Jim Smith, Tarzan of the Concrete Jungle and his Lackeys

According to Jim Smith, Baltimore County is the portrait child of fiscal responsibility.  He claims to protect open space, as does his proteges Kevin Kamenetz and Tom Quirk.  But is that really the truth?  Is Baltimore County both fiscally responsible and environmentally conscious?

For starters, riddle me this.  If you’re so concerned with open spaces Mr. Smith, then why is it that Baltimore County falls well below the state recommendations of 30 acres of open space per 1,000 people.  Here we’re looking at 19 acres and dropping.   Now I realize that just because you have a “D” beside your name, you’re automatically given the environmentalist stamp of approval.  I remember when I was working the polls for Bush in ’04, one of the Kerry supporters asked me what my major was in college.  When I responded “outdoor education,” the guy literally flipped his lid.  “How can you stand over there and support a party that seeks to destroy the Earth?”  Overreact much?  My husband and I actually consider ourselves conservative to the core, and we’re not just talking about politics.  Environmentally, I would consider myself a mild but realistic tree hugger.  I don’t buy into global warming as a human-induced end to the world as we know it, but I do think that we must be good stewards for what we have been entrusted with, this great and vast planet and all that surrounds it.

So when I see people like Smith, Kamenetz, and Quirk receiving rubber stamps of approval from environmental groups without even a second glance at their actual record, I shudder.  It’s the same reason I shuddered yesterday when I watched Quirk introduce himself as the democratic candidate only to African-American voters.   Why can’t voters look at the person instead of the party?

Smith is responsible for the brick pavement (AKA more concrete and a huge waster of tax payer dollars) in front of the old courthouse in Towson.  He’s also a huge supporter of the Promenade.  Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, and I’m not going to come out and bash Whalen or his plans.  But here’s where you have to follow the money.  In the last 4 years, Whalen alone has donated over $50,000 to Jim Smith’s campaign from both him personally and his myriad of LLCs.  This doesn’t even touch the surface when it comes to donations from the development community.  Why do you think companies like Whalen’s would give such a hefty amount to a politician if it’s not to pull strings?

Smith’s son, Michael,  is a development lawyer in Towson who has been working hard to raise money from his friends and colleagues for a select few lackeys in the County Council races.  Him and his bud, Gildea, has raised over $35,000 for Quirk alone, most of which originated from a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser back in late ’09, and all of which came from developers and their allies.   Back when Bryan Sears first broke the story, I wrote a blog in response.  Tom Quirk was so bent out of shape over the whole situations that he unfriended me from Facebook, as if I had twisted his arm to take the money then stabbed him in the back by criticizing his actions.

Speaking of Quirk, he’s running around touting how great things are in Baltimore County, how responsible we are with our money, how fabulous our schools are, and how he’s so interested in protecting open spaces.  Yet he’s endorsed by Smith, a man who is eternally fused to the developers and their money.  Even when he’s out of office, he’ll still maintain his marionetting rights to those indebted to him for his great “generosity” and connections.  Quirk told a friend of mine before the primary, a Democrat who is now supporting Steve, “You should support me, because I’m the one who is wired and connected.”  But he’s not a puppet, right?

As the GCCC Candidate Forum a couple weeks back, Tom told the crowd that this election wasn’t about party affiliation, then a couple minutes later said he was “looking forward to working with all the Democrats” in Towson.  Sounds a bit contradictory to me.

This is why it’s so incredibly important that we elect the right people, cut the strings, and give Baltimore County a breath of fresh air.  It’s more critical than ever to make sure Ken Holt and Steve Whisler, along with David Marks, Todd Huff, David Nawrocki, and Jon Herbst get on the Council or at least four of them. We have to make sure their is balance and accountability.

85% of the councilman’s job is to deal with zoning and development issues.  Don’t you think a fiscally responsible government would include a fair and balanced process that allows communities a seat at the table with an actual say in what happens?  Don’t you think a fiscally responsible government would include granting contracts to companies that bid and win, instead of buddies and contributors of the peeps in power?  Don’t you think a fiscally responsible government would seek to revitalize existing concrete jungles instead of carving away at our open spaces in order to appease their donors?

If you’re content with more of the same, then by all means, vote for Kamenetz and Quirk, but if you’re ready for actually accountability and responsibility, then it cast your ballot for Ken Holt and Steve Whisler, even if you’re a Democrat or the party-formally-known-as-Independent.  Maybe this is the day you cross the boundary line to vote for a person and not a party.

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