July 3, 2013 9:19 am ET
County does not respond to inquiries regarding sale of property
Source: Government Center Silence
If there is one thing that the Baltimore County Government is efficient at, it is being inefficient.
Let me explain…
As many of us know, the proposed sale of the Government Center property has been a hot topic in the east side of the county. This is an issue that has the potential to impact a good number of lives for residents. So, one would assume (I know, I know … never assume) that the county would want to be as forthcoming as possible regarding anything having to do with the Government Center.
Unfortunately, it seems that mum is the word right now. The silence is deafening, and the public is left to ponder the fate of the property.
That, apparently, seems of little concern to those in the county “puzzle palace” – a term we cops used to use for police headquarters.
The question I proposed was a simple one that attempted to address the constant flow of rumors concerning the “sell or don’t sell” status of the Government Center. To that end, I sent the following simple (straightforward, not simple-minded) email to Mr. Mike Mohler:
Mr. Don Mohler:
Chief of Staff
Baltimore County MD
Dear Mr. Mohler:
Can you tell me if the RFP bids on the Government Center will be announced on July 21st or when they will be announced?
Are there any plans to postpone the sale?
Is the contract to convert the Eastwood School to the new North Point Precinct going out on a bid?
The answers I was seeking never came. Nothing in my inbox, my SPAM filter, or anywhere else in cyberspace that a message might appear.
(Cue “The Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel)
When I did not receive an emailed response, I decided to try a time-tested old fashioned method—I made a phone call. Surprisingly (or not), I had to leave a message for Mr. Mohler. I reiterated my questions and hung up the phone, patiently waiting for a response.
(Simon and Garfunkel still playing in the background, accompanied by the sound of crickets chirping.)
As you can guess, I did not receive a return phone call.
I should point out that the staff in the County Executive’s office referred me directly to Mr. Mohler, so it’s not like I was reaching out to the wrong person.
Maybe the questions were too difficult for anyone else to answer? Maybe the questions were too difficult for anyone to answer?
So today, the citizens of Dundalk are still waiting for some simple answers to what, at least to the county, appear to be some very difficult questions to answer.
And the lack of response has me wanting to know the answers to some other questions:
Why is the county playing a game of “hide and seek” with us?
What justification does the county have for not revealing a date regarding an announcement that has turned this community upside down?
How can such simple questions be ignored so easily?
Honestly, I wasn’t asking anyone for top secret information. I’m not WikiLeaks. If they can’t tell me the direct answers, maybe they can at least tell me when they can tell me.
Mr. Kamenetz promised a transparent administration, but I guess he meant that the county would be transparent to everyone but the taxpayers.
You remember us, don’t you? The taxpayers? The ones who provide the money to pay county salaries? Doesn’t that mean that you work for us?
This is rather reminiscent of the current state of affairs at another house of government (hint: it is painted white and sits on Pennsylvania Avenue) where, surprisingly, once again mum is the word on information that we have a right to know.
I’m tired of hearing crickets, and Simon and Garfunkel have left the building.
I don’t believe that I was asking too much of the county. At the very least, it would have been nice for them to at least say why they could not divulge the information I was requesting. Does it involve national security? (Doubtful.) Or is it such a political “hot potato” that anyone in the building we regular folks refer to as the “center of government” is afraid to say anything concerning this issue?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Mr. Kamenetz and his concept of democracy doesn’t seem so democratic to me. Rather, it seems more like the problem that we see in the White House, where information is only for the eyes and ears of the privileged.
Mr. Kamenetz, you saw what happened when the people rose up at the Mays Chapel news conference. The consequences of that small incident, as well as the continued silence regarding the public’s right to know, may have some far reaching implications … particularly at election time.
Let’s stay on top of this one. Remember, the one cure for silence is noise.