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Before we can begin to tell this tale, we must first provide some backdrop as to what spurred this article and the players involved.
Below is a quote is taken from the Baltimore County News site:
Essex is now qualified to apply for State funding for projects leading to increased economic, transportation and housing choices, and environmental improvements. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has awarded Essex the designation of Maryland Sustainable Community, based on an application submitted in April by the Baltimore County Department of Planning, the Eastern Baltimore County Task Force and the Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce.
“We are pleased that the State has recognized the tremendous potential in the Essex community and the Eastern Boulevard business corridor,” said Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler.
There are a few more pieces of the puzzle that need to be in place before we proceed. Here is a list of the major players involved in this matter: Cliff O’Connell, The Core group, Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler, Councilman Todd Crandell, Councilwoman Cathy Bevins, Delegate Robin Grammer, Dr. Amy Menzer, The Dundalk Renaissance Corporation, Cliff’s Hi-Tech Body Shop, Eastern Baltimore County Task Force, The Essex Community Association, and Republican write-in candidate Timothy Faznbaker.
So now that we’ve established the main players, let’s get to the crux of this matter.
First, allow us to display the question we posed to our county leadership:
Please click on the image below to view the entire email
After we did not receive a response, we felt that the story needed to be told about the influence of money and the favor it curries with corrupt politicians.
Another troubling quote, the one that actually drew our attention to this story, was featured on the Baltimore County News site:
Cliff O’Connell of Cliff’s Hi-Tech Body Shop commented about how well Baltimore County’s Department of Planning and the Maryland DHCD worked together and with the Task Force to maneuver through the application process…
This brings up our concerns over the “pay to play” issue. Why does Mr. O’Connell’s private business get the kind of publicity that would cost other small businesses advertising dollars?
We think we have an answer to that question.
As of December 12, 2017, Mr. O’Connell, members of his family, and his business donated $10,900 to Councilman Todd Crandell’s campaign. In contrast, Delegate Robin Grammer also received several thousand dollars toward his campaign.
Like we said, “pay to play.” Money buys influence, and it can also make some turn a blind eye to certain indiscretions.
Speaking of which, the below photo reveals Mr. O’Connell’s penchant for vigilantism.
So how corrupt and divisive has this matter become? While writing this article, the Post received several calls from community leaders who were once a part of The Core Group. Those community leaders told us that any outside dissent will cause expulsion from the group in the form of Facebook censorship.
The following document tells an interesting tale not only about the first scheduled meeting of the Essex Community Association but also the events that took place surrounding said meeting.
Please click on the image below to view the agenda
Apparently what took place inside the meeting created the controversy that took place outside the meeting as well. The controversy surrounding the issues that led to the Post investigating the story concerned the protocol and agenda of the Essex Community Association.
The Baltimore Post interviewed several people regarding the events that led to the confrontation between Mr. Fazenbaker and the ECA. From the information, we gathered, the controversy surrounds the issue of whether or not politicians were allowed to speak. Now the perplexing issue deals with the fact that Mr. Robin Grammer introduced himself, not only as his position of the Secretary to the ECA but also as the Delegate from the 7th District. When Mr. Fazenbaker went to speak, he introduced himself out of “full disclosure,” as a candidate for Baltimore County Council. Additionally, according to witnesses, someone yelled that there was to be – no politicians. Immediately after the attempt by Mr. Fazenbaker to get beyond his introduction, he was ordered to be ejected from the meeting.
After the meeting had concluded, Mr. Fazenbaker along with a small group of friends was having a conversation in the parking lot. Amongst that group included another community leader, Mr. Dave Rader and his family. Shortly thereafter, the police were called.
The scene in the parking lot took place after Mr. Fazenbaker was removed from that meeting. Not-so-shocking is the fact that the O’Connells were the ones who called the Baltimore County Police. However, when The Post interviewed the responding officers, we learned that there is no report of any disturbance that required police action and/or police report.
After reading the below comments, does the video accurately describe some of the vulgarity posted by the members of the Essex community Association?
You will notice after reading numerous comments that – politicians were not allowed. Now what you will not read in the comments is that Delegate Robin Grammer is not only the secretary of the Essex Community Association but also stood up and announced that he was, in fact, a politician representing 7th District as a state delegate.
Now also pertaining to another issue mentioned in the comments below is the reference to a – Peace Order – filed against Mr. Fazenbaker. Mr. Fazenbaker told the Post that there was a Peace Order filed against him back in 2011 involving a personal matter and that the case has been marked closed.
Please click on the image below to view all of the comments
The Baltimore Post believes these comments display bullying at its worst.
We will stop here to give our readers a chance to take a breath since there is a lot of information to digest.
The Baltimore Post attempted to contact Mr. O’Connell to gain insight into his side of the story, but he refused to comment.
Seems somewhat out of character for someone as outspoken as Mr. O’Connell, don’t you think?
The Post will continue to update this story.