Monday, March 20, 2006

District D Qualifications?

With the exiting of “lame duck” Lance Miller it looks like we have a fairly contested race on our hands. I never thought that there would be such a draw to the District D poll. At the writing of this article there were 231 votes cast. In the last Republican primary in District D there was a total of 3,021 votes cast in the actual primary election. Let’s pretend that all 231 votes cast were by people in-district. I am having a hard time believing that close to 10% of the district cast a vote in a poll on little Call me a cynic. Yes, I know that the poll is not scientific and that anyone from anywhere can vote, but 231 votes? The David Craig poll only received 83 total votes. I am not accusing anyone of ballot stuffing (cheating) but I am looking into it.

There have been several comments posted in favor of Chad Shrodes, one telling me to put the District D article in the garbage. I did eventually change the picture out of fairness. Simply because I do not agree with you does not make my opinion garbage. If I am factually incorrect about anything, then it is garbage and it needs to be thrown out and/or corrected. The fact is that Chad was a democrat and a very active one at that. That is and will be a problem for him. Yes he has been working very hard for the Republican Party to “cover” up his past. However, I have the feeling it will not be the last time in this election year that we see a picture of Al Gore and Chad Shrodes together. That is his vulnerability. His supporters should be thanking me because the earlier you air out your dirty laundry the better.

Another person who defended Chad took some shots at Amy Hopkins Daney that I thought were a bit overboard. So, because Amy is not a bureaucrat or a career politician and happens to be a horse farmer she is unqualified to serve her district and this county? The arrogance in that kind of statement is sickening. Where would we be today as a country if people with “no qualified experience” sat on their laurels, twiddling their thumbs? These arguments need to be rejected by the voters for the true garbage that they are. The fact is that many people in this county are qualified to lead. But most could not be bothered to deal with the petty people that will throw criticisms like the abovementioned. What experience do you bring? Well, I love Harford County, I have lived here for quite some time, I think we can do better, and here is what I would like to do. That is it people. That is what makes you qualified. A love for Harford County, a belief that we can do better, and a plan. It is the voter’s job to decide who has the best plan and who they can truly trust to make this county a better place.

If a love for Harford County, residency, a belief that we can do better, and a plan makes you qualified, what makes you unqualified? I leave that up for discussion.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Looking for a Few Good Heads

I think this picture accurately portrays our council at the moment. Three of the heads (Stepp, Miller, and Cassilly) are off for sure and at least three others are going to have tough races. I do not know enough about Kevin Patrick Kane to know if he can challenge Chenowith. I do not even know which party he is in. Maybe someone can fill me in. He has praised Willy Don in a letter to the editor in the Baltimore Sun but that does not necessarily make him a dem. I talked to a few people who threatened to support a democrat over Chenowith if no Republican steps up. We need a better head in District B.

Slutzky might have his hands full with Spatz. I am not sure if there is enough contrast there though. We have two pro-development candidates. Voters need contrast, not the Ann Helton, “I would have done the same thing but I would have done it better.” That is not enough to vote someone out of office. You need to offer something different. It has been a while since I looked at the demographics of District E. I am a little surprised that a Democrat does not run stronger in this district. Doug Wilson could raise his head again in District E. A Doug Wilson vs. Slutzky general could get very interesting. This is, of course, all speculation. I feel that Slutzky is doing the right thing right now by holding Wagner and Craig’s feet to the fire. They made a decision to veto and they should now face the music. The way he has been talking I just hope he does not shoot someone in the middle of Main Street.

Mr. “I can develop my land but you can’t develop yours” will go down in blazing smoke. No, not by Slutzky at high noon, but potentially by Aaron Kazi. I cannot really remember a time when so many “no-names” have jumped into the fray. It is probably a good thermometer on the quality of leadership in our county government. When the people are not led well new leaders will rise up. I think this is the case with Wagner. He lets his council spend too much time on meaningless garbage like whether the Chosen Sons should have trees on their private property. We need someone who will lead this council in an effective, conservative manner. Kazi could bring a no nonsense, business approach that is severely lacking. One thing about Wagner that I do respect is his ability to upset so many people and still try to be re-elected. That takes guts; certainly not brains.

Guthrie, Guthrie, Guthrie. It’s called grammar school for a reason. You were supposed to learn grammar and a few other things. I am worried about this race because I would almost make a deal with the devil. Dem’s, keep the seat, but get rid of Guthrie. I have not heard a word from Biggs or Mullis. Neither have a real website that lets us know anything worthwhile about them. They are not at any of the Council meetings (not that they are missing anything). A few friends of mine said they received a fundraising letter from Biggs a few months ago but that was the last I heard of him. Guthrie has a decent amount of money for a Council race and might be tough to beat on name recognition alone. I just hope we get organized down there. Ultimately, whoever Jacobs supports will probably make it through the primary but the general could be a different story.

I can honestly say that Cassilly is the only one that I will miss in the whole bunch. I did not agree with him a lot of the time and I do not agree with him on his decision to not resign his seat but at least I know that he had a good head on his shoulders (until I erased it).

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Blogging in Harford County

As we enter the Harford County political doldrums over the next month or two before summer starts, I’ll give you an update on the blog so far.

Historically speaking we are breaking new ground here. As far as I can tell this is the only blog dedicated solely to Harford County politics. Blogs are beginning to play a more important role in the political discussion across the country and I thought it was time for Harford County to join the club. That being said it is ultimately my opinion or my interpretation of news and events. As the blog grows I will create a team of bloggers to keep the information fresh and varied in perspective. Blogs are slowly replacing letters to the editors. Newspapers will always be useful for the gathering and disseminating of news but the discussion of that news is now transferring to the blogs. People no longer need to write a letter to the editor to make their opinions known. Now it will take a generation or two of bloggers for this to be realized. Newspaper companies are already beginning to realize it with the reductions in staff. We have so many alternatives when it comes to finding news and blogs are becoming the opinion page. This does not make the media happy because they no longer control the opinions.

I publish everyone’s comments as long as they do not use foul language. All of the comments have been anonymous thus far and that is completely fine. Anonymity on this site is guaranteed. Please feel free to post a comment on anything at any time. With almost 1,300 hits in the last two months it is clear that many people will see your comments. I have said this before and I will say it again. I am excited about this election year. I am even more excited in the fact that this blog may play a minor part in the elections. I have been contacted by members of the media, candidates, and other citizens who have just been curious about this site. I welcome your input and hope you enjoy the reading, even if you hate every word I write.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Poll: District D

District D Preliminary Poll
Amy Hopkins Daney
Jason Gallion
Chad Shrodes
Free polls from

District D

With the District D race already a 3 horse race I want to find out who has the early lead. It is so hard to really know who you are going to vote for before these people start talking issues. I think there are only two viable choices in this race so far.

Amy Hopkins Daney is the manager of Elberton Hill Farm in Darlington. From the Elberton Hill Farm website it is clear that she and her family are big into thoroughbred horses. Amy has managed the farm for the past 15 years. It is hard to believe that Amy would come down on the side of developers when in comes to zoning. There is no campaign finance account on the Maryland State Board of Elections website. However, her name does show up which means they are probably in the process of adding her information. She is fairly unknown to those outside of the farming community.

Chief Jason Gallion of the Level Volunteer Fire Company is throwing his hat in the ring for the second time. Jason ran against Lance Miller and Shirley Doud in the 1998 Republican primary. Jason placed second, behind Miller by only 482 votes. It appears that Jason is the early favorite. I am not sure if Miller will get into the endorsement game but if I had to guess, he would chose Gallion as his replacement. Gallion is linked to Barry Glassman which certainly does not hurt him. From what I can tell he is just pure “good ole Harford County.” A fireman, farmer, and a little politician on the side. If he stays close to the Bob Hooper “I am what I am; I believe what I believe” model he will be a light in this upcoming primary.

Chad Shrodes is a democrat. Yes I know a white little piece of paper says R on it but do not be fooled. Chad was the second top vote getter in 1998 for the democratic central committee. He was the top vote getter as the male representative for the 2nd Congressional district for guess who, Al Gore. Now I love Al Gore because he invented the internet. Without Al Gore I would not be able to spread my “wisdom” to hundreds of my fellow Harford Countians. So, I cannot blame him for wanting to go and represent his Congressional district on Al’s behalf. Someone please hit me over the head…harder. When did party switching become an acceptable thing to do? Oh, I know. When the dem’s lost power in Harford County. Their ship sailed a decade ago and some have decided to jump ship and swim back to shore. The problem is that we shore-men have a canoe ready for them and are going to send them down river without their paddle. I just cannot see someone so active in the democratic party actually being a real Republican. I may be wrong and I might have the wrong Chad Shrodes, but I’m still getting the canoe ready.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Council Races are Lining Up

With Kevin Patrick Kane’s announcement in last Friday’s Aegis we have several of the races starting to get lined up. We are by no means finished but this may give some people clarity on who is where and who is challenging who. With the exiting of multiple Councilmen we will see new faces in the Council next year. District C and F are pretty much up in the air.

Council President: Aaron Kazi vs. Robert Wagner vs. Michael Geppi

District A: Chris Biggs vs. Paula Mullis

District B: Kevin Patrick Kane vs. Roni Chenowith

District C: Rumors have Terry Hanley, Jim McMahon, Dave Carey, Cassilly write-in

District D: Jason Gallion vs. Chad Shrodes vs. Amy Daney (filed 3/3/06)

District E: Glenn Spatz vs. Dick “Coach” Slutzky

District F: John Correri vs. ???

I will begin running some early polls on some of the more decided races to see who has the early leads. If there are others that need to be added please let me know. I know that I am forgetting someone in district D.

Issue Poll Results

I have placed several polls dealing with important issues that affect us as Harford County citizens. The first issue poll was the in-district vs. countywide council elections poll. Overwhelmingly people preferred in-district elections. I think this might reflect the “keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer” mentality. At times politicians can become our enemies. Ultimately people do not really trust politicians. I see no reason for people to voluntarily relinquish the leash. “Keep’em close” is what people are saying. Once again, Wagner and the Aegis are on the wrong side of the issue. What a surprise!

The other poll dealt with Craig’s veto. It was pretty obvious that he was going to veto. Most people said that he should for a number of reasons. The number one reason was “Too much rezoning.” I do not necessarily agree but the writing was on the wall. Funny thing is I have not really heard much from Helton about the veto. I guess she is busy looking for another reason for people to vote for her. Good luck Ann.

The third issue poll was and still is the vacant Cassilly seat. I am certainly in the minority here. Most have said so far that they are fine with no one representing District C. How would we feel if our Congressmen stopped going to Washington to vote on important legislation? Conservatives in Joppatowne and Edgewood might not have a problem with that. With the failed veto override last night it is becoming even more necessary to have a voice representing District C as we move into uncharted waters. I predicted the veto and I also predict a huge mess over the veto.

I put the “Leave the man alone” option up almost as a joke. I am a little surprised that people actually think that Cassilly should just leave the seat vacant. Why? Who is served by a vacancy on the County Council? Not me, not you, not anyone. Again, I am in the minority here. Can someone please articulate why he should not resign his seat? I’m stumped.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Poll: Should Cassilly Step Down?

Should Cassilly Step Aside?
Yes, District C needs a voice
No, Why should he?
Leave the man alone. He's serving our country.
Free polls from

Fulfilling One Duty by Neglecting Another

I write this at the risk of offending many people. So here goes. Cassilly should give up his seat on the council. He should write a really nice letter about how great it is to be serving his country and that he can no longer in good conscience leave his seat vacant. In the amazingly selfless act of serving our country in a time of war he is committing an amazingly selfish act by not fulfilling his duty to the citizens in the Bel Air area. We are in the middle of the most hotly contested zoning disputes this county has ever seen and thousands of people have no voice in the process. Some say, “He would vote to uphold the veto so it does not matter.” However, right now the system is broken. We have 7 elected councilmen and only 6 are fulfilling their role. No I am not saying that Cassilly is a bad person and no I do not hate our troops so don’t use that demagoguery. What I am saying is that thousands of people are being silenced by Cassilly’s absence. The people have a right to be heard through their representative and that is not happening. Cassilly will return to Bel Air in shining armor, riding a white horse and will be swept back into whatever office he wants to take. He could come back and beat Craig, he could replace Bob Hooper, he could go to the House of Delegates, whatever he wants. But for right now we need a Councilman. I doubt there is a law preventing a soldier who is an elected official from writing a resignation letter.

That being said, the veto override looks unlikely. We have Miller and Slutzky as definite overrides. Stepp and Guthrie are maybes. As for “Vote Switchin” Veronica or “Rescinding” Roni, I am sure she will stick her finger to the wind and vote whichever way the wind is blowing at that moment. I guess those horses and chickens on Main Street scared her last time; Wagner being the only definite “No.” The District C Councilman could be an extremely important vote but unfortunately there will be no vote from District C.

I know that Cassilly would not have voted to override Craig but my point is that we need someone to step in and fill the void. The people of Bel Air deserve better than silence on the County Council.

Mr. Cassilly, thank you for serving our country honorably. Please serve our county and the people of Bel Air by resigning your seat on the Council.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Craig Will Veto: Home Run or Strike One?

Guthrie was 100% correct in The Aegis. Craig will veto soon. So what does that mean? It means that Helton can’t use “developer friendly” against him. It also means that developer contributions to his campaign will probably dry up. This could be a problem when his opponent has almost unlimited money. However, I strongly believe that we will not see another democrat elected to County Executive in Harford County for a very long time. We are conservatives. Even our democrats are conservatives for the most part and they vote Republican.

One thing scares me about Craig. I seriously hope that he did this as a political move and not as a philosophical move. Just as I said, he will throw the “I did this for Harford County” line at us but you have to wonder. Does he really believe it is his job to limit people’s property rights? And selling is a property right. Maximizing profit from your family’s property is a right. I like what Glenn Spatz said in his announcement. We need to respect their decision to sell. These land owners have been around for a long time and they feel that now is the time to cash in. The real estate market is cooling a little and they want to sell now. I am not so sure the County Executive should be able to tell these families that they must wait. In some cases we could be talking a difference of millions and not thousands of dollars.

Craig will offer his own comprehensive rezoning legislation which will make “everyone” happy. I will not forget this veto but most will and it will not be a major issue in November. Let’s just call this strike one and leave it at that.