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Illegal Firings – Gov. Ehrlich – 0, Gov. O’Malley – 2 (and counting?)

Posted by Ed C on Saturday, October 6, 2007

From the Washington Times (Judge: Rehire state worker)

Nelson Reichart, a 29 year state employee, fired in June was reinstated by administrative judge with back pay and benefits:

Mr. Reichart was fired in June, after a news report in which he was quoted saying the state paid $1 million more than it should have for the 271-acre parcel known as the Kudner property in Queen Anne’s County. The land, earmarked for preservation, was bought for $5 million — a price that exceeded two state appraisals of its value.
David Sutherland, the owner of the parcel, was a member of the O’Malley transition team and the purchase also was authorized by Department of Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin, who had done consulting work on the property.

The General Assembly spent 13 months and 1.1 million dollars to find out that Gov. Ehrlich did not fire anyone illegally. In 10 months, the O’Malley administration has been rebuked by administrative judges twice:

Mr. Reichart is the second state employee whose termination by the O’Malley adminstration was rebuked by an administrative judge.
Judge Susan A. Sinrod ruled in June that the O’Malley administration illegally fired Greg Maddalone, a Republican who was appointed by former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

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Posted in Ed C, Maryland, O'Malley | 1 Comment »

Thorton Spendning – What’s the old adage about insanity?

Posted by Ed C on Monday, September 17, 2007

Remember the adage: insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I suppose a candidate for proving this would be Maryland’s Thorton spending. From the Examiner Advocates: $500M in Thornton funds misspent:

Yet this year, the special funding total still will increase to $1.3 billion, for a six-year total of almost $3.5 billion.

Reading and math scores for fourth- and eighth-graders have plateaued on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in the past five years, according to the think-tank analysis.

I was going to write more, but the Editorial: Wasted dollars waste young lives pretty much sums up what I would have liked to have said.

One thing that puzzles me though are the comments by State School Superintendent Nancy Grasmick:

State schools Superintendent Nancy Grasmick dismisses NAEP scores as inappropriate for measuring achievement of Maryland’s students. “The NAEP is not aligned to our curriculum,” said Grasmick, noting that NAEP only tests a sample of students.

Okay, but according to Peggy Carr of the National Center for Education, on the NAEP test:

“It’s not aligned with any one curriculum, and that’s by design because it represents the basic skills students should know, regardless of what students are taught.”

So, do the Maryland State tests adequately measure student achievement in basic skills? What is the Maryland curriculum? I’d think that reading, writing and arithmetic would be in there somewhere. If they are, shouldn’t a bunch of teachers and schools administrators be able to figure out a test to measure it? Maybe not:

As William Kirwan, the Chancellor of the University System of Maryland said recently, “exit requirements [for high school] are not at all aligned with entrance requirements of college.”

If Maryland is going to spend $3.5 billion dollars, wouldn’t you think that a few percent of that money could be used to create (or buy) a fair, objective test?

Here is my proposal. We spend a few dollars and team up with another state, say Wisconsin (pop. rank 18) or Arizona (pop. rank 20) (Maryland pop rank is 19) or any state with a similar number of students / teachers and create tests that are given to every 4th, 8th and 10th grader. We have teachers from both states create the tests and then get them reviewed by the NAEP people, the Dept of Education or educators from the State’s universities to verify that it really tests the basics. To measure reading and writing skills, the test should include short essays on material presented in the test to minimize the impact of having the subject covered in a particular locale.

To grade the tests, we send our students tests to Wisconsin and they send us theirs. The tests would be graded by say 3 teachers each and the final score would be the average. Throw in some random sampling and quality control and we’re done. The teachers could do the grading in a day. Because each state would be doing the same thing the only “additional” cost would be for some shipping. Hopefully each state would be a neutral arbiter for grading, because it really isn’t doesn’t matter that much to the Cheese-Heads how a particular Maryland school district performs, besides we would have those quality control samples if it became an issue.

So, the total cost for both Maryland and Wisconsin would be for X teachers to create 3 tests, a day of salaries to give the test (which we would have spent anyway), a day of salaries to do the grading, some money for shipping plus whatever review and quality control would cost. So for a fraction of the $500 million that was “wasted” last year both Maryland and Wisconson could get a netrual, comprehensive assement of every student’s progress.

Would it work? Probably not, but it seems obvious the current method isn’t working, so how about we try something, anything else and see if we can get a different result this time, otherwise its just insane.

Posted in Ed C, Education, Maryland | Leave a Comment »

The Wealthiest State in the Nation

Posted by Jim Walsh on Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The U.S. Census Bureau just announced its annual income and poverty estimates for the nation.   Maryland has the distinction of having the highest median household income ($65,144) and the lowest poverty rate (7.8%) in the U.S.  Howard County had the highest median household income in Maryland ($94,260) and ranked third among all counties nationally (behind only Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia).

Combine these high income – low poverty figures with the high tax rates imposed here, and I’m at a loss to see how the State and its subdivisions can be complaining about “structural deficits” and a lack of revenue.  I recall many high-tax apologists spin our tax burden by noting that our taxes, as a percentage of household income, are at about the national average.  That argument has never made any sense to me.  If government is supposed to address its citizens’ needs, should not those needs, and the level of government services, decrease as the citizens’ wealth increase?  Given our high income levels, our tax rates should be below average.  Am I missing something?

Posted in Jim Walsh, Maryland, Taxes | 7 Comments »

In kind…

Posted by David Keelan on Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Help me with an ethical dilemna. 

According to Maryland Election Law which can be found in a summary format under Chapter 7 – Contributions and Transfers

7.4 In-Kind Contributions

An in-kind contribution includes any thing of value (except money). For example, a person can contribute bumper stickers to a candidate’s committee. The amount of the contribution equals the fair market value of the bumper stickers. An in-kind contribution counts towards the donor’s contribution limits.

Services provided to a campaign can also be considered an in-kind contribution if the type of service is one that the person normally charges for providing.

Example

  • Ms. Daisy Designer, a commercial artist, designs a logo for John D. Candidate, free of charge. Since designing logos is something Daisy would normally charge $1,000 for doing, Daisy has made an in-kind contribution of $1,000 to John D. Candidate’s committee. This $1,000 counts toward Daisy’s contribution limits discussed in Chapter 7.2 of this Summary Guide.
  • Daisy Designer still wants to do more to help John D. Candidate. She volunteers to stuff envelopes and answer phones at John D. Candidate’s campaign headquarters. Since stuffing envelopes and answering phones is not a service that Daisy normally charges for providing, her activities are not considered to be an in-kind contribution to the campaign.

If a “public relations executive” volunteered as a “Communications Director and a Senior Advisor” on a Maryland candidate’s election would that be considered an in-kind donation? How much would be charged for those services in the “real” world?  Of course it depends on what exactly a Communications Director/Public Relations Executive did for the candidate and how much time that person put into the campaign.  Is that person’s expertise as a “Communications Director” in anyway related to their expertice as a “public relations executive”?  And of course would those services and time be worth more than what is permitted by campaign finance law?

7.2 Contribution Limits

A person can contribute no more than $4,000 to one campaign finance entity, and a total of $10,000 to all campaign finance entities, during the four-year cycle.

Now if the services provided are related to the person’s profession experience and something they would normally charge for then:

  1. it should simply appear as a line item on the candidates finance reports, and
  2. if they exceed the contribution limits the candidate would be obligated to pay the difference to the volunteer and also note that on the campaign finance report.

However, I don’t note any such expenditures or contributions on the candidate’s financial reports.  Now the “volunteer” didn’t do anything wrong.  They worked for the candidate they felt was the best person for a specific elected office.  That is to be commended.  However, the candidate accepted services from this volunteer and they would know if the services that the volunteer provided actually met the standard of in kind donations.

If you noticed something this troubling what would you do?  I am open to suggestions on that question.  Any idea how the Maryland State Board of Elections would handle such a violation before I ask them?

Posted in Fundraising, General, Maryland | 33 Comments »

O’Malley Whine er Watch

Posted by David Keelan on Friday, July 13, 2007

The Democratic party sent out an email that really brought back some memories.  Remember during the election last year when Ken Ulman put up a web site that told absolute lies about Chris Merdon’s record.  Yes campers, I just said Ken Ulman is a liar.

At the time I traced the web site to Mr. Ulman’s campaign and posted the evidence on this blog and people called ME a liar.  I was told that Ken wouldn’t stoop to that level.  After all Art McGreevy had even said Ken was above that kind of thing when he trashed Mary Kay Sigaty in the County Council race.

“There is an old saying: “How you run is how you govern.” Ken Ulman is running a positive, well-organized campaign. He is working hard every day. It was these traits that led to his endorsement. [Teacher’s Union]  If how you run is a reflection of how you will govern, the community will be well served by Ken Ulman.”

For example here are a couple comments regarding my allegations about Ken Ulman’s involvement with therealchris.com at the time:

Yeah, really. Even if the Ulman campaign is behind this, as you suggest, do you have any evidence that the allgations contained in the website are inaccurate or misleading?

And

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.”

I refuted many of the lies Ken Ulman told about Merdon’s record and no one ever responded or came to Ulman’s defense.  They just called me a liar.

The next day or two Ulman admited he was behind the site.

The Democratic Party was quoted at the time:

This site is “not unusual,” said David Paulson, communications director for the Maryland Democratic Party, adding that the party not only pays for http://www.therealchris.com, but also http://www.therealsteele.com, which blasts Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, Republican U.S. Senate candidate.

“There is cooperation between the Ulman campaign and the Democratic Party,” said Paulson, who declined to discuss the level of Ulman’s involvement.

As Ken Ulman said at the time and I quote this because even though it is a bunch of BS it seemed to work for him:

“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.”

Do you know what?  When you examine campaign finance records their is no record of the Democrats paying for the www.therealchris.com (either domain name or hosting services) their is no record of the Democrats paying to printer for the thousands of mailers that promoted the web site either.  How do I know ?  The printers mark on the mailers clearly identifies the printer and producer and it is the same printers mark on Ulman other campaign literature.  I see that Ulman’s campaign paid a mailing house a lot of money during the campaign.  I don’t see that the Democratic party made any payments to the same mailing house.  So did Ulman’s campaign pay for the web site and the mailers and inappropriately use the Democratic Party authority line?  Does this violate campaign finance laws – we will find out.  That is a different story and will let you know what the State Board of Elections says.

So what is the fuss?

The fuss is the excellent web site www.omalleywatch.com , Martin O’Malley’s alarm regarding the site, and how a tactic they perfected is now coming back to haunt them.

The memo I referenced above is here and explains the issue.

Evidence is mounting that former Governor Bob Ehrlich and his new North Carolina law firm’s Maryland-based staff are the driving force behind a totally anonymous and controversial smear website. The owners and operators of that website have gone to great lengths to both communicate their partisan attacks to the press and keep their identities secret from the voters of Maryland.

The Dems know something about scare tactics… 

The Democrats and Martin O’Malley are obsessed with discovering who is behind the site.  Strike that.  They are obsessed with connecting Bob Ehlrich to the site.  Now they think they have a smoking gun and are trying to fire up the loyalists.

Unlike Ken Ulman and www.therealchris.com where I connected the IP addresses and the ISP / web hosting company to www.kenulman.com do you know what the Democrats came up with?  An email memo to reporters and bloggers written by a former Ehrlich press secretary who works for the same law firm Ehrlich works for now.

So here is a synopsis of the Democrats proof.

Person A worked for Ehrlich at Government House.  Person A then went to work for Ehrlich at Womble Carlyle.  Person A issued a memo to a reporter discussing their concerns about an O’Malley land deal.  The same points and concerns show up on a blog (www.omalleywatch.com) Therefore, Bob Ehrlich is behind www.omalleywatch.com.

Absolutely spot on brilliant.  Can’t get anything past Martin O’Malley and the Democratic Party.  Just incredible detective work.  No wonder crime is practically non-existent in Baltimore City.

Read the Examiner story by Len Lazarick.  No mention in The Baltimore Sun that I could find this morning.

Lets get real.  The Democrats have no problem attacking Steele and Merdon with smear web sites and lying about their records and trying to conceal who is involved.  Yet a legitimate site (www.omalleywatch.com) comes out that fairly examines O’Malley’s administration and to them it is a major consipiracy.   No one lied at omalley watch.  Can the Democrats say the same?

The State Comptroller, Mr. Franchot, happens to find the site to be useful because he used the same referenced memo in a board of publics work meeting (the same one where Ken Ulman was the director – remember) to question the Governor and the deal.  It was a great memo, why wouldn’t the Comptroller use the information?

As O’Malley Watch so eloquantly put it in their response to the whiners at Government House:

Evidence is mounting that the Maryland Democratic Party (MDP) and the O’Malley administration wet their pants several times a day over the new phenomenon known as omalleywatch.com. Several members of Governor O’Malley’s staff have been overheard referring to information on the site. The Governor himself referred to the site as “critics” at the Board of Public Works hearing.

Now since www.omalleywatch.com has started to create some real credibility O’Malley has to tear it down.  Unlike my response to www.therealchris.com where I proved that Ken Ulman was a desperate liar when it came to Chris Merdon’s record the Democratic Party and O’Malley refused to address any of the points in the referenced memo.

I bet that they never will.

I think who ever is behind omalleywatch.com should come forward.  However, for the Democrats and O’Malley to whine about the use of a tactic they perfected is just ridiculous.

We are getting the same BS about BGE, Maddalone, Slots, the budget gap, unfunded mandates, etc.  This is what the Democrats are worried about?

Posted in Howard County, Maryland, O'Malley, Ulman | 22 Comments »

Tax Increases Being Prepared…

Posted by David Keelan on Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Get ready for tax increases.  First comes the prep work.  Senator Pipkin says it all…. but it comes down to this “SCARE TACTICS”.

Senator E. J. Pipkin (R. Upper Shore 36) voiced outrage at “fear and strong-arm tactics to force counties to support tax increases.” He pointed to an e-mail, prompted by the O’Malley administration and sent on July 5 by the Maryland Association of Counties’ (MACO) chief lobbyist, Dave Bliden, to various county leaders to motivate local government support of impending tax increases.

Why is MACO doing the bidding of the Governor’s office?  Aren’t they the Association of Counties?  Why on earth would they involve themselves in this battle?

Pipkin characterized the e-mail as “an end-run around most local elected officials which resembles the type of arm-twisting used by Tony Soprano and his ilk.”

Yep, they didn’t tell County Council nor our House or Senate representatives.  This went straight to the County Executive’s offices.

Referring to Josh White, the Governor’s Intergovernmental Relations Chief, the e-mail said, “Josh is interested in coordinating a message for the Governor as he goes on roadtrips to the counties. He (Josh White) is looking for not just the property tax equivalents, but real vignettes of the county ‘doomsday budgets’…like closing libraries, reductions in deputies, larger class size, no support for volunteer firefighters. I (Bliden) suggested a goal of 10 examples for each county, if the proposed State ‘doomsday budget’ comes to fruition…..”

Doomsday budgets.  Get ready folks.  We are going to have to shut down County Government.  Make no doubt about it the libraries will have to go out of business.  Please nominate 10 examples of your own for Howard County in the comments section below.

Now I will bet that Calvin Ball’s living wage bill will go foward without question.  No matter how much that contributes to the “doomsday budget” Ken Ulman will be screaming and crying about shortly.  Did I hear someone ask “Why will Calvin’s bill go foward?”  That is a good question.  As one reader put it to me:

Call it “charity for the unions” ask why, in the face of an alleged budget crisis would they consider raising costs that might require tax increases. Just paying back their union buddies for campaign donations and volunteer poll workers.

 The reader then encourages me to:

Call them out for buying votes with our tax dollars.

Well, honestly I didn’t think of Calvin’s bill in that light.  Now that the point is raised I have to ask the question.  The reader’s comments make sense to me.  We will have all the proof we need when we get the “DOOMSDAY” scare tactics thrown at us and Calvin’s bill passes.

Bliden goes on to say, “the Gov could be visiting the counties during the next weeks, which presents an opportunity to deliver. And, with a good product, we could share with the other counties to get them motivated. Something for discussion at our July 13 meeting.”

“It boggles the mind that such terms as ‘opportunity to deliver’ and ‘good product’ would be used to bamboozle Marylanders into handing over more of their hard earned money to the state,” said Pipkin.

Bliden continued, “Another good perspective would be having interested constituencies there to show their interest, e.g. the volunteer ff’ers (firefighters).”

Hmmm.  I wonder if Ken is going to call on the union here in Howard County.  He will probably pack the rooms with them.  He has probably told Mayor O’Malley that he can deliver any union the Mayor wants.  Although water meter readers at Public Works might be questionable.

Pipkin said, “I thought I was beyond shock and outrage until I read about using volunteer firefighters to help beef up the propaganda campaign to get locals to rally behind the state tax increases. The e-mail lays out an arrogant and shameless blueprint for getting locals to back tax increases. As Bliden says, the next few weeks of gubernatorial visits to the counties ‘is a good opportunity to make a case, and, even more important to convince the Governor we (the counties) are there 100% to help him help us.'”

“Absolutely shameless!” said Pipkin.

The referenced email follows:

Ladies and Gentlemen–

I just spoke to the County Executive Smith and Jan Gardner about a conversation I had with Josh White, the Governor’s Intergovernmental Relations Chief, about which we wanted to motivate a a response.

Josh is interested in coordinating a message for the Governor as he goes on roadtrips to the counties. He is looking for not just the property tax equivalents, but real vignettes of the county “doomsday”

budgets”… like closing libraries, reductions in deputies, larger class size, no support for volunteers firefighters. I suggested a goal of 10 examples for each county, if the proposed State “doomsday budget” comes to fruition..

The Gov could be visiting the counties during the next weeks , which presents an opportunity to deliver. And, with a good product, we could share with the other counties to get them motivated. Something for discussion at our July 13 meeting. Another good perspective would be having interested constituencies there to show their interest, e.g. the volunteer ff’ers.

This is a good opportunity to make a case and, even more important, to convince the Governor we are there 100% to help him help us.

Can you get your team motivated? We would be most willing to work with them.

Best wishes.

David

As Monoblogue put it:

I suppose my issue with this attitude is that, judging by this e-mail, counties are more interested in protecting their turf than asking the tough questions, both of themselves and of Governor O’Malley.

What would those tough questions be?  Examining our ever increasing spending  and stoping Calvin Ball’s “living wage” bill.  Despite what some people think Marylander’s are not open to having their pocket picked when Government can’t control their appetite for our money.

The Examiner picked up this story this morning.  Think it will be in The Sun?

Posted in Howard County, Maryland, O'Malley | 8 Comments »

Invasion of the Gypsy Moths

Posted by David Keelan on Monday, June 4, 2007

A couple of weeks ago at the dinner table, as is our custom, we discussed what my daughter had learned at school that day.   She told us that they had talked about caterpillars and went into a lengthy account of what they learned.

Over the next couple of days she and her brother began to notice caterpillars around our yard.  They began to construct houses for them so that they could turn in to butterflies.  I thought it was cute and typical childhood behavior and I was happy that they were so curious.  Soon we noticed a lot of caterpillars and the construction work on new housing for these visitors quickly turned into a chore so the kids lost interest.

Our neighborhood is over 50 years old and contains a lot of large oak tress (great in the summer time but a bear during autumn).  Although I noticed that there were a great deal more caterpillars than usual I wasn’t alarmed.  At the same time I noticed a lot of leaves in my neighbors yards and chalked it up to someone cutting grass and trimming tress.  It wasn’t until I noticed even more leaves laying in the streets that my curiosity began to be aroused.  The final clue was the appearance in our yard an on our deck of brown pellets that look like dry coffee grounds – these are Gypsy Moth droppings.  Then I put it together.

To be certain I talked to one of my neighbors who, I had noticed, had a lot of shredded oak tree leaves in their yard.  I was hoping it was the result of tree trimming and lawn mowing.  They confirmed the worst – GYPSY MOTHS.

gypsy.jpg

I lived in Pennsylvania when that State experienced an epidemic of Gypsy Moths that devastated large tracks of forests and neighborhoods.  Oak trees were being defoiled in great swaths throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  It took two years for Pennsylvania to get the problem under control.

Here is a photo of the damage Gypsy Moths can do to a forest – this photograph looks like it was taken during the winter season.

ippm_gm_damage_tree.jpg

lw_ps_gm_cont2.jpg

Maryland has a gypsy moth suppression programin place.  Apparantly it isn’t possible to eradicate this pest.  Given my neighborhood’s proximaty to Patapsco State Forest these pests have a large feeding area in which to grow.

I have contacted my local and state representatives about this problem and am hoping that we can be provided some guidance from the proper government offices.  However, the purpose of this post is to:

  1. Inform readers of this problem (if you are not already aware)
  2. Find out if you are seeing similiar signs of Gypsy Moths
  3. Find suggestions on how to treat the problem

Of course the problem, should you have one, should be reported to the State.  The contact information is as follows:

Chief, Forest Pest Management
Robert H. Tichenor, Jr.
410-841-5922
Fax: 410- 841-5835
tichenrh@mda.state.md.us

I look forward to your responses.

Posted in General, Howard County, Maryland | 1 Comment »

MD Court of Appeals to the public: “Your own your own”

Posted by Ed C on Sunday, April 15, 2007

From the Examiner, Officials not held negligent for failing to protect slain family.

The judge cited the 1986 Maryland case Ashburn v. Anne Arundel County as addressing the duty owed by police officers to the public. In that case, it was determined that a policy that places a duty on a police officer to insure the safety of each member of the community would create an unnecessary burden on the judicial system.

The ruling upheld a Baltimore court ruling that dismissed a $14 million lawsuit that was filed by relatives of Angela and Carnell Dawson and five children who were murdered by a drug dealer because they complained repeatedly to the police. The family made 109 calls to 911 from Jan 1, 2000 through Oct 16 2002, the day they were killed in a fire bombing attack.

In order for State and local governments to be responsible, the police must established a “special relationship”:

[The Judge Dale] Cathell also pointed out that there are circumstances under which a police officer “by his or her affirmative acts,” could create a duty to a specific individual by establishing a “special relationship.” In that circumstance, it must be shown that the local government or the police officer acted to protect someone, “thereby inducing the victim’s specific reliance upon the police protection.”

But the judge found “there is no fact establishing a special relationship between the city and the Dawsons on the basis of the 911 calls.”

The judge wrote that the only “affirmative act, if any existed at all” was the suggestion by police that the family move. Cathell noted that the family wasn’t injured because they moved, but because they stayed.

As our elected representatives contemplate legislation that affects how we can defend ourselves and our families, they need to be reminded the state has no duty to protect an individual.

Posted in Ed C, Maryland | Leave a Comment »

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?

http://www.dhr.state.md.us/crfp/noor6200196.htm

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 »

New Positions For Maryland Republicans

Posted by Ed C on Saturday, January 27, 2007

First at the National Level we have Michael Steele replacing J.C. Watts as Chairman of GOPAC

WASHINGTON, D.C. GOPAC today announced former Congressman J.C. Watts, Jr. will be stepping down after serving nearly four years as Chairman. Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele will be named as GOPAC’s seventh Chairman.

GOPAC was founded by Delaware Governor Pete du Pont in 1978 in an effort to build a farm team of Republican officeholders who could then run for congress or higher state offices later. Other past Chairmen of GOPAC were: former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, California Congressman David Dreier, Arizona Congressman John Shadegg and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

We also have Fulton resident Louis M. Pope elected as RNC Vice Chair

As RNC Vice Chair, Pope will help steer the Party and provide oversight to the various RNC committees. He will also ratify any decisions of RNC Chairman Mike Duncan. Pope has pledged to work closely on issues such as candidate recruitment, fundraising and voter registration and hold a regional conference for all Republicans in the next year.

On the minus side, newly elected Republican Central Committee member Trent Kittleman as reported in the Baltimore Sun will be leaving the Maryland Transportation Authority.

The one agency head who is definitely out is Trent Kittleman, a staunch Republican who resigned as executive secretary of the Maryland Transportation Authority this week. She had earlier said she hoped to stay on.

In a second article, Trent Kittleman is quoted saying:

Kittleman said yesterday that her departure was the result of “a mutual meeting of the minds” after a conversation with Porcari. Though she had previously stated a willingness to stay on as head of the toll agency, she said the meeting was “very professional” and “very nice.”

Gov. Ehrlich dismissed 340 at will employees and the Democratic delegates and senators launched a year long investigation. (From the Washington Post)

“This legislative committee was pulled together to see if anyone was fired” illegally, Del. Jean B. Cryor (R-Montgomery) said afterwards. “But after months of testimony, the simple fact is that no one was fired because of their political party.”

Anyone keeping track of Gov. O’Malley’s numbers? Any sign that Del. Cryor is carefully monitoring this? Just asking.

Posted in Ed C, Maryland, Republicans | 1 Comment »