Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Going Negative … Already Again!!!

Posted by David Keelan on Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Even Coren posted the video of the recent Harpers’ Choice Candidates forum here, but since his tape ran out during one question, he asked the Merdon Campaign (who also taped the event to provide the missing footage). I followed-up with Merdon’s campaign and have it posted below.

What’s so hilarious about this particular footage is what I learned from Dave Wissing who attended the forum. The young woman who asks this “question” is not you average voter, but a staff member or volunteer of the Ulman campaign. According to Wissing, she was out in front of the building where the forum was held handing out Ulman lapel stickers on everyone who walked in for an hour prior to the event’s start. The bottom line, it was a planted question, maybe part of a coordinated attack campaign. Apparently, while asking the question, she removed her Ulman sticker – how nice. Watch Ken try to be poker faced as she tries to trip Merdon up.  Merdon handles it very well.

In Dave’s own words…

I also thought Mr. Merdon did a pretty good job deflecting a string of planted questions by the Ulman campaign. In fact, Mr. Ulman’s attempts to try and embarrass Mr. Merdon with these planted questions gave Mr. Merdon a chance to give rather good answers to these questions for everyone to hear. One included the smoking ban in Columbia and the other was about some school that Mr. Merdon supposedly “cut” from the budget. Mr. Merdon explained his vote on the smoking ban (one year versus three years for implementation) as one of fairness to businesses who spent gobs of money trying to comply with previous laws in Howard County to give them a chance to recoup some of that money. The school “cut” question was just flat out inaccurate and Mr. Merdon did a good job of pointing out the error of question.

The question being why did Merdon vote to cut school funding in 2003.  The answer being, Merdon opposed a 30% tax increase.  He and Allan Kittleman proposed their own budget and fully funded the school budget at the same level as Robey’s budget.  Their vote was against the 30% Robey, Guzzone, Rakes, Ulman tax increase.  He went on to add that he helped ensure the construction of many new schools in his district and the County since 1998.

I would add, the question is so silly that someone could ask Ulman, “When you voted against Allan Kittleman’s and Chris Merdon’s proposed 2003 budget you voted against full funding for our schools…”  For Pete’s sake.

Combine that with this letter that appeared in both The View and the Howard County Times about the same time as the forum, and its closely related topic of Dayton Oaks Elementary School…

Merdon Cuts Funds, Then Cuts Ribbon. Why?

From: Kristin Goldscher

Clarksville 21044


As the children of Howard County return to school this fall I take note of the irony and hypocrisy of Chris Merdon cutting the ribbon at the opening of the new Dayton Oaks Elementary School since he voted to cut the funds needed to build it. It amazes me that he says education is so important and yet he has been unwilling to properly fund our education budget.

I wonder if it the woman who wrote this letter is the same person in the video.

Now I could be wrong, but I thought Ken Ulman pledged to stay positive.  Planting letters in the newspapers and planting members of his campaign in to citizen (supposedly non-partisan) candidate forums isn’t exactly an honest campaign.

Why doesn’t Ken just ask the question himself.  Have a debate.  Don’t hijack a candidate forum.

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8 Responses to “Going Negative … Already Again!!!”

  1. Mary Smith said

    See what happens without dissentions? No discussion.

    This is not an endorsement for crude and baseless attacks.

    -signed,
    the much maligned,
    nearly always controversial,
    terribly inconvenient,
    will be missed when gone,
    admittedly sometimes conversationally provocative,
    Mary

  2. hocomd said

    Do you mean dissension: Difference of opinion; disagreement. I guess you are right. No one must disagree with assertion that the Ulman campaign planted questions in a citizen forum.
    You would be missed.

  3. Mary Smith said

    Ok, that’s what I wanted to hear. I’d be missed.

    ‘Dissention’ doesn’t produce an error in Word, but in the dictionary the closest thing is ‘dissentious’.

    I dissent on the postion that Ulman must have planted the op-ed piece, and the position that the assumed action was worse than asking citizens, “if it were true” questions.

  4. The Truth said

    The young woman in the video, asking the question about school funding is …[Editor’s Note: Suffice it to say it isn’t the same person as the author of the letter]. I don’t know her very well, but am surprised that she would ask a question that seems to have been very misguided. Maybe she was put up to it without realizing the truth behind it.

    As for the other man (who claimed to have asthma) asking about why Chris didn’t support the smoking ban – WHAT A JOKE. Definitely a planted question in my opinion. I applaud Chris’ response – that the County had an AGREEMENT with the restaurants/bars that he was not willing to violate. Unfortunately, democrats don’t know what it means to uphold an agreement, or laws for that matter. Many businesses spent tens of thousands of dollars installing special air filtration systems to provide separate smoking areas for their customers. That agreement was a fair course of action – providing a smoking area for smokers, and a smoke-free area for non-smokers. Ulman and the democrats were only playing politics (as usual). You might not like smokers, but smokers have rights too – something that democrats don’t seem to remember.

  5. Hayduke said

    One more thing: How can I get a picture next to my comment?

  6. hocomd said

    Get a wordpress account and load a gif or jpg

  7. Fran said

    I’m still better looking than Mary Smith…

  8. MBT said

    Mary Smith and Fran – perhaps the two of you can follow David’s advice and join Heyduke in posting your pictures – then we can have David set up an online poll to determine who is better looking….

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