There is something about the old saying regarding smoke and mirrors
This is an easy read because you can see what’s burning … and it’s not just a building.
Even though Councilman Todd Crandell has chosen to censor The Baltimore Post, a good journalist will use other means to obtain the truth. Sometimes that means doing a little digging and having a few friends help out.
This is one of those cases.
When I received the below Facebook posting, I read it several times before it dawned on me that this was more of the old smoke and mirrors. Now, most journalists would–if there is a lot of smoke but no fire–conduct the old “sniff test.”
You see, BS has a certain distinct odor about it.
This column will be more of a sort of show and tell for those that don’t particularly care for foul odors. Once again, a picture speaks a thousand words. And, in this case, some of those words are filled with a lot of, shall we say, timbers of misinformation.
Some of you may choose to use a different word. I did as well–you’ll see it just above you.
If you take a look at Mr. Crandell’s announcement, there are a few words you might pick up as well. So let’s begin, shall we.
Let’s start off with the first quote, which I found to be somewhat suspicious:
“Thankfully, demolition work began today with all of the paperwork filed with the county.”
To verify this, I made several calls to Baltimore County in an effort to see how much smoke would set pair of pants on fire. Guess what – I smelled something burning. It may have been made in China.
I made two phone calls. One to Code Enforcement and the other to Permits and Licensing. Needless to say, no one knew that there was any action taken at all involving the Seagrams Property. To be more precise, the bottom line is this issue is dead in the water until proceedings follow their course of action. That may involve lengthy delays, once the owner of the property is notified of any said violations.
As I just stated, Code Enforcement was not aware of any action taken regarding the Seagrams property.
If anyone truly believes that the owners of the Seagrams property are going to divvy up $100,000 to pay a fine, then for that to happen somebody at Baltimore County had better notify said property owners.
Now before I tidy this column up with how this entire situation will probably unfold, at least several people drove by the dilapidated property to see if, at least according to Mr. Crandell, the demolition started on July 3. One of those people is the former president of the NHCA, John Ayres. He did not see a cat – bulldozer that is – but plenty other four-legged creatures scurrying about.
According to Mr. Ayres, the property was undisturbed and still a dilapidated mess, which has plagued the 7th District for decades.
One more thing the county did tell me over the phone–I asked point blank who is responsible for the demolition of the property, and I was told it is the owner. Now, if that’s the case, given the time of these hearings involving code violations, we might all be living in the world beyond by the time this issue is settled.
If what I’m about to tell you doesn’t spark a feeling of outrage, then I guess this community is as burned out as some of these buildings.
A similar case under Councilman Crandell’s watch took place at Fort Howard. We can also look at some collusion between other county agencies.
In the situation involving a very similar series of code violations, Mr. Tim Munshell, the current lease holder of the historic Fort Howard property, was also heavily fined. The consequences of those fines went up in smoke just like fires destroyed parts of the old veterans hospital. To show you how egregious this was, here are some of the factual dollar signs involved.
Mr. Munshell was fined $112,00 for various code violations, and those fines were upheld by a county judge. In the end, the smoke and mirrors of politics and big money allowed the fines to be forgiven. To make matters worse, Fort Howard has fallen into even more disrepair after electricity was turned off. Generators were brought in to fill the power gap, but the noise created problems for the surrounding communities, leading to yet another confrontation.
Every time I think about this and other issues, such as the new HUD project going into an already depressed area, I can only hope that someone finds the courage to stand up and put a stop to this insanity.
True leadership is about transparency and trustworthiness, and not about cronyism and money. If you don’t believe what I’m telling you then read the Facebook posting and then take a ride down to the old Seagrams property and see for yourself. If you’re still not convinced, then contact Baltimore County and the stafff will set you straight.
The Post is now back on the forefront of fighting what many have said is the most corrupt local government in the state. So stay tuned–there’s plenty more to come.
As one famous news man stated before closing, “and that’s the way it is.”