Monday, December 04, 2006


We celebrate a beginning and an end today. First, naturally, the beginning.

The new County Executive and County Council will be sworn in tonight at Centennial High School. There’s not really much to be said about this, though Steve Fine and Evan Coren weigh in with some thoughts of their own.

I had thought about writing about the only real source of intrigue with this new council – namely, who would be elected chair. But, the Sun seems to have fairly well covered the issue. The short story: Calvin Ball will be chairman for the first year – with about seven months on the council, he is the most experienced – and then the position will rotate among the other three Democrats in the following years. David Keelan’s take on the matter, which (un-ironically and needlessly) includes a patronizing piece of faux dialogue meant to show how Ulman will patronize Ball as council chairman, is here.

Of course, I could forecast what’s in store for the county under its new leadership. But, again, much of this has been covered elsewhere – see here, here and here.

As much as you will all be anxiously awaiting a recap post on the swearing-in mumbo jumbo, it ain’t happening tonight, because it’s the end…

The season finale of The Wire is now available on HBO On Demand, and there’s no way I’m not watching it tonight. After watching the first three seasons (37 episodes!) in only a few weeks last August, the exceedingly drawn-out broadcast schedule -- one episode per week for the past three months – has been brutal. Certainly, however, the reality of having no new shows for a couple years will be significantly more painful to endure.

As for the show itself (rather than just my obsession with it), the sense of foreboding -- which is usual for the show but was heightened this season by the presence of the school kids and the fact that we’re seeing how the cycle repeats itself – will probably, unfortunately deliver on its promises tonight. We’ve known the kids just long enough to like them all, even Namond. And we also know that nobody gets out of west Baltimore unscathed. How bad does it get and what’s left over for next season, I think, are the real questions.

Anyway, I’m ready for both – the Beginning and the End. Or, I should say, I hope I am.


numbersgirl said...

My highlight- coming within 5 feet of governor-elect O'Malley. Sweet!

Anonymous said...

From Secretary of the Cabinet to County Executive. Congrats!

David W. Keelan said...


This is also a draft for my next post I will co-write with Ed C at

Nice meeting you tonight Hayduke, finally.

As to my post. My faux dialogue may not have been necessary and predictable but it was fun. As such I will write write more stuff like that. Fair warning.

Nice remarks tonight. Ken looked and sounded good. I didn't like a couple of the themes - but overall good show.

I don't know about you but three of the new council members looked and sounded very mature. The other two will come along.

The Glenelg Jazz Band - wow. They are good. Real good.

Anyway, I won a dollar tonight. Calvin as Chair and Courtney as Vice. Other assignments, Mary Kay as Chair of Zoning. Greg Chair of Liquor, and Jen - I didn't catch it. Jen is rep to National Association of Counties (NACO) and Courtney is alternate. Greg is rep to the Baltimore Metropolitan Council - nice assignment.

Final piece of County Council business. Put the just passed senior tax cut on the table for review. Why not? The election is over. Calvin and Ken voted for it - with the caveat that they would review it as soon as possible. They didn't have the courage to NOT vote for it just days before the general election. Since the next election is 4 years away, and voters have short memories, or quite possible will be dead by then they found the courage to put it on the agenda as the FIRST order of business.

Well, Howard County politics are now in session - let the blogging begin.

numbersgirl said...

Ball's speech was the best, Fox's was the worst. The others were so-so.

A definite shout-out to the jazz band, even if they are playing the same stuff as they did in the early '90s.

Nominations went well. If only all future council business would proceed so smoothly. But, what fun would that be?

David W. Keelan said...

Fox' was the worst?

What didn't you like? The tribute to Senators Clark and Kittleman? The call for unity?

I thought Calvin's was the 5th best.

Granted, Greg sounds like he is reading, but I thought the content was among the best. Given time and experience he (as will the rest) will get better.

numbersgirl said...

Fox's speech was the most, if not only, partisan speech. He must have been paid $1 each time he said "Republican."

David W. Keelan said...

Republican's can't say republican? I found other speeches to be more partisan. It is all in the eye of the beholder.

The council members I talked to agreed they can work with Greg. They don't see him as partisan they see him as committed to his ideals.

It was me. I paid him a $1 for everytime he worked republican into his speech. I owe him $25.00.

numbersgirl said...

I was disappointed that Merdon didn't show.

Dave Wissing said...

Good grief, Michael Steele gets lambasted when he doesn't say the word "Republican", Greg Fox gets lambasted when he does. You can't win with some people....

Actually, I thought the Mary Kay, Greg and Courtney gave great speeches. Calvin and Ken gave good speeches. And Jen Terrasa's love letter to the Unions was easily the worst.

numbersgirl said...

Sensitive today, Dave? I'd hardly call the comments above a lambasting. Just an expression of personal preference and, when prompted, why.

As for Michael Steele not mentioning (anywhere) that he is a Republican, I certainly never blamed him for wanting to distance himself from the party this election year.

FreeMarket said...

Good points Numbers. I think Wissing’s comparison of Fox with Steele is flawed. Republicans were the ones giving Steele grief for treating the “R” next to his name as the scarlet letter. Even so, campaigns are partisan in nature, so making a big deal about party affiliation during the campaign is expected. I would expect that after the candidate becomes an elected official, a more conciliatory and non-partisan tone should be taken as the newly elected representative begins working for all voters in their district.

I agree with him that Terrasa may have hit the low point with the Union praise.

Anonymous said...

Republicans were the ones giving Steele grief for treating the “R” next to his name as the scarlet letter. ?????

I was on the Dem. email list for the election. Every week they and Cardin blasted Steele for not running as a Republican or running from the Republicans not mentioning he was a republican.

I didn't think FOX was partisan. I thought he struck a balanced tone.

Given the fact that 80% or more of the room was full of democrats I don't care how many times he said republican - he was out numbered. In comparison how many times was democrat said than republican. In the end who really cares.

Don't you people have anything better to do with your time?

FreeMarket said...

It is rather pathetic that when a disagreement arises, someone is accused of having nothing better to do with their time. This accusation came after an attempt to excuse partisanship because a particular official was “outnumbered”. My favorite part of the distortion is the fabricated statistic of 80% of room being comprised of Democrats.

Centennial Resident said...

Your comment concerning Centennial Gardens was obviously made without knowing the facts. First, the proposed density is twice that of any allowed apartment complex in Howard County. Second, the seller of the land is the builder and administrator of the property. Third, the law firm handling the transition has a relationship with the Ulmans (Katz of Hoody, Ulman, & Katz; may have spelled one of the names wrong). Finally, the property is able to be used for low income residential through a loophole allowing the Housing Commission to somehow use land designated for heavy industry as residential without being subject to the zoning to which anyone else is subject. There is the appearance that the Ulman Adminisration is starting out as corrupt. If affordable housing were truely the goal, the proposed funding would support 5-10 ranch style homes dispersed throughout the Centennial community.

Anonymous said...

i am watching the ceremony on channel 70 right now..all the speeches were very good..oh wait, ken ulman is next, i need to turn the channel before i puke.

Hayduke said...


Hayduke said...

Oh, and speaking of puke, if anyone with an aversion to vomit is reading down this far and hasn't seen the final episode of The Wire, the first scene is best watched while looking the other way.

Anonymous said...

sorry about the puke comment hayduke, disrespectful of me but had to type it...ahh the last episode, what a tear jerker, some happy tears but of course mostly sad tears but i guess i should shut up since most people haven't seen it yet. i just downloaded the screen saver from husband thinks I am nuts. pictures of cutty, bubs, avon, stringer, mcnulty, etc. it's fab..

Anonymous said...

Ok Freemarket. You got me. It isn't a fact that 80% of the room was full of democrats. I was exagerating. Forgive me for not thinking it through.

Lets see. Thinking. This is real hard to figure out. Ok, I think I got it.

Number of democrats on stage:
Ken, Calvin, Mary Kay, Jen, and Courtney makes 5. Number of republicans on stage: Fox and that makes one. Ration is 5:1. Got it.

Number of special guests: O'Malley, Babs, Cummings, Sarbanes and Sarbanes makes 5 democrats. I didn't see Ehrlich or Steele there. Seems like it was a majority democratic event to me. Moving on.

Number of tickets made available to County Council and the County Executive. I don't know but lets just figure they split it evenly - unless you insist they gave 50% of the seats to Fox. So 5 democrats and 1 Republican. 83% democrats and 17% republican. I would bet that Ken got slightly more seats than any individual county council member did and his guest list weighed heavily democratic.

Fremarket! You were right. I was definately wrong. It was probably more than 80%.

You know Freemarket it isn't very difficult to derive at such a conclusion with the known facts (5:1 democrats to republican and 5/6 = 83%). We could consider other factors too but they wouldn't be relevant. I have seen your other comments. You should try deduction sometime.

Anonymous said...

Freemarket, you saw partisanship in that speech because you wanted to. Would you have been happier if republicans were banned from the place?

Anonymous said...

What's the big controversy here? The lone republican was partisan, and that's it?. My understanding is that if he doesn't strut out the R word at ever oppty, he may not get the campaign money support required to be re-elected.

FreeMarket said...

Anon, I stand corrected, your 80% figure is probably correct. However, no one was turned away at the door because they were Republican and you didn’t need tickets to sit behind the white ribbons. You did not mention Republican representation from Bates, Miller or Kittleman, which I find interesting. If Republicans did not show up in sufficient enough numbers for your liking, it is because they did not want to participate. At any rate, none of this matters because I disagree with your entire premise that being outnumbered gives you license to be partisan.

Anonymous said...


You misunderstand. I don't really care if it was 100% republican. I was being tongue in cheek.

I don't think he was being partisan. I will admit. It is all in the eye of the beholder.

As to Kittleman, Miller, and Bates. I included them in the 20% calculation. They too were out numbered in case you didn't notice.

Finally, of all the people I talked to that evening (mostly democrats because everytime I turned around that is all I could find) they thought Fox did a fine job. Again - eye of the beholder.

Tom Berkhouse said...


You won't get any neutral vision from partisans like wordbones and hayduke. They are blind to anything that doesn't suit them or their agenda, or the agenda of the candidates they support.


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