December 1, 2013 6:54 am ET
Government Center vote to take place Monday if request is denied
OK, I admit that I was being a bit catty with the headline of this blog, but I did so to make sure you weren’t asleep or in “la-la land.” Anyone who thinks I just made a ludicrous statement technically would be half right.
Remember, there are two Olszewskis in office. One, Mr. Olszewski Sr., is a councilman; the other—his son, John Olszewski Jr.—is the delegate.
You didn’t actually think I was referring to the councilman, did you?
So let’s get to the point of this blog and the true but depictive title which is an oxymoron.
You see, the councilman, John Olszewski Sr., is very much in favor of the sale. However, word has come out that his son, John Jr., is not. At least that is what he claims, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
For the record, the request for the delay came in the form of a letter from the Maryland House of Delegates. The letter was signed by delegates Sonny Minnick, Mike Weir, and—as alluded to in the beginning of the blog—John Jr.
The exact wording in the letter is interesting:
“Additionally, we ask that the county considers suspending further decision-making regarding the sale of the property until the community has had sufficient opportunity to meet with leadership and engage in productive dialogue about what is best for the future of our community.”
Now, where have we heard that before? It seems recent. Oh, wait—I’ve got it. That is the exact message the speakers at the council work session were sending.
Of course, those speakers were just community members, and they hold very little weight when it comes to the actions of the council. But, the new wrinkle of the letter from the House of Delegates adds some definite weight.
But weight wait (pun intended), there is more.
Senator Norman Stone has also entered the fray, and Senator Stone cuts to the chase (or, in other words, doesn’t dabble in BS) by stating the following:
“Unfortunately, the community has been left out of the initial decision making process, leading community members to believe that this decision was made before they had a chance to voice their position.”
Once again, that message is exactly the same as the one that rang out at the council work session.
Are you sensing a recurring theme?
Now, I’m a reasonable man and, as such, I suspect that these elected officials (at least four of them) know a thing or two about allowing public input on governmental matters. Remember, it is supposed to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
But, despite the newfound support for the citizenry, I’d like to share my opinion on Delegate John Olszewski Jr.’s rather unique approach to this situation. He claims in the letter to voice some opposition to the procedures of the council and Mr. Kamenetz in how this deal was cooked … um, I beg your pardon … how the process for the sale was conducted.
Despite that, I am perplexed. To me, it seems that Mr. Olszewski Jr. is playing both sides against the middle.
Did everyone hear me on that one? Need a little more clarity on this? OK, here we go.
Case in point: at a meeting held at the North Point Library on October 8, Ron Shaffer asked the delegate point blank whether or not he supported the sale. At that time, there was no response of substance. Let’s just say that the tap dancing was spectacular.
On top of that, another community leader—Dave Patro—asked everyone who opposed the sale to stand up and express that opposition. Needless to say, everyone stood up except Mr. Olszewski Jr.
Do you think that is enough evidence for me to question his sincerity?
But wait, there’s more…
I have questioned Mr. Olszewski Jr.’s views since he waffled on his opposition to the gay marriage issue. He was clearly on one side until he meet with Governor O’Malley, which led to the delegate casting one of the deciding votes in favor of the bill at the last minute. (Keep in mind, the issue of the bill is not the question itself, but rather Mr. Olszewski Jr.’s actions.)
Isn’t leadership supposed to be about transparency and not about one’s personal political ambitions?
Here is my take on this situation: by rubber stamping this land sale, the political careers of every councilperson will be in jeopardy. Ultimately, the politicians will have to answer to the voters.
For those of you who may think that I am a bit off on this one, I offer this information: the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed one councilperson for reelection—Vicki Almond—as well as Delegate John Cluster. I know that my memory is sometimes foggy, but I can’t recall such slim pickings among sitting council members. That speaks volumes.
Now let me leave you with one more “food for thought” item in this blog before I switch gears to another topic.
To be honest, I was shocked that no one running for county council in the 7th District was at the work session. What could be more important? I would have thought that someone would have at least made an appearance, but that was not the case.
Although I think Scott Holupka made the right choice after his wife, Amy, made the statement that the NPGC is not a park.
Speaking thoughts, in my last blog I mentioned that I felt there might be a certain (my favorite) law firm involved in the NPGC sale. Well on that note I received a call and someone asked me if I saw the county school board president there at the work session. I said no but I grinned and said to myself, I knew it! Stay tuned on this one.
In a PIA I filed with the county that was one of my questions regarding which law firm was involved with the NPGC. Due to some glitches and me being a nice guy, I told them I would refile (got a little lazy) but you can count on this time there will be no mistakes or other such tactics.
With that said, I offer one piece of advice to the council: Be mindful of how you vote on this issue, because that vote could come back to haunt you. Simply put, people won’t forget … and I won’t let them come election time.
Note: To read the PDF copies of the letters go to my website, www.buzzbeeler.com and click on downloads page two.