Thursday, March 01, 2007

What's going on...

...with this story?

The Ehrlich administration fast-tracked a minority business application from a group of prominent Republican women, clearing the way for their hastily formed firm to participate in a $110 million information technology contract with the Department of Human Resources, an investigation by The Sun reveals.

The company, called Isis Technology Consulting LLC, was the brainchild of long-time GOP strategist Carol L. Hirschburg. As a subcontractor on the DHR job, the firm had already received some compensation when the deal went sour last month, in large part because Hirschburg wanted a guarantee that her firm would collect nearly $12 million over three years.

A review of state records shows that Isis was certified as a minority business in 30 days instead of 90 to 120 days, the typical waiting time. Isis also was given leeway to bend regulations intended to help "disadvantaged" individuals - those with personal net worth of $1.5 million or less - compete for state contracts.

Isis' preferential treatment has caught the attention of the newly installed administration of Gov. Martin O'Malley. Reacting to The Sun's questions about Isis, John D. Porcari, the acting secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, the agency that oversees the minority business program, said he has ordered an audit of all firms that were fast-tracked in recent years, including during the last Democratic administration.

I don't want to draw any hasty conclusions, but something seems fishy about this situation. It definitely bears watching.

Normally, I leave state issues to the newspapers and other bloggers, but this story has a local connection.

...[S]tate records show that two non-minority firms - Syscom and ACS State and Local Solutions Inc. - played direct roles in the formation of Isis.

Hirschburg registered Isis' corporate charter with the state Aug. 26, 2005, the day after Syscom executives Theodore Bayer and Mark Anzmann, the husbands of two Isis team members, met with DHR procurement staff. Also in attendance was Christopher J. Merdon, an ACS executive and former Republican Howard County Council member who ran unsuccessfully for county executive last year.

Merdon chose Isis, and three other minority firms with Republican ties, to team with ACS on the DHR bid, according to state records.

DHR set a 35 percent minority business participation goal for the project. Isis, according to a document submitted by Merdon, was to perform 11 percent of the work, including "DHR website maintenance" and enhancement of one computer system to monitor welfare payments and another, known as "Chessie," to track foster children. Troubled Chessie has cost close to $70 million in state and federal money.

Besides Isis, Merdon selected Gantech Inc., a Rockville firm headed by Hispanic-American Thomas J. Laskowski III, which contributed more than $5,000 to Merdon's failed campaign for county executive, and Maricom Systems Inc., the CEO of which is Maria E. Jackson, an African-American who served on an Ehrlich business advisory committee.

Merdon also tapped the Canton Group, a Baltimore company that is controlled in part by Asian-American Aaron Kazi, a Republican who ran for Harford County executive last year. Kazi's firm performed Web site work for Ehrlich's 2002 gubernatorial campaign as well as for several state agencies under his administration.

Of Merdon's minority firm picks, Isis was the only one without state certification.

As I said, there's not enough information to say with any certainty that impropriety was involved or what this means in the bigger picture.

But what do you think? Are insider deals and favors endemic in our political system, or should we expect better? What about the broader implications of this still-breaking story?

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

You mean a politician may have used his influence to inappropriately benefit the allies and cohorts of him and his party? The more interesting aspect of these allegations is how the two non-minority owned firms played a role in the formation of Isis. The benefits that are supposed to go to legitimate minority and women owned businesses were simply redirected to political cronies. That just adds insult to injury.

Anonymous said...

Not just any politician. I think this highlights the true values and character of both Ehrlich & Merdon. I wonder how much the Republican blogs will say about this.

David W. Keelan said...

This Republican Blog probably won't say much about this. As Hayduk said, there's not enough information to say with any certainty that impropriety was involved or what this means in the bigger picture.

What does this post tell us.

1. Merdon attended a meeting with DHR and another DHR vendor. So what. What happened in that meeting?

2. ACS chose to do business with ISIS. Did Merdon have that authority? Did someone else have that authority? What are ACS' processes and proceedures for selecting sub-contractors? Did Merdon create them? Did he obstruct them?

3. ACS also chose to do business with three other minority firms. Who were they?

How can one do business with the State and not be accused of political back scratching? There is nothing here.

The question no one has asked is whether these firms were qualified to do the work and did they do the work?

Now, ISIS being set up in 30 days. Hmmm. I have to agree with those who may wonder how and why did that happen? Other than the legitimate questions about ISIS the piece in the Sun is a hatchet job. I am glad that the O'Malley administration is going to look at all firms for the past 12 years that were fast tracked and not just ISIS.

I hope they go a step further and look at all the political connections between each of these firms. Who did they know, who did who favors, were they qualified to do the work.

The Dems have controlled MD government for 40 years or more. I would be willing to bet that their are many many more stories of this kind to tell and all the players would be democrats.

No one deserves to take credit for taking the high road on issues and situations like this.

Glass Houses.

Anonymous said...

Keelan was on Ulman’s resume allegations like white on rice, and he believed everything his beloved Kittleman said about Robey’s involvement in the auxiliary police officer issue. However, there is not enough information about corrupt Republican dealing for him to post about. When Republicans are under fire he talks about glass houses. When Dems are under fire he organizes the lynch mob. What an apologist.

Anonymous said...

Nice double-standard, Keelan. You should be ashamed.

David W. Keelan said...

Lynch mobs? Hmmm. I do believe the Ulman resume allegations. No one can defend his resume and the State can't defend his resume either. There are no State documents that support Ulman's resume. The only thing Ulman has is a business card. Even Glendening couldn't support Ulman's resume except to say Ulman worked there.

As to Kittleman - he knows the facts better than anyone on these blogs, and I know Allan Kittleman to be a straight shooter. He has no bones to pick with Robey. No one can offer any explanation as to why Allan Kittleman suggests Robey could have done more for Pieter. People only suggest that Robey wasn't interested in Pieter's injury.

This newspaper report needs a lot more fleshing out. Merdon was in a meeting and there is no explanation or context to that meeting. The reporter doesn't even say they tried to talk to Merdon.

Now I state that the ISIS case concerns me and I am happy that O'Malley is looking into it. In fact I state that I am happy O'Malley is going back 12 years - it shows he is trying to be fair.

My point is that the party in power gets all the rewards. This is not they first or last time things like this happened. Hopefully O'Malley will stop fast tracking.

If that makes me an apologist then fine. I have nothing to be ashamed of.

jim adams said...

David, I honestly hope this turns out right for Chris Merdon, and you know I mean it.

But should it not, it will reinforce a great deal of speculation that was occurring during the election.

I personally had a problem, as a republican, with Merdon's support for business over individual rights with the smoking ban.

I am sure the Independent's are watching this close. Character is important to them, and reference your posting "The Smear Tactics Continue" posted 10/28/06,it showed no understanding of their point of view.

And I need say nothing for the Democrats.

It's your blog, and I have always repected that, so say what you may.

I have always said we can have anything we want in this world as long as we are willing to pay for it.

This is the time to display the best in character, even if your defence is one of silence.

Wish you the best.

tomberkhouse said...

ANONS - What about the favors that Ulman, and Robey and Guzzone did for ALL of their cronies? Rezoning for Bethel Korean Church, and so on. Dumocrats are the masters of hypocrisy, making deals, and breaking the laws and you two and right are the stupid puppets who fall right in line and defend them all. You have about as much credibility as Hayduke who should be ashamed for the insinuations he is perpetuating by even posting this crap.

JIM ADAMS - I don't know you but you are completely misguided with your opinion of Merdon and Republicans in general. It seems like you have a personal vendetta against Chris. And, you don't critique Democrats in the same manner. If you did, you'd at least be consistent.

If Ehrlich had not fast tracked the minority business certification, he would have been attacked as a racist. Republicans just can't get a fair shake in a liberal stronghold like Maryland. You'd think O'Malley, Brown, Ulman, and all the other democrats would move on after winning their elections, instead of continuing to smear and insult Ehrlich long after the election is over. Talk about no class or decency.

Hayduke said...

Woo-hoo! Tom's back and feistier than ever!

Dumocrats. ROTFL...LOL...LMAO...all that.

And, you're absolutely correct, if Ehrlich hadn't fast tracked his friends' business we'd all be screaming racisim (even though it was a woman-owned buisness).

Do you get dizzy from chasing your own tail so much?

jim adams said...

Good afternoon Tomberkhouse.

I don't believe I know you either. It might be to our benefit if some day we should meet. We may find out that neither one of us are misguided, just of different mind sets. There is no personal vendetta, what I hope is that I am wrong, wrong in seeing what looks like a pattern. As you may know in math, patterns normally indicate truths.

My concern is not with either of the parties as much as it is with David Keelan's approach to the issue.

I have met Bob Ehrlich a few times, not enough to be a friend, but enough to respect the man, enough to contribute to his campaign. I think your remark "racist" is out of place, and totally unnecessary. As you said "Talk about no class or decency"

Why is it I am thinking N.Y. and the H.C. Republican Headquarters. Maybe we do know each other.

Enjoy your day.

Anonymous said...

It's funny to see Tom accuse someone else of a personal vendetta. Oh, and accuse the democrats of not moving on.

Class and decency is in short supply, Tom.

Anonymous said...

Good points anon 1:49. Mr. Berkhouse is a hypocrit, and his credibility is -45 and declining rapidly. He should seek professional help. Roses are red, violets are blue, I am a schizophrenic and so am I.

Haydukeisajackass said...

It was a MINORITY owned business, hence my point.

Hayduke - there was plenty more evidence of wrongdoing by the candidates you supported. But as ususal, you turned a blind eye to the situation. WHy even post this if the article itself didn't even have anything conclusive to say. It's easy for you and other democrats/liberals to throw the mud when you have the media to help you out. You did the same thing to Chris Merdon all throughout the campaign season. That "epiphany" of yours lasted a long time too. Way to stick with it.

How about the sweetheart deals that Robey and Ulman have been doling out to the teachers unions, the police unions, and the fire department unions? Those groups are basically just an extension of the Democratic party so when they get preferential treatment, do you consider that cronyism?

Anon 1 and Anon 2 - what zingers. You got me real good. You're almost as witty as Hayduke.

All three of you (Hayduke and Anon 1 and Anon 2) seem to think because you have a passive-agressive style of insulting or smearing someone that that makes you clever or funny. Hayduke you even had the nerve to lash out at a commentor on a different post because the commentor made a comment about someone you knew and got all huffy and self-righteous with indignation. You sure can question other people's integrity, but you and all your acquaintances (and friends who comment as "anon") are off limits? You're proving my point about your hypocrisy.

Seek professional help - very mature. When you just can't come up with a factual/rational rebuttal, turn to insinuations about my mental capacity. I don't think pointing out someone's hypocrisy is the same as call someone crazy. But, that's typical for people like you.

Anonymous said...

Instead of expressing outrage, it'd be helpful for Dems to say what should happen if these allegations are true. Prison? Fine by me.

Dems wouldn't step up and say what should happen when someone fakes their resume.

Let's apply ethics consistently.

Once you agree on a punishment, prove it. State records should have the answers, as they did for Ulman's resume.

FreeMarket said...

Berkhouse- The unpleasant and rude style of “conversation” that you engage in was entertaining at first, but you have become downright inappropriate with your ad hominem and narrow-minded attacks. Your reference to Hayduke as a jackass is way over the line of decency. Hayduke has nothing but the best interests of the community in mind in everything he does. I wish some of his humility and ability to empathize with others would rub off on you. People can, and do, disagree about matters of politics. We should all show a little respect for each other when expressing our disagreements.

You ask why Hayduke posted on this matter if the article was inconclusive, as if resolution of the issue is a requirement for proper blogging. The legality of comp-lite is inconclusive, but you have commented about that countless times. Allegations of resume padding were inclusive, but you have no problem verbalizing those rumors in public. Yet when someone expresses an opinion in opposition to yours, that person is labeled a partisan prick that blindly supports the “Dumbocrats”, as you put it.

Your insults reflect poorly on you and the Republican Party. Honestly, you be better off keeping your mouth shut than sinking to such a petty and hostile level. You are biggest hypocrite out there, and I don’t mean that as an insult- that is meant as an unbiased analysis of your behavior.

David Keelan- what you think about Tom’s behavior on these blogs? I am curious.

Anonymous said...

Biggest difference between Merdon and Ulman. Merdon lost. Ulman won. Although the complaints against Merdon and Ulman should both be investigated, Merdon no longer holds a position of public trust.

Whatever Merdon did may be unethical, but it is largely irrelevant since he lost.

Ulman's questionable ethics are highly relevant, as he was elected in large part to his "impressive" resume. If he lied about his resume, what else might he lie about?

Honestly, would anyone had voted for Ulman if he had listed unimpressive job titles on his resume? Summer intern, administrative assistant, etc? I would not have.

That said, all ethical violations should be investigated, regardless of political party.

Anonymous said...

Have you sought psychological treatment? I recommend it.

Crack is whack!

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:16 - It is ad hominem comments like yours which add nothing to the debate. In fact, it makes it look like you can't comment on the actual argument.

So, before you post again, try to figure out exactly what bothers you about a post. Then, address it directly on the merits.

There are several good books available about crafting an argument if you get stuck.

tomberkhouse said...

Allegations of resume padding were inconclusive? Says who? You? Oh, that's right, you're unbiased, but everyone else is biased. Got it. The jobs he listed were falsified and it obviously did influence people to vote for him, as evidenced by a prior commentor.

So what, Ulman won. He didn't win by the same margin as the difference between the number of registered dems vs. reps. in the County. So, in perspective, Crhis actually fared better with independents which does speak well of how voters viewed him.

I am perfectly willing to continue to call you and Hayduke out EVERY single time you distort the truth, make insinuations, and operate in a bubble of hypocrisy. If you don't like it, then stop behaving the way you do.

It is Hayduke, one of Ulman's puppet defenders, who first started the insinuating smears against Merdon, back during the campaign. When I and others turned the tables back on him, then he gets on his high horse, just like you, and complain about people being impolite.

Hayduke must have been the kind of person in high school, who would go up to a football player, call him a meathead, then go complain to the principal when he gets punched in the nose. An instigator who cries when he loses the fight.

I have said many times to Hayduke, if he wants to critique ALL politicos in the same manner, that's fine. I would not defend Republican officials if they did the things that Ulman and RObey and Guzzone did. Hayduke does not operate by that standard however. He has, and still does, give Ulman a free pass on MANY things.

I guess that's how he "earned" a spot on the environmental commission. Maybe the Sun will run an article about that little bit of cronyism. Or, how about Ulman doling out a nice paying job to his buddy Josh Feldmark? $65,000 a year for a guy with a few years of experience as a volunteer for a company that pushes environmentally friendly toilet paper - what an EPXERT he is.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:31- apparently you haven't read any of the other comments. This discussion isn't about the merits of a position, it's about Berkhouse throwing names around like a 3rd grader and his blind allegiance to his conspiracy theories at the expense of his credibility and perceived sanity.

outsiderlookingin said...

An anthropologist would have a feild day reading this post.

Modern day gladiators and a crowd with favorites, irrespective of higher merits on either side; honor, intellect, honesty not even in the equation. Brute force, or in this case, brute power as determined by victory.

tomberkhouse said...

Anon 11:14 - it's hard to understand what you're saying when your lips are stuck on Hayduke's arse. You miss the forest through the trees. As usual, and in typical Hayduke style, you take a sliver of an item and thry to make that the totality of it. All you do is focus on the "name calling" and you fail to address the meat and potatoes of the issue. And, again, pointing out that Hayduke is hypocritical has factual basis. Again, he accuses Merdon of wrong doing (I believe he accused him of improperly approving individual zoning applications - without citing how those favorable votes did not pass the legal qualifications for re-zonings). Yet, he never raised a single question about Ulman's involvement in Comp Lite, for which there are many oderous aspects - pending court case decision notwithstanding. Double standard = hypocrit.

On the other hand, you call me crazy and say I should seek help because I called him a hypocrit. But I am only calling him exactly what HIS behavior makes him. I did not falsify his behavior or lie about his actions, and you can't refute that. You, on the other hand, because you don't like what I say or how I say it, call me crazy. I don't believe my actions meet the definition of crazy. So, you are the only one who has resorted to calling names based on false pretenses.

This is fun.

Steve Fine said...

Mr. Merdon was holding public office the time.

And IF anything illegal or unethical occurred everyone who took part should be held accountable.

IF the allegations concerning Mr. Merdon are true, they dwarf the (dubious) allegations concerning Mr. Ulman's alleged resume padding.

Please note, I consistently capitalized the word "if."

Hayduke said...

Again, he accuses Merdon of wrong doing (I believe he accused him of improperly approving individual zoning applications - without citing how those favorable votes did not pass the legal qualifications for re-zonings)...

...I did not falsify his behavior or lie about his actions, and you can't refute that.


Hmm. Care to show me where I said what you think I said? I've been looking all over and haven't found it, but I'll reserve final judgment on whether your second statement is actually true pending your response.

(Full disclosure note: I removed from this comment, which I originally posted last night, an antagonistic statement that, upon reflection and a not-so-restful night of sleep, I realized didn't contribute anything to the discussion. Basically, I broke my own rule and posted something while I was still angry.

I can take being called a jackass, an apologist, an idiot, stupid or any other childish insult that spews out of Berkhouse's hate-fueled mouth. What I can't take is someone blatantly lying about me, and then in the same breath and with total self-righteousness claim they never do such a thing. The above comment cuts a little close to the bone, even as it strays futher from the truth.)

Anonymous said...

I think Ulman alleged lying about his experience to get elected is worse than Merdon's alleged actions.

BTW, there seems to be mounting proof against Ulman, so can we remove the "alleged" label from his resume padding?

Or can someone finally step up and defend him with substance, rather than accusations of anti-Semitism?

Anonymous said...

No one can answer who had the worst infraction; Info is still being gathered on Merdon. Though resume padding even sounds lame, and pales in comparison to the possibility of indirect involvement in falsified formation and theft of minority status business money using our tax dollars.

Confession time: What is really fascinating is Hayduke's response to Berkhouse. Is it a news flash that those who feel surrounded by aggression will most often be the accusors pointing toward others? It's the aggressor as victim position. I would think any adult has run across this scenario more than once (particularly if they frequent the blogs), and has learned patience in order to wait for justice or reciprocal patience, which inevitably occurs after the aggressor walks into his own trap, or actually becomes more patient. People behave this way for reasons, most likely past experience, so that when the environment changes to one emphasizing intellect and patience, the influence has a positive impact.

Berkhouse has points to make, but his delivery neutralizes a sometimes plausible foundation. Responding in kind adds back the credibility to his passion which in isolation seems misguided.

Is any of this a defense for calling someone a jackass? Well, no. But, jackass? I can think of worse things. Or, hypocrit, which is worse, but I've wracked my brain to come up with a scenario in which Hayduke has been hypocritcal and have determined that I don't see it. But the responses to Berkhouse have also been over the top, by Hayduke's defenders. I don't see the purpose of the self-righteous indignation type of responses to Berkhouse when he makes an obviously hyperbolic accusation. I wonder what readers think, those who don't post.

Here's a general rule: When someone accuses another of something that is not true, it's usually true for the accusor.

Man, glad I don't loose sleep over that one.

Anonymous said...

“On the other hand, you call me crazy and say I should seek help because I called him a hypocrit.”

No one called you crazy, Tom, because you called anyone a hypocrite. You were referred to as a schizophrenic, because of the multiple personalities you seem to take in cyberspace. One minute you are polite, the next minute you fly off the handle. The comment had to do with your behavior. It was not made because you disagreed with anyone. I think you know exactly what the comment referred to; you just took advantage of an opportunity to make it look as if you were being mocked in a way in which you were not.

“Double standard = hypocrite”

Tom, having a double standard is not being a hypocrite. A hypocrite claims to accept a single standard, but in practice accepts another. Someone who has a double standard applies standards more leniently to one group than other. David Keelan had countless negative posts about Ken Ulman and not a single negative post about Merdon. Keelan clearly supports the Republicans. Likewise, Steve Fine clearly favors Democrats in his posts. Each of these two has a partisan double standard, but they are not being hypocritical. You say that Hayduke points out wrongdoings of Merdon, but not Ulman. What is hypocritical about that? Even if that is true, so what? Why is it acceptable for you to bash Ulman at every opportunity, but not acceptable for anyone to say anything critical about Chris Merdon?

When you attack Hayduke for having a partisan double standard when at the same time you have a partisan double standard, that is being a hypocrite, sir.

Anonymous said...

Resume padding sounds lame? It sure does. Even lamer to actually go it.

It shows the person to be either delusional or habitually dishonest. Either way, it is usually a symptom of a greater problem.

In the private sector, you would be fired for resume padding.

Where is the outrage? Gone, unless it is a Republican.

If guilty, Merdon should be imprisoned.

If guilty, Ulman should be fired.

Let's demand competence and honesty in our public officials.

tomberkhouse said...

Anon 3:10 - you make very good points. One of the things I have been trying to convey is that it shouldn't matter what my delivery is. I know to some people, it's easier to say that because I delivery the comment with certain emotion, then it has no merit. I am passionate about truth, justice, honesty, and abhor demagogues and hypocrits, REGARDLESS of what political affiliation the applicable person has.

Being angry is a normal emotion just like happiness. It's an even more natural emotion when it is response to lies, deceipt, or hypocrisy...you get the idea. A far more nefarious behavioral trait is passive-agressive actions. You know, like when someone says something seemingly friendly to someone else while sporting a shit-eating smirk on their face which can only mean that they're being fake, but you can "prove" that they were being fake. It's an insidious behavioral pattern that all too many people have adopted. I'd rather be straight forward about things.

Hayduke - I will try to find your comments where I believe you said what I think you said.

ANON 4:19 - I really got a headache trying to determine if I agree with your differentiation between double standard and hypocrit. You may be right. If so, then I guess I view Hayduke as a "double standarder". This issue is not about whether Dave Keelan is a double standarded or not. This is about Hayduke and how he conducts himself on this blog. I am not being hypocritcal. Hayduke makes insinuations about Merdon. Never backed it up with evidence. What I have accused Ulman of doing I have provided evidence for, it's just that Hayduke and his buddies want to dismiss it as partisan attacks. The fact is, the resume padding incident IS relevant. The positions that Ulman claimed to hold NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER existed. And, as for Comp Lite, I lay fault for anyone who voted for applications added after the deadline, that includes Chuck Feaga. I happen to lay more blame at Ulman's feet because I believe he was the Zoning Board Chairman at the time. Or, if not, he was still a member of the majority party that controlled the agenda, and as a lawyer he should know the Charter regulations of the County, and should have known that what was being done was wrong.

Anon 4:19 - re-read the comments. Nobody said "schizophrenic". So please don't try to twist this suit your position.

If Hayduke doesn't like getting a tongue lashing, then he can simply stop smearing people like Chris Merdon. Or, at the very least, apply his same level of criticism on his Master (Ken Ulman).

Anonymous said...

Comments from the same people who dismissed resume fraud included:

* Get over it
* The election is over
* You can't prove anything, so drop it

If you made any of these comments, then you should refrain from commenting on Merdon.

Anonymous said...

Enough with resume thing for God’s sake. If the position never existed, then Ulman never got any benefit from saying he held it. If I said I was the Prime Minister of Ellicott City, would you vote for me? Or would that be enough to prevent you from voting for me?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:34

Prime Minister of Ellicott City, we four horsemen pledge our vote to you.
The Load of Lisbon,
The General of Glenwood,
The Chief of Clarksville, and
The Friar of West Friendship.

Now can we move on to the next subject.

Anonymous said...

Dude - the prime minister thing makes no sense.

Your circular logic: If something is made up, then it doesn't exist. Ergo, it doesn't matter.

Wow. Besides, the facts are wrong.

Some of the positions (we are talking about multiple positions on his thin resume) surely did exist. The Clinton White House did have "staffers" but Ulman was a lowly summer intern. The job titles which are questionable (Cabinet Secretary, Director of the Public Works Department, etc.) sure sound impressive.

If "he got no benefit" from claiming he held such lofty positions, then why did he do it? Repeatedly. On his fliers, web site and speeches.

Look at some of the people in history who have faked resumes. I agree that faking a resume is usually indicative of a greater problem.

Ask Steven Glass or Jayson Blair.

I say we drop the resume topic. He dug his grave and will have to "lie" in it when he runs for higher office.

David W. Keelan said...

Freemarket,

Tom's behavior is none of my business, but I, like you, find it both amusing at times and cringing at other times.

In any event it is clear that Tom is his own man.

tomberkhouse said...

Hayduke - "...that spews out of Berkhouse's hate-fueled mouth..."

Hate-fueled? Because I called you out on something? Because I speak plainly and straight forward? You might not like what I say and how I say it, but I make no apologies for it. And, if you can't take it being dished back at you, then stop dishing it out at others. I hadn't commented on one of your posts in quite a while, until you started up again with your newest smear campaign on Merdon.

If you stop, does that mean I won't criticize Ulman any more? Not by any means.

Hayduke said...

Yes, hate-fueled. You have a deep, almost pathological hatred of Ken Ulman and from that comes much of what you say.

I don't see any smears against Merdon in this post. He was the subject of a story in The Sun that I provided very cautious comments about. I thought the story was relevant to Howard County (the topic of this blog) and decided to post it. Judging by the response, I'd say it was a fairly good editorial decision.

I'm still waiting for the proof of those accusations, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Evidence of Ulman's chicanery can be found here, among other sites.

http://hocohayduke.blogspot.com/2006/12/hayduke-awards.html

Not exactly "Shattered Glass" but still pretty bad.

Releasing job evaluations, job descriptions and/or bar applications would be the easiest way to settle it.

Can't someone FOIA those documents?

David W. Keelan said...

Proof of those allegations. You will have to keep waiting.

Lynn Anderson says that ISIS was registered with the State the day after Chris Merdon met with Ted Bayer and Mark Anzman - August 26th.

http://www.dhr.state.md.us/crfp/noor6200196.htm

That is a notice of the meeting Ms. Anderson is referencing. It is a pre-bid conference that over 40 people attended. Lynn Anderson writes her article in such a way as to imply the Merdon had a private meeting with DHR and these two men. That could not be further from the truth. The attendee list can be found on the link provided. Did Lynn Anderson bother to read the 8 page document?

Ms. Anderson notes that ISIS was to "perform 11 percent of the work". She doesn't mention that ISIS provided a couple of contract employees for a few hours of work. They never approached 11 hours of work.

That is only after looking at the beginning of her article. That is her definition of a "direct role" in the formation of ISIS on Merdon's part? Lynn Anderson is an embarassment to real journalists. A blogger can do better research than that. My apologies to all bloggers.

Lets go further. She implies that it was improper of Merdon to hire Gantech as a sub-contractor because of political donations. She fails to mention that Gantech was also at the pre-submission meeting (referenced above), expressed interest in the project, was qualified to do the work, had provided work for the State previously and was known as a reliable prime contractor and sub-contractor. She implies Merdon was doling out political favors. Did Gantech has a "direct role" in the formation of ISIS? Hmmm.

Here is a question.

Can anyone explain why it takes 120 days to be approved as a minority business in the State? Why shouldn't it take only 30 days? Shouldn't it take less time than that? Seriously, their are only 6 requirements to become an MBE. Race/Gender, net worth, US Citizen, small business. How long does it take to do an assets test? Never mind I will ask Calvin Ball.

Maybe I will write more on my blog if I am in the mood to do so.

Hayduke said...

No, not those. These, from Berkhouse:

Again, he accuses Merdon of wrong doing (I believe he accused him of improperly approving individual zoning applications - without citing how those favorable votes did not pass the legal qualifications for re-zonings)...

...I did not falsify his behavior or lie about his actions, and you can't refute that.


Maybe it's becoming too personal, and I just need to let it go. But it seems if he's going to continue to attack and taunt me the least he can do is back up his statements with something approaching fact.

Anonymous said...

So it seems there is an innocent explanation for Merdon's conduct.

As opposed to Ulman's resume. Anyone have anything on that?

Hayduke said...

Hmm... Double standard?

Anonymous said...

Where is the double standard? It seems there is an explanation for Merdon less than a week later, while there has been no explanation from Ulman about his resume for about 1 year (it came up in March 2006).

The Washington Post had an article today about lying. It mentioned lying in a resume. Everywhere but Howard County is it viewed as negative.

The double standard would be giving a Democrat a pass for conduct that would not be overlooked by anyone else.

numbers.girl said...

I'd hardly call a post from a blogger linking to a documents which may or may not be related to the meeting in question an explanation. It wasn't sufficient to explain your questions about Ulman, why is it sufficient as a defense for Merdon?

Perhaps to those with a double standard.

tomberkhouse said...

Hayduke - I'll do as much research into it as you did for comp lite and all of the other examples of Ulman's misdeeds I provided, but which you ignored. I'll operate by your standards, unless you don't like how you operate.

I may actually try to research it when I have some "free" time since I'm fairly confident about what I said. Some people don't have time to blog all day and night.

FreeMarket said...

So when he can’t produce the evidence to back up his claims, Berkhouse instead lobs an insult. Very nice tactic. You get an A+ for all your effort, Tom.

numbers.girl said...

"When a man is wrong and won't admit it, he always gets angry"

-Thomas Haliburton

Anonymous said...

Reminds me how Steve Fine called people anti-Semites for criticizing Ulman's creative job titles.

If you can't contribute to the substance of the conversation, don't lob an insult. It just weakens your position.

tomberkhouseLOVEShayduke said...

It was a jab, not an insult. And,isn't that what you and Hayduke seem to do whenever your tactics are turned around at pointed at you? Got to love you double standarders, or is it hypocrits?

You call it an insult, yet it is true that Hayduke just flat out turned a blind eye to the leads I provided. In fact, I gave him most of the info, all he had to do was corroberate the info - which would have been quite simple and easy to do. Why did he choose not to? The answer is clear - he was too committed to helping Ulman at any cost and just couldn't stand the thought that the guy he was supporting is not the protector of the common good that he thinks he is.

I LOVE HAYDUKE!

Hayduke said...

Ugh. Tom, this is exhausting and pointless. It seems to me we have two choices: We can come to a common understanding on some things (not necessarily agreement, mind you) or I'm going to ask you to stop posting here. The latter has nothing to do with your opinions or insults. It has to do with the lies you have told about me and the fact that you refuse to rescind them.

If you choose the former, we should meet for a beer. You pick the place, and I'll buy. You can even bring David Keelan along to moderate. If you can't agree to this and you can't find proof of those things you've said about me, I will first ask you to stop posting. If you continue to post, I will physically remove your comments.

tomberkhouse said...

Hayduke - I'm highly disappointed in your ultimatum and your statement that I have used "lies" against you.

I've found the source of my statement. Exhibit A - your post from October 16, 2006, titled Monday Round Up. You talked about about several items, but the one that is pertinent is your excerpt on the post that Dave Keelan did titled The Website That Shall Not Be Named. Ring any bells?

The website in question was the anonymous website purported to have been created by Ulman back during the campaign. In it, there were many falsities (dare I say LIES) about Merdon and his record during his tenure on the Council, including his votes on rezoning applications and Comp Lite.

You went on to say in your post: "I'm disheartened to see so much emphasis being placed on the source of the site {who created it} and whether its negative and not the information contained within it." And you said: "If there is a cogent, well-sourced refutation of the website, I would love to see it." And finally: "I'd like to echo the sentiments of at least one commenter: If there is a cogent, well-sourced refutation of the website, I (and many other voters) would love to see it. However, if the only response is to attack Ulman for negativity (something we all share responsbility for) and to claim it an act of desperation, this should be viewed as a tacit admission of the site's accuracy."

I short, you were touting the website as being FACTUAL. Even though you did not make the statements yourself, you were endorsing them and spreading them around the County. Now do you understand my "issue" with you and even more so, my "issues" with Ken?

David Keelan did respond and refuted many of the lies contained in the webiste. Yet, you never rescinded your endorsement of the website or its contents. In fact, you never responded to David's comments.

This, my good man, is the basis for my statements. So I do not feel that I lied or owe you an apology. And, I don't always disagree with you or bash on you, although I admit I am certainly not coddling toward you either.

Maybe some day in the future we could have a beer. But not today.

What say you now Sir Hayduke?

Anonymous said...

How did this situation degenerate to this point?

Tom, I'm anon 5:51 from the other day. Please consider changing your delivery. Hayduke is perfectly within rights to say what he has said. He is also responsible for this blog and his reputation. Please consider the loss if you cannot post here any longer.

Hayduke: You've been exceedingly patient. Please be patient a bit longer. Readers do not believe things Tom says about you, give us a little credit. Your reputation is safe. Please do not barr him, he has opinions that need to be aired (with a tad more temperance, albeit)

tomberkhouse said...

Anon - true, this is his blog. However, he asked for me to prove my statement that he has made smears against Merdon. My last comment was simply meant to address his request and I think I kept it tempered quite a bit.

I would like to hear what Hayduke has to say in response now that I took the time to wade through countless posts and comments to provide his requested proof.

Depending on his response, I may offer a promise of some sorts as to my future delivery. Ball is in his court.

tomberkhouse said...

I would also like to ask all the other Anons and Hayduke supporters to weigh in on this since you all have made such a stink about my delivery versus my content. Will any of you step up and address the content? Did I miss the mark? Have I been lying about Hayduke's position? Numbersgirl? Freemarket? Bueller? Bueller?

numbers.girl said...

Yes, Tom, you have been lying. You've also been rude and a total ass. That Hayduke has put up with you for this long is as clear a sign as any that he is as moderate as they come in the blogosphere.

You claimed Hayduke was guilty of smearing Merdon. The ONLY "proof" you could provide was a short sentence in which Hayduke questioned the focus on the source of the website, as opposed to the content. You, sir (and I use that term loosely), use that argument repeatedly as a defense for your vile behavior. "You all have made such a stink about my delivery versus my content." I am surprised at the presence of your double standard. Oh wait, no I'm not.

Additionally, just because Keelan posted a "refutation" of the website does not bind Hayduke to rescind his statement regarding the focus of the website. Keelan, a fervent supporter of Merdon, would of course come up with anything to refute an attack on Merdon. To say he is a reliable source of information on Merdon's record is pure partisanship.

Tom, as entertaining as your diatribes may be at times, more often than not, they are exhausting. No one listens to your message when you post as Tom Berkhouse, because we know they are comments filled with rage and an indefensible personal contempt for Ulman with no basis in fact.

Stick to the topic, lay off the namecalling, and people will listen. Keep up your current tactic, and you'll remain a laughingstock.

Anonymous said...

Girl:

Get down off the high horse and quit calling people names. You just gave Tom more ammunition and proved some of his points!

What are you doing!

tomberkhouse said...

NG - you did absolutely nothing to refute the proof I provided. Not everyone shares your opinion of me. And now you're taking pot shots at Keelan. And you did nothing to refute the content of Keelan's refutation then, or now. I could easily say that most of your statements are pure conjectural generalities. "My personal contempt for Ulman has no basis in fact." Your opinion. Again, I did back up my assertions/accusations about Ulman with facts. Just because you and others won't accept anything less than a confession directly from Ulman's mouth, does not refute the facts that I have continually provided.

I asked for you and others to address this most recent issue (that I lied about Hayduke). I used Hayduke's own quotes specifically so how do you refute that?

"...you will remain a laughingstock." Again, your opinion, and your entitled to it.

""You all have made such a stink about my delivery versus my content." I am surprised at the presence of your double standard. Oh wait, no I'm not." So you and everyone else has never had a delivery issue? Just because you feel your delivery is one shade less vile than mine does not make a monster, nor does it make you saints.

I would still like to hear from Hayduke on this.

Hayduke said...

Tom,

With respect to your proof, I tend to agree with Numbersgirl's take, as my intention in writing that post was to help redirect the conversation away from whether Ulman was desperate to whether the information it contained was accurate, to start seeing some substance behind the screaming.

But if you're happy, I'm happy. Can we end this now? If not, we'll continue to go around in circles, each one getting tighter and less relevant.

To try to bring this whole affair to a close, here are a few things I've learned over this past week:

1. When perception is reality -- as it is in this imperfect medium -- clarity in language is essential. I thought the post in question took a pretty soft line on the website. In fact, I said I wasn't going to discuss the details and that "the site speaks for itself." I can see now how this can be construed as an endorsement in total of the site, especially to supporters of Merdon. I could have been clearer by just coming out and saying "I don't know if the site is right or wrong." That still might not have been enough to completely mollify the most fervent, but it would have been clearer, I think.

2. Related to the first, I tend to dance around issues and my writing follows that. I try not to take a hard line on anything and often find myself writing like a lawyer. There is a lot of nuance in my opinions and, therefore, my writing. Again, an area I can clarify by writing more explicitly (even if it means less flowery language) or just making up my mind more quickly (yeah, that'll never happen).

3. There is a pretty clear distinction between my blog and some of the others. Basically, I'm trying to share my thought process and how it evolves over time. I tend to be a little indecisive and I use this blog and the feedback I get to reach a position on something, if at all. Which is why one could probably go through my archives and find numerous inconsistencies. I like to think I'm at least consistent in my principles, but not so much in my opinions. And because of this, I try not to advocate too much on the blog. But I realize that this aspect of my blogging isn't always clear.

4. What I say matters. I'm actually kind of flattered by your claim that my "endorsement" of and link to the site had a countywide impact. I've always thought that the blogs only mattered to a very small percentage of people and our impact on most things was negligible. Perhaps that's true and perhaps it's not. Regardless, I should be cognizant of the fact that what I write does have an impact outside the small group of people -- friends and family -- that comprised my audience in the beginning.

5. I need to have more faith in my readers, whether they believe me or not. Most, I would hope, take what I say with a grain of salt and also take what is said about me the same way. Not every battle is worth fighting and the act of fighting alone helps legitimize things that weren't necessarily consequential to begin with.

6. This isn't something I learned during this exchange but it's importance was further solidified. As my boss is wont to say, quoting Ghandi: "Become the change you seek in the world."

I truly hope this list does not come off to you (or anyone else) as patronizing or elitist. I don't mean it to; rather, I'm sharing as a means of fostering better understanding between me and everyone who reads this blog. Take it as an honest and sincere commitment on my part to improve my writing and participation in discussions.

Anonymous said...

God, this is getting really old.

Anon 12:19- please refrain from commenting until you can think of something intelligent to say. Your innuendos and unsupported accusations are ignorant.

Tom, you are basically saying two things, both of which are your opinions. However, you are trying to sell them as proven fact. The first of your opinions that you are trying to pass of as fact is that the website was false. If you think the falsity of the website has been proven, why hasn’t Merdon sued Ulman for libel? Could it be that it is just your opinion that the website was false? Secondly, you are asserting that HD was endorsing the website. Tom, the guy has a blog that discusses local politics. He asked that the merits of the site be discussed, not the motivations of posting it. How is that an endorsement? Bty, Keelan was trying to divert attention from the points the site made by calling the site an “act of desperation” by Ulman. In other words, he was doing his spin job on it. All HD was asking is that the merits of the site be addressed.

Tom, please don’t be so narrow-minded. Even though you don’t live in Howard County, you are entitled to have an opinion about what goes on here. Please be respectful of others who have their own opinions. And for Christ’s sake, Tom, please understand that your opinions are not facts.

Anonymous said...

numbers.girl said
"Keelan, a fervent supporter of Merdon, would of course come up with anything to refute an attack on Merdon. To say he is a reliable source of information on Merdon's record is pure partisanship."

First, you are seriously questioning the credibility of Mr. Keelan. Knowing Mr. Keelan, I know that he's at least as honorable and possess at least as much integrity as the next person. While mudslinging appears to be common on the blogs (and in the comments on this post) I don't think it is fair to basically call Keelan a partisan hack.

If you do insist that because Keelan was a close supporter of Merdon he is not a reliable source, I have to ask who you would trust to provide information about a candidate. Your comment indicates that anything coming from a person associated with a campaign or a candidate is unreliable. Did you not believe anything coming from Merdon's campaign? Did you not believe anything coming from Ulman's campaign?

Moreover, both liberals and conservatives can point to enough examples of misleading stories in papers and network news to say that the news isn't always reliable. Blogs can be fairly reliable or wildly partisan (and so can the people who post on them).

So who is left to be a reliable source?

tomberkhouse said...

OK - so here will be my last comment on this so that the merry-go-round can be turned off if for just a bit.

ANON 1:55 - I don't see why you responded to ANON 12:19 the way you did. You're making the same void argument that Numbersgirl makes. All you do is say that my facts are not facts that they are just opinions - but you do not demonstrate how, so doesn't that make your statements just opinions?. You and the my other detractors can't just say that facts are not facts. But, I doubt you'll ever see it that way, so I will move on.

HAYDUKE - Thank you for responding. 1. I can see now how this can be construed as an endorsement in total of the site, especially to supporters of Merdon. I could have been clearer by just coming out and saying "I don't know if the site is right or wrong."

I agree and had you said it that way, I would not have labeled you as I did.

2. Related to the first, I tend to dance around issues and my writing follows that. I try not to take a hard line on anything and often find myself writing like a lawyer. There is a lot of nuance in my opinions and, therefore, my writing. Again, an area I can clarify by writing more explicitly (even if it means less flowery language) or just making up my mind more quickly (yeah, that'll never happen).

Agree again - about it being better to be clear. I have no problem with your positions and opinions developing or shifting over time. I think everyones' do to some degree.

3. There is a pretty clear distinction between my blog and some of the others. Basically, I'm trying to share my thought process and how it evolves over time. I tend to be a little indecisive and I use this blog and the feedback I get to reach a position on something, if at all. Which is why one could probably go through my archives and find numerous inconsistencies. I like to think I'm at least consistent in my principles, but not so much in my opinions. And because of this, I try not to advocate too much on the blog. But I realize that this aspect of my blogging isn't always clear.

See above comment.

4. What I say matters. I'm actually kind of flattered by your claim that my "endorsement" of and link to the site had a countywide impact. I've always thought that the blogs only mattered to a very small percentage of people and our impact on most things was negligible. Perhaps that's true and perhaps it's not. Regardless, I should be cognizant of the fact that what I write does have an impact outside the small group of people -- friends and family -- that comprised my audience in the beginning.

I don't know that it did have a county wide effect. The point was simply that... well you know what point was so I don't need to re-hash it.

6. This isn't something I learned during this exchange but it's importance was further solidified. As my boss is wont to say, quoting Ghandi: "Become the change you seek in the world."

Good advice.

"I truly hope this list does not come off to you (or anyone else) as patronizing or elitist. I don't mean it to; rather, I'm sharing as a means of fostering better understanding between me and everyone who reads this blog. Take it as an honest and sincere commitment on my part to improve my writing and participation in discussions."

I don't take it as patronizing or elitist. I wish you would have made more of a mea culpa since I thought I was at least demonstrated the foundation of my position, even though the debate about facts versus opinions could go on forever. When I was scrolling through post after post and comment after comment, I honestly was worried that maybe I had mispoken and gotten my story wrong - in which case I would have had major egg on my face and would have owed you a SERIOUS apology.

I will close by saying this. I value TRUTH/HONESTY above all else, because without it everything else becomes warped and skewed, and injustices are created. I think of the quote from the movie Excalibur when Merlin says that Truth is the most important virtue because "Every time a lie is spoken, a small piece of the world is murdered."

Since you sort of put things to rest, I'll make the concession to tone down my comments in the future. I won't back down, but I'll try to keep y'all happy.

Anonymous said...

There now! A major conflict has been resolved for the long term.

I've not ever responded to N Grl prior because her arguments are fraught with irritating nonsense like calling someone a name, and then finger pointing that someone else called someone a name. Makes me wince to read it.

Anon 1:55 is N Grl, that's why she had the same finger pointing and name calling as the identified N Grl. She just posted as anon on that comment.

FreeMarket said...

Anon 5:24 aka “Sherlock”- Don’t quit your day job to be a detective. Anon 1:55 was me. I was in an office that was not mine using a computer that was not mine when I posted the comment, so I didn’t want to log in.

Hayduke- you are much too nice of a person.

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