December 6, 2015 10:43 pm ET
For Councilman Crandell, Monday’s council session could be a day of reckoning
Who will decide, the council or the councilman?
Before I begin, I want to go back in history and take a look at what President Franklin D. Roosevelt referred to as “a date which will live in infamy,” referring to the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.
Quick tangent: Sad to say that you won’t learn that in Baltimore County Public Schools. Dr. Dance is heading a progressive movement, and American/world history is not part of his agenda. Instead, Dr. Dance would rather spend $200 million on laptops for all of the students, despite the fact that other major cities have stopped similar failing programs.
Now, back to the point I was making. Let me make this clear—December 7, 1941 is far more historical to this nation than any bill before the county council. However, being an amateur historian, I could not help but draw a comparison and reflect on our government’s role in the everlasting impact its decisions will have on “we the people.”
The impact on the Port of Baltimore is far too important to rush into a situation that will have a significant impact on this region for decades. All due process and vetting should be had by both state and local authorities before any rush to judgment about passing legislation without input from the surrounding communities.
And thus concluded our history lesson … for now.
Let’s instead focus on the present. Monday night—December 7, 2015 (ironically)—could be a day of reckoning (or infamy) for 7th District Councilman Todd Crandell.
You see, Monday night is when the council session will take place that is supposed to feature a vote on Mr. Crandell’s controversial bill 86-15, which removes community input and government oversight from the Sparrows Point Terminal project.
For that reason alone, the communities are requesting that Mr. Crandell delay his bill until the communities have time to review it.
I just read an interesting and well written piece in the Dundalk Eagle by longtime reporter Nichole Rodman, whose article headline reads:
“Sparrows Point and Port of Baltimore among county executive’s transportation priorities”
The article details the heavy involvement of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s agenda into the Port of Baltimore. In the article, the county executive proposes: “Continued state infrastructure investment to support the Port of Baltimore and Sparrows Point will result in a generation of new jobs for the region.”
Mr. Kamenetz makes no mention of what kind of jobs he is referring to, and Congressman Ruppersberger also makes mention of a daycare center and a large skyscraper among other type of commercial development rather than the heavy manufacturing originally intended for the site.
It seems to me like another one of those retail type investments, which is heavy on cash flow to the developer and short on wages for the workers after the construction companies finish and their out of state labor are long gone.
The question remains what Councilman Crandell will do about the request to delay the vote. I covered this extensively in my last blog on the subject.
By the way, the council never called me back, so it appears that they would rather not share anything with the constituents of the east side of the county, who will bear the brunt of Mr. Crandell’s decision.
There is one subject I did not discuss before—the long-standing policy of what is known as “Councilmatic Courtesy,” whereby the council usually allows the local councilman/councilwoman the right to make decisions regarding his/her own district.
We now know that this bill, however, is being pushed hard by Mr. Kamenetz, which might cause the council to do what it normally does—rubber stamp anything that Mr. Kamenetz wants.
My guess is that Mr. Kamenetz, who has his eye on his next political endeavor—becoming Maryland’s next governor, feels the Port of Baltimore is a major issue … but a controversial one as well.
Sparrows Point has long been associated with toxic waste—an issue that has never really been addressed unless you call the various owners from the steel companies kicking the can down the road by simply paying fines levied by local environmental officials rather than cleaning up their mess.
Which brings me to another issue…
Ms. Rodman, in an article on the council vote to repeal the Rain Tax, quotes Mr. Crandell as making the following statement:
“The County has the money,” he said, noting, “We’ve funded storm water remediation program and public works Capital projects in the past before the fee and we can do so again”
Mr. Crandell is proud the Rain Tax is gone, but stated, “There is unencumbered money available in unissued bonds…”
What Mr. Crandell fails to relate to his constituents and voters is that bonds are loans approved by the voters to borrow money for various projects. In plain English, a bond is just another loan to the county government that must be paid back by those same taxpayers spared from the Rain Tax.
Now, if the Maryland Department of the Environment really means business, then I suggest a much stronger enforcement approach than just fines. We shall see how that plays out. After all, the new owners SPT are already preparing construction plans.
If this plays out anything like the whitewash of the lead poisoning issue impacting generations of city youths by government officials, who have to this point done nothingbut give lip service and allow landlords in the city to get away with murder (and I do not use that word lightly), then my suspicions are that the port issues will follow the status quo.
Will December 7, 2015 be a date that will live in infamy in Baltimore County? Time will tell, and that time will come at around 6:15 pm on Monday.
Remember the famous quote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”