to a Baltimore guy. Come on.

Calvin Ball  11:50

Hey, if you have to bring me out. All right, we’re gonna have to have you out.

Nestor Aparicio  11:54

I’m gonna have you for vegan crabcakes sometime. There you go, buddy. Whatever you want. I know you got to the place to go. I really appreciate you coming by. You’re always great guests.

Calvin Ball  12:02

Thank you so much. Always enjoy a great conversation.

Nestor Aparicio  12:04

I got a million reds friends that live in Howard County and they they vote for you.

Calvin Ball  12:08

Thank you very much. When I try to do them and you press keep

Nestor Aparicio  12:11

educating your kids down there. Keep living the good life down there that we were warned about back in the early 70s Right from the rouse folks Howard County Executive Calvin Ball Johnny sir we’re at Mako mixing and matching man. We the county executives we have senators we have canceled people the mayor has been on it’s been a really really good trip of a mixed team at some point I’m gonna drop the mic and I’m gonna go put my feet in the water. Hey, you go to class waiting for you. It’s all brought to you by our friends at the Maryland lottery their 50th anniversary our 25th anniversary our friends at WIN donation 866 90 nation and Rascon global sending us on the road. I feel like Richard share on on square off. Back from more from Ocean City right after this. Stay with us.

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