Calling out The Sun for Not Playing Fair
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 22nd January 2017

December 17, 2016 3:21 am ET

Sun lifts story idea but ignores the facts to push the county agenda

Source: Calling out The Sun for Not Playing Fair

Photo credit/Media Ethics and Society

Folks, I have been told that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But frankly, I’m tired of being flattered. The only problem, not only in this case but other articles as well, The Sun has a long history of not giving credit where credit is due, especially where Patch is concerned.

On top of that I wrote a previous column/blog on this exact same subject and gave fair warning that the Sun is not playing by the rules.

I don’t mind that as long as the Sun plays fair, but they don’t.

I want to discuss the Baltimore Sun’s belated coverage of an exclusive story that was first featured in this column/blog back on November 16.

The story that I broke concerns Towson Row, which spurred a subsequent “follow-up story” by the Sun on December 15. I will not link to the Sun’s article because it’s not my intention to spotlight the blatant theft of my intellectual property. You see, this whole “borrowing Buzz’s ideas” thing is a sore spot with me, since certain journalistic integrity is tossed aside by the Sun in its version of the fate of Towson Row.

First, take this quote from the Sun’s piece:

But since Caves Valley hosted a “site preparation” event in October 2015, residents have begun to grumble about the lack of progress.

“Lack of progress.” That is an understatement. For over a year the area in question looks like a war zone. There has been no progress. The only activity has been the compilation of complaints from local businessmen who have lamented about the mess and the additional parking problems created by said mess.

Others are concerned that the customers they counted on may not be found in this proposed mini-city.

Then you have this quote from the Sun:

“There was a lot of flurry of activity when the buildings were demolished, and people realize that was more than a year ago and nothing’s happened,” said Hartman. “No one knows what the situation is.”

Well, that is what happens when something goes drastically wrong. Take a close at these photos of the proposed Towson Row and tell me how much these renderings cost. Now who do you think payed for these drawings? My guess it was the developer, Caves Valley, because anyone who knows anything about Whiting-Turner will know that the company is a top-of-the-line builder.

Remember, if they can’t do it, nobody can!

So, in my humble assessment of this situation, Caves already has a ton of money already sunk into this project. To that end, does anyone believe that, when asked by the Sun, the “truth shall set Caves free,” meaning the developer will “give it up” and face the consequences?

Not likely.

As far as my interest in this matter, I have filed a PIA with Baltimore County to see the emails between Mr. Kamenetz, Councilman Marks, Caves, and Whiting-Turner, the builder.

I have been in touch with the county and trimmed down my request due to the large volume of interactions between all the parties.

But back to the Sun’s (stolen) article—here is another interesting quote:

“People are very angry over the lack of attention,” Marks said. “It’s a great project and we want it to happen — and it’s just stalled.”

Adler insists Caves Valley is moving ahead on the mixed-use project. He said although the company “knew a great deal about the geological condition of the site” and did “very elaborate testing,” the geological issues made the 1,500-space underground garage too difficult.

I had to read that a couple of times before that quote sank in. Does anyone really believe knowing that in advance, Caves would have green-lighted this project.

This reminds me of the issue in Dundalk regarding the government center and the county’s insistence that the project was moving forward. The county even went so far as to claim to have letters of intent from potential tenants.

Well, a PIA revealed that to be a bit of a stretch, when in fact the GC was in the hands of the state courts and, in actuality, there were no letters from any potential tenants.

I find it kind of hard to swallow that Caves claims to have done its homework regarding a ton of planning and demolition only to find that someone dropped the ball to the point of a complete epic fail.

The PIA I filed should reveal what is really going on with the future of Towson Row.

If Caves was planning on moving forward, why did the company not tell the surrounding communities and the county about this new plan? Caves only fessed up only after the media came calling, and Caves had to make a statement.

Again, in my humble opinion, just like the W-T white hats (management) told one of the people I spoke with, the project is over.

You may see the property developed in the future, but again I point to the cost factor. Just like the developer in Dundalk, the word is that the issue is headed for the courts.

I’m not suggesting something may not be built there, but when two top guns take a shot and miss, it would be difficult to find someone else willing to take the risk.

If I’m wrong, I will be the first to admit it; after all, I have been wrong before. What is troubling to me is the lull in activity and the wall of silence around the project especially from W-T.

I will acknowledge that the Sun did reveal all of the goodies Caves received from both the council and the county in what we common folks call perks.

The one ingredient that is sorely missing from the Sun’s piece is the interview with Whiting-Turner the planed builder of Towson Row. In fact W-T is never mentioned in the Sun’s article.

If the Sun’s reporter had the phone slammed in their ear with the words “We don’ want to talk about that,” one doesn’t get a warm fuzzy feeling they were working on a new design.

Now here is another interesting quote:

Caves Valley is also in discussion with the Baltimore County Revenue Authority over the garage. The authority — a quasi-government agency that operates county garages and parking meters, as well as county golf courses — could end up helping to finance, build or operate the garage, Adler said.

I believe that means the taxpayers will have to pay for Mr. Kamenetz’s dream, long after he is gone from office.

That kind of response didn’t make much cent$ [sic] at least for the taxpayers.

In my humble opinion the bottom line to this whole mess is that Caves may have pulled the plug realizing the price tag was too high.

Again, this is just my humble opinion. But remember, paper covers rock.

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