Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Desperation (UPDATED)

Posted by David Keelan on Friday, October 13, 2006

The Maryland Democratic Party has put up a website dedicated to smearing Ken Ulman’s opponent in the general election.  Honestly, the website says the Maryland Democratic party but that is impossible to verify since the email address they provide doesn’t work, and the domain name is registered through an anonymous third party.  Why would they want to remain anonymous?  Why are they hiding?  What are they hiding?

Update: I used a couple web based utilities to look up the IP address and Domain Name Server for the smear website who’s name I will not write.  Using I found that the ip address for the smear web site is the same as  People may ask, how can two or more websites have the same IP address?  I assure you it is possible.  It is called NAME RESOLUTION and it is done at the ISP domain name server and is used as a means of pereserving IP addresses.  Then I used and found that the domain name servers for both sites are the same as well and they are NS1.SCI-ISP.NET and NS2.SCI-ISP.NET. (Why is Ulman hosting his site with a California company – Merdon’s ISP has its corporate offices in Maryland).  Traceroutes to both web sites are identical.  Both sites are hosted by Sonoma County Internet – a business Ken Ulman has been doing business with since 9-8-2005 according to campaign finance reports.

If Ken Ulman is hosting this smear site (all indications are that he is) with the same ISP hosting his official website why isn’t he just coming right out and saying so instead of hiding behind the democratic party and anonymous registration information?  Will he claim he had nothing to do with it just like the smear he ran against Joan Lancos.  Why?  Because he doesn’t want voters to associate him with these desperate tactics – it is consistent with the false image he is so desperately trying to portray of himself.  It is consistent with a campaign devoid of any vision or plan of its own.  It is a consistent with a campaign that has no other alternative but to resort to scare tactics.  He can’t deny it.  The evidence is clear.  In addition, if one looks at the address side (mail to) of all of Ken’s mailers and the mailer for this web site – they are identical from set up, format, the line that seperates it from the fold above, font, and even the printer’s mark.

If he is trying to hide his involvement in negative smear tactics he isn’t very good at it.


Chris Merdon has stayed positive and on message during this entire campaign.  He has not criticized Ken Ulman, yet Ken Ulman has continued to criticize Merdon at every turn. Ulman criticized Merdon for putting forth his plan for Howard County and what he would do as County Executive calling it election year rhetoric.  Then he turns around and does the same thing. Then Ulman utilizes his majority on the County Council to stall legislation intended to help Senior citizens and hides behind his campaign contributors on the Commission on Aging. I guess it is not to be unexpected considering the tactics he used in 2002 in his primary and general election. Rather than campaign honestly and confront Chris directly on the issues he gets the Democratic Party to put up a website in order to spread mis-information.  I don’t want to promote the site but it is full of innuendo and distortions, just like Ken’s resume (resume? you might ask.  Wait ’til you read the Sunday paper). Oh yes, before I forget.  Ken keeps changing his story.  Wednesday night he said that Chris cut $130M from the school budget, now he say he only cut $36M.  Well, if you are going to tell a distortion he should get his story straight.  Will it be a $1B cut next week? He has proven that his campaign is devoid of ideas and integrity and is now desperately trying to cling to life.  I guess he figures if he can smear Mary Kay Sigaty and win by 36 votes why can’t he do the same again.

He is desperate and it will only get worse.  This in the first shot in a negative campaign that is going to swamp Howard County and Merdon is not going to play that game.


32 Responses to “Desperation (UPDATED)”

  1. Lorilei said

    What did Ulman know and when did he know it? If he knew in advance about this slime-time tactic, he should do the honorable thing and excuse himself from the race in shame. I saw it yesterday when we got regular mail telling us to go there. Since my husband (mostly) and I now read these local blogs, we went to the site so we could comment. We had a good belly laugh at the desperation and clumsy distortion of it all. A real ten on the sleaze-o-meter. Those who supported him have to be embarassed by this kind of gutter diving. “I’m Ken Ulman, and I’ll lead us into the gutter – follow me everyone.” I must shower immediately.

  2. hocomd said

    I hope more people like you come forward and speak their minds. It is clumsy distortion at best.
    When I criticise Ken Ulman it is on policy and his resume. In terms of his resume I have good information and it is posted on this site to question whether he is being honest about his resume. The web site in question just smacks of desperation and is full of distortions.
    Mary Kay Sigaty and Joan Lancos are probably shaking their heads thinking “What did you expect?”

  3. Numbersgirl said

    Can you please point out the distortions?

  4. hocomd said

    For starters:

    Chris did vote for 30,000 residential units in the General Plan, but it’s 30,000 units over 20 years. Chris also voted to limit it from 2,500 units/year to 1,500 units/year. So Chris reduced development by 20,000 units.

     For the record, the bill in question tried to rearrange the General Plan, thus throwing out zoning predictibility.  Additionally, it tried moving General Plan established housing allocations from the West to the East increasing density in the East.  Chris voted to maintain the integrity of the General Plan and against additional crowding in the schools in the East where the additional denisty had not been planned for.

    Saying that Chip Lundy bought off Merdon?
    Claiming an ethics violation when none existed?
    Claiming that Merdon voted to develop in enviromentally protected area is an out right lie.
    Claiming Merdon wants to turn the Rt100 corridor in to I270 in Montgomery County is a complete distortion of the facts, and a deliberate contextual fabrication.  Read the entire article.  Merdon was talking about the enviable state of that high technology corridor – not development.
    Posting photos of Merdon campaign signs saying they sit on a certain controversial property and they Do Not.

    Don’t worry. I won’t disappoint you I will publish a rebuttal.

    And Numbers, Ken can’t keep straight in his own head how much he claims Chris Merdon cut from the school budget.  He said in the forum on Wed. it was $130M but he told the Howard County Times editorial board it was only $36M.  Which is it?  Do you know?

  5. Nanners said

    I am so appalled but not surprised. I can’t wait for the Sunday paper. Hocomd, how should Chris Merdon deal with this? Ken Ulman is desperate and immature. I am at home sick tonight and decided to go on-line (I love your web-site Mr hocomd). Now I feel worse.

  6. hocomd said

    I think he should handle it by not responding or by going into the gutter with Ulman.

  7. jen said

    What is the address of the website?

  8. hocomd said

    Jen, I won’t post it here. If you want to see it send me a private email.

  9. jen said

    why not?

  10. Treehugger said

    I think this kind of dirty politics should not go untold.I think that its time for readers to make Ken answer the questions and hold him accountable for his actions.

  11. hocomd said

    Why not? Isn’t that obvious. If Ken Ulman wants to sling mud he can at least do it honestly. He can post the same information on his web site.

    I would not dignify the slurs by posting that website url.

    Ulman takes quotes and votes and stretches them out of context and then fabricates enviromental scare tactics.

    Mark my words. He is running scared and this will not be the last smear Ulman comes out with.

  12. Ann said

    Ken is behind, he is obviously the weaker candidate and has to resort to this tactic. He can’t even get public support from the other Democratic Candidates from Howard County, they are continuously supporting Merdon. Every week, there is a different Democrat standing up for Merdon.

    There is a simiar website for Michael Steele that was set up by the Maryland Democratic Party. This website is also a complete smear campaign on Steele.

    Is this what the Dem’s have now become, perpetual mudslingers? Have they become that desperate? It is disappointing, you would hope that a campaign would generate creative ideas, and vision for the future, which is what leadership is.

  13. hocomd said

    Jen, I asked an expert to review the analysis I did on the website in question. They have no skin in the game. They confirmed who is behind the smear site.

    All the information has been compiled into a short, but comprehensive report. I am sure it will be dealt with in a reasonable and fair manner.

    Ken opened Pandora’s box. In his clumsy attempt to distance himself from gutter politics he soiled himself adn revealed his true colors.

  14. ed said

    sad, despicable and pathetic.

  15. Numbersgirl said

    I have to respectfully disagree. I don’t think this is dirty or disgusting. I find it informative.

    If you believe that there are portions of the website that are not true, please post them.

    I would also like to see a similar site directed at Ulman’s record.

    All this talk about Ken’s resume and other gossip isn’t helpful unless it is substantiated. Like it or not, the website about Merdon’s record is very well presented. It states opinions about his record, substantiated by council bills or quotes from Merdon. This is helpful to voters.

    If you have similar opinions about Ulman, I wish it would be presented in the same manner. Your latest post about Ken’s position being Liaison vs. Director was started in that direction. You believe X, and it is supported by documents Y and Z.

    This is what voters need. Yes, it is partisan, but it is also based in evidence. You may not agree with the evidence, but if similar arguments are presented on both sides, then the voter gets to examine both sets of evidence and decide for him or herself.

    This is democracy in action.

  16. hocomd said


    The difference is that Ulman’s “facts” are distortions. I posted those distortions and rebuttals in the comments of this post and in a seperate post.

    Ulman’s resume doesn’t check out. I posted those documents – it is clear.

    It is interesting that you found the website in question. How did you find it? Did the Ulman campaign mail it to you? Did someone forward it to you.

  17. Numbersgirl said

    We received the pamphlet in the mail.

    And the fact that you see the website’s “facts” as “distortions” is exactly what I want to see. Some of your rebuttals don’t check out, in my opinion, but this is part of the decision-making process.

    They say fact, you say distortion. You say fact, they say distortion. I make a decision and vote. As long as it is backed by evidence (documents, quotes from candidates), it is useful. Hearsay and unsupported positions aren’t helpful.

    Taking a step back and examining the effect of the statements posted on the blogs versus the statements made on the website in question, the website is much more helpful at this point. The blogs just aren’t cutting it in terms of providing information to the voters. The partisan rhetoric just gets deeper and deeper. This is fine if your mind is already made up or you vote straight party lines. I don’t. I need substance. So please, in the coming weeks, I would be very grateful to see from your blog, from the readers/commenters, and from other blogs, as much productive conversation as possible.

  18. hocomd said


    Why don’t you want to talk about the fact that Ulman is behind the negative campaign and is trying to hide it?

    Just because Ulman says they are true and presents selected information doesn’t mean they are true?

    Did Chris Merdon violate ethics rules? NO!
    Did he vote to develop on enviromentally protected land? NO!
    Are his signs on controversial developers property? No!
    Does Chris Merdon want the sprawl that is on I270? No!
    Does Merdon want to increase density in Western Howard County? No!

    The claim that Merdon’s vote on Comp-lite and his subsequent votes on those same properties granting them the zoning changes is a redherring. Ken Ulman violated the County Code by the way he managed comp-lite. Some Democrats call Ulman’s actions illegal. These properties should have gone through the conditional use process instead of comp-lite. When they did eventually go through the conditional use process that is when Merdon voted to permit the changes. That is called standing up for the process and providing predictibility.

    I presented the facts and you choose to ignore them, and the fact that Ulman is running a negative campaign and is trying to hide it.

    This is a desperate attempt to change the debate about Ulman’s poor record on development. No one is falling for it – except maybe you.

  19. Numbersgirl said

    You presented your facts, they presented theirs. I have yet to make a decision on where I stand. I don’t know why you don’t grasp this.

    If this is a place that does not welcome rational and reasonable thought, then fine. I was hoping for a more balanced discourse.

  20. hocomd said

    You only need to look around you will notice a lot of balanced discourse. With that said, stick around please.

    I am just trying to find out where you stand on the fact that Ulman is behind this and is trying to hide it. He can present his “facts” all he wants but why not in an open and direct manner. I want to know what are Numbergirls feelings about Ulman running a negative campaign and trying to hide it?

    I am sure Merdon will address the distortions in due time, but I don’t think he will do it on my time table.

  21. observer said

    Numbersgirl, if Merdon had done something like this, you would be calling him a desperate idiot, why do you love Ken so much?
    Don’t you know him? If you really knew him, you’d understand why he is in the tank for developers.

  22. Numbersgirl said

    Observer, you are not very observant. Please read my comment in #15. I very much would like to see a similar site directed at Ulman.

    Check my comments. I have not made a single pro-Ulman or pro-Merdon comment. I do make pro-evidence requests and comments, as that is what I am after.

  23. hocoterp said

    There are many claims Ken has made that can be dissected, but I want to start with one that I’ve heard and seen on several occasions.

    Ken repeatedly says Chris voted for 30,000 homes. This is a good spin job by Ken because while that statement is factually true, it’s only a small part of the story.

    The vote for 30,000 units was part of a 20 year plan that was passed unanimously by the County Council and signed by County Executive Robey. Actually, the original plan was for 50,000 units but Chris Merdon supported an amendment to reduce the number of units per year from 2,500 to 1,500. So yes, Chris voted for 30,000 units but he prevented it from being 50,000 units. Contrary to Ken’s claims, he SLOWED growth by preventing 20,000 new homes.

    Also, and again this goes to Ken’s spin job, Robey is taking credit for supporting responsible growth by signing the same bill Ken criticizes Chris for voting for.

    Spin is a part of national and state politics, and unfortunately it is creeping more and more into local politics. Just like certain candidates are also employing negative campaigning. Sure, Merdon is trying to get the most press he can out of his slow growth plan, green plan, etc., but I don’t see him engaging in the same kind of spin and negative tactics that Ken is.

  24. jen said

    No, it wasn’t obvious to me why you wouldn’t post the site. If it was an obvious smear, then it would incite disgust in all of us readers and reflect poorly on Mr. Ulman. Of course that assumes you think your readers are intelligent and perhaps our posts are not strong indicators of our capabilities.

    Hayduke has posted the site and I have since reviewed it. It seems like typical campaign spin. I don’t think it crosses the line into outright lies or deceit. Just the same caliber of artful dodging and creative writing that I see in other races- most notably the race for governor. I hate to see it on a local level, however. I assumed we were better than that and it does reflect poorly on Mr. Ulman.

    I don’t think its worth all the gnashing of teeth, moaning and wringing of hands. How many people will actually read it- who haven’t yet made up their minds- and who are naive enough to believe the contents? Maybe as many as the total number of readers of all Howard County blogs. And that won’t make a difference in the election. (Well, not unless you are Mary Kay Sigaty and you are running against Ulman).

    And I think thou doest protest too much in the Merdon litany listed above. Neither candidate- as far as I know, has been canonized nor have they descended into the depths of hell.

    Did Merdon violate ethics rules? No
    Did Merdon show poor judgement in his mailing? Yes
    Did he vote to develop environmental land? Not in this case
    Is he an environmentalist by voting record? No
    Is Ken? No
    Are Merdon’s signs on controversial properties? Yes
    Are ken’s? Yes
    Does Chris Merdon want 270 sprawl? No
    Does Ken? No
    Does Merdon want to increase density in the West? Maybe
    Does Ken? Maybe
    (The last two questions reference the development of Doughoregan Manor and the possible extension of the Planned service area)

    I put my Magic 8 ball up against your litany:
    Is Chris the slow growth candidate? My magic eight ball says “probably yes”. Was he always? 8-ball says “chances aren’t good”. Will he continue to be in the future? “Answer unclear, ask later”. Is he a better behaved candidate than Ulman? “You can bet on it”.


  25. hocomd said

    Jen, thank you for putting it in perspective. I got carried away on this one.

    But I am disgusted that Ulman is hiding that fact that he is “the man behind the curtain” so he can deny he had anything to do with it later.  At least in the Governor’s race one knows who is doing the spinning. 

    I do think that there are many obvious distortions and I hope that at an appropriate time Merdon’s campaign will respond.

  26. tom berkhouse said


    You obviously get that SOME candidates “spin” the facts on certain issues. Spin is meant to confuse people who might not be involved enough in local laws and processes to understand what is the truth and what is not. By that I mean that some people have a very thorough understanding of Zoning Regulations and so forth. So, they understand the legal nuances of something like the Comp Lite affair. However, the vast majority of people are NOT very well versed on Zoning Regulations, so it is possible for a candidate to misguide those people by spinning.

    Chris has never said that he opposes all rezonings. He merely opposed the illegal violation of County process that Ulman, Robey, and Guzzone perpetrated by adding additional zoning applications to the Comprehensive Rezoning process AFTER THE DEADLINE.

    Since there were legal challenges filed against Comp Lite by COPE (headed by a former Democratic Councilwoman), several of the petitioners of several cases that were improperly added by Ulman et. al., filed INDIVIDUAL REZONING APPLICATIONS so that they could get their case looked at via the normal process. If Chris voted to approve any of those it was because they ultimately were approvable BASED ON THE MERITS OF THOSE CASES and they met the legal standard for approval (mistake or change in neighborhood). Now, compare that with Ulman, Robey, and Guzzone approving rezoning for cases that were illegally added to Comp Lite, AND WHICH DID NOT EVEN MEET THE LEGAL STANDARD FOR REZONING. The Bethel Korean Church, the most notable of the illegal cases, was rezoned to Planned Office Research (POR) so that the Church will NEVER have to go through a public hearing process for any future expansions. EVERY OTHER CHURCH (except for The First Baptist Church of Guilford, which was also rezoned by Ulamn to POR) in County must go through a Conditional Use hearing. The Bethel Chruch was represented by Sang Oh, former aide to Executive Robey, and former law school classmate of….that’s right, Ken Ulman. Are you smelling the stench yet?

    COPE gathered some 8,000 signatures on a referendum – Ken obviously pissed off a lot of people. So how does Ken counter such a backlash? By trying to drag Chris Merdon down into the trash heap where Ken lives.

    Ken Ulman’s actions don’t stop with Comp Lite. Go and talk to the neighbors of the Iron Bridge Wine Company and ask them how much Ken “helped” them when that plan was going through the zoning process.

    Or, talk to the residents in Waverly Woods, when the Waverly Gardens building (across from the shopping center) was going through the process, it exceeded what was approved in certain zoning cases so it needed to go back for an amended zoning hearing. Ken Ulman argued vehemently to NOT have to do that. It took an opinion from the Office of Law to get him to back down.

    Ken talks about having an open process where every voice is heard. Yet, time and time again, he has silenced voices by doling out illegal rezonings and not enforcing the regulations currently in place.

    As you can see Numbersgirl, it takes a lot just to explain some of the spin that Ken is generating. Please don’t be fooled by him and his desperate quest for power. Send this Napolean to his Waterloo!

  27. ed said

    napolean was charismatic but should never ever have wielded real power. it was disastrous. good analogy.

  28. Was On The Fence said

    Working as a sales engineer for an ISP business I can say that Keelan provides a fair and convincing piece of detective work.

    Whether this tactic is fair or not Merdon may have to respond to the allegations in the web site (I don’t really care – no one is going to stop development so it is a non-issue). Is Merdon is pro-growth as claims? I don’t see the evidence as the information is wholly one sided and provides no context. The site relies wholly on the base instincts of those not willing to do their own research.

    As for Keelan’s conclusion that it is a “smear” it depends. If admitted at the start that they were responsible for the site then I would say no.

    Keelan provides convincing evidence that Mr. Ulman chose to conceal his involvement. In my opinion it is a smear and doesn’t make Ulman look very good.

    One thing that hasn’t been pointed out by Keelan is that a great deal of cooperation had to take place between the Ulman campaign and the Democratic Party in order to put this level of information in one place. It didn’t happen over night.

    I would conclude that this was a long term plan and strategy. That would lead me to respectfully disagree that it was NOT an act of desperation but rather part of a long term campaign strategy. That means that the Ulman campaign probably planned to conceal their involvement from the beginning.

    My final conclusion would be that the Ulman campaign would be better served and better serve the voters by being open and upfront rather than conspiratorial and secretive. What does this tactic portend for a future Ulman administration?

  29. ed said

    was on the fence,

    well said, thoghtful balanced comments.

  30. […] Now get this.  Someone has come to this blog (specifically “Desperate UPDATED“) and tried to post links to two websites bearing the same markings as the smear website about Chris Merdon.  This time it was about Democratic Candidate for State Attorney General Doug Gansler. […]

  31. […] Ian Kennedy a.k.a. Hayduke  has a perspective on Ken Ulman’s new website.  He even posts a link to it.  The post is partly in response to my concerns about the site expressed in my post “Desperate“. I’m disheartened to see so much emphasis being placed on the source of the site and whether it’s negative and not the information contained within it. […]

  32. […] As I said before Ulman in Desperate (Updated) Ulman wasn’t done. “This is the first shot in a negative campaign that is going to swamp Howard County … “ […]

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