August 8, 2016 7:01 pm ET
Does the DRC truly have our best interests at heart?
Photo credit/the Baltimore Sun Insert (Dundalk Housing Fair 2016)
I wrote an equation in one of my recent columns—Regurgitate or Investigate?—in which I referred to what one might call “special interests,” a term coined in the account of the Watergate scandal in the movie All the Presidents Men.
The quote went as follows:
In closing, do the math, folks:
Bob Crandell + Todd Crandell + the DRC + William Feur the Optimist President and President of the DRC + Paul Rosenbergert, former Editor of the Dundalk Eagle (times) TradePoint Atlantic’s VP, Arron Tomarchio = limited visibility.
Apparently, some of those numbers (or names, if you prefer) turned out to be of the special interest variety.
First, take a look at the title picture for this article. What do you see?
I see a 20-page insert into the Baltimore Sun from the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation. You may wonder why that is so important.
Because it involves grant monies that equal our money being spent.
The last time I wrote about the DRC was October 2013.
In order to understand the nature of this column, one should read the first, which almost mimics the one I’m writing now.
Rather than deal with the question of whether or not the DRC was forced out of its newly renovated office space, Dr. Amy Menzer, the executive director of the DRC, chose to attack me by implicating that I was unfair to her organization.
The good doctor overlooked the numerous other very positive articles I wrote. My best guess is that Dr. Menzer got caught creating a whopper (without the money) and decided to deflect the blame on me for inquiring about her faux-pas.
Remember the time and tested saying that goes:
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Just to show that I play fair and don’t blindside people when I don’t have the answers, here is a copy of the email I sent to the DRC after seeing and reading the insert:
Dr. Amy Menzer
DRC, Dundalk Md 21222
(For the record)
Dear Dr. Menzer:
I am inquiring as to the amount the DRC paid for the insert dated April 7, 2016 into The Baltimore Sun, titled — Dundalk Housing Fair 2016?
In addition, I am asking for the parameters by which you used to calculate the cost of the add and what specifically by way of a quantitative analysis, i.e. documentation in defining the project as a success was achieved.
That email was sent on July 26, 2016. Needless to say, I am still waiting for some sort of reply. One would think that, as a common curiosity, Dr. Menzer might write a simple “No comment.”
For you numbers crunchers, here is all the crunching you can handle about Dundalk from the Census Bureau.
You can click whatever category you are searching in the drop-down menu.
Let’s serve up some additional reality on the housing market issue in Dundalk—or, to use the political term used in Washington, pork.
I use that word because, if you look at some of the names associated with the DRC, we’re not talking about casual associates.
I’m going to make this a little more personal. Let me introduce you to the former Norwood Holabird Community Association President, John Ayers.
Mr. Ayers lived on Ives Lane in Dundalk and, in 2015, sold his home for $148,000. If you look around at some of the homes for sale in the same block as John’s former home, you will be quite shocked at their current market values.
A house listed on the same block as Mr. Ayers is on the market for $112,000, and it has been there for months.
(I have the data but don’t want to get too personal–email me regarding the data links and I will answer outside of the column.)
Additionally, just two doors up from Mr. Ayers’ former house, is another property that is listed for $84,000.
Mr. Ayers laments, “The DRC did nothing to help sell my house.” I guess that’s a good thing looking at the value of homes around John’s street.
The median home price in Baltimore County is $227,500.
To that end, one would have to ask why in the heck would someone want to move to Dundalk and buy a home as an investment?
Just read the Dundalk Eagle’s editorial page this week by new editor Nicole Rodman:
She writes from the get-go, “Sometimes Dundalk can make it tough to love her.”
In her truthful and impacting writing, Ms. Rodman laments that, “The decline of Dundalk mirrors the larger decline of America.”
It would take me a month to explain that statement properly.
Ms. Rodman questions what new industry will come to Sparrows Point and writes, “That question remains largely unanswered.”
I applaud her gut wrenching truthfulness, and the courage she displayed to write such an editorial.
There are still questions—the same questions I had after I wrote the article on the DRC back in 2013.
Those questions are the poison that is destroying Dundalk.
Why won’t “the powers that be” respond to how they are using our tax dollars, especially when we are paying Dr. Menzer’s rather large salary? What about the role of the DRC President William Feur, who is also president of the Optimist, as the DRC attempts spread its influence?
How else do you think Councilman Todd Crandell’s Legislative Aide, Ron Metzger, became citizen of the year despite the, in my opinion, more deserving nominees.
The DRC marched in-step with the Kamenetz administration in promoting the sale of the government center, and you see where that mess has gone.
The DRC’s own backyard recently had a murder, and the area has been plagued for years with drugs and violence.
Now it seems as though the fate of Dundalk is degenerating into the stereotypical image of reality vs. truth, despite Ms. Rodman’s best attempt to hope for the best, while our leadership promises us the moon and delivers more Section 8 and claims of 10,000 jobs that so far have only added up to a mere fraction of that number.
There are many citizens in Dundalk that would love to see the DRC and its stranglehold on the politics of failure “make like a tree” (meaning LEAVE).
I will even help rake up the dead leaves afterward. It will be far less of a mess than what we have now…