Baltimore County Council Stands Against the Dream Act (Well, Mostly)

On Wednesday, five of the seven Baltimore Council members not only pledged their support for the movement to bring the Dream Act (aka In-state Tuition for Illegal Immigrants) to referendum, but they also signed a letter urging county residents to sign the petition.  Republicans David Marks & Todd Huff, along with Democrats Bevins, Amman, and Olzewski committed their support in ink.

Sadly, missing from the mix was our very own Tom Quirk and our northern neighbor, Ken Oliver.  Does anyone want to garner a guess as to why Quirk would choose to remain in the minority and go against the rest of the council to stand by such an unlawful piece of legislation?

It’s curious to me that UMBC and CCBC just happen to reside in the 1st district.  We know from testimony in Annapolis that many colleges and universities from around the state were in favor of such legislation.  I’m not saying that UMBC and CCBC have in fact come out in support of the law, but I am saying that it’s a bit of a red herring.

Here’s my question though, and this isn’t just to Tom (because I wouldn’t want to pick on him).  No, this question goes to all the elected officials who have stood in support of this outrageous law.  Why would you spit in the face of federal law just to get votes from people who aren’t supposed to vote anyways?

It’s true that the hispanic population in Baltimore County is on the rise, but not all hispanics stand in support of illegal immigration.  Most of them fought hard to come here under legal pretenses.  Why support those who want a free ride?

I will say this, nearly 40% of the total support for the referendum movement has come from Baltimore County.  At this point, the petition signers almost outnumber the latino population.  And those numbers are only going to grow.  So even if Tom is choosing the road less traveled to garner votes, I’m thinking, in the end, it might backfire.

Now, supporters will come up with all kinds of sob stories in support of this legislation.  I know, I’ve heard them at the State House.  It’s a human rights issue and these poor innocent immigrants (who are here illegally) are suffering at the hand of Big Brother.

Yes, it’s sad.  But let’s just say we give them this subsidized education.  Then what?  What will they do with their citizen paid degree?  They can’t legally work here, so what kind of career can they possibly esteem too?

No worries, I’m sure the Maryland General Assembly will answer those questions sooner or later in the form of another piece of law breaking legislation.

Friends, if you don’t do another thing this year politically, sign the petition.  We need 56,000 signatures by June 30.  We’ve made it through the first hurdle at the end of May, but we need to keep up the pace.

It’s imperative that this bill go before the people because we’re confident that it will be overturned.  It’s up to us to send the message.

This is not a Republican issue.  Many Democrats across the state have joined in the efforts, including three of our County Council members.  I have to say that I’m proud of my council.  It takes guts to stand up against the mainstream of your own party.

To sign the petition, go to www.mdpetitions.com.

Quirk, Burn’s Rising Sun

When you apply for non-profit status as a church, you understand that you must remain politically neutral.  If you don’t, you could lose your tax exempt status.  Maybe Delegate Emmit Burns, who also happens to be the pastor at the Rising Sun Baptist Church in Woodlawn, didn’t get the message.  Or maybe he just missed that clause when setting up his church.  Either way, I’d say they’re far from neutral.

This morning I was sent an anonymous message (at least as far you’re concerned) about a particular visit to said church this past Sunday by our very own councilman, Tom Quirk.  Now for an elected official such as himself to attend a worship service violates no rules, but when the pastor of the church, also an elected official, publicly calls Quirk his “money man,” things get a little murky.  Apparently when Burns ran out of money during his costly and most unopposed campaign, he turned to Tom.  Okay.  First of all, why?  Quirk was running in a highly contested race, whereas Burns was practically a shoe-in.  But let’s put that aside for a moment.  The question you must ask yourself is why any of this is pertinent to one’s walk with God.  Oh wait, I forgot to tell you why Tom was in attendance this past Sunday.  It seems he decided to give a sizable donation to the church.  Now why would someone do that?  Give money to a church he doesn’t attend?  I certainly understand slipping a $20 bill into the offering plate as it passes.  That’s just good form, but to be called to the front and recognized…that had to be a fairly large chunk of change.

Let’s back up a bit.  During the campaign, Quirk attended on several occasions and each time recognized from the front.  Hmmm, careful Delegate Burns, because that could be construed as an endorsement, and a sizable donation at the conclusion of a successful bid for office could be interpreted as payback.  Who knows though?  Maybe Councilman Quirk has been making his rounds to various churches in the area spreading the wealth so to speak.  If that’s the case, I’d be happy to give him the name and address for my church.  After our sound equipment was stolen last month, we could certainly use it.  However, something tells me that’s not the case.

This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard of overt bias coming from Del. Burns and his congregation.  During the primary, Rising Sun hosted a Democratic forum for candidates.  By mistake, our friend, Rich Reinhardt, a candidate for Clerk of the Court, was invited.  After speaking, people in the audience actually applauded.  They seemed to agree with his platform.  Then again, they thought he was a Dem.  Once they realized that he was actually a Republican, Delegate Burns asked him to leave.  He wasn’t even allowed the time to gather his materials and they were not returned to him after the fact.  For all intensive purposes, he was thrown out.  Now I could be wrong, but, outside of the Reinhardt debacle, I have yet to hear of a Republican being invited to Rising Sun.  If I’m wrong, I’ll be happy to retract, but I’m guessing I won’t have to.

.The amazing thing is that I’m sure they will continue to promote Democrats at Rising Star because really, who’s going to check into it?

Get Involved: Swearing in of the NEW County Council

ACTION ALERT:
(only if you can spare the time)

Swearing in of the “NEW” Batimore County Council and the First “NEW” Council session

Let’s be there to welcome in the fresh-council; and remind them of the campaign promises made! Swearing in is at 10am and the first council meeting is at 2pm. Please try to attend one if not both events, we need you to keep the pressure on, bring family, friends, and neighbors.

We will not be testifying or pushing any agenda, yet!

Wear your favorite AFP tee shirt, and let’s send a message to all the freshmen/women that we are still very active and plan to keep a very close eye on all that will be happening in our County!

DATE: December 6th

Swearing in starts at 10:00am
the first council meeting starts at 2:00

LOCATION: Towson Courthouse
400 Washington Avenue Room 205  Courthouse
Towson, MD 21204  Second Floor

Top Ten Reasons Tom Quirk is Mr. Whalen’s Boy

First of all, allow me to say that I did not write this entry.  I literally copied and pasted.  I’m not sure who wrote it, so if it’s you, please let me know and I’ll gladly give you the credit.

TEN: Tom’s Finance Chair is a partner in a lobbying firm hired by Whalen.

NINE: Tom’s signs are placed on Whalen Properties

EIGHT: This cycle, Whalen gave $41,000 to Jim Smith who gave all of it to the Baltimore County Victory Slate of which Tom’s a part.

SEVEN: This cycle, Whalen gave $17,500 to Kevin Kamenetz who flipped $10,000 of it to the Baltimore County West Democratic Slate (BCWDC) helping Tom win much of the minority vote.

SIX: Emmett Burns received $6,000 from Whalen this cycle.  His people electioneered for Tom again helping him win much of the minority vote.

FIVE: Mr. Whalen’s wife visited Tom during primary voting at Woodbridge Valley, when her precinct was Catonsville High.  Why?

FOUR: Delores Kelly and Adrienne Jones who appear on the BCWDC all take money from Whalen.

THREE: Jones, Nathan-Pulliam, and Burns who co-sponsored HB1161, or the Promenade Bill as it was called by Annapolis Staffers all assisted Tom either in electioneering and/or are on the  BCWDC

TWO: Tom’s 2007 Letter to the editor stating that “Mr. Whalen is a good man” and “Catonsville needs the Promenade” along with his relationship at the Chamber of Commerce who relentlessly lobby for Whalen’s beloved Promenade.

The number ONE reason Tom Quirk is MR WHALEN”S BOY: When Whalen addresses people who he believes are friendly to Quirk, he says, “How’s my boy doing?”

The Un-Truth Truth Squad Strikes Again

At a debate on Saturday afternoon, in a beautiful backyard on Forest Drive, in Catonsville, two candidates came to the table to debate the issues most vital to the first district.  Unfortunately I didn’t get the stay the entire time.  Surely something must have changed from the time I left until the end, because according to Quirk’s Facebook page, he won the debate.  Interesting how he went from flat out lying to winning.  I’m pretty sure this win was all in his head though.

Since I can’t recount the entire debate, allow me divulge just a few hard facts.

The candidates started out talking about why they entered the race.  Quirk’s answer surprised me a bit.  It seems he just up and decided to run one day when the going got tough for the rest of us.  I’m sure it had nothing to do with any political aspirations he’s had since he moved into the area 8 years ago.  You know that four years ago he ran for the Democratic Central Committee and lost, right?  Funny how most of his “resume” was built in the years since his last loss.  But that must just be a coincidence.

My second and last point lies within a, well, lie.  He said that 84% of his contributions came from individuals.  “I encourage everyone to go the Maryland Campaign Finance website and look it up for yourself.”  Okay, Tom, that’s just what we did.   You know what we found?  Seems Tom needs to retake some math classes, because it turns out 48% of his donors are businesses, 75% of them donated on one evening back in late ’09 at a $1,000 a plate fundraiser hosted by Quirk’s “fundraising chairperson,” David Gildea, a development lawyer from Towson.

When asked the question about his top 5 contributors and how they would affect his candidacy, Tom skirted the question, immediately on the defensive.  Why?  What does he really have to hide?

Here are his top 5 donors?

1. Elizabeth Parham, $4,000, individual, donated on 11/19/09 (the same night at the Smith/Gildea fundraiser.  Can’t really find out much about her from Google, but it begs the question: Why was she at a fundraiser to which developers and their allies were invited?

2. Thomas Morris, $2,000, individual, also donated on 11/19/09.  Thomas Morris owns Thomas D Morris Inc, a company out of Reistertown (note: not in our district) that supplies “large domestic animals-cattle, sheep, swine, and goats (other species by request)-that have been bred specifically for research needs.”

3. Macro Holdings Property Development, $2,000, business entity, also donated on 11/19/09.  Macro Holdings is a  company based out of Ellicotty City (again out of district), who happens to develop and finance Sonic Restaurants through out Maryland.

4. Sibel Enterprises, $2000, business entity, also donated on 11/19/09.  Can’t find much information about this company as well, but I do know that they are also based out of district in Owings Mills, and they’ve given money to Kamenetz and O’Malley as well.  Gee, no strings attached there, right?

5. Gwynn Mill Joint Venture llc, $2000, business entity, also donated on 11/19/09.  Again it’s a bit of an allusive company, and I thought Google was so thorough.  Regardless, I’m seeing a pattern here in that they’re also not in our district.

Funny how Tom didn’t mention a single one of these donors at the debate the other day, not a single one.  All 5 gave on the same night, at the same place.  All 5 have contributed to other Democrat’s campaigns around the state.  All 5 are outside of our district.

In case you think I’m picking an choosing to make it look worse than it is.  There were 5 contributors at the $2,000 level, all of which were given on 11/19/09.  The next lowest from from The Friends of Jim Smith at $1,500.

Maybe Tom has access to a different site than the rest of us, one where 84% of his contributions comes from individuals from his community.  He mentioned Dimitris and One Mile West as some of his top contributors.  I can’t find Dimitris on his report anywhere and One Mile West contributed $500…not exactly at the top.

I challenge each of you to do exactly what Mr. Quirk told you to do…go look it up for yourself.

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.

Quirk’s Un-Truth Squad

On Quirk’s website he has a section entitled “The Truth Squad” which is interesting because as you read through it, most of his “truths” are unsubstantiated at best and untrue at worst.  Just because you say something is not true does not make you a true myth buster.  i don’t have time to unravel every point, though I’m sure this will not be the last you’ll hear from me on this topic.

Quirk Untruth #1:

MYTH:  Baltimore County has a $144 million budget deficit

Baltimore County is required by law to have a balanced budget every year.  It does not have, and has never had, a budget deficit.

Really, Tom?  It’s never had a deficit?  I beg to differ.  In December the County Auditor reported a $138 million budget deficit.  By February, that shortfall had risen to $144 million. By May, when the budget was voted through, the deficit had reached $160 million. See, we don’t just pull facts out of our butts.   Now Quirk is right about one thing, it is the law that the budget is balanced come June.  So the Councilmen and County Executive were forced to make up for the downfall.  On May 27, they passed their 2011 budget, and they were kind enough to not raise our property tax rates or furlough county employees.  Why would they do that?  It’s an election year.  That would have been political suicide.  Why do you think they passed that ridiculous excuse for a pensi on reform bill?

A couple notes about the current budget:

  • Saw the smallest cuts in over 20 years, only $200,000 (compared to $900,000 – $1.6 million range in previous years)
  • “In times of recession, it is not a choice to be fiscally responsible,” say Olszewski.  Seriously? So being fiscally responsible is a choice otherwise?
  • “Many departments, which were forced to cut their budgets in this fiscal year to eliminate a $160 million deficit, saw their budgets further reduced for next year,” says Bryan Sears in his article.
  • “If the economy does not improve, they must be prepared to cope with the effects of economic factors and decisions outside their control,” says Olszewski of the councilmen who will take office in January.  Basically newbies, be prepared when the band-aid falls off.

The Un-Truth Squad will return.  Don’t you worry your pretty little head.