Tuesday, March 25, 2008

We all want to change the world...

A nice crowd turned out to hear County Executive Ken Ulman's speech on village center revitalization today. See if you can spot someone you know!

OK, so the angle doesn't really make identification easy, but what do you want from me?

Anyway, kind of apropos of Jessie's post today on urban decline in the 'burbs, here are some excerpts expressing in broad terms the challenge and opportunities facing village centers.

(Sorry for the all caps -- that's the format of the document and I don't really have the inclination to go back through and re-type everything.)

THE VILLAGE CENTER CONCEPT WAS, LIKE COLUMBIA ITSELF, AN EXPERIMENT IN COMMUNITY PLANNING. AND IT WAS, AND IN MANY RESPECTS STILL IS, A SUCCESSFUL EXPERIMENT. ANYONE WHO HAS BEEN TO THE BAGEL BIN ON A WEEKEND MORNING, OR EVEN A WEEKDAY MORNING FOR THAT MATTER, KNOWS YOU FIND MUCH MORE THAN PEOPLE HAVING BREAKFAST. YOU FIND NEIGHBORS RECONNECTING...AND A COMMUNITY BEING SUSTAINED.

DESPITE THE OVERALL SUCCESS OF THE EXPERIMENT, COLUMBIA’S VILLAGE CENTERS—PARTICULARLY OUR OLDER VILLAGE CENTERS—ARE CAUGHT IN THE CHANGING TIDES OF THE RETAIL MARKETPLACE AND THE SHIFTING PREFERENCES OF THE CONSUMERS THEY SERVE.

...THESE SETBACKS ARE NOT INDICATIVE OF THE FAILURE OF THE VILLAGE CENTER CONCEPT. IN BOTH OF THESE VILLAGE CENTERS, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY IN THE RESIDENTS OF THESE VILLAGES, THE VALUES AND IDEALS IN WHICH THE VILLAGE CENTER CONCEPT IS GROUNDED ARE STILL STRONG.

RATHER, THE SETBACKS WE HAVE SEEN ARE INDICATIVE OF THE GROWING NEED FOR VILLAGE CENTERS TO EVOLVE IN ORDER TO CONTINUE THRIVING, BOTH AS COMMERCIAL VENTURES AND AS GATHERING PLACES WHERE THE COMMUNITY CAN COME TOGETHER.

THE TIME HAS COME TO STRENGTHEN OUR COMMITMENT TO OUR VALUES BY RE-EXAMINING HOW THEY ARE MANIFEST IN THE PHYSICAL SPACES OF OUR COMMUNITY.

...THE UNFORTUNATE STORY OF A ONCE PROUD AND STRONG COMMUNITY WHICH SUFFERED A CRIPPLING DECLINE IS ONE WE KNOW ALL TOO WELL. OFTEN WITHOUT NOTICE AND SEEMINGLY WITHOUT CAUSE, STREETS GREW DANGEROUS, SCHOOLS UNDERPERFORMED, RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES FLED; AND THOSE WHO STAYED FACED THE DAUNTING TASK OF RESTORING A FRACTURED COMMUNITY TO ITS FORMER GLORY.

THIS IS A FATE THAT I WILL NOT ALLOW COLUMBIA, ANY OF ITS VILLAGES, OR ANY COMMUNITY IN HOWARD COUNTY TO ENDURE.

I DO NOT MEAN TO SOUND ALARMIST OR PESSIMISTIC, BUT WE MUST BE COGNIZANT OF OUR VULNERABILITY AND COMMIT OURSELVES TO VIGOROUSLY MAINTAINING THE STRENGTH AND SAFETY OF OUR COMMUNITY THROUGH SOUND, FORWARD-FOCUSED INVESTMENTS AND POLICY INITIATIVES.

WE HAVE, IN A SENSE, COME TO A FORK IN THE ROAD, AND WE MUST CHOOSE OUR DIRECTION.

EITHER WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO REVITALIZATION OR WE CAN SIMPLY THROW UP OUR HANDS AND EXPRESS REGRET WHEN THE NEXT STORE CLOSES AND AT EACH ADDITIONAL GRIM MILESTONE ALONG A GRADUAL DECLINE.

IN MY MIND, THERE IS NO CHOICE. OUR PATH IS CLEAR. WE MUST REVITALIZE AND RE-INVENT OUR STRUGGLING VILLAGE CENTERS.

WE CERTAINLY ARE NOT IMMUNE TO THE PROBLEMS WHICH HAVE CAUSED OTHER COMMUNITIES TO DECLINE. WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT, HOWEVER, AND WILL HELP PROTECT US FROM A SIMILAR FATE IS OUR COMMITMENT AS A COMMUNITY GROUNDED IN SHARED VALUES AND A SHARED VISION.

...OUR COMMITMENT TO VILLAGE CENTER REVITALIZATION HAS ALSO LED US TO THE DECISION WHICH I AM HERE TO ANNOUNCE TODAY. I AM PLEASED TO TELL YOU THAT WE WILL BE INTRODUCING A ZONING REGULATION AMENDMENT TO CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR VILLAGE CENTERS IN NEED OF REVITALIZATION TO REDEVELOP AND EVOLVE.

...WE HAVE A TREMENDOUS OPPORTUNITY BEFORE US.

AS JIM ROUSE SAID IN 1964, “WE HAVE IN OUR HANDS THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE OUR CITY—IN OUR GENERATION—THE MOST LIVABLE, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL, AND THE MOST EFFECTIVE CITY IN AMERICA.”

THESE WORDS ARE JUST AS RELEVANT TODAY AS THEY WERE 44 YEARS AGO, PERHAPS EVEN MORE SO BECAUSE WE HAVE SEEN THEM COME TRUE.

WHEN JIM ROUSE FIRST SAID THESE WORDS, COLUMBIA DID NOT EXIST...IT WAS STILL A DREAM. BUT TODAY, COLUMBIA IS LIVING PROOF THAT BOLD VISION AND THOUGHTFUL PLANNING CAN CREATE A DIFFERENT AND BETTER KIND OF CITY.

A BETTER CITY, CANNOT ALLOW ITSELF TO GROW STAGNANT. IT MUST CONTINUALLY SEEK TO IMPROVE ITSELF, TO REINVENT ITSELF, TO EVOLVE.

TOGETHER, LET’S EMBRACE THE FUTURE IN A SPIRIT OF INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY, OF HOPE AND OPTIMISM, REMEMBERING AGAIN THAT WHAT OUGHT TO BE, CAN BE.

If you have time, you should probably just read the whole thing (warning: PDF).

41 comments:

Freemarket said...

The speech was quite a let down. Like most political speeches, it was heavy on general rhetoric and very light on meaningful details. Why would he mention the zoning change and then give absolutely NO details about it? I understand that the zoning change is not final, but come on. At least throw a dog a bone if you are going to ask people to come hear you speak. Very lame.

Anonymous said...

You could easily have also been referring to the capital letter speech above.

What's the bottom line of all that rhetoric? What's the concrete, practical proposal?

Anonymous said...

The speech, to me, reads like a "cat's on the roof" statement. Thankfully, cats do have nine lives.

“The setbacks we have seen are indicative of the growing need for village centers to evolve in order to continue thriving”

But should the evolutions to be considered be limited solely to village centers themselves, when contributing factors to village centers’ viabilities include some facets that are external to both village centers and the villages in which they exist?

“We have, in a sense, come to a fork in the road, and we must choose our direction.”

This makes it sound very definitive that there is only path A (revitalize) or path B (don’t revitalize). This road actually has far more than just those two paths forward, offering many choices for how we choose to proceed for all parties’ best interests.

“Either we commit ourselves to revitalization or we can simply throw up our hands and express regret when the next store closes and at each additional grim milestone along a gradual decline.”

Again, this makes it sounds like just two paths from which to choose – revitalize or don’t revitalize.

“In my mind, there is no choice. Our path is clear. We must revitalize and reinvent our struggling village centers.”

This statement then makes the leap from that there are only two paths from which to choose to then define the one path to be chosen as revitalization accompanied by a reinvention limited to the village center itself. This certainly seems to ignore addressing any of the external factors that may have contributed to the situation in which the village center now competes.

“We will work together with the community to craft revitalization plans that respect the unique needs and character of each village center in need of renewal.”

I hope this certainly includes the obvious needs of villages to continue to include grocery stores within each village.

“Whether it is through technical assistance and guidance from staff Department of Planning and Zoning, investments in needed infrastructure improvements, proactive community policing, as the facilitator bringing all parties to the table to work together toward solutions, or investing directly in village centers when opportunities arise, we committed to making village center revitalization successful.”

Again, this sounds like any efforts to be considered will be limited solely to considerations limited in scope to within the village center (the one noted exception being community policing).

“Our commitment to village center revitalization has also led us to the decision which I am here to announce today. I am pleased to tell you that we will be introducing a zoning regulation amendment to create opportunities for village centers in need of revitalization to redevelop and evolve.”

As Freemarket noted, details discussing the to-be-introduced zoning regulation amendment would have been very worthwhile to include as part of the presentation at this public gathering.

“Last week, Kimco shared with the community a concept plan for the redevelopment of this village center. So far, I have heard a variety of reactions from the community.

Many residents have expressed excitement about the plan and the fact that Kimco wants to reinvest in this community; some have said they generally support the concept though they would like to see certain aspects of it modified; and others have shared concerns about how a village center can remain a true village center without a grocery store as its anchor tenant."


The concerns of how a village center can remain without an anchor grocery are valid and substantial, hearing many times from long-time merchants concerned quotes of how long they’ll be able to hold out until the next anchor grocery arrives.

“Let me be clear: I would love to see a grocery store in the Wilde Lake Village Center.

However, the grocery store executives also see Wilde Lake’s proximity to the many other grocery stores giving consumers a variety of alternatives.”


And yet many grocery chains have occupied close proximities to each other in the Routes 40/29 intersection area (an area itself the subject of revitalization efforts), the obvious difference being apparently better access to primary highways.

“How long can we allow the village center to languish with more and more vacancies while we hope and try for an outcome that is unlikely?

Regardless of which tenants Kimco is ultimately able to attract, it is clear that our village centers must have the ability to evolve if they are going to thrive.”


By describing the likelihood of succeeding in attracting another grocery to Wilde Lake as unlikely (perhaps because of the assumption that efforts of the past couple years haven’t proven successful), again the conclusion resorted to is that evolution of the village centers is the only recourse.

“Each village center must have the flexibility to evolve with an Individualized plan developed in conjunction with its community.”

Agreed.

“It is critical that the downtown plan will mirror what we hope to see in village centers: walkability, connectivity, sustainability and livability.”

Also agreed.

Hayduke said...

To all:

The point of the speech was rhetorical -- to announce a new direction and commitment. As mentioned, the details of the proposed zoning changes are to be worked out in the coming weeks with ample input from residents, businesses and other interested stakeholders. This is Columbia, after all.

So, rather than debating the intent and purpose of rhetoric in general or slicing up the speech sentence by sentence, let's hear what you think about the future of village centers. I'm particularly interested in hearing more about Anon #2's vague, detail-less hints (hey, it cuts both ways) about possible different courses and external factors.

wordbones said...

HD,

I could not agree more. If Anon 11:52 believes there are other paths to take for the village centers he/she should enlighten us.

And, by the way, I think you got my best side in the picture.

-wb

Anonymous said...

You want specifics? Be careful what you ask for.

It couldn't be more clear: each village was supposed to engender community - including every component of interpreting that word, "community". That includes basic necessities within walking distance. Groceries are basic necessities. It's not the only one but I'm hoping this gets the conversation going.

You want a list of reasons why? Say the word.

Hayduke said...

I think "why" is less important than "how" in this dialogue.

Freemarket said...

Speaking of "how": I actually heard an idea today that I thought was nuts at first, but like a fungus it is growing on me. Perhaps regulations could be laxed to allow produce trucks to set up shop at the VCs on a regular basis. Sort of like a weekly farmers market. Hey, it's something that could be ideal for serving a small market of folks who might not be able to drive anywhere.

Iconic Xer. said...

Try not to take it so hard, Hayduke. It's the cultural era in which we live. Currently, it's a time of little trust of public institutions. Anything Mr. Ulman says is going to be slammed by someone, somewhere ... probably by half the population.

Don't worry, though, when things slam hard to the ground and suddenly people aren't so cocky about their futures and their individual strength, they'll be much more interested in aligning behind the visions of leaders and institutions that can provide direction and a way out of dangerous circumstances.

My guess? We're not that far away from there. But for now, it's still tough. It's the era, not the person ... either for you or for Mr. Ulman.

More transparency is more better. Keep the conversation as public and visible and accessible as possible. It does wonders for instilling trust.

Anonymous said...

Touché on stating my response similarly lacked specifics. I will admit it was in part purposeful to elicit others to ponder the other possibilities as well.

What we do know is what has been explored relative to attracting another grocer to Wilde Lake thus far hasn't worked. So, perhaps the scope of what has been explored hasn't turned over all rocks.

Has the extent of explored solutions so far been limited perhaps to only those national grocers that fit the owner's sales model best? If so, then there's certainly other potential groceries that could meet the village's needs.

The Dutch Market in Burtonsville is having to move this summer due to losing its lease. This has been known for a while. Just announced this week, however, is its move to a 25-year spot in Laurel.

Could another Dutch Market work in Wilde Lake? Or another local grocer? Or a cooperative? There's certainly other possibilities, too.

Some of the external factors include commercial zoning that has made Columbia's plan relative to village centers unnecessarily difficult to maintain and transportation developments that have hindered accessibility to Wilde Lake while at the same time not making substantial progress with public transit that could help both the community get around and retail centers thrive.

Anonymous said...

"Has the extent of explored solutions so far been limited perhaps to only those national grocers that fit the owner's sales model best? If so, then there's certainly other potential groceries that could meet the village's needs."

The statement from the owner in the 3/19 Sun article "No large, national grocery retailer is interested" does reinforce that line of thought, that national grocers have been courted, but possibly other grocers haven't been fully explored.

Is this "evolution" going to be something along the lines of
1967-2006 village center including grocery
2006-2010 shopping center lacking grocery
2010-2015 centrally-located pricey apartments, some shops but no grocery
2015-beyond just pricey apartments?

The upcoming zoning amendment will be equivalent to handing over keys to a car that's been safely parked for some time. Instead of allowing the community to be taken on this joyride which now seems headed quite a different direction than what was intended, the community should expect the village center's function, regardless of any changes to it, remain consistent with the community's needs.

Otherwise, the promise of Columbia, or at least its first village, being a place truly welcoming all is lost. And what's the next facet of Columbia's model to be forsaken in the name of "evolution"? Only those facets that have remained locally-owned and at least quasi-public appear to have a chance of avoiding similar fates.

So, should Columbia's village centers be looked upon as critical infrastructure for Columbia's communities, in the same manner as schools, roads, and emergency services?

If so, should they be be transitioned to be similarly publicly-managed endeavors when private ownership/management of them cannot or choose not to let them meet the communities' needs?

In hindsight, a dozen of the village centers in 2002 sold for $112 million (roughly nine million dollars each). Under current zoning, they may still be affordable for the community to consider greater involvement where necessary, and to offer the current owner a fair return on their investment.

Anonymous said...

Iconic Xer,

"...they'll be much more interested in aligning behind the visions of leaders and institutions that can provide direction and a way out of dangerous circumstances."

I WOULD NOT CLASSIFY AS ULMAN AS EITHER A VISIONARY OR A LEADER. UNLESS YOU INCLUDE HIM ENVISIONING HIMSELF CLIMBING THE POLITICAL LADDER.

"More transparency is more better. Keep the conversation as public and visible and accessible as possible. It does wonders for instilling trust."

I AGREE THAT TRANSPARENCY IS BETTER. UNFORTUNATELY, THE ONLY THING TRANSPARENT ABOUT ULMAN IS THE TRANSPARENCY WITH WHICH HE LIES, BREAKS RULES (WHICH HE CAMPAIGNED TO UPHOLD) AND GENERALLY LEGISLATES (OR SHOULD I SAY DICTATES) WITHOUT GOING THROUGH THE PROPER LEGISLATIVE PROCESS.

I'M NOT SURE HOW MUCH YOU KNOW ABOUT ULMAN, BUT YOU'RE WAY OFF BASE IF YOU THINK HE'S A CATALYST FOR OPEN PUBLIC DIALOGUE AND TRUST. HE'S EXAACTLY THE REASON WHY PEOPLE HAVE LITTLE TO NO TRUST IN GOVERNMENT. YOU'RE JUST NOT GETTING THE TRUTH ABOUT HIS ACTIONS AND HIS LEGACY. BUT THE TRUTH WILL BE COMING OUT SOON.

Anonymous said...

Don't leave it there. "...coming out soon", Tell!

What is the truth and when is it coming out?

Anonymous said...

Check out the post on HoCoMd blog for starters. I'm sure more will follow.

jim adams said...

We love, honor,and respect politicians, because they are who we are.

We hate, dishonor, and disrespect politicians, because they are who we are.

It's that element of human nature that we reflect in a representative republic, such as we are

Anonymous said...

Um..speak for yourself regarding the 'we are' bit.

jim adams said...

Um..sounds like you have never voted.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:32 - What truth are you referring to?

A fake resume?
Getting "let go" from daddy's law firm?

We've heard it all before.

World of Warcraft Gold said...

World of Warcraft Gold

97ee is a World of Warcraft Gold provider operating the secure network of buying and selling WoW Gold on the Internet.

97ee was founded in 2004, we are committed to provide the outstanding customer services and striving to provide our customers with appreciation and quality World Of Warcraft Gold service they deserve. In meeting the demand of World of Warcraft players to buy and sell World Of Warcraft Gold, 97ee provides gamers with fast and secure transactions, 24-hour customer service and guarantee transaction safety.

Our customers will have an unforgettable and enjoyable gaming experience with us.
97ee advocates healthy, secure and responsible secondary market practices. 97ee does not farm or use bots or macros of any kind to create or collect World Of Warcraft Gold. 97ee leverages its market presence and distribution power to avoid practices that have a negative impact on World of Warcraft.

Anonymous said...

There were two anon 8:32's. Obviously you're referring to the one with caps.

But they seemed to know something new, not the old resume stuff.

Any more clues?

Anonymous said...

Yes. Go the hocomd blog and read the post titled "Something Rotten in Denmark". It talks about how Ulman paid off a political campaign contributor by violating zoning laws to allow his friend to build a bigger building than allowed, and then on top of that, Ulman bought a significant amount of the building for "use as County office space". He overpaid for it to boot. Then, he tried to spin it as "investing in the village center". Shameless.

It's also just the tip of the iceberg in Ulman's sad legacy.

Anonymous said...

I did go there and read it. But you must know that blog has a reputation of being anti-ulman at any cost. Not the most credible source, even if it is true.

Anonymous said...

Not credible? Based on what? This blog happens to be patently pro-Ulman and does nothing to relay the truth about ulman and what he's done and is still doing - which is abusing his powers and breaking laws. The story is factual, as evidenced in the newspaper article and the post on the other blog, which provided factual citations of the events. Would you care to challenge that post with anything factual or are you just shoveling manure? Consider it an invitation to have an open dialogue/debate about the charges being made against Ulman. Unless you're too chicken to take the challenge, just like the host of this blog....

Anonymous said...

Ok tom-like person.

I agree - this blog is not interested in anything anti-ulman. But that doesn't add credibility to another blog that is anti-ulman at any cost.

Neither is more credible on the subject of ulman.

That's my view.

Seeya.

Anonymous said...

Anon - if you opine that the other blog post is not credible, then please offer something concrete to back up your position. And by concrete, I mean something more than saying the other blog is biased. That does nothing to refute the material presented in the post.


If you can't offer anything concrete, then I think that speaks to the validity of the material presented.

What's good for the goose said...

Anon 9:00 - what have YOU done to offer credible evidence to back up YOUR position?

Anonymous said...

Hayduke (I mean anon) - you obviously are blind and since I can't make you see the light, I'm not going to try. The other blogger presented facts/evidence. You can either try to refute it or not. If not, then you are essentially consenting that it's true.

Anonymous said...

That wasn't Hayduke, and there are two anons, at least two.

No one is saying it isn't true, but we can't tell if it is true, either. When a source is biased, you can't rely on their info.

why?

From wiki:
"Bias is a term used to describe a tendency or preference towards a particular perspective, ideology or result. A person is generally said to be biased if a reasonable observer would conclude that the person is markedly influenced by inner biases, rendering it unlikely for them to be able to be objective."

So you see, bias is an important part of credibility.

Anonymous said...

True.
However, the blog post cited FACTS that are true whether the blogger is in fact personally biased.
Ken Ulman received campaign contributions from the developer (FACT). The County - via Ken Ulman directing the various agencies and the Planning Board - approved a plan that did not comply with the Zoning Regulations in so much as the parking included on street parking which is not allowed - ever. The actual section of the Regulations was cited so how does bias affect that?
Well, you could argue that Ken did order the plan to be approved. Well, let's think about that. Ken Ulman brokers a deal to buy some office space from his campaign contributor buddy. Now, is he going to oversee the plan to make sure it gets completed and approved, without ever checking on its status? Even if he didn't, if any "issues" arose that might impede approval, don't you think the developer friend would contact Ulman and get him involved. I mean come on! The blog poster could be as biased as hell, but the facts were spelled out clearly. Why can't you and other people just accept that?

george said...

hahaha...

thats a great post anonymous. You start off promising by offering FACTS. But then, as quickly as they come, you toss away FACTS and use speculation to actually "prove" your point. Classic.

Anonymous said...

What speculation. Only one point related to speculation, and then I went on to demonstrate how that speculation actually had merit.

On top of that, if the post was factually inaccurate, why do Ms. Flowers, and Ken Ulman, and Calvin Ball keep talking about how approval for onstreet parking is ok since this building is necessary to revitalize VOM? THEY ARE ADMITTING TO PUSHING THROUGH A PLAN THAT VIOLATED THE LAW.

You just can't face that you are wrong, and the person you're trying to defend broke the law.

george said...

You just can't face that you are wrong,

hey look...

So my name isn't really "George," but I picked a name so it would be pretty to clear to anyone following this that I am not the anonymous (or anonymous's) you have been arguing with. (I don't think anyone would really know me by my real name anyway)

im just observing and reading this thread. I'm not defending anyone, except maybe Logic (ok, that was rude).

What speculation[?]. Only one point related to speculation, and then I went on to demonstrate how that speculation actually had merit.

do i need to point the contradiction out to you? or can you see it for yourself upon reading it back?

See the great thing about "speculation" is that you can basically say whatever you want to. What fun! But why stop there? Why not speculate that Ulman participates in illegal betting? Lots of people do it, so certainly it has merit to say Ulman does! I heard Ulman say something nice about New York once -- I'd speculate he's a closet Yankees fan. Yahoo!

Anonymous said...

George,

You're talking about two different scales of speculation.

How about if I use the word "hypothesize" instead? I'm hypothesizing that it is beyond reasonable logic to think that Ken Ulman would broker a deal with the developer but somehow be unaware that the site plan included on street parking. Do you really think that he never talked to the Planning Director about the site plan or its status? Seriously? You'd have to be either a complete fool or completely naive to think that's even possible. Or, you're just a blind loyalist to Ulman and don't want to see the writing on the wall.

Just because there isn't a video tape of Ulman on youtube doesn't mean he's innocent and it doesn't mean people can't use their commen sense and realize what happened in this case, and what has been going on for years with him.

Where there's smoke, there's fire. You might not be able to see the fire, but common sense says that there is a fire. Maybe you just don't any commen sense (oops sorry - didn't mean to be rude).

As to the whole point of the site plan being illegal. Do you know of some hither-to-unknown regulation that does allow on street parking to be used for a private development? Please let me know when/if you find anything....

wordbones said...

Whoa nelly!

Time for a serious reality check here...

To insinuate that Ken Ulman committed the county to buying space in this building as some sort of a payback or kickback for a campaign contribution is just plain nuts.

Most every developer I know (meself included) gave money to Ken's campaign. Several also gave money to Chris Merdon.

All these developers have vacant space in existing buildings that they'd love to lease to the county. To say that Ken backed Meridian Square in return for a campaign contribution is just plain ludicrous. If Ken was doing this for one developer why wouldn't he do it for all of them?

I am no fan of the county's decision to locate offices in Meridian Square but that isn't why. My objection is based soley on market dynamics. Merdian Square is too big for that market. It will take a very long time to sell the remainder of the space that the county isn't buying. If it takes too long, the developer could get into trouble and not be able to "carry" the project any longer. If that happens, does the county then fel compelled to bail out the project?

-wb

Anonymous said...

You, wb, cannot determine whether or not it was favors for campaign money.

Why do some people give large amounts to both candidates for a single office?

If you're saying that influence isn't gained with money I'm gonna ask what planet you've been living on.

Anonymous said...

I don't trust the ethics of someone who gets fired from his own father's firm.

wordbones said...

Anon 4:05 PM,

You are correct that I can't determine whether favors were given in return for campaign money. I merely suggest that it is less likely that other posters here may suggest.

Money may not directly influence political decisions on a "quid pro quo" basis but it does provide a certain degree of access. Giving to both candidates running for the same office makes perfect sense to me. It says that you are willing to work with whoever is elected.

-wb

Anonymous said...

Interesting euphemism, but euphemism none the less.

Anonymous said...

IF you go back and look at the timing of the contribution, you will note that some of the money was given well AFTER the election, but right about the time the Planning Board was getting ready to review the plan. COINCIDENCE? Me thinks not!!!

WB you pose an EXCELLENT question, which was actually raised in the post on the other blog. That is, why doesn't the County invest in ALL development projects? That would seem to be fair to me.

If money didn't afford the contributor some sense that a favor will be attained down the road, there would be a lot less campaign contributions, for everyone.

The ironic part is that before the last election, Ulman was the one trying label Merdon as in the pockets of developers. It turns out that just the opposite is true. Surprise, surprise.

Anonymous said...

I'm anon 4.54, and now have to say that you need to check Merdon's campaign contributions. He was worse - before the election. Of course, after the election Ulman was the one who continued collecting from those who pander influence, or as wb puts it "access".

Soft word for a harsh truth when your on the loosing end.

Daddy Daddy - Buy Me an Election! said...

History lesson:

* Over 10 jobs in 10 years
* Of the 10, at least 3 of the job titles are unsubstantiated (eg - Clinton White House Staffer)
* Got his Maryland job (Secretary of the Cabinet) when daddy was head of Maryland horse racing commission
* Manages to get a law firm job (at daddy's law firm)
* Lost his job at daddy's law firm * Gained leadership experience by a few months running "his own law firm" (just him, mind you)
* Outspent Mary Kay Sigaty by record levels through contributions from daddy's friends to barely win a spot on County Council (under 50 votes)
* Tarred Chris Merdon with anonymous attacks

Should i go on?

Does it surprise anyone that this guy owes his daddy's friends?

Does it surprise anyone that he would reward his daddy's friends?