Calvin Ball A Lackey?
Posted by David Keelan on Thursday, December 21, 2006
The Washington Post quoted me as calling Calvin Ball a lackey.
My response is this. It has been taken out of context and I will speak with Amit Paley about that at an appropriate time.
When I spoke with Amit I do not believe I ever used that term in our very long conversation. It is my guess that Amit took that term from a previous post I wrote on Calvin (here).
If Calvin Ball can not demonstrate his independence and distinguish himself then I don’t think he will be able to pull what Guy Guzzone did – three years as Chairman. If the other council members (save one) see Calvin Ball continuing to do the bidding of Ken Ulman – he is out after 12 months. That would be the best outcome for Calvin because it moves him out of the limelight for the next three years, and gives him time to repair his image as a lackey so he can win re-election in 2010.
The Washington Post paraphrased this statement as follows:
David W. Keelan, a Republican who runs a prominent blog about Howard County politics, has called Ball “a lackey” who follows marching orders from older Democrats with more political experience.
Am I parsing words? I don’t think so. In the Post article I simply call him a lackey. In context I say Calvin has an image problem. I also state that Calvin has the opportunity to demonstrate independence. I don’t believe that Ken Ulman issues edicts to Calvin Ball but I think Ken Ulman has a lot of influence with Calvin because of party affiliation and his role as a mentor.
As a newbie on the council I think it is natural that he would have leaned heavily on Guy and Ken for guidance. I also think it would be natural for Guy and Ken to put the newbie front and center on a controversial piece of legislation.
I have no doubt that “He is one of the most intelligent, thoughtful people that I (Ken Ulman) know(s).” I am sure many people would say the same about Calvin Ball. I don’t know Calvin Ball and it would be unfair of me to contradict Ken Ulman. If my comments were presented to Ken Ulman in the context as written in the post article I would understand why Ken Ulman also said:
“I think any criticism of Calvin in that manner is offensive and does a tremendous disservice to who he is as a person.”
And Ulman would be correct. However, I contend my comments were presented out of context.
“Some people need to let it go. The election is over.”
That is a narrow perspective Calvin. The concerns that I and many other people have expressed (both republican and democrat) are not about the election. They are about the opportunity you have to provide an independent voice for the County Council and how important that responsibility is to residents. I encourage you to widen your perspective and to not view every criticism in the narrow context of the past election or partisan politics.
The quote that I had given and hoped Amit would have included in his article was this:
“I think Calvin Ball has the capability to do a good job and I wish him nothing but the best.”
So Mssrs. Ulman and Ball you have much more experience with the press than I ever will so take the article with a grain of salt, and take the “criticism” as a legitimate concern (expressed by many people along the political spectrum) and part of the constructive dialogue that will help you to “…usher in this new culture of collaboration and consensus.”
Now for my snarky comment:
Calvin, this is Ken Ulman, the County Executive. I know you know Calvin. I just like the way it sounds. Listen Calvin, I got a call from the Washington Post. Calvin, who is this Keelan guy? I don’t know Calvin that is why I am asking you!
When the Post calls you here is what I want you to say. Hang on Calvin I have a lot more experience with these guys. Remember I have four years experience as a County Councilman and one month as County Executive so just hear me out. We are going to start calling you the “elder statesman” on the County Council. How do you like those beans? Calvin, that is a figure of speech. I don’t care if you like beans. Yes, I know you aren’t elderly either. Calvin, I have to go. I will send your press statement over to your office.”