Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Howard citizens lose bill battle

Posted by David Keelan on Thursday, July 27, 2006

As reported in the Sun.

Couple of things that caught my attention:

“We will inform people [about] who voted which way,” said Angela Beltram, a Democrat and former Howard County councilwoman who led the zoning revolt.

“The Democrats created the Comp Lite process,” she said.

The resentment could hurt the county executive campaign of Councilman Ken Ulman, a Democrat who voted for the contested bill. Council Chairman Christopher J. Merdon, the Republican candidate for county executive, was the only council member who voted against the bill.

In case you didn’t already know who Angie is upset with.  Those who voted for the illegal bill.

  • Feaga = Yea
  • Ulman = Yea
  • Guzzone = Yea
  • Merdon = No

The issue that sparked the petition drive was the inclusion of a zoning change for a major church expansion in Ellicott City – a move that residents felt bypassed normal processes.

I don’t know if that is accurate because I don’t know what Larry Carson means.  There were a number of properties that sparked the petition drive, not just the church.  Additionally, Feaga, Guzzone, and Ulman violated the County Code by allowing the inclusion of those properties in comp-lite.  To me that is the heart of the issue.  It did bypass normal processes and did so illegally.  I have written about this before.

I wonder if there is any truth to this statement.  I am not implying that there is not truth to the statement.

Harry Siegel, the Columbia attorney who represented the successful landowners and developers, disagreed. Beltram’s mistake, he said, was not hiring a lawyer to craft proper petition language.

“There’s a very clear statute and very clear case law. It’s easy,” he said, adding that the county Office of Planning and Zoning had a succinct summary of every issue in the bill that could have been used. “It got mucked up pretty bad, and it was an easy thing to do. What these people tried to use was insufficient.

He may be right, but what I read into it is that Mr. Siegel didn’t say that COPE didn’t have a basis for the petition drive – they just used the wrong summary.


3 Responses to “Howard citizens lose bill battle”

  1. Mary Smith said

    When the judge’s gavel fell, COPE lost a battle, but Ulman lost the war for County Exec. A vote for Wallis is no way a vote for Ulman, and a personal opinion is that only those who are voting based on fear (of everything) would support Ulman. Admittedly, we have a good number of these voters who show up at the polls consistently.

    That statement by Harry Seigel is ridiculous – again, personal opinion. We don’t call an accountant to balance a checkbook, or call a Doctor when we sneeze, and we don’t need a lawyer everytime we read a legally formed document, my gosh, that would drain money from all non-attorneys, and….OOOOHHHH, I see Harry’s agenda….

    What was going on at Merdon’s headquarters last night?

  2. hocomd said

    What was going on at Merdon’s headquarters last night? I can’t tell you that. Seriously, as his website published:

    Campaign Volunteers Summer Meeting and Celebration

    The campaign has found a new home at:
    10291A Baltimore National Pike (Route 40)
    Ellicott City, MD 21042

    Come help us celebrate the opening on July 27th as well as help us plan for door knocking, lit drops, Howard County Fair, bumper stickers, yard signs, post cards, poll workers mailings and more. Morning, afternoon and evening opportunities available.

  3. Angie Beltram said

    The attorney for the Board of Elections was the person who approved the entire petition so that the Board could determine that it was sufficient. That is who made the decision that our application for petition was legal. And for Harry Siegel to also say that COPE was a shell group is inaccurate. The organization had to be named in the application for us to go forward and he knows that. It is also interesting that he represents the Howard County Youth Program HCYP at Kiwanis whose members were extremely concerned about the location of a 24-hour drugstore across the road from that facility where 1500 children play organized ball and which will be built if CompLIte continues to be defeated. Unless there is another Harry Siegel, the HCYP members ought to know that. angie

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