I Smell a Rat with Councilman’s Cronyism on Full Display
The nasty world of politics has affected (or should that be “infected?”) the ongoing attempt to deal with rat-infested District 7, thus bringing more unwanted attention on Councilman Todd Crandell’s agenda.
The latest edition of this ongoing battle exploded on David Patro’s Facebook page. Mr. Patro is a long-established and respected leader of the North Point Village Civic Association. Mr. Patro was describing the ongoing problems and discourse in dealing with Mr. Cliff O’Connell, owner of Cliff’s Auto Body Shop and leader of the R.A.T. Core Group.
Basically Mr. Patro was deleted from the Core groups site and was not able to participate in any of the groups interactions. To put it simple he was as they say, excommunicated. In addition withe some of the radical movements of the core group Mr. Patro felt it was best to leave.
There were other troubling signs as well as indicated by sources that said some certain types of chemicals may have been used which required a license.
That group, by the way, was founded by Councilman Crandell, a fact that is also causing controversy regarding $10,000 in campaign donations from Mr. O’Connell to Councilman Crandell, according to a search of state campaign reports.
Mr. Crandell appointed Mr. O’Connell to be the leader of the RAT E.G. despite the short time involved in leading community groups. In addition, a very controversial post on Mr. O’Connell’s Facebook site was featured with the idea of instituting motorcycle clubs to deal with “these thugs trying to control the corner in our communities.” Here is the text of Mr. O’Connell’s FB posting:
Just a thought. Wonder if some of the motorcycle clubs would want to help with these thugs trying to control the corners in our communities. I’m sure the residents would love it and donate to the club. Josh Fields ? Jay Addis ? I would be glad to meet with any of them and discuss this.I also will be the first to donate. Please private message me or call 410 574 5911 Monday thru Friday.
There are several interesting issues about this posting. One is the type of motorcycle clubs to which Mr. O’Connell is referring. If you Google MC clubs in Baltimore County, the first few listings deal with The Chosen Sons, a story in the Sun pertaining to a retired cop being arrested in a club brawl, and the Phantom’s, a 1% club indicating a propensity for violence.
With that in mind and the potential for vigilantism, I sent the following email to our State’s Attorney, Scott Shellenberger, and Elise Armacost of the Baltimore County Police. The email read as follows:
Baltimore County States Attorney, Scott Shellenberger
Towson, MD 21204
Dear Mr. Shellenberger:
Would you care to comment on a Facebook posting by Mr. Cliff OConnel regarding using vigilantism (motorcycle gangs) to patrol east end communities to fight the drug dealers.
According to FB postings and campaign fiance reports, Mr. OConnel has close ties to Councilman Todd Crandell and contributed $10,000 to Councilman Crandell’s Campaign and –according to sources– appointed OConnel to a committee on vacant housing and a rat eradication program.
Other evidence I have includes photos of all those issues mentioned above.
It is the opinion of The Post that vigilantism of any kind cannot be tolerated in a civil society and should be strongly condemned, especially when we know that the number one engagement of these motorcycle groups is dealing in drugs. In addition to that is the failure of Councilman Crandell to condemn such actions by a close associate.
I await your reply and will be going to print soon.
In addition to your reply as chief law enforcement officer in Baltimore County, a request for comment will be sent to the Baltimore County Police Department via a CC of this email.
Here is a copy of Mr. OConnel’s FB posting, minus the comments from various community members which will be included in our news story.
Now in an effort to be fair, I admit that I used the word “gangs” instead of “clubs.” However, there seems to be a very fine line between the two. And, since this posting involves a Council member (who also was notified) and a direct impact on communities, I felt seeking a response from our top law enforcement officials was the most appropriate thing to do.
With that said, here is the typical response I received from the Councilman’s office (except for emails seeking money):
Thank you for contacting the office of Councilman Todd Crandell. Our staff will respond to your inquiry promptly.
Not to mention the fact that our top law enforcement officials deemed that this issue is not worthy of a response.
Something stinks … other than the rats, that is.