Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Another Round Up...

There has been a lack of good Howard County stuff to write about lately. So I'm forced to go the Round Up route yet again.

The Gang of Three (Councilmen Chris Merdon, Charles Feaga, and David Rakes) last night approved a reduction in the annual assessment cap for property taxes -- from 5 percent per year to 4 percent. County Executive James Robey has talked about his own tax cut -- reducing the rate by $.03 per $100 of assessed value -- but it's unclear if this is still part of his plan. It's also unclear whether he'll veto the Gang of Three's cut; he issued a strongly-worded threat to that effect yesterday. What's interesting is the Republican-sponsored tax cut would amount to less of a tax break than Robey's proposal.

A Howard police officer is suing the department over a potential free speech violation. As the story makes clear, there might not really be a case here because the department has since clarified it's position on who officers can talk to and when. Still, it's worth keeping an eye on.

Howard County Blog #1 takes Ken Ulman to task for sign-waving. A couple weeks ago, the Democratic County Executive candidate said he planned on waving but not until winter was over, which it is (at least according to meteorologists, but not the astronomers [and what do they know about weather, anyway?]). However, HCB1 infers that Ulman's decision to wave is a result of a poll he conducted recently or that he recognized how well the practice was working for his opponent, Chris Merdon.

Both of these reasons are wrong. Politicians wave signs because that's what they do. They sing and dance and generally make spectacles of themselves to get their name out there and hopefully grab a few votes. And even though I am morally opposed to roadside campaigning, they're not trying to win my vote.

I don't want to get into a partisan battle over something as silly as sign-waving, but it's important to remember that Merdon has been running for County Executive seat for at least a year, while Ulman was kind of thrown into the role after presumptive candidate Guy Guzzone backed out last fall. So if it seems like he's playing catch up to Merdon -- hence HCB1's nickname, "The Me Too Kid" -- it's because he is playing catch up, at least when it comes to gimmicks.

And now, for some random, non-local stuff I found in the blogosphere today.

Let's hope this doesn't become a fad. If it does, I might be in for a world of trouble. (See also David Wissing.)

Meanwhile, let's hope this fad continues.

Finally, ever wonder what The Simpsons would look like with real people? Wonder no more.

Well, that's all for now. Come back tomorrow for more, non-Round Up posts.

UPDATE: I forgot to include a link to this random internet tidbit. Apparently the judge in this case has a sense of humor.


hocoblog said...

Hayduke, on the competing tax cuts. I encourage you to run the numbers out for 10 years on both proposals. Use a $400,000.00 home as a baseline.

I did this yesterday to see if I could find out what all the fuss was about. On the surface the assessment cap savings looks small, but as assessments grow so does the savings and they snowball. In the end the Feaga plan saves taxpayers (depending on your philosophy "costs the county") a lot more money.

On the sign waving. I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to tweak Mr. Ulman. But I am curious - doesn't winter end March 21st? Isn't that the standard? Not trying to pick a fight - just thought Ulman reversed himself pretty quickly. He has an uphill battle at this point, but it is early and he will catch up. As you said, Guzzone surprised a lot of people.

Also, did you hear about the poll? It is just a rumor as far as I am concerned, but do you know something?

Hayduke said...

I'm working on the tax cut numbers and will have something up about it tonight. So, stay tuned!

In this election year, I wouldn't expect either of us to pass up a chance to tweak those candidates on the other side of the aisle from us. Anything less would be a let down for readers, right? I'll also have more detail about my politics soon.

The end of winter is a tricky thing. As I alluded to in the post, meteorologists say that winter is the months of December, January, and February, while the solar calendar on which we base our lives says winter ends on the vernal equinox, which is March 21. Such lines are unnecessary, however. Winter fades into spring when it feels like it. By the way, look out for temps in the 70s this weekend (clearly, not winter weather).

As for the poll, I was going off of what you said. I haven't heard anything about it, and, much to my dismay, was not called to offer my $0.02. I actually didn't think that polling was something local candidates even bothered to do, but what do I know? However, I would love to see the results of the poll, if for nothing else, to see how out of touch my views are from the mainstream.

You seem pretty in touch with the Republicans, do you know if they've conducted any polling?

Anonymous said...

Regardless of any other minor tax break proposal. If Robey really wanted to do something for taxpayers in Howard County he would roll back that 30% increase in the income tax he passed - for a lot of us that was big money...As far as I'm concerned the county will waste whatever it's given.

Souldn't Patuxatawny Phil decide on when Ulman should sign wave - sounds more equitable to me....

Hayduke said...

You're right on both points. I've said in the past that I think Robey should roll back the income tax hikes from a few years ago (I'm too lazy right now to look up the actual posts). But nobody listens to me.

You are also right that we should abide by the ruling of the Official Weather Predicting Groundhog when deciding on the precise end of winter. Since this year's prediction called for six more weeks of winter (from Feb. 2), winter will not officially end until March 16.