Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

County Council District 5 Question

Posted by David Keelan on Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Update August 29th:  Greg Fox has replied. 

August 25th update: Please see Mary Smith’s latest comment on this post. 

Update:  I hope no one is “offended” that I point out the Wayne Livesay and Greg Fox have not yet replied to the question posted below by Mary Smith.  Let me assure you that no “bias” is intended.

Mary Smith, a frequent reader and commentator on this blog, has posed a question for the GOP primary candidates in County Council District Five.

Jim Adams, Greg Fox, Wayne Livesay.

Mary asks:

Please describe your position on comp lite, and support your position.  Please describe any inconsistency in reports that don’t represent your position.   Specificity is encouraged, no need to compress into sound-byte size.

I don’t think Mary would mind if Democratic candidate Don Dunn were to offer an opinion.

Question posted August 17, 2006 at 1:45 pm

Second response.  Received from Greg Fox


I would love to know where you saw anything where I danced around the issue regarding Comp Lite. You won’t find such a thing. I have NEVER supported the Comp Lite legislation that was passed by all of the current council members, with the exception of Chris Merdon. I have always said that the citizens’ voices should have been heard and I support the referendum of Comp Lite. The fact that Comp Lite occurred is a concern to me, especially since it appears to have violated County Code.

What is even a greater concern is that properties were added without ever hearing from the public before voting on them — again a decision that was made by certain council members.

I would be more than willing to have additional dialogue with you. However, I have made it a practice of knowing who I am communicating with rather than someone who is afraid to disclose their identity. I am only responding now since you are recollecting something that doesn’t exist.

Mary, as I have mentioned before, I spend little time on these blogs. I just read your earlier blog (comment number 7) and can’t believe that you have the audacity to state such untruths. I challenge you to find anything that supports your comments. I can only conclude that you are either a Livesay or Adams supporter or are simply misinformed.

I have openly stated my concerns about develop and specifically issues with Comp Lite and Maple Lawn, which is one of the reasons that another candidate was recruited by the development interests to run against me. I have worked with the community opposing the Maple Lawn increases in density and, unlike one of my opponents, I am not supported by the one individual that voted for increase density after agreements had been made and voted on.

I challenge you to look at the financial disclosures to determine which candidates are getting large support from the development community as well as to which candidate has stated that the expansion of the metropolitan water district is inevitable.

Further, I am not the candidate who supported Robey in 2002.

I am surprised that David allows such misinformation to be blogged by you and hope that you seek for information about my positions prior to misrepresenting them on a public forum.

First response.  Received from Jim Adams.

I believe comprehensive zoning, should be as the word is defined, comprehensive.  I have heard that comp lite may be illegal, of course this would have to be determined by a court of law, and even if it is legal, it gave unfair advantage to those (I think the number was thirteen) parties who were included at the last moment. There was no 30 day period, as required by the parties involved with comprehensive zoning.

My real concern is that there is a feeling of untrust between citizens and the council. As you might have hear,there is favortism shown to developers.

Our sucess in land use has been because of planning.  With BRAC at one end, open farm land at the other end, the predication of thousands of new jobs available in the area, we run the risk of trashing our County.

I believe to prevent this, we employee an individual, a lawyer as a legal zoning officier. A person with no ties to the county, who will be objective in their decision making, to address issues out side of comprehensive zoning. The council would be involved with appeal cases and peroidic reviews (comprehensive zoning).

The Planning Board members should go through orientation beginning their service on the board and there should always be a lawyer in the meeting to assist and advice the board.

Planning and Zoning should be staffed well enough to follow up on the zoning plans (ex. are there the parking spaces that were agreed on).

Mary, as an accountant I believe in internal controls, as a citizen and one who believes as President Madison wrote in the Federalists Papers “our government works better with checks and balances”, and as a person who has lived a good life in Howard County, I just want to protect our life styles, and if we can, improve them. My thoughts may not be yours, so as a part of this dialogue, I hope you will share yours with us.

Thank you.


22 Responses to “County Council District 5 Question”

  1. Jim Adams said

    See previous post, Thanks

  2. Mary Smith said

    Thank you Mr. Adams. Your open response posted in blog-time (fairly immediate, as topics move with lightning speed out here) demonstrates that you already have this issue firmly defined and your position is clear.

    Let’s wait another day to hear from the others, who do read this blog.

  3. hocomd said

    Yes, thank you Jim.

  4. Jim Adams said

    Well Mary, not much dialogue. Maybe if your question was about taxes, you may have flushed the Fox out into the opening?

  5. Greg Fox said

    I’ll try to get something out there tomorrow. With the campaign in its final weeks, I have spent little time on the blogs. Actually, until I heard this post was on there, I had not been on the blogs for the past couple of months (no offense David and Dave as well Evan and Hayduke).

  6. Jim Adams said

    Getting a response from Greg is a good thing. I bet If Wayne felt he would receive a non bias, respectable response to his answer, he would reply.

  7. hocomd said


    I won’t be commenting on any replies. This is Mary’s gig.


  8. Mary Smith said

    Mr. Livesay,

    Please feel encouraged to respond.

  9. Jim Adams said

    Let’s not forget Don Dunn. I enjoy his insight as well as his friendship.

  10. Mary Smith said

    Ok, the due date for responses is 10am Friday (more than a week after posting). After that time, I’ll submit a closing commentary.

  11. Jim Adams said

    Thanks Mary, this seems more than fair.

  12. Mary Smith said

    District 5 Council Candidates had the opportunity to respond to a query, posted here for more than a week, a deadline was given, and 1 response from the 3 republican candidates was received though all three have posted on this site. The topic was comp lite, selected as a barometer of candidate intent to represent citizens and uphold law without regard for campaign contributions, and without regard for both formal and informal power. In the past week we’ve seen another egregious infraction against the citizenry perpetrated by the head of the Department of Planning and Zoning, so this would have been an opportune time to demonstrate support for citizens.

    At the same time this query/response was running, a staw poll was running, and campaign funding amounts were listed in a local paper. If campaign contributions were an indication of voter support, Livesay would be expected to lead straw polls, Fox would be second, and Adams would be a distant third. However, what is happening in the poll on this site is that Adams, who promptly responded to the initial query, is a modestly close second to Fox. Livesay is last.

    It’s always a relief when there is a candidate voters can actually support, rather than strategically analyzing tactical maneuvers and trying to predict outcomes when voting for the ‘lesser evil’.

    In an earlier post I said that a political leader who fails to represent citizen interests while working for those who finance campaigns has had little if any consequences. Could this election be a step toward the age of the voter?

    Jim Adams for District 5 Council.

  13. Jim Adams said

    You are very kind, Mary Smith, I should have asked you to run my campaign.

    Not because I am a part of it, but the way the 5th County candidates are running is interesting. All three are taking different approaches which look the same to outsiders, but are actually very different. After the race I may write more about this on this blog.

  14. Mary Smith said

    Greg, here’s the contrast:

    You might have thought “Wow, I didn’t know people were drawing these conclusions from the lack of position stated in print publications.. Glad to have the opportunity to speak to a group and get on the record accurately.”

    But instead launched what can easily be interpreted as an attack. Since I have no stake in this race, other than the fact that I’m a voter, the conspiracy paranoia is something that leaves me thinking, “oh well”.

    I now support Jim Adams only because I understood his position after he responded in addition to your intensely upset response to the posts, and admonition of open discussion. I also support Lerner for school board because, after reading these posts I checked into his qualifications further. I have no stake in his campaign, either, but these discussions make a difference to voters like me.

    These posts allow us to get to know candidates better than anything else I’ve experienced. Your response, Greg, is a case in point.

  15. Bubba said

    It didn’t look like Greg attacked you all that badly from my standpoint, but you certainly have every right to support whoever you want. Lucky for you QT Watson & KT Robey didn’t appear as folks you’ll be voting for (we might have had to agree to disagree). Keep on Blogging!

    Bubba for Dogcatcher!

  16. treehugger said

    Mary Smith have you ever thought about going to Greg’s or Wayne’s website to view what thier positions are? There have been a couple of forums held and your same questions have been asked. I have heard Greg Fox speak a couple of times and he has stated his position against Cope Lite,Lowering Taxes and quality of life issues.Why don’t you call out Livesay or what he is better known as Robey Lite about his position for Comp Lite or his position on raising taxes that caused a surpus in county revenue.With crime on the raise in Howard county I wish he would of put more officers on the streets instead of hiding flying toys in the budget.

  17. Mary Smith said

    Yes, a good idea to visit their websites.

    My understanding was that I was posing a question, and after reading 4 articles about development wherein Fox had been quoted as not in favor of changing the current methods, I advanced the discussion about why he might not want to respond. His reaction leaves a bad feeling, and the information he provided was overshadowed by the tone of his response.

    I was hoping for a discussion but instead was faced with a research commitment. Yes, facts often follow the opening of the discussion, and I might have switched gears more quickly, prior to escalating the discussion to draw him out.

    The exchange was truly an education, though not in the manner he likely intended.

  18. Greg Fox said

    I’m glad you are supporting Lerner. I am too.

  19. Mary Smith said

    I was going to post another straw poll analysis but it would have come with baseless suspicions about ballot stuffing, so it’s been omitted.


    Well, the last time you gave me the floor, a flurry of activity followed (above). When is the next point-counter point? As I said, I’m a good student and am learning volumes. This past exercise was, as I predicted, a humiliating experience. But now that I know we’re not doing the 60 Minutes version with Jane and Jack, but rather the Saturday Night Live version (“Jane you ignorant ___”), I can show up better equipped.

    What do you say, Hocomd? We could talk about the county exec candidate who will best represent citizen interests, citing specific examples, but that may be a better topic for post primary. What about the influence of party politics and self-described ‘non-partisan’ groups like the League of Women Voters? Or the impact of campaign funds on voter choice.

  20. hocomd said

    It is a straw poll. I am sure some ballot stuffing occured. That is why I thought I might regret it.

    BTW: Call me David. As I am sure you know we will be conducting an on-line forum for all candidates. Send a question. I will talk it over with Ian, Evan, and Dave and see if we can get it in.

    We have 2 weeks until the primary. Then the 4 of us will submit our questions to the general election candidates. Strating October 1st that is mostly what I will be discussing.

    With that said, we are encouraging the candidates to come to the blogs and read what the readers are saying/commenting and have the candidates respond.

  21. Bubba said

    I have questions for Courtney and Jim Robey – Can they explain all of the wasteful spending in Howard County and why they take so much of my money out of my wallet?


  22. Jim Adams said

    It’s not Courtney, it’s not Jim Robey. We are at fault. If we know what is being taken from our wallet, why don’t we make those that are taking, accountable.

    Picking the right candidates we can tighten up the budget. By using zero base budgeting,priotizing the necessities and without reducing personnel or programs, we can reduce the revenue needs of our local government. This translates into lower taxes.

    It’s all up to you and I Bubba (and appromatimatly 270,000 other people)

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