Why should the taxpayers be forced to pay for the screw up that left a giant hole in the heart of Towson?
That folks is a multi-million dollar question.
Once you read this column about the developer’s blunder, you will understand just how the system is rigged in favor of those who dig these empty holes in the ground and leave the taxpayers to fill the holes in … with their hard-earned money.
The Baltimore Post broke this particular story on November 16, 2016, writing about the $350 million Towson Row project for which Caves Valley was the developer:
After viewing the Council work session on the project, which only will be revived with an infusion of taxpayer funds, the project is at a critical turning point. Meanwhile, the multimillionaire developers are pleading for our tax dollars to supplement their bottom line.
When viewing the below video taken by a Post reporter, you can clearly see who started this whole (or hole) gaping mess in the heart of Towson. Folks, it certainly was not the taxpayers of Baltimore County.
After we broke the story, The Baltimore Sun followed up sometime later with this cheerleading article.
Sadly, the Sun left out one very important issue—the money. Most of us can remember the famous line from the movie Jerry Maguire when the character yelled, “Show me the money!!!” However, now the County Council Has the taxpayers asking, “where is the money?”
Just a slight warning: As you read on, your temperature may rise, and your heart may begin to pound rapidly … as may your fist upon whatever object you’re sitting next to, as you listen to the incredulous statements made by Council Chairman Tom Quirk, who should’ve held pom-poms in his hand while he cheeered on the massive waste of public funds needed for this “hole in the ground.”
Let’s not forget what we believe is the most ridiculous statement ever made by a politician—Councilman Julian Jones made the following statement referring to County Administrator Fred Homan’s strong support of the public funding: “If he says it’s a good deal, it’s good enough for me.”
By the way, Fred Homan is the same county administrator that went through $25 million of taxpayer funds in the Mainsail scandal.
Oh, we almost forgot about the trees Mr. Homan decided to obfuscate from county property in another scandal—cutting down protected trees in the Royal Farms mess.
Video credit/The Baltimore Post
The good taxpayers.
The bad—the two council members in the front row, as well as any other members who voted for this mess.
And of course The Ugly!
Now, for some, this matter may be confusing. But given the current and past history of county politics, watching the below video will put everything into perspective. We realize that this is a long video, but every taxpaying citizen in Baltimore County should take the necessary time and view the inner workings of Baltimore County’s political shenanigans.
To move things along, we will mark certain segments of the video so you may get past the superfluous BS. It will be marked by using the specific time in which certain comment was made. After viewing the video and seeing the contrast between the rules established for the developers and those for the taxpayers, we will provide you with the article from The Baltimore Sun.
While reading that piece, our readers can, if they choose, cheer (or jeer) the developers and Councilmen Tom Quirk and Julian Jones.
You will notice in the first hour and half, most of the testimony praises the hole in the ground known as Towson Row. In addition, one particular group known as the Sage Policy Group seems to be a shill for some of these tax liabilities and the major developers that seek them, as recorded in this Baltimore Sun article. When questioned, even the spokesperson for the Sage Policy Group could not predict the outcome with any certainty.
One great example of the point we are trying to make can be found in what is taking place in Baltimore City involving a similar waste of taxpayer funds that continues at this very moment. We are speaking about the Hilton Hotel, as described in this article by The Baltimore Brew.
Some of the highlights—or low lights, if you prefer—of the meeting were captured on a video that, in our opinion, was poorly produced by Baltimore County. One particular low light occurs when Baltimore County Administrator Fred Homan walks out of the meeting right after the developers gave their pitch. Apparently, Mr. Homan had no intention of listening to the citizens of Baltimore County whose hard earned tax dollars pay his salary. Rather, he was willing to throw said tax dollars into this deep pit created by Caves Valley Partners that began when the WT construction company ran into underground problems that forced a halt to the development.
Mr. Homan can be seen walking out of the meeting at 1.28.23 into the video. We guess that he could care less about the people who pay his extremely lucrative salary.
There were several comments made by taxpayers that clearly outline this entire boondoggle. One particular comment came from Mr. Scott Pappas, whose remarks begin at the 1.34.15 Mark. Mr. Pappas is the corresponding secretary of the group from the 7th District known as Leaders Helping Leaders (LHL).
The LHL rep made a very enlightened observation when he referred to a bond issue involving such projects as building schools, adding police officers, and addressing immediate infrastructure concerns. Those results can be seen quickly, as opposed to the concept of bailing out developers by filling in a gaping hole with $43 million of taxpayer funds. His comment: “At least with the bond of this type the results are more immediate than the ‘pie-in-the-sky’ forecast predicting results that will occur some 20 years plus down the road.”
Mr. Pappas went on to state, “How can they even begin to forecast 20+ years down the road of the economic conditions impacting this taxpayer monstrosity?”
The same umbrella group contacted the Sage Group, who refused to provide the analysis of the Towson Row project for review. The project is scheduled for vote by the council right before Christmas, by the way.
This theme was also echoed by Heather Patti, a possible contender running against Councilman Cathy Bevins in the 2018 midterm election, whose comments can be heard at 1.51.53 into the video. Ms. Pattti expressed concern regarding the potential conflict of interest involving County Executive Kevin Kamenetz possibly receiving donations for his upcoming gubernatorial campaign.
As we wrap up this column, we want to point out the over-the-top support from Council Chairman Tom Quirk, who engaged in a rather testy dispute with State Sen. James Brochin that can be seen at the 2.0.0 mark. Sen. Brochin estimated the total cost to taxpayers could reach $80-$90 million. Now one more thing to keep in mind is that the Council Chairman Tom Quirk expects this very complex and costly decision to take place within two weeks. Those two weeks just happen to be right before Christmas.
Could this be a question of the Grinch that took money from the hard-working middle-class to ingratiate the upper class? Time and the votes will tell.
We will end this political debacle by urging everyone to listen to Mr. Mike Lee, a 50-year resident of Baltimore County, who spoke elegantly and put things in their proper perspective. His three minutes of outrage begins at 1.37.22.
Now for your reading enjoyment, we will bring you The Baltimore Sun’s version of Alice in Wonderland. The only thing missing from this article were the pom-poms. However, we think you can read between the lines and see where the cheerleading occurs.
As always, our motto is, “You read; you decide.”