Saturday, May 31, 2014

Does the Harford County RNC Need New Leadership?

from the Dagger
From the Maryland Liberty Political Action Committee, Inc.:

Patriot,

Not only did you defeat HB-1513 this session, you received back up from the MDGOP this weekend.

A resolution was introduced by the Harford and Baltimore County Republican Central Committees condemning HB-1513 and demanding that no similar bill in the future ever be proposed.

Not only was this resolution passed by the more than 300 person body, it passed by voice vote.

When the resolution was presented to the at-capacity crowd of Maryland Republican leaders a loud round of applause was given after the presentation concluded.

HB-1513 bill sponsors, Republicans Pat McDonough, Rick Impallaria, Kathy Szeliga, and the rest of the Harford County delegation have continued to favor HB-1513.

They continue to stand at odds with the state Tea Party movement as well as now the entire Maryland Republican Party leadership.

You may remember that HB-1513 was the Central Committee Packing Scheme proposed to add all of the Republican legislators to the local Central Committee so that they could vote Tea Party activists off of the committee.

You see, bill sponsors McDonough, Impallaria, and Szeliga are not happy with certain Tea Party members.

Their intent with HB-1513 was to micromanage the local Republican Party rather than focus their time in Annapolis fighting to get our liberties back.

If passed, this legislation would have been used to attack Tea Party Republicans all over Maryland.

The politicians in Annapolis work for us, it’s not the other way around.

Be proud today that, against their wishes, we were able to stop the McDonough-Impallaria-Szeliga agenda to purge grassroots activists from the Maryland Republican Party.

Today, we’re glad that Party leaders all over Maryland stand with us!

Maryland Liberty PAC continues to build coalitions with like-minded Republicans around the state to stand up for grassroots conservatives, common sense liberty leadership, and a better Maryland.

We hope that McDonough, Impallaria, and GOP House Whip, Kathy Szeliga, wake up very soon to start embracing the Tea Party instead of opposing us!

Thank you to all of you who mobilized in opposition to HB-1513–your work helped us win on this issue in 2014.

We also extend thanks and gratitude to Republican leaders around Maryland who stood with the Tea Party this weekend in opposition to the actions of these rogue legislators.

Uniting Republicans and Tea Party activists around Maryland will lead our conservative cause to electoral success.

Unapologetic advocacy for solid conservative principles will energize and encourage Marylanders to support Republican candidates.

Maryland Liberty PAC is committed to creating conditions in Maryland where courageous leaders are successful in advocating for REAL pro-freedom legislation!

For Liberty,

Ted Patterson
Executive Director
Maryland Liberty PAC

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Historic Harford County

The Stansbury family built the gristmill in 1798 and the mill was named Stansbury Mill. The mill was owned by the Stansbury family throughout most of the 1800’s. From 1883-1894, the mill was operated as Anderson’s Mill, after owner George L. Anderson. In 1896, a deed to the property referred to the mill as Eden Mills. It is believed that the mill was named after Sir Robert Eden, the last royal governor of Maryland.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Candidates for Harford County School Board

from the Baltimore Sun
Six seats on the Harford County Board of Education will be filled in this year's election, the first time that's happened since state legislation passed five years ago setting up a board with six elected and three appointed members.

One board member will be elected by voters in each of the six Harford County Council districts under a convoluted process that begins with next month's primary election.

The candidates in each district will be on both the Democratic and Republican ballots in the primary, as the race is non-partisan, Dale Livingston, deputy director of the Harford County Board of Elections, said.

A total of 19 candidates filed across the six council districts.

That means even voters who are registered as independent could vote for the school board candidates in the June 24 primary, even though they won't be able to vote for other county and state offices.

The top two winners from each district in the primary will then run against each other in the general election Nov. 4. In some of the primary races, however, only two candidates are in the ballot.

The process is the same as in 2010, when three board members were elected to four-year terms, Livingston noted, the initial phase-in of the so-called blended school board.

The winners in November won't take their seats until July 1, 2015. Some of the losers might still make the board, if they are current appointees or by future appointments reserved for the governor.

Early voting for the primary takes place from June 12 to June 19.

School board members do not receive a salary, but get a small stipend for personal expenses.

Joppatowne/Edgewood – District A
Fred Mullis - Joppatowne resident Fred Mullis said he wants the county's children to have a better future.

"Our children need someone to look after their well-being and their future," he said about his reason for running.

The 74-year-old, who has grandchildren in the school system, once oversaw the multimillion-dollar Doctor Pet Center franchise, which he said gave him experience running a major budget.

"The school board is like a business," he said. "We need someone in there that understands budgeting, understands payroll, understands personnel and has some working knowledge of construction."

Mullis said he would consider cutting non-essential personnel, or schools that have, for example, two or three vice-principals, "so we can pay teachers a living wage."

Jansen Robinson - Jansen Robinson, 59, lives in Edgewood and works as a security specialist at the Aberdeen Proving Ground and said he has the "education, training and experience required to make sound, ethical and fiscally responsible decisions that benefit our students, teachers and taxpayers."

Robinson said he wants to look at all the options when considering budgeting or other issues before the school system.

"All of the options need to be on the table," he said, noting now the county is looking at a tax increase or reduction of services.
Fallston/West – District B
Bob Frisch - Bob Frisch was among the first three elected board members, winning the District A seat in 2010. Following redistricting since the last election, his Joppa home is now in District B.

"I think the board is at a critical time with the election," he said, noting there will be a fair amount of turnover as candidates step down or run for other offices.

"Stability is important, and I enjoy being on the board," Frisch, 58, said.

Frisch said he has spent a lot of time working in large organizations and has learned how to work with the school system.

"Being on the board is a steep learning curve, so I am in the position to not have to go through that," he said. "I can hit the ground running, so to speak."

"I have been proactive in keeping the lines of communication open with all the other stakeholder groups," Frisch said, adding he continues to talk with all the County Council members.

He also said he has not been afraid to go to Annapolis and advocate for the school system.

"My background in law enforcement and large organizations, and my background in the classroom, gives me the perspective to understand what happens every day," he said.

Greg Johnson - Greg Johnson, 32, once ran unsuccessfully for the Republican Central Committee. The Bel Air resident has a niece and nephew in the school system and notes his brother-in-law is a teacher.

"Of course, teachers are very upset that they have not gotten their step increases and I think it's a valid concern," he said. "I think there's got to be ways we can find cuts that are sufficient to give them an increase."

Johnson, who works at APG Federal Credit Union, said he also wonders if it is necessary to keep building schools and noted he is "vehemently opposed" to Common Core mandates.

"I would like to see the implementation go smoothly and would like to see a little more fire in the belly of the board to push back the state," Johnson explained.

Laura Runyeon - Fallston resident Laura Runyeon gained prominence as the PTA leader at Youth's Benefit Elementary School who was at the helm of the push to rebuild the school.

"I just felt that we needed more parents to engage on the level that I have been engaged at," she explained about her decision to run for the board.

Runyeon, 51, has worked as a paralegal in Baltimore for 27 years.

She said she would focus on getting more stakeholders involved in the processes affecting the school system, and she believes she has the relationships with parents and communities to be able to do that.

Runyeon has been advocating for periodic town hall meetings and said she really wants to see the consequences on the board level.

She said her experience as a highly involved parent is a perspective that has been "missing" from the board.

"I think we need people who are willing to work collaboratively," she said. "I think the relationships historically have been strained."

She said most of the relationships between stakeholders have been strained over budget issues, "and I think we are moving in the right direction, but I also think you need people who have proven themselves able to work through these issues."
Bel Air area – District C
John Anker - Candidate John Anker did not respond to several requests to be interviewed for this article.

Anker lives in Bel Air, according to the county election board.

Allyson Krchnavy - Allyson Krchnavy is the school board's longest serving member. She was appointed by Gov. Martin O'Malley in 2008.

The 48-year-old mother from Bel Air, who works as a senior branch office manager at Edward Jones, said she is unique in coming from "a background of parent advocacy," being involved with the PTA long before she joined the board.

Krchnavy said she wants to continue supporting the arts and extracurricular activities. She added "there is a huge learning curve for any new board member," and she already has many connections across the state with various school board members.

Krchnavy believes she has done a lot of things "to encourage people to make those connections with the community."

She also said she would "have a hard time" supporting a budget that supports activity fees.

Joseph Voskuhl - As the former principal of Bel Air High School for seven years, Joseph Voskuhl said he believes his 41 years of experience in education give him an edge.

"I wanted to get involved again because if you look over the past five years, the board has really failed to address the budget issues," said Voskuhl, who retired in 2011 and lives in Bel Air.

He was disappointed, for example, with the school board's 2009 hiring of Robert Tomback as superintendent. Tomback stepped down last year when his contract expired

"I think the school system had very good internal candidates," Voskuhl said of that decision. "I really believe it set the school system back."

The current board has tried to manage its budget by requiring fees for athletes and those taking part in extracurricular activities and stopping bussing for magnet-school students, he noted.

"What was the purpose of those?" Voskuhl asked. "They have kind of ignored the county executive's request to see where they could combine services, maybe to save money. That hasn't been looked into."

Voskuhl, 66, said the board should consider redistricting, which "really means maybe closing unneeded schools," and should find ways to improve the situation for teachers.

He said the teacher retention rate is good, as other school systems are not hiring thousands of teachers, but "the ones that are leaving are the best. They are taking the best."

"The word is, 'Don't go to Harford County unless you can't get a job someplace else,'" he said. "Everything has been placed on their back as far as salaries, and it's really getting to a crisis in the school system."

Voskuhl also noted he would be a one-term candidate, as he is a big believer in term limits.

"I would not run for re-election; I don't have sights on a higher office," he said. "I am going to work very hard for what is best for the students of Harford County."
Darlington/North District D
Nancy Reynolds - Nancy Reynolds, 70, a Forest Hill resident, has served on the board since being appointed by Gov. Martin O'Malley in 2011 and is the board president.

Reynolds, who is married with two daughters and four grandchildren, served as principal of Bel Air Middle School from 1998 to 2008, and later as a principal mentor and service learning facilitator for Harford County Public Schools. She has a bachelor's degree in English from Marietta College in Ohio and a master's in reading from Towson University.

"I have a vested interest in ensuring that all of our students receive the best possible education," she wrote in an email. "I have the desire, the knowledge and the experience to make this vision a reality."

She stated her top issues include preparing students to be competitive in a global economy and giving them appropriate technology to meet Common Core requirements and electronic PARCC testing; she described the technology piece as "extremely costly," but necessary for "every student in every classroom."

Chris Scholz - Chris Scholz, 53, lives in the Havre de Grace area and is a career and technology education teacher in Baltimore City Public Schools.

He grew up in Howard County and graduated from Glenelg High School. He has a bachelor's degree in industrial arts education and technology education from the University of Maryland, College Park, plus a master's in technology from the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore. He has been a teacher since 1984.

"I feel, as a board member, that I need to make sure that the funding is there for the students, whatever that takes," he said.

Mike Simon - Mike Simon, 29, lives in Street. The North Harford High School graduate is a project manager with Empire Corrugated Machinery.

He plans to graduate from Harford Community College in the fall with a degree in business administration, and a concentration in economics. Simon has a long-term girlfriend and no children.

"I would love my future children to be able to grow up in Harford County, and the only way I'm going to feel comfortable with that is if there is a school system where they can learn," he said.

The issues of concern for him include balancing the school system's budget and the unpopular Common Core State Standards, which are scheduled to be implemented during the 2014-2015 school year.

"If Harford County can make a big enough splash about this, make enough noise, get some other counties riled up, there might be a chance that we can get this thing repealed together as a state," he said.

Tishan D. Weerasooriya - Tishan Weerasooriya, 22, is a Towson University student who is studying psychology and political science.

The Forest Hill resident has also attended West Virginia University and has an associate's degree from Harford Community College in biology and chemistry.

"I want every child in Harford County to receive the best education they can so they can become the most influential and inspirational individual they can be and change our community as well as in the state and country for the better," he wrote in an e-mail.

Weerasooriya takes current school board members to task for "not fighting for funding" for the school system; he called the projected $30 million gap for the fiscal 2015 HCPS budget – between what school officials say they need for operations and what they are likely to get from funding sources – "unacceptable."

"New leadership is needed in order to repair relations with Annapolis as well as fight for our children as our public school system is starting to come apart," he wrote.
Aberdeen/Churchville - District E
Rachel Gauthier - Rachel Gauthier, 42, is a counselor at Stemmers Run Middle School in Baltimore County. The Southern California native is a graduate of William S. Hart High School in Los Angeles County.

The Bel Air resident moved to Maryland at age 20; she has a bachelor's degree in psychology and sociology from Towson University and a master's in counselor education from McDaniel College in Western Maryland.

She has a 7-year-old daughter who attends Prospect Mill Elementary School, and her 4-year-old son is in day care.

"My kids," Gauthier said when asked why she is running. "I love my kids, and I want to make sure they have the best education they can get."

Gauthier, who describes herself as a "concerned mom," said she wants to see greater support for schools from the county executive and the county council, pay raises for teachers and for school officials to revisit the busing changes they made to save money this year.

Arthur Kaff - Arthur Kaff, 49, is a civilian employee of the Department of the Army in Washington, D.C. He was appointed by the governor to the Board of Education in 2012 and has lived in Harford County since 2000.

"Instructional support and our public educational system needs to be fully funded so that our students can receive the best possible education," he wrote in an e-mail. "This will also be a great investment in the future of our county."

Kaff, who is married with three children, lives in the Fountain Green area near Bel Air.

He is a graduate of Andrew Warde High School in Fairfield, Conn. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from SUNY-New Paltz, a law degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law in Connecticut and a master's in strategic studies from the Army War College.

Kaff is a lieutenant colonel (promotable) in the Army Reserve; he stressed that his campaign statements are not endorsed by the Army.

"Everything I express is my own personal opinion," he said.

Kaff said he wants to focus on issues such as increasing employee salaries, fully funding schools and supporting programs from special education to the arts.

Stephen Macko - Stephen Macko of the Bel Air area will be on the primary ballot, but he has dropped out of the race. He said he determined his job duties would keep him from fully committing to serving on the school board.

He did not drop out in enough time for his name removed from the ballot.

"With respect to job responsibilities, it came to my attention that I would not be able to give the position the attention it deserved," he explained.

Barney Michel - Barney Michel, 64, of Bel Air, is a retired civil service and defense employee, having spent 27 years working with Aberdeen Proving Ground programs.

Michel is a graduate of Annapolis Senior High School; he has a bachelor's degree in government and politics and history from the University of Maryland and a master's in systems and quantitative analysis from the Florida Institute of Technology.

He is married with two adult children. He has been a member of the Parent Advisory Committees at Hickory Elementary School and Southampton Middle School and worked with the Futures 11 program for high school juniors.

He has also participated in multiple initiatives involving state, regional and military organizations to promote STEM education in Harford County, including the development of the Science and Mathematics Academy magnet program at Aberdeen High School.

"The structural deficit facing the school board is the overarching issue facing our school board," Michel stated in an e-mail. "The fact that teachers have had a single 1 percent step increase in over five years is testimony to this."
Havre de Grace/Abingdon - District F
Thomas Fitzpatrick - Thomas Fitzpatrick, 57, was appointed to the school board by the governor in 2012.

The Havre de Grace resident, who is married, has a bachelor's degree in political science from Loyola University and an MBA from the University of Baltimore. He is the East Coast sales manager for Modular Wetlands Inc.

"Nothing reflects a county's commitment to its future or to the well-being of its children than the quality of its public education system," he wrote in an email.

Fitzpatrick highlighted the funding issues the school system has faced in recent years, including teachers not receiving promised salary steps.

"I intend to bring my experience as a board member to the fight for increased funding and for more support for our schools," he wrote. "It may be a cliché to say that our schools are our future, but it's also fact."

Joseph Fleckenstein - Joseph Fleckenstein, 42, works for the Chenega Corporation, a defense contractor with Aberdeen Proving Ground.

The Bel Air native and Abingdon resident is divorced with no children.

He is a graduate of Bel Air High School; he has an associate's degree in business administration from Harford Community College and a bachelor's from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

Fleckenstein wants to remove big government influence from local education, such as the Common Core State Standards.

"The more we educate parents and teachers about the true nature of Common Core, the sooner we will steer the conversation in the correct direction," he wrote in an email.

He also pledged to work with all parties, regardless of their views, to "raise educational standards while staying within budgetary limits."

Michael Hitchings - Michael Hitchings, 37, of Havre de Grace, is a civilian project and program manager at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

His is a graduate of Havre de Grace High School; he also has a bachelor's degree in biology from St. Mary's College of Maryland and is working on a master's in environmental engineering and science through John's Hopkins University.

Hitchings, who is married with three children, is a member of the Havre de Grace Board of Appeals and sits on the City Council's ad hoc traffic subcommittee. He is a former member of the city's planning commission. Hitchings wrote in an e-mailed statement that his issues of concern include teacher salaries and retention, school infrastructure and Common Core.

"I want to bring my deep-dive perspective and personal investment as a father of children in HCPS into the fold to support the strength and capabilities of this program through the 21st century!" he wrote.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Hymns to Acxiom, the NSA, and the New "Big Other"

Try playing the 2 videos simultaneously... the 2nd at half volume

Somebody hears you. you know that. you know that.
Somebody hears you. you know that inside.
Someone is learning the colors of all your moods, to
(say just the right thing and) show that you’re understood.
Here you’re known.

Leave your life open. you don’t have. you don’t have.
Leave your life open. you don’t have to hide.
Someone is gathering every crumb you drop, these
(mindless decisions and) moments you long forgot.
Keep them all.

Let our formulas find your soul.
We’ll divine your artesian source (in your mind),
Marshal feed and force (our machines will)
To design you a perfect love—
Or (better still) a perfect lust.
O how glorious, glorious: a brand new need is born.

Now we possess you. you’ll own that. you’ll own that.
Now we possess you. you’ll own that in time.
Now we will build you an endlessly upward world,
(reach in your pocket) embrace you for all you’re worth.

Is that wrong?
Isn’t this what you want?
Amen.

Maryland, MY Maryland

Friday, May 23, 2014

Harford County Council's Next President?

from The Dagger
Councilman Richard Slutzky, current representative of District E and Council President hopeful, serves a dual role as not only a legislator but also as a “judge “on the Board of Appeals for zoning cases as do all seven Council members. This puts Council members in a very powerful position when it comes to zoning matters. Not only do they have the power to change the zoning laws as legislators, but they also sit in a quasi-judicial capacity presiding over requests for variances, requests for zoning changes, appeals of certain issues, among other zoning related matters.

The problem with this dual role rears its ugly head when the citizens a Council member represents encounter problems caused by over-ambitious developers. The development of Eva Mar Farm is just such an example. Developers plan to build a 514 unit continuing care retirement community (“CCRC”) and 144 single family homes on the 155 acre property on Route 543 in between Route 22 and C. Milton Wright High School. Residents of the communities surrounding the farm went to Councilman Slutzky to express their concerns and to seek help in mitigating the development’s many negative impacts. Councilman Slutzky, while initially responsive, told his constituents that he was unable to get involved because it would be a conflict of interest due to his role on the Board of Appeals.

Mr. Slutzky explained that if a zoning case arose from the proposed development, his ability to be fair and impartial would be compromised. Councilman Slutzky’s view is arguably contrary to the County Charter which was recently amended in June 2012 to clarify this dilemma (see Bill 12-33). The County Charter understandably indicates that Council Members may not discuss cases that have been actually filed and/or are pending before the Board of Appeals. The issue here is that nothing at all has been filed or is pending or even likely to get before the Board of Appeals on the Eva Mar case. The consequence of Councilman Slutzky’s narrow view is that the citizens he represents are left without government representation in matters that greatly impact their safety, property values and quality of life. In and of itself, that presents a serious problem for taxpayers. But Councilman Slutzky’s view is not shared by all council members and is only one part of the problem.

The other part of the problem is that Councilman Slutzky does not take a similar position when it comes to accepting campaign contributions from the very same developers who also might come before him on the exact same matter. In reviewing his publicly available campaign finance records, it was learned that on or about September 4, 2013, he accepted a check for $1,000 from Dixie Construction Company. Shawn Pyle, president of Dixie Construction, is on the Board of Directors of Presbyterian Homes of Maryland (“PHM”) who will operate the CCRC planned for Eva Mar. In addition and more directly, on or about September 17, 2013, he accepted $200 checks from both Michael Charlton of Elm St. Developers and the law firm of Snee, Mahoney, Lutche and Helmlinger, P.A. Mr. Charlton is the developer of the Eva Mar project and Joseph Snee, named partner in the law firm, is the attorney for the developer. All of these parties are just as likely to be before him on the Board of Appeals. Aren’t they?

So how does the acceptance of those checks from parties related to the Eva Mar project not also present a conflict of interest when those parties are also likely to be in front of you on a case before the Board of Appeals? Doesn’t the acceptance of these checks create an even greater appearance of impropriety than helping your constituents deal with well-connected and deep-pocketed developers? To be clear here, I am not alleging that there are any actual quid-pro-quos going on here or in the past. There is no proof of that. My point is to question the consistency and accuracy of Councilman Slutzky’s position on this issue and whether this position is good for his constituents (and the County) when it comes to matters like this.

Beyond just the Eva Mar related checks, Councilman Slutzky has a long history of accepting significant contributions from developer related interests which further undermines his position on declining to help his constituents in zoning matters. In addition to the most recent contributions related to the Eva Mar project, Councilman Slutzky has received since 2005 around $36,000 from developers, attorneys for developers, construction companies, people who have sought zoning changes to property they own, etc. This is out of total contributions received from all sources of $55,175. That represents 65% of his total campaign contributions coming from people who have interests in zoning related matters. This is the highest percentage by far of any council member. One has to at least question whose interests Councilman Slutzky truly represents in these types of matters and the appearance this pattern of contributions creates.

To be fair, the acceptance of campaign contributions from developers is not limited to just Mr. Slutzky. All council members (and our County Executive) receive contributions from developers, some more than others of course. The difference is that other council members actually have the courage to help their constituents with these issues whether or not they might lead to a Board of Appeals case and do not hide behind a conflict of interest to avoid taking an unpopular position with developers. See for example Bill 13-16 introduced by Councilmen McMahan, Woods, Boniface and Guthrie to assist the residents near the proposed Wal Mart on Route 924. That case is analogous to the Eva Mar development and yet those Councilmen come to the aid of those residents who have the same complaints about traffic and safety as we do. So what is the solution?

First the solution is not to rely on the County Executive for representation as Councilman Boniface suggested in recent public comments. This is contrary to everything we learned in Government 101. But to play along, we tried early on to reach out to David Craig on this matter but he too declined to get involved and referred us to planning and zoning. Their job is not to be an advocate for us rather their role is simply to interpret and enforce the zoning laws. Further making Councilman Boniface’s suggestion completely unworkable is the close ties David Craig has with Joe Snee, lead attorney on the project who served as a campaign advisor to Craig. The Craig administration fully supports this development from top to bottom as evidenced in part by the comments of Mary Chance, Director of Administration, and Jim Richardson, Director of Economic Development, that can be found right on the web page for the CCRC. The expectation of impartiality from the executive branch in this case is purely an illusion at best.

One solution is for the council member in whose district a contentious development plan arises to recuse himself from the Board of Appeals on that particular matter. One, this allows the Councilman to help his or her constituents without worries over conflict of interest issues. I should say here that I fully recognize that the developers are constituents too. But a Councilman cannot represent one over the other as is being done in this case. Two, it removes any temptation from developers to make campaign contributions in hopes of a favorable result or support in exchange. And three, most importantly, it removes any appearances of impropriety that arise from accepting checks from developer related issues. The objection to this proposal is that the Council members want the ability to cast a deciding vote in matters in their jurisdiction. That is exactly what we do not want and what leads to developers making such campaign contributions in hopes of getting the deciding vote in their favor. After all, $200 is a small investment on a multi-million dollar project. Let’s take that option off the table all together and remove the Council member from the picture in matters like this so he or she can do what they were elected to do – that is represent the people.

In conclusion, the position that Councilman Slutzky is taking with respect to representing his constituents is completely inconsistent with his practice of accepting campaign contributions from developer interests in close proximity to a plans for a development going public. His position is not consistent with the positions other Council members have taken in other zoning related matters such as the Wal Mar/924 case. Nor is his position consistent with the recent amendment of the County Charter on this very issue. Councilman Slutzky’s indefensible position has left taxpayers without representation on an issue that presents significant concerns over a multitude of issues, including but not limited to public safety, quality of life, excessive traffic, and property values. The response by our government to our concerns has been riddled with inconsistencies, unanswered questions and, in short, nothing short of abysmal. The issue here is not that we don’t like what we are hearing. The issue here is that the County Council does not like what it is hearing from us and does not like having its relationship with developers being called into question. This should worry all Harford County residents who live next to or near undeveloped land and should be on everyone’s minds as we head to the polls this June and again in November.


William Onorato, On behalf of 543 Concerned Citizens
www.543concernedcitizens.com
www.facebook.com/ccevamar

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Historic Harford County

Built in 1898 as a summer home away from the heat of the Kelly's Baltimore Mount Vernon home, Liriodendron mansion and its originally 200-plus-acre estate had members of the Kelly family living in it until the 1980 sale of the estate to Harford County and the creation of the Liriodendron Foundation. http://www.liriodendron.com/index.cfm

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bringing Home the Bacon - aka "Let the Crony Times Roll!"

from the Baltimore Sun
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Tuesday evening she's been able to secure undisclosed business deals for the city at a Las Vegas convention.

"Out of this conference, there will be new-to-the-city retailers," Rawlings-Blake said in a telephone interview from the three-day Global Retail Real Estate Convention.

The mayor declined to give any details about the deals, but said there would be announcements soon. "Within the next 60 to 90 days, people will be able to talk about some of the deals that got done here," she said.

The conference is considered a "who's who" event, where the worlds of government and business mix among the glitz and glamour of casinos and parties.

In all, 669 Marylanders were slated to attend, including 10 from Baltimore's government. Rawlings-Blake, City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young, Council Vice President Edward Reisinger and Councilman Carl Stokes all made the trip.

Rawlings-Blake said she has focused on reducing the city's food deserts by recruiting grocers.

"There are many grocers that are interested in Baltimore," she said. "A lot of people were eager to walk away with the food desert map and dig deeper into the potential locations."

Colin Tarbert, Rawlings-Blake's new deputy mayor for economic development, said a redevelopment of East Baltimore's Old Town Mall has also drawn attention.

"Old Town was mentioned a few time by various developers," he said. "There’s a lot of interest in that site."

The city's Board of Estimates recently approved $2,400 Rawlings-Blake and Tarbert to attend and $2,600 for police officer Kyle Gooden to accompany the mayor. The city has also approved $4,600 for Young and his staffer Carolyn Blakeney to attend, and $2,400 for Reisinger's trip.

Also attending the convention, which is sponsored by the International Council of Shopping Centers, were Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker; Harford County Executive David Craig, a candidate for governor; and Maryland Transportation Secretary James Smith, the former Baltimore County Executive, according to the convention's site.

While at the ICSC convention last year, Rawlings-Blake made news when she officiated a wedding between two of the top lobbyists in Baltimore, Lisa Harris Jones and Sean Malone.

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, multiple state legislators and a host of State House and City Hall staff members attended the wedding.

This year, the mayor said, there has been little time for fun. "It’s been non-stop meetings for two days," Rawlings-Blake said.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Historic Harford County

Welcome to the Aerial Tour of Concord Point Lighthouse which is the oldest lighthouse in Maryland that is accessible to the public. http://www.concordpointlighthouse.org/ Built by John Donahoo, the 2 lighthouses are very similar, from the local granite construction to the mahogony doors. The original Keeper's Dwelling still exists at Concord Point and has been fully restored to its 1884 version. Concord Point Lighthouse is open to the public from April to October on weekends, weather permitting.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Meet the Candidates - Harford County Council - District C (Bel Air/ Forest Hill)

Gina Kazimir, Swingtime Ballroom Yuletide Ball, 2010

Candidates:

Kazimir, Gina A. (Democratic); from the Baltimore Sun:
Gina Kazimir of Bel Air formally filed her candidacy for Harford County Council District C on Feb. 7. Kazimir, a Democrat who lives in the Howard Park section of Bel Air, said she is offering a choice to move forward for voters in District C.

"I am running because I believe that voters deserve choices. The right to choose our government is fundamental to what makes America the greatest nation on earth," she said. "I want to ensure that right remains strong by offering a choice for voters in District C.

"I believe that we need to move forward and take a fresh look at the opportunities and challenges in the district. The status quo isn't acceptable anymore. District C is in the heart of Harford County. Our district offers some of the best opportunities in the county for education, shopping and recreation, but along with those opportunities come concerns, like increasing traffic and development density. Our County Council needs to manage both opportunities and costs as we move forward, costs not just in terms of dollars but in terms of the impact on our environment and our quality of life," she said.

A Harford County resident for two decades, Kazimir has run a successful strategic communications firm, PR Right Now, for 16 years. She has worked with a range of clients from national companies and trade associations to non-profits and small businesses, winning a number of awards for her work along the way. For seven years she served as the editor of "Harford Magazine," helping create the "Best of Harford" awards.

Kazimir has served as a board member with Harford Habitat for Humanity and Open Doors locally, is a longtime member of the Bel Air Downtown Alliance and volunteers teaching life skills classes at Anna's House. She is also one of the founders of "Dancing for a Cause," the annual benefit for Cancer LifeNet at Upper Chesapeake Health. In addition, she received her certificate in civil mediation from MICPEL, the continuing education arm of the Maryland Bar Association, giving her proven skills in helping to create consensus even in challenging situations.

"I love Harford County and the people who live here," Kazimir says. "My friends and neighbors are some of the best people I've ever met, and I would be honored to be able to represent everyone in District C in the County Council."

For more information, look at Kazimir's Facebook page, Gina Kazimir for Harford County.
Daxon, Eric W. (Republican) from The Dagger
From Friends of Eric Daxon:

The anticipation is over; Eric Daxon has officially filed to run for Harford County Council in District C. After living in many places in Maryland, Eric and his family moved to his favorite county, Harford County. Besides its natural beauty and family friendly environment, he chose to live here because of affordable homes, low property taxes, low crime and good schools. He has been married since 2000. Nancy and Eric have a daughter and son. Eric is dedicated to seeing a real two party system in Maryland where the result is common sense government.

Eric has always felt strongly about the need for lawsuit abuse reform and protection of property rights. In 2009, he helped the Prigel Family Creamery in Glen Arm, MD raise money for their legal defense. Prigel Farm Fest was attended by over 1,200 people and raised $35,000.00. The festival raised the communities’ awareness for the need for legal abuse reforms and the protection of property rights.

Eric is going to fight for you to keep your hard earned money. Over the past 8 years, we have watched Annapolis increase taxes on us 40 consecutive times. The most recent, the rain tax is the most concerning. This tax not only taxes resident’s property, it also taxes churches, non-profits and businesses for land and buildings they own. A federal judge ruled that states did not have to implement the rain tax. One can only wonder why the O’Malley and Brown Administration would pass a bill declared unconstitutional by a federal court.

Eric will bring a fresh perspective and new energy to the Harford County Council. He is going to propose term limits for all elected officials in Harford County. The military calls it “up or out”. Our politicians should live by the same standard our soldiers do. He will not raise taxes. He will not compete with banks and the Small Business Administration by giving out taxpayer money to businesses. He will tell you where he stands on an issue before the council and vote that way. You will see Eric and his family out and about, not just near Election Day.

For more information look at the website www.ericdaxon.com
www.facebook.com/EricDaxon
twitter @EricWDaxon

McMahan, James V. "Jim" Jr. (Republican)
Incumbent

website

Mitchell, David E.(Republican)
TBD
Video Uploaded by Eric Daxon

Songs for a the "New Normal" America

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Meet the Candidates - Harford County Council District E (Aberdeen/ Churchville)

Patrick Vincenti
from the Dagger
County Council District E (Aberdeen/Churchville) is guaranteed a new representative, by virtue of Slutzky running for council president, and attracted the most candidates. In the Democratic primary election, former councilwoman and state delegate Barbara Osborn Kreamer and Duvowel Peaker, Sr., both of Aberdeen, will square off. The Republican primary election is a crowded field consisting of Daniel Lambros of Churchville, Blane Miller III of Aberdeen, Diane Sengstacke (1) of Bel Air, Patrick Vincenti of Churchville, and Melvin Wehrman, Jr. (2), of Bel Air.
(1) Diane L. Sengstacke, is the mother of twins. She owns two companies, Home Title Co. of Md., Inc., is President and founder (1991); and is an attorney with Sengstacke and Evans, LLC, Member (2001).

(2) Melvin Wehrman, Jr., is a Bel Air resident, and a Lieutenant in the Baltimore City Fire Department.

Diane Sengstacke at a 2010 Fundraiser

Evidence of Establishment Republican Paranoia in Harford County

From the Dagger and Maryland Liberty Political Action Committee, Inc.:
Patriot,

Not only did you defeat HB-1513 this session, you received back up from the MDGOP this weekend.

A resolution was introduced by the Harford and Baltimore County Republican Central Committees condemning HB-1513 and demanding that no similar bill in the future ever be proposed.

Not only was this resolution passed by the more than 300 person body, it passed by voice vote.

When the resolution was presented to the at-capacity crowd of Maryland Republican leaders a loud round of applause was given after the presentation concluded.

HB-1513 bill sponsors, Republicans Pat McDonough, Rick Impallaria, Kathy Szeliga, and the rest of the Harford County delegation have continued to favor HB-1513.

They continue to stand at odds with the state Tea Party movement as well as now the entire Maryland Republican Party leadership.

You may remember that HB-1513 was the Central Committee Packing Scheme proposed to add all of the Republican legislators to the local Central Committee so that they could vote Tea Party activists off of the committee.

You see, bill sponsors McDonough, Impallaria, and Szeliga are not happy with certain Tea Party members.

Their intent with HB-1513 was to micromanage the local Republican Party rather than focus their time in Annapolis fighting to get our liberties back.

If passed, this legislation would have been used to attack Tea Party Republicans all over Maryland.

The politicians in Annapolis work for us, it’s not the other way around.

Be proud today that, against their wishes, we were able to stop the McDonough-Impallaria-Szeliga agenda to purge grassroots activists from the Maryland Republican Party.

Today, we’re glad that Party leaders all over Maryland stand with us!

Maryland Liberty PAC continues to build coalitions with like-minded Republicans around the state to stand up for grassroots conservatives, common sense liberty leadership, and a better Maryland.

We hope that McDonough, Impallaria, and GOP House Whip, Kathy Szeliga, wake up very soon to start embracing the Tea Party instead of opposing us!

Thank you to all of you who mobilized in opposition to HB-1513–your work helped us win on this issue in 2014.

We also extend thanks and gratitude to Republican leaders around Maryland who stood with the Tea Party this weekend in opposition to the actions of these rogue legislators.

Uniting Republicans and Tea Party activists around Maryland will lead our conservative cause to electoral success.

Unapologetic advocacy for solid conservative principles will energize and encourage Marylanders to support Republican candidates.

Maryland Liberty PAC is committed to creating conditions in Maryland where courageous leaders are successful in advocating for REAL pro-freedom legislation!

For Liberty,

Ted Patterson
Executive Director
Maryland Liberty PAC

Historic Harford County

AERIAL Video Tour of Maryland's Harford County Joesting-Gorsuch House located on the outskirts of Bel Air on North Tollgate Road. Possibly one of the oldest homes in Harford County that was built in the late 1600's. Well before the Revolutionary War.

The Scientific Consensus is Clear. The Climate Models Are Fiction.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Why the Economy is Getting Better on Paper More than in Reality

I can only assume that the following is satire from the President's "White House Correspondents Dinner Speech"...
Hi, everybody. My number one priority as President is doing whatever I can to create more jobs and opportunity for hardworking families. And yesterday, we learned that businesses added 273,000 jobs last month. All told, our businesses have now created 9.2 million new jobs over 50 consecutive months of job growth.

But we need to keep going — to create more good jobs, and give middle-class families a sense of security. And I want to work with Congress to do it.

But so far this year, Republicans in Congress have blocked or voted down every serious idea to create jobs and strengthen the middle class. They’ve said “no” to raising the minimum wage, “no” to equal pay for equal work, and “no” to restoring the unemployment insurance they let expire for more than two million Americans looking for a new job.

That’s not what we need right now. Not when there are still too many folks out of work and too many families working harder than ever just to get by.

That’s why, in my State of the Union Address, I said that in this Year of Action, whenever I can act on my own to create jobs and expand opportunity for more Americans, I will. And since January, I’ve taken more than 20 executive actions to do just that.

I acted to raise more workers’ wages by requiring that workers on new federal contracts earn a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour — and as long as Republicans in Congress refuse to act, I’ll keep working with cities, states, and businesses to give more Americans a raise. I acted to encourage more pay transparency and strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws, so that more women have the tools they need to earn fair pay.

And I’m modernizing regulations to make sure that more Americans who work overtime get the pay that they’ve earned. I’ve launched new hubs to help attract more high-tech manufacturing jobs to America — and ordered a reform of job training programs to make sure more Americans can earn the skills that employers need right now. I’ve brought together business leaders to help us connect more classrooms to high-speed internet, and give more of the long-term unemployed a better shot at finding a job.

Each of these steps will make a difference. You can check out the full list at whitehouse.gov.
from IBD