June 23, 2016 2:21 pm ET
Emails from Almond’s office reveal collusion, and possible lies
Source: Spinning a Wide Web of Deception
The county seal of…?
Folks, the rabbit hole is getting deeper and deeper.
Here is yet another chapter in this ongoing investigative series. This series of columns ties together, at least to me, the obvious collusion among the County Council.
Additionally, this latest post will uncover what appears to be a deliberate lie emanating from Mr. Jonathan Schwartz, Senior Council Assistant from Council Chairwoman Vicki Almond’s office.
Once again, for those following this saga, I will plug you into the flow of these events. Here is the last installment, which will bring you up to speed:
Now let’s jump right into where I left off with a very important question from the group of community leaders, as well as the response from Ms. Almond’s office.
Here is the question posed by the community leaders verbatim:
Thank you. I am sorry for being unclear. The only thing I was asking is what newspapers were the public notices to the public hearing were published and what was the results of the public hearing.
If you have that information or can suggest where to get it I will be much obliged.
Then we have this response from Mr. Schwartz:
The Commercial Revitalization District was created by a Resolution of the County Council. Any Council Bill or Resolution is advertised on the County Council web site and in The Jeffersonian newspaper. The Council conducted its public work session on May 31 and the County Council meeting was on June 6.
Let’s take a closer look at this response, shall we?
Yes, Mr. Schwartz is correct in saying, “…was created by a Resolution of the County Council.” However, where he is wrong is Article 26, which established the rules in how this particular Resolution is created.
The law includes the following language: § 26-1-101. – AUTHORITY TO ESTABLISH REVITALIZATION DISTRICTS.
Can it be any clearer than that? I don’t think so.
As I have written before, you can’t have the cart before the horse, meaning the county can’t give tax breaks to a commercial or revitalization district until said district has been established.
Read the law again, especially the words “Authority to Establish.”
Is that so hard to understand? Apparently, for some, it is.
I go back to Mr. Peddicord’s statement (in an attempt to discredit my article): “To do so requires, among other steps, a Council resolution to propose a district, the establishment of an advisory committee, a local referendum, public hearings…”
That’s what happens when one attempts to cover up certain indisputable facts but inadvertently refers to the facts in said cover-up.
It gets ever better when Mr. Peddicord wrote, again in an effort to discredit my blog, the following, “This article was enacted by State law (Ch. 706 of the Laws of Maryland 1979) and has never been used. It predates my time with the County, but I have been told that it was an initiative of County Executive Hutchinson. The law gives the County the authority to create a certain type of revitalization district.”
If you search the Internet for the state law that Mr. Peddicord is referring to, you wind up right back at Article 26.
I hate to be redundant, but I need to lay out this narrative with absolute precision.
Also, here is a bombshell from the Jeffersonian, which is owned by Patuxent Publishing—publisher of The Baltimore Sun.
Remember the question to Mr. Schwartz? Remember his response? “Any Council Bill or Resolution is advertised on the County Council web site and in The Jeffersoniannewspaper.”
Yet, here is a weigh-in from The Jeffersonian:
From: “Ellen Harris” <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2016 11:18:18 AM
Subject: Baltimore County Council Publication
Hi – I just wanted to let you know that I searched through the ads from the Baltimore County Council since Jan. 1, 2016 and I could not locate anything in reference to Resolution 67-16 or a Notice to Public Hearing for Merritt. I did find one Notice to Public Hearing but it was for a place in Cockeysville. Ashland Road I believe. You may also want to try calling the Daily Record Newspaper and asking them.
Patuxent Publishing – Baltimore Sun Media Group
501 N. Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21278
This email from the Jeffersonian makes Mr. Schwartz’s response to our community members seem like a … let me think a moment … oh yeah, a lie!
How can I say it’s a lie? Well, for one thing, look at the date on this map from the planning board regarding Mr. Crandell’s Resolution. It reads “May 3, 2016.”
Cross reference that date with the actual date of Resolution 67-16, which is May 26, 2016. At the bottom of the resolution, you find the following verbiage:
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this Resolution shall take effect from the date of its enrollment.”
That time frame of 23 days is hardly enough time to meet any of the requirements set forth by the law or the 10-year County Master Plan, because this was not part of the Master Plan (one legal option) but rather a Resolution passed by the Council (the other legal option), which is clearly a violation of the law as presented.
So, now that we have all of this mapped out (pardon the pun), the next part of this investigative series will take a look at some other council members who chose to follow the winding path; one that ultimately leads to trouble.
After all, how else can you frame that, since all of this has been done in clear violation of the law? That spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E to me.
We are also going to take a look at how this impacted the sale of the Government Center, as well as who was behind that boondoggle.