Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Angela Beltram endorses Chris Merdon. Does anyone else find this scary?

Do you really think that she would have even gotten involved in the Comp Lite debate if it had been a Lutheran or Catholic church that wanted to expand instead of a Korean one?

Scarier still are all of the other politicians who want to be seen standing next to her this campaign season. She has become the flavor of the month because the candidates believe she will deliver votes in November.

We'll see...We'll see.

Politicians would do well to consider that the 7,000 people who signed her petition represent a mere 4% of the registered voters in the county.


Steve Fine said...

Good post! I totally agree!

Anonymous said...

and Barbara Russell??

wordbones said...

Barbara Russell deserves a post all her own. Stay tuned.

david.w.keelan said...


Are you saying Beltram is a bigot?

Are you aware that Beltram and Merdon have been working on comp-lite since it passed in March 2005 (19 months now)?

Any comments on the rest of the people that endorsed Merdon at the same event?

Alec Adams, former Chair of the Howard County Democratic Central Committee (and attorney for the Plaza appeal)
Betty Adams - attorney
Cindy Ardinger – PTA and public education advocate (independent Republican)
Vivian Bailey - Democratic activist
Martha Clark, owner of Elioak Farms, Senator Clark’s daughter
Mary Catherine Cochran, President, Preservation Howard County
Cindy Coyle, CA Board, Harper’s Choice
Joan Farragut, Democratic activist
Regina Ford, Director of Public Relations, Turf Valley Resort
Cathy Hudson, Rockburn Land Trust, Belmont activist, Environmental Chair for Howard County Citizens’ Association (independent Republican)
Rebecca Johnson – Coalition for Columbia’s Downtown; Harper’s Choice Village Board
Ann Jones, VP of Howard County Conservancy
John Lederer - activist
Dottie Moore - former Director of Head Start
Jessica Pearsall, community activist
Roger Plunkett, Administrator, Howard County Department of Education
Janice and William Prince - Founders, Voices of Children
Alice and Glen Webb-Democratic activists

david.w.keelan said...


You are correct. They only represent 4% of registered voters. They represent 7.25% of the 96,500 who voted in 2002.

Remember with Wallis in the race Ulman and Merdon don't need to get 50.1% of the vote. Wallis won't get 33% of the vote.

Which brings up an interesting question. How many votes will Wallis get and what does that mean to Merdon and Ulman? How many do they need to win?

Dems outnumber Rep 1.3:1 in the county. Assuming that all 7,000 vote and vote for Merdon could that be the margin he needs to win?

Honest question. Just asking your opinion.

Steve Fine said...

No one's saying Beltram is a bigot for endorsing Merdon.

We are concerned about Beltram and her cronies extremely hostile attitude towords a Korean Church. Why? Its not a factory, its not a garbage dump, its not a big box store, its not a brothel. Its a Church. Places of worship are not out of character in a residential area! So what's the problem?

Obstensivly, those other people were there to endorse Merdon, not Angie Beltrum's anti-church movement.

By the way, why is Mr. Merdon sucking up to Angie Beltrum's people? Is he anti-church, too?

So one

david.w.keelan said...


If it were only that simple. This has nothing to do with it being a church or who is associated with the church.

They plan to build a two-story, 90,000-square-foot "promise center" for worship and family services. The plan also includes hundreds of new parking spaces for the 2,000-member congregation.

All traffic will traverse a 2-lane road in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

The WP said, "The late addition of properties made the effort look more like spot rezoning than part of a deliberate approach for guiding future development."

Beltram wrote to The View Newspapers back in early 2005.

"These facilities could be built within the “conditional use” process that is conducted by a Hearing Examiner. Currently, all churches in Ellicott City use that process and have been able to expand without a rezoning and with public review and testimony."

This has nothing to do with religious denomination or ethnicity.

It is all about how Comp-lite was used to allow this development to go foward without input from the residents in the community.

I wrote about this zdrpy 15th:


Even Courtney Watson (Dem candidate for County Council 1) agrees with me.

One council candidate, District 1 Democrat Courtney Watson, said the bill “was not legal” in her view, because it allowed extra parcels to be rezoned at the end of the process.

wordbones said...


All I know is that Ms Beltram didn't raise a voice about Comp Lite until the Korean church became part of the legistlation.

Most churches are on two lane roads that run through neighborhoods. Someone figured out a long time ago that churches and neighborhoods are compatable.

Go figure.

Am I saying that Ms. Beltram is a bigot?

I don't know but if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck....

As to whether those 7,000 petition signers could tip the balance towards Merdon...depends.

If you assume that all 7,000 petition signers really understood or were compassionate about what they were signing than I guess you could assume that they would march in lockstep with Angela Beltram.

I think that is doubtful.

You also need to take into consideration the number of registered Republicans who are none too pleased with Mr. Merdon cozying up to Ms. Beltram.

Personally I know more than a few who won't be marching in lockstep with the Republican ticket this November.

david.w.keelan said...

I don't think she is a bigot. I have met her and talked with her and never walked away with that impression.

When ever the issue of comp-lite comes up she doesn't talk about the church.

Is this a NIMBY moment that woke a sleeping giant? I think that is closer to reality. After 90,000 square feet and they can keep building. It changed the entire character of a 50 year old neighborhood by using a process they should not have used.

I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

Your thoughts on my updated post about the endorsements yesterday? I thought it was powerful (of course I did - no surprises).

FreeMarket said...

I think it is a bit irresponsible, as well as a red herring, to suggest that Beltram is a bigot against churchfolk and/or Koreans without backing that up with evidence. The church is the most flagrant violation of the Comp Lite process, so it makes sense Beltram would not make a fuss until the church was involved. Remember the church brought Sang Oh into this mess (or vice versa).

wordbones said...


Ah yes, we shall agree to disagree. Such is the beauty of debate in a free society.

Since you asked...

I find the large number of endorsements for local Republican candidates to be ironic given that both the Sun and the Post are often labeled as the "liberal" media by the Republican party.

I suppose the recipients of those endorsements are quite pleased though.

At he same time I don't think either paper really does an adequate job when it comes to covering our little county so those endorsements don't carry much water with me. I sometimes find the Sun to be actually hostile to Howard County.

You may suspect that I am a Democrat but in fact I am not. I am a registered Independent (former Republican). In my council district I will be casting a vote for Tony Salazar. Both he and Courtney Watson have thrown their lot in with Angela Beltram so they cancelled themselves out on that issue. I choose Tony because there is something about Courtney that simply rubs me the wrong way.

For Exec I will cast my vote for Ken Ulman. Ken has been very helpful on an issue that was important in our neighborhood even though it wasn't in his district. Chris was nowhere to be seen. My neighbors and I are most appreciative of efforts.

As they say...all politics are local.

James Binckley said...

Mr Keelan .... First rule of politcal reality " It's not what it is .... it's how it's perceived" Don't ask my friend Wordbones who the bigots are in this county, ask the Koreans. I don't seem to see any of the hard working, law abiding, tax paying and last but not least, voting citizens of the growing Korean community on your list of " important" do gooders that enhance your points. Wordbones is right.... Beltram would have never picked on a more mainstream religion..... it wouldn't have worked.

Anonymous said...

wordbones, i would love to hear about what issue ken ulman helped you and your neighbors with. do tell.

David W. Keelan said...

I don't seem to see any of the hard working, law abiding, tax paying and last but not least, voting citizens of the growing Korean community on your list of " important" do gooders that enhance your points.

Mr. Binckley, are you implying that I am a bigot? What does that statement mean?

I sure hope you are not implying that I am a bigot. Coming from someone who never met me that would be a pure gutter play. You have no idea who I am an what my background is, who my friends and family are, or who I associate with.

So, say it isn't so and that I am being overly sensative (as I should on the issue of bigotry which is being thrown around with abandon these days).

wordbones said...


I would be happy to share my story of how Ken Ulman came to the aid of my neighborhood but I think that deserves a post of it's own.

Stay tuned.

Steve Fine said...

I need to make something clear. My previous post implies that Ms. Beltram is predjudiced against Koreans. I don't know this for a fact and I haven't heard her make any statements suggesting that she bears any bias towards Korean people. (Unfortunatly, this can't be said of all of the people who are against the church, not that many who are against the chgurch don't have other, more lrgfitimate concerns). Nor am I suggesting that anyone is predjudiced againt churchgoers. (I don't see how one could read that into my post). While my post implied that I beleive that Ms. Beltram is bigoted, that wasn't quite my intention and I apologize to her for my too hastily composed post.

On the other hand, how would you feel if you were a member of that Church (or the Korean Community in general)?

David W. Keelan said...


You just went up 10 notches on my scale. If that matters to you.

I still don't agree with you, but none the less, thank you for clarifying your comments.


Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see the Barbara Russell post. This should be interesting!

Anonymous said...

Freemarket, if you'd like to throw the term "red herring" around, why not start with the reference to Sang Oh?

The inference that Oh carried additional weight in the process, which was voted on by 5 different council members, and NOT by Robey, deflects the real responsibility from who deserves it.

Anonymous said...

Wow... my first experience with this blog is not a good one. Someone has no clue about comp lite...or why it went wrong at the end.

For the record...

Angie was involved with Comp lite from Day 1. She was on the Route 40 Task Force and followed every amendment made.

The St.John's Church property was introduced late- outside of the legally prescribed process which dictated that only properties already involved in Comp zoning could be reviewed. The church asked for a change in zoning for changes that could have been granted through the conditional use process. It was an attempt to do an end run around public process.

I am personally offended that someone believes it had anything to do with the fact that it was a Korean church. That kind of narrow-minded,uninformed spouting of salacious rumor and unfounded beliefs is exactly what is wrong with blogs in general. And this one in particular.

Shame on you. You have absolutely no credibility. Not a great start.

Mary Catherine

FreeMarket said...

Yes, I would like to throw the term “red herring” around. How did you know, anonymous one? I certainly hope your opinion is correct about Oh being a red herring. That would make me feel less disenfranchised by the current administration…

wordbones said...

Mary Catherine,

I am sorry you that you took personal offense with my post. I am afraid that this blooging business is not for the faint of heart...particularly in this political season.

I understand the Comp Lite controversy and all the players much better than you might suspect and I still remain suspect of Ms Beltrams motivations. I may be wrong but I would love to hear how the members of that particular Korean Presbyterian Church see things. I welcome their comments on this blog.

Whether you are aware of it or not, there is a considerable amount of "closet bigotry" in Howard County. It is often masked by people claiming to be concerned about other issues such as unbridled growth. It that makes you uncomfortable maybe it is a good thing. Everyone talks about how nice diversity is in our county but those voices sometimes change when diversity settles in next door.

I have no problem wth your objections to my views.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. There is a lot of intolerance in the world.

We don't help it by accusing someone of being intolerant when we disagree with them on other things- like the choice of a candidate.

In fact, using racism as an issue- or label - where it doesn't exist (in the case of Beltram- for purely political gain- is arguably racist in and of itself.

I wouldn't classify calling someone out on inaccurate and inflammatory postings as "faint of heart".

You have a responsibility to be credible. You can choose to ignore that responsibility- but you will only attract readers with your own perspective and you will cease to have any impact on the world around you.

You can choose- at this early point in your blogging career to be an instrument of positive change and dialogue... or an instrument of rancor and thoughtlessness. I hope you choose the former... because, the world is full of the latter.


wordbones said...


I never gave anyone a label.

David W. Keelan said...


You are correct. You didn't apply a label. But read the post and all the comments. It is mostly about bigotry.

As for the Korean Community. After reading these posts, especially Mr. Binckley's (where did he go?) I resolved to call the pastor of the church.

I would not count on the Korean community finding its way to either of our blogs unless we make an outreach. Perhaps you could call Pastor Lee, Choi or Ye too.

wordbones said...


True enough that the comments focused on bigotry.

Is that all bad?

Regardless of how you or I feel about Ms Beltram or Comp Lite or the current campaign, a dicussion about bigotry, both real and perceived, can be healthy for a community.

I'll try to find time to drop by the church. Good suggestion.

I also intend to ask my Korean neighbor how he feels about all this.

Stay tuned.

wordbones said...

A final word here...


I am weary of those who continue to claim that Comp Lite was "illegal."

That remains to be determined by the courts.

I'm am willing to wager that they will rule that it was already very legal indeed.

If not I'll humbly eat my words.

Until ten, calling Comp Lite illegal is also a red herring.

In my not so humble opinion that is...

Anonymous said...

It sure seems like most people are endorsing Merdon. The Sun, The Post, Howard County Times and the Flier. I think you are searching for conspiracies where there are none. Maybe the simplest explanation is the right one?

Merdon is the better candidate. Then the independent guy. Then pretty much any other registered Democrat. Then Ulman. At least Merdon earned his position.

David W. Keelan said...

Word, I will take that wager.

I will wager one pint of Guinness at Kelsey's in Ellicott City.

David W. Keelan said...

Btw: I don't say Comp-lite itself is illegal. I say letting the additional 18 properties that were not in comprehensive rezoning is illegal. Just to clarify the bet.


wordbones said...

Deal...but do they allow dogs in Kelsey's?

You could alway's just pour my Guiness into a water bowl by the front door.

wordbones said...

and....by the way...are you sure this isn't just a ploy to find out who is putting the words in the dogs mouth?

I see you have been getting a bit of reputation for that.

David W. Keelan said...

I promise. No ploy. Just an honest wager.

David W. Keelan said...

Your dog drinks Guinnnes? Good dog!

Anonymous said...

You guys should be ashamed of yourself...this is a church, not a factory, office complex, or bar.. would you rather have the land sold and developed into something less palatable???

sure, it makes sense to work with the church to express your concerns as best as possible.. but in the end.. it is only a church.... churches make good neighbors..