Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events


Posted by David Keelan on Friday, October 20, 2006

I have experienced a lot of backlash and been accused of stepping outside the boundaries of acceptable polite behavior and doing it for selfish reasons.  My sin?  I accused Ken Ulman of being behind “the website that shall not be named” and hiding his involvment in order to avoid the backlash that usually accompanies such negative tactics..  A blogger wrote:

It also takes real Chutzpah to suggest that the publishers of this site are trying to hide thier indentity from the public. Right on the web site itself it says:

“By Authority of Maryland Democratic Party, Ken Banks, Treasurer.”

Well Ken sure fooled that supporter who obviously refused to believe his candidate would sink so low.  He quoted the authority line and bought the ruse.  I wonder, how many other supporters did Ulman fool or disappoint with his shameful conduct, false accusations, and half truths..  It would be Fine with me to hear what that blogger has to say today.

Others are quoting from “the website that shall not be named” as if it is accurate and an authority on Chris Merdon.

I have posted a number of refutations to the claims put out by Ulman on his smear website and guess what.  Not one person has responded.  Not one.  More on that later.

Well guess what is reported in the paper today?  The Baltimore Examiner reports that Ken Ulman admits he was involved.  Sorry to disappoint those of you who refused to believe that your man could stoop so low.  The Baltimore Examiner reports this lame excuse:

“We have never tried to distance ourselves from it,” said Howard County Council Member Ulman, D-District 4.

Ulman declined to discuss his campaign strategy.

“Folks want to spread conspiracy theories,” he said. “If folks don’t like the fact that their records are being pointed out, it’s part of the campaign.”

Never tried to distance ourselves?  Ha.  Well then why didn’t you put your name on it?  Is that the best you can come up with?  Well I guess when you are caught going negative what else can you say?

Ulman declined to discuss his campaign strategy?  What was the question?  “Do you plan on remaining negative for the rest of the campaign?”  Can we expect to see you reveal more of your true colors?  BTW: Ulman sent out a second mailer that started to arrive in mailboxes yesterday.  They don’t have his name on them either.  I wonder if the next round of mailers will.  Hmmm.

Conspiracy theories?  Who is spreading conspiracy theories?  He is good.  Is he trying to turn the tables on this?  It is a conspiracy to orchestrate such a tactic and then try to hide it.  Then when confronted with it claim you didn’t try to hide it.  In addition you dishonestly portray your opponents record, and then call your opponent and his supporters names?  This is rich.  There is a way to point out someone’s record and there is a way to point out someone’s record.  Ulman choose the low road.

This is the response I predicted in my post yesterday “Don’t Try This At Home“.

Merdon is quoted, too.

“This is dirty politics at best,” Howard County Council Member Merdon, R-District 1, said in response to “Ken Ulman is hiding behind the Democratic Party when he slings his mud.”

Merdon had invited Ulman to a debate on the subject of growth and development.  Ulman writes a letter to the Washington Post and accepts Merdon’s invitation.  I don’t think “hiding behind your mother’s apron strings” (a.k.a. The Maryland Democratic Party) is what Merdon had in mind.  He wanted an honest debate so that all three candidates could respond.

I was quoted too but that is not the point of the story.

However, the other poor excuse comes from the Maryland Democratic Party who states, well this is normal.  We are behind the Michael Steele smear too.  Difference is that they really are behind it.  Ben Cardin is not hiding behind the Maryland Democratic Party.  The Democratic Party says that cooperation on this smear does exist between them and Kun Ulman but would not elaborate.  Well the cooperation is to allow Ulman to use their authority line so he can hide his involvement and then he got busted.

Ok campers.  Here are a number of the refutations that I have posted and others have posted since Ulman unveiled his new campaign strategy and no one has responded:  I have posted them on HoCoBlog and Hayduke and a link to them on Steve Fine’s website.

Comment 1

I am sure a response will be forthcoming. It takes time to respond to 134 pages of half truths.

Hayduke, he [Ulman] blasts Merdon for voting for the same bill that Jim Robey is campaigning on which was for 30,000 housing units. Ken doesn’t mention that was part of a 20 year plan that was passed unanimously by the majority democrat County Council and signed by County Executive Robey. Ken doesn’t mention that 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. No where does Ulman mention that. He takes it out of context and distorts the record. But what impression is Hayduke left with – it must be true because Keelan called Ulman a liar.

He claims ethics violations when none exist.

He takes quotes out of context such as the I270 corridor implying the Merdon wants sprawl (who wants sprawl?) when Merdon was talking about how he envied the businesses along the tech corridor and wished Howard County could attract those kinds of jobs. Jobs? Who wants jobs in Howard County. We are after all just a bedroom community, right?

He claims Merdon wants to increase density in the West. The fact is that the bill in question attempted to move housing allocations already decided in the General Plan from the West and crowd them into the East without any adequate planning for facilities or schools. The houses were in the General Plan for the West and facilities and schools were planned for as a result. That provides predictability for County planning and residents.

He fails to mention the that the Merdon Kittleman budget proposal was submitted during the debate about a 30% tax increase. During a time when we could slow the pace of growth (not cut the previous fiscal year budget) or whack the tax payers.

It goes on and on like this and then he won’t own up to the distortions but hides his involvement. What does that tell you about his style and character. Wonder why I called him what I called him? (I called him a coward).

He posts documentation to provide the appearance of legitimacy. Who is going to read 134 pages of documents? You? He is betting that 1 or 2 people (you and me) will and that the rest of the voters will say “Well done. Great research.” and then never ever give it the due diligence it deserves”. That is a smear.

The questions about Ken’s alledged position as the Director of the Board of Public Works is a valid question and it deserves an answer. By the way, it is another example of Ken’s distortions. He never had the title, it isn’t written any where and he gets a pass?

Hayduke, it is a desperate attempt on Ken’s part. Claiming so is not a tacit admission of the site’s accuracy at all. You can’t take that position with any legitimacy at all. Have you read all 134 pages? Will you read all 134 pages? I have only just begun and what I cited hear is only the beginning of fleshing out the smear.

If you want an honest debate then before you bless the site’s accuracy then download the entire site, all the attached documents, and then decide for yourself.

At least then I will respect your opinion on this matter.  (my point being Ian is a smart guy, very smart, and I think he is not being honest with himself).

Comment 2

Here is another straight out falsehood.

But Comp Lite is just part of his record of rezonings in favor of development. As part of the comprehensive rezoning process that preceded Comp Lite, Chris voted to allow a numerous new houses to be built on a property that was zoned for environmental protection. Though he now touts a “green” proposal for Howard County, the truth is that when he had a chance to ensure sensitive land and our environment were protected, he decided in favor of development. (CB75-2003).

That property was not zoned environmentally protected. Never was. Ever! It was zoned R-ED which is not “Environmentally protected” land. It is Environmental Development (ED). Ulman wants you to think it was a wet land or bird habitat or something. It wasn’t. Is their a distinction between Environmental Development and Environmentally Protected? I guess not since Ken says their isn’t.

Oh yeah, relative to numerous new houses do you know what they were going to build there before the zoning change? Numerous new Townhouses. Ulman doesn’t tell you that does he. More half truths.

How much time did they put into making this stuff up?

Comment 3

Comp-Lite. Merdon’t position has always been that those 18 properties should have gone through the conditional use process and not comp-lite.

When those properties did EVENTUALLY go through the conditional use process Merdon found no issue with their petitions and welcomed the public input during the conditional use process (which was so lacking in the comp-lite process). That is why Merdon supported the petitioners.

He objected to the comp-lite process not being followed which allowed these properties to escape the public scrutiny of the conditional use process.

Again, the point is that the properties never should have been permitted in comp-lite thus by passing public input and scrutiny. That is not the purpose or design of comp-lite.

The proper process was conditional use. The petitioners/properties met the guidelines in the conditional use process.

Now Merdon is being hit for following the law. Ulman understands this as well as Merdon does. He is fogging the issue.

Comment 4

“Finally, though he sidesteps the issue directly, Chris has indicated in words and actions his desire to help the Carroll family find ways to receive public and/or private money to keep their large, historic and undeveloped property in Ellicott City. Phillip and Camilla Carroll, both of whom contributed the maximum $4,000 to Chris’s campaign, have indicated that they are considering developing a significant chunk of their 892-acre estate, and part of their goal is to have water and sewer service extended to their property so they can increase the development density on their parcel.”

Ken is right. We should just let Doughoregan disappear. Wipe it off the face of the map. He has not led on this at all.

What Ken fails to tell people is that in order to preserve the property the Carroll’s need approximately $18M to fund upkeep and maintenance. He also leaves to speculation what “a significant chunk” means. It means that under current law the Carroll family could develop over 200 acres of their land. The Ho Co Times wrote “Under current zoning, between 211 and 450 new residential units could potentially be built on the land, McLaughlin said.”

What Merdon is trying to do is keep those acres in ag preservation. Remember, the County is willing to spend $24M to do so.

Why do the Carroll’s support Chris? He is the only elected official who has shown any interest in helping preserve this historic property. “My goal is to preserve 100 percent of Doughoregan Manor,” Merdon said. “When there is the opportunity to put large tracts of land in agricultural preservation, we should try to do everything possible to make that happen.”

What does Ken say? The Carroll’s have “indicated” they might develop. He fails to mention that they also “indicated” and actually prefer to keep the property in ag pres.

Once again Ulman provides only 1/2 of the story.

Comment 5

Steve, I am not trying to pick a fight. I respect your opinion I just disagree.

1. provides a one sided and distorted view of Merdon’s record.

2. Ulman put up the web site and tried to hide it.

3. No one responded to my refutations of the claims and half truths on Ulman’s smear.

I have posted that link on your blog and you haven’t responded either.

4. Does one not expect a candidate for Chief Executive Officer of Howard County to put forth a platform? Why not?

5. Demos. Chris Merdon has voted for Jim Robey’s budgets in 2007, 2006, and 2005. He opposed the 2004 budget because it contained a 30% tax increase. Despite that Merdon’s alternative budget proposal increased the 2003 budget by 4.6% or $23.8M. In that budget increase Merdon earmarked $13M or 4.4% increase in the education budget. Merdon’s education budget proposed $305M in county funds for HCPS and Robey proposed $310M in county funds which is a .016% difference.

Merdon did that without a 30% tax increase.

Don’t believe me? Go to the authority and then look at the County Bill that passed the budget:

Comment 6

Demos, by the way….

Ulman and you are suggesting that Merdon are in developer’s pockets.

You and Mr. Ulman perpetuate the theory that a candidate for elected office by accepting donations from developers means that are now obligated to the developer. I assume that you are placing Mr. Ulman in that same category.

I am not going to suggest that Mr. Ulman is in the pocket of the development community like Mr. Ulman and you are suggesting about Mr. Merdon.

Does it mean anything that Mr. Ulman accepted four separate donations in the amount of $4,000 each ($16,000 total) from a group of companies and a principle in those companies. Of the $16,000 he accepted $12,000 was accepted on the same day and $4,000 was accepted in the previous month.

The companies, residing at the same address 2330 W Joppa Rd, Lutherville-Timonium, are:

Preston Capital Management, LLC
Preston Partners, Inc.
Preston Land SCS, LLC
And the principle, David Scheffenacker, also reports the same address.
These entities own hundreds of thousands of square feet of developed property in Howard County and more in neighboring Anne Arundel County.

Preston Partners is the 11th largest commercial real estate firm in the area negotiating the sale and purchase of major pieces of developed property in Howard County.

Do I believe Ulman is in Preston’s pocket? No I don’t. Not anymore than I believe Ulman’s insinuation. So what is the point? Ulman and you should not be casting aspersions.

Since you are encouraging people to go to the Board of Elections campaign finance website I think it would only be fair that they take the time to look at the contributions that Mr. Ulman has taken from the same industry. I think they will find that as a percentage of total contributions to both candidates they are equal.

Since Mr. Ulman has significantly outraised Mr. Merdon then you will find that as a total Mr. Ulman has raised more money from the developer community than has Mr. Merdon.


30 Responses to “Chutzpah”

  1. hickridgesteeler said

    Good for you for exposing Ulman! Keep it up!

  2. Right of Center said

    Oh come on – calling people out on their donors, bio, and their votes is fair politics, and not a smear campaign.

    I’d like to hear something from Merdon about why he’s better than Ulman, who is probably the worst candidate the Dems could put up (seriously – he’s a joke. Hell, Ball would have been better, or a new face altogether). Ulman has a terrible record on taxes, growth, and basically every other issue. I personally think you’re calling him out on his resume BS is a good idea. But turn about is fair play.

  3. mary smith said

    The reaction here is comical. I get a mental picture of someone throwing an acorn into the center of a flock of chickens, and the resulting mayhem when one is pinged on the head.

  4. hocomd said

    Right of Center, I respectfully disagree. If Ulman wanted to compare records I would agree. is not an attempt to compare records it is an attempt to distort an opponents record by presenting half truths and innuendo.

    Additionally, when I call Ken Ulman out on his resume you and everyone else knows David Keelan is calling out Ken Ulman on his resume. I support the Merdon campaign but I am no surrogate. I also give readers the opportunity to respond and call me out. does not.

    If Ulman had said upfront that this was his attempt to represent Merdon’s record and offered a contrast to his own record then I would agree with you.

  5. Numbersgirl said

    I am not surprised that you haven’t had any follow up to your refutations. Probably for the same reason that you didn’t hear back about the resume padding, or, more telling, why there were not many responses from the Democratic party to the Forum questions. There are simply not many Ulman supporters, or Democrats for that matter, that follow the blogs. There are definitely more Republicans. Just look at any of the responses to your posts. They are almost all from Ulman-haters.

  6. hocomd said

    Number, an unfortunate fact indeed. I can only blame myself given the content of what I write. I suspect Ulman supporters monitor the site, but would not dare to comment.

  7. mary smith said

    OMgosh. That’s just crazy talk.

    “An unfortunate fact indeed”. Too much.

  8. Fran said

    I’m prettier than Mary Smith…

  9. Steve Fine said

    Dave, thanks for the publicity!

  10. hocomd said

    My pleasure. I think Ken will get some backlash on this. It was important to expose Ken’s poor character.

    Do you think Ken looked good in the Examiner article?

    The University of Virginia conducted a study that says candidates who make the initial negative campaign foray is the predicted looser in 8 out of 12 scenarios. The scenario in which Ken finds himself is attempting an under handed smear. They say, “When candidate A makes an unfair charge, or is caught attempting to disassociate themselves from an unfair charge, he or she loses every time.”

    In “A Note on Negative Elctoral Advertising” by Subhadip Chakrabarti, he concludes that the candidate who first launches a negative attack looses “veritas” (latin for truth) in the voter’s eyes. The initiator solidifies his base and that of the opponent but pushes undecideds into the opponents column.

    Interesting point they make.

    My opinion is that Ken will experience enough backlash to loose the campaign. Next time you see him extend my gratitude.

    One has to wonder how the other papers are going to treat this?

    I assume you now approve of Ulman’s tactics?

  11. […] 3.  Fabricate a website […]

  12. mary smtih said

    Note to Fran:

    Things are changed. I understand your perspective, now.

    I regret the Jerry Springer comment and hope everyone can see that you are better looking. I humbly concede.

  13. hocomd said


    Kind of you, but I suspect Fran is a man and your beauty and grace would put him to shame.

  14. mary smtih said

    Oops! Didn’t know.

    And, can you repeat those nice things during the week when everyone is reading?

    Quite the politician, David. The comments would be a bit more convincing if we had met. Maybe you meant ‘inner beauty’. In any case, it’s good thing my ego remains unaffected, otherwise I’d have to go easy on you next week.

  15. hocomd said

    Flattery will get me no where?

  16. hocomd said

    Oh yes. How about coffee with Jim Adams on Nov 8th. Double T in Ellicott City at 7AM?

  17. […] Four years and 3 months later I think those words still ring true.  Given the type of campaign you and Mr. Ulman are running it begs the question.  Do you still stand by those words Mr. McGreevy? […]

  18. […] Politics at its worst?  He would know. […]

  19. mary smtih said

    Now David, your comment about coffee sounds a bit too much like you’re dismissing me due to my gender. I won’t fall for flattery so maybe I’ll fall for attention? Stop taking lessons from Greg. But maybe you can only learn from inbreeding within the party, certainly it’s starting to look like the offspring of exclusivity.

    What an education.

  20. mary smtih said

    Why is the comments form closed on the new post about Carson’s article?

  21. hocomd said

    I am sorry you don’t think so Mary, but I was being sincere in my invitation.

  22. hocomd said

    Are they? The default is open comments. LEt me look

  23. hocomd said

    Fixed it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  24. hocomd said

    What is more Mary. If you knew me you would know I was sincere.

  25. mary smtih said

    You’re sincere about inviting me to coffee with Jim Adams? Unless you’re planning to be there, and unless Mr. Adams is sitting with you now, how could that possibly be sincere?

  26. hocomd said

    Never mind Mary. I just thought it would be nice to have a cup of coffee with you and Jim. Jim, are you available on the 8th.

  27. Mary Beth Tung said


    David is one of the most sincere people I’ve met; if he invited you to coffee, he has no agenda – he just would like to have coffee.

    I’ve never been invited to coffee by David! 🙂

  28. hocomd said

    Mary Beth,
    Now I really feel bad. I am going back to bed

  29. mary smtih said

    I repeat:

    You invited me to go and have coffee with someone else.

    At this point I’m assuming I’ve been the target of a prank: Who’s on first? What? No, What’s on second…

  30. Jim Adams said

    Hocomd. I am here. David it was so nice of you to include me with Wayne Livesay, who I admired, Don Dunn, who I would prefer in the 5th Districit Council race, and now Mary Smith, who month’s ago I had asked out to coffee, and she didn’t respond.

    I enjoy your site, but I think I am burning out. Campaigns and blogs are taking their toll. I think on Nov. 8, I will be down O.C. with the cold breeze and gritty sand. It will be a time to gather my thoughts. I may have one more campaign run left in me, and you have given me some ideas, which I thank you for David. You and Mary Smith enjoy the coffee, Wayne have fun with your Corvette, and Don, I hope you win, your the best quilified person.

    p.s.I really am a Republican David.

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