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Archive for the ‘Howard County News’ Category

Howard County Board of Education Primary Results (Unofficial)

Posted by Jim Walsh on Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Vote for four:
1. Sandra French 17461
2. Frank Aquino 17363
3. Larry Walker 10569
4. Brian Meshkin 9748
5. David Proudfoot 9707
6. Cindy Vaillancourt 9412
7. Robert Ballinger 8860
8. Leslie Kornreich 8006
9. David Gertler 6525
10. David Thalmeier 5678
11. Marcelino Bedolla 4724


Posted in Education, Howard County, Howard County News, Jim Walsh | 3 Comments »

Howard County Republican Primary Results (Unofficial)

Posted by Jim Walsh on Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Senate 13 – Kyle Lorton 2853 / Jody Venkatesan 2010

House 13 (vote for 3) – Ed Priola 3518, Jeff Robinson 2778 and Loretta Gaffney 2509 / J’Neanne Theus 2022

Republican Central Committee (vote for 9)
1. Laura Kittleman 9061
2. David Bates 6944
3. Diane Butler 6424
4. Dave Myers 6144
5. David Wissing 5803
6. Loretta Shields 5646
7. Kathleen Newberry 5316
8. Janet Moye Cornick 4981
9. Karen Winterling 4836
(Only men named “David” are allowed on Central Committee.)
10. Betty Evans 4383
11. Joel Rosenberg 4121
12. Ellen Harrison 4004
13. Christopher Oxenham 3509
14. Edward (?) “Chick” Chickanis 3343

Posted in Howard County, Howard County News, Jim Walsh, Republicans | Leave a Comment »

Fair Share

Posted by David Keelan on Sunday, June 10, 2007

I love how people come up with these nice names for terrible ideas.  The Howard County Board of Eduction and the Howard County Education Association are having a public disagreement over this principle ironically named “fair share”.

What is fair share?   A mandatory union fee to be paid by school system employees who are not members of the union.  Why charge someone to belong to your club if they are not a member?  The Baltimore Sun explains it this way:

The mandatory fee would be paid by teachers and support staff who are not union members but who benefit from union services.

I can not believe this.  What a load of pig dung.  What services?  The Sun nor the HCEA is ever really specific about this.  Give me a list of services. 

How many of us are the residual beneficiaries of someone elses work?  The Sierra Club (I am not a member but I appreciate some of their work), the NRA (I believe in the 2nd Amendment but I don’t own a gun), Ducks Unlimited (Conservation), in addition I work for a company with employees who are repesented by a couple of unions.

When the unions negotiate salary and benefits for these employees guess what those same benefits usually find their way in to the management benefits package.  The most obvious example of this is the granting of founder shares when my company merged with another.  We don’t get everything but we get most of it.  If the union came to my company and demanded that they begin deducting union fees from my pay check I would go ballastic and hire a lawyer.

I managed the Baltimore St. Patrick Day Parde for 3 years.  We brought thousands of people to downtown Baltimore on a day that nothing else is happening.  We created an event and a buzz around it.  We spent over $100,000 for that event every year and had a great time doing it.  It was hard work raising $100,000 from March 17 to March 17th every year.  We didn’t make lots of money – but we covered our bills.  However, the bars, the merchants, the restaraunts, and the city made lots of money.  We had a study done that estimated spending at the parade exceeded $1M.  We never saw one penny nor one tax dollar for our efforts.  Do you think Martin O’Malley or these businesses gave a rats !##.  You would be correct if you said they didn’t care and Martin O’Malley still insisted we pay the city $14k for traffic cops, road closures, and security (despite the tax dollars we raised).  Do you know what  I empathise with the HCEA – but my message to them is the same I got from Martin O’Malley – GET OVER IT.  What they are doing isn’t right.  If I want to have a parade then I have to pay for the parade.  What else am I going to do hold a parade in a field so none of the Baltimore City merchants and free load off my hard work?  Unlikely.

How about this one.  In business various lines of business always leverage the work of other lines of business to eek out a residual benefit for themselves and line of business.  Now only one of the LOBs is funding any initiatives, only one is fighting the budget battles, and sitting on endless conference calls cajoling people to get the work done.  But when the work is done others take the end result and apply it to their product or work group.  Who is crying about it?  No one.  That is life.  That is business.  It has been done to me and I have done it to others.  Is it bad business.  Not at all and no one minds it because they are looking to the greater good.  Ahem.

What is the purpose of this?  I think it is a money grab.  To read the HCEA’s explanation they sound like they would have to close their doors if they can’t charge non-members.  They make it sound like non-members are a bunch of cheats who take the fruits of their hard labor and work and won’t pay for it.  The fact is that the services they are talking about are contract negotiations which occur one every X years?  The non-members don’t take advantage of any other services the HCEA provides.  What are those benefits?

  • Transfers (non-procedural, merits)
  • Evaluations (non-procedural, merits)
  • Class Size
  • Parent Complaints
  • Conflict with Other Staff
  • Child Abuse (what to do if accused, procedures)
  • Suspension and Dismissal
  • Certification and 2nd Class Certificates
  • Lawsuits (including negligence, failure to educate)
  • Special Education Concerns
  • Workers Compensation Claims
  • Health and Safety
  • Environmental Conditions

This really infuriates me.  What specifically does this mean other than what I have already stated?

State law requires that HCEA treat non-members and members alike in respect to the contract. In effect, a non-member receives free services – services that are paid for by their dues-paying colleagues. Some people may not want to be members of HCEA, but we would like the opportunity to discuss with our Board the possibility of their paying a fee for the services they receive from HCEA.

Tell me more please.  Also, why not discuss it with your non-members.  Why negotiate with the BoE – it isn’t their paycheck.  Perhaps the reason you won’t speak to the non-members is that they have a message for you that you don’t want to hear.  I think that is closer to reality than the HCEA insinuate that they are a bunch of free loaders.

I certainly hope the Board of Education holds their ground on this issue if not the HCEA is going to demand 1% of the life time earnings of all Howard County school graduates since the students are in effect receiving free services in the form of well paid teachers represented by the HCEA. 

Posted in Howard County, Howard County News | Leave a Comment »

Public Information Act

Posted by David Keelan on Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Did you ever write to request information under Maryland’s PIA laws?  It is a pain in the neck.  One gets the run around.  However, write under the Freedom of Information Act and the Feds throw tons of stuff at you.

Reporters and Newspapers are familiar with the process and is every level of Government.  That is why I don’t understand why Howard County has failed to respond to a PIA request from the Baltimore Examiner.

The failure to respond to PIA places the County at risk of being sued and/or penalized.  Mr. Ulman owes an explanation as to why the County has failed to respond (that means they could say buzz off we aren’t giving you the information or they could supply the requested information) within the required 30 days.  Don’t tell me it is not his responsibility to explain.  At the point the County failed to follow the law in this matter they left the County exposed to legal action.  As such this matter deems Mr. Ulman’s attention.

An alert reader sent this information from the Baltimore Examiner

BALTIMORE  – What a difference 30 miles can make. In Baltimore City, the police department either refuses to answer questions about overtime or will not without a Maryland Public Information Act request, which gives government 30 days to respond. In Carroll County, the police outline why and how overtime was used — and what specifically it did for taxpayers — upon request.

How refreshing.

The deputy earning the highest overtime in Carroll, Conrad Dill, earned $21,084 extra last year chasing motorists who did not stop for school buses. We still don’t know how Baltimore City Detective Albert Marcus, the highest-paid police employee in his department, earned $104,423 in overtime in 2006, bumping his salary to $167,421. Protecting and serving in Baltimore City requires different tactics and more frequent work in life threatening situations than in Carroll, but taxpayers in every jurisdiction deserve transparency.

That’s why The Baltimore Examiner requested — as any resident can — salary and overtime information for public employees in our coverage area: Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Howard County, Harford County, and Anne Arundel County. It’s also why we have published and will continue to make available that information in print and online as it comes.

Aside from Baltimore City and Carroll, Baltimore County and Harford County have promised to make the information available. Howard and Anne Arundel counties have not responded to the request within the 30 days allotted under the Maryland Public Information Act. They must earn the public’s trust. We all are waiting. To residents of those counties, call Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold at 410-222-1821 and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman at 410-313-2013 and tell them to release the information.

Some public employees say that salary and overtime information should be secret. We don’t think so, and the law says the data are open.

Scrutiny makes everyone more efficient and honest. Sunshine only embarrasses employees who cheat taxpayers and officials who let them do it.

Posted in County Executive, Howard County, Howard County News | 31 Comments »

Isis, oh, Isis, you mystical child.

Posted by David Keelan on Tuesday, March 6, 2007

That is a line from one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs.  I am a big fan of Bob Dylan.  His son, Jacob (Wallflowers) could have a big career ahead of him too.  I like all of Bob Dylan’s music except for the album he did with Johnny Cash.  Both men have unique voices.  Put them together and it will make you … Well you decide.  I am sure you can find a sample on line.

Isis, oh, Isis, you mystical child.
What drives me to you is what drives me insane.
I still can remember the way that you smiled
On the fifth day of May in the drizzlin’ rain.

Hayduke is waiting for proof of those allegations laid out in Lynn Anderson’s Baltimore Sun hatchet job on (among others) Chris Merdon.  Ian, you will have to keep waiting.  Ian might make good editorial decisions.  I would say that The Sun should hire him because he must have better instincts than Lynn Anderson and her editor.

Lynn Anderson says that ISIS was registered with the State the day after Chris Merdon met with Ted Bayer and Mark Anzman – August 26th.  Do you understand what she is implying?  A private meeting was held with DHR, and three men.  The next day they formed a shell minority owned business to do unfairly win State contracts.  That is it right?  Did anyone else get a different impression?

That is a notice of the meeting Ms. Anderson is referencing.  It is a pre-bid conference that over 40 people attended.  I counted twice and came up with 42 people both times.  Lynn Anderson writes her article in such a way as to imply the Merdon had a private meeting with DHR and these two men.  That is not a very “private” meeting and could not be further from the truth.  The attendee list can be found on the link provided.  Did Lynn Anderson bother to read the 8 page document?

Do I need to explain what a pre-bid conference is?  Well just in case you don’t know.  It isn’t a meeting.  It is more like a lecture.  “We are seeking bids on the following.  These are our requirements… and blah blah blah” for an hour or so.  They are not fun, but if you want the business you got to be there.  Guess who runs those meetings.  Usually the procurement staff Ms. Anderson writes about.

Ms. Anderson notes that ISIS was to “perform 11 percent of the work”.  She doesn’t mention that ISIS provided a couple of contract employees for a few hours of work.  They never approached 11 hours of work.

That is only after looking at the beginning of her article.  That is her definition of a “direct role” in the formation of ISIS on Merdon’s part?  Lynn Anderson is an embarassment to real journalists.  A blogger can do better research than that.  My apologies to all bloggers.  The Articles of Incorporation don’t mention Merdon either.  Look it up on the SDAT web site.

“DIRECT ROLE”.  That is a DIRECT quote.

Lets go further.  She implies that it was improper of Merdon to hire Gantech as a sub-contractor because of political donations.  She fails to mention that Gantech was also at the pre-submission meeting (referenced above), expressed interest in the project, was qualified to do the work, had provided work for the State previously and was known as a reliable prime contractor and sub-contractor.  She implies Merdon was doling out political favors.  I wonder why she didn’t say Gantech had a “direct role” in the formation of ISIS since they were in the private meeting too.  Hmmm.

Here is a question.

Can anyone explain why it takes 120 days to be approved as a minority business in the State?  Why shouldn’t it take only 30 days?  Should it take less time than 30 days?  Seriously, there are only 6 requirements to become an MBE.  Race/Gender, net worth, US Citizen, small business.  How long does it take to do an assets test?  Never mind I will ask Calvin Ball the question about assets testing.

The Comptroller said this:

“We want to be a pro-business state in Maryland, and that means that everybody plays by the same rules,” said Franchot, who previously served as chairman of the transportation and environment subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. “And if the playing field is tilted for any reason, normal businesses turn away from Maryland.”

He is absolutely correct.  He should also ask the Secretary of Transportation (who runs MBE) to stream line the application process so it doesn’t take 4 months to be certified as a minority owned business.  I think during the investigation they are going to find that many businesses (if not all) were trying to expidite a ridiculously long 4 month time period.  And why would anyone be surprised if that turned out to be the case.  Think about it if you had to wait 4 months for certification in anything.  If you are a business that means money.  Yes money.  That is what businesses are about.  They have employees and bills to pay too.

In the end the investigation will go foward and we will never hear another word about it.  Why?  Cover up?  No.  Because it is not a story even worth the bits on this page.

Merdon should sue Anderson and the Baltimore Sun.

Posted in Howard County Blogs, Howard County News, Maryland | 30 Comments »

Many Letters

Posted by David Keelan on Thursday, October 19, 2006

Being the political season lots of political letters are showing up in the Howard County Times and the Flier.

Here is a sample:

Ulman resorts to smear tactics to salvage campaign

Henry David Thoreau said, “It is characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Howard County, Howard County News | 2 Comments »

HoCo Times Political Ads

Posted by David Keelan on Friday, September 8, 2006

Being the last week of the primary elections I fully expected this weeks Howard County Times edition to be full of political ads I was disappointed. 

With a circulation of 20,000 I am surprised more candidates didn’t take advantage of the exposure. 

However, the Times did do its continued coverage of various races providing free publicity for many of the candidates.  There were a lot of letters pro and con for various candidates also providing free publicity for the candidates.

The only ads I saw were for:

John White for U.S. Congress in the GOP Primary.  This is a a color ad based soley on illegal immigration and features an endorsement from Ivan Betancourt, President of the Howard County Republican Club.  Ivan hails from South America and is a naturalized US Citizen and an all around great guy.  It is a large three column ten inch ad.

Jim Fitzgerald for Sheriff in the Democratic Primary.  This is a black and white three column 5 inch ad.  It includes an endorsement from States Attorney of Howard County Tim McCrone, Howard County Police Officers’ Association, Columbia Democratic Club, Baltimore Council of AFL-CIO Unions, and the Howard County Sheriff’s FOP.

Greg Fox in the Council District Five Primary.  The largest and most impactful ad was his  full page full color ad. 

Greg pulled out the big guns with support from Governor Bob Ehrlich, Lt. Governor Michael Steele (“Greg has the character and integrity required for public office.”).  It is also accompanied with photos of Greg with Bob Ehrlich, Michael Steele, Allan Kittleman, and the Fox mascot with Kendall and Bob Ehrlich.

Of course he has the continued support of State Senators Allan Kittleman and Sandy Schrader (no surprises).    Finally it touts his endorsement by the Howard County Times.

Warren Miller in the Republican Primary for House of Delegates District 9A.  This is a five column five inch black and white ad.  It was paid for by the one of his many supporters, the Maryland Realtors PAC.  It touts Warren’s commitment to affordable housing, protecting homeowners, buyers, and small business, and his work on “Brownfields” laws.

William Donald Schaefer for Comptroller in the Democratic Primary.  This is a classy ad and is the second best in that it really grabbed my attention in its simplicity and straight forward message.  But kind of looks like a memorial.  It touts his lifelong public service.

Notably missing was an ad from Guy Guzzone or the slate he is running on.  What is he doing with his $150,000?  He could have bought any page in the Times that he wanted.

Also, I expected an ad from Ken Ulman just to put the final nail into Harry Dunbar’s campaign.  It will be very interesting to see how many protest votes Dunbar picks up on Tuesday.  It will be very telling for the General Election.

I paged through the paper five times.  I don’t think I missed any ads.  Let me know if I did.

As I said, Times covered some of the contested primarys so a lot of candidates got free press.

  • Dunbar v Ulman – County Executive
  • Fox v Livesy – Council District 5
  • Feldmark v Sigaty v UNCommon, X – District 4
  • Turner, Quinter, Guzzone, Basu and Pendergrass – House of Delegates District 13
  • Becker and Bernhardt v Titman – County Circuit Court
  • Cave v Fitzgerald – County Sheriff
  • 3rd Congressional District

Then of course their was the plethora of letters to the editor.  Some seem planted.  You decide which ones.

  • Three pro Livesay Council District 5
  • One anti Fox Council District 5
  • Marna McLendon (former States Attorney) against Livesay and for no one
  • Kathleen Sappington for Greg Fox
  • Angela Beltram (COPE – I think this is the 3rd letter in a row) against Guzzone and Ulman following up on her promise to remind voters who voted to pass the comp-lite legislation.
  • One for Peter Beilenson for US Congress
  • Two pro Titman for Judge
  • One pro Fitzgerald for Sheriff
  • One pro Cave for Sheriff
  • Two pro Sigaty for Council District 4
  • Three pro Feldmark for Council District 4
  • One pro Dyer for Board of Education
  • Two pro Ulman for County Executive
  • One pro Zou for Board of Education
  • Two anti Hollinger for Congress
  • One anti Guzzone for House of Delegates

Posted in Howard County, Howard County News, Media | 15 Comments »

Howard County Times Sample Ballot

Posted by David Keelan on Thursday, September 7, 2006

Everything you wanted to know about Ken Ulman 

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Howard County News, Media | 8 Comments »

Herman Charity, The Hatch Act, HoCo Times

Posted by David Keelan on Thursday, May 25, 2006

Don’t panic.  I am not at it again.

I have been told that Mr. Charity has decided not to run for Sheriff.  Apparantly the dust up over the Hatch Act and Wayne Livesay has given Mr. Charity pause to reconsider the implications of declaring his candidacy for a partisan office.

On April 27th I had reported that Mr. Charity was considering a run for Sheriff.

“Rumor has it he is considering a run. Also it is rumored (it may have been announced) that the President of the Howard County Police Departments union, Jim Fitzgerald may throw his hat into the ring too. “

Mr. Charity decided not to run (I am told) because he would have to resign from his current position (Assistant to the County Executive) in the County adminsration in order to launch a campaign.  Otherwise he would be in violation of the Hatch Act.

Well, that is a refreshing approach!  Maybe he should run for County Council District Five.  I wonder if he got an opinion from the OSC.

While discussing this with my source we wondered if Mr. Charity might not be Howard County’s next Police Chief.  Why not, he is Robey’s assistant, gained a lot of good administrative and management experience, he is a former policeman, good interim choice if Robey wants the next County Executive to appoint the next police chief.  Maybe that is why he isn’t running for Sheriff?  Probably not, Robey knew he would have to replace Livesay sooner rather than later.  Since I heard the initial rumor in late April I would think Robey would have said something like “Herman, cool your heels.  I have other plans for you.”

HOWARD COUNTY TIMES EDITORIAL Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Howard County, Howard County News, Media | 1 Comment »

Teacher Union Endorsements

Posted by David Keelan on Tuesday, May 23, 2006

UPDATE: Finally got to speak with the Association about their endorsements.  Here is where my friends story diverges from the press reports.  As reported in The Sun, these are the Association's endorsements for the "political season".

If any of the Association endorsed candidates are defeated in their primary elections the Association may (or may not) endorse additional candidates for the General election.

Had a good conversation about Mary Kay Sigaty.  The Association pointed out that they were consistent in their endorsement of Feldmark.  They didn't endorse Sigaty for County Council in 2002 either.  They had previously endorse her for the Board of Education where they think she does good work. 

Other than this nuance the Howard County Times report was accurate. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Howard County, Howard County News | 11 Comments »