September 23, 2015 1:35 pm ET
Can Crandell back up his comments to the press on Dundalk Elementary AC woes?
Source: What’s that Slithering Sound?
More woes yet to come
There is a tried and true old comedy bit that goes, “How can you tell when a politician is lying? When his (or her) lips move.”
If only that was funny, folks.
Today we tackle the case of 7th District Councilman Todd Crandell, who has embarked (for the third time) down a road of political spin when caught in a situation where he is expected to respond truthfully. Instead, he plays the “CYA” (cover your @$$) game in the hopes that some people in the media buy his fable.
In the case of the AC woes at Dundalk Elementary, what makes Crandell’s statement especially egregious is that we are dealing with our school children, who depend on those older and wiser to protect them.
With that in mind, I’ll cut to the chase and lay it all out so that even the reporter who wrote the story gets it.
In my last article, I alluded to this exact scenario with the words, “What is equally disturbing is the number of editorials and coverage by some local reporters who just swallow the swill doled out by the government spin doctors.”
The Dundalk Eagle broke the story with a front page headline, “Parents raise concerns over poor conditions at Dundalk Elementary,” in which the reporter went into great detail regarding the deteriorating conditions at the school. The story included a chilling photo that turned the article into a “hot button” issue—the front-page image showed a person inside the school holding a digital temperature gauge that registered 106 degrees.
The reporter went to great lengths to quote various public officials, who offered numerous excuses as to the reason the “nearly century-old Dundalk Elementary” was still standing. Senator Johnny Ray Salling toured the dungeon school after responding to complaints from parents. Senator Salling made a startling revelation, “The kids need a new school, and they should start as soon as possible.”
Do you think?
However, here is where it gets ugly. Councilman Crandell said, “Dundalk Elementary has been on my radar since I was elected, and in fact, I discussed the issue with the administration during my first week in office.”
Someone please point out the mere mention of Dundalk Elementary School in this update.
I took a look at the radar screen, or rather Mr. Crandell’s Facebook page, which doubles as the keeper of his political agenda. I went a good ways back and found just one post on 9/17/2015, which is the day the story broke in the Eagle:
Todd Crandell shared Sherri Lynn Cummins-Schaefer’s post.
September 17 at 10:33pm ·
Sherri Lynn Cummins-SchaefertoBuild Dundalk Elementary a New School
Good evening Dundalk ES. Voices! Tomorrow we will be giving Councilman Todd Crandell a tour of Dundalk Elementary to show him the Safety and Health Issues with our School.
That’s it folks. That’s all the space given for the plight of the Dundalk Elementary School.
Just an FYI, Mr. Crandell’s first entry is a photo of the Dundalk Moose annual car show.
However, the Facebook page is not the only issue we’re dealing with, folks. It get worse.
Councilman Crandell goes on to say the following in the Eagle article:
“I’ve had subsequent discussions with Dr. Dance and others, and BCPS is reviewing the entire southeastern area,” he added, noting, “Additionally, Dr. Dance and I formed a task force to provide further recommendations.”
Does anyone else have a problem with that statement? It’s pretty clear to me that the councilman stated that he and Dr. Dance have formed a task force.
Here is the definition of the term “task force” for those who wish to know: “A group of people who deal with a specific problem.”
Another definition from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (online version) states: “A temporary grouping under one leader for the purpose of accomplishing a definite objective.”
The key words here are “a group of people,” for which we would need some names because nobody has come forward about being in such a group, and “accomplishing a definite objective,” for which we would actually need an objective defined in order to accomplish it.
Now, yours truly had another issue with the councilman over another statement he made that did not pass scrutiny. That issue dealt with another statement in Mr. Crandell’s “Councilman’s Corner” where he elaborated on his dumping bill that passed the council and stated that police had already made arrests.
As an investigative journalist, I strive to pull that curtain aside and look behind it. Normally, I would make a phone call, but my calls are never returned.
I guess I just ask the questions that tend to make people shy.
Rather, I filed a PIA seeking the number of arrests to which the councilman referred. What I found out was not shocking to me, simply because the answer was what I anticipated—a big fat ZERO.
I started to play “ring around the rosie” with the county. The bottom line is that the councilman mislead his constituents by stating arrests have been made when, in fact, the county does not track such data.
The county did, however, want to charge me a hefty fee to search for the figures they don’t have, by the way.
What I find especially egregious is that Mr. Crandell sees fit to use the plight of our school children to further his political agenda, but yet does not have the guts to face the music when his notes are out of tune.
Thus we have this email from the county council secretary, which says it all:
Councilman Crandell referred to me your September 17 PIA request regarding Dundalk Elementary School. The Councilman has none of the records you have requested. I suggest that you may want to contact Mr. Dallas Dance who I believe would be the custodian of such records.
That email was from Thomas Peddicord the council secretary.
Now, since the councilman made the statement regarding the task force the PIA is directed at his office and not Dr. Dance. He has enough of his own problems.
Remember the words, “…has none of the records you have requested.” Ya think maybe he might want to talk to one of those members on that task force or be kept in the loop? Hard to do when you have no paper work. I think they call that record keeping.
That, my friends, says it all. The councilman formed a task force but forgot to document it. Hard to believe isn’t it? Not for me. I’m fluid in doublespeak.