Howard County Blog

A Blog on what is going on in Howard County

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Will The Real Chris Merdon Please Stand Up?

If Chris Merdon is positioning himself now as the “slow growth” candidate in the County Executive race then why did he take so much money from developers?

Merdon also received $4,000 from Lundy Family Partners, which is connected to Harry "Chip" Lundy, president and CEO of Williamsburg Group, a Columbia-based builder . . .

Go look at the Maryland State Board of Elections’ Campaign Finance website and you will find a lot of money coming from companies and individuals who expect Merdon to support their interests. And those interests are growth, development and sprawl. To get elected, Merdon needs to position himself right now as the champion of “slow growth”. However, after the election, the developers expect to see a different Chris Merdon and voters once again will have been fooled into voting for another “bait and switch” Republican.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Merdon had a chance in this election but I think that Harry Dunbar endorsment did it for himself. he's trying to please everyone with his election year proposals - millions to buy laptops for several thousand students, a middle school sports program, and massive tax cut!

this coming from the guy who has refused to fund the requested education budget for the past three years

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If any candidate is going to pursue the labels of "slow growth" or "green", they can mail, talk, and voicemail us all day long, but their previous actions are much, much predictors of future actions.

1:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

agreed, merdon should really stop trying to run away from his records. at the league forum he started out by saying that voters should only look at what the candidates are promising for the future. well, what the candidates have done for the past few years is pretty darn representative of what they will do over the next 4 years

1:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Baltimore Sun disagrees with the posts on this website, and has endorsed Chris Merdon - smart decision. BTW - they were heavy on the Republican side with with the County Council too.

This is the reason why they support Merdon:

"largely because he has more management and government experience than Democrat Ken Ulman, but also because he seems more sensitive to the concerns of county residents who feel shut out of land-use decisions."

7:05 AM  
Blogger Steve Fine said...

Well put! Go to for more.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous david.w.keelan said...

Steve, I am not trying to pick a fight. I respect your opinion I just disagree.

1. provides a one sided and distorted view of Merdon's record.

2. Ulman put up the web site and tried to hide it.

3. No one responded to my refutations of the claims and half truths on Ulman's smear.

I have posted that link on your blog and you haven't responded either.

4. Does one not expect a candidate for Chief Executive Officer of Howard County to put forth a platform? Why not?

5. Demos. Chris Merdon has voted for Jim Robey's budgets in 2007, 2006, and 2005. He opposed the 2004 budget because it contained a 30% tax increase. Despite that Merdon's alternative budget proposal increased the 2003 budget by 4.6% or $23.8M. In that budget increase Merdon earmarked $13M or 4.4% increase in the education budget. Merdon's education budget proposed $305M in county funds for HCPS and Robey proposed $310M in county funds which is a .016% difference.

Merdon did that without a 30% tax increase.

Don't believe me? Go to the authority and then look at the County Bill that passed the budget:

9:56 AM  
Anonymous David W. Keelan said...

Demos, by the way....

Ulman and you are suggesting that Merdon are in developer's pockets.

You and Mr. Ulman perpetuate the theory that a candidate for elected office by accepting donations from developers means that are now obligated to the developer. I assume that you are placing Mr. Ulman in that same category.

I am not going to suggest that Mr. Ulman is in the pocket of the development community like Mr. Ulman and you are suggesting about Mr. Merdon.

Does it mean anything that Mr. Ulman accepted four separate donations in the amount of $4,000 each ($16,000 total) from a group of companies and a principle in those companies. Of the $16,000 he accepted $12,000 was accepted on the same day and $4,000 was accepted in the previous month.

The companies, residing at the same address 2330 W Joppa Rd, Lutherville-Timonium, are:

Preston Capital Management, LLC
Preston Partners, Inc.
Preston Land SCS, LLC
And the principle, David Scheffenacker, also reports the same address.
These entities own hundreds of thousands of square feet of developed property in Howard County and more in neighboring Anne Arundel County.

Preston Partners is the 11th largest commercial real estate firm in the area negotiating the sale and purchase of major pieces of developed property in Howard County.

Do I believe Ulman is in Preston’s pocket? No I don’t. Not anymore than I believe Ulman’s insinuation. So what is the point? Ulman and you should not be casting aspersions.

Since you are encouraging people to go to the Board of Elections campaign finance website I think it would only be fair that they take the time to look at the contributions that Mr. Ulman has taken from the same industry. I think they will find that as a percentage of total contributions to both candidates they are equal.

Since Mr. Ulman has significantly outraised Mr. Merdon then you will find that as a total Mr. Ulman has raised more money from the developer community than has Mr. Merdon.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous David W. Keelan said...

What? No one has anything to say?

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only reason Ulman is even in the running is because of his family money and his father's influence over the Democratic party.

Any more on Ulman's resume?

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Baltimore Sun has it right. Ulman doesn't have the experience or temperment for the job.

The link to the full endorsement is here,0,475201.story?coll=bal-local-howard

10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thankful for as much scrutiny as possible of the candidates leading up to an election since we'll all have to live with our collective decision until the next election.

10:09 PM  
Anonymous David W. Keelan said...

I appreciate scrutiny too. I don't appreciate a smear campaign. I can only hope it backfires on Ulman.

Merdon invited him to debate growth and development. Ulman accepted - I didn't know this is what he had in mind. A one sided half the truth debate.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous David W. Keelan said...

Resume. Sorry, I forgot.

Ulman hasn't responded to the question at least to me. I have heard he claims that it was an internal title never actually written anywhere. Yet his predecessor had the name Director in writing.

Ulman refuses to correct his mistatements that he was "Governors Liaison to the Board of Public Works"

I thought it was going to be in the Sun last Sunday. Turns out The Sun needed more time for some additional fact checking and it will be in this Sunday's paper.

11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris Merdon, our next Howard County Executive. Boy, does that sound good to me.

2:56 AM  
Blogger demos said...

Thanks all for commenting on my post. My problem with Merdon is that he is presenting himself as the “second coming” of the “smart-growth” candidate which he is not. He has been on the County Council and voted for the development practices we have in Howard County. (I live in his district and have practical experience with the decisions he has made.) Ulman is at least saying that he thinks that Howard County development has had its problems, but, on the whole, things are not that bad here. I absolutely don’t agree with this assessment, but Ulman is not running away from his record like Merdon. As for the campaign contributions, I agree both candidates are getting money from developers and people with development interests. The way we finance political campaigns in the United States is a major problem in our “democracy” (America would criticize any other country’s political system as corrupt if it had our campaign financing characteristics). I have blogged on this fact before (, but Merdon is positioning himself as “the” candidate that will listen to the community and not to the developers. This is just not plausible. Campaign contributors give money to candidates that they expect will further their interests, whether those interests are “ideological” or “practical” (and these two concepts mutually and reciprocally construct each other, that is, fill each other with content). So I stand by my assertion that Merdon’s “slow growth, anti-comp-lite” persona is merely a campaign season conversion, and he will return to his pro-growth, pro-development self if he is elected County Executive. I wish this were not so, but until we get “clean” campaigns (see in Maryland politics we should not expect anything else.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous David W. Keelan said...


Thanks. I disagree, but I appreciate an honest response.

What do you think of Ulman's tactics and half truths.

Negative campaigning has risks. My sense is that he is locking in his base and Merdon's base. I think he is targeting independants and wafflers so they either vote Wallis or pass on the CE race altogether. That way he can take advantage of the democrat 1.3:1 registration advantage.

Your thoughts?

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Ulman wasn't "Secretary of the Cabinet" - big shocker there!

To top it off, he only stayed in these jobs for less than one year each. Talk about commitment!

No wonder the guy has had 6 jobs in the last 6 years!

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked the Baltimore Sun article. But Ulman wasn't an attorney when he worked with the state.

Don't worry about Ulman. Even if he loses, his father will hook him with another job. He does have a proven record on that!

1:34 PM  
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