—– By: Ann Costantino —–
County executive candidate, Al Redmer, Jr., is promising an end to Baltimore County’s culture of ‘pay-to-play,’ its ‘old boy network’ and is pledging smart, collaborative and not “over” development.
With the midterm election just over two weeks away, The Baltimore Post asked the Republican and Democratic candidates how each will seek to strike a balance between inviting sound development to Baltimore County versus being directed and overrun by the vision and will of developers. Johnny Olszewski, Redmer’s opponent, did not provide a response.
We asked, “Can you speak to responsible ways to incentivize businesses to want to come to Baltimore County that don’t have a negative impact on the County and its citizens. And, when doing so, how can you communicate to citizens the difference between smart decisions for the County versus what people might continue to label as pay-to-play?”
Here is what Mr. Redmer had to say:
“Under a Redmer administration, smart development will replace over-development. Under the past three Democrat administrations, the County Executive seemed always to be running for higher office and, in my view, there has been no limit to development as long as their campaign coffers were filled. While my inexperienced opponent will likely follow in the same tradition, I have no such intention, and my only interest will be to increase accountability in our schools, encourage job creation, and make Baltimore County safer and more affordable. The first thing to go will be the cronyism of the ‘old boy network’ and its corrupt ‘pay to play’ style of government.”
“Baltimore County needs to grow if we are to have the additional revenues necessary to fully fund our schools, public safety needs, and other basic services. Under a Redmer administration, the Office of Economic Development will have a renewed focus on job creation, with a special emphasis on attracting well-paying manufacturing and high tech jobs. We are in a unique position to do so with the high-tech incubators of UMBC and Towson University so near. I also believe that, instead of financial giveaways, the best way to attract new businesses to Baltimore County is to provide safe clean neighborhoods, great schools and parks, and adequate transportation infrastructure. As County Executive, I will focus on revitalizing aging communities, ensure that our police, school, and recreation departments are fully-funded, and create a new Office of Transportation.”
“Finally, I intend to advance in the development process the role of community leaders and neighbors to ensure meaningful input into final plans. We will also evaluate and either approve or disapprove projects based on (1) whether they will enhance the local area, (2) the manner in which they address traffic not just in the immediate area, but on all connector roads, (3) the extent to which they increase overcrowding in our schools, and (4) how they will affect the water table and storm water run-off. For far too long, Baltimore County has allowed new development without any consideration for the flooding it often causes miles away.”
In a video recording (above), Redmer also vowed equal treatment across Baltimore County. “I can commit that we will provide a high level of responsive customer service to the citizens of Baltimore County like they have never, ever seen before.” He said, “But, more importantly, we are going to provide that high level of service to every community, not just the communities that are in the right zip code.”
*** The writer of this article encourages respectful discourse concerning all candidates and elected officials.***