Thursday, August 10, 2006

We don't need no stinking facts...

Or maybe we do.

In the only televised forum for Howard County executive candidates prior to next month's primary election, Kenneth Ulman said he wanted to continue the quality of life that recently earned Columbia and Ellicott City national recognition, while opponent Harry Dunbar focused on slowing growth in the county.

...During the forum, Dunbar characterized Ulman, who sits on the County Council, as a candidate who puts the interests of developers first.

He said that Ulman met "in a back room" with the builders of a controversial 22-story condominium project in downtown Columbia to "seal the deal" on the project's construction.

After the Aug. 8 forum, in an interview, Dunbar said that he had no firsthand knowledge of the back-room meeting he said Ulman attended but that Del. Elizabeth Bobo was quoted in the Columbia Flier as saying that such a meeting had occurred.

Also following the forum, Ulman, who represents west Columbia, denied that any such meeting occurred and called Dunbar's accusation "patently false."

A check of the Flier's stories produced no references to Bobo saying that Ulman had met privately with the builders of the high-rise. Bobo, a Democrat from west Columbia, has been critical of the high-rise project, The Plaza Residences, which is under construction.

In February, she filed a complaint with the state's Open Meetings Compliance Board alleging that the Howard County Planning Board, which approved construction of the Plaza, regularly holds meetings in a separate room with petitioners and developers prior to public meetings and keeps no minutes of those meetings.

The compliance board ruled that the Planning Board had violated open meetings laws by keeping no minutes of a meeting that preceded a public hearing on the high-rise.

Ulman does not serve on the Planning Board.

Bobo could not be reached for comment. However, Ann Goldscher, a Bobo aide, said she spoke with Bobo about Dunbar's allegation and that Bobo said she had never accused Ulman of meeting privately with the Plaza's developers.
Isn't it amazing what you can find if you spend a little time looking?

Flier reporter Nate Sandstrom has earned my respect for actually reporting the facts, rather than just repeating dubious claims verbatim. More like this, please.


mary smith said...

...and we don't need no stinking non-partisan groups. Yes, I'm about to criticize the untouchable league of women voters, if I have my facts straight, from patuxent publishing, “The forum also included Republican…”

What is the spirit of the primary forum? If a major party candidate is unopposed, then all the other unopposed candidates should have been invited as well.

If it’s facts we want, then what about the years of zoning decisions actually signed by both major party candidates? You cannot clear Ken Ulman’s name at this late date. See the letter to editor in the same publication. No dissentions. With maturity, not necessarily age, comes the ability to evaluate independently of outside pressures and conformity. Good leadership cannot sprout from fear of bucking the norm. An environmentalist after all, should know this.

hocoblog said...

as from Mr. Dunbar. Attention to detail should be a hallmark of a candidate for County Executive or County Council. Mr. Dunbar has failed to exhibit, in this example, that quality.