Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

MacFarlane Distortions of Fact

Posted by David Keelan on Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I find it admirable that Mr. MacFarlane has such an active campaign and staunch support in the race for Registrar of Wills in Howard County. A fair and robust campaign is welcome and encouraged.
However, we need to stress a “FAIR” campaign.
Many of the statements Mr. MacFarlane and his supporters are making are inaccurate at best. I hope the editor will take a moment to review this letter which is intended to clear up some of the misconceptions that Mr. MacFarlane and his supporters made about:
• The condition of the office of the Register of Wills
• Kay Hartleb’s position on the Court House Renovations
• Mr. MacFarlane’s experience in estate planning
A recent letter to the editor in last week’s Howard County Times states that; “Byron is an attorney practicing estate administration who has been active in his community for over 10 years and is a lifelong resident of Howard County .“ The statement is carefully worded so that a casual reader might believe he has been practicing law for 10 years. This is curious because many attorneys practicing in this area have not heard of Mr. MacFarlane practicing among estate and trust lawyers. Additionally, a quick on-line research and found that Mr. MacFarlane was only admitted to the Bar in June 2009. He is also listed as a contract attorney.

UPDATE: As of September 2, 2010 Mr. MacFarlane is listed as an estate attorney. However, he needs to update his Linkedin Profile which states

Byron Macfarlane
Contract Attorney at Kelly Law Registry

Baltimore, Maryland Area
Law Practice
Current Contract Attorney at Kelly Law Registry
Member at Howard County Democratic Central Committee
Past Contract Attorney at Special Counsel
Member at Maryland Democratic State Central Committee
Law Clerk at Stahl & Block, LLC
Legislative Aide at Office of Delegate Peter Franchot
Paralegal Assistant at United States Department of Justice, Aviation and Admiralty Litigation

There is no record of Mr. McFarlane having every administered an estate in any jurisdiction in Maryland.
Frequent references to the necessary renovations to the County Court house imply that Kay Hartleb is strictly opposed to those renovations. Mr. MacFarlane calls it “obstruction”. Kay Hartleb is on record in testimony with the County Council in favor of the necessary renovations. Mr. MacFarlane narrowly focuses and distorts Kay Hartleb’s testimony as obstructionist. Given the current economic conditions and the county’s current financial status there is no immediate need to make all the renovations until economic conditions improve and the county is not furloughing employees. In addition, Kay Hartleb is opposed to the design of the temporary office space which affords little, if any, privacy to the citizens that the Register of Wills serves. Many of these citizens come to the Register’s office emotionally distraught, and with very sensitive financial information. The proposed temporary offices are an open office space in which Mr. MacFarlane expects citizens to reveal themselves emotionally and provide sensitive financial information in an open forum. Finally, Mr. MacFarlane does not seem to empathize with the hardship that many of the elderly citizen’s the office serves will have navigating their way to the temporary, but remote, office space.
Mr. MacFarlane has stated that he will improve the office by “Improving Access with New Technology”. Mr. McFarlane is unaware that the office has been entirely modernized. All records and forms are in electronic format and available (where appropriate) to the public. Records as far back as the 1930’s have been electronically filed, and this is the first register’s office to scan all estate files electronically. Kay Hartleb’s commitment to new technology adoption is one reason Howard County’s register’s office was choose as a test site for the roll out of additional state wide technology improvements.
Of course it is not Mr. MacFarlane’s job to point out that Kay Hartleb’s office has received “perfect” legislative audits throughout her tenure as Howard County’s register of wills. I am certain that he would do everything in his power to avoid discussing that point. It is his job to create uncertainty in Kay’s ability to continue to serve as the register of wills and convince voters that he is better suited to serve. In doing so Mr. MacFarlane is exposing his unfamiliarity with the office, its track record of modern technology adoption, and it’s compassionate and helpful service to the public it serves. In addition, his distortion of Kay Hartleb’s position on the Court House renovations betrays his lack of exposure to the current office location and lack of empathy the proposed temporary space would have on the elderly citizens the office serves.
Mr. MacFarlane’s campaign is merely based on carefully worded statements that enable him to hide his youth and inexperience, and inability to run a mature campaign that is fitting to the office he seeks.

David Keelan


Friends for Kay Hartleb


Posted in General | 1 Comment »

An Open Message to the Beams and MacFarlane Campaigns

Posted by Jim Walsh on Monday, August 30, 2010

(From an e-mail sent to the Beams and MacFarlane campaigns)

As I drove to work in Columbia from western Howard County this morning (Mon., 8/30/10), I was disheartened to see that Mr. MacFarlane’s campaign has joined Dr. Beam’s in littering Homewood and Folly Quarter Roads with numerous illegally placed campaign signs. Last Monday (8/23) morning, I noticed that Dr. Beam’s campaign had placed 5 or 6 campaign signs next to stormwater management ponds and in other open spaces where there could not possibly have been any consenting homeowner. This morning, the litter was more than doubled with placement of Mr. MacFarlane’s signs in similar areas and in an even more obvious improper space, i.e., the interior of the traffic circle at Homewood Road – Folly Quarter Road – Sheppard Lane. With nine weeks left before the general election, I fear that more candidates will be emboldened to join you in trashing this corridor. I suspect that other areas that I do not regularly drive may also be suffering from overzealous misplacement of signs.

I understand that neither of you personally may have placed these signs, but their placements reflect negatively on your campaigns. Please advise your volunteers about placing signs only with property owners’ consents, and where signs are permitted. I ask you both to remove the offending signs and cease placing signs improperly.

Posted in General, Howard County, Jim Walsh | 9 Comments »

Why is the Obama Administration against Americans?

Posted by Jim Walsh on Thursday, August 19, 2010

Recent news stories illustrate how the Obama administration consistently views the world contrary to the wishes a vast majority of Americans.

With regard to the Arizona immigration law, roughly 70% of Americans support the position of the State of Arizona and oppose the Justice Department lawsuit against the state’s act of self-defense. Yet, the Justice Department selectively decides to challenge under the doctrine of pre-emption a state law that actually follows federal law, yet turns a blind eye to possible pre-emption challenges to dozens of politically correct cities that declare themselves “sanctuaries” for immigrants and forbid their own police officers to enforce federal law. In my view, there can be no clearer violation of an elected official’s oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution than to direct local police NOT to enforce federal law. (I know that lax immigration enforcement was an issue under the Bush Administration as well, but that’s not the point: it’s the Obama Justice Department that is filing suit against Arizona.)

Then there’s the Ground Zero mosque. Again, roughly 70% of the population opposes the placement of the mosque/Islamic community center two blocks from Ground Zero. We all understand that the Islamic community has a constitutional right to worship where they wish. But there’s a difference between doing something because you have a right to do so and doing something that’s right to do. Most Americans believe this is not the right thing to do.

As Ron Smith pointed out on his radio show, it’s no coincidence that the “Cordoba Islamic Center” is going up two blocks from Ground Zero. Cordoba was the site of the primary mosque during the Moorish occupation of Spain, built on the ruins of a Christian cathedral and which in turn was converted to a Christian cathedral after the Moors were expelled from Spain. Many Muslim clerics teach that Islam will return to Cordoba, and Corboba has become a Muslim metaphor for conquest of the West.

Nonetheless, President Obama needs to chime in to lecture the rest of us that Muslims have their rights and we need to be sensitive to the Islamic community. (Apparently, they need not be sensitive to us.) After the following hue and cry over the president’s remarks, he backtracked somewhat, then facing criticism from the left for his backtracking, backtracked from his backtracking.

Then there’s the whole Obama attitude that America is just the same as every other nation in the world. Gone is Ronald Reagan’s vision of America as a shining beacon on the hill standing out among the rest of the whole world. Instead we have the worldwide apology tour for all the perceived slights and grudges that the rest of the world holds. If America is not a special place, why are we a wealthy nation and yet neighboring Mexico (with plenty of resources of its own) is dirt poor? Could it be that our culture had something to do with creating that wealth? And if Mexico is the equal of the U.S., why are so many Mexicans clamoring to come here?

The overall attitude that I perceive is that President Obama has no real appreciation of American culture or greatness. He sees greatness only in how the pie is sliced so that everyone is treated “fairly.” He fails to the see the greatness in the people who make the pie in the first place.

Posted in Democrats, General, Jim Walsh | 2 Comments »

Obama names 15 recess appointments – where was Senator Jim Webb?

Posted by Ed C on Monday, March 29, 2010

Saturday, President Obama appointed 15 nominees using recess appointments.

From The Hill:

Nevertheless, Obama attributed the need for recess appointments on the “unprecedented level of obstruction” in the U.S. Senate, led primarily by the chamber’s Republicans.

Unprecedented level of obstruction – really?  Anyone remember 2007?  (From

Unprecedented – You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

(h/t the corner)

Posted in Democrats, Ed C | Leave a Comment »

Great Scott!

Posted by Jim Walsh on Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Democrats are reeling from the victory of Scott Brown (R) over heavily-favored Martha Coakley (D) in the special election in Massachusetts to fill Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. Excuse me, I should have said “the people’s seat formerly filled by Ted Kennedy.”

The Democrats are grasping at straws to explain away this defeat. Unlike the GOP gubernatorial victories in Virginia and New Jersey that were dismissed as anomalies over local issues and poorly-run campaigns, the Democrats have some real spinning to do to explain how a relatively little-known Republican state senator can overcome a 30 point deficit in a month against the well-known Democratic Attorney General of the bluest of blue states.

I knew that internal polls must have shown Coakley losing when stories were posted Monday about the finger pointing that was already going on among Democrats over the Coakley campaign. Coakley WAS a poor campaigner. Her comment about how she, unlike Brown, was unwilling to greet voters outside Fenway Pary in the cold during the Bruins’ New Year’s Day hockey game reeked of arrogance. Her dismissal of former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling as just another Yankee fan showed her disconnection from her constituents. Less than two weeks before the election, she took time off from campaigning to hold a fund-raiser among lobbyists in Washington. Brown, by contrast, ran a smart, consistent, near-perfect campaign. That said, in normal circumstances, even with such contrasting campaign styles, there is no way that Brown could have defeated Coakley in Massachusetts. There had to be an underlying anger among voters over what’s going on in Washington.

Some Democratic pundits are spinning Brown’s victory not as the people’s dislike of Obamacare, but as the people’s dislike of the distraction that Obamacare has become at the expense of addressing the issues of the economy and jobs. Let them spin. The fact is Brown explicitly campaigned on the idea that he would be the 41st vote against Obamacare.

It’s too soon to assess how the Democrats will respond. Some are urging full speed ahead on Obamacare. knowing that this may be their only chance to get this monstrosity of a bill passed. But that would be asking dozens of Democrats in Congress to sacrifice their own political careers for Obama. And that violates the first principle of politicians: self-preservation.

While the Massachusetts election results bode well for Republicans, we can’t be too smug just yet. The mid-term elections are over nine months away, and that’s practically a lifetime in politics. Until the last week before the election, the Democrats were caught napping in Massachusetts. I doubt that they will be so complacent in November.

Posted in Democrats, General, Jim Walsh, Republicans | 2 Comments »

Once in a blue moon…

Posted by Ed C on Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tonight, for the first time since 1990 and not again until 2028 will there be a “blue moon.”  That is, there will be a full moon for the second time in a calendar month.

Unfortunately, the weather does not seem like it is going to cooperate.  Instead, it appears that we are just going to keep adding to the 55.40 inches of precipitation recorded at BWI since 1/1/09.

Happy New Years Eve.

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

What he said – Merry Christmas.

Posted by Ed C on Friday, December 25, 2009

From Tigerhawk.

Posted in Ed C, General | Leave a Comment »

Where are the snowplows in Howard County.

Posted by Ed C on Sunday, December 20, 2009

If you are sitting at your kitchen window and wondering if you are ever going to get out, you can track the progress of the snowplows in Howard County using the Snowplow Tracker.

You can also access speed sensor and traffic cameras for major roads like I95 from the Maryland Department of Transportation site, Chart on the web.

It does not look like we are going anywhere soon.

However, some don’t seem to mind.

Posted in Ed C, General | 1 Comment »

Unintended Irony in the Baltimore Sun

Posted by Jim Walsh on Monday, December 7, 2009

Fresh off the heels of the tragedy at Fort Hood, the page 1 story of the Baltimore Sun on Monday, 12/7/09 is headlined “Fear of native terror on rise; Homegrown extremists alarm White House”. The article described the growing problem of homegrown Islamic terrorists, acknowledging growing radicalization among U.S. Muslims. The commentary page (13) on the same date calls for “End racial profiling now.” I have my doubts as to whether the editors of the Sun appreciate the irony.

The Sun’s lead article doesn’t mention that the U.S. Army failed to intervene earlier in the case of accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan, in large part because acquaintances who were alarmed by his increasing radicalization were discouraged, in the name of diversity, from singling out a Muslim soldier for scrutiny. Even our military now genuflects at the altar of political correctness. But let’s face it, all 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were Middle Eastern Muslim men, yet our security system is supposed to pretend that a representative sample of geriatric Icelandic tourists poses the same threat to our security as a planeload of 20-something Muslim males returning to their local mosque after an extended visit to a remote backwoods training camp.

And on Pearl Harbor Day, no less, we are expected to forget the consequences of the failure of vigilance.

Posted in Jim Walsh, Media | Leave a Comment »

If we live forever, what does that do to Social Security spending?

Posted by Ed C on Monday, November 23, 2009

Skeptical is not a strong enough word for my feelings towards the promises made by the proponents of health care reform, but Saturday, Senator Harry Reid said:

Today we vote whether to even discuss one of the greatest issues of our generation – indeed, one of the greatest issues this body has ever face: whether this nation will finally guarantee its people the right to live free from the fear of illness and death, which can be prevented by decent heath care for all.

Pretty sure we are all going to die someday regardless if this bill passes or not.  Otherwise congress better start raising the retirement age and reducing benefits real soon.

Of course, I could be misreading Sen. Reid here, maybe he means that instead of fearing illness and death, with a government run heath care system we should just be resigned to it.

(h/t Kathryn Jean Lopez @ NRO Corner)

Posted in Ed C, General | Leave a Comment »